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Polecats, Wildcats, Rattlesnakes and Copperheads

March 6, 2008 - Erik Brown
If you’re prone to anxiety before the start of a 5K road race, The Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie (June 14, 2008 in Ellerbe, NC) is definitely NOT for you. But if you’re in great shape (make that incredibly, great shape) and more than a little crazy, then check out the Waiver and Release below for this unique 50 mile ultra-marathon sponsored by the Mangum Track Club and the Runners from Hell (I kid you not).
I realize June in North Carolina is hot and humid. Most people and doctors advise against running in heat and humidity. Also, running at night presents special problems such as seeing where you are stepping and watching out for cars. I understand that this area has specific hazards such as rattlesnakes, copperheads, polecats, wildcats, and rednecks who like to drink and drive and throw things. I know that 50 miles is a long, long ways and many people get tired just driving that far. Nevertheless, I want, no, I insist I be allowed to do this event regardless of the risk.  Therefore, I want everyone to know that I am not being forced to do this event and that I agree for myself and any survivors or possible claimants that I may leave behind, to save, release, and keep harmless the Mangum Track Club, its members, the Runners From Hell, and any volunteers or sponsors or any other helpers that may be involved with this event, from all liability, claims, or demands for damages incurred by participation in this event or any of its parts. I assume all responsibilities for my participation in this event and certify that I am properly trained, mentally fit, and medically able to participate in this 50 mile run. I agree to use a light after dark. I certify that I am 18 yrs old or older. I will not litter. I will not kill snakes. I am aware that this event is limited to the first 75 entrants and that all entries after the limit will be returned. I am aware that registering after the May 27 deadline means that I probably will not get a shirt or award. I realize that the race director's {or his delegate} authority is all encompassing and will abide by anything he tells me. Knowing everything in this waiver has not deterred me from entering this event and my signature below indicates that I have read and agree to all this stuff and still intend to participate. I also promise to have fun.
The Mangum Track Club consists of many runners and walkers that have completed what they call "The Shirt Run". The Shirt Run is a 15-mile point-to-point run / walk from Mangum, N.C. to Ellerbe, N.C. Once you finish the shirt run you will receive your Mangum Track Club shirt and you are a member for life.
The Mangum Track Club also offers this classic warning about their Boogie Marathon (a standard 26.2 mile marathon held concurrently with their 50 mile ultra:
This is not your normal marathon. This is all rural, not a city marathon. The course is not certified. You will be in the middle of nowhere all the time with no porta-potties, no splits, no mile markers, no spectators, and late in the run possibly even no other runners. There are only 6 houses on the course and they have dogs. Aid stops are over 5 miles apart, so you will need to carry a water bottle. If you decide to quit, there are no pick-up vans, so you will either have to walk to the aid station or hitch a ride with somebody. The race will start at 6 pm and the temperature will probably be about 85 degrees with little shade. Darkness comes at about 9 pm and there are no street lights. You will need a light for the reasons cited in the waiver. If you need to be catered to every couple of miles along the course or worry about running in the dark, perhaps you should not come. We really have seen everything listed in the waiver except the polecats and they are there too. The drop out rate among veteran 50-milers is usually 40% or so. Think long and hard before you enter this event. If Lao-tzu were to give advice about this event he would say, "come with no expectations and you will not be disappointed."
I want to thank Joe Shuta for providing the information contained in this post. Joe is in his 36th year of teaching Spanish for the Altoona School District at Roosevelt and Keith Junior High School.

Joe is also the host of Leading Off, which is now in its eighth year and airs every Wednesday from 6-7 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1430-WVAM in Altoona. He has interviewed numerous members of the 1960, 1971 & 1979 World Championship Pittsburgh Pirates, former NY Yankee and author of Ball Four, Jim Bouton and Mike Lodish, NFL offensive lineman who holds the record for the most Super Bowl appearances with six.
Joe has also interviewed Bill Rodgers, the former American record holder in the marathon who is best known for his victories in the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon in the late 1970s, Dane Rauschenberg who ran 52 consecutive weekly marathons in 2006, Dean Karnazes, the best selling author and ultra-marathoner who Mens’ Fitness Magazine said “might just be the fittest man in the world”, and Altoona’s own A.J. Kelly who narrowly missed qualifying for the U.S. Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials last year.  

Joe himself is an avid runner and accomplished marathoner / ultra-marathoner. He has completed the Tussey Mountainback 50-Miler four times with a PR of 8:59:09, the JFK 50-Miler in Maryland twice with a PR of 8:57:23, and 15 marathons with a PR of 3:05:10 at the NOVA Marathon in Monterrey, Mexico.

Thanks Joe!

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