The Oak Openings Stampede 5K/25K/50K is always one of the highlights of the Toledo running adventures but this year it was truly exceptional for a lot of reasons. Of course, the participants and their hard work and enthusiasm really make it what it is. Below see the pictures and read some of the wonderful stories that we received.
#1 Terri's story Well, here goes - my story of how and why I ran Oak Openings. I will try to make this short, but I tend to be a long story teller who has to tell everything in great detail, have entertained many runners for many hours out on the trails with my stories, when I was still fast enough to keep up with them. I have been running ultras for over 33 years.The 50 miler was always my favorite distance, have also done 100 milers, 100K's, now, because of cut-off times, usually do 50K's or 12 hour events, always on trails. Although I have lost all my speed, I still have the endurance and the passion. I have had the good days and the bad days, but yet, no matter how bad the day might be, I was exactly where I wanted to be - on a trail going somewhere. I am always looking for a new trail to explore, a new place to go, and an organized event gives me the motivation to get there and do it. Besides losing speed, with age, I have also lost motivation to get in long training runs, so I do at least one 50K per month and that serves as my long run to keep me prepared for the next ultra. Now, don't get the wrong idea. I still do plenty of exercise between ultras - ride a bike for transportation every day, teach at least 2 fitness classes a week, do weight-training, and some short trail runs. I looked at the Ultrarunning calendar, which I check quite often and saw so many ultras scheduled all over the country in Sept. I just knew I would have to find a way to get to al least one of them. Oak Openings caught my eye, because of it being on a Sunday (often cheaper to fly on a Saturday). After reading the website, it sounded like a run I really wanted to do, so I started opening the daily e-mails I get from Frontier Airlines instead of deleting them. When I found a $48 roundtrip from Orlando to Detroit, departing Saturday, returning Monday, that cinched it. I was going to Oak Openings! However, to keep that fare at the $48, I had to travel with nothing but my daypack which is very doable if you are just going somewhere to spend a day on the trails. And I had a wonderful day on the trails. I loved the course, loved the big loop that only had to be completed twice. The trail was not at all technical, but still challenging enough for this old lady, weather was great. And I was most impressed with the organization of the event, the aid stations, volunteers, course markings, etc. Everyone I met was so nice, so friendly, especially Randy and Anne. Of all the ultras I have run, some I have repeated numerous times and some I have done once and never wanted to go back. Well, Oak Openings is one of those I definitely would want to do again. Thanks again to everyone who made it a memorable weekend.
#2 Today was very significant for Traci, as she participated in the Oak Openings Stampede 50k at Oak Openings Metropark. For those of you not familiar with our area, the Oak Openings region in Northwest Ohio is in our backyard. It's a unique environment, home to a great number of rare and endangered species. It is a beautiful place to run (one of my favorites).
In the midst of Traci's training for this event, she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer with extensive metastasis. Though her treatment kept her from running today, she did help her friend Carrie walk some of the 50K and they crossed the finish line together! It was a tear-filled and joyous occasion....
*** #3 I've run a few trail races including Mohican, Mississippi 50 and the North Face Challenge 50K to name a few. In my book, the Oak Openings Stampede ranks right up there. A beautiful, relatively easy to run trail with just enough twists, turns and change in surface texture to keep it interesting. Oak Openings is a great venue for the race with its bio-diversity and as a remnant of the Great Black Swamp. Thus is a course where you can throw down a really fast time for a trail run. It was my first Oak Openings Stampede but it won't be my last. Congrat's to you, your team, the volunteers and sponsors. Ron Smith 60 - 60 A.G.Winner
#5 This race is a Toledo Roadrunners race & the charity is dear to Randy & Anne Ruch. I ran the Yellow/Boy Scout trail, the first time, here, at this race, a few years ago. Since then, I run this trail, often. Every year, I want to participate; &, every year, I want to volunteer to help others learn to love "my" OakOpenings, as much as I do. I always go away feeling happy after being here.
#6 I just want to take the opportunity to thank you and your team for such fantastic day. This was my third year in a row running the 25k, and I have to say that I think it was the best yet. Running the Stampede every year has become my own personal pilgrimage, and is, in my opinion, the best hometown race around. There was a point around mile 10, when I almost felt disappointed that it would end soon. One of these days I'll get the courage to toe the line for the 50k!
Thank you again for directing such a marvelous celebration of human potential and natural wonder.
I look forward to many years on this course.
The 2016 edition of the Oak Openings Stampede 5K, 25K, and 50K trail runs will occur on Sunday morning, September 18th at Oak Openings Metropark located near Swanton, Ohio. This is a great event with some fine single track trail running. For more information including registration, visit www.oakopeningsstampede.com.