Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50

The 8th annual Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 (MS50 for short) was held March 1, 2003 on the Long Leaf Horse Trail at the De Soto National Forest. An all time record crowd of 146 runners signed up to participate this year, up from about 100 the previous year.  The weather cooperated nicely this year, with no appreciable rain on Friday or race day Saturday, although the usual Spring rains earlier in the week helped to make the muddy sections interesting, and guaranteed that no one would end up with the dreaded hot dry foot syndrome.  The creeks were mostly jumpable, so no one had to practice their swimming, although at least one runner lost his footing on a crossing and went completely under briefly. His pride and new Sony radio will never be the same. Most entrants finished, although a few decided to quit part way through due to previous injuries that flared up, or that were aggravated by falls. 

 The 20 km, 50km and 50 Mile endurance runs all began together at 6 a.m. in peaceful predawn darkness.  The temperature was in the low 50's at the start, and never got over the mid-fifties all day, ignoring the forecast of a  69 afternoon. Clouds also kept the sun off the runners.

Well supplied aid stations were positioned every two to four miles with easy crew access, so no one had to worry about dehydration or lack of calories. Trophies were awarded to the top 3 males and females in each event, and finisher mementos of plaques or 50 mile belt buckles were awarded to each finisher. A full course chicken dinner (courtesy of South Central Regional Medical Center) was served to help everyone recover from their exertions.

A very tight race developed in the 50 Mile race, with Scott Belland from Michigan taking the early lead and holding it for 3 laps of the 4 lap event. Close behind were DeWayne Satterfield and Davy Kennamer, both from Alabama. On the third lap Satterfield had cut Belland's lead from 6 minutes to 3 minutes, with Kennamer another 4 minutes back. All three looked strong coming around the third time, and the onlookers wondered if DeWayne could gain another 3 minutes and overtake Scott. At the finish line however it was clear that Kennamer was the one who dropped the hammer on the bell lap, going from 3rd to 1st, and finishing with a 5 minute lead at 6:34 (six hours and thirty-four minutes).  The race officials were astounded, as Kennamer's pace on the last lap was about a minute a mile faster than Belland's! Belland finished second in 6:39, holding onto his 3 minute advantage over Satterfield, who finished third in 6:42.

Very few women ran the 50 miler this year, with Beth Simpson winning in 10:08, and Debbie Glass finishing second in 11:48.  

The runs were sponsored by our major sponsor - the South Central Regional Medical Center, Horne CPA, Jeffrey LeBlanc Orthodontist, artist LaDonna Stroud Walters, Audubon Family Dental Care, Scott Martin DMD, Family Dental Center Of Laurel PA, Buffalo Peak Outfitters, Fleet Feet Sports, Laurel Rotary Club, and Rodgers/Usry-Chevrolet/Hummer. These sponsors make the race possible. Many thanks to them for all they do to promote healthy life styles and recreational events in south Mississippi. 

This event draws quite a few people to Laurel for the two days. 146 runners came from 21 states to run in the MS50 this year. Most of them brought at least one spectator along to cheer and/or crew for them. The runner who came the furthest was from Los Angeles, CA. Many were from MI, MN, NH, PA and other cold weather states, looking for a change in weather. Several entrants were in their 70's, and one runner, Jimmy Moore from Crystal Springs, MS was 81. He came as a special guest of Mobby Overstreet, and finished the 50K run in an age group course record of  11:10:32.

Andrew Colee from Valpariso FL was participating in his 300th ultra run. To honor this achievement, appropriate speeches were made, and a cake was presented during the prerace dinner. He generously had it brought to the finish line the next day to share with the others runners after the race. Andrew is one of 5 persons who have run in the MS50 all 8 years. Six persons have run it 7 times, and altogether twenty-nine persons have run 4 or more times (see more statistics and records). 

Congratulations to Race Director Steve DeReamer, Marsha DeReamer, Marvin Overstreet, Shannon Holder, Steve Burgess, Bill McMullan, and to all the many course and aid station workers for putting on another fine Carl Touchstone Memorial Mississippi 50 Trail Run. Bill McMullan, Vicki from Nashville, and Ann Beardshall filled in at the last minute as finishing officials. Our condolences go out to Wyck Neely of Magee, who had been head of the finish line crew for all 7 previous events, but could not come this year due to the death of his mother.  

As usual, Running Bear did nothing but take pictures and get in the way of the race workers. If anyone spots errors in the write-up or results, it's his fault. Please let us know and we will make the appropriate threats till he corrects them.

The Trail Prep crew went way overboard on marking the course this year, taking extra pains to be sure no one got lost, putting up mile markers on every mile (what other ultra does that?) and using up rolls and rolls of marking ribbon. The course was apparently so well marked that some runners let their guard down. Their attention wandered, and they later reported getting lost in record numbers, at every conceivable turn, including the first turn a half mile into the race! The finish line workers began to believe that some people just weren't satisfied with 50 K or 50 miles, and were trying to steal a few extra miles without paying for them. We can tolerate a mile or so, but when people begin stealing 14 extra miles like several runners did this year, it's a little much.  We won't mention any names since it would ruin their hopes of getting on an adventure race team. That some runners went off course was understandable, as they began hallucinating early in the race, thinking they were overtaking  and passing "wagon trains" on the race course! 

See reports by actual participants (as opposed to weenies who stood around taking pictures at the finish line, and have no idea what it was really like out on the course).

Read a poem written by and illustrating the unforgettable spirit of Laurel's Carl Touchstone, and of many persons who participate in running and life.

A note of appreciation from Steve to all the race workers and sponsors.