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Wanderers Travel to Northern Woods For Ultra

The Wissahickon Wanderers ventured into the land of Paul Bunyan to test their ultra muscles in early September. The legendary lumberjack would have been impressed with some of the performances turned in by the Wanderers at the Haliburton Forest ultra competition, which featured 50k, 50 mile and 100 mile races.

Here were some of the highlights:

-- Snake Bite bagging her first ultra in the 50k competition. It wasn’t easy considering that Rock Steady forgot to pack her running shoes for the trip.

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to view the photo gallery.

-- Crash Takata continuing his ultra running rampage this summer by stepping up to the 50-mile level. He looked a little worse for wear at the end of 50 miles and his customary smile at the finish line ws not quite as strong as usual.

-- Linda Hodkin for producing a pair of running shoes for Snake at 5 in the morning and winning all sorts of Wanderer public service awards in the process.

-- The Purple Piper, who was knocked out of action with an injured knee, for piping home the competitors as they reached the finish line. Hearing the pipes gave many runners the courage to persevere knowing that the end was not far away.

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to view the photo gallery.

About 150 ultra runners traveled to the northern woods about three hours drive north of Toronto for the competition. Also respresenting the Wanderers were Ultra Woman Cyn Vavasour, Irish Joe Cleary, and Rock Steady. Canadian Ultra strongman Mike Gillespie caught the eye of Wanderer recruiters, and he and his wife Linda Hodkin are being offered long term Wanderer contracts.

The race course was made up of logging roads and gnarly, twisting hiking trails which circled a number of gorgeous northern lakes. There were also lots of hills. All 150 runners started in the early morning darkness and fog. The race started before dawn with chilly temperatures, but the weather was just about perfect as the day progressed.

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to view the photo gallery.

After finishing their races, the Wanderers watched in awe as the 100-milers plied their trade. The 100-mile race consisted of two loops of the course. The winner did not cross the finish line until about 2 in the morning, and most of the competitors took more than 24 hours of straight running and walking to finish the race. The hardest work for these long distance fanatics was during the evening while the Wanderers were back in their cabins asleep.

The results of the race as of press time were not available. However, all Wanderers beat the cut-off time. Whatever their times, Mike and Crash were impressive out on the course. Irish Joe and Linda got lost out on the 50-mile course and ended up improvising their own 50-k course. Snake Bite, Ultra Woman and Rock Steady just got the job done.

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to view the photo gallery.

The support from volunteers was hard to believe with some volunteers staying out for 30 hours to provide food and assistance at the aid stations. The Haliburton is due to become a fixture on the Wanderers’ running calendar.

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