Runners ready for opening of Hinson Lake ultra entry

Entry fee, timing method remain unchanged

By Kevin Spradlin

What a tease.

Jerry Lindstrand wouldn’t identify the Mangum Track Club webmaster, but he couldn’t help but giggle.

Sorry runners, the entry form is not yet available.

Sorry runners, the entry form is not yet available.

The unidentified cyber prankster is responsible for the image viewers see when seeking a printable entry form to the 10th annual Hinson Lake Ultra Classic get when they “click here for entry form.” Instead of an entry form, it’s an image of a banana with running shoes that has slipped on a banana peel.

It’s still 269 days before the 8 a.m. start of the event, which takes runners around the USATF-certified 1.5032-mile trail loop for 24 consecutive hours. Last year, 319 runners from ages 7 to 77 — from Jeremy Hall to Frank Sherrill — completed at least one lap.

But as New Year’s Eve approaches — the ball will drop in approximately 26.5 hours — it’s still a full day before the entry form becomes available. The low-key event that charges $1 for each hour runners can run as entry accepts only mail-in entry forms. Though Thursday is New Year’s Day and a federal holiday, you can bet Lindstrand will have some entries delivered to his home on Jan. 1 — by the runners themselves.

* * * Click here for 2014 event coverage * * * 

On the Hinson Lake ultra Facebook forum, the specific questions are already being asked. Daniel Lieb noted that “a lot of us might not have access to a printer until Monday. Can the forms please be in the mail (on) Jan. 5 or Jan. 6?”

Frances Greenlee isn’t going to wait that long.

“I think I’m driving mine to Rockingham,” Greenlee posted. “I only live 40 (minutes) away.”

Heather Strowd, though, plans accordingly.

“My (New Year’s Day) plans always allow me to be home by a printer,” Strowd wrote.

Why the rush? The sense of urgency? Because everyone who knows anything bout the Hinson Lake ultra expects the cap of 240 runners to be reached quickly — likely in less than a week. Lindstrand said he’s probably obligated to get something for his mail carrier, who is tasked with delivered those entries to his home.

As for the cap of 240, Lindstrand, the third-year race director, “well, that’s always been on the website. It’s a target. We always end up going over that.”

“Once I hit that number, I go ahead and I pull the entry form (from the website),” Lindstrand said.

Lindstrand said he pays close attention to the postmark dates. If he pulls the form on Jan. 5 or Jan. 6, once the race reaches 240 entries, he’ll start a waiting list.

There’s reason and expectation Lindstrand will let in more than that. First, there’s last year’s process. Shortly after banging his head in a post-race fall in July in western North Carolina, Lindstrand decided to up the ante and let in everyone on the waiting list — automatically increasing the field by about 60 percent.

On race day, Lindstrand and his wife, Connie — tasked with recruiting and corralling the army of volunteers — were ready. With Connie and 16 others at the start, the start was about as smooth as one could expect. Lindstrand said 300 to 320 “is probably a doable number” again in 2015.

“We can get into trouble if we start to get higher than that,” Lindstrand said, “just ’cause the trail gets crowded.”

Discussion followed the 2014 race about charging runners more and adding perks, such as electronic timing or establishing a purse to attract elite runners. Neither change is being implemented, Lindstrand said, “at least for this 10th one.”

“As for 2016, who knows?”

Filed in: Latest Headlines, Outdoors, Sports

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