Hinson Lake Ultra field jumps by 60 percent

By Kevin Spradlin

Some are going to say second-year race director Jerry Lindstrand must have some lingering effects from hitting his head in a post-Grandfathers Mountain Marathon hike on July 12 in western North Carolina.

Photo by Kim Adamof This year's Hinson Lake 24-Hour Ultra Classic start line will be a little more crowded as the field has increased to 384 runners, up from 240.

Photo by Kim Adamof
This year’s Hinson Lake 24-Hour Ultra Classic start line will be a little more crowded as the field has increased to 384 runners, up from 240.

That’s because on Saturday, he decided to “bite the bullet” and move everyone that’s been sitting on the wait list for the 9th annual Hinson Lake 24-Hour Ultra Classic in Rockingham, scheduled for Sept 27-28, to the start line. In one fell swoop, the field increased by 60 percent to a record 384 runners.

The field had originally been capped at 240 runners for the 1.52-mile loop course, on which runners complete the circuit as many times as possible in a 24-hour span from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday. Race day is about 61 days and 20 hours away.

“Maybe I hit my head pretty hard,” Lindstrand joked Saturday after making the announcement on the event’s Facebook page.

Of the first 240 entries, at least 60 — 25 percent — runners indicated a goal of reaching at least 100 miles. Last year, 21 individuals went 100 miles or more. In the Facebook forum for the race, runners — especially those who were on the wait list — were very pleased. Some expressed disappointment about not putting their names on the wait list.

Photo by Kim Adamoff

Photo by Kim Adamof

“I’m so excited,” wrote Tracy Jordan Taylor, of New London. “Thank you!”

Lindstrand said a concern about the additional 144 runners “crossed my mind … because there are some serious runners out there.” But the less competitive runners that have always been welcomed in this event will be cautioned not to block the paths if they stop to talk, rest or stretch — especially during the first four hours or so, when runners are more bunched together.

To be sure, Lindstrand is careful to consider the concerns of the serious runners. Sue Scholl, from McMinnville, Tenn., inquired of Lindstrand if the course will be certified. Her hope is to use the race as a qualifier for the 24-hour USA National Team.

For the first time in the race’s nine years, the course will be USATF-certified. Lindstrand said Brad Smythe, a member of the race’s sponsoring Mangum Track Club, is offering the service as a significantly discounted price. In past years, the Richmond County Tourism and Development Authority has supported the event with a contribution of $1,000. Lindstrand said he’s hopeful the RCTDA will help cover this additional expense as well because of the prestige it could lend the race and the city of Rockingham if runners use the local race to qualify for the national team.

Despite the increase in the size of the field, Lindstrand said pacers will still be allowed.

“I haven’t given any though to that” before the interview Saturday, Lindstrand said. “In years past, I don’t remember too many” being on the course.

Photo by Kim Adamof

Photo by Kim Adamof

He said many of the pacers that are on the course have signed up for the race and decided  not to participate in the event.

For the second straight year, Lindstrand is keeping the newer tradition of offering belt buckles to those who reach the 100-mile – well, milestone. It’s a one-time gift; if a runner hits 100 or more miles in multiple years, they still get the belt buckle only that first time.

Another, smaller change — but no less noticeable — will be on the levee that runners cross once each lap. This year, Lindstrand said he’ll be renting a couple of large tents that runners will pass under each time around.

He said last year three out of five tents were damaged in a windstorm. Renting the equipment this year won’t put the Mangum Track Club, or the event’s budget, at such risk.

The call for volunteers to help count laps has been issued. Contact Lindstrand by email at jerry.lindstrand@gmail.com or call 910-895-9416 to sign up to help runners keep track of their miles.

Full disclosure: The writer is one of the original 240 entrants accepted into the field. It will be his first time in a  24-hour footrace. He is not one of the 60-plus runners who have a goal of at least 100 miles.

Filed in: Latest Headlines, Outdoors, Sports

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  • Dianne Emanuel

    Good Luck, Kevin!

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