By Keith Flint
What a difference a day makes. Only 24 hours before this year’s Outrun 24-Hour Trail Run, it was turning cold and steadily pouring rain on the race director and crew as they prepared for this annual event. The Chapin Forest Preserve in Kirtland, Ohio, like much of the state, seemed unable to escape winter’s persistent grip. As the start time grew near, tents sprang up as prolific the area’s early spring morels, and soon it was obvious that a running party was about to commence. Then the weather relented as well.
And so it began. From the very start, it was clear that the runners participating in this year’s O24 would extend themselves beyond expectations. As race director Zack Johnson has gained renown for saying, “Don’t be surprised if at the end of this event, you look back and see that you have accomplished far more than you thought you could.”
A record 151 runners started this year’s race. They ranged from neophytes, such as 14-year-old Cliff Kenyon, who ran 50k, to veterans of the sport, including the well-respected 78-year-old Joe Trask, who completed 50k as well.
While the race was dominated by runners from Ohio, eleven other states and two other countries were also represented. The average age was 42. The average distance was 53 miles. And just under 8000 total miles were completed in all.
Thirteen runners logged 100-miles each.
The course record of 117 miles, set by Will Jorgensen in 2013, was broken by James Van Orman with an impressive 120 miles run—a full 15 miles ahead of the 2nd place finisher. A North Florida native, Van Orman has only been running ultras for the past year. His name is certainly one to watch for in the years to come.
Top finishers for the men were:
- James Van Orman, 120
- Rich Darke, 105
- Paul Lefelhocz, 105
Top finishers for the women were:
- Amanda Mowry, 84
- Anne Lang, 82
- Tara Langdon, 81
Notably, Tara Langdon led an impressive family outing. Her sister, mother, AND daughter all completed 50k during the event. And in a true demonstration of persistence, endurance, and steely resolve, Roy Heger ran 100 miles, on the way to completing his mission of finishing sixty (Yes, 60) 100-milers before he turns 60 years old at the end of this summer.
And the race’s perennial favorite and disembodied darling, “Peg” Leg was escorted for at least 56 miles.
Perhaps Tara Langdon’s quote best summarizes the O24 experience: “We all had such a great time, and it was the most perfect event for our little “family running reunion!” My sister, Lacey, was the one who got me and my mom into running. I wanted to lose weight, I was addicted to alcohol and narcotics, and when I took up running, I realized I had found a new, healthy addiction.
One of the biggest things for them was they wanted to be there to help and support me. They wanted to be my part-time crew and run along the way. But I didn’t want this to be about me. I wanted to see my family all achieve something great and take home some understanding of why I do what I do.”