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Two Years Older But Still Damn Fast – Tim Neckar Shares His Mother Road 100 Race Report

Texas road and trail running coach Tim Neckar, has ran Badwater, Boston, and nearly everything in between. He journeyed back up to Oklahoma to participate in the final running of the Mother Road 100 (results summary) after winning the entire thing two years ago.

A special thanks to Tim for sharing his detailed report with the region!


The Mother Road 100.3 Race Report

by Tim Neckar

I was ready.  Ready for edition three of the Mother Road 100 mile road race.  I had won edition two, but I knew it would be difficult repeating as champion being two years older against younger competitors.  I would give it my best shot though.  I had trained well, running long runs of 28, 35, and 40 miles in consecutive weekends with my training partner and pacer for the race, Andrew Pena.  The weekend before the MR was 20 miles with 13 miles of overpass going back and forth over it.  I couldn’t wait for the following weekend.

Andrew and I flew into Tulsa Friday morning of November 12th.  My dear friend and Crew Chief, Dan Stake from Kingfisher, OK picked us up and the weekend began.  Now Dan is not just your ordinary Crew Chief, he is the best!  He makes sure I get everything  I need or want, plus making sure he is as comfortable as can be while crewing.  Dan is an ultra runner himself being a veteran of the Marathon de Sables, and three of the four Racing the Planet races.

After a quick trip to Fleet Feet in Tulsa , a Mexican lunch, and the Reasor’s Grocery Store for race supplies and food ( Water, Gatorade, Boost, Pop-Tarts, Little Debbie Brownies, Dr. Peppers, and Chocolate mini donuts), we headed for packet pick-up at the Hampton Inn in Catoosa.  By now it was only 12:30 and packet pick-up wasn’t until 3:00.  So the three of us waited in the sitting area watching TV and napping until then.  It was pouring rain outside, but the forecast for the next day was partly cloudy and perfect conditions.

3 pm came and I got my bib number and swag, and we headed to the race start, Baxter Springs, Kansas.  We checked in to the Baxter Inn and headed to Pizza Hut for the pre- race meal of pizza and breadsticks.  Then it was back to the hotel room for last minute sorting, going over the check list, and just a quick “go over” with Dan and Andrew.  I was asleep by 9:30.

I slept well as I woke up at 7 a.m.  It was a mixed blessing having the race begin 9:00.  Yes, it was nice to sleep in, but thinking if the race began earlier I could be two or three hours down the road by now.  I had my usual pre-race breakfast of Strawberry Pop-Tarts and a Dr. Pepper. I then got dressed, and I was ready to run.

We drove over to the race start at downtown Baxter Springs at 8:15.  I picked up my timing chip, stretched, lubed up, and went to the bathroom one more time.  I also met Jane Herzog from Tacoma, WA.  Jane used to be an email client of mine.  Her husband was running his first 100.  He definitely pick a dandy!

They played the National Anthem and I walked over to the starting line.  It was cloudy, around 40 degrees, and a south wind blowing about 10-15 mph.  The wind was a little concerning since we would be running southwest toward Catoosa.  I was wearing my traditional Texas flag running shorts, white compression t-shirt, Moeben sleeves, gloves, running hat, Nike Vomero running shoes, and Injinji socks.  The plan was to exchange out my 2 waist Camelbak Flashflows as needed and never miss a beat.

The gun went off promptly at 9 am with a loud BANG! and we headed down Route 66.  Immediately about 8 of us formed a lead pack with one runner taking off ahead of us.  I decided not to go with him since the last thing I needed to do was go out too fast and blow up later.  Another runner chased him down to stay with him, so now I was in 3rd leading the pack.  This dissolved after about a 1/2 mile as we all settled into our own pace.  It didn’t take long to discard my Moeben sleeves and gloves to Dan and Andrew around mile four.

Tim at the start of the race wearing white

The first hour went quickly as I covered a little over seven miles going through the first of many towns.  Going through all these towns was such a blur, and really the whole first half of the race was a blur.  I was so focused on pace, conserving energy while I sometimes ran straight into the wind, drinking, eating, taking in Endurolytes, that I pretty much had tunnel vision that first 50 miles.  I only walked to drink my Boost and to eat a hamburger and a burrito Dan got for me.   I do remember during the day running about 3-4 miles of the original Route 66.  This was not fun.  The original road was narrow concrete that had seen better days.  It was only 12 feet wide or so with gravel over it. So it was either running on the concrete/gravel or off to the shoulder with gravel and potholes.   It was slow going through these sections.

Just losing two pounds that first 50, I knew that I was going to have a good 2nd half of a race.  I hit the 50 mile timing mat at 7:24:20 with cloudless skies and still fighting the wind.

Since it was already 4:24 pm, darkness was not far off.  I changed into a long sleeve shirt and discarded my Camelbak.  Since I knew Andrew was going to be carrying his 70 ounce Camelbak, I figured we would share his the rest of the way as Andrew was getting ansy to begin pacing.

Taking off my waist Camelbak was like taking off 20 lbs!  I felt very strong after that and probably did the next mile in 8 minutes or so.  Andrew was not quite ready for me, so he met me up the road a couple of miles.  Once Andrew began pacing me, the two-lane nice highway with a shoulder subsided to a two-lane road with no shoulder, and it was getting dark fast.  The wind was dying down, but the hills came more frequently (This part could have been my imagination).  To get my senses back up to gear, I asked Dan for a 5 Hour Energy bottle and he obliged.  This got me back up to speed with conversations with Andrew and alertness with the road.

This section of road was difficult with it: 1) getting dark, 2) no shoulder, and 3) the sun setting right in our line of vision.  We wanted to go “Commando” with no headlamps so if we came upon another runner from behind, he wouldn’t see us coming, but we had to abandon this method after about a half hour after sunset to be safe and let cars see us coming.  Some cars could plainly see us and move over to the next lane, then some either didn’t see us or just wanted to play “Chicken” with us.  So when that happened, we had to get off in the brush and grass and stop to let the car go by.  This probably went on 8-10 miles.

The sharing of the Camelbak with Andrew was going well as we deemed ourselves “Bladder Brothers” drinking from the same tube.  The only problem was that we were so hydrated, we had to stop and pee about every mile or so.  Adding 20-30 seconds of not moving times 30 or so stops, adds up to a lot of time lost not moving forward..

When we finally hit shoulder after about mile 63, it was smooth sailing after that with Dan meeting us every mile to 2 miles seeing if we needed anything.   I basically was consuming Dr. Pepper, Water, Chocolate Donuts, and bites of burrito through the evening.   We hit a massive hill at mile 75 which seemed like it took forever to climb, but I didn’t walk it.

Right before we were to get to the TATUR aid station at mile 77, I had a little mishap. We were in this little town (which I don’t remember the name) and the course detoured off the main highway onto a residential street.  Being around 9 pm it was quiet.  Then the Mother Road course signs directed us to make a right turn into a house driveway. We thought, “This can’t be right!” but we did it just to make sure.  Well, I stepped up four inches on a five inch curb and hit the ground. Luckily, I was barely jogging as I went down. No harm done, but it was frustrating as I paid the expense of someone pulling a gag and misplacing the signs.  Fortunately, Dan came down the street from the opposite way and told us to stay on the road as the TATUR Aid Station was just ahead.

We arrived at the aid station, I weighed myself (same weight as at the 50 mile weigh in), and Andrew and I took off down the road.

We got to the town of Claremore around 11:15 p.m. with lots of traffic on a Saturday night.  Claremore’s finest were out and about stopping cars right and left.  We saw a couple of policemen giving sobriety tests on the side of the road.  They even stopped Dan, who was parked in a bank parking lot asking him what he was doing there.  They weren’t sure what to think of him sitting there eating Pringles.

Still drinking and peeing, it was beginning to drop down in the upper 30s, so I asked Dan for some gloves, my running vest, and a side of one more 5 Hour Energy to take me to the finish.  Still running strong down Route 66, we took a quick left onto a country road at mile 97 and encountered my first hill I couldn’t run up.  It was just too steep, so I angrily walked up it.  Once we crested the top of it, we could see off in the distance the Hard Rock Hotel in Catoosa.  We were to finish at the football stadium which was right across the street from the hotel.  I was then like a horse going to the barn.  My sights were set.

The Blue Whale - Famous Landmark on Route 66 in Catoosa

Mile 98 and 99 came with a comical incident as I headed closer to the stadium, one incident I have to tell.  All of a sudden around mile 98.5, I had this “hit the wall” moment and I slowed down to a 12 minute pace as I needed some quick calories to make it to the finish.  Dan was up ahead stopped, waiting in the van, making sure we wouldn’t miss this critical turn to the final stretch.    All I needed was a Boost to get me through.  Just as we got close to the van, Dan drives off!  Fortunately, he only went a quarter mile or so and I finally get my calories.

Andrew was praising me and telling me positive things as the finish grew near.  We entered the stadium parking lot, made a quick right turn onto the track for the final 300 meters.  I kicked it into gear that last 150 as I rounded the final curve and the straight-a-way.  I crossed the line at 16:53:16 in 4th place as Dan was taking a picture and videoing at the same time.  I PR’d by just over 20 minutes on my 100 mile time!

The race was pretty much flawless for me.  Except for the peeing the last half of the race every mile or so I had an exceptional race.  Just one pair of shoes and one pair of Injinji socks without a hint of a blister.

Believe me, this couldn’t have happened without the great crewing and pacing of Dan and Andrew.  Without them, there is no way I could have PR’d and had such a tremendous adventure.  I owe it all to them. Sadly, this was the last installment of the Mother Road 100, and it will be missed by all of us.


Congrats to Tim and his team for a crazy-solid 100 mile journey!

Also, if you are looking for some running guidance for your upcoming road or trail runnning adventures,  check out Tim’s site over at RunnerOne.com.

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David – EnduranceBuzz.com

(Photos: Courtesy of Fun Memories Photography, Todd Christell, and Chuck “Caveman” Coker)

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

5 Responses to “Two Years Older But Still Damn Fast – Tim Neckar Shares His Mother Road 100 Race Report”

  1. on 24 Nov 2010 at 5:12 pm Harold Neiper

    Thanks for posting this. Great play by play of how things went.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carl Pruitt, David Hanenburg. David Hanenburg said: Tim shares his race report from his fourth place 100 mile finish on Route 66. http://fb.me/CePwD2uH […]

  3. on 26 Nov 2010 at 10:03 am David Hanenburg

    Harold – You’re welcome Harold. This was definitely a unique ultra event in the region. Also hugely cool, that Tim was willing to share with us.

  4. on 01 Dec 2010 at 10:51 am Jason

    Why is this the last Mother Road? I’m a Tulsa native, but only just discovered this race.

  5. on 03 Dec 2010 at 5:51 am David Hanenburg

    Hey Jason – I am not sure on the exact reason why…but it definitely looked like a fun adventure.