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Saturday, June 3, 2000 - Sunday, June 4, 2000 -- Woodstock, VA
Old Dominion 100
Story and photos by Chuck Jackson

[Details] [Coverage] [Results] [A Team is Formed] [How'd They Do?] [Pic Set 1]

Feet
Feet don't fail me know
Jim Garcia, a 41 year-old Westford, Mass., ultra-runner has made a name for himself in the U.S. Track and Field community as a road runner. But before this weekend's 22nd-annual Old Dominion 100-Mile Endurance Race, held in Shenandoah County, Garcia could only say he finished second in 1999 to Joe Hildebrand.

Now Garcia can tell people he not only can run the roads but also the 30-odd miles of off-road trails that make up the treacherous course in the second-oldest 100-mile human race in the country. He proved the point by winning the race hands-down Saturday evening, posting a 15:50:02, an hour better than Carnation, Washington's James Kerby, who finished with a time of 17:01:05, a personal best in a 100 mile race by more than five hours.

Ninety runners started the race with 65 finishing under 28 hours and 36 buckling, meaning they were awarded a belt buckle for completing the course under a 24-hour time limit.

"After last year, I thought I'd be happy with second place and go on," Garcia said Sunday at the Awards Breakfast, held at the Ramada Inn, in Woodstock. "I wasn't going to enter this year, but as the time drew closer, I decided to enter."

Running
Encouragement helps make the time and miles go by
He said that he used the roads to separate himself from the other runners and though he hated the trails, he "puttered along," and then utilized the last 13 miles of road leading from Veatch Gap up and over Woodstock Tower road and back to the town, to come in under the 16-hour bubble.

Race secretary Mike Robertson, a part-time Fort Valley resident and an U.S. Army officer stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., as well as an OD 100 competitor for the past 15 years, likened Garcia's race to "one of the best races ever run."

"Jim may not have had the record race (15:10 in 1992) and it wasn't the course record but the race itself was better than in 1992," Robertson said. "That year, the high temperature was 62 degrees and it was misty all day. People who had never buckled (running the mileage under 24 hours), buckled that day. This year it was 78 degrees when we started at 4 o'clock in the morning and the humidity was over 90 percent. They told me at Mountain Top (Moreland Gap and Edinburg Gap roads) aid station the temperature was 94 degrees. When I heard Jim had come out of Duncan Hollow at 10 a.m., and was at Mountain Top (half-way point of the race) in seven hours, I knew he had a good chance of breaking 16 hours. Most people today ran slower and many didn't make it."

Night
As night falls,
the runners try not to...
Robertson was one that didn't, pulling up just before Mountain Top. Pat Botts, the race founder, also failed in her attempt at a comeback after sitting out the '99 race with an injury, stopping at Mudhole Gap. Finishing third was Fredericksburg's Derrick Carr, 39, (18:07:30) with Luray's Andy Peterson, fourth (18:58:12).

It was Peterson's fifth top-five finish in the OD and his fifth sub-19 hour race. He broke a tie with Steve Schiller in the first category, and the legendary David Horton (Lynchburg), in the latter. Michael Kent, 36, of Granby Mass., rounded out the top five with a time of 18:58:13, while Kansan Raul Flores, 44 was sixth (19:22:03).

Hildebrand, 43, of Urbana, Ill., finished seventh overall (19:51:24) after getting lost and losing an hour on the trails. Placing eighth was 36-year-old Stan Ferguson of Conway, Ark. (20:09:28), ninth, Jeffrey Walsh, 45, Greenville, N.C. (21:20:09) and 10th, Brain Kistner, 29, of Florence, S.C., who posted a 21:26:04.

Jim Garcia
Jim Garcia, first to the finish
The top female was Molly Gibb, a 38 year-old runner from Oklahoma City, who finished 17th overall with a time of 22:25.47. Second among the women buckling was Monica Scholz, a 32-year-old Jerseyville, Ontario resident. The Canadian was the highest-placed foreigner as well, with a time of 23:45:03.

Third among the women was Fort Valley's Jean Heishman, 42, who finished 40th overall with a time of 26:04:28. Marylander Rick Schneider, 43, was honored as the newest member of the 1,000 Mile Club, having buckled 10 years. Robertson, who last earned the award, presented Schneider with the special belt buckle. Schneider was 21st overall this year.

Gibb led her Oklahoma team in the new team competition, beating back the neophyte Woodstock team. Kevin Black, 40, of Maurertown, led the local entry, finishing 29th overall (23:20:40).

The author is a free-lance writer living in Maurertown, Virginia. He may be reached via E-mail at nvdre@yahoo.com.