Saturday, December 26, 2015
Mark Richtman Is a World Class Runner
Mark Richtman recently said something to the effect that he just can’t run slowly. Running slow means different things to different people. For me, at this juncture, that would mean running slower than a15 minute mile on the trail. 15 years ago, would mean something different than today. Another variable to consider would be trail distance. Obviously running one-mile on the trail is quite different from running 10 trail miles. Yes, it’s all relative for different mortal individuals. I was first introduced to Mark about 18 years ago at a ride and tie championship held near Fort Bragg, California. I remember coming into an aid station during the race and I witnessed Mark on his equine Eli cantering away. As it turned out, Mark and his partner, Brian Purcell came in first place on that 38 mile championship race. Incidentally, Brian, came in 1st Pl., on one Western States 100 mile endurance run. Coming in second place on this day was three time Western states winner Jim Howard and 2 hour 12 minutes Boston marathoner Dennis Rinde. Their equine was Anwar Magic. Chris Turney, and Con Wadsworth came in third place on Sandelaro. Tony Brickel and Jeff Windeshausen came in 38th on Super Delight. Paul Robinson and I came in 57th on Running Bear. That was my second ride and tie event, and the first time partnering up with Paul. I quickly learned that Mark was a world class runner and that these ride and tie events featured other world-class runners. Mark was a frequent winner on the ride and tie stage. Briefly, a ride and tie event consists of a team of two runners and a horse. Horse, rider and runner must start out together and complete the race together. The rider, at the start, gallops over the mountainous trail for a certain distance or certain strategy, dismounts, ties the horses tie rope to a tree and begins running down the trail. Eventually, his partner finds the horse, unties, mounts and gallops after his partner. This process of running and riding continues during the race duration. However, the entire team has to cross the finish line together for a completion. In 2002, Mark came in third-place overall in the Western States 100 mile one day endurance run. I also ran that race, and was an age division winner on that day. A few years ago, Mark was attempting to break the US record for 50 miles at the Jed Smith endurance run. On that day, I ran a 50 K, while Tony was my pacer. It was apparent that Mark was not going to set the record that day as he was not running up right as he passed me. We wished him luck, as he ran by us. Well, at the age of 60, Mark set both the US and world record for a 50 K with the time of 3 hours 34 minutes. Neither Tony nor I have ever run 31 miles that fast. Mark is still a world class runner. What makes it sweet, is that he’s a pleasant human being to be around. I don’t know anyone that’s ever said a nasty word about Mark Richtman. On the weekend, Tony, Chris Turney and I will talk more about him on our trail run. PS Mark and Tony are in the same age group for this next year’s Way Too Cool 50 K., Smiling, he is not in my age group.