We did it. Thank you to everyone for making the first annual El Scorcho 25K/50K endurance run a success! I'll be posting a race director's report here once I catch up on sleep, as well as lots of photos. In the meantime, here's an article about the run from this morning's Fort Worth Star Telegram:
Midnight run was a shot in the dark
By RICKY TREON
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
More than 200 runners ran under the lights in the inaugural El Scorcho at Fort Worth's Trinity Park.
By 11:30 p.m. Saturday, more than 225 people were gathered in Trinity Park, waiting for the clock to reach 12.
They were there for Ryan Valdez's birthday party. But instead of beer, chips and dip, everyone brought sports drinks, oranges and bug spray.
It was a midnight jog through the park. Or, to be more specific, a midnight ultramarathon in July.
The appropriately named El Scorcho 25K/50K started as a laughable idea dreamed up by Valdez and his buddy Jason Constantino during a long run together. Both are ultramarathoners, so Valdez posed the idea of running 30 miles before today, his 30th birthday.
"Jason was the only guy crazy enough to say, 'Sure, sounds like a good idea,'" Valdez said. "You brainstorm when you run for three or four hours at a time, and by the end we thought maybe we could turn this into just a small little event."
With a guest list of 30 or 40 people, tops. After all, they thought, how many people would be far enough out of their minds to run on one of the hottest days of the year?
That's exactly what James and Jim Newsom, who own and operate Fort Worth Running Company, said when Valdez first e-mailed them the idea for El Scorcho and asked for organizational help. But a midnight run seemed crazy enough to work.
"From a safety standpoint, we wanted to make sure nobody died," James Newsom said. "So we knew we wanted to run it at night, and we figured midnight was as good a time as any."
Jim Newsom also helped Valdez find a suitable charity for his event, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
With a clear plan and someone to help him, Valdez decided to get word out about his project by putting up a Web site and a blog.
That and some word-of-mouth were enough to rope in more than 200 runners, including first-time ultramarathoners such as Robin Hudson of Tulsa.
Like many runners in Trinity Park, Hudson learned of El Scorcho on an Internet message board. She then e-mailed Teresa Ellington, and soon the Tulsa Area Trail and Ultra Runners, or TATURs, were in on the action.
"Where else could you go with this many people around and enjoy yourself and be goofy?" Ellington said. "We're just enjoying the camaraderie. It's nice."
Although the 225 runners made for a great party, it was all Valdez, a lawyer with the Cantey Hanger firm, could handle.
"I'm a first-time race director, so I'm doing what I can here," Valdez said. "I was not expecting it to be this crazy."
Although he'd been at Trinity Park for hours, and he'd likely be there until 9 a.m. cleaning up, Valdez was excited and already thinking about next year.
At 11:50 p.m., Valdez thanked everyone for coming, then began herding runners toward the 3.1-mile course's start/finish line.
Then at midnight he thanked everyone for coming and watched as the gun signaled the start of his "grassroots ultramarathon."
It was big. It was fun. And it was one heck of a birthday party.