ATY 2011: The Agony and Ecstacy of the Feet

In the wide world of sports, defeat can be sudden (ski fall) or a gradual breakdown (runner’s overuse injury). Either way, the dream just fades into history.

There we were, Erlinda(crew) and I (runner) in the medic tent for the 3rd time. “My advice is to call it a day”, suggested Chris O’loughlin RN. But it’s only a blister, I thought. He had broken, cleaned and taped it earlier. Still it had expanded and burst spilling fluid into the dusty shoe. The tissue deeper down was crushed like a mallet had pounded it, in preparation for baking. “The skin will continue to rip down the side”, he said (28 hours into the race and 48 to go). “There is a real chance of getting Valley Fever based on your medical history”. Years ago, I contracted cellulites (potentially life threatening) which originated from the same toe. It took a week of high doses of intravenous anti-biotic to stop it from spreading to the heart. I’ve run a full 100 mile trail race wearing a splint over a broken hand bone. But, this was different.

Here in Phoenix, we had followed a well detailed plan in our quest for a Canadian age record (265 miles). The forecast was a windless, sunny 45-73 degree three days. Ideal. The new course: flat, mostly fine gravel one mile loop. Perfect. A few runners and volunteers congratulated me on last year’s race. Grateful and focused, I marched on to the beat of my MP3. I hit exactly every 6 hour mileage goal. Erlinda managed the tent, food, clothes, time and strategy. I’m high maintenance, you see. Chisholm Deupree pointed out her value with “hang on to her”. The hours sped by.

“Your wife will probably want you to continue” Chris guessed. Erlinda jumped in, “No, I want him to stop!”

The Coury family works hard to make ATY the highly rated race, it has always been. I felt I let them down. More importantly, I apologized to Erlinda. We embraced as always. A few time we even shared tears. This time, only one tear trickled from my eye. Charlotte Vasarhelyi gave me a consoling hug. When she had hit a low spot I encouraged her to push through. Her husband, Chris Phillips and Erlinda helped each other crew. John Geesler wished me good luck with a knowing smile, when I said I was quitting for good. Ed Ettinghausen (who battled with me for !st place last year) had stopped this time, fearing a stress fracture. He had cheered me on. Now, we joked. I told him I was going back just to best his 111 miles. We laughed and shook hands.

I rushed to the hotel to follow Chris’s Valley Fever prevention procedure. This included sitting in a tub of cold water and 30 lbs, of ice. My heart pounded as parts of my body disappeared, parts that no man wants to disappear (Seinfeld Shrinkage).

Meanwhile, back at the ranch Joe Fejes galloped to an uncontested 1st place (280). After an 8 hour break, Ed bravely overcame his leg injury to come in 2nd (233).

On the women’s side, the outcome was uncertain. After day 1, Carrie Sauter was leading by 24 miles over eventual winner and 3rd overall Charlotte. Charlotte had lost a couple hours vomiting, but poise and patience brought her back into contention. She finished strongly (226). Martina Hausmann was next with a very steady performance (214). Carrie was 3rd with 212. All three women worked together to post these impressive numbers.

Across The Years 2011-2012

Across The Years Family,

It is with great pleasure that we announce the opening of registration for the 28th running of the Across The Years 72, 48, and 24 Hour Footrace!  With this year’s event comes a new location, Camelback Ranch – Glendale, a brand new, state-of-the-art baseball spring training facility utilized by the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The course is a flat, 1.05 mile loop on primarily crushed gravel.  The course travels past lush greenery, desert landscaping, and even a running waterfall.  We invite you to take a brief photo tour of the path.  We look forward to sharing New Years with all of you, enjoying old friends and a new home!

With the increasing popularity Across The Years in recent years, the most difficult aspect of the event is undoubtedly the lottery.  The race was enjoyable and special at Nardini Manor for those drawn to participate, but the limited size of the track and facilities meant many were turned away.  For this reason, we are most excited to announce that the large size of Camelback Ranch will allow us to forego the lottery process and return to an open registration!  Starting today, anybody may register for their choice of the 24, 48, or 72 hour.

The website is updated with all of the new information, including race information, course information, and links to register online or by mail.

As past runners have noticed, the website is also sporting a new look.  After years of work as our webmaster and statistics guru, Lynn Newton is taking a well-deserved retirement from the ATY race committee.  We would like to extend a great deal of gratitude to Lynn for all of his contributions to the character of our race.  Much of Lynn’s work is hand-crafted, including the runner bios, race day tracking, and vast database of statistics.  Maintaining these features is not a trivial task without Lynn’s experience, so please bear with us as we migrate these features to the new website.  In the mean time, the old website will still be accessible for viewing past race information.


Jamil and Nick Coury

Race Directors