19th Annual FlatRock 50 & 25K’s / September 28, 2013

Eric SteeleI apologize for being about a week behind on getting this short race report out, however, I finally managed to decompress enough and come down from my high of the “epic experience of a lifetime” that I was fortunate enough to be a part of a little over one week ago at FlatRock…that and catching up on a little family time as my third granddaughter, Ariana Steele, was born on September 27th – the day before our races.  AND, of course, helping my longtime buddy, Epic Ultras very own, Mr. Warren Bushey, celebrate his 50th year here on Planet Earth.  All of this while staying deeply buried in moving “many things” Epic Ultra related forward…especially a “VERY SPECIAL” something, or should I say someone, that I am WAY beyond “super excited” to share with you at the end of this email.  But first, my reflections on the 19th Annual FlatRock 50 & 25K’s.

In the 18 years we have been holding our race, FlatRock, I have witnessed some incredible acts of raw gutsiness, unrelenting fortitude and the indomitable human spirit in action…first hand, up close and real.  After all, it’s the “primary reason” I am so in love with our sport and have devoted nearly two decades of my life to, not only it’s development here in the Midwest, but also to my own career “in the game” as an ultrarunner.  However, what I witnessed and was ever so fortunate to be a part of on Saturday, September 28th at our 19th Annual FlatRock 50 & 25’s, has left me in utter awe and nearly speechless, once again.  Something that is quickly becoming a habit with all Epic Ultra Events in the past year, I might add.

A beautiful week prior to race morning ended about 15 minutes before the start of the 50K when a steady rain started that would last for the next six hours, followed by a beautiful afternoon/evening and following week.  Course conditions gradually decayed over the day as reports coming in from runners told of ankle deep “pudding like” mud in many spots on the trail and rocks on the course that are usually to be avoided were now blessings to most runners attempting to get a little relief and momentary traction on a most muddy, mucky trail.  As ultras go though, “the tougher the conditions, the sweeter one’s sense of accomplishment” for 93 brave souls finished the 50K and 55 finished the 25K.  Due to the course conditions, as in years past when faced with similar weather conditions (though none could top this year) I added 1 hour to the normal 10 hour cutoff time of the 50K, giving competitors a total of 11 hours to finish.

One of the many things that competitors have repeatedly told us over the years that makes FlatRock so legendary is our “truly epic” finish line…and, we’d have to agree.  However, what we all were fortunate enough to experience and be a part of at the finish line this year, especially in the last hour of the 50K cutoff, was most certainly EPIC in every single aspect, right down to the last couple of minutes when we had a total of five finishers come in…with just 19 seconds to spare for the last finisher…incredible!  Epic Ultras Blogger and 6th Place finisher, Zach Adams, stated in his race report; “It was way more like a rock concert then an ultramarathon finish line!”  Indeed it was.  The emotional energy in the air was palpable…then again, it always is at Epic Ultra Events, but everyone at the finish this year was feeling a mega-dose of it for sure.  Congratulations, once again, to each and every competitor who “gutted it out” and went on to score a finish during the toughest trail conditions we’ve ever had since the inception of our 50K event in 1995.

Aaron Norman ran his fifth straight consecutive FlatRock 50K and went sub-5 hours to join a very small group of individuals (for the second time) who can claim sub-5 at “The Rock!”  Most importantly, he was the Overall Winner and Male Champion after chasing the title in previous years and not quite “cashing in.” He is also now halfway to being knighted into the infamous FlatRock “Hall of Pain.”  Mindy Coolman showed up for the first time ever at “The Rock” and promptly left no doubt that she had the “right badass stuff” to become a “Legend of The Rock” by crushing the women’s 50K course record (by nearly 7 minutes), originally set in 2000,  and claiming the Women’s 50K Champion Title.  In the 25K, Jack Young claimed Overall Winner and Men’s Champion Title, while Lori Enlow earned Female 25K Race Champion Honors.  Honorary mention goes out to Carina Jaso for being the youngest female, at 15, to ever finish our 25K race.

We also honored eight very special individuals who completed, new in 2013, our FlatRock Triple Crown Race Series which consists of completing the WInterRock 12 or 25K, the FlatRock 101K & the FlatRock 50K all in the same year.  The following individuals earned this honor and can certainly be referred to as “Legends of The Rock!” Dennis “Sir Last Minute” Haig, Scott Hill, Ron LaPoint, Adam Monaghan, Michael Mora, Candi Paulin, Paul Rejda & Kimberly Spielman.  All Triple Crown Honorees received a personalized “gold chalice” award for their achievement in a special awards ceremony held at the conclusion of our races.

We will definitely be doing the FlatRock Triple Crown Race Series again in 2014.  So, if you are interested in earning this “special recognition and award” get registered immediately for the FlatRock 50K when your invitation shows up, then don’t forget to get registered for the 101K in April and of course show up at WinterRock in January, which by the way will be a registration based race this time around for our 2nd Annual Event, though it will still be a low key/low cost, fat-ass style event…more details coming in November including registration site.

Over the years I’ve learned one of the primary keys to leading a fascinating and quite fulfilling life is to surround myself with outstanding people.  My wildest dreams are now totally coming true through the launching, development and actualization of my little creative brainchild known as Epic Ultras. Over the past 16 months, since launching this company, I have most certainly been surrounded with some very outstanding individuals, not only at all of our Epic Ultra Events, but also “behind the scenes” assisting with all of the marketing, planning, preparation & execution of our “super high quality” ultrarunning events.  Our FlatRock events a little over a week ago were certainly no different and actually reached an entirely new level of proving what is possible when all parties involved (competitors, staff & friends/family) are fully engaged in “Being Epic!”  I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have been entrusted with to direct events like FlatRock and all of our other Epic Ultra Events.

Massive, and I do mean MASSIVE, thanks to all of the following individuals AND to Warren Bushey for helping me “head up the show” we’ve so fondly come to refer to as: “The Rock!”  None of it would be possible without all of you.  I greatly appreciate each and every one of you for doing your part in helping us co-create another truly unforgettable “experience of a lifetime” for everyone involved!

Aid Station #1:  Max Walker, David Bushey & Justin Miller

Aid Station #2: Bobby Burch, Joe McDonough & Andrea Phillips

Aid Station #3: Dana Childress, Fernando & Karlee Martinez

Aid Station #4: Tony & Angel Clark, Rocky Randall

Course Sweep: Fernando Martinez & Miles

Start/Finish:  David Dinkel, Eric Sharpe, Mel Carmella, Amber Lane, Vic Huff, Amanda Reece, Candi Paulin & Zach Adams

Our Epic Ultra Photographers: Rick & Kristi Mayo of Mile 90 Photography and Greg Highberger

If I left anyone out of the previous credits, I sincerely apologize as it was not intentional.

Following are links to the official results, runner’s race reports & photos:




The first round of “special invitations” for the 20th Annual FlatRock 50 & 25K’s, to be held on September 27, 2014, will be going out later today, or Thursday at the absolute latest, via Ultra Signup.  If you are reading this email right now then you are in the “first round” of invitations to be sent out.  Please be aware, we “sold out” this past year’s event in a little under two weeks, eleven months in advance.  In the past week we have had an overwhelming request from new individuals to get on our 3rd round invitation list.  Chances are really high we will “sell out” quicker than last year, so if you want to guarantee your spot in all of next year’s fun (our 20th Annual…WOW), we highly encourage you to keep an eye on your inbox for the next couple of days and take action immediately when your “special invitation” arrives.

And now, a VERY SPECIAL, and I do mean VERY SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT, that you are the first to hear about.  We have not announced, or promoted this through any of our various media channels, yet, because we value your support of FlatRock and wanted to drop the bug in your ear first and give you an opportunity to take immediate action before we heavily promote it as we just got it confirmed in the past 24 hours.

So, it brings me IMMENSE PLEASURE to announce that we have secured David Horton (yes, “that” David Horton) to be our Honorary Guest Speaker and sign copies of his book/DVD’s at our 2ndAnnual Prairie Spirit 100 & 50 Mile Ultra Races, scheduled for March 29, 2014.  For some of the ultra-noobs that may not happen to be familiar with David Horton, I’ll just state that he is one of the quintessential “ultrarunning legends” of our time…PERIOD.

David set the Appalachian Trail Speed Record 1991, won the Hardrock 100 in 1993, finished 3rd in the TransAmerica race across the US in 1995, is one a very few individuals to complete “all five” loops at the Barkley Marathons in 2001 and set a Pacific Crest Trail Speed Record in 2005.  David has chalked up over 35 wins in his illustrious 100+ race ultrarunning career, in addition, he is also a long time race director (20+ years) and a professor of Health Science at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he also teaches a unique running class in that for the advanced class’s final exam, his students get to run an ultramarathon.  David also appears in the movie, Unbreakable: The Western States 100, and recently was featured in the recent September 2013 issue of Ultrarunning magazine.

Needless to say, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to meet Dave “up close and personal” while gleaning some “ultra-wisdom of the ages” at our 2nd Annual Prairie Spirit Trail 100 & 50 Mile Ultra Races.  Also, since we are letting one proverbial cat out of the bag, I might as well go for two and let you know we are also putting together, brand new in 2014, a Kansas Grand Slam, of which the 2nd Annual Prairie Spirit Trail 100 will be the first leg of the four 100 mile races in Kansas making up the Kansas Grand Slam…the other three being, the Honey Badger 100, the Hawk 100 and the Heartland 100.  More details and a website coming soon…stay tuned.

In the meantime, please be aware that once we start heavily promoting our “special guest appearance” of David Horton, chances are really high our 2nd Annual Prairie Spirit Trail 100 & 50 Miles Ultra Races will “sell out” quickly, as well.  200 participants is the combined cap for both events, so we highly recommend you take action now and get registered if you don’t want to miss out as this IS definitely going to BE EPIC!!!  Register now by going to:


Looking forward to seeing many of you at Heartland this weekend and/or our Inaugural Prairie Spirit Trail “Fall Classic” 50 Mile & 50K Ultra Races in a little over two weeks!

Stay Epic,

Eric Steele, RD
Epic Ultras Founder

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