Daly, Haile reflect on strong ultramarathon finishes

Published 12:01 am Sunday, March 17, 2013

NATCHEZ — The Mississippi 50-mile Trail Run March 2 saw two Natchez residents finish in the top 15 — and one being four mintues away from a first-place finish.

“Natchez did well that day,” said Dr. Ed Daly, who finished second in the run with a time of 7:33:28.9.

Daly joined friend Andrew Haile, who finished No. 14 with a time of 9:39:44.3. Eric Lee, of Boulder, Colo., finished in first with a time of 7:29:07.2, while John Brower, of Jackson, finished in third with a time of 7:38:19.1.

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Cold, muddy and wet conditions lined the course set up in the De Soto National Forest just south of Laurel, Daly said. The race consisted of three 12.5-mile loops and two 6.1-mile loops. The runners had to wade through a creek several times.

“It being colder was better, because it takes dehydration out of the equation, since you aren’t sweating as much,” Daly said. “I was never fatigued.”

In fact, the only thing that was an issue for Daly was the blistering due to the muddy terrain. He and Brower are friends, Daly said, and Daly was staying cognizant of the fact that Brower was right on his tail.

“I didn’t realize (Lee) was only four minutes ahead of me,” Daly said. “I was running pretty hard thinking John was going to get ahead of me. I had plenty of energy.”

Daly has been running ultramarathons (anything longer than approximately 26 miles) since 2006, but this was his highest finish. He credited his nutrition intake for being able to stay full of energy throughout the duration. Though the aid stations offered sugary snacks like candy and cookies, Daly said he only consumed 100-calorie gel packets every 30 minutes.

“You don’t have to worry about nausea with it bouncing around your stomach,” Daly said.

Haile, by contrast, had never competed in an ultramarathon prior to the Mississippi 50. After meeting Daly in the Fat Mama’s Knocked Naked running club a little more than a year ago, Haile started running with Daly and expressed interest in doing ultramarathons.

Having never run more than 39 miles prior to the Mississippi 50, Haile set a goal of finishing in nine hours. At 9:39:44.3, Haile said he was happy to do so well in his first attempt at an ultramarathon.

“I was super happy,” he said. “There were only 80 runners to finish it the 12-hour time limit, so to know there were still 60 runners out there in the woods was a pretty good feeling.”

Haile said he spoke with Daly on proper nutrition intake, but there were still highs and lows of energy throughout the race.

“I ran probably 70 to 75 percent of the time,” Haile said. “Toward the end of the race, I was walking uphill. Soreness and leg fatigue set in around 25 or 26 miles. Because of the mud and creek crossing, you never had dry feet. It was annoying, but I still tried to focus on consuming calories.”

When he got done with the three 12.5-mile loops, Haile said that’s when things started picking back up.

“I never, ever thought I’d run anything far enough to say, ‘Good, I only have 12 miles left,’” Haile said. “After switching (loops), I was hurting, but I knew I only had 12 left. After the first lap, adrenaline kicked in, and I ran the final 6.”

But Haile admitted the soreness the following day was rough.

“When I woke up that Sunday, it was hard for me to pull my legs out of bed,” he said. “I tried to stay moving as much as I could the next day.”

Daly was very complimentary of his partner’s performance, especially since he finished in the top 15.

“He had a superb effort and remained very positive,” Daly said. “I was very proud of him. He worked hard and is a really dedicated runner. In my first couple of races, I was exhausted, and he didn’t seem to suffer from that.”

The two plan to compete in a 50 K race in July in Dallas.