Fourth Annual Matthews State Forest Trail Run

Saturday, April 9th, Masterpiece Fitness hosted the Fourth Annual Matthews State Forest Trail Run. Even though we had chilly temperatures and wind gust up to 35-40 mph, and an embraced light snow, it surfaced what has been deemed by one of our perceptive fellow runners, John Alexander, “The Magnificent Seven.” I couldn’t agree more. One thing about a small race, it becomes more intimate, and you are likely to actually engage in a conversation with each runner. This proved to be true on Saturday. Interestingly enough over half the runners were 60 and over! I personally felt a sense of pride being among these inspiring individuals. There was no whining or complaining from these runners about the cold, but they all were thankful for the beauty of the snow laden forest and unpredicted sunshine. It truly was a beautiful run, and everyone continued to show gratitude for making this run possible. As a director I have never felt more gratified in my endeavors. This small group of runners was true purist, and we all shared a camaraderie that can even be rare among runners today.

Our youngest, Brandon Berg, was 39 years old, a pastor at Mount Vale United Methodist Church, and our overall winner with a time of 1:37:08. I am ecstatically happy to now get to enjoy the fruit of my labor, and get to participate in my favorite run due to my incredible volunteers who have been with me several years now. I was second overall with a time of 1:37:26. We were all blessed with the presence of Jill Moore from Boone NC, who came with her canine friend, Chester, who we allowed to run with Jill. Jill and Chester was our third overall finishers with a time of 1:42:47. Our oldest participant, 68 year old, RB Anderson, chaplain of the prison in Independence, said he was working a 14 hour day, and had left work to come do the run, and he would need to return right after finishing! He finished fifth with at time of 2:19:58. We all decided we wanted to be like him when we grew up.

The heroes of the day were our wonderful volunteers who endured the wind and cold to graciously serve others. What amazing people who got nothing for themselves but cold hands and feet, but saw the value and gratification in sacrificially serving. This quality is rare in today’s society of entitlement and narcissism. These heroes also includes mountain bikers: Robert Patton, Joe Dickenson, and Ronnie Nester, who went out and blew the complete trail with leaf blowers which made it safer for our run. These trails exist because of the many mountain bikers who labored creating the trails, and continue to work hard maintaining them. Also Zach Olinger who heads Matthews State Forest supports this run in every way he can. He lines up the port-a-john for me, cuts up fallen trees and gets gates locked and unlocked. He was there Saturday morning with his beautiful family to support and start the race for us. What great guys work for Matthews State Forest! This event is a lot of teamwork, and I am thankful it is always available with mountain bikers and the Matthews State Forest guys.

I spent the evening resting by my warm fire contemplating what makes a running event successful for me as a director. I realized it isn’t the numbers, but the quality of the character of the people who show up. In my larger events I never really know the participants. I can only see their times at the end of the race. There is so much more to a purist runner than minutes and seconds. I have been guilty of focusing on the event and performances more than the people, but I am thankful to always be evolving and learning from past experiences. That is the advantage of a seasoned runner, and age. I ended my day thanking God for His faithfulness to constantly be teaching me to slow down and see beneath the surface of life.

Next year’s date for the Fifth Annual State Forest Trail Run will be Saturday, April 15. Please plan to join us.

Volunteers: Karen Porter, Tori, Bryanna, and Day Lindberg, Faith Hennis, Charlotte McPherson, Mike Hutchison, Patty and Don Smyth, and Beth Sproul

2016 Matthews Trail Run Results

First Overall Winner: Brandon Berg 1:37:08

Second Overall Winner: Teresa Roberts 1:37:26

Third Overall Winner: Jill Moore 1:42:47

John Alexander: 1:59:51

RB Anderson: 2:19:58

Ima Johnson: 3:32:00

David McPherson: 3:38:00

Teresa Roberts

Masterpiece Fitness