Laurel Valley Ultra
35 Mile Single Track Trail, 6,900Â’ climb
Rocky Bottom, SC
August 9, 2003
I arrived at the Laurel Valley Inn about 3:10 PM on August the 8th.  After checking in I went to work putting the finishing touches
on the finisher plaques and putting together the packets.   I met Will Brown and then I was greeted by two wise runners ,Suzi
Cope and Britt Starnes of the Texas connection.   They bowed and presented me gifts of running shorts, running shirt, and a
North Texas Ultra Tour shirt.   When all the greetings were exchanged we all went to the Table Rock Golf Club Lounge for the
traditional Laurel Valley pre-race meal.   A pre-race meal of steak and fish seem to be the favorites of the 15 runners there. Â
The alarm went off at 3:30 AM and after a cup of coffee we were all headed for the finish at White Water Falls to do the car pool
thing.  I had encouraged all runners to pre-arrange a shuttle and it seemed to work out good as I still had two seats available in
my Jeep after I loaded the three trail sweeps in the back seat.   Jim White, Roddy Whitaker, and Eliza Weston, all of Columbia,
SC,  and rookies of Laurel Valley were the sweeps.   While approaching the start area I was surprised to see the lot full with
campers, tents, and many cars lining the narrow dirt road to the start.   After double parking I learned that “The Beast of the
East” adventure run was using the trailhead as a transition area.   Of the 78 runners registered, 59 started.   I had
forgotten my Enfield Civil War Rifle and it was a good thing as there was a bandit in the crowd.   A shot in the knee would have
deterred future bandits from even considering such a thing.   After asking the faster runners to assemble in the front I gave the
word to start the race.   The start is up a 60Â’ of single-track wooden steps and it took a minute or so for all runners to reach
the trail. Â
The Foothills Trail system is over 100 miles and the Laurel Valley to White Water Falls is about 35 miles of the Foothills Trail.Â
  Once you start this section you have two options.  You can finish at White Water Falls or you can turn around, as there is not
any access to the trail from the start to finish.  .  All runners have to furnish their own aid and liquids.   The trail is 90 percent
shaded   and many parts are under a thick canopy of hemlock and poplar trees.   If you look closely you will see remnantsÂ
  of old moonshine stills and old home sites along the trail.   Part of the trail is run along “the old toll road” that was once a
toll road over the mountains to join SC and NC.   The road was used in the 1800Â’s.    The finish has one of the most
spectacular   finishes in the Southeast at White Water Falls. Â
Brian Kistner   defended his 2002 win by posting a time of 6:14:03.  Matt Stanek followed Kistner with a time of 6:30:54.  
Patti Fredrick-Enloe of NC reclaimed the female course record with a time of 6:34:24 knocking   almost 4 minutes   off the
record set last year by Sally Brooking.  Brooking placed second this year with a time of 7:15:33.  Â A first for the Laurel Valley
Run was a runner finishing the entire race on all fours.  Jib, the wonder Poodle, finished in 11 hours 11:07 with Suzi Cope. Â