Andiamo Ultramarathon

Andiamo Ultramarathon (~45 miles)

October 11, 1995

Planning the Andiamo run, 45.5 miles on the Washington & Old Dominion railroad bicycle trail, this coming Saturday, October 14.  Plan is to leave Roanoke at 2:00, to arrive there in time for the 7:30 start.  I have planned some possible race paces and elapsed times.  I should finish in between 6:49 and 8:20 running times, which will be 2:19 and 3:50 in the afternoon.  This of course ignores any stop times, of which there will be plenty for getting aid in stores, etc.  If I spend a total of an hour stopping for aid, Iíll still get there by 5, and thatís at 11:00 pace.  I expect to finish closer to 10:00 pace, if my 31 miler is any indication.

Earlier in the week I was not motivated for this run and very intimidated by it.  It will be an exhausting experience, because I havenít lined up anyplace to stay in the area.  Iím planning to drive at least 4 hours there, run the thing, and then bum a ride back to the start where my car will be, and turn around and drive another 4 hours home.  But now, Iím looking at it as a challenge that I expect to be up to.  It wouldnít be worth doing if it werenít at the edge of my grasp.  ďOnly those who dare to go too far find out how far they can go.Ē

October 12

I ran 10 miles with the Strider group last night.  Although we wound up at 8:30 pace I felt it much too slow and kept wanting to charge ahead.  I felt really good, better than Iíve felt in many weeks.  I tried to get out of my commitment to work at the co-op Friday afternoon, but the other people I could have switched with have already another commitment.  I talked with an acquaintance in the DC area who I may end up calling for a ride or other aid if need be.

October 13

Friday the 13th.  Slept good last night, but Iíve had the butterflies all day today.  Ate like a pig at dinner, starting with some butternut squash with cinnamon, then some nori-lentil soup, then pasta with homemade vegetarian sauce, and finished with some pressure cooked short grain rice.  Cathyís also making me some sesame rice balls to take with me for the ride back.  I also am taking lots of Allsport and some bagels.  Coffee for the ride up.  I plan to leave at 2:00.  Probably wonít sleep much between now and then.

Only thing Iím troubled about is whether or not Iíll be able to bum a ride back to the start from the finish.  If not, it could be an expensive cab ride - 46 miles by railroad trail, probably more by road.  They wouldnít make me do that, would they?  They know Iím alone and meeting them at the start.  Somebody must be taking people back to the start when itís over.  Mustnít they?

October 15

The first announcement Anstr Davidson, the race director, made was that the ride that was offered was from the finish to the start, and that there would be no rides back to the start.  Of course, this was at the start, 10 minutes before starting time.  Fortunately for me, there was a young couple there, Ross Brennan and Mary Agnes Carey, who were very kind to me.  Ross was running and Mary was crewing, and she offered me a ride back before the race started so I wouldnít have to worry about it the entire race.  She also crewed for me, brining me encouragement and AllSport several places along the way.  Sheís an accomplished triathlete.

Cathy woke me up at 1:45 and helped me pack the car.  She had made me, to my surprise, a feast.  The cooler was packed with ice and AllSport and water.  She had made a couple of pita sandwiches with tempeh, peppers and broccoli.  Then she made tempeh wedges marinated in Tamari.  She made sesame coated rice balls.  She packed a bag with pretzels, bananas, bagels, apples, gum drops, potassium tablets and ibuprofen.  So by 2:08 I was on the way.

It rained the entire way up I-81 to Winchester, where I got on Route 7 East to Purcellville.  I want to tell you how Iíve learned from Tom to time things properly, and that I showed up, slammed the car door shut just as the gun is going off.  However, I havenít learned that.  I figured it would take 4.5 hours to drive, and I added and hour for getting lost, finding the start, and getting ready.  It took a little over 3 hours.  So I had time to get ready, lay down in the car, and listen to it pour.  I was there for about 1.5 hours by myself before anyone else showed up. They all showed up like normal people, 15-20 minutes before the start. It was drizzling by the time we started, and the rain stopped in the first mile, and it didnít rain anymore the entire course for me.

There were 14 people signed up, and 12 started.  11 finished, and I finished 7th.  My first ever finish in single digits.  For a little while I was in 4th place, but that was about the marathon point, with about 20 miles to go.

Anstr and Dave Moruzzi, the founder of this event, started us off with the customary ďandiamoĒ (ďLetís goĒ in Italian).  Dave was the 7 mile aid, Anstr was the 11 mile aid.

I ran the first 20 miles or so below 8:30 pace.  I had planned to average around 10, and my long slow distance runs are usually around 9:15-9:30.  That just seems to be the pace I run with all my gear.  I had more equipment today than usual.  I had 20 packets of GU stuffed in my bottle holder fanny pack, and three power bars.  A full bottle, a baggie with potassium tablets, money, car key, paper and lots of change.  I also had my walkman in its belt and two extra tapes.  Usually I run slower with all this stuff hanging around my waist.  Today I decided to throw away strategy and just run how I felt.  I was running very comfortably and turning in 8:05, 8:12, 8:18 miles one after the other.  I thought this might cost me later, but I decided that it would be easier to run a comfortable pace than to force myself to slow down.  I was 8th to get to the two manned aid stations, which were at 7 and 11 miles.  At about 15 I caught Mike Davis and ran with him until we caught Pat.  Mike told me about the JFK50 mile race in 5 weeks, which sounds like it may be my next goal.  The three of us ran along, and Mike stopped to buy some juice at a store.  Pat and I ran along and she told me about the old days, and starting the Old Dominion 100 mile race as a horse race.   And then when the Western States was first run by a man, instead of on horseback, they started running the OD100 so the East Coast kept up with the West Coast.  Pat stopped at a facility, and I needed it too, so I got behind her there.  Mike came along as I was leaving, so now I was in 7th place.  Not that any of this mattered, because my only goal as to finish the distance.

After several more miles, I caught Pat again, who had caught up with two men.  They were all talking when I got there, and I just kept going along.  About 28 miles, maybe, there was a water fountain and I stopped to fill my bottle.  Pat and one other passed me while I was filling it.  Bob, the second fellow sheíd been with, came along as I was wringing out my socks and putting them back on.  No blisters, but the socks were bunching up so I decided to dry them a little and restretch them on my feet.  Bob and I introduced and ran together a little, but I kept going ahead, and then he would catch me at a street crossing or a water fountain.

It was about 4 hours when I started feeling pretty low and my pace slackened quite a bit.  This bothered me because I was only about half way time wise.  I started eating a GU every 15 minutes and following it with AllSport or water.  After about 6 of these, I started getting nauseous.  It must have been the combination.  Anyway, some place in the low 30ís Bob and I started alternating walking and running.  He was running his third ultra, and he suggested walking the up grades and running the downs.  I didnít want to start running again, and he always got me going.  Every time we stopped for water or a street crossing I would feel very nauseous and dizzy.  Because of this I stopped taking in GU.  We kept along for a ways this way, but about 38 miles I was getting worse and fell behind Bob.  I was walking along and feeling like death, and getting very worried.  I was afraid I might pass out, or need an ambulance for fluid or something.  Then I remembered feeling like this once before.  It was on a long training run on a cool day, my last long run before my first marathon.  I kept feeling worse and worse, and finally had to lay down by the side of the road, and I passed out for some time, and eventually was able to sit up, and then stand, and finally start walking again.  The problem I had that day, I found out later, was that I ate some fruit before I went out.  This caused my pancreas to increase insulin production.  When I started running, my body was still producing extra insulin, and I went into a hypoglycemic condition, or low blood sugar. I was pretty sure the wanting to be dead feeling I had now was the same one, so in spite of how nauseous I felt, I ripped open a power bar (I just couldnít think of another GU packet) and tried a bite.  I kept at it and with lots of water got the whole thing down. So I ate another one, and then popped a couple more potassium tabs.  Amazingly, in about 20 minutes I was feeling a great deal better.  I ran most of the last 6-7 miles, and my last two miles were 10:28 and 10:02.  I finished in 7:45 running time and 8:05 elapsed time.  At the finish I felt great.  Anstr Davidson, the race director, got me water, then Coke, made me some soup in his camper, and then a sandwich.

Mary Agnes went out to see where Ross was, and Ross finished next.  He wanted to run a whole 50 miles, so he went back out.  At about this time some really black clouds moved in, and it started raining and lightning.  We got in Anstrís camper until it let up, and then I walked to a gas station to use the facility.  After ensuring that my renal system was still functioning, it started pouring again, so I waited in this gas station about a block from the finish.  I could see the finish from where I was, so I decided to wait there until it stopped pouring or until I saw another runner come in.  That took about 20 minutes.

Ross got back, and the other runners finished, and Mary, Ross and I headed back to the start.  It rained all the way, which was at least 50 miles.  They really saved my hide giving me that ride.  They wouldnít take anything for it, just encouraged me to give someone a ride in the future who would need one.  Great people.

We shared some of Cathyís creations when we got to my car, and then they went back to Washington and I changed, went to a diner and filled my coffee mug, and headed home.  Got home about 11.

My shower was pretty painful.  I had applied Vaseline to all the normal places, but the 45.5 miles had still taken itís toll.  I had one blister underneath a little toe, but the painful part was all the abrasions on my hips and waist from the rubbing of my equipment belts, and my shorts.

What did I learn?  Next time, I wonít take the walkman.  That will make for one less belt and probably several fewer pounds.  The belt I carry it in is one of those Case logic things, foam padding all around.  Itís very comfortable, but it holds more moisture than anything else, and probably ways 10 pounds (counting the radio, tapes and extra batteries) when I get it wet.  And I didnít use it that much.  In my next ultra, there may be more people.  I only used it yesterday when I was alone.  JFK gets 500 people Iím told.

Also, I should plan my eating during the race more carefully and try to eat more earlier.  I should think about pacing myself better early.

Iím amazed at how little damage is apparent.  Maybe it will show up later, but I have one sore toe underneath.  Iíve had blisters in this spot before, and this is nothing to worry about.  My feet already feel better (the soles were pretty tender last night).  Of course my quads are sore.  I have a sore spot on my back from the pounding of the water bottle (I think).  Last night I had a few sore toenails and thought I might lose some, but none are loose.  They may blacken at most.  So, it appears a 50-miler is possible.  After that, who knows?  Thanks go to my wife Cathy for all the support she provided, and especially the feast she made for me.  And to my daughter Amanda for being 15 years old and putting up with me.  And to all my training partners, coaches and mentors.

horizontal rule

Date:    Sat, 14 Oct 1995 20:33:27 -0400

From:    Anstr Davidson <asad@TMN.COM>

Subject: Andiamo 45.5 Mile Race Results

The Andiamo 45.5 Mile run was held today.  This is a low-key event which traverses the entire W&OD Bike path across northern Virginia.  Early rains kept the path clear of other users.  It was very humid but not too warm.  Some runners complained of the humidity and others did not.

Harvey Hall knocked ten minutes off Courtney Campbell's course record.  Like Courtney last year, Harvey was unsupported (meaning he had to take the time to stop at 7-Elevens for aid).  Pat Botts set a new woman's course record.  Another notable achievement was Greg Farnham's first ultra.

This event was peopled by a lot of very nice guys who have heavy southern accents and don't do other ultras in the area.  Interestingly, however, almost all of the field is planning to run JFK.  This is yet another wonderful event sponsored by the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (Motto: "We ain't from Sacramento and we won't never have a lottery (because we know who the real trail runners are and they will always be welcome), but we still think we are bitchin.")

Andiamo founder and former director, Dave Moruzzi, was at the start to see the runners off.

Andiamo 45.5 Mile Run   October 14, 1995

Purcellville to Arlington, Virginia

Paved Bike Path with parallel dirt horse trail

 1. Harvey Hall, 29, NC         5:29:44!

 2. Robert Harris, 48, MD       6:40:31

 3. Mike Robertson, 44, NC      7:01:21

 4. Pat Botts, 55F, VA          7:20:22!

 5. Al Schumm, 38, VA           7:20:22

 6. Bob Lee, 49, NC             7:46:34

 7. Greg Farnham, 42, VA        8:05:57

 8. Ross Brennan, 35, DC        8:48:17

 9. Mike Davis, 48, MD          8:55:31

10. Rex Wilson, 54, NJ          9:43:30

11. Carolyn Gernand, 47F, VA    9:57:22

12. Richard Griggs, 57, VA      DNF

13. James Smith, 59, NY         DNS

!= Course record

Anstr Davidson

Arlington, VA

"Off to God's country (aka California) for vacation."

horizontal rule

To: Floyd G Farnham @ DS.IS&S.GE

From: Anstr Davidson

Subject: Re: Announcement of Two Runs in VA

Date: 8/28/95    Time:  9:56PM

Sorry it took so long to get this to you.  Here it is:

            The Virginia Happy Trails Running Club



            October 14, 1995

            Start: 7:30 am in Purcellville, VA

            Finish by  6:30 pm in Arlington, VA

The Andiamo run is a low-key event which spans the entire W&OD Railroad  Regional Park--a 45.5 mile generally flat, paved trail on an abandoned railroad bed.  The trail is used by runners, walkers, skaters, bicyclists, horses, and people walking their dogs.  For most of the way, there is a parallel dirt path.  Generally, traffic is not a problem.   Several bad road crossings now have bridges but some still require crossing streets with heavy traffic.  Runners must comply with traffic signals and laws applying to pedestrians.  There will be no special aid in dealing with traffic for this event.

The VHTRC will provide aid at the six and twelve mile points and light refreshments at the finish.  ALL OTHER AID WILL BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE RUNNER.  There are ample water fountains and convenience stores along the route.   (Water is at: 16, 24, 29, 34, 37, 41, and 43 miles. )  All finishers will receive an Andiamo finisher's patch. 

The run starts in Purcellville which is about 10 miles west of Leesburg.  The finish is in Shirlington near the intersection of I-395 and Glebe Road.  While we do not provide transportation to the start, we will help facilitate matching drivers and riders from Shirlington to Purcellville in the morning.  Drivers should leave Shirlington at 6 am.  If you can provide a ride or need a ride, please contact Anstr Davidson.  If you drop out of the run before the finish, you will be responsible for your transportation.  All runners are required to carry at least $10.   (Just like the Trans Am!)

Entry is $10 if postmarked by September 30.  Late entry is $15 and must be received by Thursday, October 12.  There is no registration on the day of the event.   To enter, send application below and check made payable to "VHTRC" to Anstr Davidson, 1601 Potomac St., Arlington, VA 22205; telephone 703-534-8171(h) or e-mail:

The Andiamo is the brainchild of Dave Moruzzi who nurtured it for five years before turning it over to the VHTRC.   As Dave would remind you, andiamo means "let's go" in Italian.

Directions to Finish: The finish is in Shirlington, a locale of  Arlington County, Virginia, noted for its shopping street.  If southbound on I-395 (going from DC) take Exit 7 for Glebe Road/Shirlington. Take the  Shirlington turn which is the second turn off the exit.  At the signal, turn right and the finish is at the next signal (Shirlington Road and Four Mile Run Drive).  If northbound on I-395 (heading toward DC) take Exit 6 (Shirlington).  The finish, like the start, is understated--look for the brown wooden sign.

Directions to Start: Take route 7 west past Leesburg.  As you approach Purcellville take Business 7 into town (leave 7 at route 287).  Go west through Purcellville on Main Street.  Turn right on 21st Street (route 690)(look for flashing yellow light).  The trail head (and run start) is about two blocks down on the right.  PARK ON THE RIGHT, NOT IN THE CONDO PARKING LOT ACROSS THE STREET.  ALSO, BE QUIET.  IT'S EARLY SATURDAY MORNING!

Crew Instructions: While the trail roughly parallels route 7, it is not always fast or easy to meet the trail from route 7.  I recommend a good local map for crews.  The local AAA maps show the trail as far as Vienna.  Also, the ADC Map Co. (703-765-5626) Northern Virginia Area Map and the Loudoun County, Virginia Street Map are good.  Trying to meet runners after Vienna (inside the beltway) will be complicated for all but long-time locals.  Prepare to become lost!

Rules: First, you must comply with all of the rules of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.  You must comply with all traffic signs and signals.  Don't relieve yourself in public view.  (There may be a porta-potty near the start, but don't count on it.  There is a small park with toilets near the finish, by WETA.)  IF YOU DROP OUT, call Anstr Davidson (703-534-8171) and report this fact.  At dusk, you must leave the trail wherever you are.  If this happens to you, call to report you are quitting and then call a cab.  (A convenient place to drop out would be at my house.  Take the pedestrian bridge to Potomac Street at about < mile past the 5 mile post.)  Your entry fee does not include transportation if you drop out.  I repeat, this is a low-key event.  Don't expect anything out of this other than an interesting run through beautiful countryside.            

ENTRY FORM            ANDIAMO 1995



 TELEPHONE:_____________________________ (h or w?)  E-MAIL: ____

 AGE:_______ GENDER:_____    


 I WILL NEED A RIDE FROM THE FINISH TO THE START: Yes/No (CAUTION. Circling " yes" here does not mean you will have a ride.  Unless you hear from me, you DO NOT have a ride.)

 I CAN GIVE A RUNNER A RIDE FROM THE FINISH TO THE START: Yes/No [Give  someone a ride who knows the trail and he or she might tell you where all of the secret places are to find aid!]


 "I know that participating in the SIXTH ANDIAMO W&OD 45 MILE RUN 1995  ("Run") is hazardous and that it carries a risk of injury or death.  I  know that I should not participate in this activity if I am not medically  able and properly trained..  The course will be on and cross roads and highways and that there will be no special protection from traffic for me.  I know that this is a "low-key" event which means that the organizers are providing little aid, no medical support, and no traffic control and that I am basically on my own.   I understand and accept the risk that I may fall, trip, become lost, or otherwise become injured on this trail.  I realize that while some support will be provided, it may be insufficient for my needs.  I know that there will be no medical support for this Run and that medical help could be very far from where I could become injured.  I understand that weather can be an unpredictable and dangerous factor.  I am solely responsible for my safety on this Run and the organizers of this event have no responsibility for my safety.

 "Knowing these facts, and in consideration of being accepted to participate in this Run, I hereby for myself, my heirs, executors, administrators or anyone else who might claim on my behalf, covenant not to sue and waive, release and discharge the organizers of this event, the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club, the Road Runners Club of America, all volunteers, all land owners and trail maintainers including the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, and all sponsors, including their agents, employees, assigns or anyone acting for or on their behalf, from any and all claims or liability for death, personal injury or property damage of any kind or nature whatsoever arising out of, or in the course of, my participation in this event.  This release and waiver extends to all claims of every kind or nature foreseen or unforeseen, known or unknown."



Mail with check for $10 ($15 after September 30) payable to the Virginia

Happy Trails Running Club to: Anstr Davidson, 1601 N. Potomac Street,

Arlington, VA 22205.  Telephone: 703-534-8171. E-mail: 


horizontal rule

Copyright (c) 1997-2004 Gazelle Software, Syracuse, NY  All Rights Reserved.   Page Last Changed 04/30/08 17:37