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Saturday, June 3, 2000 - Sunday, June 4, 2000 -- Woodstock, VA
Old Dominion 100
Story and photos by Chuck Jackson

[Details] [Coverage] [Results] [A Team is Formed] [How'd They Do?] [Pic Set 1]

Team
A team prepared to go the distance
Roy Marshall has been active with the Old Dominion 100 for the past six years, serving hot food and comfort at the Mudhole Gap aid station. Today, Marshall and three other local endurance neophytes are embarking on what each hopes will be a successful team assault on the 100-mile course that begins and ends at the Shenandoah County Fair Grounds and continues through Fort Valley.

They are scheduled to begin their odyssey in the pre-dawn hours and to win the race as a team, Marshall, Jim Corbitt, his daughter Amber Corbitt and Kevin Black must all finish the mileage within a 24-hour period. Their competition is a team of four runners from Oklahoma, who along with 87 others running individually, will compete in the 22nd-annual event, the second-oldest ultra-marathon in the country. Marshall, who owns The Gym, a Woodstock training facility, made the decision to run last June, when he and Amber Corbitt, sat in the local Wendy's and watched the runners prepare for the '99 race. "Roy wondered aloud that it would be great to run the race," Amber said. "I told him I'd do it too." About the same time, Black - a 40 year-old Woodstock attorney - began talking to Marshall about entering a team in an eco-challenge, where participants do all kinds of adventurous sports in a team competition. "Roy suggested the Old Dominion would make a good training exercise," Black said.

Needing a fourth team member, Amber suggested to her dad, a second-language English and Spanish teacher at Massanutten Military Academy, ought to run the race too.

"In a weak moment, I agreed," the 48 year-old said. All four began training in late November and early December, running as time in their hectic schedules permitted. They each ran separately, logging miles upwards to 80 to 100 a week. On weekends, they would meet up with Patt Bott, the OD founder and several of her running co-horts, for longer runs, "We couldn't have done it without Pat's, Mike Robertson's, Harvey Hall's and Andy Peterson's help," Marshall said. "They've been our inspiration. We have learned a lot from them." But is it enough?

Amber - at 22, the youngest of the 95 runners - is a Russian language major at JMU, scheduled to graduate in December. She said she wasn't sure she could make it until she ran a 50-K race in Aberdeen, Maryland last March. "That was my break-through," Amber said. "Since that race, training has been a lot better."

Jim Corbitt said his biggest challenge has been finding the time to run while working two jobs - he's also a minister for a Mathias, W.Va. church. He said his running has been primarily limited to the 13 miles between his Fort Valley home and MMA. "I either ran it in the morning or the afternoon," Jim said. "My longest run was a 35-miler. I hope I'm ready."

Black's running is at night, under the cover of darkness. "I know all the neighborhood dogs between Maurertown and Strasburg," Black said. The 35-miler is also his longest training run. They all agree they would like to start out and run as a team, though Marshall says it may be hard for Black. "Kevin's pace is different from ours, and I suspect he'll have to run past us," Marshall said. Black, however, knows that a fast pace out of the gate could be a detriment to himself, and ultimately to the team.

"The bad part is I could burn out if I go out too fast," Black said. "My attempt will be to stay with the team. Towards the end, I may go on, but by then I may be weaker. Our main goal is to finish as a team."

The author is a free-lance writer living in Maurertown, Virginia. He may be reached via E-mail at nvdre@yahoo.com.