Operation Jack/Richard Leary 6-Hour Challenge

This weekend I implemented a few new running rules :

1)  All long runs shall be followed by a relaxing/hilarious/sunshiney picnic at the park, and

2)  All runner friends must be <5’ – much easier to keep up if I get to take one step for every three of theirs

photo7 Kat, Chacha, Heather & Monster (Ragnar Teammates!)

The Richard Leary 6-Hour Challenge yesterday was a bang-up good time. 

Operation Jack (do you know Jack?) hosted the event as a dual-fundraising event for two great causes – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)  and Train 4 Autism (the primary beneficiary of OJ).  I’m a fan of any event where my registration $$ is going towards making the world better and not in the pockets of some big wigs in a fancy office…


That’s why if my race schedule is ever torn between a big fancy race and a smaller fundraising event (RnR vs OJ, OC Marathon vs PCRF, etc) I will 100% every.dang.time end up pinning on a bib for a race with a cause, with the satisfaction knowing that day’s run is for something good.  Something bigger than burning off last night’s dessert.  Bigger than a new personal best.  Bigger than me.

(and as the picture above proves, I’ve got a good handle on the “big”)

Anyways, end my little charity rant… on to the actual event.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On a 1.09 mile loop in a park in Irvine, runners were told to run as many or as few laps as they wanted.  At every pass of the start line, your number was called out and a lap was credited.  Whoever ran the most laps in 6 hours won.



Wanna see what 17 laps with a baby hill in the middle looks like?



Want proof for why “Garmin Distance” never trumps USATF

See all those red straight line tangents above?  Have a look at what the path ACTUALLY looks like (we were running on the tan inner path) :


Garmin’s not always so good at keeping tabs every step of the way.  The Forerunner 405 bounces your coordinates off 24 satellites but isn’t continuously sent – for instance it may “track” you every 200 ft – if you’ve gone around a bend in that time it just plots your spot and connects it with a straight line, not a curved one.

Ok this is too much for my brain and I barely know how to tie my shoes so you probably shouldn’t take my word for any of that.

What I DO know, is that running with Chacha was super.  Told you I’m getting better about social running

We never verbally decided to run together, it just kind of happened.  We took off a little faster than she’d planned, but she didn’t grab me by the back of the shirt and beg me to slow down, so we kept pounding out low-9’s.

She peeled off around 16 (further and faster than she’d planned!) and I picked up Kat for a lap – she’s running NYC next weekend and I needed to pick her brain about it.  Living vicariously, yes I am.

I set off for my final lap alone – Kat had a few more to do, and Heather and Chacha were already starting on our picnic party – so I picked it up and rushed to join them.


(pinky swear it stayed in her car)

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus “Face Down” pushed me through my final .75 miles at a 7:30 pace.  Booyah Grandma Sub4Fail.  (no, I haven’t gotten over it yet)


Our post-race picnic turned into us obnoxiously cheering on all the runners that were still knocking out laps. 

I considered going back out for a few more – I felt great but knew getting mile-greedy would be bad news for my still-recovering body.  When Sam (of Operation Jack) came over to encourage ruthlessly heckle me to get back out there I had to actually take off my shoes and change my clothes to keep from taking his dare.


Anyways there were 5 people that ran 30+ miles so I didn’t have a shot in hell at winning.  Sitting on my ass with snacks and watching them claim Ultra status was cool enough for me.


This was an awesome event.  It was like my lonely long training runs got married to a small race and had a race baby.  Is that weird?

There was fuel at the lap table (water, powerade, and tons of sugary & salty snacks), a great group of 40-50 badass (and super friendly) runners, plenty of shade along the loop (which surprisingly never got boring), and even tshirts and medals for finishers.

Way awesome.

Sam, we’re gonna do this again, right??

Sarah OUaL


17 thoughts on “Operation Jack/Richard Leary 6-Hour Challenge

  1. Your Garmin was cranky yesterday. Mine showed a smooth circle where you couldn’t see any individual lap lines. Apparently it thought you swam across the pond at one point.

    Hope I didn’t talk your ear off while running. I can ramble on and on. I think I have grown accustomed to talking a blue streak while running from high school cross country/track.


  2. What a great race. I would definitely do that next year. I’m glad you mentioned the Garmin thing because I think a lot of people think it’s more accurate than a USAT person actually measuring the course. My Garmin “data” from RnRLA is such a mess (buildings and tunnels made it lose signal repeatedly) that the only thing I can count on is the total time.

    Glad you girls had fun!


  3. Did running 26.2 every cross your mind? You were totally on track to subfour that biatch!! I am doing the Operation Jack 6 hour run the day after xmas in Portland and can not wait. I am running CIM, but gave up my subfour dream for that race and have been toying with the idea of pushing myself or not. Decisions, decisions. Guess it will all depend on how many hot totties getting thrown back during xmas dinner =)
    Great job on 18.5 at 9:04 pace and supporting a GREAT cause!


  4. So that event is pretty much amazing in all regards. I just went to their website to search for future events that might be taking place in the midwest and I’m going to try to blackmail/bribe/trick some friends into running a satellite race with me on Dec. 26th!

    Also, way to punch the sub4ordie in the face!


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