OLIVE BRANCH, MS- The Sylamore 25K/50K is one of the area’s most delightful trail races. Thought by many to be a moderately difficult course, the registration is considered to be one of the most difficult events on the planet.
Sylamore registration, which opens at 1pm on a pre-determined day each year, closes within a matter of minutes but the preparation, excitement and anxiety proves to be too much for even the most seasoned of participants.
Holly Ralls, wife of endurance athlete, Von Ralls, says, “For twenty-four hours, I watched him stare intensely at his computer screen and hit the refresh button. He was so tired and his carpal tunnel was killing him but we all cheered him on and told him to stay strong and that he was doing great. Our son, Jackson, sat beside him, fed him pickle juice, and helped him to refresh his computer as the clock neared 1pm.”
Samantha Miller, wife of Chris Miller, said, “He had the eye of the tiger. I set up an aid station with electrolytes and salted potatoes next to his computer desk. He worked so hard at sending reminders to his friends and making sure the credit card information was correct. I am so proud that he was able to hang in there long enough to complete the registration. Not many husbands would be willing to work so hard to get into a race while doing so little to prepare for it.”
Brian Swanson, a regular participant of the Sylamore 50K and IT guru, suffered a computer crash which hampered his registration time severely. He told us, “My CPU just couldn’t handle all of the calendar reminders, Slack messages, text messages, and Facebook notifications that simultaneously came through my computer at 1pm. No server can process that amount of data.” Fortunately, Swanson had enrolled the help of a pacer, Brad Montgomery, who happened to have an extra computer to help push him through the registration process.
Wilson Horrell, perpetual last-place finisher at the Sylamore event had to be hospitalized for a nervous breakdown during the registration process. His wife, Amanda, said, “I think he just went out too hard too early. He started hitting the refresh button way to soon and was really focused on his carb intake. The halloween candy really spiked his blood sugar and caused him to go over the edge. We had a paper bag handy in case of a panic attack but when the clock struck 1pm and registration opened, he just fell out on the floor like one of those goats that pass out when you scare them.”
We asked Race Director, Greg Eason, to comment about his take on registration and he just rolled his eyes and referenced Horrell’s situation. He said, “Maybe if his fatass would spend as much time training for the race as he does preparing to register he wouldn’t finish last and we wouldn’t have to sit out here all damn day waiting for him.”
Horrell responded with, “Greg is trying to avoid the registration issue by taking shots at my unprecedented level of fitness. I can’t train for the actual race and race registration at the same time, everyone knows that.”
Von Ralls, with both arms wrapped in Ace bandages, left us with the following statement, “It’s the hardest registration I have ever done and the most difficult event I have ever completed.”