1. Archive

Frye-Kriers go the extra mile

Patience is a virtue.

In ultra marathon running, anything over the standard distance of 26.2 miles is the difference between success and failure.

With that thought in mind, Largo's Barbara Frye-Krier ventured out to Lake Tahoe, Calif., late last month for the grueling Western States 100-Miler on a mountainous course. With her were her husband, Miles, and six members of the Clearwater-

based West Florida Y Runners Club.

The course started at 6,200 feet and rose to 10,000 feet in the first 4 miles. They ran through canyons on rugged trails and finished in Auburn, Calif., at 1,500 feet.

Barbara Frye-Krier finished in 28 hours, 7 minutes and 31 seconds for fourth place among 27 women starters and 11th out of 96 overall.

Amazingly, it was the second 100-miler of the month for Frye-Krier, who has a goal of completing all six American 100-milers this year.

The next one is Saturday, the Vermont 100. Then in August she will go to Colorado for some dedicated training to prepare for the final three _ the Leadville Trail in Colorado, the Wasatch 100 in Utah and the Angeles Crest in California in September.

"I just took a survival approach to Western States," said Frye-Krier, 46, an associate professor in USF's College of Education at the St. Petersburg campus. "It was the first time I did back-to-back 100s. Plus, I've been busy teaching this summer and writing a book, which have prevented me from doing the necessary training in the mountains and at altitude."

Frye-Krier ran the first of the six at Old Dominion in 22:07 and expects to be back down in that range this weekend. Last year in the Vermont 100, she ran her fastest of six at that distance in 21:28.

Asked what's appealing about running a distance approximately the same as running from Clearwater to Orlando _ but not on flat, hard-surfaced roads _ Frye-Krier had several answers.

"Attending college in Colorado, I learned to love the combination of hiking and running," she said. "And mentally, I get a lot of satisfaction in an endeavor where there's a beginning and a non-subjective goal.

"It gives me a strong sense of gratification to complete an ultra," Frye-Krier said. "It's painful but, overall, it's always a positive experience."

Frye-Krier's usual plan is to relax, start slowly and pick up the pace during the second half.

"I like the idea of heading home," she said. "My husband said I have a strong homing instinct."

The Frye-Kriers find the camaraderie and support among ultra runners more prevalent than shorter-distance road runners.

"Except for the people up front, ultra running is not as competitive and far more supportive than road running," Barbara said. "It's an inner struggle, and we are there to help each other _ not beat each other. I never found that in road racing."

Miles Frye-Krier measures his success in the sport not by the number of ultras he has completed but by his seniority among his peers. He started competing in ultras in 1983.

"I ran Western States in 1984 in 21:28 and, although I'm 49 now, I don't think I'm done yet," Frye-Krier said.

"At Utah in the Wasatch 100, which we're doing in September, I'm aiming for a sub 24-hour run. Fewer than 60 have done that in the past 20 years. No one has gone under 20 hours there."

Regardless of the outcome, he's sure that at the end of the trail all the runners will gather together over their favorite beverage to replay the experience and enjoy the fellowship.

It's that mutual respect that makes ultra runners so special, Frye-Krier said.

It was in such an environment at the Croom Trail 50-miler in Brooksville that he met his wife-to-be four years ago. Two years later, they married, sealing the bond between training partners and life's partners.

NOTES: The other West Florida Club members to finish the Western States Endurance Run were John Wood and Dan Miller, both of Seminole, in 27:49:51 and 29:54:06, respectively; and Tampa's Jack Butterick (29:14:43) and Jim Bodoh (29:46:01).

Pete Pfannerstill of Seminole was forced to drop out at 48 miles.

Belleair's Dee Ann Farnell, a Pinellas/Pasco circuit court judge, will join the Frye-Kriers in next month's Leadville 100-miler. St. Petersburg's Jeff Myers also has entered.

Farnell had a chance to experience Colorado's mountains July 7 while running the Leadville Trail Marathon in 6:56:21. Her training partner, Karen Gately of Largo, finished in 6:00:28.

"The first half was all uphill," Gately said. "We started at 10,000 feet and climbed to 13,000 feet. It took me 3{ hours for the first half and 2{ coming back. It was nothing like the 3{-hour marathons we usually run. The winning time was 5:14!"

THIS JUST IN: Chuck McCann of Treasure Island finished third in the 45-49 age division of last weekend's Keep LA Running 5K in Playa del Rey, Calif. He clocked in at 21:07. McCann's daughter, Rachel, a former Boca Ciega High School student, was third (26:13) in the girls 15-19 bracket.

In Atlanta on July 4, Dan Ecker of the Forerunners was the 132nd male (36:25) in a field of 55,000 runners in the Peachtree Road Race (10K). Patty Farese (41:21) of North Redington Beach was the 57th woman.

THIS WEEKEND: The fourth Sunsets at Pier 60 series event gets underway at 7 p.m. Friday on Clearwater Beach.

The West Florida Y Runners Club offers a free kids mile event starting at 6:45. The first 100 finishers will receive a ribbon.

MIDNIGHT RUN: Jim Burgasser of St. Petersburg finished third (37:13) in the Midnight Run 10K in Dunedin on July 4. Another runner was listed in the results on July 5.