The preliminary field included 15 entrants. But, due to injury an illness 4 had to scratch - including Scott Creel and Pat Judge. With Peter Dan Sullivan already out (due to business travel commitments) - it was pretty clear the race was a wide open affair and going to be a completely different event than the first 9 editions.
The Magnificent 11 @ The Start of M4 2013
At the gun, Bryan Johnson of Helena took the lead and built a small gap over the first 400. Johnson, who was participating in his first M4 is known more as an ultra-trail dude. But, he just couldn't pass up the chance to hit the boards with the best old farts in Montana. Taking the field through 200m in 37 and 400m in 73, Johnson looked strong as a pacesetter, with Ray "The Sandbagger" Hunt nestled in right behind. A chase pack consisting of Matt Edwards, Chad Coley and Rob Walker was sitting about 5 meters back and holding.
Chad Coley leading Matt Edwards & Rob Walker in The Chase Back
Johnson hit the 800m in 2:28; and, that's when Ray Hunt decided that it was time to push the pace and commence the flames shooting out of rectum segment of the race. At this point, Coley, Edwards and Walker had made contact and the pack was up to 5.
Here's Ray making the move on coming off the turn right after 800
This move speeds up the train and they hit 1000m @ 3:03 and 1200m @ 3:38 (a 70 second 3rd 400). And, that when mayhem began to present itself. Edwards made a big move coming around the corner and took command of the race. He was looking strong as they came through 1400m. But, then, Chad Coley decided to show that he had plenty of horsepower left. He whipped around Edwards on the first curve and the fat lady started to sing.
How about a 30 second last lap and a 64 second final 400. 2:28+ 1st half and close in 2:14+. Coley picked up almost a full 2 seconds on the last 200. Edwards held on for 2nd and Johnson came home in 3rd. The top 5 were rounded out by Walker and Hunt.
It was a great event with over half the field breaking 5:00; and, SMP just missing sub-5 @ 51. Official results are:
1 1. Chad Coley, 38, Bozeman 4:43.11
2 2. Matt Edwards, 35, Bozeman 4:45.01
3 3. Bryan Johnson, 36, Helena, 4:45.88
4 4. Rob Walker, 44, Bozeman 4:46.71
5 5. Ray Hunt, 47, Deer Lodge 4:50.36
6 6. Clint May, 42, Bozeman 4:57.10
7 7. Shawn Marshall-Pryde, 51, Bozeman 5:00.87
8 8. Russ Skelton, 40, Kalispell 5:01.88
9 9. Kyle Strode, 48, Helena 5:02.54
1 10. Dean Lipp, 51, Missoula 5:03.36
1 11. Steve Gideon, 49, Darby 5:18.78
The crew (with race committee and sponsors) post event
A great video, courtesy of Chad Coley's wife can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNSZ3zAyq6E
Until next year, and the amazing 10-year anniversary of the glorious M4..............
See you on the roads, tracks and trails
The Muddy Buzzard