Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Death of Team Slug

On October 3rd, 2009, TSI Co-Founder and Lifetime President "The Hitman" announced the "Death of Team Slug." TSI was exactly twenty years old. The Slug-Dream began in the Spring of 1989 in the seething swamps of Southeastern Virginia near Virginia Beach. TSI was founded by Running Man and Hitman, in honor of T.J.Key and his former Flatlanders Running Club based out of San Diego. In the early years, as in the latter, TSI attracted few participants; often starting fields of 10-15 ultra-runners. The course would usually be lined with strategically placed pint bottles of ginger brandy, coconut-covered marshmallows for markings, and not start until the early evening/dusk hours. The park closed at dark, and the Slugs would be "out there" into the wee hours, not only running, but evading Ranger Rick along the way.

The Slugs, and their shenanigans thrived throughout the mid '90's sprouting informal clubs in PA with Peanut Petley, MD/DC with James Moore and Dan Grayson; teaming with the Runner's From Hell, and Claude Sinclair, in South Carolina, and the grandest club of all based out of Gulf Breeze, FL. The Florida-band of gypsies was led by one Pavvy "The Big Brown Pony" Polur, and survived for years underground; passing itself off as a UF0 Search and Rescue Team. Pavvy's 42-Mile Boggy Bayou Swamp Stomp was never more than a whisper, but has since become ultra-legend. Then in early 2002, the Running Man mysteriously disappeared into the hills of North Georgia, apparently detained along with an eighteen year old female accomplice, on an Indian Reservation for possession of several dozen gallons of illicit fire-water (corn liquor). He hasn't been seen or heard from since.

Sponsoring an average of three non-events per year, the Slugs saw many hundreds of ultra-runners finish a Slug Run ... earning the World-Famous Black, 100% Cotton, Team Slug T-Shirt (Made in USA). TSI was friendly for first-time ultra-runners; with no time limits and no fees. If you didn't quit, you'd be given the opportunity to finish. And finish they did. Over the past twenty years the sport of ultra-running has gone mainstream ... Entry fees for ultras now cost hundreds of dollars, and 100-Mile Runs fill up on-line in minutes. Yet, Team Slug has not changed ... No Entry Fee, No Time Limit, and The Same Olde Black T-Shirt ...

Though Team Slug is now Officially Defunct, the Slugs will continue to occasionally gather, and run. The Slug shirt will infrequently appear at obscure ultra/marathon events around the country, and memories of past events will linger in the hearts of those many hundreds of Slugs who've "earned" that shirt. The Slugs lined up for the very last time this morning, Seven-Strong, just like the old days. Ironically enough, The All-Nighter and Sluggette, were there to "toe the line." Slugs we've come full circle ...What a Wonderful Twenty Years it has been ... It is Done ... THANKS for ALL ...

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