Dan Lehmann, RD
How about some important race statistics;
That doesn’t tell the story of the 2005 Highlands Sky at all. The Friday pre-race camaraderie, the anticipation on the pre-dawn ride to Laneville, the excitement of the start, the conversations along the trail, the freedom of the hills, the company of old and new found friends, the smiles and grimaces of joy as runners cross the finish line…. these are what this 40 miler and ultra running is all about.
A cool, 47 degree Saturday morning and a preceding week of dry weather made for superb running conditions this year. Someone remarked how the lesser amount of water and mud on the trail made it easier to negotiate the rock-strewn sections…. well, a little bit anyway. A new section eliminating the “big muddy” and taking the high meadows and boulders meant less sloshing through the bogs. Everyone enjoyed this new section and the magnificent views along Raven Ridge Trail.
But there was a race going on too. Front runners Ian Schouten, Bill Young and Mark Lundblad all pulled in to AS #2 mile 10.1 at 1:45 followed in minutes by Luke Fleischman, Todd Eaby, Chris Frazer and Justin Thaine. By AS #4 mile 19.3 Schouten had a 3 minute lead on Lundblad and 7 minute on Young. The men kept this order through the reminder of the race with Ian Schouten of Lititz, PA winning in 6:12:04
The women likewise were close at AS #2 with Amy Bath and Justine Morrison arriving at mile 10.1 at 2:05 followed by Wendy Zamzow-Master at 2:07. Last years winner Sophie Speidel was back several minutes at 2:34. By AS #4 mile 19.3 Morrison had pulled ahead with 3:52, Bath second at 4:03 with Zamzow a minute behind at 4:04. At AS #6 at the end of the 7.3 road section Morrison was solid at 4:59, Bath 5:15, Zamzow 5:21 and Speidel close at 5:29. Across the new, tough 5.8 mile section to AS #7 it was still Morrison leading, Bath, and now Speidel at 6:46:30 and Zamzow at 6:46:50. The race was on for 2nd and 3rd place. At the last AS#8 things had changed with Speidel moving up to 2nd, Zamzow 3rd and Bath 4th. Justine Morrison of Washington, DC won with a time of 7:53:26, with Sophie Speidel 2nd and Wendy Zamzow-Masters 3rd.
It was a great third running of the Highlands Sky. Many thanks to our sponsors; Montrail, Patagonia, Fuelbelt, Hammergel, Timberline, Tygart Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, and Canaan Valley Resort. Thanks to the Monogahela National Forest for their cooperation and to all the fine race day volunteers.
The West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners is pleased to host this event and we hope to see you in 2006.
Oh, and next year I’ll remember the weed wacker for that last tall grass section!