Highlands Sky 2009 Report – Bob Haithcock

Dan & WV Mountain Trail Runner Volunteers,

Thanks for yet another great time down in your great state on your rocky, muddy and wet beautiful trails and your great Southern hospitality.

I lost my job at JP Morgan in NYC the week before the race and in this market, realized I had to land something as quickly as possible as I’ve read horror stories how people with great credentials have been out of the workforce for many months. I got a call very late Thursday night for an early morning Friday interview, the day I was leaving for the 7 hour car ride down to Davis. So with about 5 hours of sleep I went to NYC for my Friday interview, did the best I could muster and boarded the train back to Jersey and did my best Clark Kent change of attire, packed my trail running gear and left around 2 in the afternoon so we got in really late Friday night and missed the cold micro brews and before I knew it, I was on the bus for HSTR #4.

The race started as usual and on Lehmann time but when we started to attack the muddy trails (after weeks of rain for the entire Mid-Atlantic region), the skies opened up and it got so dark and slippery I had a really difficult time making out the trail, let alone run it and at several spots almost slipped down some of the mountain sides into oblivion. But with everything that had happened during the past several weeks I was really looking forward to this adventure and I wasn’t going to let some rain, mud, rocks, more mud and stinging nettle stop me from unwinding and enjoying myself.

I need to say thanks for trail runner #101 who single handily pulled me out of the raging river crossing using a group human chain to get us across the ragin’ river crossing. I really thought I was headed downstream. I have fallen every year into the same damn spot during the crossing but this year the water was flowing like a good class 2/3 and the rocks did a number on me and I even thought I saw Elvis when I went under the second time. Also thanks to fellow trail ex-Tinton Falls, NJ Marine runner who gave me some Tums on the butt slide adventure although I lost my stomach contents shortly thereafter. It was the grateful act that counted the most and actually I felt much better after the purge.

I truly believe that this trail race is the most fun you can have in the woods with your shorts on. I did land the job and completed the course although quite humbled and can’t wait to be back next year for #5.

Author: Bob Haithcock