What a difference a year makes! During the inaugural running last year, the runners and volunteers were blessed with clear skies and beautiful weather. The ’09 edition of the race was better characterized by rain, mud, and dense fog throughout the night; not what any of us were hoping for. Nonetheless, 59 battle toughened ultrarunners traversed the glowstick lit field of the 4-H camp to cross the finish line before 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning meeting the 13 hour official cut off.
The race up front was a two man battle. Ultra veteran Bill Young took over cobweb clearing duty for roughly the first 35 miles then was decisively overtaken by Chris Reed. Bill ran over 37 minutes faster than last year, but was still no match for the superior road speed of Chris on the long forest service road section to the finish. The women’s race was less dramatic. Megan McGrath ran out front all night, crossing the finish line well ahead of Janice Anderson in second. The masters titles were won by Dennis Norris and Natalie Kennedy, while Randy Young and Vicki Kendall took home the grandmasters awards. Not to be outdone by the youngsters, sixty two year young Doug Blackford and Barb Isom crossed the line as the super-grandmasters champs.
A new tradition was started this year as a means of competition between the aid stations. A “race within the race” was begun by crowning the aid station champion at the Saturday morning awards ceremony. Aid station number three was voted the champion by the unanimous runner applause for their “tribal theme” station along the river. An engraved plaque was presented to the aid station members to keep for the year. Rumor has it that the other stations are already plotting the overthrow of the AS 3 reign in ’10.
A special thanks to all the WVMTR club members, volunteers, and sponsors that came together to help make this race a reality. I can’t wait to see what Mother Nature throws at us next year!
Author” Adam Casseday