Frozen Sasquatch Trail race report 1-5-2013.
The 4th running of the Frozen Sasquatch Trail 25k/50k was a good one, but we had our share of work keeping the trails clear this year. In Late June we had a massive storm called a derecho pass through the mountains of Kanawha State Forest (and West Virginia and much of the northeastern US). Then in late October, Hurricane Sandy came through dumping several inches of wet,heavy snow on the trees, forcing them to snap into the trails. With the help of volunteers, runners, mountain bikers and the park staff the race course was ready to go.
Matt Young and I marked the first half of the course on new years day. Before we started he said “Dolin, I’m 99% sure I’m not going to run this race because of my foot”. An hour later I mention to him that next year will be the 5th year of the Sasquatch and I’m gonna give 5 time finishers a GOLDEN SASQUATCH. At Friday’s packet pickup his wife picked up his packet and said he was “healed by the golden sasquatch”.
One of the things I was most excited about this year was the fact that we had Albert Dulac fly from France to meet up with his daughter Stephanie. Then come down to good ol’ West Virginia to run the race together. I’ve had a few runners from states as far as Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana, but this was pretty cool. They both finished the 50k together with huge smiles.
I spoke with Robert Smith at the Ritter Park Offroad Challenge 5k and he said “I wish I was in shape to enough to run the 50k”. Well, I’d like to see what kind of time he could’ve put up, because he broke the old course record in the 25k by about 14 minutes. He smoked the course in 1:49:51. 2nd place overall male was 16 year old Abe Merinar. I spoke with Garrett Burnett the night before the race and showed him the course records, and told him he needs to break the 25k course record. He did break the old record and came in 3rd overall in 2:03:21. On the Female side, Kelly Harris (2nd place finisher in the 50k last year) ran a strong time of 2:33:11, The battle for 2nd and 3rd was a close one, Sarah Fletcher edged Megan Hevener with a time of 2:39:14, While Megan ran 2:39:28. (Megan won the 50k in 2010 in 5:48 with 15 degree temps and a few inches of snow).
The 50k race record holder Michael Owen told me in an email he had been pretty sick with the flu, but would try to defend his title. But after the first lap he pulled out of the race. It was great to see his newly wed wife Bobbi Jo finish her first trail race ever and the longest race she ever ran. The first runner to come through the finish line for the 50k was Alexander Wepsala. This was the 3rd time he ran this race. In 2011 and he pretty much did a canonball in a stream crossing when the weather was less than 20 degrees and had to spend extra time at each aid station to warm up. This year he not only crossed that stream successfully, he won in a time of 4:32:33. Clay Warner came through in 4:47:41 and close behind was Matt Paxton in 4:51:11. Jill Goodwin came in with a very good time of 5:35:02. 2011 winner Mary Jane Baniak came in 2nd in 6:00:57. 3rd o/a female was Sheryl Leonard-schneck breaking the 7 hour mark with a time of 6:54:54.
This was my funnest year yet, Thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors, and Roberts Running/Walking Store for the Pre-race packet pickup. Thanks to Matt Young, Michael Black and David Hendren for course marking, and Gregg Yarborough and Charles Belcher for pulling down the plethora of flagging we hung up. The quote of the day goes to Pat Villella from Punxy, PA. “I love this course, I love these trails. The trails here are a work of art, they belong in a museum.” Well said.