Frozen Sasquatch 2015
The 6th running of the Frozen Sasquatch Trail Race happened on January 3rd, 2015. One thing about this race is, you never know what the weather is going to do this time of year. We’ve had 7 degrees at the start, 65 degrees, 4″ of snow the night before the race and even a windy year where it didn’t break 20 degrees all day. And I believe the long range forecast was wrong each year. But, as soon as the 10 day forecast was available, I checked it. Hi 63 and 80% chance of rain. I thought “that doesn’t sound too bad. Maybe it will clear up between now and then.” Well, for the first time in history, they were exactly right on the 10 day forecast.
I was pretty excited about this year for a few reasons. I love to run in the rain and the mud, and knew it was going to be a fun day for the runners (well, most of them).I was super pumped to meet Chief and Emily, who flew in all the way from Sydney, Australia to run the race. They were extremely friendly people, and seemed to enjoy the sloppy trails in good ole WV. I was also excited about planting someone in a Sasquatch suit in the middle of the woods to surprise (or scare the poo out of) oncoming runners. I had a very hard time of keeping this a secret from everyone. I wish I could’ve been there to see the look on everyone faces when they saw that big hairy beast!
Congrats to our overall winners. Robert Smith won the men’s 25k with a time of 2:00.02. Afterwards he told me “That’s the most I’ve ever had to walk in a race.” This was surprising to me considering he ran last year’s 50k race with 7 degree starting temps, and a few inches of snow. But thats pretty much what everyone said. I heard lots of “It’s easier to run in ice and snow than that mud”, and “Hemlock trail was MUUUUUDY”, and “a mud puddle almost ate my inov-8’s”. Ian Custer came in 2nd with a time of 2:08:09, While Bob Luther was 3rd with 2:11:14. The ladies 25k champ was Missy Jordan with a quick time of 2:36:11. 2nd place went to Diana Johnson in 2:41:38. The race for 3rd place was a close one, Jamie Fields finished in 2:48:37, with Natalie McBrayer a few steps behind.
Before the race started, I made the prediction that the female 50k course record would be beaten today. But I didn’t think it would be by a whole 15 minutes. Heather Parks in her first Ultra smoked the record in 5:08:15. Aussie Emily Hames came in at 5:51:53. The battle for 3rd was even closer in the 50k race. Lisa Hazlett was 5:53:21 and Michelle McLellan finished a close 4th place in 5:53:23.4.
We also had a few “Golden Sasquatch” winners. This prestigious award is given to those who have finished the race 5 times. Paula Smith, Gred Smith, Jeff Ranson, Jim Sandford, Garrett Burnett, and Mary Jane Baniak.
At the finish line, we had some great food. My wife made some cabbage soup, and bean soup. Dan Todd made some cuban bean soup, and Blues BBQ made some BBQ. This was very nice and warm…..until the power went out. Yes, a tree fell across the power line a few miles down the road and split the line. The awesome park staff came with a small generator and we had power to the timing equipment, and 2 croc pots. But we were still all smiles, watching the mud encrusted runners cross the line. That is until we realized a runner was missing. All who were still at the park came together and came up with a plan. Some grabbed headlamps and ran back on the trails. I went with some others in a nice shiny, clean SUV up the road. We eventually found our runner and got back safely. It was a frightening experience for a little while, but it is good to know you have friends who are willing to do all they can do to help when you really need it. Thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors, and Roberts Running/Walking Store for the Pre-race packet pickup. Thanks to Matt Young, Ashley Dolin and Natalie McBrayer for course marking. Gregg Yarborough, Charles Belcher, and Sarah Jarvis for Sweeping. All my Aid Workers, Victor, Jeremy, Janelle, Zach, Brandon, and others. Stephanie and Pamela for a huge help with the food. Jeanie, Matt, Chris, and Dan at the finish line. All the Park Staff. and anyone else I forgot.