A Hot One

Baker Trail UltraChallenge - August 26, 2006

Sun. Heat. Humidity. All three conspired to make it tough on the runners in the second running of the Baker Trail UltraChallenge. More than one in four solo runners succumbed in one way or another and dropped out.

The day started off foggy which slowed the shuttle bus down and, combined with a less direct route to avoid potentially low railroad tunnels, caused a late start. The sun evaporated the fog and shined throughout the day, pushing temperatures into the mid- to upper 80's, and even hotter in some areas.

Nathan Echols led the way through all aid stations, finishing with a great time of 8:13:41. Not far behind was local runner Tom Lipsie, finishing less than 10 minutes later.

Marie Bartoletti was the first female finisher with a time of 10:12:13. Marie has done many marathons but this may have been her first ultra. After finishing she made a beeline for the pond next to the house, staggering in to the water without stopping.

The male relay team "Five Guys and a Dumb Idea" made an impressive showing, finishing in 8:09:36, followed by the returning coed team "Skanks & Geezers".

A number of runners reported missing turns, but most realized it and got back on track relatively quickly. Joe Wright got lost before the first aid station and wasn't able to find his way back. Around noon a volunteer found him alongside the road, not far from the location of AS1.

The trophies were awarded as follows:

  • First Male: Nathan Echols
  • Second Male: Tom Lipsie
  • Third Male: Garry Rarer
  • First Female: Marie Bartoletti
  • Second Female: Sue Albert
  • Third Female: Mical Honigfort
  • Masters Male: Tony Mauro
  • Masters Female: Rhonda Hampton
  • Relay First Male: Five Guys and a Dumb Idea (Bradley Ott, Michael Miller, Randy Kruger, Bradley Lechwar, Justin Gottschalk)
  • Relay First Coed: Skanks & Geezers (Jim Crist, Dave Syiek, LuAnn Holt, Dan Ruble, Valerie Kunkel)

We're grateful to all our volunteers, who helped out tremendously: Betsy Ambrosia, Keith Barbour, Dewaine Beard, Steve Beers, Jan Berg, Joe Block, Joyce Block, Charlie Brethauer, Patty Bunner, Jim Crist, Charlie Danielson, Don Erdeljac, Mark Eyerman, Kate Fissell, Kathleen Ganster, Kenton Ganster, Dee Garvin, Christy Hedman, Donn Hedman, Deb Hoffman, Jerry Hoffman, Larry Hoffman, Betty Hovland, Christian Kline, Patricia Kline, Wayne Kocher, Diane Kosta, Joe Kosta, Emmanuel Meert, Barb Peterson, Devon Raiff, Jim Ritchie, Cindy Rogers, Jim Rogers, Debb Sigworth, Rebecca Slak, Kevin Snyder, Dave Syiek, Bob Tait, Maureen Tait, Pauline Taylor-Raiff, Walter Tereszkiewicz, Mike Waldvogel, Steve Waltman, Linda Xenophontos, Hisham Youssef, and Ken Zellars.

We'd be remiss if we didn't single out Hisham Youssef and Rebecca Slak, who graciously and selflessly opened their farm to all of us. Their generosity is sincerely appreciated!

And many thanks to our generous sponsors this year: Elite Runners & Walkers, , Amphipod, Hammer Gel, and Command Systems.

Next year, in the third and final leg of the series, the course will follow the southern section of the Baker Trail.

Finally, a word about the trail. Much of the trail in the central section is along dirt or paved roads which, while scenic, is not ideal for a trail. We'd prefer to have it pass through woods, skirt fields, meander over hills, follow streams, and so on. A primary reason for staging this event is to generate local awareness of the existence and benefits of the trail, ultimately leading to finding landowners willing to let us move the trail onto their properties. This is a long-term endeavor that we hope will bear fruit in the years to come. Each and every participant helps us toward this goal, and we thank you for your support and encouragement.

— Steve Mentzer