Nelson Makes it Two

The 2012 Baker Trail UltraChallenge - August 25

Jeff Nelson finishes

Jeff Nelson (right) approaches the finish

Jeff Nelson returned for the second time as a solo runner and, like last year, finished First Overall with a solid 30 minute lead. Behind him was his protege, seventeen year old Jared Hazen. Barring a bank-error-in-your-favor card, Jeff had resigned himself to Jared winning, knowing Jared had been putting in hundred-mile weeks this summer.

Indeed, Jared was the frontrunner until about the halfway point. The trail section along Mahoning Creek slowed him down, which was where Jeff was able to pull ahead. Somewhere around mile 35, Jared took a wrong turn and was off the trail for about a mile. Later, he was struggling to keep food down and was clearly spent when he crossed the finish. It was a heroic effort on Jared's part, for a well deserved First Place Male.

Second Place Male finisher Ben English turned in a great performance for what is reportedly his first ultra, and Monica Duffell took First Place Female with the fastest female time yet on this section.

The weather was quite similar to last year. The day began just under 60 degrees and rose to the low 80s in the afternoon, with nary a cloud in the sky.

We had the highest turnout ever this year, with 85 solo runners starting and 77 finishing within the 14 hour time limit, and eight relay teams. The venerable team Skanks & Geezers, trailing Jeff Nelson's team Will Run For Beer by nearly 15 minutes at the last leg, came roaring back with closer Cristin Gorajczyk to take First Place Overall Relay by almost the same margin!

For these thirteen runners, this section earned them the final piece of the medal and the accompanying rolling pin display:

  • Daniel Baker
  • Steve Beers
  • Gineen Dutkovic
  • Richard Graw
  • Bernie Holliday
  • Jacob Joseph
  • Tom Parenti
  • Richard Parker
  • Adam Peterson
  • Mick Quen
  • Donald Whalen
  • Joe Winch
  • Ken Zellars (this is Ken's second rolling pin)

Congratulations to all!

Many thanks to our volunteers, without whom the UltraChallenge would not happen: Richard Barney, John Battick, Yvonne Battick, Jan Berg, Gerald Bosak, Matt Brownlee, Patty Brunner, Janice Cessna, Richard Cessna, Helen Coyne, Emma Crist, Bill Dietrich, Ray Doverspike, Mark Eyerman, Kate Fissell, Dwight Fox, Dave Galbreath, Mark Gibson, Paul & Doris Hicks, Jerry Hoffman, Ryan Hoffman, Betty Hovland, Don Jewell, Andy Karnavas, Darla Kirkpatrick, Ryan Knecht, Dave McConahy, Joyce McConahy, Herb Murray, Jan Overcashier, Cindy Rogers, Joe Shupienis, Debbie Sigworth, Kevin Snyder, David Syiek, Doug Turner, Steve Waltman, Brenda Wolfe, Clarence Woods, Linda Xenophontos, and Carol Zellars.

A special thanks to Hisham Youssef and Rebecca Slak, who graciously open their farm to us so we may offer our runners a warm and welcoming environ.

And many thanks to our generous sponsors this year: Elite Runners & Walkers and Rae Lyn Enterprises.

— Steve Mentzer