Expect the Unexpected

The 2013 Baker Trail UltraChallenge - August 24

Having won the previous two years, Jeff Nelson was expected to return and win his third UltraChallenge in a row. Last year, Jared Hazen put up a strong fight but eventually faded, allowing Jeff to pull ahead and win, surprising even Jeff. This year Jared was feeding his running wanderlust in Colorado, which took him out of contention. Would someone else put up a challenge?

Indeed, at mile 21 there were six contenders: Jeff Nelson, Patrick Duffey, Jason Kelly, Andrew Brosius, David Emch, and Brian Krogmann. By mile 29, Jeff and Andrew had pulled ahead of the others. But by mile 40, Jeff was starting to fade and was several minutes behind Andrew. Jeff was struggling with keeping food and even liquid down. He felt bad enough that he would have dropped, but he kept at it because he didn't want to have to return in three years to get the finisher medal for this section and the rolling pin display!

Andrew held off Patrick Duffey, who surged during the final leg, to win. Patrick regrettably went the wrong way at the final turn onto the road leading to the farm, sending him several miles off course. He still had a respectable finish, despite that. David Emch was in the chase all the way, finishing second. Karey Elliott was third and the first female finisher.

The weather started off in the mid 50s, then rose to around 80 in the afternoon under sunny skies. On the open roads in the sun, it felt much warmer than that.

We had 78 solo runners starting and 70 finishing within the 14 hour time limit, and nine relay teams. Team Blockheads held the lead for the entire day, and their closer Brian Frank burned up the last leg at a smoking 7:22 pace. Last year's champs Team Skanks & Geezers finished second, and team Poor White Kids finished fifth, anchored by the nearly 70 year old kid-at-heart Paul Hicks.

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

  • Michael Anderson
  • Sara Brunazzi
  • Kurt Byrnes
  • Dennis Caveglia
  • Rhonda Hampton (this is Rhonda's second rolling pin)
  • Jeffrey Hirt
  • Matthew Johnson
  • Dan Kendra
  • Kimberly Marshall
  • Jeff Nelson
  • Kreig Spahn
  • Joe Truskowski
  • Daniel Young

Congratulations to all!

Many thanks to our volunteers, without whom the UltraChallenge would not happen: John Battick, Yvonne Battick, Lisa Beers, Steve Beers, Jan Berg, Matt Brownlee, Patty Brunner, Janice Cessna, Richard Cessna, Todd Chambers, Bill Dietrich, Tamara Duff, Monica Duffell, Mark Eyerman, Kate Fissell, Dave Galbreath, Doris Hicks, Jerry Hoffman, Andrew Karnavas, Michael King, Keith Klos, Ryan Knecht, Josh Kratz, Dave McConahy, Brianna Ritz, Richard Ritz, Cindy Rogers, Gabrielle Santangelo, Gail Schlichtkrull, Ken Schlichtkrull, Edward Scurry, Kevin Smith, Kevin Snyder, David Syiek, Gregory Syiek, Doug Turner, Bob Vickers, Mike Waldvogel, Nick Walton, Ruth Watson, Jonathan West, Brenda Wolfe, Carol Zellars, and Ken Zellars.

A special thanks to Hisham Youssef and Rebecca Slak, who continue to open their farm to us and our runners!

And many thanks to our generous sponsors this year: Elite Runners & Walkers, DiMaio's Market, and Rae Lyn Enterprises.

— Steve Mentzer