A Damp Course

The 2014 Baker Trail UltraChallenge - August 23

It rained the night before. It had also rained earlier in the week. The first two-thirds of the course was wet and slick in many areas, adding another dimension to the race.

The weather started off in the low 60s, overcast and somewhat foggy. It warmed into the 70s and remained mostly overcast throughout the day.

Dennis Malecki started strong, reaching the first checkpoint with a five minute lead over Andrew Brosius. But Dennis dropped at mile 25, having moved to third place. By then, Seth Murray had taken the lead and he held it for the rest of the race, followed by Andrew and Patrick Duffey. Seth was also the first finisher on the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge two months earlier.

We had 66 solo runners start, with 54 finishing within the 14 hour time limit, and five relay teams. Team Blockheads II was in the lead until the last leg, when defending champs Team Skanks & Geezers closer Mike Salamon took flight and brought his team from a 34-minute deficit to finish nearly 12 minutes ahead of Blockheads II!

The new cable bridge over Mill Creek performed well. Reportedly about half the runners chose to use it as designed, and the other half held on to the bottom cable and waded across the creek.

A last-minute road detour in Summerville added nearly a quarter mile to the course. The plan was to turn left immediately after crossing the Main Street bridge over the Redbank Creek, but the construction crew working on replacing the bridge closed that road on Friday, forcing us to turn right and head in the opposite direction before we could join the Redbank Valley Trail.

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

  • Rachel Barney
  • Sarah Bell
  • Andrew Brosius
  • Michael Ciccone
  • Karey Elliott
  • Tammy McGaughey
  • Thomas Owen
  • Chris Procaccini
  • Shannon Stevenson
  • Stacie Stevenson
  • Todd Valesky
  • Stacey Varner
  • David Wolfe

Congratulations to all!

Many thanks to our volunteers, without whom the UltraChallenge would not happen: Lisa Beers, Stephen Beers, Jan Berg, Jennifer Braun, Charlie Brethauer, Matt Brownlee, Patty Brunner, Tricia Burkett, Connor Byrnes, Kurt Byrnes, Janice Cessna, Bill Dietrich, Sue English, Mark Eyerman, Kate Fissell, Dwight Fox, Ryan George, Mark Gibson, Doris Hicks, Jerry Hoffman, Andrew Kalus, Andrew Karnavas, Darla Kirkpatrick, Keith Klos, Karen Klos, Joe Kulbacki, Mike Latta, Karen Muirhead, Bob Mulshine, Herb Murray, Elise Nolan, Mr. & Mrs. Ed Scurry, Joe Shupienis, Debbie Smiga, Kevin Snyder, Mike Waldvogel, Steve Waltman, Ruth Watson, Chani Wolfe, Linda Xenophontos, Ken Zellars, and Carol Zellars.

And many thanks to our generous sponsors this year: the Brookville YMCA, D'Angelo Financial Services, Elite Runners & Walkers.

— Steve Mentzer