Burkholder Makes It Two

The 2020 Baker Trail UltraChallenge - August 29

It was an unusual year, as if it needs to be said, where lots of races were cancelled. We're thankful that we could adapt the UltraChallenge in order to keep running and provide a safe trail race IRL, particularly for runners suffering from race withdrawal.

Naturally there were permits that needed to be secured, namely from DCNR and the PA Game Commission. Fortunately the Covid situation had stabilized by August and both agencies were accommodating, in no small part because the UltraChallenge is a relatively small event where participants spread out fairly quickly.

A miscommunication at the start line caused a delay that required reorienting the starting queue, but soon enough runners were scanned out one at a time — instead of a group start — in order to promote dispersion.

Once off, Brenner Burkholder flew along the trail and remained well ahead of his nearest challenger, Bill Huber. Brenner won last year's UltraChallenge (his first appearance) and returned this year to make it two. He also sustained an 8:57 pace to finish in under 7.5 hours, the fastest in race history.

Bill Huber and Matt Mauclair finished second and third, respectively, clocking in about 50 minutes apart.

It was an overcast morning that gave way to intermittent sun, starting around 60 and warming into the upper 70s and more sun in the afternoon. While it poured as we were loading the shuttle buses for the trip to the start line, the start itself was dry and there was only an occasional shower in some places along the course throughout the day. Many runners experienced a rain-free run.

We had 93 solo runners start, with 80 finishing within the 14 hour time limit.

In the 14-team relay race, North Park Trail Yinzers chased NPTR Bedraggled Mountain Yippies! all day and at one point was behind by over 28 minutes, but their final leg runner Greg Powell floored it, laying down a 6:59 pace to close the gap and then some. The Yinzers finished ahead of the Yippies by just 60 seconds.

These five solo runners earned the the final piece of the medal and the accompanying rolling pin display:

  • Kristin Engle
  • Michael Findley
  • Peter Kozlowski
  • Amy Nelson
  • Kevin Tucker

Congratulations to all!

Many thanks to our volunteers, without whom the UltraChallenge would not happen: Joyce Appel, Alex Baker, Joanie Baker, Dewaine Beard, Judy Bishop, Charlie Brethauer, Paula Brethauer, Matt Brownlee, Patty Brunner, Richard Cook, Jim Crist, Tom Davis, Tim Deily, Jen Due, Sue English, Rosemary Erb, Jeff Fairman, Kate Fissell, Dwight Fox, Janet Fox, Larry Fuksa, Dave Galbreath, Joanne Gibson, Mark Gibson, Lincoln Griffin, Tirzah Griffin, Paul Henry, Jerry Hoffman, Greg Hood, Andrew Karnavas, Beth Kopay, Edward Kopay, Alynn Kramer, Vera Krekanova, John Krofcheck, Charlie Lindahl, Douglas MacPhail, Ian Miller, Julia Miller, Chrislyn Mowry, Hannah Mowry, Karen Muirhead, Tom Nolan, Carl Oehling, Eric Perry, Jordan Pitts, Edward Scurry, Kevin Snyder, Sarah Solyan, Donna Stolz, David Syiek, Robert Vickers, James Watt, and Sarah Wilson.

We appreciate our generous sponsors this year: Peoples Gas, Marburger Farm Dairy, and Rae Lyn Enterprises. Special thanks to the Brookville United Methodist Church for the use of their facilities.

— Steve Mentzer