Nelson Conquers All

The 2011 Baker Trail UltraChallenge - August 27

After a three-year hiatus, Jeff Nelson returned to the UltraChallenge with his relay team. But this time, he also ran it solo. Having been challenged by Skanks & Geezers captain Jim Crist, Jeff vowed that not only would his team beat Jim's, but he would too, as a solo runner. Jeff lead throughout the day, as did his Chickless Dicks relay team, and indeed both Jeff and his team beat the Skanks & Geezers. In fact, Jeff beat everyone and finished first overall.

On Saturday, 73 solo runners and 7 relay teams started. Hurricane Irene stayed along the coast, leaving western Pennsylvania weather mostly sunny, with a start line temperature around 60 and a daytime high around 80. Sixty six runners reached the finish line, along with all relay teams.

Second-place finisher Kalin (kuh-LIN) Vasilev arrived about 36 minutes behind Jeff. This was Kalin's first 50-miler, and he said he'd done no special training since completing the 34-mile Rachel Carson Trail Challenge in June beyond his routine 5-mile run thrice a week.

Forty minutes behind Kalin was Joe Winch, for a strong third-place finish and his second medal piece.

Laura Sadler was one of six who earned the custom-made rolling pin medal display holder for completing all three sections (North, Central, and South) in the series. While driving her son to Clarion University for his freshman year in 2008, she saw the UltraChallenge runners and decided to enter the following year. This award marks the culmination of her journey and her son's, who graduated this year.

The five others who earned medal displays are:

  • Andrew Colburn
  • Thomas Hultz
  • Eric Ripper
  • Matthew Sargent
  • David Wise

We are grateful for the support of our sponsors this year: Elite Runners & Walkers and the Brookville YMCA.

A tremendous thanks to all our wonderful volunteers: David Adams, Jan Berg, Jerry Bosak, Matt Brownlee, Brad Coulson, Missi Coulter, Helen Coyne, Jim Crist, Ray Doverspike, Monica Duffell, Steve Edlis, Mark Eyerman, Kate Fissell, Kimberly Fleeger, Matthew Fleeger, Dave Galbreath, Mark Gibson, Jerry Heckathorn, Doris Hicks, Paul Hicks, Jerry Hoffman, Ryan Hoffman, Darla Kirkpatrick, Ryan Knecht, Diane Kostka, Joe Kostka, Dave McConahy, Joyce McConahy, Brittany McGrogan, Justin Moore, Adam O'Neil, Leslie Rodgers, Galen Shirey, Kevin Snyder, Donna Stoltz, Mike Waldvogel, Steve Waltman, Bill Wesner, Brenda Wolfe, Linda Xenophontos, and Carol Zellars!