That deer was Ryan Atkins. The professional racer from Toronto, one of the top-ranked adventure racers in the world, smashed the course record while handily beating the sacred two-hour barrier, easily capturing the 2018 Patch Sprint, held Saturday, May 26. Another first-time Patch Sprinter, Sara Dunham was the women’s winner, as new champions were crowned in five of the six racing divisions.
“Yeah I wanted to break two hours, it seemed like a really cool benchmark, but I was just trying to run a solid, steady, even race,” said Atkins, who spends summers in the Adirondacks, but had never been on the Patch Sprint course until three days before the race. “It was super fun. I think the change in the course - from steep and technical, to fast road, to double track, to bushwhacking and back to steep - there’s just so much variance and you are switching gears constantly; it was just fun!”
Jan Wellford (Keene, NY), one of seven past champions in the field, edged past Liam Davis (left, Willsboro, NY) in the final half-mile to claim runner-up position; Davis ended up third, while capturing the Clydesdale division for the third straight year. Two-time winner Austin Huneck was fourth, while double Pond Sprint champion Jeremy Drowne took fifth. “There are certain races that for one reason or another hold a special place in my heart. The Patch Sprint is one of these," said Drowne.
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