“I was jogging along, minding my own business, when a deer came flying right past me!” - Cara Gentry
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.
Hit the READ MORE link for more results, quotes and photos
With three weeks to go until the Patch Sprint, the event has sold out for racers and trekkers. 2018 marks the 8th consecutive year that the event has sold out; six out of those years it has filled up before May.
Registration remains open for volunteers, Kindersprint, Half-Sprint, Relay, as well as event guests. A waiting list has been instituted for the racing and trekking divisions, with the priority being placed on first come, first serve, as well as donor generosity.
"We'd love to take as many as possible," said event co-director Tim Singer, "but we have to limit numbers due to event logistics, environmental impact, and state regulations." So far, 171 people have registered for this year's event, scheduled for May 25-27.