Course Record Falls for Second Straight Year
With the perfect tour guide for the first 12 miles, and a surge of high caliber energy and speed over the last mile, 21-year old Aaron Newell (Queensbury, NY) captured the 2014 Patch Sprint in record time, Saturday afternoon in upstate New York..
Patty Hurlburt, Ben Stanley and Wyatt Trzaskos also took division titles on a welcome sunny day that featured fast racing, fun times, and fairy princesses.
In the Footsteps of a Champion
Having never raced the event, or even been on the course, Aaron Newell’s winning strategy was basic: “Stay with Jan if I can, and see what happens at the end.” Sure enough, Newell, and defending race champ and record holder Jan Wellford, cranked up Bare Mountain together, in a new split record time of nine minutes, 23 seconds.
The pair remained virtually together right up through Sugarloaf when, according to Wellford, “he found the right moment to blast ahead of me, and there was no catching him.” In fact, Newell also set a new mark for the Sugarloaf to Pok-O split.
Wellford’s only remaining hope was a shortcut near the end of the course. “I took the chimney but, to tell the truth, if I had seen Aaron just behind me, I would have waited and finished together. He had run that good a race!”`
In the end, the reverse occurred. After crossing the finish for the victory, Newell immediately jogged back down the trail in order to accompany the runner-up Wellford across the line. Newell’s finish time of 2:01:09, was 44 seconds better than Wellford’s previous mark.
While the predicted two-hour mark was not bettered, Newell shows promise that it is certainly doable. “I’ve had surgery on both my hip and ankle this past year, so I’m still getting back into shape!”
The Fastest Female
Like the men’s champion, new women’s race winner Patty Hurlburt (Keene Valley, NY) has also come back from injuries. A third place finisher in 2012, Hurlburt had to miss the event last year. In a reverse trend from the men’s division, experience won out here: At 40, Hurlburt had nearly a quarter-century on race runner-up Tyra Wynn (16).
Hurlburt and Wynn were the only women racing in the 10:00am start group, and Hurlburt’s winning time of 2:37:00 makes her the third fastest woman to ever cover the course. Vermonter Michelle Forkey, and course record holder Deb Nordyke also bettered the three-hour mark in finishing third and fourth.
Big Ben’s Back: other racing divisions
Following a four-year layoff, perennial top-5 finisher Ben Stanley (Phoenix, AZ) returned to capture his third Clydesdale title. While finishing behind two other Clydesdale racers, Stanley, at 230 pounds, was able to win the division based on net time. “This race isn’t as easy as it used to be. The other racers are getting better, and I’m getting older!”
The anticipated Kindersprint dual between 2012 winner Wyatt Trzaskos and defending champion Katrin Schreiner did not disappoint. Both bettered the previous course record up Pok-O-Moonshine, with Trzaskos (Willsboro, NY) breaking the tape in a time of 23:06. Both are eligible to race in this division again in 2015.
In what was easily the fastest Patch Sprint ever, 30 racers came in under three hours. The winning time from 15 years ago would not have cracked the top-18 this year. “We are getting some incredible runners now,” said Greg Henderson, one of five current and former race winners to finish in the top ten.
THE 2014 PATCH SPRINT TOP TEN
Enjoying the View
Once the largest division in the Patch Sprint, the trekkers have dwindled in numbers. This year there were just 22 trekkers (compared to 82 racers) and many of them ran as well. At the post-race dinner and banquet, special recognition went to Pete Henderson (71) and Bob Andrews (79) – the event’s two most senior trekkers – who covered the course together in less than seven hours. Additionally, New York State Assemblyman Dan Stec (above), having never done the Patch Sprint, soloed the course, persevering in a time of 5:33:20. “When the (8:00am start) race began, everyone but me was running!”
For 2015, event organizers plan to institute a formal earlier trekking time “in order to re-ignite a division that was once so popular, and is fun, social and important to this event,” said organizer Tim Singer.
The day’s slowest finishing time – racer or trekker – was recorded by Clydesdale racer Ken Herz (6:52:46). The two-time division champion's day began in the hospital, having a tick removed, but Herz was at the pillars in time for the 8:00 start.
Stating “I’m just not feeling it today,” he labored up and over the first three mountains before another issue necessitated a return to the hospital. In what had to be one of the fastest procedures of it’s kind, Herz passed a kidney stone, returned to where he had left off on the course, and finished the Patch Sprint, pain free.
The tallying is still taking place but, as this report gets posted online, over 11-thousand dollars has been raised for the Adirondack Scholarship Foundation, by 2014 Patch Sprint participants. “We actually expect to exceed last year’s total, when all is said and done,” said Singer.
“Our warmest thanks, as always, to everyone for helping to raise funds to allow children to share in the same fun, beauty, friendship and memories that we’ve experienced this weekend.”
SEE FULL RESULTS WITH MOUNTAIN SPLIT TIMES
Click any thumbnail to view gallery (more photos coming soon)