Sean Davis and Sarah Duclos were the big winners among an impressive field of racers at the 2017 Patch Sprint, held in sunny conditions Saturday, May 27.
Davis (Willsboro, NY) outpaced his brother, Liam and 2013 race winner Jan Wellford, all finishing within 90 seconds of one another, with Top-5 historical record times.
FROM THE CHAMPION: “So going in I knew Jan and Liam were going to be tough and that Jeremy (Drowne) was also very fast, although his foot injury clearly slowed him today. Having never run a trail race before, my strategy was to go out relatively easy and get a feel for how the other top competitors were running, and maybe try to make a move between Rattlesnake and Sugarloaf if possible. We had a pretty close pack on Bare, with Jeremy leading up and Jan leading down. At the base of Bare I took the lead and was able to stretch it out a bit on Rattlesnake. Once we hit Reber Road again I really felt I hit my stride, and from that point I didn’t see anyone behind me until the Base of Pok-O, when I noticed Liam maybe 50 yards back. We had a good push up Pok-O, and despite my legs cramping going up the chimney I was able to hold him off and take the win by 20 seconds.”
Despite a field of two dozen women’s runners, only three were eligible for the title – starting at 9:00am – with Sarah Duclos (Clifton Park, NY), the 2016 runner-up, winning her first Patch Sprint. Course record holder and four-time champion Deborah Nordyke, the oldest racer in the division, claimed second, while event veteran Annie Preston earned her first podium, in third.
FROM THE CHAMPION: “My main goal going into the race was to beat my time from last year. Last year was my first time doing the Patch Sprint, and I remember thinking after I finished that it would take a lot to get me to do it again - anyone who did it last year remembers the horrendous heat! But, as these things tend to happen, I found myself forgetting about the misery and pain of running over four mountains as fast as possible in 90+ degree heat and signing up for a second time...I suppose it was worth it! Throughout the race, I made it a point to not look at my GPS watch because I knew it would stress me out if I looked down and saw that I was going too slow, or that I still had 5 miles left to go when I was beginning to feel pooped. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I finally looked at my watch on the steep section at the end of Poko and saw that I had 20 minutes to make it the last 100 meters in order to PR! All in all, I think I paced the race well and actually had fun while I was racing (unlike last year!).
"I read the pre-race 'predictions' on the website, so I was aware of some of the competition. I was just happy to be running with Annie and Rosanne (Van Dorn, 4th place finisher) for the first two mountains - it was fun! Annie and I shared some groans over all the mud that we had to run through up Rattlesnake.”
THE BIG GUYS
In finishing second overall, Liam Davis shattered the former gross time and net Clydesdale division marks. At 232 pounds, Davis had a “net handicap” time of 1:31:29, blowing the field away by two hours, 50 minutes. Ken Marin finished 2nd, with Josh Bornt and Andrew Chalnick ending up in a virtual weight handicap tie for third.
By the way, one day after winning their respective divisions in the Patch Sprint, Liam and Sean Davis, and cousin Gus Harquill (6th place) teamed up in the Vermont City Marathon relay. “Sore legs and all, everyone did incredibly well in the VCM. Despite 3 of our 5 relay members (Liam, Gus, and I) competing in the Patch, we finished second out of almost 800 5-person relay teams in a time of about 2:42. So overall it was a successful weekend!”
The first person to the finish line Saturday was Vermonter Sam Wooten, reaching the top of Pok-O 29 minutes after the Kindersprint start of 10:00am. It was Sam’s second consecutive division win, after finishing as runner-up two years ago. “It was fun; I wasn’t tired at all!” Waylon, Ronan, Sofie and Lily rounded out the top 5.
In addition to the racers, 35 trekking hikers hit the course—the largest group of trekkers in several years. Most notable among them was 18 year old Elizabeth Swan (left, Chazy, NY) who carried a garbage bag most of the way over the 13-mile course, picking up whatever she saw on the ground. Even though the litter was not really connected with the race “It just seemed like the right thing to do!”
VOLUNTEERS, FRIENDS & DONORS
Proof that the Patch Sprint is as much a reunion than it is a race, the largest group of participants were those who did not run and hike. 56 volunteers and guests were on hand and “this event cannot happen without them, said Tim Singer, director of both the race, and the event beneficiary, Adirondack Scholarship Foundation. “None of the volunteers are paid to help out, and none of the runners and trekkers are required to donate but, in the end, everyone contributes. We can’t thank you all enough!” At press time, over 10-thousand dollars was raised for the foundation, which helps to send children from financially needy families to summer camp.
How well was Patch-17 received? Look no further than the racing champions:
“Overall, the race was a ton of fun with good-spirited and friendly people. Even if you don't race it, it's a great way to spend a Saturday outside.” -Sarah Duclos
“We had a beautiful day, and from an organizational standpoint I was super impressed, the course was well marked, all the event info. was communicated clearly, and both the pre-race dinner and awards banquet were a ton of fun.
“Overall this is definitely one of the coolest events I’ve participated in!” -Sean Davis
What did you think of the race? Use the comment section below!