Maybe the two-hour mark is forever safe!
On a day where conditions were perfect for a sub two-hour Patch Sprint time – cool temperatures, dry course, and an elite field of runners – the elusive barrier remained safe by over five minutes.
Austin Huneck of Rexford, NY captured the 2015 title in a time of 2:05:23. Huneck, who had finished 4th and 6th in two prior Patch Sprints, used a blistering pace on the final mountain to run away from the competition Saturday morning.
Huneck’s Sugarloaf to Pok-O-Moonshine split of 40:37 bettered the former record mark by nearly three minutes. “I've run the Patch Sprint a couple of times before, and both times I've gone out too hard, and suffered big time going up Pok-O,” said the champion, who was in 8th place after Bare mountain, tied for 4th on Rattlesnake, and in third place, 30 seconds back, on Sugarloaf. “This year I went in trying to pace it so that I'd have the energy to get up the last mountain with a decent time. I took it easy from the start and focused on racing the down hills, and I think I made up time there. By the time we got to Sugarloaf, I was feeling great so I went with it, and it turns out I paced it really well and was able to put in a good last effort, so I was happy about that.”
Huneck is just one member of an impressive Patch family; his brother Aaron ended up in 6th place, while father Tim also cracked the top-20, missing his P.R. by one second!
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At 20, Austin Huneck becomes the second-youngest overall champion in race history. The youngest ever winner was Mark Corell (Calgary, Canada), who was 19 when he shared the title in 1997. 18 years later, Corell finished tied for second Saturday, to complete a 1-2-3 podium sweep over his long racing career. Tied with Corell was Kurt Schuler (Plymouth, NH). In his four Patch Sprints, Schuler has finished in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th. So, he’ll have a clear goal to look forward to in 2016. (SEE FULL RESULTS)
Experience wins out…. again
Perhaps it was the BEAST training. Or maybe it was the fact that she was predicted to finish second. Whatever the case, Patty Hurlburt (Keene Valley, NY) outpaced high school sensation Tyra Wynn (Queensbury, NY) for the second consecutive year to repeat as Patch overall WOMEN’S CHAMPION.
Hurlburt, a winter 46er who excels on the climbs, made her move on the road between Rattlesnake and Sugarloaf, where she opened up four minutes on Wynn. In the end, her margin of victory was five minutes, in a finish time of 2:27:28, the second fastest women’s time in the history of the event. Erin Bessette-Kirton and Rachel Levy were the only other females to better the three-hour mark, in finishing third and fourth, respectively.
Phil Maher (Chicago, IL), weighing in at 227 (fully clothed), captured his second CLYDESDALE title, eleven years after first winning the division. Maher’s net time of 2:29:30 was an hour better than Ryan Bornt and Matt Wooten, who rounded out the top three.
Speaking of the Wootens (Cornwall, VT), in a family battle of the sexes, older sister Nora bettered brother Sam by two and one-half minutes to win the KINDERSPRINT race. Ethan Daley ended up third, followed by Luke Moffett and Tilden Reinckens in what was easily the largest ever Kindersprint field of racers to date.
The most impressive of those 119 finishers was the man who ended up 119th, six hours and 15 minutes slower than the champion. 80-year old Bob Andrews (Salem, SC) completed his 5th successful course walk and, while bettering his own record for oldest finisher, he becomes the first octogenarian to complete the Patch Sprint. This despite severely twisting his ankle early on the course. A small group of friends and family members waited until Andrews reached the finish to celebrate his amazing feat, followed by a thunderous ovation for the ageless wonder at the evening awards ceremony.
WITH GREAT APPRECIATION
“I had a great day yesterday. I wanted to let you know how much it meant to me to be able to participate in the Patch Sprint. The course was fantastic and everyone was so positive and encouraging. I plan on participating next year. Thank you for putting on such an amazing, and extremely well organized event. I loved every second!”
So wrote one very satisfied first-time racer. Many others concurred, as the entire event seemed to come off without any missteps. “Some of this was good weather, and some of it was good luck,” said event director Tim Singer, “but a lot of thanks goes to the hard working group of unselfish volunteers who helped to stage the race. The timers; aid station attendants; Sherpas; road stewards; photographers; cooks; everyone. You know who you are, and in case I neglected to thank you personally, let me say here how much your support means to this event!”
The Patch Sprint bills itself as a race, trek and reunion but it is – first and foremost – a fundraiser. As this story gets published online, $11,842 has been raised for the Adirondack Scholarship Foundation; with some pledges still coming in, last year’s record mark of 12-thousand may be beat.
While Austin Huneck and Patty Hurlburt may be this year’s race champions, the true winners are a select group of grateful children, who will get to attend summer camp thanks, in part, to funds donated by participants at the 2015 Patch Sprint.
Patch Sprint 2016 - 5/28/2016
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