Aware that the “Patch-in-a-Day” concept had been successfully achieved a few times in the past, in 1996, Tim Singer thought it would be a good idea to attempt to better the fastest previous time of six hours, 41 minutes. Singer contacted Outdoor Ed. staffer and summer camp counselor Greg Henderson to discuss setting a new record. In fact, their goal was simple: To cut the previous best time (6:41) in half.
They did not reveal to others at camp what they were attempting to do, but rather undertook it as a personal challenge. Aside from a few hikes and runs up Bare, Rattlesnake and Sugarloaf, their endurance training consisted of some late night guitar jamming, and not drinking beer for a few days.
On June 1, 1996, Singer and Henderson started off from the 1812 Homestead – which, at the time, was the accepted starting line - and climbed Rattlesnake first. The day was beautiful, and Henderson led a previously scouted tote road up the northeast ridge of Bare.
Back at camp, where they had stored some refueling food (Skittles) and beverages in the mailbox, their run was interrupted by Tommy Reinckens, who was listing a number of good reasons why he should
be able to live Beetlebaum cabin that summer. Saying “lets consider this later,” Tim and Greg continued on to Sugarloaf, wholly convinced that Reinckens had been placed at the aid station solely to sabotage their efforts.
Following a cool, rainy month of May, June 1 was gorgeous. The climb up Sugarloaf came off without incident. At the time, there was no clear way off of Sugarloaf, nor any marked route to the Northway tunnel, near the Pok-O-Moonshine trailhead. So, Singer and Henderson winged it.
On the bushwack descent, just a matter of yards from the dirt road, Singer was gouged by sharp branch. 20 years later, he still proudly displays his “Scar de Perdu” just above the right knee. The clearest path to the I-87 Northway reached the highway a half-mile south of the tunnel. The boys jogged next to the traffic, along the shoulder of the interstate.
The climb up Pok-O was tiring, but uneventful; they completed the course in 3 hours 14 minutes (and 8 seconds) and gave the pursuit a new name: "Patch Sprint”. The summit picture featured the two of them, roughly 125 fewer people than in the 2015 photo.
Coming soon: 2006- the closest finish in Patch Sprint history