Course record falls under most extreme conditions
“There is bad weather, and then there’s this!”
“A race that’s always challenging today became plain hard work!”
“Epic day at the Patch Sprint race. Cold temps, steady rain, running down trails turned into mountain streams, through shoe sucking mud and calf deep cold water.”
“I, and all the other Patch Sprinters, are BADASS! Just sayin'!”
-2013 Patch Sprint participants
In 2012, Jason Fiegl completed the winter Patch Sprint, on March 16, under sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70’s. 14 months later, the regular event- the supposed warm weather version of the Patch Sprint-- was held amidst rain, sleet, snow, wind and a thermometer reading in the 30’s, at the finish line.
None the less, the 2013 Patch Sprint, held Saturday, offered up record fund raising, the largest number of participants ever, and a new standard of speed excellence on the course.
(hit READ MORE link for complete story, quotes and pictures)
“Cheers from the top rang out as I took my last strides and stopped my watch… in relief and happiness and noting to myself that I'd managed to break the record with a 2:01:43.”
Despite racing the event for the first time, 31-year old Jan Wellford was the pre-event favorite. With a loaded resume of outstanding endurance achievements, Wellford also took the time to get to know the Patch Sprint course intimately. “I trained hard specifically for this race for two months… A look back at my training log tells me I spent nearly 24 hours and covered 132 miles on the course in April and May.”
On a record setting day filled with many positives, Wellford’s only lament was that “I didn't get to experience the summit party, which would have likely been the highlight of the day in nicer weather.”
True to fact, virtually every racer and trekker took time only to reach the top of Pok-O-Moonshine, before turning around and heading down the mountain. (Many more quotes and descriptions from Wellford may be read HERE)
Another race first-timer, Cullen Roberts, came in second with a finish time of 2:07:23, third fastest in race history. 1997 champion Mark Corell tied another race rookie, Christopher Fey, for third, at 2:15:55. Three-time defending champion Cole Starkey was maintaining a Top-6 pace prior to exiting the race after Sugarloaf.
Ellie Madden Bouffard
Starkey was one of a score of racers and trekkers to stop short of completion, very justifiable given the conditions. Dozens of others thought about calling it, including 18-year old women’s racer Natalie Whitney. It was a good thing for Whitney that she chose to continue, as she reached the top of Pok-O in a time of 3:11:45. “My goal for Patch Sprint was to improve my time from last year. It was really cold and when I reached the base of Pok-O I felt like quitting, but didn't think that being cold was a good enough reason to quit”, said Whitney, adding “I never thought I'd win and, to be honest, anyone that finished is a winner. The reason I do the event is because of my fondness for both hiking and camp.”
Another camp alumna, Ellie Madden Bouffard, the oldest women’s racer in the field, ended up second, after holding the lead through Sugarloaf. “After the final push to the finish at the top of Pok-O-Moonshine there was no rest or celebrating,” said Bouffard. “Cold wind and sleet meant we had to head right back down before hypothermia set in. Tough day out there but second woman award made it all worth it!”
Mindy Burkhart was third, followed by race regulars Pam Gonzalez and Katie Moffett.
In other racing, Ken Herz made it a repeat title for the Clydesdale’s, edging out Josh Bornt, who had a huge weight handicap advantage. Three-time winner Ken Ryba chose to trek the course and that, along with some significant weight loss, kept him totally out of contention.
In the smallest Kindersprint field in race history, Katrin Schreiner became the first-ever female champion, as well as the third member of her family to capture a racing division. Luke Moffett and Sophie Fiegl also finished the course in the grueling conditions.
In a usual year, trekking is a social, relaxed manner in which to cover four mountains and 12.7 miles. But when the thermometer falls, along with the rain, trekking becomes a test of patience and perseverance. The number of finishing trekkers- 21- was the lowest total since 2004. Congratulations to all of those who hung in until the end, in particular, Bob Andrews who extended his own mark as oldest Patch Sprint finisher, at 78. On his way up Pok-O, nearing the seven hour mark on course, Andrews met up with six-time race champion, Jason Fiegl, who was headed down. Fiegl promptly turned around and accompanied the senior sprinter to the top of Pok-O.
And not to be left behind- well, left a bit behind- were trekkers Eric and Jason Bauer, and Shiri Elaz (right). The trio suspended their trek at the base of Pok-O, but returned two days later, in perfect weather, to climb to the finish and complete the course in an unofficial record (slow) time of 54 hours, 44 minutes and 10 seconds.
LABORS OF LOVE
It was mentioned at the post-race awards dinner that the true stars of the day were the volunteers. “It was easy (sort of) for us to run in the rain and cold,” said event veteran Tim Singer, “but for the volunteers to stand in one place, and still get the job done, took a lot of commitment!” Many thanks to all of the volunteers, listed below, along with those who also pitched in to: time the race… register the participants… hand out food and beverages… take pictures… mark the course (BEAST crew)… control the traffic… prepare the meals… and monitor the deteriorating medical condition of many of the freezing participants.
The Patch Sprint exists for two reasons only: For people to come together for a good time, and to raise money for the Adirondack Scholarship Foundation. One cannot happen without the other. Given that, the 2013 edition was a huge success. While totals are still being calculated, all signs point to a figure approaching eleven thousand dollars: a record for any foundation-supported fund raising event!
Many thanks to all of the donors (virtually everyone who took part) with a special nod to the Goldie Anna Charitable Trust, for their annual generous gift; Mark Gibson, Chris Brakey and Tate Aronstein for winning the event’s donation incentive contests, along with the winning bidders at the Saturday auction: Kate Young, Peter Joelson and Lesley Aronstein.
As well as winning the race and setting the course record, Jan Wellford mostly walked away with a keen understanding of what the Patch Sprint is all about. “The story of the day was the weather, but the real story for me is the way this small, little-known race/run/hike has turned into something truly extraordinary.
"It feels more like you're at a family reunion than a race. In addition to 100 runners there must have been another 100 volunteers and spectators, most of whom are part of the extended Pok-O family. I felt privileged to be welcomed into this family for the day!”
What others are saying about the Patch Sprint:
“Thanks for all your work. It was a great way to raise money for the ADK Scholarship (Foundation)! I used muscles I did not think I had!” -Cindy Watson, trekker
“Thank you for organizing and holding such an amazing event and fundraiser. I was really impressed with the organization and amazing attitude everyone had for this event.” -Chris Fey, racer
“You guys throw a great party and a spectacular race and an awesome reunion. Amazing!! Thanks so much.” - Sheila McIntyre, volunteer
"Thanks for a great weekend. The patch sprint has become an event my family looks forward to each year. We sure do love the opportunity to visit the greatest camp on earth. -D. Whitney, volunteer
“Thanks again for hosting a terrific Patch Sprint this year. Truly one of the most memorable PS races I have been a part of.” - Jason Metakis, racer
“We are going to try to make the PS an annual family gathering. You have really turned it into an event that is eagerly anticipated for all!” - The Young Family, racers and volunteer
Please share your thoughts on the 2013 Patch Sprint in the comments sections below