Race favorite Starkey three-peats; Giles surprise women’s champion
Starkey (left) at race start
When the race predictions came out, projecting two-time defending champion Cole Starkey to win the 2012 Patch Sprint in a time of two hours, eight minutes, Starkey was quick to reject the notion. “I’m good for a run at two hours,” he claimed. When reminded that it was supposed to be warm on race day, he countered, “I’m used to training in hot weather at home (Oklahoma)!” As expected, Starkey did win the race, held Saturday in Willsboro, NY, his third overall victory. And as also projected, his time was considerably slower than two hours- even slower than the prediction- as he came across the finish atop Pok-O-Moonshine mountain in a time of 2:15:35, five seconds faster than 2011, but well off of his course record pace. “I’m not so sure the course record (2:02:33, set by Starkey in 2010) can be broken,” the champion remarked following the race.
Indeed, with a longer course, and a second consecutive year of warm, humid temperatures, most racers time goals were hard to come by. Nonetheless, the competition was as intense as ever. Starkey took the men’s title rather easily, but behind him, five others were within a few minutes of one another in the race for silver and bronze. “There were some guys I didn’t recognize,” said Starkey, “who hung with me right up through Rattlesnake.” In the end, 1997 Patch Sprint champion Mark Corell (Calgary, Canada) was second; second year runner Kurt Schuler (Jackson, NH) third; and 17-year old race rookie Austin Huneck (Rexford, NY) fourth. Vermonter Jon Strazza, back at the event following a nine-year layoff, rounded out the top five.
Giles (left) became second fastest women ever
New Faces, Fast Legs
Little was known about 28-year old Courtney Giles (Richmond, VT) prior to this year’s race, outside the fact that she’s a standout rock climber. Obviously, she can handle high-end aerobic activity as well. Due to scheduling constraints, Giles needed to begin the race at the non-elite 9:00 time, and she may have benefited slightly from the cooler conditions. However, her eight minute margin of victory would likely have kept her in front, even at the later start time, and her finish time of 2:36:02 makes her the second fastest female in the event’s history. “A lot of fun,” raved the rookie champion, before heading out of town, well before the awards ceremony.
Duprey, Masters Champ
In a continuing impressive display of tenacity, 50-year old Deborah Nordyke (Hadley, NY) edged out pre-race favorite Patty Hurlburt (Keene Valley, NY) for second in the division. “At this point, my goal is simply to finish,” said the four-time race winner and course record holder. Hurlburt, 38, running her first Patch Sprint, led for a good chunk of the race, but fell victim to both Nordyke’s better familiarity with the course, as well as the steep vertical of the fourth and final mountain, Pok-O.
52-year old Mary Duprey (Rouses Pt., NY) bettered the three-hour mark for the second time in finishing fourth, while two-time champion Alexandra Disney (Plymouth, NH) was fifth.
Elsewhere in the racing division, Ken Herz (Chazy, NY) took the Clydesdale division in the battle of the Kens, besting three-time winner Ken Ryba, and local racer Wyatt Trzaskos (Willsboro, NY) became, at six, the youngest-ever Kindersprint champion. “I started a minute later then everyone and still won the race,” boasted the new champ, while his parents were quick to point out, “We’re still working on Wyatt’s efforts to be a bit more humble!”
First-time racer Nora Wooten was just 12 seconds quicker than Eliza Konowitz, who finished in the Top-5 for the third year in a row. Katrin Schreiner and Luke Moffett were fourth and fifth, respectively.
2012 Racing Champions
Soon They’ll Be Leaving in the Dark
Nancy and Bob Andrews
2012 marked the first time in ten years that the Trekker division was not the largest. Forty non-competitive hikers left the start line as early as six in the morning; a total of 19 choosing to begin before the traditional 8:00am time. “I think it’s great that people choose to start when they want,” said race co-founder Greg Henderson. “They’re placing the priority on the experience, rather than the finishing time.”
While teenager Arianne Spaulding was the fastest trekker, the division also yielded some of the day’s best stories. 77-year old Bob Andrews, even jogging parts of the course, extended his own record of being the oldest person to complete the Patch Sprint. Conversely, 10-year old Nora Canning was the youngest Patch Sprinter for the fourth year in a row.
And, for the ninth time, Chris Bell traveled from England to take part. “I will never miss this event,” said Bell. “The Patch Sprint is all about the people who take part.” As for this year’s experience, Bell said, “I began the trek with Charlotte Bush. She had never done the Patch Sprint and, halfway up Bare, she was ready to stop. But we encouraged her, she warmed up to it and, by the second half of the race, she was having a great time. And, come the last mountain, she left us in the dust!”
Volunteering and Contributing
While the Patch Sprint web site lists historical results of racers, trekkers and Kindersprinters, there is no real place to quantify, or give proper respect to the volunteers who are necessary to make the annual event happen. “We had more volunteers this year than ever before (listed, right),” said race director Erin Canning. “Everyone came through for us, many of them with thankless tasks. We are so appreciative of their efforts, and the help we also received from racers and trekkers before and after the race.”
What was once a small meeting of active friends has become not only Pok-O-MacCready Camp’s largest annual reunion, but a gathering of an extended group of camp family, friends, and kind donors to the Adirondack Scholarship Foundation, and Outdoor Education Center.
Preliminary estimates have over nine thousand dollars being raised this year by Patch Sprint participants. “With that amount,” said event coordinator Tim Singer, “several children, who otherwise couldn’t afford to come to camp, can now attend, and enjoy the same mountains and trails that we get to experience each year at the Patch Sprint!’
Thanks for the Help! - Registered Volunteers
CLICK HERE to see the 2012 Patch Sprint Slide Show Video