Repeat Champions; First Women Finishers
The final week of winter saw two separate groups- one fast and one "leisurely"- successfully cover the Patch Sprint course.
On Thursday, March 14, Jason Fiegl and Jim Kobak put in an impressive dash, leaving the start line pillars after 4:00pm, and completing the Patch course in a time of three hours, 17 minutes and 12 seconds. The time was the third fastest in winter Sprint history. “We ran a good portion of the way, and used trail running shoes the whole time,” said Fiegl.
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“There wasn’t a lot of snow,” Fiegl continued, “mostly on the north sides of the mountains. But it was icy, especially on Pok-O, where we wore spikes, and had to traverse out of the way of the first set of cliffs.”
Fiegl, who in 2012 set the winter record, in 70-degree weather, has now won the winter sprint a record six times, to go hand-in-hand with his six regular sprint victories, also a record. Kobak, a five-time race winner, now has three winter wins in the books.
FEMALES FINALLY FINISH
Three days later, and following a covering of snow, female race veterans Stephanie Konowitz and Steph Lylis also completed the winter course. “We took a leisurely pace,” said Konowitz, of their seven hour time. “The course was really icy, but it was a beautiful day, and we stopped for lunch at camp.”
The duo became the first two females to ever record a winter patch-in-a-day completion. For Konowitz, it was a bit of redemption, as she was turned back, by ice, one-half mile from the end, in 2010. “We didn’t have traction then; thank God for the micro-spikes this time!" For Lylis, aside from the winter first, it was a record ninth Patch finish.
The ladies had support along the way, including Fiegl himself who, along with his kids, met the group on Bare and Rattlesnake, to provide both snacks, and moral support. Later, on Pok-O-Moonshine, Karen Lounsbury, and Jody Edwards (the first ever Patch-in-a-Day hiker, in 1986) helped with trail breaking, equipment shuttling, and friendly assistance.
The two Steph’s were joined by Tim Singer who not only finished his third winter sprint, but kept pace with Fiegl with 19 total finishes (see record book).
The five total completions set a record for most recorded in a single winter. There were four winter sprinters in both 2005 and 2006.
Both trekking parties noted some significant changes to the Patch Sprint course. “Sugarloaf was barely recognizable,” said Lylis, of the immense amount of logging that has taken place. “That will need to be re-marked for this year’s race, or I'm getting lost!”
In addition, an unknown landowner, or squatter, has parked a trailer and some lawn chairs directly at the start of Fiegally (see gallery, below). “This could make things kind of interesting, come May,” said Singer.