Mother Nature tried her best to stop the running of the 13th Annual Stark Mountain Hill Climb held on October 1, 2011 at Mad River Glen, Fayston, Vermont. The event is sponsored by the Stark Mountain Foundation and was a fundraiser this year for the Green Mountain Club’s trail work on the Stark Mountain section of the Long Trail. Runners had the option of also competing in the Allen Clark Hill Climb (bike) the following day which raised funds for Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports. Competitors in both events qualified for duathlete awards.
The event is a one mile vertical climb to the summit of Stark Mountain. Runners choose their route. This year the wind howled, the rain pelted, temperatures dropped below freezing at the summit, and for the first time the chairlift had to be closed down because of extreme wind gusts. Consequently the runners were not able to take advantage of a ride down on Mad River’s historic single chair after their summit bids. Instead they had to walk or run back to the base. Mad River Ski Patrol came to the rescue and motored clothing to the summit for the runners to wear on their return. Of 29 starters, 26 finished, all reaching the summit despite the weather and slippery conditions in under one hour.
Both the male and female defending champions returned, as well as the women’s current course record holder Audrey Huffman of Waitsfield, and Harriott Shea of East Montpelier who held the women’s record for years before Huffman stole it in 2010 with a time of 29:40.35.
The women’s competition was sizzling. Four women placed in the top 10 overall. Huffman and Shea were just one minute apart with last year’s second place winner, Laurie Greenberg of Warren, breathing down their necks. Huffman and men’s repeat winner Terry Kellogg proceeded to compete in the Allen Clark Hill Climb the next day and defend their titles as top duathletes. Kellogg’s winning run time was 28:20.06 and duathlon time 56:53.00. Huffman’s run time of 31:32.48 and duathlon time of 1:03:48.68, placed her third overall amongst five duathlon finishers. The duathlon finishers included Kellogg, Huffman, Patrick Campbell 2nd, Jon Jamieson 4th and John Himmelsbach 5th.
Awards also went to Mark Smith of Williston, Vermont as first male Senior, Jon Jamieson of Waitsfield as first male Master, Laura Farrell of Stowe as 1st female Senior and Alan Villemaire of Windham, New Hampshire 1st male Veteran (over 70). Full results are posted with this release and on the Stark Mountain Foundation website, www.starkmountain.org and www.coolrunning.com or contact Race Director Dot Helling, email@example.com
Next year’s tentative date for the 14th Annual Stark Mountain Hill Climb is October 6, 2012. Mark your calendars!!!
By Dot Helling, October 3, 2011