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Saturday, June 18, 2005 -- Canaan Valley Resort State Park - Davis, WV
Highlands Sky 40 Mile Trail Run (iPO Event Id#: 6587)
Photos & Intro by Julie Black with Race Report from Dan Lehmann,Race Director

See more photos from Anna Lehmann and Dan Todd at www.wvmtr.org/gallery/

* Don't miss the next WVMTR race, the Rattlesnake Trail 50K on July 9.

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]
Highlands 40 Mile Coverage: [2003] [2004]

Photo by Julie Black
Dolly Sods rugged beauty
The West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners (WVMTR) presented the 3rd annual Highlands Sky Trail Run. Hosted again by Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center, this event had a point to point course that traversed the Dolly Sods and Canaan Valley.

When Dan Lehmann and his crew puts on an Ultra Race, not only do over 120 racers show up, but so does the entire local community. The close-knit group of fine folks who host this annual event seem to appriciate the raw beauty of the area as much as a first-time tourist. They have a lot to be proud of.

Three years and running, this 40-mile trek across some of West Virginia's most awesome terrain grows every year and has the potential of becoming one of the largest Ultra races of it's kind.


Full Race Report by Dan Lehmann, Race Director...

Photo by Julie Black
Skipping down a dry creek bed
How about some important race statistics;
  • 40.7 miles, 5739' ascent, 5121' descent
  • A 5 mile climb ascending 2200' from mile 2 to mile 7
  • 125 starters, 116 official finishers and 2 just over the 12 hrs ...a 94% finishing rate
  • 23 first-time ultrarunners of which 19 finished...83% finishing rate
  • 8 runners have a streak going completing 2003, 2004 and 2005 races

That doesn't tell the story of the 2005 Highlands Sky at all. The Friday pre-race camaraderie, the anticipation on the pre-dawn ride to Laneville, the excitement of the start, the conversations along the trail, the freedom of the hills, the company of old and new found friends, the smiles and grimaces of joy as runners cross the finish line, these are what this 40 miler and ultra running is all about.

Photo by Julie Black
Celebrating after Aid Station-7
A cool, 47 degree Saturday morning and a preceding week of dry weather made for superb running conditions this year. Someone remarked how the lesser amount of water and mud on the trail made it easier to negotiate the rock-strewn sections... well, a little bit anyway. A new section eliminating the "big muddy" and taking the high meadows and boulders meant less sloshing through the bogs. Everyone enjoyed this new section and the magnificent views along Raven Ridge Trail.

But there was a race going on too. Front runners Ian Schouten, Bill Young and Mark Lundblad all pulled in to Aid Station-2 mile 10.1 at 1:45 followed in minutes by Luke Fleischman, Todd Eaby, Chris Frazer and Justin Thaine. By Aid Station-4 mile 19.3 Schouten had a 3 minute lead on Lundblad and 7 minute on Young. The men kept this order through the reminder of the race with Ian Schouten of Lititz, PA winning in 6:12:04

Photo by Julie Black
The women take flight
The women likewise were close at Aid Station-2 with Amy Bath and Justine arriving at mile 10.1 at 2:05 followed by Wendy Zamzow-Master at 2:07. Last years winner Sophie Speidel was back several minutes at 2:34. By Aid Station-4 mile 19.3 Morrison had pulled ahead with 3:52, Bath second at 4:03 with Zamzow a minute behind at 4:04.

At Aid Station-6 at the end of the 7.3 road section Morrison was solid at 4:59, Bath 5:15, Zamzow 5:21 and Speidel close at 5:29. Across the new, tough 5.8 mile section to Aid Station-7 it was still Morrison leading, Bath, and now Speidel at 6:46:30 and Zamzow at 6:46:50. The race was on for 2nd and 3rd place. At the last Aid Station-8 things had changed with Speidel moving up to 2nd, Zamzow 3rd and Bath 4th. Justine Morrison of Washington, DC won with a time of 7:53:26, with Sophie Speidel 2nd and Wendy Zamzow-Masters 3rd.

Photo by Julie Black
Thanks to all who helped
It was a great third running of the Highlands Sky. Many thanks to our sponsors; Montrail, Patagonia, Fuelbelt, Hammergel, Timberline, Tygart Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, and Canaan Valley Resort. Thanks to the Monogahela National Forest for their cooperation and to all the fine race day volunteers.

The West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners is pleased to host this event and we hope to see you in 2006. Oh, and next year I'll remember the weed wacker for that last tall grass section!

For more stories from the 40-miler go to http://www.wvmtr.org/highlands_sky_2005_race_reports.htm