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Saturday, April 13, 2013 -- Danese, WV / Babcock State Park
The Gristmill Grinder Half Marathon (iPO Event Id#: 14409)

2013: [Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Previous Years: [2005] [2006] [2007] [2008] [2009] [2010] [2011] [2012]

Story and photos by Don Parks.

The views at Babcock
Enjoying another beautiful day at Babcock
The Gristmill Grinder Trail Half Marathon at Babcock State Park was once again blessed with some great running weather for the 2013 edition. It was a much needed blessing as the beautiful park was battered by winter storms and the carnage of downed trees was everywhere. But through many hours with chainsaws and hard labor the trails were once again in fine shape.

The registration limit of 275 was met well before race day. However, talking to race director Donnie Huspeth it was learned that many of the previous years' winners were at home nursing injuries. So this year we'd be seeing a new champion of the challenging 13.1 mile course through the hills and valleys of Babcock.

One candidate was Bruce Miller who was returning after running in 2012 and finishing fifth. Once the racing got underway he did find himself out in front but he was chasing newcomer David May. But it's easy to keep up a fast pace as the first few miles provide a loss in elevation. When the trails started heading back uphill Miller made his move.

Bruce Miller
Bruce Miller buzzes through the downed trees
The last ten miles Miller was only chasing an improved time over his 1:37:19 finish last year. That he did by clocking a 2013 winning time of 1:33:19, improving by a solid four minutes.

May was able to hold on for second at 1:39:19 with a crowd of runners left to battle it out for third. Those third place honors went to Christopher Simmons (1:49:53) who was just seconds ahead of Brian Menzies (1:40:57) at the finish.

For the women it was returning Babcock veterans and friends Kate Caldwell and Jamie Fields who had calculated that this might be their year. Caldwell finished third in both 2011 and 2012 while Fields added a sixth place finish last year to go with her second place finishes in both 2010 and 2011.

Just as they had envisioned they were running together as the lead women early in the race. Eventually Caldwell would pull away to chase her husband who maybe thought this would be his year to outdo his wife (it wasn't.)

See you next year
Hope you join us next year
While Caldwell went on to win comfortably with a time of 1:49:54 her friend Jamie still had some work to do. Jamie Knight, who finished fourth in 2012, was keeping pace for the second place honors.

Knight wasn't able to keep up her previous year's form while Fields was able to grind out her best time since 2010. The end result was Fields taking second at 1:55:27 with Knight right behind her for third at 1:55:43.

Many more finishers followed in a warming mid-day sun. Many more will also be wanting to return next year. As always they'll be a field limit so you need to be sure and get registered early. Suffering has never been so enjoyable.