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Saturday, July 8, 2000 -- Kanawha State Forest, WV
Rattlesnake Trail 50K Ultrarun
Story by Mickey J. Jones with photos by Dave McKain and Don Parks, with additional photo contributions from Mickey J. Jones.

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]
Check the bottom of Pic Set 8 for 3 QuickTime Movie Clips!
See also: [1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage]

Anong Pustow
Anong Pustow powers through the Kanawha SF
The 6th Annual Rattlesnake Trail 50k was held on Saturday, July 8th, 2000 with a field of 109 runners starting the race in great conditions. The prior weeks had been very hot and humid and the weather broke in time for all of the runners to enjoy a mid-fifty degree starting temperature and low humidity. The temperature later in the day climbed into the low eighties but was never a real factor. Course conditions were near ideal for the 5000 feet of vertical assent spread over nine different climbs, which coincided with the aid station locations on this single loop course. We had runners from 14 different states along with one runner in the states from The Netherlands participate.

This year's finish was the closest in the history of the race. It's strange how a 50k trail run ends up being a 100-yard sprint to the finish as the leaders came off the trail. Michael Schuster of Woodbridge, Virginia (3:55:47) nipped Huybert Groenendaal (3:55:49) by a mere two seconds. Huybert had just arrived in Kennett Square, PA from The Netherlands. Michael had previously run under the coaching direction of former race winner and course record holder Howard Nippert and West Virginia native Steve Taylor. I also appreciated the time Huybert spent during the pre-race brief educating me in the finer pronunciation of his name not knowing that I would benefit from it at the presentation of the awards.

Leaders
Schuster shadows Groenendall on the final mile
Finishing in a close third was Joe Smindak (4:02:13) from Dayton, Ohio. I understand that after extending an open hand of hospitality from Joe and fellow runner Ron Hart (4:51:51) for Michael to stay with them and learning of his ability they endeavored to corrupt him in the ways of us slow guys. In a solid effort, Evan Sandt (PA, 4:05:05) finished fourth overall. The male masters champion, Scott Curtin (PA, 4:22:38) finished tying for fifth overall with John Hayward (VA, 4:22:38)

The Female Champion, Anne Riddle (4:30:18) of Asheville, NC set a new course record of 4:49:14 that had been previously held by the second place finisher, Anong Pustow (KY, 4:40:05). Anne had surged ahead after twenty-four miles in a tight race for all three top positions. It also came down to a sprint to the finish with a split of two seconds between Anong and the third place finisher, Linda Barhorst (OH, 4:40:07). They both eclipsed the previous course record. Joni Adams (WV, 5:19:53) was crowned as the female Masters Champion; she has been a previous winner in this event.

Ingrid Honzak
Ingrid Honzak feels the rush with the finish in sight
Best rock, dirt and blood award definitely was given to Rachel Toor (NC, 4:54:31) for strongly enduring to the finish with numerous cuts and scraps from close encounters of the ground kind. She was successful in not allowing the last aid station to clean her up. The other hard rock award was given to Rick Brown (OH, 6:00:25) who had taken a number of falls and tumbles. The late arriving and once lost, but continuing perseverance award had to be given to Phil Little (FL, 8:03:12) for his Semper Fidelis effort. It was an honor to present the oldest finisher award to Sarann Mock (69, 7:58:09) from Cincinnati, OH.

The 2nd annual Rosemary Platt Memorial Award was presented to Ingrid Honzak (OH, 6:19:40), this award was named in honor of a local runner who had battled cancer, run again and then succumbed to cancer last year. Rosemary and her husband Bill had been a big inspiration and support to my personal running regimen through major injury and they had been early supporters and participants in this race. The 2nd annual Dave Berry Memorial Award was presented to John Porter (WV, 7:17:20) who had recovered from a heart attack in the past year. He had been a present and past inspiration to the co-race director Dennis Hamrick (WV, 6:33:42), who had a gratifying run after his dehydrated red light ride during Laurel Highlands this year. These awards are presented as a token of the admiration and pride to the ultra runners who exhibit the perseverance and attitude that are respected by their peers.

Lew McGrath
WVOutside's Lew McGrath takes the high road
Race coverage and pictures will be featured online at www.iPlayOutside.com and we had their finest participating in a close race of their own. This back and forth effort saw race team captain Lew McGrath (WV, 4:44:20) overtake the owner Don Parks (WV, 4:46:31) in the latter portion of the trail.

It was good to have Pam and Rob Apple (TN, 8:09:22) do some course sweep. We were glad to welcome the large turnout from Pennsylvania and Ohio along with others traveling considerable distances and one had even called from the other side of the world to inquire during his travels. It was a shame that Angie Buckley had to withdraw right before the race due to injury but husband, Mike Buckley (OH, 5:08:02) seemed to enjoy the locale and the run. I know many remember in the previous running of the race seeing Marty Toth (PA, 6:44:41) working the aid stations and now getting back in the flow after an injury time-out. After the race, he was going to crew for Rick Freeman (PA, 4:36:04) who was going to do a triathlon [Scenic Mountain Triathlon] the day after this race. The first West Virginia finisher was Parkersburg native Chip Allman (4:32:33).

Check Point
Oasis in the wilderness thanks to a great race support crew
Special thanks are in order for the new Kanawha State Forest Superintendent, John Hendley, his chief instigator Dave Toler and Walt Shupe for the work by forest personnel in getting the trails cleared for the race. We received several compliments from race participants on their efforts. The aid station volunteers along with the ham radio operators were the heart of success for this race. We had eight DNF's this year and at least half of these were intended even prior to the start. We find that it has been a successful race when it seems that everyone had a good day, minimal injuries, and everyone was accounted for at the end of the day. As with any ultra-run we saw triumph of the effort and we had fun in the process.

The 7th running of the Rattlesnake Trail 50k will be on Saturday, July 14, 2001.

Thanks for your Ultra-Support
Mickey J. Jones
mjjones_ultrapolecat@msn.com
Race Director