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Saturday, October 24, 2009 -- Oak Hill, WV / ACE Adventure Center
ACE New River Gorge-ous Trail Run & Walk (iPO Event Id#: 11968)

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

Trail Runners Not Afraid of a Little Rain

Story and photos by J.R. Petsko

This past Saturday I packed the car and headed down to ACE Adventure Center for the New River Gorge-ous Trail Run. With it being a little bit of a drive I decided to arrive at ACE on Friday and relax a bit in one of their cabins. I had a grand evening on the ACE Property including a nice soak in the hot tub!

ACE trail run photo by J.R. Petsko
See more race photos.
After that it was time to get in a good night sleep so I would awake fresh in the morning. Well, Mother Nature had her own plans. I awoke in the middle of the night to a down pour of rain outside. I am a very heavy sleeper and tend not to wake when sleeping so that should tell you how hard it was. I fell back to sleep, but was awakened once again later on in the night by the rains again. As I went back to sleep again I thought to myself, "Wow those runners are sure going to have fun!"

On my way down to the start area there were leaves all over the roads from being washed out by the fast running waters in the road gutters and huge puddles on the roads. I was shocked to see a large number of runners lining up at the start. I guess these folks aren't afraid of a little rain.

A big crowd of 92 trail runners had amassed despite the less than stellar conditions. Standing next to one another at the start was two-time defending race champion, Jason Bryant (who was trying to win for the third time in a row), and Michael Bee (who is super fast and been racing WV trail runs for years). Then, they were off.

ACE trail run photo by J.R. Petsko
See more race photos.
With the trails as slick as they were, it was clear that most of the runners were going to take it a little easy, but Bryant must have not gotten the memo. He was out front and not looking back. Bee settled comfort into second. The race for third, fourth and fifth overall however looked as those it was going to be a tight one! Mike Dolin, Mike Bailey, Gary Smith and Nathan Fortney were all trying for that coveted top five finish.

Jason Bryant went out early and never looked back taking his third straight win at the race in 1:30:27. Michael Bee finished strong in second in a time of 1:38:10. Third went to Mike Dolin who crossed the line in a time of 1:50:56. Fourth was Mike Bailey in 1:56:17 and he was followed closely behind by Gary Smith in fifth with a time of 1:57:16.

For the women it was Julia Bradford holding off her next closest competitor by 4 minutes. Bradford took the overall win in 2:04:31. Second went to Ellen Potts who crossed the line in 2:08:19 followed by Joni Abbott in third who finished in 2:14:19. Fourth for the females were Susan Hall in 2:17:00 and rounding out the top five women was Robyn Knaus with a time of 2:24:08.

It was a blast at Ace as always. Great course, great people and great stuff made the event an A+ in my book!