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Saturday, June 19, 2004 -- Canaan Valley Resort State Park - Davis, WV
Highlands Sky 40 Mile Trail Run (iPO Event Id#: 5920)
Photos by Don Parks with story by race director, Dan Lehmann

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

For more 2004 race photos and info, visit

Highlands Sky 40M
Taking the road home to Canaan Valley Resort in WV
The Highlands Sky 40 miler returned for a 2nd year and certianly dished out everything that made it memorable in its first. It was the same demanding trail (plus a few, even tougher, new sections) along with cool weather and a little rain, just enough to make 15-minute miles a challenge for many seasoned runners. Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers for reminding us just how much fun it is!

Dan's Report...
I guess we were just lucky last year for the inaugural running of the Highlands Sky; the event went off without a hitch. So I suppose it is fair to expect that this year something had to go wrong. While flagging the course two days before the start, I came across some new markings utilizing part of our course. The owner of the tract told me months earlier that another event, a motorcycle motocross, was going to be using some of the property on the same day as our race.

Highlands Sky 40M
Tired from cutting trail
We had adjusted our course accordingly to be away from the mountainside the motorcycles were using. I thought we had everything decided. Well things changed and they had moved into our area and were not going to budge. Only 6 hours before runners were due to arrive on Friday, in the middle of a 3-inch downpour, 1.5 miles of course had to be cut through steep, dense woods, over boulders and down mudslides. With that fiasco behind everything was looking up.

Runners arrived Friday evening at the Canaan Valley Resort to enjoy the amenities offered by the venue. Steve Bowles commented, -Geez, the race is at a resort. The trails are probably all walking paths. How tough could it be?" But the comforts of the facility lie in stark contrast to the challenging 40 mile Highlands Sky course across Dolly Sods.

Highlands Sky 40M
Bill Young hits the trail hard for a first place finish
In the men's race Bill Young took an early lead over Derrick Carr and pulled in to as #2 with a three minute lead. Young extended his lead to 6 minutes at the half, but Carr pulled up toward the end to finish only 2:35 behind the leader. This was Bill's first ultra win with a 7:08:00. He remarked how stressful it was being in front.

In the women's race Katherine Franco, Sarah Almodovar, and Sophie Speidel took the lead. At half way point as #4 Almodovar led Speidel by two minutes going into the road section. By the end of the 7.3 mile road across the sky Speidel had pulled ahead by three minutes. Sophie Speidel maintained the lead to take home her first ultra win with a time of 8:06:51.

After all the planning and preparation for the Highlands, the sharing in the excitement and joy of the runners, there is a little bit of an empty spot when it's all over....Till the next time we get together to hit the trail.

Congratulations to all the runners. After what seemed like a bad start, the weekend turned out to be a winner. Thanks to all our fine sponsors. We'll see you next year. For more race stories about the Highlands Sky 40M including a race report from this year's women's champ, Sophie Speidel, click here.