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Saturday, April 2, 2005 -- Clifftop - Babcock State Park, WV
Babcock Gristmill Grinder - MSTR #1 (iPO Event Id#: 6663)
Story and photos by Julie Black --- See Dan Lehmann's race report and results.

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]
[Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3]

Fun to run the trails
The first annual Babcock Grist Mill Grinder had an excellent showing. It's the first race in the 9 event 2005 Mountain State Trail Run Series (MSTR). All races are held in and around West Virginia State Park areas with some muddy, rocky, hilly trails that go hand in hand with the amazing scenery.

The Grinder, a 12-mile trek through the freshly cut rugged terrain of Babcock State Park, was a new addition to the 2nd year strong MSTR Series. Race Director, Donnie Hudspeth, is no stranger to organizing events of this caliber. Hudspeth also organizes the ANIMAL Gauley River Race, one of the premier extreme whitewater events in the country.

A trot by the gristmill
The Babcock course conjured up images of Middle Earth and Chetwood Forest, where Frodo and his Hobbit friends made a hasty escape from the Black Riders. As the fog settled as it often does in Fayette County, 50 plus anxious runners could be seen in the lot warming their hands, ready to start the journey.

Racers ran downhill along a high-running Glade Creek, past the old gristmill, and onto Skyline Trail. The start of Mann's Creek Gorge Trail marked the halfway point. Though trails were muddy and riddled with puddles, and even creek crossings, the view was incredible from start to finish, especially along the Narrow Gauge Trail as told by Dan Lehmann.

Dan Lehmann talks the talk AND walks the walk
iPlay's lens caught racers at the start of the Mann's Creek Gorge Trail. Three male runners were tracing each other's footsteps, but in the end Andy Clump and Bill Young shared the top spot with a time of 1:44:08. Last year's overall series winner, Jeff Jordan, took third in 1:46:19.

Fourth overall, Annette Bednosky placed first for the women in 1 hour, 49 minutes, and 5 seconds. Mary Whitlock (2:08:10) placed second for the ladies with Sarah Sturgill (2:10:00), rounding it out in third, but placing first in her age group.

The overall general comment from many runners was that the park and course were astonishingly beautiful. With it's majestic views, mystical fog, and roaring creek, it's a wonder that a trail run such as this had not been done at Babcock before. Racer's enjoyed it so much that it's safe to say that it will stay on the MSTR Series schedule for the future.

Thanks for a great time!
Many Thanks: Hats off to the WVMTR volunteers, series participants, Dan Lehmann and friends, and especially to Donnie Hudspeth and Mountain Air Productions LLC (MAP). MAP is an Event Development, Promotion and Management Company based in Southern West Virginia.

About the WVMTR Club: The WV Mountain State Trail Running Club (WVMTR) has grown to over 120 members this year already. Dan Lehmann, the club's President, is a true trail lover. Lehmann doesn't just promote the runs, he's in every one of them. He writes race reports, takes great photos, works the registration booths, and even updates the club's web site, Visit these fine folks and sign up today to be a part of this wonderful trail running community.