Wind: 5 mph
Great weather, brilliant summit foliage and a course record by almost two minutes set the bar for a successful Green and Gold athletic weekend on Stark Mountain.
Although the field for the 9th Annual Stark Mountain Hill Climb (run) and the duathlon was thinned because the newly renovated historic chair was under final construction, the Allen Clark Memorial Hill Climb (bike) had a record turnout. Both events were held in Fayston October 6 and 7, 2007. In the run Dave Dunham of Bradford, Massachusetts, coach of the U.S. Mountain Running Team, set a new course record of 23:51:05. He beat the existing record of 25:23 set years ago by Sproule Love. Current record holder Harriott Shea of East Montpelier, Vermont, now age 51, set the women's record of 30:09 in the early years of the event. She did not beat her record but won the women's division in 31:22, nearly three minutes ahead of the next female contender, and in seventh place overall.
Other notable performances included Carl Sturcke, age 64, of Essex Fells, New Jersey, who finished in 41:21 winning the veteran division as the oldest finisher and finishing in the top 20. For the second year in a row, Peter Holtan of Waitsfield, Vermont, was the youngest finisher (age 12) in a time of 52:51, nearly four minutes faster than his 2006 time. Peter's dad, Brian Holtan (age 52), won the men's senior division in 34:38. The top five women were Harriott Shea (31:22), Elizabeth Markison (23) of Danville, Vermont, in 34:24, Suzi Berget (28) of Bozeman, Montana, in 41:30, Katie Schultz Seipel (27) of Bozeman, Montana, in 41:53 and Linda Dillon (42) of Pleasantville, New York, in 58:05.
Returning duathletes Thorin Markinson and Marc Hammond put in sterling performances. Thorin, age 24 from Danville, Vermont, won the duathlon for the second year in a row with a combined time of 56:18. Last year Thorin won the run overall, and this year he came in third. Marc Hammond (41) repeated his fourth place performance and improved his 2006 time with an overall finish time of 1:14:56. Paul Welch (43) was second in the duathlon in 61:00 flat. Charlie Tipper (48) of South Hero, Vermont finished third in 1:07:30 after improving his 2006 run time (35:09) by over three minutes. Charlie finished the run in 31:54, good for eighth place overall in the run.
Sponsored by the Stark Mountain Foundation, the run begins at the Mad River Glen base lodge and ends at the summit of Stark Mountain. Runners take any route they choose and travel a linear mile, 2,000 vertical feet, to the top. The bike, sponsored by Stark Mountain Bike Works, is a time trial from the intersection of Routes 100 and 17 to the top of Appalachian Gap. Both events are fundraisers. This year's run proceeds will be donated to the restoration of the historic single chair. The bike benefits the Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports Association. Traditionally runners ride down on the historic single chair. This year the runners ran or hiked down. The restored chair will be operating soon and next year's run will feature an option, run or ride down. Three of this year's participants opted for a combined up and down run time, setting the standard for addition to the uphill of an optional down competition next year. A kids' run, music and a barbecue rounded out another successful weekend at Mad River Glen.
Next year's 10th anniversary of the hill climbs will take place on October 4 and 5, 2008, along with the third annual running of the duathlon. For complete results and more information, including some photos, check www.starkmountain.org, www.achillcimb.org and www.madriverglen.com