Sunday, April 22, 2012

A 16.3 Mile Jaunt in the Woods

The 6th Annual Hyner View Challenge is in the books. This "Challenge" is a 16.35 mile trail run with 4,226 feet of climbing that a thousand or so folks muster up mental and physical strength to complete.  And if the 25K isn't enough, there was a 50K option this year and yes, 98 runners finished it. The weather was perfect at 50ish calm degrees and a slight sprinkle cooled us off after a climb.  To call this thing a "challenge" is an understatement.  Hyner View is in Clinton County and it sits atop a tall mountain and offers the spectators a breathtaking sight to see.  Today, the runners started at Pine Creek level and climbed the side of the mountain to that view and then went on to climb two more mountains equally epic.  The climbs were steep, rocky, and long.  The runs back down those mountains were not as steep, but rocky and long just the same.  90% of the Hyner Challenge running was on trail - beautiful, well-maintained trail. Someone put a lot of TLC in maintaining the trails. They were pristine.   The race itself was very well organized -- they had to be -- there was over a thousand folks registered.  As the 25K folks lined up to start, you could see the 50K folks in the distance approaching the summit of Hyner.  It was pretty cool to see that.  The 50K folks started at 8:00 am and the 25K started at 9:00.  Both were mass starts.  This caused a slow-down when everyone funneled into a single line on the singletrack.  Obviously, those out front didn't experience this wait.  The first climb spaced people out, but there was always someone within sight both in front and behind during the whole race.  By the 2nd mountain climb, many were walking, even on the flat sections.  By the final mountain climb, folks were cramping up.   And after that last climb, there was 4 more miles to go.  The final 2.5 miles was mostly downhill on singletrack (some rocks) and some road and after 14ish miles, running downhill and pushing to the finish was not an easy thing to do.  The highlight of my run was seeing these absolutely beautiful wildflowers on a couple of the switchbacks.  Purple triliums are magnificent in their natural setting and caught my eye in the midst of a rocky climb.  They certainly took my mind off the task at hand for a couple minutes.   I was impressed by the folks that came out to run/hike this thing.  Young and old, male and female, fast and slow.  I commented to a "local" on one of the trails that its nice to see folks walking. I loved his comment, "This is a competition against yourself."  So true.