Capon Valley 50K: The running of the lemmings

Capon Valley 50K has a reputation as a sometimes-tough-to-navigate course, but the 2014 edition of the race set a new standard for wrong turns, with nearly the entire field missing a key turn between the start and the first aid station.

In all, 35 runners were disqualified for skipping about 2.5 miles of trail thanks to that missed turn; the rest realized the error and turned back – practically en masse – to regroup and find their way back to the first aid station and cover the full course distance. The number of DQ’ed runners was so high that race officials opted to list them separately in the results, creating what essentially was a just-short-of-50K finish category.

Among those who covered the full distance, Sean Andrish took top honors with a 4:18:55 finish time. Andrish, Brian Schmidt and Brad Hinton ran together for much of the race, with only about a minute separating them at the finish. (The victory had to be even sweeter for Andrish, who was in the lead in the 2009 edition of Capon Valley along with Matt Woods, only to see victory slip from their hands and fall to Karsten Brown after Andrish and Woods missed a turn and circled back to make up the mileage.)

The top female finisher was Alisa Springman, who clocked a 6:06:55 that was good enough for 13th overall in the field.

In the “Land of the Lost” category, Scott Crabb was the first VHTRC finisher and “second” overall with a 5:14:54. He and a few other VHTRC’ers realized the route-finding mistake when they arrived at the second aid station without ever seeing the first aid station, and arriving well ahead of Andrish, Schmidt and Hinton, who left the starting line as the race leaders. 

Full results are listed here.