Records Fall at Muddy Hashawha Hills 50km
Hashawha Hills 50km
by Alan Gowen, Race Director
Scheduling a trail ultra marathon for the last Saturday in February, year after year, is I guess, just asking for trouble. We’ve had the black ice of our inaugural year in 2008, the bitter cold ferocious winds of 2012, and of course the game stopper blizzards of 2010. And yet because ultra runners are a tough and resilient breed, the Hashawha Hills 50km Trail Run, has continued to gain popularity. Our little gem of a race has become so popular that in the interest of fairness to everyone, instituting an entry lottery became necessary. By doing so we brought a fair, transparent, and orderly process to dealing with the 182 applications for entry into our starting field of 120.
Hashawha Hills 2013 will be well remembered for several things, not the least of which was the icy roads which weren’t as bad as predicted, and the rain that never really happened. The muddy trails though, were another story. With a freezing mist falling, runners encountered icy trail conditions from the start, but as the day wore on, the mist stopped and many portions of the icy trails morphed into slick, sloppy, greasy, mud, bringing new challenges to the runners, many of whom seemed to quite literally, take the less than ideal conditions in stride.
On a day of treacherous trail conditions, almost guaranteed for slow times, we were stunned when Michael Daigeaun, of Philadelphia, absolutely shattered the Hashawha Hills course record of 4:09 (set in 2011) by turning in a shocking 3:31:44. Running un-aided without even a water bottle, Michael led the race from the start and was never really challenged. Jonathan Baggett’s second place time of 3:41:45 also broke the old course record as did Jason Lantz’s time of 3:51:54. The women’s 2011 course record of 4:45 also fell when Kristin Bremer cruised to the finish in 4:35:13. Second female Jacqueline Palmer’s time of 4:43:05 was below the old course record as well.
On a day when the weather could have been a deal breaker, out stalwart volunteers once again turned out in force and saw to it that all the runners were pampered every slick and muddy step of the way. One hundred and one runners started the race and 93 completed the 50km challenge. As many have said over the years, the course is harder than it looks, and 31 miles of never ending hills totaling 4000 ft of elevation gain and loss, along with four stream crossings and more than enough mud, combine to present a worthy challenge for even the fastest runners.
All the runners seemed to enjoy the challenge of Hashawha, and were totally respectful of our venue. Runners also seemed to enjoy our famous hot chili as they lingered indoors after the race and everyone must have also liked the handmade finisher award mugs received upon crossing the finish line. We know this because we didn't receive even one request for a crappy T shirt.
The 2013 running of the Hashawha Hills 50km Trail Run will probably be remembered by those who were there as "The Ice and Mud Year," but everyone seemed to have a great time out there on those wonderful Hashawha Hills. The madness continues, and as per tradition, the 2014 entry will be lower than the previous year and once again we will look forward to seeing everyone on the last Saturday in February 2014.
[Editor's Note: Earlier versions of this report misidentified both the male and female winners in the photo caption above. This was not Alan Gowen's fault. It was the fault of the Web guy, Anstr, who is very sorry about the error.]