Despite challenging conditions, the 12th annual Boyers Furnace 40 miler saw a record number of starters and finishers. 46 racers toed the starting line, and 36 runners finished, almost three times as many as last year. Daniel Fogg is the men's champion, finishing in 7:22. Kelly MacDonald is the women's champion. She finished in 8:20, just missing the event record. The event records remain in the hands of Aaron Schwartzbard (6:47) and Amy Sproston (8:19), both set in 2007.
Those who overcame the treacherous driving conditions after the previous night's snow were rewarded with a white winter wonderland. Unfortunately, there was not enough snow to be runner-friendly on the trails, but enough to be runner-detrimental. The snow, combined with the dry leaves and the infamous Massanutten rocks, spared no one. Racers were slipping and sliding for much of the day on the trail sections.
After a short pre-race briefing, the runners took off at 7:35AM. The snow-covered roads prevented volunteers from providing planned aid at Mile 12 (Milford Gap) and the racers did not see aid until Mile 17 (Veach Gap). By that point, Daniel Fogg had already opened up a 21-minute lead on Brad Hinton and Will Weidman, who ran together almost the entire day. The strong duo were overtaken near the end of the race by George Sefzik, who ran a strong second half to finish in a three-way tie for third. Aaron Ellison was a surprise 2nd place. His car was stuck going over a pass to get to the race start, but he doggedly found an alternative means of coming into the valley. Aaron ran strongly after starting 49 minutes late, and his chip time beat the third place trio by a single minute. Without knowing it, Kelly MacDonald was also racing a late-starter, though she comfortably finished 16 minutes ahead of Kathleen Cusick. Kathleen was first held back by the road conditions, and then held back further when race management forced her to re-park. She didn't start chasing people down until 45 minutes after the official race start. Josh Howe produced the Best Blood of the day.
This race would not have been such a success without the rock star volunteers and other folks who made this race possible. The aid station volunteers were Brett Martin, Jon Jester, Debbie Marcus, Challen Edwards, Mike McCormick, Susan Gardner, Erin Altemos, Homer Komthirath, Tony Escobar, Dan Aghdam, and Quatro Hubbard. Brett, Dan, and Jon made sure there was warm food at every aid station and the finish. Tony, the previous RD, flew out from Denver to lend his help and guidance. Dan Aghdam and Quatro Hubbard were the best mentors ever for the newbie RD. Quatro in particular oversaw every single step of the operation. President Keith Knipling and Quatro produced an accurate and useful update to the Boyer's turn sheet. Soup Sophie cooked up flu-fighting chicken soup for the finish. Quatro and Brett started the post-race bonfire, and Andy Peterson kept it going by ingeniously breaking wood pieces without the forgotten saw.
Mark your calendars now. The Lucky 13 version of Boyer's Furnace will take place on Saturday, December 29, 2018. Entry will open on November 19, 2018.
Photos | Report by Josh Howe
|Place||Name||Age||Sex||State||Veach - 17 M.||Woodstock - 22 M.||Edinburg - 31 M.||Finish|
|Boyers 50k Finishers|
|*Given unexpectedly treacherous driving conditions, some runners could not make the 7:35 start.
The following runners with later starts were given chip times to compensate:
Andy Burnette (7:37)
Adam Matheson (7:50)
Mundy Hackett (7:50)
Kathleen Cusick (8:20)
Aaron Ellison (8:24)
TJ Theis (8:24)
Travis Bertram (8:24)