The first one is in the books, and boy was it a doozy. The Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race served a couple of different purposes this year and it had more than enough mud to go around for each of them. Traditionally this race has been on the USATF-NE mountain circuit and is once again for 2014. This race is a bit of a hybrid in that it’s also a trail race, and in that role it served as the USATF-NE trail championship race and was also the trail segment of the new All Terrain Runner series. That’s a lot to process right there.
With all that in mind, there was more than just pride on the line. Series points, titles, and of course, bragging rights. Enter Josh Ferenc (aka the Last Hero and Only Hope): “I was just going to attack the whole time. I knew that it would be really really tough for someone to hang with me.” And attack he did, right from the gun. There’s a brick walk on the far right side of the start area, and while everyone else at the front opted to dive right into the soft, sloppy slope, Josh shot up the launching pad that was the walk way. In fact, in the video below you can see the point at the start where EJN looks over and is thinking “that Ferenc is a clever SOB…”. Josh had a singular goal in mind: to run his race, pushing the needle as close to that redline as he could go, no matter what the competition had in mind for a plan.
The wildcard in it all was Nate Jenkins, the elite road runner who was lured back onto the trails by the new All Terrain Runner series. Would Nate be able to hang with the trail animals? Or would Nate tame said animals? Jenkins held his own in the deep field and ended up finishing 4th in 43:13. Johnson, Tilton and Jenkins are all CMS teammates too, so it was a good day for the Striders.
For Kasie Enman, the race might’ve been the easier part. Kasie is not only some elite, globe-trotting Salomon runner, but she’s also the race director for Sleepy Hollow. “I was nice and tapered, felt good. I also didn’t get to warm up because I was race directing, so I used the first lap as a warm up.” Kasie gave a nice little pre-race speech, then quickly hopped onto the line, and during her ‘warm up’ she picked up the King of the Mountain preme as the first woman to mount the summit.
Kasie impressively finished 16th overall with a 46:44 and must’ve been pretty comfortable with the home course advantage. Kasie was able to put some distance between herself and her nearest competitors, which happened to be a couple of Somerville Road Runners: Kath Hardcastle (49:02) and Kate Hails (52:40).
Top masters runner and defending mountain series champion (overall) Christin Doneski was in unfamiliar territory: 4th place. Although her 53:43 was good for top masters runner on the day and 46th overall, Christin was faced with stiff competition for the overall win. The fact that she was even that close despite having recently run the Boston Marathon was a feat in and of itself. Between the marathon fatigue and the deeper field, it made for a challenging day. On her race, the conditions and her fitness, Christin said:
First, I have NEVER run in conditions like that. I was actually in a very good mood going in to this race. I was worried about my fatigue (from Boston and my post-marathon cold) but I was happy to be there and thought the sloppy conditions would be fun. They were fun and exciting initially but by the end my legs were pretty tired. Having to really pick my feet up for every step took it’s toll. What do you call it “post-holing” when you stride and one leg sinks in to mid calf….well whatever it is called I did that a number of times and it really brings your momentum to a stand still. The conditions were certainly part of the fun, but also an area in which I was entirely inexperienced. That said, I know coming off Boston definitely impacted my climbing. I am usually much stronger on the uphills than downhills and I was not as strong on the uphills as I would have liked.
Post-holing really is the perfect way to describe that energy sucking phenomenon that plagued runners throughout the race (and just added to the fun of it all).
Speaking of the masters, Todd Callaghan got exactly what he wanted: mud. Todd knew those conditions would play to his strengths and he capitalized on the opportunity by running a 44:20. That was fast enough to place him 9th overall and make him the fastest masters runner on the day.
- Full interview with winner Josh Ferenc
- Full interview with winner Kasie Enman
- Full interview with masters champ Todd Callaghan
- Mountain series standings are now up here.
- Sleepy Hollow race results are up on the race site.
- Scott Mason captured some video from a tricky, muddy downhill turn.
- Great race photos from Scott Mason Photo and snapACIDOTIC.