Loverich, Wheeler Win Soggy Escarpment Trail Run

With buckets of rain pouring from the sky, Jacob Loverich and Sheryl Wheeler won yesterday’s Escarpment Trail Run.

From State College, PA, Loverich won in 2:55.:47, ahead of Ben Nephew.  This is only the second time in 13 years the Nephew hasn’t won at Escarpment.  Just over a minute back, Nephew finished in 2:56:54.  They were the only sub three hour finishers in a race, their times all the more impressive given the sloppy conditions.  Gerry Sullivan finished third in 3:04:10.  Sullivan improved on last year’s fourth place, and amazingly, given the conditions, finished 15 minutes faster than last year.

Despite the weather, Loverich was only two and a half minutes off Nephew’s 2011 winning time.  He came through the Stoppel Point feed station a minute clear of Nephew, looking fresh and relaxed.  When Nephew arrived, he looked somewhat worked over, gulping a drink quickly before hurtling down the mountain.  OXF learned that Loverich’s gap opened to nearly two minutes by North Point.  Nephew closed the gap in the last two miles, but it wasn’t quite enough.

Wheeler, of Rhinebeck, NY, was last year’s runner-up to Kristen Tamburrino.  Yesterday, she added her fifth Escarpment win to her resumé with a time of 4:04:24.  Local runner Heather Roberts of Shandaken NY came second, in 4:19:48, followed by Laura Buckholz in 4:32:08.

The times were all the more impressive because of the conditions.  Last year’s race was hot – around 80 on the mountaintops – and humid, with a dry, fast trail.  Yesterday, it drizzled and spattered as a writer drove to North Lake to volunteer at the race.  Around 7 AM, the sky, raining hard for the next four and a half hours.  While cool temperatures may have aided them, the top finishers ran in streaming, muddy conditions from start to finish.  Rock steps were slippery and treacherous.  Downhill singletrack became downhill escalator as the dirt turned to thick mud.

Full results are available on the Escarpment Trail Run website.  Photos will be in a subsequent post.

Do you have an a story to share from this year’s Escarpment Run?  Email info@oxygenfedsport.com with your essay and/or photos.

This report initially listed Emma Raub as the third place finisher.  She finished fourth behind Buckholz.  OXF apologizes for the error.