The fall foilage was perfect this year! It was a great day for a race. The only disappointment that mother nature threw at us is that she did not bring the sun out in time to warm things up at the top of the hill.
There were quite a few celebrities at the race this year.
As the gun went off, about a dozen runners took off but it wasn't long before a triumverate formed between perrenial winner Tom Brennan, the prodigal son Josh Snyder and newcomer Zach Hill. Tom has the age and experience, Josh has the climbing ability of a goat from his mountain biking and Zach has shown incredible speed in local 5K races.
The lead shifted several times between miles one and two as Brennan attempted to throw in some surges. Hill began to fade but could never be counted out. It was Snyder however that would show the most determination as he began to slowly pull away at mile two and a half and by three and a half would have a comfortable twenty second lead.
Josh continued to power up the hill and now had his sites set on breaking Brennan's personal best if only for bragging rights since Tom was trailing by nearly two minutes. As he crossed the tape however, he was to fall short by only one second in 39:42. There is some controversy however surrounding the official timer. (Apparantly Tom's relatives were in charge of the timing and were determined to deny Josh an additional victory.)
In the women's race, Vania Williams, only 17, cruised up the hill in 50:26. Vania is an amazing young runner and excels on extreme terrain like the World's Highest Hill. Only thirteen seconds would separate second place winner Elaine Palmquist (52:56) from third place Amanda Combs (53:09).
Oakland DeMoss, broke his own record for oldest finisher ever to complete the race. Oakland is 82 and still makes it look easy!
As always, the sense of accomplishment of making it to the top of the World's Highest Hill is beyond description. If you were not one of the 79 finishers at this years race, maybe next year you will be courageous enough to take it on. The dry fit shirts this year were better than ever and customized beer glasses (milk glasses for under 21) were given to all the runners.
NOTE - No, I am not Bob Dole, I wrote in the third person because I am sending the article to the paper.