Saturday, November 12, 2011

World's Highest Hill 5 Miler - 2011

Before starting my race report, the most important thing I can do is thank my sponsors.  First I want to thank Southern Star for their generous support.  Southern Star is the largest regional area satelitte provider and one of the largest employers in the region.  Each year they donate generously to area charities particularly the Women's Shelter.  Without them, we would be in the red the last two years! 

I also want to especially thank Brian Hoover!  Please, please shop at Runner's World Tulsa which Brian co-owns with his great wife Kathy.  http://runnersworldtulsa.com/
And should you ever find yourself involved with a race, please use TATUR Timing service.  Brian was absolutely amazing in not just timing the race but making it extra special for all those who finished.  Brian does not just get the results done, he works with you many weeks ahead of the race, extensively the night before and then goes out of his way to make the race special.  You can really tell that Brian loves managing races because I think it makes him feel good making others feel good.  It is worth every penny!  http://tatur.org/new-t-timing.html
Nervous runners at the start line.
The forecast called for beautiful weather with sunny skies and warm temperatures and it appeared that the foilage would be at its peak.  A perfect day for the World's Highest Hill 5 Miler.  For those who do not know, this race is Oklahoma's Ultimate Challenge.  It climbs 1,999 feet on a point to point course.  It is a lung burner but the race is so much fun especially at the top of the hill when proud runners and walkers celebrate their accomplishment in a party like atmosphere. 

Unfortunately the weatherman was way off.  It was very cold, cloudy and windy at the top of the hill but that did not deter a record 100 runners from attempting to conquer it.  Each runner is fighting their own battle to just keep those legs moving and for many that return year after year they may just be lucky enough to beat their time from a previous year and in a small way defy the aging process.

Once again, it was a tough race at the front as Oscar Reyes, a 19 year old Rogers State University Cross-Country runner pulled out to a sizeable lead of at least 100 meters or more.  Last year's champion Josh Snyder was in pursuit.  Josh had just raced an 11K race the day before (11/11/11) and would say later that he was feeling it a bit and he began to slow down around mile two after a jack rabbit start.  I moved into second and unbelievably found myself passing the youngster at mile 3 1/2!
Smiling Oscar Reyes is King of the Hill in 2011
It was fun racing him.  He would pass me on the steeper sections as my heart rate soared and then as the grade leveled off some, I would pass Oscar back.  We went back and forth several times.  Those who run the race know that at mile 4 1/2, just before the finish is one last monster climb at a very tough grade.  It is their that Oscar began to float up the hill and opened a sizeable gap that I could not close on the flat at the top of the hill.  All three of us finished within a minute of each other.


Maggie Pickhardt is Queen of the Hill in 2011!
In the women's race, the young Fayetteville Maggie Pickhardt won in 52:47.  I did not have a chance to talk with Maggie but I imagine that if she is like her older brother, she had a stellar high school career.  I once saw her brother finish the Tulsa Triathlon as I was just starting the run portion!  He then edged me at the Hogeye Marathon several years ago.  Maggie really flew up the hill and posted one of the fasted women's times we have had.  Not far behind was Pocola resident Amanda Combs in 53:47 and I imagine she kept pushing Maggie.  Third place was Merry Wolf from Denison in 57:22.  At 44 years young, Merry gave the youngsters a run for their money.
Prince of the Hill - Cameron Plate
I hate to pick out any notable performances because any one who makes it to the top of the hill is exceptional indeed.  But it should be noted when their are extraordinary performances.  Among them is Cameron Plate was at 10 years old ran a 48:23!  I hope he continues to race at the WHH when he is 19 so he can go after Joel Stansloski's record.  His brother Brandon is not too far behind him. 


Stihl Snyder on his way to becoming the youngest ever finisher!
While it may be a long time before men's and women's records are broken (32 and 38 minutes respectively), two records did fall this day.  One record goes to Stihl Snyder who at only 7 years old became the youngest ever to make it up the hill and he did it in one hour and nineteen minutes!  Stihl better watch out because younger brother Trek is two and can now run too.  Trek may decide to run it next year.
Not Over the Hill Yet - 83 Years Young! - Oakland DeMoss Breaks His Own Record
A day after Veteran's Day, we have to just be astonished at WWII veteran Oakland Demoss who at 83 years old, continue to break his own record as the oldest ever to climb the hill!
Lucky for the younger runners, Bryan Miller is 55.
Bryan Miller of Moyers may have the fastest WAVA time of the day if we computed it.  At 55 years of old, he was less than three minutes behind the leaders!  He posted 43:53.

Looking half her age - Lynna Gilstrap
 Lynna Gilstrap was our oldest female and she posted a 69:18!
72 Years Young Greg Bourns Battles 8 Time Finisher Gunther The Great
And Gary Gunther aka Gunther the Great is one of the few people who can proudly bost of having finished the race all eight years!

Overall results can be found at  http://www.oksportsandfitness.com/race-results.php

Pictures can be found at http://photos2.walmart.com/walmart/groups/whh-2011

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