The course was drier than usual this year, while a frigid, low-30-degree start gave way to a sunny and warmer finish line. Word from the Thatcher Pinnacles is that the fog dissipated enough for a clear view of the western valley as runners crested the course’s high point at mile 4. The forest was abound with deciduous leaves primed for peeping, with an abundance of colorful hews strewn about the trails.
We’ve got some finish line photos. Although there was no professional photographer onsite, check out the photos Adam Engst captured while trying out the camera on his brand new iPhone 11X. Several runners made their Danby debut, while many more experience their first trail race or tackled a distance longer than they’d ever previously raced.
This year’s 10K race saw the top three men only 25 seconds apart, as Charles Hollister edged out Bill Watson by four seconds for the win. Lauren Brzozowski was our women’s 10K winner, followed by Catriona Breen and Emma Harte less than a minute later. Only two seconds separated Breen and Harte for the second and third places. After her age-group win at the Forest Frolic earlier this year, seven-year-old Mckenzie Leonard couldn’t get enough trail action and again became our youngest finisher.
Yvette de Boer, fresh off her course record win at the Monster Marathon, snuck in just under two hours for the women’s 20K win. Eric Sambolec led all runners through the 10K checkpoint before wining the 20K handily in 1:36:42. Both Yvette and Eric have a long history of top finishes at the Down & Dirty, and each remains the 20K course record holder (from 2009 and 2008, respectively.) Boris Dzikovski earned the “best blood” award after slipping and running his second loop with a case of acute epistaxis (nosebleed.)
Each of our age-group winners took home a six-pack of craft beer, with the four overall winners receiving a gift card to Finger Lakes Running Company in additional to his or her imbibables.
I couldn’t have pulled this race off without help from a number of FLRC volunteers and Ithaca’s wonderful running community. Adam Engst, Dave Kania, Megan Powers, and Erika Powers comprised the timing crew and tapped in times while battling frozen fingers. Michael Salter and his Wilderness Search and Rescue team recorded bib numbers and kept track of runners in the forest’s most remote areas. Mike Surrena came down early to help set things up, before heading out to single-handedly man the mid-loop aid station until the last runner came through. Mickie Sanders-Jauquet assisted with finish line set up and apparel sales. Gerrit Van Loon, after winning his age-group in the 10K, set back out and swept the whole course, then helped pack up the van. Kerra Quinn, master composter, handled all the food scraps and helped us clean up the finish area. John Donaldson, Emily Funk, and Brend Michaud all showed up an hour early to work the registration table before running the race. Nancy Kleinrock helped me mark the course on Friday before running the 20K on Saturday. Amelia Kaufman helped with course setup and marshaling at the first turn onto the trail, ensuring that runners didn’t blow past the turn and continue all the way down to Tioga County. Gretchen Gilbert headed up the 10K aid station, with course marshal help from Sedona, Aidan, and Coral, as the later three kept busy while their parents ran the race. Mikhail Kern pitched in around the start/finish area for the entire duration, helping out with a variety of things. FLRC’s equipment manager, Gary McCheyne, got me set up with all the necessary event gear. My wife Hayley Kresock was a big help all weekend long, assiting with some of the most mundane tasks like stickering bibs and slicing bagels, and most importantly, helping me stay focused during the final stages of race preparation.
The Down & Dirty brings FLRC’s trail season to a close. Check back for our Stonehead, Pebblehead, and Boulderhead rankings, coming as soon as the statistics are compiled. Our last race of the year is the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot Prediction Run, which serves as a fundraiser for a local charity. Our next trail race will be the Super Frosty Loomis Snowshoe Race in February 2020.
I hope to see you again on the trails!
Danby Down & Dirty Race Director