By Angelo Lynn
A half marathon finisher displays his medal
By Evan Johnson
KILLINGTON—A crowd of over 400 runners took to the slopes of the second-tallest mountain in Vermont this past weekend in the inaugural Under Armour Mountain Running Series. Killington Resort hosted short and long distance races that sent runners straight up some of the mountain’s steepest headwalls, across scenic ridgelines and down twisting singletrack trails.
Champion of the men’s 50K race Cody Reed of Flagstaff, Ariz. said after the race, “This was a lot more true to the name of a mountain running race.”
Reed took first with a time of 4:24:13, 12 minutes ahead of second place finisher Josh Ferenc of Saxtons River, Vt. Ultrarunner Brian Rusiecki, who won the Hellgate 100K in Fincastle, Va., this past year, claimed third with a time of 5:09.
Amy Rusiecki of Deerfield, Mass., finished about 40 minutes after her husband to win the women’s 50K division. Rusiecki, who has run such challenges as the Vermont 50 and the Spartan Race found the vertical to be the biggest challenge.
“It was tough,” she said of the course. “It was a whole lot of up and trying not to fall on your butt on the way down.”
Rusiecki was followed by runners Sarah Keyes and Elizabeth Ryan, respectively.
The weekend featured impressive performances by newer trail runners as well. In the half marathon, Hanover, N.H.’s Adam Glueck found himself at the start of the pack after a strong start, leading towards the summit of Snowdon Mountain.
“I decided if anyone was going to catch me I was going to make it hard for them,” the 18-year-old said. That meant finishing his first ever half marathon — one that featured 4,789 feet of elevation gain — in 1:56. Glueck cited his training as a cross country skier for his success.
“I’m really fit and have a high tolerance for pain,” he said.
Sarah Keays of Lake Placid, N.Y., welcomed the addition of a long distance trail race to the East Coast, which has plenty of vertical feet for those with the leg power and lungs to match.
“It’s great that there’s finally a legit trail race on this side of the country,” she said.
Killington was the second stop in the three-part series. Before arriving in Vermont, the series started at Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Ore.; the final race will be held at Copper Mountain in Colorado, Sept. 8-10.