The first two miles of the Loon Mountain Race were, dare we say it, not too bad. The no-rain dance performed by race directors Chris Dunn and Paul Kirsch seemed to be working. The skies were slightly overcast, keeping temperatures from rising too high. The trails were dry. And for a couple of miles, it seemed we might conquer this mountain without too much pain.
The race started right at the river and wound its way up a dirt and rock access road. While the second mile involved a fair amount of uphill, it was generally runnable. As runners passed the two-mile mark, the trail headed downhill. While this provided a little relief, downhills are generally a bad sign in uphill races. After all, what goes down must go up again.
After about a half mile of descent, the course turned up again and continued up on steeper trails to the second aid station, at the four-mile mark. After passing through the aid station, runners again enjoyed a short descent, although any who had looked at the map ahead of the race ran this section with more than a little apprehension, knowing what was coming. And then, there it was, the sign announcing “Welcome to Upper Walking Boss.” Runners’ heads dropped back as they looked up at the beastly trail ahead—a one-kilometer climb of a 40 percent grade. The hill was covered with wildflowers and would have been almost a pretty sight if they didn’t have to climb the darn thing. So, one runner after another, they did the only thing they could—put one foot in front of the other until they reached the top of the climb. After that climb, there was a steep descent before one more brief, steep rise to the finish.
Three weeks after winning the Mount Washington Road Race, Eric Blake won again, taking first by about two and a half minutes. Among the women, Christin Doneski came away with the victory. Here are the top three men and women:
Eric Blake 44:58
Josh Ferenc 47:28
Brandon Newbould 48:24
Christin Doneski 57:52
Kristina Folcik 1:01:46
Karen Encarnacion 1:03:00
Full results are available here.
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