Tough Crowd

The 2007 Baker Trail UltraChallenge - August 25

Like last year, the day started off foggy and warm, about 70 degrees. It only got warmer as the day wore on, rising to the upper 80s and, along some road stretches, into the low 90s. A total of 41 runners started and 29 finished the third Baker Trail UltraChallenge.

The course was challenging (finisher and veteran ultrarunner Jeff Gleason called it the toughest 50 he's done), but the runners were relentless. Andrew Weber was ahead of the fastest Rachel Carson Trail Challenge finisher Chris Petit by only minutes through mile 33, but Chris suffered severe cramping and lost a lot of time resting and recovering at aid stations. He looked bad enough that many thought he'd surely drop out, but he wouldn't (couldn't?) and was able to recover enough to not just finish, but finish running!

Lou D'Angelo, on his third UltraChallenge, was struggling coming into AS 9 at mile 41. He was getting sick. He rested there for a while before continuing, but was still having a lot of trouble keeping things down. Impressively, he persevered and finished, less than two minutes before the 14-hour cutoff!

Finisher medal display

Finisher medal display

For his suffering, Lou received the gorgeous Baker Trail UltraChallenge commemorative medal display, designed and built by Dave Syiek. These participants also completed the series and received their displays: Sue Albert, Jake Borello, Jeff Gleason, and Tony Mauro.

Glenna Fraumeni finished first overall, with a time of 10:13:13. She trailed Andrew Weber for most of the day, eventually passing him around AS 8. Andrew finished about 45 minutes later, in 10:58:56.

Four-person relay team Chick-N-Dicks blew away all the other teams (which were five person), finishing almost two hours ahead of the next team.

Around 7 PM, storm clouds rolled in and stole the remaining daylight. A thunderstorm with strong winds pummeled the dozen or so runners still on the course with sideways rain. Runner Rhonda Hampton was within a few miles from finishing her third UltraChallenge, but the lightning forced her to call it quits. She had promised her father she wouldn't put her safety at risk.

The trophies were awarded as follows:

  • First Female: Glenna Fraumeni,22,Toronto,ON (10:13:13)
  • Second Female: Marie Bartoletti,50,Carnegie,PA (11:25:25)
  • Third Female: Sue Albert,38,Murrysville,PA (12:51:13)
  • First Male: Andrew L Weber,27,Pittsburgh,PA (10:58:56)
  • Second Male: Brett Beecher,31,Bethel Park,PA (11:59:57)
  • Third Male: Karl Zellars,20,Valencia,PA (12:04:45)
  • Masters Overall: Ken Zellars,58,Valencia,PA (12:09:16)
  • Masters Male: Jeff Gleason,49,Wexford,PA (12:30:32)
  • Masters Female: Pamela Kaye Hershberger,51,Clearville,PA (13:16:35)
  • Relay Overall: Chick-N-Dicks,19-42 (07:21:40)
  • Relay Masters: Skanks & Geezers,44-53 (09:09:16)
  • Relay First Male: Five Guys & A Dumb Idea,30-48 (09:22:34)
  • Relay First Coed: Lightnin Rods,33-47 (10:01:20)

Thanks to all our volunteers, who helped out tremendously: Dana Asbury, Steve Beers, Jan Berg, Justin Blystone, Sarah ODonnell, Charlie Brethauer, Patty Brunner, Bob Conklin, Christina Conklin, Sally Conklin, Helen Coyne, Jim Crist, Betsy D'Ambrosia, Lou Dawson, Don Erdeljac, Kate Fissell, Ford City GS Troop 5, Ford City BS Troop 870, Dwight Fox, Annabell Freedline, Doug Freedline, Dave Gabrielcik, Dee Garvin, Dan Clark, Betty Hedman, Chuck Hegland, Thane Hegland, Richard Hershberger, Jerry Hoffman, Betty Hovland, Indiana BS Troop 29, Steven Kensel, Chistian Kline, David Kline, Patricia Kline, Diane Kostka, Joe Kostka, Joe Kulbacki, Elmira Parks, Tammie Parks, Barb Peterson, Mary Pitzer, Rick Parker, Cindy Rogers, Denise Russick, Mike Steimer, Anna Stoltz, Donna Stoltz, Dave Syiek, Devon Taylor-Raiff, Pauline Taylor-Raiff, Walter Tereszkiewicz, Bill Trisoline, Mike Waldvogel, and Linda Xenophontos.

A special thanks to Hisham Youssef and Rebecca Slak, who again opened their farm to us, just weeks after having baby Leo! For that, we're eternally grateful.

And many thanks to our generous sponsors this year: Elite Runners & Walkers, and DiMaio's Market in Nu Mine.

Next year, the series begins anew on the north section of the Baker Trail.

— Steve Mentzer