A Great Day to Run

The 2010 Baker Trail UltraChallenge - August 28

It wasn't a close race. Dario Donatelli took off from the start, pulled away from the pack, and never looked back. He finished nearly an hour and a half ahead of the second place finisher, Jacob Joseph.

This was Dario's first time running the UltraChallenge, and also his first time on the Baker Trail. He said he stayed on course pretty well, and only missed a few turns but realized it quickly and got back on track. He credits that to his experience running the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge several times, the first being in 2000 when he was twelve years old.

The battle for second was much closer, with Eric Deutsch maintaining at least a five minute lead on Jacob Joseph up until mile 41. After that, Jacob powered on and was able to finish in front of Eric by less than four minutes.

Rhonda Hampton returned this year to complete the series and collect her rolling pin display. It was within reach in 2007 but the weather forced her to drop out. After waiting three years for another chance, the weather cooperated and her determination paid off. Congratulations, Rhonda, you deserve it!

In fact, the weather was quite pleasing for a late August run. The day was sunny and started off with a runner-friendly temperature of around 50 degrees. It warmed throughout the day, reaching around 80 in the late afternoon, without even a hint of rain.

The first 4.5 miles of the course along the Allegheny River were eminently runnable, owing to the work to restore the railroad along here. The dirt surface was wide and well packed, and hadn't yet had the ballast deposited. Unfortunately, the return of the railroad likely means that stretch won't be available to us next time.

After crossing Route 422, the course diverged from the Baker Trail onto Kimmel School Road, instead of heading up Russell Hill. This was a necessary detour in order to reduce the course mileage. The road was marked to indicate the Ultra turned left here, but a few people missed that and continued following the blazes.

This, the sixth running of the UltraChallenge, marks the end of the second iteration of the trilogy. Next year it begins anew on the North section, which includes a great segment through the beautiful Cook Forest.

The trophy winners are:

  • First Place Overall: Dario Donatelli,22,Pittsburgh,PA (8:20:40)
  • Second Place Overall: Jacob Joseph,39,Pittsburgh,PA (9:46:20)
  • Third Place Overall: Eric Deutsch,39,Pittsburgh,PA (9:50:00)
  • First Place Male: Joe Winch,54,Salem,OH (10:15:06)
  • Second Place Male: Bill Thompson,44,Mars,PA (10:15:35)
  • Third Place Male: Andrew Colburn,24,Pittsburgh,PA (10:36:56)
  • First Place Female: Cynthia Sanchas,55,South Park,PA (10:39:58)
  • Second Place Female: Stacey Falkner,39,Lewistown,PA (11:57:11)
  • Third Place Female: Edith Wagner,45,Woodstock,MD (12:29:06)
  • First Place Masters Overall: Michael Lawson,40,Mount Laurel,NJ (10:50:01)
  • First Place Masters Male: David Whitehead,45,Forest Hill,MD (11:13:47)
  • First Place Masters Female: Laura Sadler,46,Branchburg,NJ (12:50:04)
  • First Place Overall Relay: Skanks & Geezers (7:59:31)
  • First Place Male Relay: Good to Go Again (10:06:06)
  • First Place Coed Relay: We Think We Can! (11:15:01)

These folks completed all three sections (North, Central, and South) in the series and earned their custom-made rolling pin medal display holder:

  • Donald Baker II
  • Donald Baker III
  • Eric Deutsch
  • Stacey Falkner
  • Rhonda Hampton
  • Todd Houck
  • Aaron Iles
  • Robert Marsh
  • Kirk Rager
  • Bill Thompson
  • Stephan Vogel
  • Steve Wendell

We are grateful for the support of our sponsors this year: Elite Runners & Walkers, DiMaio's Market in Nu Mine, and Rae-Lyn Enterprises, and our wonderful farm hosts Hisham Youssef and Rebecca Slak, along with helpers Ivan and Leo.

And a heartfelt thanks to all our volunteers! We would not be able to do this without you: Frank Beal, Jan Berg, Jen Braun, Phil Breidenbach, Patty Brunner, Anne-Sophie Charest, Tony Chick, Helen Coyne, Pat Demko, Bill Dietrich, Mark Eyerman, Kate Fissell, Matt Fleeger, Dwight Fox, Ann Freedline, Doug Freedline, Dave Galbreath, Steve Graf, Debbie Gurdock, Jerry Heckathorn, Jerry Hoffman, Betsy & Sam Houck, Betty Hovland, Brenda Humphreys, Shaun Huppertz, John Italiano, Lynzie Johnson, Steph Kimball, Ryan Knecht, Diane Kostka, Joe Kostka, Karla Martinelli, Tammy McGaughey, Brad Meyer, Bob Mulshine, Sara O'Donnell, Karen Rocco, Cindy Rogers, Denise Russick, Stephanie Russick, Miranda Shoemaker, Brittany Smail, Kevin Smith, Donna Stolz, Brianne Switzer, Lisa Switzer, Bob Vickers, Mike Waldvogel, Lynn Wilson, Leslie Wise, Brenda Wolfe, Paige Wood, and Linda Xenophontos.