250 complete wintertime trail challenge

Matt Lipsey, front left, started at the front of the pack for Saturday’s Frozen Snot trail challenge and stayed there, completing the 13.5 mile course in two hours, 42 minutes.

LOCK HAVEN — Not even the milder temperatures helped soften the path taken by nearly 280 people who participated in the annual Frozen Snot trail challenge on Saturday, Jan. 27, on Bald Eagle Mountain. About 250 completed the wintertime event, which features both a 13.5 mile and an 8.3 mile course that starts and ends in McElhattan.

Luke Ebeling, now in his second year as race director for the Frozen Snot, said the mild weather didn’t change the fact that the course is what he calls “sketchy at best.”

“It takes a unique individual to do the Frozen Snot. It’s a very technical course, there’s nearly 6,000 feet of elevation gain over 13.5 miles, and then you throw in the wintertime conditions,” said Ebeling, noting that he was glad to see a number of first-time participants sprinkled among the returning ‘Snotters.’

“We continue to grow the race — there were about 30 more participants than last year and the race sold out in about 14 hours,” said Ebeling.

Matt Lipsey of Kersey, Elk County, is a familiar face in the trail challenge community and once again led the pack on Saturday, finishing the long course in just two hours, 42 minutes. John Johnson of Ulster, PA, finished 15 minutes after Lipsey, and Allen King of Mill Hall was third from the field of 132 participants with a time of three hours and two minutes.

The first female finisher on the long course is also a familiar name in racing. Meira Minard of State College turned in a time of three hours and 31 minutes, placing 11th overall.

Another 112 people completed the short course Saturday, with two teenagers taking top honors. Tyler Holcomb, age 18, turned in a time of two hours, 13 minutes, while, 16-year-old Ryley Holcomb, finished 13 minutes later.

Participants faced icy conditions, but not a lot of snow this year, which some said made the course tougher. Two racers did suffer falls that required trips to the hospital. The last participants on both courses completed the day in just under eight-and-a-half hours.

Ebeling credited the approximate 80 volunteers who turned out to support the event.

“With any of our races, they couldn’t happen without our volunteers. We have a very dedicated group, some of whom worked upwards of 12 hours Saturday. This isn’t an easy gig!”

“Joanne Heimer is phenomenal as volunteer coordinator for the race, and Jane Kone (Ebeling’s mother) took charge of cooking duties and had a great staff with her to feel all of the participants,” added Ebeling.

There are also check stations along the course where volunteers worked for many hours to serve up everything from Russian tea, to bacon, to pickles, as well as provide first aid and moral support.

Ebeling also expressed thanks to the City of Lock Haven, the official sponsor for the race, and to the U.S. Army Reserve Center in McElhattan, which serves as the start/finish facility. Additional sponsors include Woolrich, Inc.; Little Caesars; Redmond’s Complete Comfort, LLC; and Villella’s Meats.