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Hyner challenge participants beat mud and heat

Hyner Challenge participants snake along a single path as they work their way up about a four-mile ascent to Hyner View State Park. PHOTO PROVIDED

From staff reports

HYNER — It was a hot and muddy start to Clinton County’s spring trail racing season last Saturday. Temperatures in the mid-70s, high humidity and lots of water run-off from the previous night’s heavy rains greeted participants for the 13th annual Hyner View Trail Challenge in Hyner. On the plus side, the threat of heavy rains, thunderstorms and high winds never materialized, so Clinton County’s largest trail race went on as planned.

The race in Sproul State Forest includes both a 50K, which began at 8 a.m., followed an hour later by a 25K race. Nearly 390 people were registered for the 50K, while close to 1,100 were signed up for the 25K race. And, for the first time but as part of a growing trend, the number of women registered for the 25K race was virtually equal to the men.

Matt Lipsey of Harrisburg, a familiar face on the local trail challenge scene, took first place honors in the 25K with a personal best time of just two hours, 11 minutes. Lipsey placed second last year with a time of two hours 12 minutes, and finished first in 2017 with a time of two hours 13 minutes.

Ben Robinson of Lehman, Pa. was second in this year’s 25K, at two hours, 15 minutes, while Tyler Stinson of Tucson, Arizona, came in third with a time of two hours, 33 minutes.

PHOTO PROVIDED The start of the 50K race at Saturday’s Hyner View Trail Challenge. A total of 265 people finished the long course.

Nicole Yokum of State College was the first female finisher in the 25K race, finishing tenth overall with a time of two hours, 43 minutes. It was her first time to compete in the Hyner Challenge.

In the 50K, Nate Alter of Lancaster finished first with a time of four hours, 32 minutes. This was also his first time competing in the Hyner Challenge.

The first female finisher was Michelle Benshoff of Waynesboro, Pa., who completed the long course 28th overall with a time of five hours, 39 minutes. Local participant Wesley Atkinson of Mill Hall finished tenth in the 50K with a time of five hours, 10 minutes.

In all, nearly 1,100 people finished the race. More than 800 completed the 25K, with the last runners finishing in nine hours, 40 minutes. Of the 265 finishers in the 50K, the last people came off the course in 10 hours, 44 minutes.

“It was a huge success,” said an obviously happy race director Craig Fleming of this year’s Hyner Challenge, “but weather definitely played a role. We had rain Friday and heat Saturday. With most of the participants having trained in the cold, facing the heat on Saturday made for a tough day, but we still saw some really good times.”

PHOTO  PROVIDED A group of Western Clinton County fans turned out to offer words of encouragement as runners made their way up the first of several major climbs on the course.

Fleming, of the PA Trail Dogs, the club that hosts the Hyner and several other races in the region, called the Hyner Challenge “a real community event.”

“The Renovo and South Renovo fire companies and Bucktail Medical Center played a major role in keeping runners safe,” said Fleming. “We got much appreciated support from many areas, including the Western Clinton County Sportsmen’s Association, which hosts the race from their nature and environmental center.”

Fleming said several Renovo churches supported the event by making desserts for the after-race meal. People also got to enjoy beer after the race from New Trail Brewing Company out of Williamsport.

Participants in this year’s Hyner Challenge came from Pennsylvania and 17 other states, plus the District of Columbia and Canada. For race results, go to www.falconracetiming.com. For more information on the Hyner Challenge and other PA Trail Dog races, visit www.hikerun.com.

muddy legs were a common sight Saturday as participants in the Hyner View Trail Challenge faced everything from mud slides to a number of water crossings, thanks to heavy rains the night before.

PHOTO PROVIDED Above, first, second and third-place winners in the Hyner Challenge 25K race were, from right, Matt Lipsey, Ben Robinson and Tyler Stinson.

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