Local runner takes the challenge and wins big
LOCK HAVEN — To the average person, running 50 kilometers (31.068 miles) would sound like a nightmarish hell.
However, for one local runner, it is a passion that is sternly a part of his life and one that has led to one very big victory.
Reagan McCoy of Avis has taken the mantel as the winner of the 2021 Hyner View Trail Challenge 50k. It is a victory that he humbly cherishes and one that is going to push him toward the future of his racing career.
Not being one who is new to the culture of trail running, McCoy has a strict daily routine of running 8-12 miles to help prepare himself to perpetually improve day after day in his training and running performance. The strict training he commits to would be the preparation that helped achieve the huge victory he has. It would also be on a set of trails paired with a culture that he personally cherishes.
“It feels pretty cool! Hyner is a big part of our local history. The Hyner race brings in so many runners from, not just Pennsylvania, but from all over the country and even other countries. There was even one guy from the UK there which was cool,” he said.
However, McCoy never sees training for races as a negative thing in his life, but more as something entertaining and personal. To him, training is just pure enjoyment.
“Honestly, it just kind of started for fun. It is just nice to get out and run on trails, do some exploring, and go off the beaten path. Training does not always feel like training as much as going out and having fun,” he expressed.
Along with the enjoyment of training, the biggest piece of the running culture to McCoy, is the community that fuels it. They are a support system that drew him in with the passion that they have for anyone regardless of how well of a runner you are.
“The community is a big thing. Everyone is really supportive whether you’re in first or last place. If you are going through a race, there is a lot of cheering and screaming. You almost feel like Freddie Mercury on stage,” he joked. “It helps push you to see what your limits are and seeing how much you can bend before it breaks.”
With the vast network of runners in the community, the people within it have also made a lasting impact on inspiring McCoy. He said that two of his inspirations that help motivate him to run faster and stronger are with the likes of Kilian Jornet Burgada, a Catalan professional sky runner, trail runner, ski mountaineer and long-distance runner and Anton Krupicka, an American ultramarathon runner.
Unfortunately due to COVID, the directors of the race were not able to get the proper permits to use the classic course from previous years, said McCoy. This would be both a blessing and a curse for himself as he finished up the physically exerting experience.
“They (race directors) had to improvise a little and had altered the course. The back half of the 50k race utilized the Hyner Half Marathon course which is a lot of really well-groomed single track. It is really nice piece of track to open up on. There was a lot of opportunity to run faster than other years. It was good until it put me in a bad spot when I forgot about S.O.B Hill at the end. It made it pretty difficult for me to go up it,” he explained.
Despite graciously getting awarded a significant win at Hyner, McCoy is no stranger to winning big races. He had also received first place in the 2020 Boulder Beast, another significant local ultramarathon.
“The handful of races I have won just kind of happened. I never really have any expectations of winning. The Boulder Beast is probably my favorite race due to it being right here in our backyard. I just know the trails so well, I could run them blindfolded. Honestly, I do not think that there is any view better than on top of the boulder fields. It is cool when you are driving by and looking up to them and knowing that you ran up that,” he expressed.
However, now that another victory has been achieved for himself, McCoy is not hanging up his trail shoes just yet as he has a couple strenuous races coming up that will require extensive training. He said that the next race on the agenda will be to run the World’s End Ultramarathon 100k in Laporte, Pa. this month. After that race, he plans on competing in the Oil Creek 100-miler in Titusville, Pa. this October. His goals are placant in his excitement to improve himself and tackle larger/longer races whether they be in the near future or further down the road.
“My goals for this year are to complete that 100 miler which will be a huge milestone for me. If that goes well, I would like to do more races like that in the future.
But even further down the road, I would like to focus on doing trail work and preserving it for others and maybe even commit to race directing,” he said.