Rough Trail 50K & 25K Race Preview
Now that we are just one week and a few hours away from the annual Rough Trail 50K, it is time for our Race Director's preview of this year's men's and women's races at both distances. Now, let's be clear. These aren't our "picks." We are picking our favorites. That ain't how we roll. This is a just a sneak peek at who is running and who might be racing it out to claim the 2017 Rough Trail podium growlers. Also, this preview is based only on public information and results we can find in our system or other public results system. If we leave you off of this preview, please don't take it personally. We love you all!
You ready? Let's go.
Men's 25K Race
A couple notables who could be dark horses in this year's race are Nelson Weaver and Nathan Stoltzfus. Nathan is from Columbus, OH and has logged a quick 1 hour 52 minute half marathon as well as a 3rd place overall finish at the Iron Furnace Trail Run. Nelson scored a Master's win at The Reaper 30K in October and was 5th overall. They could both challenge for a podium spot.
2016 Rough Trail 50K champ and course record holder Zack Beavin will be making his run this year for the 25K course record in hopes to walk away with both course records (we'll see what the 50K guys have to say about that). Zack is running a marathon the weekend before the race, so we'll see how quickly he can recover from that effort heading into Rough Trail next week.
Women's 25K Race
One name to point out right out of the gate: April McAnly. April rejoins us all the way from Alaska. She scored the overall win at the 2015 Rough Trail 22K. Now that we've extended the course a little bit she'll be looking to claim the women's 25K crown.
Cori Stevens has moved from the 50K to the 25K and could be a challenger for one of the top spots as well. Cori scored a 5th overall finish at the Big Turtle marathon back in April.
Lastly, The Reaper 30K 2nd place winner Carol Gensheimer has been a last minute addition to the race. She had an incredible race at The Reaper, so we are excited to see what she can do in Red River Gorge.
Women's 50K Race
Lauren Clark and Charity Reed are two local central Kentucky runners who were 2nd and 1st overall respectively in last year's Rough Trail 25K. They know the course very well which is a huge advantage at this race given the complexities fo the course. They have stepped it up this year to take a stab at the 50K. Charity nabbed the top women's spot at last months The Reaper 30K and could be the first woman to lay claim to both the 25K and 50K Rough Trail titles. Lauren has been putting in some big miles this fall and recently pulled the trigger on signing up for the Redbird Crest 100K. So she will challenge for a podium spot at Rough Trail as well.
Margaret Powers from Pittsburgh has several very impressive 50K finishes. Will she add Rough Trail 50K to her list of fast 50K finish times?
Ashley Cook from nearby Lawrenceburg, KY could have a good day on the trails. She had a solid hold on 2nd place at The Reaper 30K before having to call it a day. She's a talented runner who runs in Red River Gorge often. She won't be intimidated by the course.
Lastly, Kandy Ferris will be a force to contend with in the women's field. Kandy's resume includes overall wins at the Duncan Ridge 50K, Georgia Jewel 50 Miler, Georgia Death Race, and Yeti Snakebite 50 Miler. She may be from Florida, but Kandy won't have any problem with the ups and downs of Red River Gorge.
Look for one of these ladies to make a run at Emily Cavallo's impressive 5:55:55 2016 course record.
Men's 50K Race
Perhaps the biggest toss up of the day will be the men's 50K race. Several men will be throwing down, and Rough Trail will choose who she allows to win. Let's meet them.
Scott Buser is the reigning Big Turtle 50 Mile and Reaper 30K champion. He also scored a 2nd place finish at Grand Mesa 100 Miler earlier this year and the overall win at Cloudsplitter 100K in 2016. Scott has already had an incredible year, so to cap it off with a Rough Trail 50K win would be an incredible performance.
Mike Hauser was a last minute sign up in 2016 and ended up 3rd overall with a time of 5:14:00. He's coming back this year to try to move up that podium.
From 3rd in 2016 in 3rd in 2015, Timbo Jenkins (3rd in 2015 in 5:35:23) returns to Rough Trail. Since his top 3 run at Rough Trail in 2015 Timbo has had quite a run of impressive performances including 3rd place at Superior 100 Miler in 2016. He was 2nd place at The Reaper 30K last month behind Scott Buser, so it will be fun watching them go at it again. It will also be fun watching our last two 3rd place finishers both try to move up the podium.
Lastly, Dustin Mitchell continues to break into the Bluegrass Trail Running scene at this year's race. Dustin is FAST. A former University of Kentucky runner, Dustin won the Timber & Trails 5K in July and is a member of the dominant Kentucky Meat Shower team at the Hot Hot Hundred 100K Relay. Dustin will probably be the fastest runner on the trail on race day. Can he keep his foot on the gas for 30 miles?
From top to bottom this year's Rough Trail event will be our biggest and most competitive. We can't wait to see everyone on race day!
Mike & Brandy