Sunday, August 03, 2008

Mt. Ashland Hill Climb-Oh, the glorious pain!

Relentless. A great one-word description for the Mount Ashland Hill Climb (AHC). Start in downtown Ashland at 1,900 feet. End atop Mt. Ashland 13.3 miles later at 7,533 feet. 5,600 vertical feet, more than a mile. Making the AHC one of the toughest hill climbs in the country. 250 folks registered and 147 runners made it to the summit marking the 32nd year of the event. Erik Skaggs, from Ashland, OR wins the men's race in 1:53:01, the second fastest time ever run on the course. Evelyn Dong, from Bend, OR, sets a new women's course record in 2:08:40.

Congratulations to the Rogue Valley Runners crew! Erik Skaggs (1st), John Leuthold (5th), Hal Koerner (6th), Ian Torrence (8th), Todd Ragsdale (14th), Chris Rennaker (20th), Jenn Shelton (2nd woman), Ixel Sanchez (4th woman), Aria Hemphill (5th woman), and Katy Stienmetz (who vows to enter the competitive division next year).

Also, congratulations and a hearty "nice work" goes out to all of our Rogue Valley fellow runners and volunteers! Full results can be found here.

Let's look at some photos!!! Thanks to Aaron Brian (from Bull Gap) and Carly Varner (from the Lodge and the finish line) for their photos.

Without all the volunteers this awesome event would never happen! Here Eric Poole helps a runner at the Bull Gap Aid Station.

Erik Skaggs blazes through Bull Gap (mile 11.3) on his way to the win in 1:53:01! The second fastest time ever run!

Bridge the Gap race director, Chuck Whitely, speeds through Bull Gap.

Ixel Sanchez gets help from Poole at the Bull Gap Aid Station.

Jenn Shelton, the second women's finisher, works hard to catch early starter Bob Holtel.

Chris Rennaker puts his side stitch to rest and runs through Bull Gap.

Hal Koerner, 2006's AHC winner and 2007's runner-up, looks up from "The Lodge" to see how far ahead his Pear Blossom rival, John Leuthold, is.

Knocking six minutes off last year's time, Ian Torrence moves past the last aid station enroute to the summit and finish circle.

A good idea of what it looks like as you leave the last aid station and begin the final grueling ascent of the Mt. Ashland summit cone. Here, Torrence watches as Koerner slips away.

The crazy lot of 'em. (l to r) Aaron Reed, Erik Skaggs, Jenn Shelton, Hal Koerner, Todd Ragsdale, Ian Torrence, and Joe Griffin enjoy post race festivities.


Rennaker said...

Great write up. Nice runnin' everybody.

K Skaggs said...

Strong work gang!!


That looks like a fun race.
Hard but fun.

Unknown said...

Hi Ian,

I like you first hand accounts of the race and pictures. I posted a link to your blog from:


Richard Bolt
USATF Oregon
Mountain, Ultra & Trail Running Coordinator

John Leuthold said...

My congratulations to Erik Skaggs! He possesses a talent and youth that most of us just dream about. This had to be the most competetive year the Hillclimb has ever seen, one of the most talent-loaded races we've ever had in the valley. I really enjoyed running with Ian and Hal in the middle half of the race, thanks to Ian's 100 miler 14 days ago and Hal's 50 miler 7 days ago, I was able to keep up and even trash talk my Pear Blossom rival. I even left a message for him at the Bull Gap Aid station with Erik Poole questioning his gender, but Erik was too much of a gentleman to pass the message along. All joking aside, it was a great time had by all. Can't wait till' next year.

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