The view of the Shenandoah Valley from Bird Knob, taken during the 2001 Catherine’s Fat Ass.

Keith Knipling

2016 Report

July 23, 2016  •  Luray, VA

58 starters, 36 finishers


The Furnace at Catherine’s Furnace was on full blast mode for this year’s running of the Catherine’s FA 50k. The forecast called for highs close to 100 degrees in some portions of the mid-Atlantic area, and that forecast likely had an impact on a number of race entrants, as the number of pre-race drops from the field was unusually high. 58 runners did take on the challenge of running in the summer weather, and were “treated” to temperatures that started in the 60s but eventually got into the low 90s, with a serious cloak of humidity draped over the course all day.

Race Director Dan Aghdam, in his second year at the Catherine’s helm, put on another well-organized event. The course is thoroughly marked under his tenure, and there were no reports of runners wandering off into uncharted territories this year. The aid stations were well stocked with runner-supplied aid, as well as special treats such as the large stash of ice-cold fruit pops that Sarah Curtis provided for runners at her Furnace aid station (miles 10 and 20 in the race). The VHTRC funding of the event was also well used, as the heat did not deter the runners and volunteers from enjoying the famous CFA “Party in the Parking Lot” after the race. Thanks to volunteer Grill Masters Kirstin and Tom Corris for cranking out the burgers, brats and beverages for everyone!

The race itself was particularly compelling this year. RD Dan has upped the ante from your standard Fat Ass event - there are prizes at Catherine’s for the first man and the first woman. The embossed canvas chairs looked so good together while on display pre-race, and they have not been separated post-race, as the Watkins family continued their amazing year of domination of the local trail races with another sweep at Catherine’s. Adam scorched the course in the amazing time of 4:40, overtaking early leader Dave Frazier in the last 10 miles. Robin finished 4th overall and first among the women in the field with a stellar time of 5:23. She had to battle to hold off the speedy Sarah Schubert from Charlottesville, who was within a few minutes of Robin virtually the entire race. Sarah’s run was particularly noteworthy for an unusual reason: she had forgotten to pack her trail shoes on race morning. After a check of the 211 East parking lot before the start, fellow runner (and eventual third place female) Gaynor Bourgeois, came through with some Merrills that were the right size for Sarah and allowed her to race.

As usual, the membership of the VHTRC came through in strong numbers to man the volunteer posts that RD Dan needed filled - and then some. Of particular note would be race founder and long-time director Jeff Reed returning to man the Bird Knob aid station as its captain; and Katie Keier making an appearance at the 211 East commuter lot finish line to serve as the official timer. Katie’s volunteering is noteworthy since she had just a few days earlier completed the first ever Wild Oak Trail (TWOT) 200 Miler. Thanks to Katie, Jeff and to all of the other volunteers for making this such a successful race!

Other reports

Volunteer Report - Bermadette Kilcer


PlaceNameAgeSexHome10 mile20 mileFinishComments
1Adam Watkins36MDC1:383:004:4050 km
2David Frazier30MVA1:352:594:5950 km
3Matt Wilson54MPA1:503:185:1750 km
4Robin Watkins32FDC1:503:275:2350 km
5Sarah Schubert28FVA1:553:305:2650 km
6Trevor Baine34MDC1:503:275:3050 km
7Matthew Smith37MVA1:573:375:3950 km
8Matt Banning37MVA1:513:365:5550 km
9Danny Mowers38MPA1:533:376:0050 km
10Jack Kurisky49MVA2:033:486:0650 km
11Marc Griffin40MVA2:033:486:0650 km
12Patrick Vaughan39MVA2:053:556:2750 km
13Peter Diak37MMD2:144:156:3750 km
14Michael Campbell66MVA2:214:226:5250 km
15Brian Carr40MMD2:144:126:5950 km
16Justin Blessing30MVA2:224:207:0050 km
17Paul Crickard62MMD2:224:247:0550 km
18Justin Hersh41MMD2:144:157:0950 km
19Kevin Walker36MVA2:214:127:0950 km
20Charles Bowles34MVA2:023:467:0950 km
21Bruce Tweedie54MVA2:314:377:2550 km
22Doug Massengale40MMD2:224:397:2750 km
23Matt Christovich37MVA2:064:257:2850 km
24Gaynor Bourgeois47FDC2:314:397:3150 km
25Scott Lee45MVA2:264:387:3750 km
26Stuart Brown65MVA2:284:357:4850 km
27Leah Yingling25FPA2:394:527:4850 km
28Mike McMonagle25MMD2:394:527:4850 km
29Michele Harmon50FMD2:304:467:5650 km
30C.J. Blagg50MVA2:304:467:5650 km
31Lisa Bandiera-Woetzel48FVA2:334:537:5750 km
32Deb Cawthorn45FVA2:334:537:5750 km
33Marty Fox65MVA2:234:458:0050 km
34Bill Gentry55MVA2:334:518:1850 km
35Larry Tumblin47MVA2:395:138:2950 km
36Jim Ashworth54MVA2:385:199:1850 km
DNFJacqueline Ong55FVA2:49 7:3024 miles
DNFJulius Garcia56MVA2:49 7:3024 miles
DNFLara Zoeller32FVA2:284:464:4621 miles
DNFAlexander Papadopoulos42MVA2:05 4:2320 miles
DNFKeith Knipling40MVA2:05 4:5020 miles
DNFFred Fialco42MMD2:31 5:2320 miles
DNFChris Pabian40MPA2:30 5:2320 miles
DNFDavid Quivey53MMD3:02 5:5320 miles
DNFJen Page44FVA2:42 6:0020 miles
DNFJimm Ouellette43MVA2:42 6:0020 miles
DNFDenise Coll55FVA2:42 6:0220 miles
DNFDawn Gray42FVA2:42 6:0320 miles
DNFJon Jester57MVA3:09 6:4520 miles
DNFJohn Garneski39MVA2:39 5:0919 miles
DNFSophie Speidel53FVA2:33 5:1119 miles
DNFAnnie Stanley40FVA2:31 5:1119 miles
DNFBecca Weast28FVA2:31 5:1119 miles
DNFAlisa Springman41FVA2:38 5:1219 miles
DNFJim Daniels43MVA2:38 5:1219 miles
DNFJoe Clapper57MMD2:36 5:2919 miles
DNFFrancesco Smith61MMD  4:3215 miles
DNFLisa Johnston51FMD2:33 2:3310 miles

While this is officially a “50k” race, the distance covered by those who finished the entire course is likely closer to 30 miles. All but one of the “20 mile” course runners ran the official course from the Catherine’s Furnace aid station and back. The “19 mile” runners ran to the Furnace and then back by way of a short-cut on the pink-blazed Browns Hollow Trail. 15 mile runner Smitty ran to the Bird Knob aid station and back, with some squiggly lines in between. Poor Lisa Johnston succumbed to an injury after slipping on rocks while taking a cooling dip in the Cub Run at the Furnace Aid Station, and as a result had to drop at that point rather than running back to the start/finish.

Last updated May 11, 2021