2019 Report

May 26, 2019  •  McConnellsburg, PA

50 starters, 35 finishers


Results for the ninth annual running of the Holy Cowans Gap 50km run, held on its traditional Memorial Day weekend Sunday, May 26, 2019. This event is set in the beautiful Cowans Gap State Park and its surrounding Buchanan State Forest in south central Pennsylvania. The run was limited to 75 entrants, and with the usual attrition from a Fat Ass style event, ultimately 50 runners toed the start line. 35 completed the full distance. The others finished at the least the “Holy Cow!” distance, as 15 miles in runners re-emerge from the southern section at the start/finish. At least 10 then decided that, Holy Cow!, they had had enough of those climbs for one day and settled into the post-race BBQ scene. The others logged at least some miles in the northern section before heading back to the finish.

Congratulations to all of the runners for taking on the challenge that is the Holy Cowans Gap this year! But it is a run, after all, so time for some Podium Talk. Top five men were led by overall winner George Sefzik, who took the HCG 2019 crown in relatively comfortable fashion in a time of 5:47. Second was Chris Pabian, following in good time by Lokesh Meena, John Zavatchan and Ted Bielawa. The women’s podium was topped this year by Kelly McDonald - no stranger to run wins! Kelly snuck in just under 7 hours, followed just under an hour later by second place finisher Abigail Shelter. The rest of the podium was then filled out by Ashley Carr, Suzie Spangler and Emily Bertram. Conveniently enough the overall top ten was made of these 10 runners named above. Congrats again to all of you on your strong runs!

As noted at the beginning of this brief run recap, this was the 9th running of this epic run. Sue Malone and Alisa Springman have done a great job putting this notoriously challenging run course together, and then organizing this run since its inception in 2010. The Tenth Annual Holy Cowans Gap 50k will be held on May 24, 2020. This will also be the last year of the run. All good things must come to an end, and sadly that appears to be the case for the HCG! Thanks to Alisa and Sue for exposing so many of us to these amazing trails at this very scenic park in southern Pennsylvania, and for their efforts over the years to put on a high quality, fun Virginia Happy Trails Running Club event for the area trail community. They are seeking to get an increase in their permitted number of entrants for the final year in order to go out with a particular bang, and - no doubt - to meet what will be a big demand for one more year of tackling these steep climbs. Online entry should open on Monday April 20, so pencil in the entry and the run dates to your running calendars for 2020!


1George SefzikM42VA5:47
2Chris PabianM43PA6:19
3Lokesh MeenaM31MD6:57
4Kelly MacDonaldF30VA6:59
5John ZavatchanM40PA7:12
6Abigail ShetlerF36PA7:56
7Ted BielawaM49VA8:01
8Ashley CarrF33MD8:12
9Suzie SpanglerF48MD8:17
10Emily BertramF43PA8:26
11Brian CarrM43MD8:29
12Birgit MitchellF47MD8:42
12Scott CrabbM47VA8:42
14Marty FoxM68VA8:45
14Don RileyM55MD8:45
16Christian StantonM45VA9:03
17Carol CohenF42VA9:13
17Matt ErbM41VA9:13
19Laura BennettF48VA9:27
20Faye WeaverF46MD9:38
20Frank VolnyM40MD9:38
22Art PerraudM61MD9:39
23Darla RoyalF59MD9:40
24Gary LukacsM61PA9:42
25Mitch HawbakerM60PA9:52
25Tom SimondsM64VA9:52
27Mandy PierceF44PA10:09
28Jeffrey KlemmM68VA10:10
29Sherry Ruffner-SlackF46VA10:44
29Claudia DuckerF51MD10:44
29Gilbert GrayM57MD10:44
29Ram OrugantiM49VA10:44
33Serhot OzturkM38MD10:48
34Elaina StantonF48VA11:08
34Tracey ThibodeauF48VA11:08
Holy Cow! Finishers     
DNFKatie BurkeF41MD27.5 mi
DNFScott LemmonM49PA27.5 mi
DNFDonald HalkeM60PA15+ mi
DNFRobert GrolemundM50VA15+ mi
DNFRyan BrownM33MD15 mi
DNFCatherine HowardF42DC15 mi
DNFPeter KempeM63PA15 mi
DNFKiran KoonsF45PA15 mi
DNFThomas McNultyM42MT15 mi
DNFBrian SchmidtM51VA15 mi
DNFJaret SeibergM49MD15 mi
DNFCory ShetlerM39PA15 mi
DNFLisa SidelF50MD15 mi
DNFJudith WeberF59MD15 mi

Katie Burke and Scott Lemon missed the cutoff on the northern section
and ran back to the start/finish from that point to complete their
ultras-distance runs of 27+ miles.

Robert Grolemund and Donald Halke also ran into the second half of
the race before turning back around; their distances were not noted.

Last updated December 16, 2019