Results for the ninth annual running of the Holy Cowans Gap 50km race, 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 race 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 race, 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 race 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 races!
As noted at the beginning of this brief race recap, this was the 9th running of this epic race. Sue Malone and Alisa Springman have done a great job putting this notoriously challenging race course together, and then organizing this race 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 race. 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 race dates to your running calendars for 2020!