On the whole, it was a good weather day for MMB. Particularly for the volunteers, as the temps ranged from 60 degrees mid-morning on Reddish Knob to the low 70s in the afternoon along the Tilghman Road. Threatened thunderstorms finally revealed themselves mid-afternoon, and after another dry spell, more drizzle made way for more rain to finish the race off. The conditions had been quite humid for the runners, and most still on the course when the rains came were grateful for its cooling effect.
Congrats to Matt Thompson on his overall win, and to Daisy Weill, first to the finish among the women. Matt had opened up a solid lead by the first aid station at 12.5 miles over Leif Van Acker and Adam Watkins. Adam cut into the lead in during the downhill miles to aid station #2, but by the time he reached the final aid station, with 8 miles to go, Matt had once again opened up a 15+ minute gap. His finish in 5:26 was just 8 minutes off the event record, set by Dave Frazier in 2013 and then again in 2014. Daisy Weill held off Amy Brockey-Rogers by a minute to take the women’s win, with the race splits, and on-course photographic and video evidence, indicates that they were running in the vicinity of each other much of the day. Amy Sproston’s course record of 6:15, set in 2013, remains intact.
Other little factoids … The finishing percentage this year was over 75%. This stands in stark contrast to many of the MMB finishing rates in years’ past. For example, 2016 was just over 50%; and 2012 was just over 33%. The starting field of 51 runners set a new record for MMB. And a big congrats to all the runners for dodging the Sand Springs Trail Rattler(s). Most runners commented on seeing one or two during the final stages of their big descent from Reddish Knob to Tilghman Road in the middle of the race. There were no reported bear encounters during the race (two were seen on Grooms Ridge during Friday afternoon trail marking), but plenty of bear dogs, as per usual in this area. Sadly, yellow jackets impacted one runner’s race: Jayme Dubinsky had to skip the final section of the race after experiencing five stings during the Narrowback Trail section of the course.
Once again, a number of runners took advantage of being in the area of these trails to package a Sunday run with their Saturday race. Several groups staged TWOT loops, while others hit other trails in the Massanuttens. MMB weekend provides not only an outstanding race experience on some very underutilized trails, but also a valuable chance to get in a double, particularly for those gearing for fall 100s.
Big thanks to Race Founder and RD Emeritus Dennis Herr for all his work helping to pull this race off. Also thanks to the other volunteers: Mundy Hackett, Natalie Escobar, Mike Hannon, Robin Watkins and Josh Howe. Good times, as always, on these fantastic trails - see you all Saturday August 11, 2018, and we will do it all again. Only this time with more timber rattlers!