Sunrise from Signal Knob, taken in the early miles of the 2014 Reverse Ring.

Keith Knipling

2016 Report

February 27, 2016  •  Fort Valley, VA

32 starters, 20 finishers


Coming off a year (2015) when a snowstorm blew in shortly after the start of the Reverse Ring and kept all 13 starters from finishing, the 2016 edition produced virtually an ideal run. There was no precipitation during the event, and the course was, on the whole, relatively dry — except for Duncan Hollow, but more on that later.

All 32 runners still on the entrants’ list on run morning made it to the Signal Knob parking lot at the northern end of the Fort Valley for the seasonably chilly start, at 6:01 AM on Saturday, February 27. Thats right there were no DNSs! Of those 32 starters, 20 made their way around the length of the Massanutten Trail, and returned to the parking lot at Signal Knob under the 29 hour time limit. And of the 20 finishers, 14 were newly christened Masters of The Ring. The complete list the 2016 Class (and previous years finishers) can be seen detailed at the bottom of the Revere Ring webpage.

The runner who had put off completing the Reverse the longest since finishing his initial running of The Ring was also the eventual winner of this year’s exciting run, Justin Faul. Justin, up from Charlotte, NC, finished The Ring in 2009, and was finally in a position to return to take care of this unfinished Reverse business 6+ years later. That wait turned out to be worthwhile, as Justin finished in a sparkling time of 16 hours and 51 minutes, edging out Kathleen Cusick literally in the final mile, and by 3 minutes.

Kathleens time of 16 hours and 54 minutes easily set a new womens record for the Reverse Ring. Kathleen had spent much of the second half of the run in the overall run lead. Justin surged late after downing pizza and soup at the final aid station (Milford Gap, about 12.6 miles from the finish), making up a 38 minute deficit over that span. Kathleen was battling ankle issues that slowed her somewhat, as she repeatedly sprained one ankle on those notorious Massanutten rocks, particularly once it got dark. Congratulations to them both on a great run!

Part of what made this 11th running of the Reverse Ring noteworthy was the number of changes that occurred among the lead runner or runners during the run. The one constant over the first half of the run, through the Crisman Hollow Road (hiked-in) aid station, was Danny Mowers. Danny shared the lead early on with Chris McIntosh; later Danny came in to an aid station in the joint lead with Justin; and finally he ran in the lead at times with Kathleen. Danny eventually began to fall back, falling victim to the lingering effects of an illness that had almost prevented him from making it to the starting line.

Kathleen moved ahead during what should have been one of the easiest, if longest, sections of the course, from Crisman Hollow Road to Camp Roosevelt. However, with the wet winter conditions, and with an MMT Training Academy run the weekend before churning up the same ground, Duncan Hollow proved to be a quagmire. It was the section virtually all the runners were complaining about after this years run. The Ring historian, Jim Harris, offered that he thought a GoFundMe effort to Pave Duncan Hollow was called for, a clear indication of how bad the runners thought this section was this year.

The volunteers were once again the Big Story. From the breakfast burritos at Woodstock Tower all the way around the course to yet another amazing rendition of Steph Danahy and John Stacys Signal Knob Caf at the finish line (with its gourmet brunch fare), the runners received assistance that was stellar under any circumstances, let alone at a run with the less than hefty entry fee required of the Reverse Ring runners. Thanks for providing the funding for that aid once again must go to the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club. And again, a hearty Thank You! to all the volunteers, each of whom made the run not just special but also fun.

And about that entry fee … this run is free, but with a caveat: only members of the Fellowship of The Ring are eligible to enter. So if you are interested in running the 2017 Reverse Ring, make sure you have checked that prerequisite box by finishing The Ring on Labor Day weekend, 2016!


PlaceNameClassSexAgeStateWoodstock 14.2Edinburg 22.4Moreland 30.4Crisman 36.8Camp Roos 46.1Milford 57.5 Finish 70.1
1Justin Faul2009M35NC2:394:216:218:0110:1413:3716:51:00
2Kathleen Cusick2013F40VA2:434:256:217:5910:0412:5916:54:00
3Alexander Papadopoulos2003M41VA2:494:356:298:1110:1413:3617:33:00
4Danny Mowers2012M38PA2:354:216:137:5810:1113:3918:01:00
5Grace Fisher2014F35VA2:514:356:348:2110:3214:1318:58:00
6Jack Kurisky2010M48VA2:444:356:358:2210:3414:3319:38:00
7Chris McIntosh2014M42VA2:354:326:468:3911:2415:2119:39:00
7Gavin Watson2014M54MD2:564:497:019:1211:3115:2319:39:00
7Aaron Ellison2015M39MD2:524:457:059:1011:3615:2919:39:00
10Jim Harris2007M51OH3:175:227:379:4312:1916:3920:59:00
11Paul Lefelhocz2013M47OH3:245:257:369:4912:4616:5221:08:00
12Stephanie Dempsey2015F39VA3:015:147:389:4512:3216:4523:01:00
13Larry Huffman2012M55VA3:265:398:1410:3213:3418:1223:37:00
14Bob Combs2005M48CO3:245:368:0910:1613:1218:0023:57:00
15Scott Lee2015M45VA3:095:237:5710:1513:0719:0824:21:00
16Ed Rangel2012M39MD3:436:099:0011:3715:0819:5725:02:00
17Andrew Thomas IV2015M33VA3:144:597:279:2812:3517:1825:12:00
18Bruce Tweedie2015M54VA3:115:228:0710:1513:1117:3726:46:00
19Chris Pabian2015M39PA3:245:418:1410:4914:2220:1627:50:00
19Irawan Balcet2014M39VA3:436:098:4310:5914:2620:1627:50:00
NopeDave Herring2014M45VA2:434:357:129:2312:21xxxDNF (46 miles)
NopeDave Quivey2012M53VA3:235:398:0910:2113:29xxxDNF (46 miles)
NopeStephen Cooper2012M61MD3:245:418:1410:3213:34xxxDNF (46 miles)
NopeCharlie Joyce2012M46MD3:265:398:3810:5014:38xxxDNF (46 miles)
NopeKatie Keier2015F45VA3:446:279:1911:4615:31xxxDNF (46 miles)
NopeLeonard Martin2014M62TN4:106:509:4612:2616:29xxxDNF (46 miles)
NopeBill Turrentine2003M67VA3:586:399:4112:3016:37xxxDNF (46 miles)
NopeBob Anderson2008M69VA3:516:339:3412:39xxxxxxDNF (37 miles)
NopeTony Escobar2013M52VA3:446:349:34xxx13:46xxxDNF (39 miles)
NopeGary Maier2010M63NY3:516:359:34xxxxxxxxxDNF (30 miles)
NopeSarah Curtis2015F34VA3:516:349:46xxxxxxxxxDNF (30 miles)
NopeAngela Russell2015F39MD2:444:43xxxxxxxxxxxxDNF (22 miles)

! = new course record

Tony Escobar ran official course through the top of the climb up Jawbone on the Ed Trail, roughly 32.5 miles into the run.

Tony then ran down Jawbone to Gap Creek and across Peach Orchard Gap to Duncan Hollow and down into Camp Roosevelt before dropping.

Leonard Martin and Bill Turrentine did not drop, but were instead pulled for missing the 10 PM cut off at Camp Roosevelt.

Last updated December 16, 2019