The results from the 2017 running of The Ring can be found below. Congratulations to everyone who came out to participate, but especially to Adam Watkins, men’s winner of this year’s race, and Sheila Vibert, the women’s champion.
Adam’s 14:23 finishing time was 23 minutes faster than the record set in 2008 by Keith Knipling. Keith closed in the 2017 to finish second in 15:51, and Chris Moore and George Sefzik tied for 3rd in 16:06.
Sheila’s time of 18:03 is the third fastest for women at The Ring, bested only by Kathleen Cusick and Grace Fisher last year. Both were signed up for the 2017 Ring, but Grace had to withdraw pre-race, and Kathleen has been suffering from foot issues, so after coming into the first full aid station (at Camp Roosevelt), she opted to run back to the start on the Fort Valley Road.
There was a record 61 starters and a record 45 official finishers. Two other runners, Jackie Ong and Julius Garcia, also completed the distance under their own power, but had some navigational issues in the final section of the race around the Strasburg Reservoir and the infamous Signal Knob, and they ultimately came to the finish 80 minutes over the 29 hour race cutoff.
Of the 45 finishers, an amazing 32 runners were joining the Fellowship of The Ring, through the completion of this race for the first time. There are now 213 members of the Fellowship - and thus 213 who are eligible to enter the Reverse Ring. The next running of the Reverse will be over the weekend of February 24-25, 2018.
Everyone would agree that, aside from these great running achievements above (and listed below), the real heroes of The Ring this year were the volunteers, and the weather. This year there were 40 volunteers, and each and every one was amazing, even by the increasingly high VHTRC standards. This outstanding level of support allowed the race to grow to the extent it did this year.
The high finishing rate was likely aided not only by the great volunteer support, but also by the highly unusual weather. The remnants of Hurricane Harvey, that had spent days dumping an unprecedented amount of rain over the Texas and Louisiana coastal areas, chose to roll through the Massanutten Mountains and the Fort Valley on race day. The very erratic forecast from the weather guessers turned out to be off, as has been the norm during previous race weekends in this portion of Virginia. There was very little rain on Saturday, a day that otherwise was cool (low to mid 50s) and overcast, with fog in the morning, and occasional drizzle during the day. The drizzle turned to light rain at times overnight, and the fog became quite thick and a real obstacle for the runners on the already challenging rocky trails along the western ridge of the Massanuttens. Sunday though was gorgeous, with not only the rain but the clouds leaving the area pre-dawn, and the temperatures remaining pleasant for the final hours of the race. This also led to what has become the standard outstanding brunch/party at the Signal Knob Cafe at the finish line, hosted as always by Stephanie Danahy and John Stacy, and assisted this year by Joey Cohen.
Thanks again to all the participants in this year’s Ring. We hope to see many of you back for The Ring again next year, which will be held over its traditional Labor Day weekend, September 1-2, 2018.