Panoramic view from the Big Schloss during the 2017 run.
September 24, 2022 • Wardensville, WV
56 starters, 54 finishers
The Fall weather was right on time for the 2022 running of The Big Schloss 50k on September 24th, with noticeably cooler temperatures and partly cloudy skies, making excellent conditions for our runners. We had a great showing, with many runners and volunteers taking advantage of the beautiful weather to spend the weekend camping at Trout Pond Recreation Area. Levi, Cara and the PATC North Mountain Brigade had been chipping away at the overgrown trails and blowdowns for the past month, with special thanks to Nate Wick, Brian Collins and Ryan Collins for help with the trail work, and Matt Erb for scouting on his own backpacking circuit of the Schloss, but recent storms and high winds gave Levi the opportunity to clear several more blowdowns on run day before the runners got to them.
The morning saw 56 starters, 54 of which would end up completing the loop. Runners this year received the newly minted BS sticker (many thanks to Elaina Stanton and crew). Brian Collins of Winchester took an immediate lead, with Andy Stravers close behind, and would keep this lead for the entire run, finishing with an impressive time of 5:37. Andy finished 3 minutes behind, commenting that he might have pushed a bit harder at the end if he knew the run was so close, though we suspect it would have been a fight if he had tried. Brian was also very familiar with the course, and having course marked 8+ miles the day before and cleared trails the previous weekend, while Andy remarked that it was his first time running these trails. We hope to see him back next year!
First female Sarah Grant was chasing the course record set by Kelly McDonald in 2019. She came in looking strong at every aid station, with a big smile at the finish and commanding lead of almost an hour over second female Heather Dougherty, and 5th place overall, with a time of 6:10 which was only 6 minutes slower than course record time. Congratulations!
Thanks to some excellent trail marking by Quatro Hubbard, Jim Harris, Brian Collins, Kevin Walker, Levi Mason, Andy Peterson, Ryan Collins and Cara Mason with Theo assisting, no one missed the climb to the Schloss this year, including Matt Erb and Ram Oruganti who both returned for redemption after missing the Schloss in 2019 and 2021 respectively. We did unfortunately have a case of ribbon tampering, with Quatro Hubbard finding the double flags and confidence flags for a right turn on the road after Tibbet Knob having been replaced to indicate a left turn. Luckily, he replaced the flags with no one having made a wrong turn, though flags that had also been removed at the next turn off the road onto Long Mountain Trail led to one runner missing the turn and having to get a ride back to the finish. The fact that most of the runners were carrying maps and turn sheets likely was the reason we had such a high finish rate despite attempts at sabotage. A huge thank you to our sweepers Larry and Tracey Thibodeau and Bob Gaylord for their diligence in getting everyone back to the finish and clearing the ribbons.
Food was plentiful at the run this year, with runners bringing homemade treats, crates of avocados, and barrels of chocolate covered almonds. Aid Station 1 had breakfast burritos, bacon, and oatmeal cream pies, from Winchester Crew led by Kevin Walker and Emily Warner, Aid Station 2 had truffle-salted avocado slices and the ubiquitous PB&J, with a lively team led by John Hord and Charlene Howard, and Aid Station 3 cooked up pizza bites, orange chicken and dumplings, thanks to the culinary skills of Brian and Ashley Carr and company. Of course, many of the runners and volunteers stuck around for the cookout once again featuring Dan’s Meats. Thank you to Emily Warner, Kevin Walker, Chad Merrill and Ryan Collins for helping to organize the finish line. A big thank you to Dan Aghdam for manning the grill and allowing us to pillage the MMT supplies for our Aid Stations, and of course thank you for VHTRC for being such an awesome club and giving us the support needed to put on this event. We loved seeing everyone out there and hope to see you back next year! Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 23rd 2023 for the next running of The Big Schloss. Entry will open August 8th, 2023.