Final results for the 5th running of the Waterfall 50k, held on Sunday January 19, 2020 (Day 2 of the annual MLK Weekend training runs in the Massanuttens). The conditions were pretty good for the runners for this year’s race: sunny but cold, with winds up, particularly as the day went on. Perhaps that was why the finishing percentage spiked up for this year’s race?
Congrats to overall winner Dan Fogg, who successfully defended his title from the 2019 race. The rest of the podium was taken by Andy Stavers and Aaron Ellison. Kathleen Cusick took the women’s title for 2020. Chelsea Smith and Kira Bartlett joined Kathleen on the WTF women’s podium for this year.
Seven runners doubled up this year, completing the Massanutten Training Academy Run #1 on Saturday, and following that 50k up by getting up the next day and tackling at least a portion of WTF and its highly challenging course. Chris Pabian, Chris Flint, Keith VanGraafeiland, Levi Mason and Barret Stanton all finished WTF, while Jim Harris, back in Virginia after a couple of years away from the Massanuttens, took the shortcut back from the Visitor’s Center and decided he was fine with his 50+ mile weekend.
There were actually 65 starters, but two of the participants had alternative plans to the 63 who took on at least the bulk of this year’s WTF course. Sophie Speidel, accompanied by her son Chapin’s dog, Cooper, got in her standard road-based 18+ miler that involves doing the same 5k start up Waterfall and then running down to the Visitor’s Center, up Bird Knob, down to Catherine’s Furnace, then up purple to pink and back to the finish. Sophie also, as per her most delicious usual, brought a large number of servings of her delicious homemade Chicken and Rice Soup to ward off the chill and replenish the bellies of many of her fellow runners - thanks, Soph! Also participating was Ed Walsh, who is making his way back after a challenging battle with cancer. Ed rocked the Waterfall 5k, then looped back to the start by way of the Visitor’s Center, the Wildflower trail and the orange Massanutten South trail. Ed is most definitely on his way back!
Next year’s race will be held, as per tradition, on the Sunday of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend — January 17, 2021. Look for some changes to the race for next year, including a small addition to the course between Gap Creek and Duncan Hollow that will bring the race up and over the 50k mark (it is currently just under a mile short). And yes, the additional section will add an additional climb - and in good conditions, it should also add an incredible view.
Big big thanks to another great cadre of volunteers for coming out to help their fellow runners on a cold day to in the mountains without running.
Katie Burke Photos | Quatro’s Pics