Panoramic view from Duncan Knob during the 2021 Waterfall 50K. The entire course is visible, including the antennas on Bird Knob off in the distance to the left.

Keith Knipling

2023 Report

January 15, 2023  •  Luray, VA

64 starters, 42 finishers

The field taking in the pre-race briefing at the starter’s gate, with Andy, Carl, Dan and Barret (from left to right) in the front row.

After an ice-induced hiatus of one year, the Waterfall 50k was back in 2023. And it was back in a big way! It was a gorgeous bluebird day for the 7th running of the WTF 50, though a mite chilly. Not a cloud to be seen all day, with temps ranging from the low 20s into the mid to possibly upper 30s. There was some wind at times on the ridge lines and open areas, but generally comfortable running conditions after those warmup miles scaling the Waterfall I climb in the opening 5k.

64 runners officially toed the line at the starter’s gate, across from the Route 211 East commuter parking lot at the start of the white-blazed Massanutten Connector Trail. There were a number of other “WTF Banditos” out on the course during the day, as well. After some stirring words of wisdom from Waterfall creator and RD Mike Bur, and the obligatory round of photos, those 64 runners got rolling at 8 AM sharp.

RD Bur, preaching to the assembled Waterfall runners at the pre-race gate

Reigning King of Waterfall and returning 2021 WTF 50 champeen Andy Stravers got the honor of starting in the first corral on the right side of the starting gate, while the rest of the field filtered around the gate one or two at a time after the run’s start. Most of the field filtered around that gate, that is - Daryl Brubaker took advantage of his 6’ 7” height to just step over it.

The 5k run to the top of the first climb up Waterfall, and first crack at the traditional Dunkin Donuts Aid Station there, was won by Carl Bligan, with a sparkling 32:27 sprint that gave him nearly a 2 minute edge on the rest of the field. The first women to hit the Donut A.S. at Crisman Hollow Road were Heather Dougherty and Nora Jodrey - their time was 41:43.

Waterfall Sweeps Katie, Jeni & Jayme with Donut Stop A.S. Cap’n Q & RD Bur

Carl was a man on a mission on this day, and he held his lead until the new addition to the Waterfall course for this 2023 edition of the run: Duncan Knob. In the previous WTF iterations, the runners had an out-and-back on the Jawbone Overlook at the northern end of the Kerns Mountain section of the course. This year the runners pivoted directly down the blue-blazed Gap Creek trail at the Jawbone end of Kerns, got their fill of their self-supplied aid at Gap Creek, then after their climb up to Peach Orchard, they got the opportunity to check out the very scenic overlook from the top of Duncan Knob. This new out-and-back section has a rock scramble section above its tree-line that is unblazed and led to some confusion for a number of the WTF runners. A lengthy detour here for Carl led to his dropping from the lead to fourth, and 2021 winner Andy Stravers assumed a lead that he would not relinquish.

Women’s winners with the runners who came into the finish with them (Bryan, Nora, Heather, Justin, Steve, Eric)

Barret Stanton was able to pass Dan Fogg in the Browns Hollow section of the course (aka the “Pink Trail”) to take second overall, with Dan then holding third. Carl’s fourth place finish included his taking the King of Waterfall title, which goes to the first male runner to the top of Waterfall I who then finishes the overall run. He will get to start the 2024 WTF 50k in the first corral.

The Queens of Waterfall were joint winners of the run this year: Nora Jodrey and Heather Dougherty. Both are no doubt excited about having the opportunity to start on the uphill side of that gate in 2024!

One great feature of this year’s run was the prevalent use of the GPX track by the runners. The results very much speak for themselves, as there were very few instances of folks finding themselves off-course, and when they did, it was relatively easy to self-correct. This is a great relief to the volunteers, especially as the day kicks over into night and you hope that everyone is left on the course is heading back in to the finish at 211 East on the orange trail, and not enroute to West Virginia. No doubt it was equally helpful to the runners who benefited from the track keeping them on course.

Jose Cardenas and his double owies at the WTF finish

We traditionally have a Best Blood recipient at this and many other mountain trail runs, and in Jose Cardenas we had quite the worthy 2023 “winner” of this award. This year we also had the Wettest Runner award due to the efforts of Jackie Milzman. Jackie is hard core; she don’t need no stinkin’ bridges at the Gap Creek crossing … . but after her brief swim, some towels, dry gloves and fresh hand warmers were helpful. Undeterred by her complete immersion, Jackie went on to get her finish.

The Waterfall 50k run has been, for its full 7-year history, Day 2 of the VHTRC’s Martin Luther King holiday weekend kick-off to training for the spring Massanutten 100 miler. That was the case again this year (after that hiatus due to icy conditions last year). So we should note those runners who took full advantages of the gifts that the club provided to them!

Laura Bergman provides a demonstration of how to descend from Duncan Knob

Six runners finished the complete courses on both days, and thus achieved the MLK Double. Of particular note was Kathleen Cusick, as she was not satisfied with a mere 63 miles and over 12,000 feet of climbing, but added on some bonus miles on the notorious purple trail near Catherine’s Furnace.

MLK Doubles were also achieved in 2023 by Jamie Greenawalt and Scott Lee, Jamie Miller, Barret Stanton, and Tony Taylor. Well done, all!

Honorary Mention goes to Nora Jodrey, who tied for first at WTF after having run on Saturday from the Caroline Furnace start to the Signal Knob finish. Unfortunately, she bypassed a short section of the MMT Training Academy course known as “Short Mountain” on her journey. Still, a fair warm-up of about 30 miles for her run on Sunday.

Heather and Nora’s Excellent Adventure on Duncan Knob

Also due some honorary mention among the MLK Double group for finishing the Training Academy run and then toeing the line and running a good chunk of the Waterfall course: Eric McGlinchey, Huanyuan Sheng and Tony Escobar (who ran portions both days despite a leg injury).

Also seen taking in some nice long hikes around Waterfall after completing MMT 1: Anthony Wolosik and Tonnie Warfield. Way to get your 2023 training years off to strong starts.

Considering what a good time it appeared that ALL the runners had out on this challenging course over this fine winter’s day, we expect the usual big demand for entry into the field for next year’s run. It will be held in its usual place on the calendar, the Sunday of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend, and the day after the Massanutten Training Academy Run #1 (January 14, 2024). Entry will open up on December 15, 2023, so mark your run calendars now!

A tall field in 2023: Eric Olson-Getty and Daryl Brubaker



Course Definitions:
1 = Complete 50k
2 = Ran to VC Aid Station, then took “party route” back to the finish, for about 22 miles
3 = Ran to VC Aid Station, then took a ride back to the finish, for about 20 miles
4 = Ran to the base of Waterfall II, then took the white trail back to the finish, for about 18 miles.

1Andy Stravers45MVA5:531Overall Winner!
2Barret Stanton24MVA6:121Breakfast Club/MLK Double!
3Dan Fogg38MDC6:181Breakfast Club
4Carl Bligan27MPA6:221Duncan Knob Bonus
5Kyle Lawrence38MVA6:431 
6Jose Cardenas34MVA6:451Unanimous Best Blood
7Eric Olson-Getty43MVA6:561Joint Tallest
8Aaron Shapiro39MMD7:101 
9David Peppelman47MMD7:231 
10Heather Dougherty36FDC7:251Joint Women's Winner!
10Nora Jodrey26FMD7:251Joint Women's Winner!
12Justin Faul42MVA7:261 
13Levi Mason42MVA7:491 
13Kevin Walker43MVA7:491 
15Aaron Ellison46MMD7:501 
16Mike Dominelli47MMD7:571 
17Matthew Smith43MVA8:051 
18Emily Warner39FVA8:091 
19Christopher Merritt36MVA8:221 
20Jason Farr45MVA8:241Duncan Knob Bonus
21Daryl Brubaker41MVA8:461Joint Tallest
22Casey Fisher39MMD8:471 
23Laura Bergman40FVA8:491 
23Jonathan Ely39MVA8:491 
25Brittany Dyer38FVA8:501 
25Kelly Paduch31FVA8:501 
27Kathleen Cusick47FFL9:141WTF Double, Plus!
27Travis Bertram49MVA9:141 
29Jamie Greenawalt55FPA9:181WTF Double!
29Scott Lee52MVA9:181WTF Double!
31Anne Pike44FVA9:251 
31Meg Roque46FVA9:251 
33Tony Taylor52MVA9:321WTF Double!
34Cassandra Lizza42FPA9:331 
35Jacqueline Milzman36FMD9:591Dinner Club
36James Miller58MVA10:081Dinner Club/WTF Double!
37Marty Fox72MVA10:091Dinner Club
38Stephanie Dempsey46FVA10:111Dinner Club
39Jessica Krueger32FMD10:121Dinner Club
40Amelia Kegan39FMD10:161Dinner Club
40Brendan Kolb31MNJ10:161Dinner Club
40Alex Place27MVA10:161Dinner Club
DNFAndy Peterson64MMD8:282Bird Knob/Party Route
DNFArt Perraud49MVA5:292Party Route
DNFChris McIntosh49MVA5:552Party Route
DNFJim Daniels53MDC6:132Party Route
DNFJoe Schramka32MVA6:252Party Route
DNFKyle Smith49MVA7:092Party Route
DNFEric McGlinchey49MPA7:252Party Route
DNFBryan Slotterbach68MMD7:252Party Route
DNFStephen Cooper66MVA7:262Party Route
DNFAlan Dyer39MVA4:393Visitor Center Lift
DNFSamantha Neakrase45FVA6:473Visitor Center Lift
DNFAmanda Lichy44FVA6:593Visitor Center Lift
DNFJesse Parker43MVA5:5241 WTF Party Route
DNFZach Edwards26MVA5:5541 WTF Party Route
DNFSara Fanous42FVA5:5541 WTF Party Route
DNFTom Simonds68MVA5:5541 WTF Party Route
DNFCarol Cohen46FVA6:4241 WTF Party Route
DNFAngela Huang37FVA6:4241 WTF Party Route
DNFChris White54MVA6:4241 WTF Party Route
DNFJayme Dubinsky39FVA7:1041 WTF Party Route
DNFKatie Keier52FVA7:1041 WTF Party Route
DNFHuanyuan Sheng47MVA7:3041 WTF Party Route
  • Breakfast Club consisted of the three runners who made it to the Visitor’s Center Aid Station before noon. That is 20 miles, and two climbs up Waterfall, in less than 4 hours. Yikes.
  • Dinner Club members are those dogged runners who bagged their finishes after the setting of the sun. All had lights and determination, and completed their WTF 50ks to get their stickers!
  • Furnace Tourist Award this year goes to Kathleen Cusick, who missed the turn onto pink and continued down purple for some bonus time in the direction of Catherine’s Furnace. She reversed field prior to reaching the furnace, however, so unlike past winner’s of this award, she will have to wait until July’s Catherine’s Fat Ass 50k to actually see the furnace.
  • Best Blood was over early this year. Jose Cardenas is a bleeder - yow.


Waterfall 5k (Donut Aid Station/Crisman Hollow Rd Crossing) - times are noted in minutes.

PlaceNameAgeSexStateWaterfall 5kGap CreekVisitors CenterFinishCourseComment
1Andy Stravers45MVA34:001:353:445:531Overall Winner!
2Barret Stanton24MVA34:001:413:566:121Breakfast Club/MLK Double!
3Dan Fogg38MDC36:001:413:556:181Breakfast Club
4Carl Bligan27MPA32:271:334:036:221Duncan Knob Bonus
5Kyle Lawrence38MVA38:001:454:166:431 
6Jose Cardenas34MVA41:001:484:166:451Unanimous Best Blood
7Eric Olson-Getty43MVA39:001:454:246:561Joint Tallest
8Aaron Shapiro39MMD42:002:004:377:101 
9David Peppelman47MMD41:002:024:427:231 
10Heather Dougherty36FDC41:422:024:487:251Joint Women's Winner!
10Nora Jodrey26FMD41:422:024:487:251Joint Women's Winner!
12Justin Faul42MVA46:002:074:497:261 
13Kevin Walker43MVA46:002:075:057:491 
13Levi Mason42MVA48:002:185:057:491 
15Aaron Ellison46MMD39:001:484:527:501 
16Mike Dominelli47MMD55:002:084:567:571 
17Matthew Smith43MVA43:002:085:058:051 
18Emily Warner39FVA46:002:215:188:091 
19Christopher Merritt36MVAxxx2:165:158:221 
20Jason Farr45MVA42:002:125:238:241Duncan Knob Bonus
21Daryl Brubaker41MVA48:002:165:378:461Joint Tallest
22Casey Fisher39MMD52:002:225:378:471 
23Laura Bergman40FVA46:002:215:238:491 
23Jonathan Ely39MVA46:002:175:248:491 
25Brittany Dyer38FVA48:002:165:328:501 
25Kelly Paduch31FVA48:002:165:328:501 
27Kathleen Cusick47FFL53:002:235:379:141WTF Double, Plus!
27Travis Bertram49MVA51:002:255:519:141 
29Jamie Greenawalt55FPA52:002:305:599:181WTF Double!
29Scott Lee52MVA55:002:445:599:181WTF Double!
31Meg Roque46FVA50:002:315:599:251 
31Anne Pike44FVA50:002:315:559:251 
33Tony Taylor52MVA57:002:476:029:321WTF Double!
34Cassandra Lizza42FPA56:002:396:089:331 
35Jacqueline Milzman36FMD52:002:316:299:591Dinner Club
36James Miller58MVA51:002:316:0910:081Dinner Club/WTF Double!
37Marty Fox72MVA57:002:476:2110:091Dinner Club
38Stephanie Dempsey46FVA55:002:396:1910:111Dinner Club
39Jessica Krueger32FMD57:002:476:2710:121Dinner Club
40Amelia Kegan39FMD50:002:316:1610:161Dinner Club
40Brendan Kolb31MNJ51:002:316:0210:161Dinner Club
40Alex Place27MVA51:002:316:0210:161Dinner Club
NopeAndy Peterson66MVA58:002:506:218:282Bird Knob/Party Route
NopeArt Perraud64MMD53:002:31xxx5:292Party Route
NopeChris McIntosh49MVA36:561:455:025:552Party Route
NopeJim Daniels49MVA50:002:255:346:132Party Route
NopeJoe Schramka53MDC49:002:175:476:252Party Route
NopeKyle Smith32MVA56:002:326:197:092Party Route
NopeEric McGlinchey49MVA61:003:026:377:252Party Route
NopeBryan Slotterbach49MPA55:002:446:377:252Party Route
NopeStephen Cooper68MMD55:002:446:277:262Party Route
NopeAlan Dyer39MVA38:001:514:394:393Visitor Center Lift
NopeSamantha Neakrase45FVA64:003:046:476:473Visitor Center Lift
NopeAmanda Lichy44FVA66:003:056:596:593Visitor Center Lift
NopeJesse Parker43MVAxxx2:30xxx5:5241 WTF Party Route
NopeSara Fanous42FVA59:002:51xxx5:5541 WTF Party Route
NopeTom Simonds68MVA59:002:51xxx5:5541 WTF Party Route
NopeZach Edwards26MVA54:002:47xxx5:5541 WTF Party Route
NopeCarol Cohen46FVA64:003:15xxx6:4241 WTF Party Route
NopeAngela Huang37FVA63:003:00xxx6:4241 WTF Party Route
NopeChris White54MVA52:002:32xxx6:4241 WTF Party Route
NopeKatie Keier52FVA70:003:43xxx7:1041 WTF Party Route
NopeJayme Dubinsky39FVA70:003:43xxx7:1041 WTF Party Route
NopeHuanyuan Sheng47MVA61:003:06xxx7:3041 WTF Party Route


Volunteer's NameWaterfall 2023 Assignment
Mike BurWaterfall 50k RD
Larry TumblinGap Creek Aid
Ashley CarrVisitor's Center Pie Distribution
Brian CarrVisitor's Center
Brett MartinVisitor's Center Chef
Sheila MartinVisitor's Center
Cara MasonVisitor's Center
Jeni Dwyer211 East Finish
Quatro HubbardDuties As Assigned

Last updated January 25, 2023