Robin Watkins Breaks Women’s Record at The Ring
The Ring was held over its traditional Labor Day weekend time period, starting on Saturday August 30, 2014, and ending for all but the top two runners on Sunday August 31. While occasional rumbles of thunder could be heard at times along portions of the course, this year’s race remained dry. In fact, word from the runners was that the course itself was drier than normal. A lack of truly significant “Ring Rash” on the legs of most runners also indicated that the course was more benign than usual, with fewer stands of sawbriers than has come to be expected.
The biggest story at the race this year was Robin Watkins. Robin was the first female finisher, and fourth overall. In the process, she broke the women’s race record by 40 minutes, finishing in 18:31. Sue Johnston had held the record for 10 years, having run a 19:11 while finishing in a tie for first overall in 2004.
Chris McIntosh was the overall winner of The Ring. Chris completed the 71 mile circuit of the Massanutten Trail in a time of 16 hours and 10 minutes. Brad Hinton took second in 16:41. Chris took the lead from Brad near the halfway point in the race, without being aware of it. Brad got off course for a period of what he estimated to be about a half hour. Chris only learned that he was in the lead two aid stations later. Brad closed to within a handful of minutes of Chris late in the race, only to see Chris pull away over the last section from Powellls Fort Camp over Signal Knob to the finish.
The record starting field of 50 runners yielded a record number of finishers this year. Of the 25 who completed The Ring, 14 are new members of The Fellowship. As a result, there are now 135 runners who are eligible to enter the Reverse Ring in 2015. Mike Bur and I are likely to cap the field at a number on the other side of 100, however.