I am home from the wet, muddy, windy, cold, and down right nasty Hyner Trail Challenge. For all of you that aren't aware, Hyner is a 25K+ Trail Race. The race is actually 16.3 miles long.
When we started this morning, it was cold, about 40 degrees and high winds. It was also raining. The race started about 15 minutes late because of the runners waiting to get their bibs. When you arrive, you pick up your race packet at the parking area, but you pick up your bib at the start finish line. It is about a 3/4 mile walk from the parking area to the start finish.
I arrived at around 7:40 and had plenty of time to pick up my race packet and walk over to the start/finish and then back to the car to get dressed. Time management is a big thing at this race. Some of the racers were smart and picked up packets and then took a drop bag to the start/finish area to have dry clothes to change into after the race. This is a great idea. I wish I would have done the same. It was a long, cold run back to the car after finishing the race.
Anyways, on to the race. The race starts out at the Western Clinton Sportsman's Association. From here, you run about a 1/2 mile to route 120 and then make a left. You run on route 120 for about 1/2 mile and then make a right onto another road. You get to run on this road for about 3/4 of a mile. At the end of the road, you enter a trail known as "Cliffhanger." Yes, the trail lives up to its name. This trail is a single track and immediately to your left is a drop off. If you fall off of this trail where there isn't a fence, you have about a 100 to 150 foot fall to the railroad bed. It is a nice rolling trail and very runnable.
Once you get to the end of "Cliffhanger", you get to meet "Humble Hill." Yes, this hill lives up to its name. This is an endless climb from the river to Hyner View. There are some runnable sections, but while doing this, plan on holding the person in front of you. This section of the trail is straight up and the person in front of you could sit on your hands.
At the very top is Hyner View. First of all, I am afraid of heights. The View is at 2000 feet. The bottom of the trail is at 600 feet. As you come around the wall at the view, you are on a singletrack that is about 12 inches wide with a wall to your right. To your left, is a river. 1400 feet below. If you fall, this will be the last view you ever see. It is a beautiful view for the 1/2 second that I looked.
From here, you get to run on the Hyner View Trail Challenge Trail. This is a great downhill that takes you to Johnson Run. Johnson run is a stream that you cross over approximately 20 times while running up the gorge. The water was high and cold, but after about 6 crossings, you didn't even know that you had feet. This is a very runnable section.
Once at the end of Johnson run, it is time for another climb. This climb is long, but not very steep. Good climb to make some passes and make up some time.
After this climb, it is back down again. Another good section of running.
At the end of the trails at the bottom, it is time for the SOB. And yes, this climb lives up to its name. This is a very, very, very long and steep climb. This is a slow going section of the course. Once at the top, you get to run on some fire roads and work your way to the descent on Huff Run Trail. Huff Run Trail is a very fast downhill. It is not too steep, but very fast. This trail takes you back to the road.
From here, you make a right and then head back to route 120. You make a left and then take 120 to the entrance of the Sportsmans Association. You don't run the road the whole way up though. They throw in one more climb to the finish.
After you finish, they have all kinds of food from pizza to pulled pork sandwiches, to cupcakes and cookies. Oh yeah, they also have Bud Light, Yuengling, Miller Lite, and Troegs. Not a bad deal for $50.
I successfully finished the Hyner Challenge in 3:31:20. That was good enough fo 95 out of 1100. A good finish for a run today and not a race. I was very conservative for the first 10 miles running an easy pace. I raced the last 10K and passed a good number of runners.
I would have to say that this is my favorite trail race and course. I will be doing this course 2 times for the Try-All-By-Fire in August hosted by Try Chips.
I highly recommend this race to everyone. But do me a favor, if you are going to register for a trail race, please put forward an effort to finish. Don't take a spot from someone else who can and will finish the race. These races are tough and if you can't finish, please save the spot for someone else. (Sorry, had to get that off my chest.)
Cheers to all and see you on the roads or trails.