Wednesday, June 20, 2007
On June 16, I ran the fifth annual Highlands Sky 40, a very tough ultra presented by the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners (WVMTR). The course starts at the base of the Roaring Plains trail and continues along the Eastern Continental Divide to the Dolly Sodds Wilderness, with every type of terrain imaginable: rocky single track, bogs, exposed dirt road, boulder-hopping, newly cut trail through old growth forests, and a bit of pavement. This race showcases the incredible beauty of West Virginia as well as the generous hospitality of the folks of the WVMTR. The pre-and post-race dinners take place at the Canaan Valley Resort, which is also where the finish line is (in front of the resort swimming pool, no less!).
I was the only member of Team Montrail-Nathan at Highland Sky this year, but Annette Bednosky, David Horton, Space Johnson, and Bethany Patterson have run this race in previous years. There were many runners wearing Nathan hydration packs...in fact, I wore my Intensity the entire race and was really glad I did, because I felt great about how I managed my hydration and nutrition throughout the race. Krissy, I kept thinking about you and your colleagues at Nathan while running...I love my Intensity!!
In my opinion, Highland Sky is one of the toughest ultras on the East Coast mile-for-mile (I believe Horton said those exact words after the first year he ran it). If you like highly technical trail but also love to run on single track and dirt roads surrounded by incredible beauty, this race has it all. The WVMTR does an amazing job and Montrail was a race sponsor again this year. Thanks, everyone, for a great adventure! Here is a link to my photos from the race finish line.