Hyner View Trail Challenge 25K, Hyner, PA  3,3
Elevation Gain: 4222'; High Point: 2100'

April 22, 2017 - It is always a pleasure to return to central Pennsylvania's premiere trail race. For me it was my sixth go at the hills of Hyner. This time I opted for the shorter distance to allow for more time after for socializing and because I would begin a road trip to Arizona immediately following.

Sleeping in my car at the airfield by the start I eased into the morning and did not go over to cheer the 50K contestants at their 0800 start. The shorter race was set for 0900 and I was in no hurry to stand in the chilly air any longer than necessary. A heavy downpour of rain soaked the 50K runners right as they started, but after the precip abated it stayed away all day, allowing for a dry run for the 25K runners.

Running to the start line at the last minute I greeted Matt Lipsey and Sean Blanton who would be the eventual first and second place finishers. It was good to see people you knew in such a large throng of runners. Starting near the banner I blazed down the hill the first quarter mile to move with the quick starters and avoid being trampled. Once on the road and across the bridge (right) I slowed to find an even breathing rhythm before taking up with folks more my speed by the time we hit single track.

The first climb up to Hyner View is always humbling. Despite only a week of light running following three weeks off to heal a stressed navicular bone in my right foot I rolled up the hill without strain. My legs were strong and breathing not labored. Rolling over the top past the waiting spectators I eased down the other side with the usual caution I have become accustumed to. It wasn't long before I rediscovered my downhill skills. After my feet became so injured last year I have babied my downhills, allowing virtually everyone to pass me on descents. But not on this day. My feet were back. Instead of people passing me, I was reeling in slower runners. It felt really good to be once again confident of moving with ease while running straight down.

Recent rains made the trails muddy and slippery, but my Hokas were grippy enough. Johnson Run was higher than I have seen so I decided early to just plow through the thirty or more crossings. Despite lack of training the climb up out of Johnson Run and subsequent climb up SOB were well within my aerobic capacity. I was strong and did not lose position to too many along the way. If anything, I gained more than I lost, cruising in the final four miles with ease and confidence, finishing in a comfortable time without any need for speed.

The beer and beans filled me up as I spent the post race mostly with Martin Denault from Toronto and Leo Fung from Calgary, as I bounced around from friend to friend. No sore muscles or noticeable fatigue after running a mere 15 miles, so I did not delay in beginning my drive west. Picking up Mike Monyak before dark we didn't stop driving until we hit Amarillo. Quite a day.