On March 22, 2014 among the rolling hills of Susquehanna State Park near Havre de Grace, Maryland, 433 runners lined up for the 26th annual Hinte - Anderson Trail (HAT) 50km Run. With several inches of snow on the ground just 5 days before race day, Mother Nature decided to cooperate and bring in mostly dry trails with overcast skies and high temperatures in the low 60’s after starting in the 40’s.
The course is mostly single track trail with a mix of open fields, dirt road, some paved road, and the always fun water crossings. Nearly 7,200 feet of climbing wears on the minds and legs of runners. After the starting loop of 3.6 miles runners complete two identical loops of 13.7 miles winding through the park while encountering bountiful aid stations and historic sites along the way.
At the water crossing there were different strategies. Some skipped across the rocks like circus performers while others were not so graceful, and others still, forded straight through. There were splashes, slips, helping hands, lots of smiles and even a split.
Thirty-eight year old Christopher Beck from Maryland, in 4 hours, 10 minutes, and 6 seconds.
Forty-three year old Kristin Eddy from Virginia, in 4 hours, 45 minutes, 15 seconds.
Finishing an ultra-marathon brings many different emotions and reactions; joy, relief, excitement, hugs, first time finishers’ giant smiles and family members who are just as excited as the runners. Sometimes there is competition right to the finish line and for others there is cooperation and support. At the end of this day there were 382 finishers ranging from 14 to 69 years old. And in the spirit of ‘Winning is Finishing’, the last runner to finish before the 8:30 cutoff, crossed the line in 8 hours, 25 minutes, and 13 seconds.
An awesome 50km trail run is the direct result of awesome volunteers and HAT volunteers are the best. From well before the start to well after the finish, they were busy marking the course, distributing race packets, setting up aid stations, and keeping runners on course, healthy, hydrated, and fed. They are all worth their weight in electrolytes.
What could be better than a hat for finishing HAT? An awesome pint glass for a post race beverage, that’s what.
Phil Anderson, the ‘A’ in HAT, and Tim Gavin, race director, monitor registration before the start of the event. Jeff Hinte, the ‘H’ in HAT, and race director, tracks finishing times with the help of his girlfriend Amy.
“…The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”