by Alyssa Godesky
The 11th annual Bel Monte Endurance Races took place during a perfect spring day in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This came as a much needed escape after a winter of snow and freezing temperatures for most of the participants who trained in the region.
With temperatures comfortably in the 50s at the start, the race started hot from the get-go with the paces as well! The top 3 overall in the 25k all bested last year’s winning time by over 2 minutes. Luke Bosek was the male winner in a time of 2:37, with Dave Pike closing in just a mere 3 minutes behind. Third overall was also our first female in the 25k, Chelsea Gay, in 2:42.
In the 50k, Aaron Saft set a blistering pace for the first half. However, on the way home he just didn’t have enough gas to hold on with the temperatures rising. Charlottesville’s Nicholas DiPirro was able to secure the lead and take first place by an impressive 37 minutes, with a final time of 5:30. Aaron held on for second place in 6:07; we know Aaron will come back next year for some redemption!
Once again, our third place overall spot was snatched up by a female. Eugenie Heebie from Alexander, NC came through as the first female in 6:50, with Kaylee Lucas holding on for a comfortable second place finish in 7:03.
With runners from all over the US and even Canada, the 50 milers have the stories to tell from the day. They saw the highs and lows of the temperatures and got to experience all of the fun of each creek crossing (twice!) on this scenic and rewarding 50 mile course. Patrick Brightwell of Richmond, VA took the win, running a strong and steady 9:32, with Ben Wyrick and Craig Murphy taking second and third all under 10 hours.
It was Stacy Kotsko from Fairmont, WV in 11:21 who won the women’s 50 mile race. She was able to secure the lead over last year’s female champion Krystle Martinez who ran strong for second this year in 11:07. Meredith Hering of Annapolis, MD took third place in 11:42.
Runners took full advantage of the sunny day, basking in the rays at the finish line at the Royal Oaks Resort. When they were full of the traditional post-race lasagna meal, many headed over to kick their feet up and enjoy a cold drink at nearby Devils Backbone Brewpub. Here’s to the next 11 years of the Bel Monte Races being just as perfect a spring day as 2015!