The heavy rains and unseasonably high temperatures that descended on much of the state late last week were not enough to stop Saturday's 29th running of the John F. Kennedy 50-Miler from Boonsboro to Williamsport.
"I was almost in tears Thursday and Friday," race director Buzz Sawyer said Sunday.
But when athletes train upward of 60 miles a week, conditions have to be extreme to stop the event, and Sawyer, who has directed the race in bad weather of every sort, has seen his
share of rain, hail, snow and blustery conditions.
"My only concern was that it was going to get too hot," Sawyer said. "It was a borderline day as far as the weather goes."
As it was, the JFK, an ultramarathon run largely on the C&Towpath, had its highest percentage (88) of finishers in the history of the event, with 354 starters and 310 finishers.
Eric Clifton of Greensboro, N.C., was the first to finish -- in 6 hours, 6 minutes, 9 seconds -- the seventh-best time in the history of the race. David Horton, the top masters finisher in fourth place after 41.9 miles, finished strongly to record the day's second best time (6:26:32).
Laura Nelson, 26, of Hagerstown, was the top female finisher i7:23:19. Jeff Hinte, 36, of Aberdeen was the area's top finisher in 6:48:50.
The top finishers:
Males: 1. Eric Clifton, 33, Greensboro, N.C., 6:06:09; 2. David Horton, 41, Lynchburg, Va., 6:26:32; 3. Spyros Barres, 29, Mystic, Conn., 6:28:08; 4. Ed Boggess, 33, Takoma Park, 6:33:45; 5. Dave Ramsey, 35, Columbia, 6:34:20; 6. Vassili Triantos, 37, Rockville, 6:40:01; 7. Jeff Hinte, 36, Aberdeen, 6:48:50; 8. Chris Kelk, 48, Toronto, 6:52:48; 9. Dave Drach, 35, Leasburg, N.C., 6:53:37; 10. John Hess, 48, Johnstown, Pa., 6:54:50. Masters: 1. Horton.
Females: 1. Laura Nelson, 26, Hagerstown, 7:23:19; 2. Lorraine Gersitz, 37, Fullerton, Calif., 7:36:17; 3. Carolyn Showalter, 37, Maugansville, 7:38.