A sign on a truck from Virginia was indication of what lay ahead: The best long-distance runners eat raw meat, run naked and sleep in the snow.
The site was Susquehanna State Park, and the occasion was Sunday's Hinte-Anderson Trail 50K, The Athletics Congress' Mid-Atlantic 50K trail championship.
Running an ultramarathon -- and on trails, to boot -- is tough enough. Throw in a 30-mph wind, a wind chill factor at 10-below and a driving snow, and it becomes that much more arduous.
But that didn't deter runners from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington and Virginia who came to run the three loops of the 10.3-mile course that Renaissance AllSports Athletic Club members Jeff Hinte and Phil Anderson have carved out near Deer Creek in Harford County.
Tom Rogozinski, 24, of Hagerstown finished first in 3 hours, 38 minutes, 18 seconds -- nearly four minutes ahead of second-place finisher Drew Rogers, 32, of Alexandria, Va.
"I stayed with him on the flats," Rogers said, "but once we got on the hills, he took off."
Rogozinski, who has been running ultras for two years, was completing his 10th, "by far my finest 50K," he said.
"I ran cross country and track in college [Indiana University of Pennsylvania]," he said, "but no matter how hard or fast I trained or finished, I always seemed to have a little bit left at the end. That's why I stepped up. And I really enjoy the trails, so it fits my style."
Next for Rogozinski is a multi-day event in New Jersey.
"I've been pointing toward the Weston six-day race. It's around the quarter-mile track in Pennsauken, N.J.," he said. "It's just to see how many miles you can get in."
In the relay division of the HAT 50K, Tod Dissinger, Jim Cramer and Mike Smith finished first in 3:29:34.
"I guess I talked them into coming down," Cramer, 29, of Lebanon, Pa., said. "A couple of us had come down in past years. I've done the 50K [solo] twice before. I'm glad I wasn't doing it today."
Lelia Vann of Greenbelt won the women's division in 5:00:59. There were 100 starters.
7+ The top runners among the 66 finishers:
Males: 1. Tom Rogozinski, 3:38:18; 2. Drew Rogers, 3:42:07; 3. Gary Stefanisko, 3:46:05; 4. Charlie Trayer, 3:52:31; 5. Tom Smith, 3:53:04; 6. Jeff Hinte, 3:54:42; 7. Vassili Triantos, 3:54:50; Michael Lieder, 3:54:50; 9. Rick Schneider, 4:02:27; 10. Barry Lewis, 4:05:10.
Females: 1. Lelia Vann, 5:00:59; 2. Jeanne Melanson, 5:07:22; 3. Christa Weaver, 5:33:16; 4. Margaret Schlundt, 5:36:30; 6. Peggy Dickinson, 5:37:44; 7. Roxy McNeal, 5:47:18; 8. Margaret Smith, 6:35:49.
NOTES: Dave Berardi, 31, of Catonsville won Saturday's Virginia Beach (Va.) Marathon in 2:21:23, a personal record that beat by 31 seconds his finish in last fall's Fox Cities Marathon. Tammy Slusser was the women's winner in 2:47:15. Doug Mock was 10th in the accompanying 8K in 24:13; Ken Fowler was 16th. Other area marathon finishers: Dale Jordan, 3:15:39; Jesse Henighan, 3:19:40; Stanton Neuman, 3:20:59; Chet Coates, 3:36:15. . . . Michael Sterling and Marge Rosasco won their divisions of the inaugural Dulaney 5K Classic on Sunday. There were 135 finishers. . . . Sunday's Annapolis Striders' The Family ,, Four was canceled. . . . The Baltimore Road Runners Club's Christy St. Claire, 43, ran a 3:32 in the Los Angeles Marathon. . . . The Avia Ladies Classic, formerly the Baltimore Ladies Classic and formerly the Lady Equitable, goes off at the Inner Harbor on Sunday at 9 a.m. Call (410) 323-7860. . . . Fritzbe's Runfest 10K, the area's largest 10K, begins in Rockville on Sunday at 8 a.m. Call the Montgomery County Road Runners Club at (301) 353-0200. . . . Sunday's top finishers:
Dulaney 5K Classic At Dulaney High School Males: 1. Michael Sterling, 16:11; 2. William Desmond, 16:17; 3. Stephen Dillard, 16:48; 4. Maurice Pointer, 17:17; 5. Bruce Batchelor, 17:31; 6. Ken Miller, 17:37; 7. Charles Shifflett, 17:43; 8. Piriya Pinit, 18:03; 9. Finley Mears, 18:07; 10. Tony Pridgen, 18:37. Masters: 1. Desmond.
Females: 1. Marge Rosasco, 18:34; 2. Mary Lou DiNardo, 19:11; 3. Patricia Garren, 21:49; 4. Jamie Heffner, 22:15; 5. Janine Paciarelli, 22:22; 6. Hollie Kenney, 23:10; 7. Ellie Carson, 24:17; 8. Nancy Woodside, 24:31; 9. Joanne Sfekas, 24:35; 10. Stacy Sympson, 24:48. Masters: 1. Paciarelli.
BSunday, Fritzbe's Runfest 10K, Rockville, 8 a.m., (301) 353-0200.
Sunday, The Avia Ladies Classic, Inner Harbor, 9 a.m., (410) 323-7860.
Sunday, RASAC Fox 5K, Bel Air, 9 a.m., (410) 638-0235.
April 4, WMC 5K Track Run, Western Maryland College 9 a.m., (410) 848-8991.
April 5, Oriole Advocates 8K Home Run, Memorial Stadium, 8:30 a.m., (410) 882-5455.
April 5, RASAC Covered Bridge 5.85-miler, Bel Air, 9 a.m., (410) 879-9294.
April 5, Annapolis Striders' Cherry Pit 10-Miler, Edgewater, 2 p.m., 268-1165.
April 11, Reservoir 50-Miler, Prettyboy Reservoir, 7 a.m..
April 11, WRRC Farm Five 5K, Westminster, 8:30 a.m., (410) 848-9520.
April 11, Tri-Maryland No Frills Biathlon (3 run, 16 bike, 3 run),
Beltsville, 9 a.m., (410) 882-6103.
April 12, Johns Hopkins University Spring Fair Hoedown 8K, Johns Hopkins, 8:30 a.m., (410) 494-8649.
April 12, BRRC Early Filer 5-Miler, Ashland, 9 a.m., (410) 323-7860.