The 2014 North Face Race To The Top Of Vermont made possible by KLMOUNTAINSHOP.COM happened exactly one month ago today… and it was quite the day. 826 runners, mountain bikers and hikers descended on the town of Stowe to show Mt Mansfield who’s boss and to participate in the MVP Health Care Run For Fun! The sun was out, records were broken… or destroyed and fun was had! The North Face Race To The Top Of Vermont is a fundraiser for the Catamount Trail Association and we can’t even begin to thank all of our sponsors, volunteers, and participants for helping to make this years event the best one yet!
Elite competitors and regular Janes and Joes from over 20 different states and 2 Canadian provinces showed up on race day to challenge themselves on one of the toughest hill climbs in the East. The 4.3 mile course climbs 2564 feet to the top of Mt Mansfield, Vermont’s highest summit. Things got going for the runners and non-competitive hikers at 9am on a beautiful summer day, and an hour later the mountain bikers got their chance
One of the most prestigious awards is the Jim Fredericks Award which is given out to the fastest man and woman. Each year this title is up for grabs and no one is ever sure whether a mountain biker or a runner is going to go home with it. Last year the runners had it with Eric Blake of West Harford, CT and Liz Stephen of Montpelier, VT taking the top spots. However, this year mountain biking sensation Gered Dunne of White River Junction, VT took the top spot for the men with a blistering time of 30:53.6! This was not only the fastest time of the day… but it was the fastest mountain bike time ever recorded… and the fastest time of any competitor to ever participate in the North Face Race To The Top Of Vermont! To get an idea of what it takes to perform at this level take a look at Gered’s Strava Feed. Gered probably looks forward to races so that he can take a break from his crazy training regimen.
On the women’s side… Liz Stephen returned to shave 6.1 seconds off her previous time by finishing in just 37:15.9! She not only set a new women’s running course record, but she beat Olympic Mountain Biker Lea Davison’s (Jericho, VT) previous finishing time of 37:18.7 and now owns the women’s overall course record as well. During the awards ceremony Liz called Lea out and said the only reason she pushed so hard was so that Lea would have to come back next year to try and reclaim her title. Lea wasn’t available for comment… She was in Europe destroying here international competitors! Also, we don’t believe Liz pushed hard to get Lea to come back… She pushed hard because she’s an animal and that’s just what she does.
Now, let’s not forget about the rest of the competitors. In the men’s running division Justin Freeman of New Hampton, NH took the top spot with a time of 34:47.0 followed by Peter Gurney of Winooski, VT in 36:14.5 and Gordon Vermeer in 36:33.5. For the women Liz Stephen took top honors with a time of 37:15.9 followed closely by Susan Dunklee of Craftsbury, VT in 42:37.7, and Green Team teammate Ide Sargent of Craftsbury, VT in 43:44.7. Susan and Ida are both members of the Craftsbury Green Team and competed in the 2014 Sochi Olympics with Liz.
In the mountain biking division Gered Dunne motored to the top in just 30:53.6 followed by Chris Yura of Bryn Mawr, PA with a time of 35:10.3 and Ryan Berliner of Richmond, VT in 36:32.4. We’d like to point out that Ryan is only 16 years old and he’s already killing it! We have a feeling we’re going to be seeing this young star on many more podiums in the future. Potential sponsors take note… This kid has got the GO!
For the women mountain bikers Heather Voisin of Montpelier, VT brought home the win with a time of 42:03.7. Last year Heather came in 2nd place and it’s good to see her get the win! Following hot on her heals was Marilyn Ruseckas, last years winner, of Warren, VT with a time of 44:42.9 and Alexa Gubinski of Fairfield, CT in 48:26.5.
Awards were also given out for the fastest 3 person men’s and women’s teams in both the running and mountain biking categories and to the fastest Clydesdale and Athena competitors. The men’s running team consisting of Gordon Vermeer, Peter Hegman and Mike Gibson came out on top finishing with a combined time of 1:52:03.9. In the men’s mountain bike category the team of Clarke Colon, Adam Juzek, and Brian Irwin claimed top honors with a combined time of 2:09:17.5. For the women, the running team of Ida Sargent, Caitlin Patterson and Elizabeth Guiney won with a time of 2:15:47.7… and there were no women mountain bikers competing in the 3 person team category,
Last but not least are our Clydesdale and Athena Competitors. This year we honored the fastest clydesdale and athena finishers regardless of whether they were mountain biking or running. On the men’s side Phil Grizdela of Craftsbury, VT took the top spot finishing in just 45:15.2, and Sarah Rainsville of Fayeteville, NC took home top honors on the women’s side with a time of 58:12.7!
After the main event everyone gathered at the Rusty Nail in the town of Stowe to enjoy some amazing food provided by Black Diamond BBQ and to participate in the awards ceremony and raffle. But, before any of that could happen the 3rd Annual MVP Health Care Run For Fun took place along the Stowe Rec Path! This event was well attended yet again with over 50 youngsters running the 1km course!
And with that 2014 is a wrap! Again we need to thank our Title Sponsor KLMOUNTAINSHOP.COM for making this event possible! We also need to thank all of our other sponsors including MVP Health Care, Sojourn Bicycling & Active Vacations, Merchants Bank, Sterling College, and Rest Of Our Sponsors for continuing to support the Catamount Trail Association and this event! Next up are all of our volunteers… and the truth is I’m not even sure how to even begin to thank you all. The truth is this event really and truly could not happen without your help. You guys rock and we really, really, really appreciate all of the time and energy you guys spend helping us out.
Lastly… thank you to all of our participants! Thank you for choosing to participate in our event and thank you for bearing with us this year as we dealt with some unexpected venue changes. Next year things will be back to normal and we will be back at the mountain. We’ve been going through all of your feedback and there are some really good suggestions in there. Next year is going to be better than ever! Mark your calendars because on Sunday, August 23rd, 2015… it’s going to be off the hook!
The North Face Race To The Top Of Vermont is a fundraiser for the Catamount Trail Association and supports backcountry skiing in Vermont. Learn more about the Catamount Trail and keep tabs on what’s going on this winter by visiting our website and signing up for our weekly e-bulletin!