Sixteen runners gathered in the cool 50-degree air under star-filled skies at 5 a.m. to do a 12-mile greet-the-sunrise run. Four of them—Dave DeGroote, Pam Scott, Denise Weaver and Dawn Comly—added extra miles over the Laurel Run Road switchbacks in preparation for upcoming marathons. Meghan Mason was glad to have a chance to do another long run in Rothrock before heading off to a busy fall running season and grad school at Minnesota. Mark Scott was training up for his first marathon at Steamtown. Jeff Smucker was glad to have a chance to get out again on legs 11 and 12 of the mOUnTaiNBACK 50 in a non-ultra situation, having experienced the hills of leg 11 during the 2007 race as an unexpected bonus after vanquishing leg 10. Julia Hess from Queens, New York was visiting family and took advantage of the chance to get in some hills the likes of which Queens doesn’t offer. The skies were already lightening as the group set off at 5:18, and daybreak gradually inched forward as they climbed toward Bear Meadows. A light batch of fog hung gently over the boreal bog as runners paused to hydrate. A rich orange horizon greeted the runners arriving at the overlook from Wampler Road. Most of the group arrived between 6:19 and 6:25 and paused to wait for a first glimpse of the sun, which came at 6:30. Cool temps kept the run pleasant on the way back down as well, as the sun filtered through the trees. Eleven of the group headIMG_0156ed on to the Waffle Shop for a reload of their energy stores to get through the rest of the day, and four family members joined the group for the breakfast. Talk there ranged from the upcoming mOUnTaiNBACK race to other relays (Green Mountain, Reach the Beach, Get Your *ss Over the Pass) to Minnesota winters, to doing another SSU run and doing a Winter Solstice Moonrise Run on December 21 to celebrate the longest night and the first day the days get longer. Some of the group were still lingering after 9:30. Stay tuned for news of SSU run #2.