6th Annual Allegheny Front Trail Runs
August 5, 2017
Moshannon State Forest
by Mike Casper
Serious rains cut through the forest the night before the race and super-mild temperatures kept up for race day in central Pennsylvania’s Moshannon State Forest for the sixth annual Allegheny Front Trail Runs. This was year two for the Hemlock Half Marathon course and the third year for the Seneca 50K course.
Buckets of rain in May and June had made the vegetation go crazy, so extra pre-race trail care was done and the course looked breathtakingly lush.
The Seneca 50K Run (almost 32 miles) features some steep climbs and technical descents, including a northwestern part of the AFT, with seven aid stations.
Josh Litofsky, of State College, hammered over the rolling miles to victory, within 4 minutes of the course record set last year. A peppy front group kept Litofsky’s early pace honest.
“Miles 15-25 of the race seemed a bit more technical than the rest, so I had to work a little bit harder than I was anticipating to keep my pace going appropriately,” recalled Litofsky. ”There were a couple climbs in there that I wasn't expecting, so I had to power hike a bit to make sure that I wasn't going to blow up. At about mile 25, I realized that Adam Russel's record from last year was still in reach, so I tried to push myself through those last 6-ish miles, and even though those miles are pretty fast, I wasn't quite able to do it.”
Twenty-two minutes separated Litofsky from William Huber, of Zelienople, at the finish, and the first female and third overall, State College’s Nicole Yokum, came through just ten minutes later. State College’s Charlie Vasey was the third male.
Yokum came in knowing only the front end of the course. “I tried to start out the race at a pretty swift pace, since I knew that the first six or so miles would be flat. For the first 45 minutes or so, I had Cheyenne [Albert, of Morrisdale] and a rather tall man [Charlie Vasey] right on my heels. I was feeling good, strong, fast and confident, although I had a really hard fall on a slippery wooden bridge just about one mile in. After the initial flat part and until about mile 18 or so, I just felt that I was having a bad day because so many things were going wrong.” Among them, Yokum had donned almost brand-new trail shoes and kept falling. Then a little further in, things shifted, and her confidence and power returned. “I caught and passed Cheyenne on a long, slow grassy uphill. From there, I just tried to cautiously gain speed and have a strong last third of the race. I felt really good at the end, like I actually had a lot left and could have pushed myself harder. That's not a great way to feel at the end of a race, but it's a funny thing about ultras that you sometimes don't know if you'll suddenly run out of steam so that the last 4 or 5 miles, which should seem like a short distance to go, might become an eternity.”
In the end, Albert finished just 5 minutes back of Yokum and fourth overall, and Kristen Gonyaw, of Julian, was the third woman.
Runners who improved their times included Huber (33 minutes faster than 2015), Vasey (16 minutes off his 2015 time), Kevin Condon (40 minutes faster), and Dan McGonical (18 minutes faster).
Hemlock Half Marathon
The Hemlock Half Marathon Run is a 98% trail course, 93% single track, with three aid stations.
Norb Baier, of Port Matlida, won the race, with Joel Strouse, of Loganton, and Scott Matson, of Philipsburg, taking second and third. Baier had run the course earlier in the week, “so I knew when to hammer down and when to hold back.”
Kathryn Oyler, of State College, won the women’s race by just 87 seconds over Hayley Weyhe, of State College, and Larie Hall, of Morrisdale, took third.
Oyler recalled a high-energy day. “I was pressed early on in the race, especially on the steeper downhills where I take too much caution. I was passed a couple of times by guys able to let go and take a hill in a few strides. This forced me to open up more than usual, but then I also hit the climbs hard to make up for it. The second half was a mind game. There was a long stretch where the elevation was relatively flat, but the trail went through a variety of terrain - slick mud and rocks, logs, loose boards, clumpy grass. It was tough to keep a steady pace and I thought for sure that I was losing ground. I was in 2nd place (female) up until this point and thought I was going to lose that spot, let alone catch up to first. My energy didn't fade, though, so when I spotted the first female about 30 yards ahead at the last aid station, I knew I had the win. The course was awesome!”
Time improvements over last year included Matson (nearly 2 minutes faster) and Kevin Flaherty (nearly 10 minutes faster).
Keeping the Trails Great
Trail care on the AFT is a group endeavor and great fun. Watch for announcements to take part in trail prep next year. Proceeds from these races support Crosswinds at Mid-State Airport, a volunteer group dedicated to promoting general aviation and encouraging recreation on area trails, and the Keystone Trails Association.
Special thanks to the trail care volunteers, course setup runners, race day sweeps Jo Ohm and Marvin Hall, and dedicated course volunteers. Thanks also to event sponsors Appalachian Outdoors, Black Moshannon Camp Store & Grill, Grattan’s Pharmacy & Gifts, Lezzer Lumber, Nature’s Pantry and Rapid Transit Sportswear.
Trail marking crew (l-r): Carole Dudukovich, Mike Dinsmore, Drew Funk, Jo Ohm, Brock Rider, Bella, Meira Minard, and Sir Wally
Kristen Gonyaw – Kristen Gonyaw glides through mile 15 of the Seneca 50K
Starla Snyder (l) and Matt Dixon (r) at the 25-mile checkpoint with runner Jeremy Hand
Josh Litofsky savors his Seneca 50K victory
Nicole Yokum and Kristen Gonyaw were the first and third women in the 50K
Charlie Vasey takes a moment to recover after the 50K
Kate Oyler completes the Hemlock Half Marathon
Norb Baier takes the final step to victory in the half marathon
Joel Niemann and Rebecca Reitz enjoy a cold brew after the half marathon
Seneca 50K Run
Place First Last Age Sex Town State Time
————— ————— ———— ——— ——— ———— ————— ————
1 Josh Litofsky 25 M State College PA 4:46:03
2 William Huber 32 M Zelienople PA 5:08:58
3 Nicole Yokum 34 F State College PA 5:18:56
4 Cheyenne Albert 28 F Morrisdale PA 5:23:59
5 Charlie Vasey 36 M State College PA 5:38:57
6 Robert Young 35 M Falls Church VA 5:45:50
7 Mark Fisher 30 M Mifflin PA 6:00:34
8 Allen Stoltzfus 24 M Mill Hall PA 6:02:56
9 Kevin Condon 31 M Morrisdale PA 6:22:48
10 Kristen Gonyaw 25 F Julian PA 6:31:32
11 Razvan Lazareanu 47 M Toronto ON 6:59:37
12 Jeremy Hand 39 M Dauphin PA 7:08:41
13 Nicholas Jaffa 30 M State College PA 7:17:08
14 Margaret Rainey 20 F Scranton PA 7:20:05
15 Danielle Barney 42 F Lock Haven PA 7:32:45
16 Jim Stavely 59 M Westchester PA 7:42:10
17 Dan McGonigal 19 M Morrisdale PA 7:47:33
18 Amanda Grosh 36 F Lancaster PA 7:57:04
19 Karl Ahlswede 56 M Philadelphia PA 8:09:29
20 Kim Kwiatek 59 F Mill Hall PA 8:14:44
21 Patrick Condon 34 M Morrisdale PA 8:16:51
22 Drew Hoffman 48 M Westfield IN 8:21:29
Hemlock Half Marathon Run
Place First Last Age Sex Town State Time
————— ————— ———— ——— ——— ———— ————— ————
1 Norb Baier 30 M Port Matilda PA 1:48:55
2 Joel Strouse 47 M Logantown PA 2:07:08
3 Scott Matson 43 M Philipsburg PA 2:08:30
4 Kathryn Oyler 38 F State College PA 2:08:35
5 Hayley Weyhe 42 F State College PA 2:10:02
6 Brock Rider 39 M State College PA 2:11:17
7 Troy Miller 47 M Julian PA 2:11:56
8 Larie Hall 48 F Morrisdale PA 2:16:02
9 Ray Kristofik 60 M Julian PA 2:17:00
10 Dan Kossack 54 M New Wilmington PA 2:19:36
11 Ashley Schrag 33 F PA Furnace PA 3:20:28
12 Steven Maraslevsky 58 M State College PA 3:20:32
13 Joel Niemann 43 M Bellefonte PA 2:20:44
14 Matt Posney 42 M Julian PA 2:21:15
15 Dennis Kennedy 62 M Hampstead MD 2:25:25
16 Jason Gagnon 48 M Woodstock VA 2:26:35
17 Thomas Hanna 21 M University Park PA 2:26:58
18 RJ Bascom 15 M Front Royal VA 2:27:38
19 Rebecca Reitz 40 F State College PA 2:30:34
20 Aaron Ritchey 39 M Everett PA 2:31:33
21 Kevin Flaherty 36 M State College PA 2:31:36
22 Abigail Minnick 27 F Akron OH 2:32:18
23 John Black 47 M Sharon PA 2:34:26
24 Rosie Nanette Gagnon 44 F Woodstock VA 2:34:53
25 Thomas Anderson 65 M Lancaster PA 2:47:15
26 Daniel McCaslin 44 M Julian PA 2:48:01
27 Becky Green-Dixon 48 F Port Matilda PA 2:50:15
28 Samantha Weaver 44 F Jersey Shore PA 2:52:22
29 De'Anna Caligiuri 35 F Munhall PA 3:07:25
30 Maureen Stathes 55 F Bellefonte PA 3:17:18
31 Jane Kone 64 F Howard PA 3:17:18
32 Kendra Claypool 29 F Philipsburg PA 3:24:56
33 Susan Eberhardt 52 F Altoona PA 3:25:38
34 Jonathan Lovell 45 M Georgetown KY 3:25:40
35 Mallory Lovell 17 F Georgetown KY 3:25:57
36 Linda Wible 60 F Altoona PA 3:27:38
37 Christopher King 41 M Mechanics PA 3:47:09
38 Rebekah Postupak 43 F Strasburg VA 3:49:47
39 Kerry Wonders 45 F Westfield IN 3:58:27
40 Phil Hesser 66 M Crocheron MD 4:06:57