Ultramarathon runners take on Black Mountain Monster over Memorial Day weekend
Though many people enjoyed a relaxing Memorial Day weekend, for more than 200 visitors to Black Mountain, it consisted of a grueling ultramarathon.
The 12th annual Black Mountain Monster was held on May 28, an ultramarathon for runners hoping to get in as many miles as possible in either six, 12 or 24 hours.
"There's 232 people registered this year," said Mike Guyer, the race director. "The biggest group of people is 24 hours but it's spread out pretty evenly."
The race took place on Montreat College's Black Mountain campus. A 3.15 mile loop was set up by the race staff to go around the campus, threading its way through woods, fields, by the college's obstacle course, around the track, past the field of runner's tents and back to the parking lot.
The course contained multiple puddles and a layer of dense mud because of heavy rain during the week.. Runners became mud covered after only a few laps.
This year's 24 hour race saw four 100+ mile finishers, all over the age of 40. Allen Griffin of Liberty and Joe Dyer of Asheville finished with 100 miles exactly. Michael Poole of Arden finished with 103.13 and 52-year-old Mark Rostan from Valdese won the race with 106.25 miles.
Jon Connor, 35, of Candler, John Ruemaker of Bahama, North Carolina, and Lionel Adams of Charleston, South Carolina, finished in the top spots in the 12 hour race, each with 53.25 miles.
Winston Salem's 57-year-old Herbert Krabel finished first in the six hour race with 37.5 miles, followed by Jason Griffin of Hendersonville and Chelsea Zsoldos of Fleetwood, each with 31.25 miles. Race staff announced that errors were found within the six hour results and are working to correct the numbers.
Runners who made it to the top positions and achieved 100 miles or more were awarded belt buckles.
Runners and supporters camped in what was dubbed "tent city" beside the track, coming from across the state as well as Georgia, Florida and even one runner from Los Angeles.
Throughout the race, the staff of volunteers provided "marathon food" consisting of sandwiches, snacks, energy drinks, electrolyte beverages and pickle juice. In the late afternoon, local musicians set up under a tent to play music as the runners completed each lap.
"It's a good time," Guyer said. "Some people come out here and they want to run 100 miles or further and take it super seriously and on the other hand there's people out here that just want to run or walk with friends and they'll get however many miles they get, they're just here to have fun."
Ezra Maille covers the town of Black Mountain, Montreat and the Swannanoa Valley. Reach him at 828-230-3324 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please support local journalism with access to more breaking news by subscribing.