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Q&A with Fall Trophy Series Leaders

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Pennsylvania runners represent strongly across the board

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With just one racing weekend left in the 2013 Trophy Series, and plenty of race results still rolling in, competition is getting down to the wire. Will the forerunners in each category maintain their lead?

With a strong representation from Pennsylvania runners, especially in the non-ultra categories, many of the current leaders are accustomed to racing against one another. “One of the best things about running in Central Pennsylvania is the quality of the competition,” says Jeff Smucker, 47, of Woodward, Pennsylvania, who is currently in the lead in the Male Non-Ultra 40-49 age group. “Nine of the 10 age group leaders in the series are people I run against in almost every race. They are fast, gracious in victory and defeat, and fun to hang around with after the races. They push me and make me a better runner and I certainly enjoy getting a chance to beat them every now and then.”

In the following pages, we chat with some of the top runners in different categories, ranging from non-ultra age group leaders to ultra leaders to the those who’ve run the most Trophy Series races.

2013 Trophy Series Leaderboard as of Friday, Sept. 20
(May be missing some results that race directors have not yet submitted to us)

Non-Ultra

Male
10-19 Bryce Gavitt, Hughesville PA, 16, 4 races, 57.2 miles, 210.2 points
20-29 Brock Waughen, New Columbia PA, 22, 4 races, 57.2 miles, 173 points
30-39 Adam Russell, Rome PA, 34, 4 races, 67.2 miles, 216.1 points
40-49 Jeff Smucker, Woodward PA, 47, 4 races, 57.2 miles, 218.8 points
50+ Tony Korch, Nanticoke PA, 53, 5 races, 70.3 miles, 271.9 points

Female
10-19 Felicia Peacock, Cogan Station PA, 18, 4 races, 47.2 miles, 198.8 points
20-29 Ashley Moyer, Lock Haven PA, 25, 2 races, 33.1 miles, 132.4 points
30-39 Meira Minard, State College PA, 39, 4 races, 67.2 miles, 250.2 points
40-49 Larie Hall, Bellefonte PA, 44, 4 races, 67.2 miles, 253.3 points
50+ Angela Minnefield, Fishers IN, 50, 14 races, 157.2 miles, 315.2 points

Ultra

Male
1. Gino DiCarlo, Windsor ON, 39, 4 races, 319.48 miles, 780.8 points
2. Scot Hartman, Thornton CO, 43, 5 races, 297 miles, 581 points
3. Hassan Lotfi-Pour, North Vancouver BC, 44, 1 race, 120 miles, 480 points

Female
1. Kaci Lickteig, Omaha NE, 26, 3 races, 193 miles, 772 points
2. Maryka Hladki, Newmarket ON, 39, 2 races, 177.32 miles, 616.3 points
3. Lisa Van Wolde, Innisfil ON, 2 races, 131.44 miles 525.25 points

Most Miles Run:
Male: Gino DiCarlo, Windsor ON, 39, 319.48 miles
Female: Karin McMillan, Windsor ON, 41, 274.84 miles
Most Races Run:
Male: Chris Coulston, Erie PA, 45, 7 races
Female: Angela Minnefield, Fishers IN, 50, 14 races; Pat Crespi, Englewood, 55, 14 races

Pat Crespi, 55, Englewood, CO
Currently Tied for Female Most Races Run

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Crespi running the Psycho Psummer Run Toto Run in Kansas City, MO. Photo by Mile 90 Photography.

How long have you been trail running?
I started hitting the trails when I first moved to Colorado in 1998, but since 2010 I am practically road free.  The mountains call me!

How many miles a week do you typically run?
That is a tough question, because it totally depends on what I am training for and comes in spurts.  I have been known to run any where from 25 to 60 miles a week and have averaged approximately 1160 miles a year for the last two years.

What’s your favorite pre-race meal? Aid station food? Post-run snack?
I don’t really get to eat any favorite foods before a race I usually stick to chicken with rice or a baked potatoes, which can lead to some very boring Friday nights.  During trail races I can eat anything and love eating watermelon, pretzels and Oreo cookies.  Post-run snacks usually involve some chocolate milk and a big juicy hamburger.

What do you do when you’re not running?
I have a Facebook album titled “When I’m not running”.  I can be found in my garden, working on one of many art projects, working on house projects, cooking, visiting with my friends and family, making photo albums, and reading.  However, when training for a 50-mile race, I become an expert couch potato and enjoy watching movies.

What’s been your favorite Trophy Series race this year, and why?
They have all been challenging and different in each way, but the one that touched a different sense was the Indian/Celina Challenge 1/2 Marathon in Indiana.  This was a beautiful lush course with honeysuckle plants running all along the course.  I called this race my most “intoxicating” trail race so far.

What running-related goals do you have, either for this year or further in the future?
I don’t have a bucket list, but in 2011 my goal was “3 Day TransRockies”; in 2012 I trained for my first 50 mile trail race and completed the “Rocky Racoon” this past February 2013; For the remainder of 2013 I went rouge from my running group the Colorado Columbine’s and decided participate in the 2013 Trophy Series.  Next year I think I’ll either do another 50-mile trail race, “6 Day TransRockies”, and if my IT band holds out I’ll think about the 100-mile distance.

Chris Coulston, 45, Erie, PA
7 races
Currently in first place for Male Most Races Run

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Coulston running the Glacier Ridge Ultra 50K in 2012. Photo by Kwatee Stamm.

How long have you been trail running?
I started trail running 3 years ago in order to add some variety to my endurance mountain biking training. Last year I did a few great events in the fall – enjoying the great variety of events and locations. This year I decided to switch to trail running full-time. So I guess you could say that this is really my first full year of trail running.

How many miles a week do you typically run?
Like most of the runners I know, I have a busy life outside of trail running. Consequently, I try to get the most benefit for the least amount of training.  I run, on average one hour a day, six days a week.  During the week, I’ll have two hard workouts (one interval and one tempo), plus a race on the weekend.  This formula seems to keep me safe from burn-out and fast enough to be competitive in my age group.

What’s your favorite pre-race meal? Aid station food? Post-run snack?
I try to get a lot of protein before a race in the form of 1/2 cup of Ezekiel cereal with 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt.  On the way to the race I’ll sip on an sports drink (currently I favor Infinit Nutrition).  During last year’s Oil Creek 100K I discovered the magic of chicken noodle soup—the extra protein keep my tummy happy and legs pumping.  I know its sounds horrible, but I reward myself for completing an ultra by pigging down disgusting greasy hamburger, fries and super-sized cola.

What do you do when you’re not running?
I am Chairperson of the Computer Science and Software Engineering department at Penn State Erie.

What’s been your favorite Trophy Series race this year, and why?
I’ts not really a fair question, because each race has its own character, crafted by the imagination of its race directors.  But the Hyner View Trail Challenge epitomizes everything that is wonderful about the PA wilds.  It has absolutely lung searing ascents, amazing vistas, four seasons of weather in once race, tight quite, almost intimate, single track, never-ending break-your-ankle technical rock gardens, all capped by a great party at the finish line with hundreds of new friends.

What running-related goals do you have?
Run more, see more, experience more.  With the growth in the popularity of trail running, there is an explosion of great new events for runners to participate in. It’s a great time to be involved in this sport.

Jeff Smucker, 47, Woodward, PA
4 races, 57.2 miles, 218.8 points
Currently in first place for Male Non-Ultra 40-49 Age Group

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Smucker takes an icy plunge at the Mile Run Trail Challenge. Photo by William Hagaman.

How long have you been trail running?
Just over three years.

How many miles a week do you typically run?
30-50 miles, depending on the time of year.

Whats your favorite pre-race meal? Aid station food? Post-run snack?
Pre-race: Spaghetti
Aid-station: Watermelon, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Ramen
Post-run: Chocolate Milk or Vanilla Ice Cream

What do you do when youre not running?
Technology Director of local school district, High School girls’ soccer coach (makes getting in miles in the fall difficult), family includes wife and 3 kids aged 15-20 (my 17 year-old daughter has fallen in love with trail running also and joins me on training runs and at races)

Whats been your favorite Trophy Series race this year, and why?
I’m always torn between the Hyner Challenge and the Rothrock Challenge. Both feature killer climbs, lots of rocks and steep downhills, all of which I love. I also like the fact that they are primarily single-track.

What running-related goals do you have?
My brother and I plan running vacations every year or so. This past January we ran the Badwater Course over four days. Next spring we are looking to do a similar four day excursion on one of the Caribbean Islands.  In 2015 we are looking to run the Comrades Marathon.

Larie Hall, 44, Bellefonte, PA
4 races, 67.2 miles, 253.3 points
Currently in first place for Female Non-Ultra 40-49 Age Group

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How long have you been trail running?
I have been trail running for a year and a half. I had no previous road running experience either. My brother was an avid trail runner, and his love and excitement for the sport stirred my interest.

How many miles a week do you typically run?
I have a very busy life, so I don’t actually run very many training miles. It also depends on how many events I have. So typically, I suppose I run 15-20 miles a week. I offset my running with core training. I also like to bike ride if time allows.

What do you do when you’re not running?
I am a fire extinguisher technician at Penn State. I work 10-hour days. I also do housecleaning three days a month. I have two horses and a 2 1/2 year old grandson that are my passion along with trail running. Two of my days off work are typically devoted to my grandson, so training time is scarce in my life. I juggle it all the best I can.

Whats your favorite pre-race meal? Aid station food? Post-run snack?
I don’t really have a favorite pre-race meal, as I am still trying to figure out what works best for me. I do like pizza post race. At the aid stations, I tend to rely on the bananas.

Whats been your favorite Trophy Series race this year, and why?
Wow, that’s a tough one! I think I have to say Rothrock. It is just an amazing course. Lot’s of good running, and also extremely technical! And the heat this year for the Rothrock was unbelievable!

What running-related goals do you have?
My running goals are simple. I want to continue to balance all of the things in my life. I want devote as much time and energy as possible to my running and training while still maintaining an extremely busy work life, horseback riding, and most importantly being a role model for my grandson. He already tells me “when I get too bigger I’m gonna run too Gee”! (He calls me Gee) I am running the Megatransect on Sept. 28. I plan on doing a just a few races to finish out this year. My goal this year was to do at least one event a month, and I have far exceeded that. This month alone I will have completed four events after the Mega! I plan on the same for next year, and also hope to add some trail events that I haven’t done yet. And my goal is always to be the best I can be. Give all that I have on each event. I am competing only with myself, and my goal in an event that I had done previously is always to better my time. I want to be a hard competitor, but also stay healthy and have fun!

Tony Korch, 53, Nanticoke, PA
5 races, 70.3 miles, 271.9 points
Currently in first place for Male Non-Ultra 50+ Age Group

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How long have you been trail running?
I have been trail running for about 16 years.

How many miles a week do you typically run?
I run 40-50 miles per week almost all on trails.

What’s your favorite pre-race meal? Aid station food? Post-run snack?
The night before I will have Pierogies and broccoli.  I do gels during a race.  Favorite post snack would be pizza if hungry.

What do you do when you’re not running?
Favorite hobby is to run races, about 40 a year.  I work outside for a lawn care company doing chemical applications.  I like spending as much time as possible outdoors.

What’s been your favorite Trophy Series race this year, and why?
My favorite Trophy Series race would be the Hyner Challenge because of the diversity in the course, pine forest, miles of steam bed incline, steep ascents, great views, runnable soft earth, just fantastic all around. Also the amount of support from the volunteers is second to none.  A boy scout troop at one aid stop never lacking in cheers.  Great competition about 1,000 runners.  Simply one of the best trail races there is.

What running-related goals do you have?
To stay healthy, train hard, and to give everyone I race against my best.

Gino DiCarlo, 39, Windsor, ON
4 races, 319.48 miles, 780.8 points
Currently in first place for Male Ultra Category
Also currently in first place for Male Most Miles Run

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DiCarlo running the Sulphur Springs 100 Mile. Photo by Ryder Photography.

How long have you been trail running?
I started last year in August, Dirty Girls 24hr.

How many miles a week do you typically run?
With the frequency and number of races I’m doing this year, only time to recover in between. In the off-season, I was shooting for 100.

What’s your favorite pre-race meal? Aid station food? Post-run snack?
Pre-race – Chicken and potatoes
Aid Station – PB&J
Post-run – Protein shake with Glutamine and Wheat Grass

What do you do when you’re not running?
I manage a Fitness Club, and spend time with my family.

What’s been your favorite Trophy Series race this year, and why?
Dirty Girls 48hr. The longer, the better.

What running-related goals do you have, either for this year or further in the future?
Hoping to do 10 day in New York next year in April.