O-H!lly: Hot and Muggy as H!ll !

The first two races in the CATs Summer Trail Running Series don’t technically take place in the summer, but try getting the 2021 O-H!lly runners to believe that!  Temps somewhat backed off the mid-90s daytime high as humidity set in for some difficult running conditions, but the 168 racers were up to the challenge. Fortunately the threat of thunderstorms passed uneventfully to keep the trails dry, save for the sweat pouring off the runners.  Race director Matt Smythe set an 80s theme to the race; next time try the 60s to see if we can get the temp and humidity to match that, OK Matt?

One of the truly special aspects of the Summer Series over the years has been family participation.  Yesterday’s event may have trumped the others, with three generations of the O’Neill/Grussing family running!  Michael won the boys 13-17 age group, while Erin placed 3rd among girls 13-17.  Mom Kelly finished easily under an hour, and Grandma Janie outpaced the men as well.  Dad Ted hung back with Grandpa Phil (or was it the other way around??) to close out the race.  It was great to see all of the families out there!

Some pictures from the top of the power line, courtesy of (or blame to) Marc Griffin.  I thought of picking a few out to show the misery of the day, but I’ve got to tell you, nearly all of you looked too miserable and we don’t want to discourage others from our races!  But there were a few exceptions. 

First, here are your race winners showing you what it takes:

Some of you looked determined and/or downright happy on the hill.  Have you been training, or did you sand bag the rest of the course just to look good on that climb?


But I have to include one picture of abject misery.  Jason Farr is known for rarely smiling for pictures, so maybe it wasn’t really quite as bad as it looks, but he seems to be at a dead stop here!


By the way, the course is longer than 5K, so this power line spur is totally unnecessary.  Smythe inherited this mess, so let’s just blame every current and past CATs board member for allowing this unnecessary carnage to continue!  Welcome to the world of trail races.

And finally, Eric Shields looks neither miserable nor determined, but perhaps proud and confident that’s he’s going to win both the “Best Blood” and “Best Mud” awards.  Too bad we don’t have prizes for that.  Matt must’ve run out of 80s records.


As for the racing, with a time of 27:31 Beth Melton brought home the women’s gold along with an 80s LP record from somewhere in Smythe’s basement. Emily Smeds took second in what was probably a cool down run after qualifying for the State high school track meet.  Congratulations Emily, and thanks for joining us after your big afternoon! Simonne Guenette was within a minute of the leader to take 3rd.

In the men’s field, Mason Love shrugged off pre-race hazing from some lame race official (did anyone see me, I mean, see who that was?) to win in 22:49, making it 2 for 2 in the series.  Mike Fox repeated as “first loser” (2nd place), and Frank “the Tank” Gonzalez surged in the last mile to take third.  Recent HS grad Mason did know what an LP record is, or at least faked it well.  When asked about his strategy for success, Love said, “I’m just out here to have fun.”  Great advice for every participant!

Let’s wrap this up with a few great finish line shots, thanks to Nelle Fox.  It’s all about the style! 

The story behind the first one cracks me up.  As timing czar, I told my crew to list kids first in any close family finish.  But Barrett Bechtel, who happened to be our youngest runner, had veered off in the final stretch to give some high 5s to the crowd and Dad Charles couldn’t help but edge him.  Barrett, we’re not sure what your trail running career will look like, but we think you have a future in politics!


Full race results can be found here.

Thanks to all for participating.  Special thanks to Ragged Mountain Running Shop for the logo pint glasses for all finishers, and ultra thanks to all the volunteers!

Next up: The Boar’s Head Resort Turn & Burn 5 miler!  Register here if you have not registered for the full series.

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