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The Amazing Coudersport Ice Mine

The Amazing Coudersport Ice Mine

Friday, February 15, 2019

Mt. Tom Challenge is Sunday, Feb. 17

Pictured with one or two spectators are some of the 76 runners and hikers who competed in 2018's Mt. Tom Challenge. Among them is the top winner of the day, Eric Kosek (second from left) who set an amazing record, completing five laps in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 11 seconds
Adventurous weekend warriors of any age who enjoy testing their skills are invited to participate in the Mt. Tom Challenge on Sunday, Feb. 17. It is free and open to anyone who wants to give it a try.

The sponsor is the Tyoga Running Club in conjunction with Pennsylvania’s State Parks and Bureau of Forestry.

Registration from 8 to 8:45 a.m. and the 9 a.m. start are both at the bottom of Mt. Tom. Participants run, climb or scramble up Mt. Tom’s 1,100 vertical feet of trail to its summit. After catching their breath and taking in views of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon and west nearly to Galeton, they continue a short distance along the ridge before descending Mt. Tom using a forest road.

The challenge is to complete one lap up and down the mountain regardless of weather conditions. “This can be considered an adventure race, a run or a climb,” said Tim Morey, one of the organizers. “It is for serious runners; not beginners. There are no prizes, no swag bag or T-shirt. This is a no frills event. It’s a great way to get out on the trails in winter.”

Many of those who complete one lap decide to do it again. “Some people may choose to do that as a personal challenge to see how many laps they can do,” he said. Participants can start a lap any time between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

“Last year (2018), a total of 76 runners and hikers took on the challenge," Morey continued. "That's the largest number we've ever had. Eric Kosek of Wellsboro took top honors and set a course record by completing five laps in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 11 seconds, an amazing time," said Morey. "Eric is the first to do five laps.

"In 2018, we had eight runners, including Eric, who completed four laps compared to 10 who did in 2017," Morey said. "Adam Kolb of Liberty took top honors in the 2017 challenge by completing four laps in a time of two hours, seven minutes, 17 seconds.

"Conditions last year (2018) were favorable for a fast course," according to Morey. "It was cold with temperatures in the teens at the start and rising into the 20s, overcast with bare, frozen ground accounting for faster course times," Morey said. "We'll see what 2019 brings."

The Mt. Tom Challenge course can vary greatly based on the weather and snow and ice conditions at the different elevations. “Some areas hold snow longer. Ice can be the toughest. Based on trail conditions, a traction device (screw shoes, yak tracks, microspikes, crampons or snowshoes) may be necessary,” said Morey.

Runners, hikers and spectators drive to the Pine Creek Rail Trail Darling Run parking lot in Ansonia in Shippen Township and leave their vehicles there. To get to Darling Run, take Route 6, turn onto Route 362 and drive about 1.5 miles to Darling Run.

After parking, they cross Route 362 on foot and go to the registration tent located at the bottom of the trail on Mt. Tom. When they finish a lap, participants can go to the tent for free snacks and beverages.

For more information about the Mt. Tom Challenge email the Tyoga Running Club at run4trc@gmail.com or call Morey at 570-724-8561.

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