This year’s Mount Mitchell Challenge turned out to be the worst, weather-wise, in the race’s history. Nick Whited, one of our newest Rock/Creek Race Team members, has this report:
The challenge; What a race it was. I started off at a good clip but being smart. Everyone seemed to want to push the pace with Mark Lundblad. I was up there for a mile or so then wisely eased off the pace and let them be 15-20 seconds up on me. We then hit the hills inside of Montreat College and it seemed that everyone hit the brakes. I steadily began moving up (I was in 7th or 8th at the time); by the time we got onto the Buncombe County Horse Trail I had moved into third. All of this was occurring as the temps were in the mid 40’s in a steady rain. As I approached the summit I began to notice how sluggish I was getting by my inability to move on the technical stuff. I then starting shaking uncontrollably. My jaw became so tightly clenched I thought I was going to break a tooth. I got near the top and a cameraman was worried about my appearance and told the EMT. They made me go inside a building and took my vitals – hypothermia. They stripped me down, wrapped me up and put a blanket over me. Took me over an hour to finally warm back up. An EPIC run to begin the season and with Rock/Creek. I’ll get ’em another day. Seems everyone who finished had a little more beef to them. The tall skinny individuals with little body fat were the ones suffering.
Mark Lundblad ended up taking the win and Cynthia Arnold took the women’s victory. In the Citizen-Times article on the race, Arnold describes the race:
“I felt like I was running in ice water,” Arnold said. “The race staff and volunteers helped me to keep going. I was lucky and got some hot water near the top when I felt like I was going to pass out. The conditions got worse the higher I got up the mountain.”
Glad to hear that you made it off the mountain safely, Nick, and we look forward to hearing about your next races.