Sports

Ripton youths win race running up a mountain

WAITSFIELD — Two young Ripton residents excelled in a Nov. 3 “Skyrunning” race up General Stark Mountain hosted by the Mad River Glen ski area.
Beth McIntosh and Baxter Harrington, 7th- and 8th-grade members of the Middlebury Union Middle School cross-country team, respectively, were the youth division winners of a race that followed a winding course up ski trails to the mountain’s summit.
McCormick won the youth female race, and Harrington won the youth male race. They and other members of the Frost Mountain Nordic Club, based in Ripton, competed in the event, as did athletes from the Harwood Union High School cross-country team.
Triathlete Steve Croucher of Randolph was the overall winner in tough conditions: A snow squall minutes before the start made the steep slopes slippery and climbing, not running, was necessary in some spots, according to observers.
Harrington was the second finisher overall, a little less than four minutes behind Croucher’s winning time of 28:18.
There were 25 competitors in all, most of them in the younger categories. Skyrunning — essentially racing up a mountain — is increasingly popular in Europe and South America, according to meet director and head coach of U.S. Skyrunning Ryan Kerrigan, but the Nov. 3 race was the first such event held on U.S. soil.
Kerrigan said in an event press release he is planning another youth race in June.
According to the press release the U.S. Skyrunning Program is working on starting an association of athletes and supporters and is looking for financial aid and sponsorship to support youth in Vermont and across the country that qualify for August’s World Youth Skyrunning Championships in Gran Sasso, Italy.
Those interested in more information on, working with or supporting the program may contact Kerrigan at usaskyrunning@gmail.com. General information about skyrunning is available at skyrunningus.com.

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