This year at the McKenzie River Trail Run 50K, we had what the great sage Yogi Berra called "deja vu all over again."
In 2004, Colby Phillips, one of our promising young runners and a talented woodworker, made two folding Adirondack chairs as prizes for our two winners. John Ticer took home one of those chairs, and almost set a course record. Last year John took home the record, as well as a second chair. So it was a familiar sight on September 9th to see Mr.Ticer again taking an early lead and cruising to a 12-minute win (3:51:12) over newcomer Mark Merklein (4:03:35) of Corvallis. Lewis Taylor finished his breakout year a minute behind Mark for third place. Lookout next year; both of these youngsters could really make some noise. So now John has a collection of finely crafted chairs on his deck, and is the second man in MRTR's 19 year history (déjà vu?) to win three consecutive races. Robert DeVelice won the first three editions back when the Run was a fifty-miler.
Tia Gabilita (4:36:19,11th overall) made her McKenzie debut a chair-winning one, 13 minutes in front of Eva Lust-Wright (4:49:33), who made her fourth and fastest appearance at MRTR. Linda Samet (4:57:37) also returned for the fourth time to take third… this was Linda's third sub-five effort here. Sara Ticer was very pleased to set a 50-59 age group record at McKenzie last year. This year she was 12 minutes faster! She ran 4:59:09… 5th woman, 25th overall.
While it is always great to see new faces every year, we have quite a list of "regulars" who have made it a habit to visit McKenzie Bridge every September. Wayne Farrar has been here 15 times. Steve Loitz celebrated his 50th birthday on Saturday, his 10th MRTR appearance. Liz Kellogg has been here nine times, and Jeff Phillips has nine consecutive finishes. Marlis DeJongh (8), Rebecca Wallick (7) and Clem LaCava (7) have been joining us since the early 90s. They are all part of the "family," and you can feel that vibe when we hang out on the deck at St. Benedicts and swap stories and catch up on what's new. Those are just a few of many. We have volunteers who have been with us almost all of the way. Anne Raftree… every year. Jeff and Mary Sherman… almost that many. Family.
Next year is the 20th. It's hard to believe. We hope many of you will be there to celebrate that milestone. Thanks for the memories… again !