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Mountain traverse returns to Keene Valley

June 12, 2015
By SHAUN KITTLE - Outdoors Writer ( , Lake Placid News

KEENE VALLEY - The 11th annual Great Adirondack Trail Run kicks off Saturday as 65 five competitors will leave the Owl Head Lookout parking area on state Route 9N and run up and over the trail to Hopkins Mountain in Keene Valley.

The strenuous 11.5-mile run is a benefit for the AuSable and Boquet River Associations. The course features 2,900 feet of elevation gain and 3,100 feet of elevation loss.

"They're both grassroots, hardworking, very effective and very dedicated environmental organizations that we completely support philosophically," said Mountaineer owner Vinny McClelland. "The AuSable River runs right behind our store and through the valley. We've always had a soft spot in our hearts for them. I like supporting environmental groups where a high percent of the donation goes toward the cause."

Article Photos

Sarah Keyes, of Saranac Lake, makes her way down the trail during the 2012 Great Adirondack Trail Run. Keyes won the women’s 11.5-mile race in 2013 with a time of 2:05:42, then placed fourth last year behind three Olympians.
(News file photo)

McClelland said both organizations contribute to keeping their respective rivers clean, educating the public on water quality issues and planting vegetation to control erosion.

The 65-person limit for the 11.5-mile run filled about 20 minutes after registration opened on May 1, but there's still room for those who want to participate in the event.

"We could put 200 people on that run," McClelland said. "It's a backcountry run, unsupported, and we really don't want to have a lot of people. Nobody has ever been hurt, other than some sprained ankles, and we don't want it to get out of control."

An alternate, 3.5-mile "fun run," which starts at the Baxter Mountain Tavern on state Route 9N and follows the trail over Baxter Mountain and down into Keene Valley, will happen the same day as the Hopkins Mountain race. Registration is open until the race begins. It costs $20 for adults and $5 for kids 14 and under.

Last year's race was highlighted by the appearance of several members of the U.S. Olympic biathlon team. Olympian Lowell Bailey, of Lake Placid, was the overall winner with a time of 1 hour, 40 minutes, 27 seconds. Susan Dunklee, of Vermont, won the women's race in 1:59:57, followed by teammates Annelies Cook, of Saranac Lake, in 2:04:11 and Hannah Dreissegacker in 2:06:03.

Tim Reynolds won the race in 2013 with a time of 1:37:36, while Sarah Keyes, of Saranac Lake won the women's race in 2:05:42.

And for those not into running, there's a post-race celebration featuring live music by Dirt Road from noon to 3 p.m. at the Keene Valley Country Club. Food is $10 per person and beer from the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery will be available. Other event sponsors include Patagonia, Salomon, Julbo, La Sportiva, Vasque and Darn Tough.

McClelland said he'd like attendees to bring a non-perishable donation to the Keene Food Pantry. Donations will be accepted at The Mountaineer and at the post-race celebration.

"The whole idea is to be a celebration of spring, get out into the mountains during the blackfly season, get some exercise, listen to some good music, drink some beer, eat some food and support the two river associations," McClelland said. "There are some people who come to compete, but it's more about those other things."



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