2011 Patch Sprint Final Report

Starkey, Nordyke Repeat as Champions

”Wettest, Longest, Hardest Patch Ever”




Left:  Women’s Champion Deborah Nordyke. 

Right:  Men’s Champion Cole Starkey


     When 56-year old trekker Jon Bush neared the top of Mt. Pok-O-Moonshine, he was alone and well behind the next to last finisher at Saturday’s Patch Sprint.     That’s when he ran into a competitor who was on his way down, but offered to return to the top to accompany Bush to the finish.  “These steep sections are killing me,” groaned Bush.  “I know what you mean, I was struggling on the hills too,” the other racer concurred.

     The man accompanying Bush was Cole Starkey, 26, overall race winner, who finished with a time more than five hours faster then the final trekker.

     92 racers and trekkers completed the 2011 course, one less than in 2010, but under much more trying conditions.  “It was not a great spring, weather wise,” said Jim Kobak, five-time champion who knows the course better than most.  Indeed, water, mud, heat and humidity slowed finishing times for all.  “What a difference a year makes,” stated Tim Singer, who has finished more Patch Sprints than anyone.  “The course was never better than in 2010, and never worse than this year.  That’s adventure racing!”


     The 25th anniversary Patch Sprint was won for the second year in a row by Starkey (Tulsa, OK), who turned in a time of two hours, fifteen minutes and 40 seconds, 13 minutes off his record mark set last year.  “I was fifteen minutes slower than I wanted to be,” said the champion, who added, “but then again, so was everyone!  But, as always, it was a lot of fun.”
     Starkey did establish a record split up Bare Mountain, but fell victim to not only the conditions, but a course change that added nearly a half mile to the total distance.
     “Wettest, longest, hardest Patch Sprint ever,” lamented six-time champion Jason Fiegl, runner up for the second consecutive year.  In fact, the top four were exactly the same as a year ago, with Grant Haynes and Kobak following up; the quartet’s average finishing time was 15 minutes slower than 2010.
     The surprise near the top of the men’s racing division was 16-year old Nelson Pelton, who had never even seen the course, let alone race it.  Pelton was one of only seven racers to break three hours, as opposed to 16 a year ago.

Age Group Division Winners



Annie Preston

Joseph Zimmerman

Alexandra Disney

Nelson Pelton

Sabrina Smith

Kurt Schuler

Marcie Kobak

Cole Starkey

Stephanie Lylis

John Richardson

Susie Trzaskos

Jason Fiegl

Deborah Nordyke

Jim Kobak

Ellie Bouffard

Dale Wells


Ken Herz

Jerry Ross

Mark Gibson

     For the fourth time in as many tries, Deborah Nordyke (Hadley, NY) captured the women’s racing division.  “I woke upCongratsWomen feeling sick and it was a struggle all day,” said Nordyke, who arrived at the top of Pok-O in just under three hours.  “But, this is a great event.”  At 49, Nordyke continues to defy age, winning the division by five minutes over 23-year old two-time champion Alexandra DisneyMarcie Kobak recorded her third straight top-3, followed by Susie Trzaskos and Sabrina Smith.

     The Clydesdale division has never been thinner, both in numbers and size, with Matt Elliott (Brighton, MA) taking the title at just 210 pounds.  In the past, Elliott has finished as high as second overall, yet this was his first division win. Josh Bornt, also coming in trimmer than ever, earned his fifth top-3 finish.

     In three out of four racing divisions, the 2010 winners successfully defended their title;  Kindersprint was no exception, with Eric Shreiner taking the trophy by three minutes over 2009 champion Jackson Konowitz.  Wyatt Trzaskos took third; at just five-years old, he’s the youngest to ever score a top-3.


     42 out of 47 trekkers who started the event successfully completed the entirKinderPose11e course, with all but one making it to the top of Pok-O-Moonshine.
     Most inspiring among them may have been Bob Andrews who covered the course with apparent ease of effort, and a cheerful attitude to become, at 76, the oldest ever Patch Sprinter.

     Andrews was book ended (and is pictured with) 9-year old Nora.  In 2009, Nora become the youngest ever Patch Sprinter and, again this year, was the youngest to cover the course.  She was led by her father Drew Canning, who co founded the trekker division in 2001, and has made it a habit of guiding young kids around the course.  “I had five with me this year.  We stopped a lot for food and had much more fun then those idiots who try to run it as fast as they can!”

Patch Volunteers

Julia Backus

Cecilia Disney

Michelle Rowley

Thomas Backus

Lauren Jacoby

Merrily Starkey

Wendy Backus

Claire Levy

Angela Swan

Erin Canning

Tom Lynch

Shai Walker

Amy Daley-Kobak

Scott McIntyre

Kristin Wahrheit

Erin DeBusk

Sheila McIntyre

Augusta Wilson

Sarah Disney

Mary O'Leary

Maggie Durlacher

Alex Durant

Liz Pierson

Chef James

Mike Gast

Phil Rolfe

Sharp Swan

Mauricio Gonzalez

Sandy Rolfe

Andy Paine


     Many thanks to the volunteers (listed, left) who worked a variety of jobs- summit timers, aid stations, Sherpas- crucial to the success of the event.  “These folks make it all happen,” stated Patch Sprint co founder Greg Henderson.  “We especially want to thank Erin, Erin and Tricia, who helped us with the planning, as well as the racers, trekkers and outdoor education staff who were not official volunteers, but contributed in many ways!”

     In 2011, a record 187 participants raced, trekked, volunteered and, most importantly, gave generously.  Over $8,000  was pledged to the Adirondack Scholarship Foundation, insuring that a handful of children now have the opportunity to experience summer camp, and climbing the Pok-O Patch mountains.


      The 2011 Patch Sprint has been nicknamed by many (just go to Facebook and see) “The Year of the Mud.”  But, in truth, the weather Gods were smiling last Saturday.  During a holiday weekend filled with severe thunderstorms, tornado watches and warnings, and several inches of rain, Patch Sprinters were rewarded with an eight hour window Saturday, in which to run, trek, watch, celebrate and party.  It was the only dry extended period all weekend.

     Will the Patch Gods be smiling again next year?  Join in May 26-28, 2012 to find out!





Full Gallery Coming Soon