Len Huffman's 2013 Escarpment 18.6 Mile Trail Run

The 18.6 mile Escarpment Trail Run has been taking place in the Catskills Mountains of New York for more than 30 years. It is a race that has been on my radar for a while but never fit into my schedule. This year the timing was just right! In order to register for the run you must apply by mail only and have met all requirements which ensure you can handle yourself out there. The day I got my application in the mail I sent it right back, hoping for entry. I was excited when I received my confirmation that I was in. The race was also being held the day after my 40th birthday so I thought what better way to celebrate then with a torturous run and I was right!

The race is held on the Escarpment trail, starting on Rt. 23 in Windham NY and ending at the North/South Lake campground. It has a number of climbs that are challenging, both up and down. I had a chance to stay in the area for the weekend and enjoyed a beautiful Saturday with my wife Debbie. However when we left our room Sunday morning to head to the bus that would take us to the start, it was raining pretty good. Rain meant the already tricky trails & descents would become that much more dangerous. The rain stayed steady until about 5 minutes before the 9am start. I lined up wearing my sturdy Inov-8 Flyrocs & Nathan Endurance hydration vest. Soon we were off and running on the trail and I had no idea what lied ahead. I had heard descriptions of the trail from my Mountain Peak Fitness/Campmor teammates & they were all straight forward; challenging, technical, steep, painful, fun...

My goal was to stay steady throughout the race and finish with a decent time. I wish I could describe the next 4 hours and 20 minutes it took me to complete it but the time and miles seemed to go by so quickly. Every second was spent deeply concentrating on the ground in front of you. Rocks and roots littered the course. The climb up Blackhead Mountain was extremely hard; It was just up, up & up. Many places required your hands to help boost you over the rocks. The descending was just the same. Everything being wet and slick added to the fun. I did manage to make it to the finish without hitting the ground once; a rare feat I hear...

I finished in 4:20, placing 46th. I was happy with my race. I managed to follow my plan of being consistent, not stopping and didn’t hit the ground. It was a hard race with challenging terrain but I felt I handled it well. 2014?

Lenny Huffman