Riopel, Yutz run to Hinson Lake titles

* Riopel becomes No. 2 all-time performer
*
Yutz ekes out second-closest margin of victory in event history

Day 1 coverage:
* Photo gallery (8 a.m. to noon) – more than 3,00 photos
* 6:45 p.m.: Manz, Riopel, Sooey lead field
* Photo gallery (evening) – a few pics
Day 2 coverage:
* Photo gallery – 800 pics
* Video interview – Rich Riopel
* Video interview – Vikena Yutz
* Volunteer spirit makes Hinson special
* Running for life: Carreon-Johnson, Asciutto, Mabry and more
Complete results

Pre-race coverage
* 9th Hinson Lake ultra goes to Afghanistan

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — Rich Riopel finished second to Joe Fejes in last year’s Hinson Lake 24-Hour Ultra Classic.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Vikena Yutz, 43, of Columbus, Ga., is paced through a late Sunday morning lap in the final hour of the Hinson Lake 24-Hour Ultra Classic.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Vikena Yutz, 43, of Columbus, Ga., is paced through a late Sunday morning lap in the final hour of the Hinson Lake 24-Hour Ultra Classic.

In the ninth annual edition of the race Saturday and Sunday, Riopel and Fejes again were in the field. Midway through, however, it was apparent Fejes wasn’t going to match his 2013 performance. But that’s exactly what Riopel, a 40-year-old from Morganville, N.J., had on his mind.

After reaching the 100-mile mark, Riopel said he had both the win and a place in the event’s top three list of all-time performers. Riopel completed 94 circuits of the 1.5032-mile loop and ran 7,519 feet on his “banana lap” to total an unofficial 142.725 miles. The performance earned him the win — nearly 20 miles ahead of runner-up Mark Manz — and just ahead of Fejes’ 2013 effort of 141.36 miles.

The performance leaves only one other name — course record holder Mike Morton — who has logged more miles in Hinson Lake’s nine-year history. Morton ran 153.89 in 2010 and returned a year later to tally 163.9.

At 7:06 a.m. Sunday, with less than 54 minutes remaining, Riopel knew it’d be close. Each time he passed the volunteers’ tent and checked in, he had a single question: “What’s my mileage?”

There were times when he didn’t get the answer quickly enough. He didn’t stop to verification. He simply kept going, easily exceeding his 2013 total of 127.97 miles.

“It was really hard,” Riopel said, “but I loved every minute of it. Hinson Lake is a family event. I feel like family here. Everybody treats you well.”

Riopel brought his family south with him. His children and wife, Donna, were with him to provide aid throughout his 24 hours of running.

“My wife is my crew chief,” he said. “She does a great job. She keeps me taken care of.”

Yutz, meanwhile, didn’t run as far as last year, Turns out, she didn’t need to. The 43-year-old from Columbus, Ga., finished with an unofficial 106.367 miles — good for first place in 2014 and seventh an the list of all-time performers among women at Hinson Lake. Yutz logged 110.28 miles last year. Saturday’s high capped in the mid-70s with an overnight low of a runner-friendly 60 degrees. The humidity was all but

“I felt pretty good the whole time,” Yutz said. “The weather was perfect. That never happens here. Sometimes it’s really hot. I don’t run well in the heat at all.”

After a nap, Yutz used the darkness to catch up and take the top spot in the standings. Once she had it, she didn’t it let go.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Rich Riopel, 40, of Morganville, N.J., is greeted at the bridge shortly after the 8 a.m. sirens sounded the end of the race by his wife, Donna, right, and his children. Riopel enters the event's record books as the No. 2 all-time performer, behind only Mike Morton.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Rich Riopel, 40, of Morganville, N.J., is greeted at the bridge shortly after the 8 a.m. sirens sounded the end of the race by his wife, Donna, right, and his children. Riopel enters the event’s record books as the No. 2 all-time performer, behind only Mike Morton.

Abagail Barman was second with 104.96 miles, behind Yutz by only 1.407 miles. The margin was the closest among the top two female finishers in event history and the second-closest between first and second place of any gender. In the event’s inaugural year in 2006, Rimas Jakelaitis won with 127.68 miles to runner-up Philip McCarthy’s 127.26 miles, a difference of only 0.42 miles.

Results are unofficial until race director Jerry Lindstrand publishes complete results online at the race website.

As of the 6 a.m. leader board update, Ondrej Prokop, 52, of Brno, Czech Republic, was tied for third with Scott Adams and Toshi Yamamoto with 110.714 miles apiece. Christopher Vanpouille was sixth (97.708), Dave Desilva seventh (94.702), David Solomon eighth (93.198) and Steve Hilmy ninth (91.695).

After Yutz and Barman, day one leader Regina Sooey had dropped into a tie for third with Genno Chine with 93.198 miles. Cheryl Yanek, third on the women’s all-time performers list after logging 113.75 miles in 2012, was fifth with 84.179 miles. Rachel Dubois was sixth (81.173), Veronica Carreon-Johnson was seventh (79.670), Dana Harris and Jennifer Ralston tied for eighth (76.663) and Jo Elsmore was 10th with 75.16

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Amy Surrette overcame a stomach illness overnight to hit the trail again Sunday morning for an enthusiastic banana lap. Surrette finished with about 70 miles.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Amy Surrette overcame a stomach illness overnight to hit the trail again Sunday morning for an enthusiastic banana lap. Surrette finished with about 70 miles.

miles.

 

 

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