2014 Hinson Lake ultra winner eyes spot on national team

Would be 4th former Hinson Lake winner selected

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

It won’t become official until Wednesday, but it looks as if the winner of the 2014 Hinson Lake 24-Hour Ultra Classic in Rockingham has earned a spot on the U.S. National 24-Hour Running Team.

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 entered 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 entered the event’s record books as the No. 2 all-time performer, behind only Mike Morton.

Over the weekend, Rich Riopel said a couple of friends had gotten carried away — prematurely but with the best of intentions — when congratulating him on his selection. Team members of the 2015 International Association of Ultrarunners World 24-Hour Championship starting April 11 in Torino, Italy. The men’s and women’s national teams each are comprised of the top six qualifiers. In Italy, the top three runners from each team will be scored by totaling each runner’s distance.

On Monday morning, Riopel, of Morganville, N.J., shared the Facebook post of the U.S. National 24-Hour Running Team, which showed the list of qualifiers by distance. Riopel’s 146.969 miles in on Dec. 14 at the Desert Solstice ultra in Phoenix, Ariz., placed him fifth among contenders. Three months earlier at Hinson Lake in Rockingham, Riopel completed 142.725 miles — good for ninth on the list of qualifiers.

Riopel’s No. 5 ranking was confirmed Monday after the Mountain and Ultra Trail Council of the USATF, America’s governing body over long distance running, shard its list. If the positions remain the same through Wednesday, Riopel will become the fourth former Hinson Lake ultra winner to qualify. Course record holder Mike Morton qualified in 2012. In addition, 2013 Hinson winner Joe Fejes, of Georgia, also qualified in 2012 and stands this year to be named a team alternate. And Jonathan Savage, 2012 Hinson Lake winner from Charlotte, qualified for the 2012 team.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Rich Riopel rounds Hinson Lake - again - early on the morning of day 2 of the 2014 Hinson Lake 24-Hour Ultra Classic in Rockingham.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Rich Riopel rounds Hinson Lake – again – early on the morning of day 2 of the 2014 Hinson Lake 24-Hour Ultra Classic in Rockingham.

Riopel’s plans for this year’s Hinson Lake ultra are undetermined. He does, however, plan to return to Richmond County on March 14 for the Ellerbe Marathon in what could be his final tune-up before racing in Italy.

 

Filed in: Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors, Rockingham, Sports

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