The conditions seemed to be just the trick for Ryan Woods, from Boone, N.C. The 31-year-old completed the race in 32 minutes and 22.10 seconds. This is Woods’ twelfth time running The Bear.
"Even though the weather was much hotter this year and the gravel seemed loose, I didn't walk at all and kept a nice rhythm," said Woods.
The second place winner was James Snyder, 22, from Downingtown, Pa. Snyder is currently an intern at Zap Fitness in Blowing Rock, N.C. and trained for The Bear by running a lot of miles each day. His time was 33 minutes and 15.45 seconds.
This was the sixth running of The Bear for Daniel Amick, 26, from Asheville, N.C . Amick finished in third place with a time of 33 minutes and 43.45 seconds. The race was harder for Amick this year because of the clear view.
"The fog last year made things easier because you couldn't see the top," said Amick. "This year the view of the Mountain was very intimidating once we crossed the Meadows."
The men’s record time still stands at 30 minutes, 34.35 seconds set by Ian Conner of Columbus, Ohio in 2005.
Amber Moran finished first place for the women. Moran, 31, completed the race in 37 minutes and 25.30 seconds. This was the second running of The Bear for the school health nurse from Arden, N.C., and also her second win.
"The hardest part was mentally staying in the race, especially when the climbing started between mile three and four," said Moran. "The reward came at the end, getting to the top was the most rewarding part of the run, the views were incredible and it felt like I was running to Heaven."
Lisa Burnett, 27, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio finished second in the women’s division with a time of 41 minutes and 19.45 seconds. This was the third running of The Bear for Burnett, a graduate student at Kent State University.
Finishing third place in the women’s division was Anna Monroe from Boone, N.C. This was the first running of The Bear for Monroe, a local physician. Monroe, 29, found the hairpin turns near the top to be the most challenging part of the race.
The women’s record remains at 35 minutes and 55 seconds set in 2002 by Beth Fonner.
The race begins in Linville and ends five miles later at the base of the Mile High Swinging Bridge atop Grandfather Mountain, an elevation gain of 1,568 feet.
Following the race, the opening ceremony for the 55th Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games announced the arrival of the clans with a torchlight ceremony. This year over 115 clans are expected to participate.
The weather forecast for the weekend predicts pleasant temperatures with chances of late day showers. Crowds to this year’s Highland Games are sure to be entertained by Celtic music, traditional Scottish athletics, sheepherding demonstrations and much more.
For more information on the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games please visit www.gmhg.org or call 828-733-1333.
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