PA Trail Dogs

Hyner RD Message


Craig Fleming, PA Trail Dog & Hyner Race Director on Huff Run.

A message from the Race Director:

As race director I am often asked, “What exactly is the Hyner View Trail Challenge?”  Let me start with the name; HYNER is the quiet little village which hosts the event. The VIEW is from the top of Hyner Mountain and is one of the most spectacular vistas in the state. (Hang-gliders launched from this spot and soared above contestants at 2007’s event.) The TRAIL this year will represent 90% of the course. The only road section will be the Hyner Bridge crossing the Susquehanna River. The course will be mostly single-track and will include over 4300 feet of elevation gain!! Now we come to CHALLENGE. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a challenge is a task that requires a special effort or dedication. Make no mistake; The Hyner trail race will certainly be a “challenge”.

Before going on, I want to be clear that our course was not designed for the “leisure” runner or hiker. Nor was it designed so that “everyone” could easily finish. And lastly, don’t expect to come to this course and set any records for a 25k. This is a far cry from any “rails to trails” race. Our course was designed to challenge people both mentally and physically. We make you earn that awesome meal afterwards.  If you only train periodically, then reconsider what you are signing up for. Of course, there are always people who do little training and yet finish our course with no problems. Believe me when I say that these people are the exceptions. What kinds of people am I looking for at this event? Overall, I look for runners/hikers who train consistently over the course of a year.  Individuals who welcome steep hills, rocky terrain, wet feet, and being out of their physical comfort level for 16 miles. You don’t have to be a Lance Armstrong to do this event, just a person who trains. Why these people? Because they are more prepared, less likely to get injured or DNF, and will actually appreciate the difficult and scenic course.  The event is not a “walk in the park”.  4,300 feet of elevation gain is going to get the “ticker” pumping for 16 miles. 

As race director, I worry about the people who take our course lightly. Know what you’re signing up for. Look at the maps, read the course description, look over finishing times and photos, and try to preview the course if possible. Don’t get to first hill and say “I didn’t know it was going to be like this”. The main Hyner page has some good pics to show you what the event looks like. Train on as many hills as you can. The average hill around here requires about a 1,000 foot climb from bottom to top. Now, do that 4 times and you have the equivalent of a Hyner Challenge. That’s just up. Don’t forget that the downhills are just as long and challenging. My job is to provide an awesome course.  It is up to you, the participant, to be prepared for it mentally and physically.  If, for some reason, you become a casualty of the course on April 18th, let it be from illness or injury. You’ll at least get some sympathy points for having a sprained ankle, a bad chest cold, or in my case one October, a torn achilles. It happens to us all. There is no shame in that. Heal up and come back next year with fire in your eyes. But under-trained participants have only themselves to blame if they cannot finish. Remember, a challenge requires special effort and dedication.

Each year, our event grows. Last year, we had over 1,000 runners/hikers toe the line. This year could be more. With growth, comes the inevitable...trail congestion. Use this time to get loose, calm the nerves, and meet some cool trail people. Once you cross the bridge and get onto the trail, it only lasts for about a mile and then you start the climb up to the view. This will spread people out instantly. I caution impatient people. Last year I was passed by a bunch of enthusiastic runners on Humble Hill. Needless to say, I caught up to them on SOB. They weren't so spirited at that point in the race. My two cents....start conservative, finish strong!! 

Craig Fleming — Race Director