Churchville resident Matt Burdette burning up 100-mile courses

Matt Burdette completed another 100-mile endurance race Sunday, one with an ominous name. Then he turned his attention to another 100-miler, one with an ominous reputation.

Burdette, 37, of Churchville, finished 30th among 293 in the Burning River 100 (actually 103.5-miles) in the Cuyahoga River Valley Corridor of Northeast Ohio.


The Cuyahoga River is well-known for having been so polluted by industrial discharge that it caught fire at least a dozen times. Most infamously, a fire in June 1969 helped spur the environmental movement in the U.S.

The region underwent a monumental cleanup and in the year 2000 became a beautiful National Park with scenic trails, towpaths, waterfalls, deep forests, and open farmlands.

“Burning River was fantastic,” said Burdette about the race. It was his fourth 100-mile finish and his second in under 24 hours. After 8,000 feet of ascent and an equal amount of descent, he reached the finish in downtown Cuyahoga Falls in pre-dawn darkness, 23 hours and 12 minutes after he started.

“This was somewhere in the middle in terms of difficulty,” he said, relative to his four 100-milers.

The race was a qualifier for a much more difficult race, the Western States 100, the grand-daddy of 100-milers. It is a qualifier in that Burdette is now eligible for lottery selection of entrants for 2020.

“Yes, I will be putting in for it next year,” he said. “That's the goal.”

St. Roch Trail Runs

Several Harford runners became familiar with full-emersion stream crossings Saturday in the Saint Roch 15-, 10-, and 5-mile trail races at Fair Hill in Cecil County.

Rachel Slusher of Joppa finished in a first-place tie in the women’s 15 miler. She ran 3:29:10 to finish beside Johanna Taylor.

Zach Zander of Havre de Grace finished second among the men in the 15-miler in 2:24:54; he was also first masters runner.

About 75 runners competed. Each race included a 6-ft-deep stream crossing with the aid of a safety rope. The race director billed it as baptism for runners.

Other Harford finishers in the 15-miler were Rob Bartholomew, 2:26:25; Richard Dix, 3:29:04; Jessica Ryan, 3:30:00; and Rob Storey, 4:04:10. In the 10-miler were Gareth Davis, 2:33:07 and Cathleen Bartholomew, 2:48:54; and in the 5, David Wood, 1:01:00.

Ironman Lake Placid Triathlon

Triathletes from the Harford County finished well in the Ironman Lake Placid Triathlon Sunday in New York. Katie Kilgalen of Forest Hill completed the 140.6-mile distance for the first time, placing 22nd among 81 women in the 35-39 age group in 13 hours, 39 minutes. After a 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile bike leg in 7 hours, she finished with a 4:53:10 in the 26.2-mile running phase. For James Pou of Bel Air, it was the sixth Ironman finish; he placed 240th in the 45-49 group in 15:46:03.

In Santa Rosa, Calif., on Saturday, Robyn McElwee of Churchville placed 17th among 85 women in the 50-54 age group in a Half-Ironman 70.3-mile triathlon. After trailing in the 1.2-mile swim, she advanced with 20.4-mph average on the 56-mile bike course (fifth best in the age group) and a 1:58:18 half-marathon to finish in 5:49:21.

In other races

Duane Christy of Havre de Grace placed 10th among 145 finishers in the Bohemia River Scenic 5K (3.3 miles) Saturday in Chesapeake City. Timed in 28:12, he took second in his age group.


Mike Martinek and Toby Ehrbaker tied at 32:44 ahead of a field of 56 Sunday in the Observatory 5K Trail Run at HCC. Rob Stevenson, 33:24; Richard Dix, 38:14; and Jason Thrash, 41:18, followed in the top five.

Christine Trzcinski led the women in 41:57. Katie Streib, 42:31; Stefanie Stevenson, 43:32; Chi-Chin Wu, 47:39; and Ladonna Kapustensky, 48:01, finished second through fifth.

Upcoming local races

Aug. 3 – Running with the Rams 5K, Edgewood High School, 8 a.m., runharford.com