Heffron and Crosby nab top three finishes at USATF 50 mile Championships in Pennsylvania


Rich Heffron, 33, of Ithaca and Cole Crosby, 28, of Endicott finished second and third, respectfully at the USATF 50 Mile Championships held on Sunday (October 30) in Boalsburg, Pa.  The championships were hosted by the Tussey Mountain 50 Miler at the Tussey Mountain Ski Lodge, just south of State College.  The course was a mixture of paved and gravel roads that included undulating accents and descents that resulted in a total elevation gain of 5,485 feet.
The two Niagara athletes only trailed race winner Israel Merkle of Ohio who stopped the clock at an impressive 5:49:40. Heffron finished second running 5:56:34 and Crosby followed in 6:22:40.  
For Heffron, a native of Delaware and 2006 graduate of Quinnipiac University in Connecticut,  this was the furthest race in his career having finished three 50 km events.  Following the race he offered the following reflection, “I am pleased with the result. Overall, it was a positive experience as my energy levels were solid all day and my stomach gave me no trouble. The only problem was that I didn’t specifically prepare for the course, which constantly climbs and descends totaling over 5400 ft of elevation gain. By the final hill at mile 40 my legs were absolutely sapped and I struggled to the finish line. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, it was 40 miles of racing and 10 miles of survival. I look forward to returning next year as the U.S. Champs are being held at Tussey again. It is a beautiful course that winds through rural state forests on quiet gravel and dirt roads—you can’t ask for much better scenery.”
Crosby, who is orginally from New Jersey and went on to compete for the University of Oklahoma, has finished 23 ultras in his career but said, “this was the hardest I have ever fought in a race. By mile 21, I was falling apart physically but somehow was able to finish."