A challenge befitting the Wenatchee Foothills

Written on May 11th, 2014 by , Category Events, News, Trail Running

The top three men's Horse Lake Half finishers ran in a pack for much of the race before Seattle's Peter Harrison pulled away to win. Here, at about the 3-mile mark, Brewster's Marcell McArthur leads, followed by Wenatchee's Caleb Ambrose and then Harrison.


By Steve Maher

WENATCHEE — A little more than three miles from victory Saturday, Marlene Farrell was bouncing along in a Wenatchee Foothills meadow drunk with wildflowers — with eventual runner-up Sarah Barkley bearing down on her — when she shouted to a spectator, “No rest for the weary on this run!”

Farrell was referring to the competitive nature of the second-annual Horse Lake Trail Runs, but she could have easily had her own half-marathon course itself in mind.

With the Wenatchee area in the distance, a lone runner emerges on the trail from down below.

Challenging it was.

The 13.1-mile route at the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust’s Horse Lake Reserve included two long climbs and 2,300 feet of elevation gain in all. The event’s 5-mile course is much more forgiving with just 600 feet of elevation gain.

Saturday’s event, put on by RunWenatchee as a fundraiser for the Land Trust, sold out at 200 registrants, with about 60 of that number signed up for the half-marathon. The rest did the 5-mile run.

“That second climb must have been steeper or maybe it was just me,” Barkley, a pro triathlete from Wenatchee, said afterwards. “I tried to go hard as I could and stay in the moment. I struggled but then I was able to come around.”

Then again, that’s trail running.

Horse Lake Half women's winner, Marlene Farrell of Leavenworth, runs on a dirt road in the upper reaches of the Horse Lake Reserve in the Wenatchee Foothills.

“That’s what people want — a challenging course,” said Brewster’s Marcell McArthur, who finished second in a spirited men’s duel. “I love the course. I love it. There were volunteers at all the junctions, which is amazing because it is such a big course. It was very well marked.”

“The uphills were a nice intensity,” added Wenatchee’s Laura Valaas.

Farrell, McArthur and Valaas were among a stacked field not seen in a local foot race in recent memory.

Seattle's Peter Harrison nears the finish line at the Horse Lake Trailhead on Saturday to win the Horse Lake Half men's title. (Frank Cone photo)

Farrell, a Leavenworth resident who has qualified twice for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and a veteran of more than three dozen trail races, captured the women’s half-marathon title in 1 hour, 40 minutes and 9 seconds. Barkley, competing in her first trail run event, was two minutes back with a time of 1:42:11 They were followed by Valaas, a former U.S. Ski Team member, in 1:49:05; Wenatchee’s Lynda Finegold in 1:49.26; and Seattle’s Elsa Sargent in 1:52.31.

The men’s half-marathon was won by Seattle’s Peter Harrison, who broke away as the last climb began and crossed the finish line in 1:29:06. It was the first race for Harrison, who finished sixth overall in last year’s Seattle Marathon, in the Wenatchee area. McArthur and Wenatchee’s Caleb Ambrose, both off Boston Marathon appearances, were next with times of 1:32:14 and 1:34:21, respectively. Wenatchee’s Andy Johnson, the defending Horse Lake champion, was next in 1:34.57. Linden Klein of Seattle rounded out the top five in 1:37:12.

“It’s one of the most competitive races for both men and women that this area has seen in some time,” Farrell said. “RunWenatchee should feel real good about that.”

Added Finegold, “I’ve only run against Marlene once, and I’ve never run against Laura.”

In the Horse Lake 5-mile men’s race, East Wenatchee’s Taija Corso came in first in 35 minutes and 12 seconds. Matthew Tangeman of Wenatchee was the runner-up in 37:41 and Wenatchee’s Ben Martin was third in 37:45.

Ephrata’s Alice Burck captured the women’s 5-mile race in 41:28, followed by Wenatchee’s Heidi Loewen in 41:35 and Chelan’s Addy Simonet in 45:18.

Afterwards, runners congregated under blue skies around the finish area at the Horse Lake Trailhead. Many said they can’t wait for next year.

“To have a chance to run on a trail that hasn’t really been run on is fantastic,” said Wenatchee’s Scott Volyn, a veteran trail runner. “The views of the Enchantments are amazing.”

Katie Diomede of Spokane made the Horse Lake Half not only her first half-marathon but also her first trail race.

“It was really gorgeous and beautiful,” Diomede said. “The first eight miles I was still snapping pictures and everything.”

The Horse Lake Trails Runs kicked off the Wenatchee Valley Trail Run Series. Next up is the Red Devil Challenge 25K and 10K Trail Runs in

Jen Griffin-Dolge of Wenatchee, who participated in the 5-mile trail run, nears the top of the event's 600-foot climb.

the Wenatchee National Forest south of Cashmere on June 8, followed by the Bavarian Battle 10-Mile and 8K Trail Runs at Leavenworth Ski Hill on June 22. Points are awarded based on order of finish after each race, with cash prizes awarded to men and women in long-course and short-course divisions.

The trail series, put on by RunWenatchee and presented by the Volyn Law Firm, is the first series of its kind along the east slopes of the Cascades in Washington state.

Horse Lake was a great way to get things going, said race and series director Joel Rhyner.

“I heard from runners, ‘Great race, great organization, great volunteers, well marked, hard but fun, got their money’s worth,'” Rhyner said. “They were blown by the views, by the trail, by the whole experience here — and those comments came from people not just from the Wenatchee Valley but from Spokane, Seattle and elsewhere.”

For complete results: https://www.runwenatchee.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/HL2014Results.pdf

Horse Lake Trail Runs
Saturday, May 10
Wenatchee Foothills
Top finishers
Men’s half-marathon
1. Peter Harrison, 1:29:06
2. Marcell McArthur, 1:32:14
3. Caleb Ambrose, 1:34:21
4. Andy Johnson, 1:34:57
5. Linden Klein, 1:37:12
6. David Reese, 1:39:00
7. Chad McBride, 1:39:58
8. Mike Broxson, 1:44:44
9. James Leifheit, 1:48:37
10. Emerson Peek, 1:49:19

Women’s half-marathon
1. Marlene Farrell, 1:40:09
2. Sarah Barkley, 1:42:11
3. Laura Valaas, 1:49:05
4. Lynda Finegold, 1:49:26
5. Elsa Sargent, 1:52:31
6. Selina Danko, 1:52:53
7. Kelsey Ferguson, 2:03:11
8. Sarah Parker, 2:03:46
9. Sibylle Wilbert, 2:10:14
10. Katie Binder, 2:20:04

Men’s 5-mile
1. Taija Corso, 35:12
2. Matthew Tangeman, 37:41
3. Ben Martin, 37:45
4. Craig Vander Hart, 38:06
5. Kyle Almekinder, 38:48
6. Ian Morgan, 42:16
7. Jake Larson, 43:54
8. Matthew Smith, 44:31
9. Mike Cummings, 44:33
10. Udel Mendoza, 45:41

Women’s 5-mile
1. Alice Burck, 41:28
2. Heidi Loewen, 41:35
3. Addy Simonet, 45:18
4. Amanda Kercmar, 46:14
5. Ann Hendrickson, 46:28
6. Kristi Karpenko, 46:38
7. Danika Johnson, 49:05
8. Elizabeth Mullan, 50:13
9. Lindsay Kane, 51:00
10. Anna Sobba-Higley, 51:11

Runners head out from the starting gate at Saturday's Horse Lake Trail Runs.


A "train" of runners move along the lower reaches of the Horse Lake Reserve on Saturday.


Several runners stick together in a pack Saturday on the Homestead Trail.


Half-marathoners run down a dirt road from the Apricot Crisp Trail.


Views of the North Cascades were frequent.


Wildflowers — in this case balsamroot — were plentiful at Horse Lake Reserve in the Wenatchee Foothills.

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