Kent on FOTM: ‘Easier than I thought it would be’

November 5, 2018


Women’s champ stops the clock in 6:06:22, McGraw, Grim earn podium spots

* Overall results – with midway splits
* Age group winners (PDF)
* Register for FOTM 2019
* All-time FOTM performers (PDF)
* Men’s race recap
* Join the PHDC on Facebook
* Becky’s post-race blog on FOTM 2018

LITTLE ORLEANS, Md., Nov. 4, 2018 — Looking over Town Creek valley at Log Roll Overlook, the halfway point of the eighth running of the Fire on the Mountain 50K, Michelle Kent had adopted a “ho hum” attitude.

The course, she said, was “easier than I thought it was going to be.”

Photo by Kevin Spradlin
Michelle Kent, 22, of Wheatfield, Indiana, makes the turn onto the Long Pond Trail at mile 1.2 of the Fire on the Mountain 50K. Kent won the women’s title.

That mental pick-me-up bode well for her, as the 22-year-old from Wheatfield, Indiana, ran her way to the women’s title in 6 hours, 6 minutes and 22 seconds. Kent’s effort overcomes the previous No. 10 all-time best FOTM performance by a female. In 2011, Heidi Marks finished second in the women’s race and ninth overall in 6:06:51. Kent beat that mark by 29 seconds and now holds a place in FOTM history. At 22, Kent is also the youngest runner on either the men’s or women’s top 10 all-time performance list.

At the “oasis” situated at mile 16.4, Kent held a 13-minute lead on her closest competitor — Becky McGraw, 39, of Stephens City, Va. Kent reached the “oasis” at the midway point of the 32.8-mile trial race in Green Ridge State Forest in western Maryland in 2 hours and 45 minutes, in fourth place overall. McGraw was in eighth.

McGraw, who ran part of the course in October during a training run with friends, worked to close the gap over the second — and arguably more difficult — part of the course. She cut Kent’s lead to a little more than 10 minutes, but the winner’s 3:21 second half kept McGraw, who clocked a 3:18 on the return trip, at bay.

Kent finished in sixth place overall. McGraw finished second in the women’s standings, seventh overall and first in the women’s 30-39 age division. Grand Masters (50-plus) champion Diane Grim, 59, of Boyertown, Pa., took third (and 10th overall) in 6:24:25. Rounding out the top five were Heather Moldofsky, 24, of Fairfax, Va. (6:58:57, 12th overall) and Blair Petrilli, 32, of Alexandria, Va. (7:22:48, 20th).

Grim, for her part, thought the difficult of the course suited her just fine.

“Challenging to say the least,” Grim wrote afterwards in an email to the race director. “Thank you for demolishing my fear of heights! I worked hard to stay third overall female. All I had left after I threw my log on the fire was tears! (I left everything else out there!)

Photo by Kevin Spradlin
Fire on the Mountain 50K women’s champion Michelle Kent readies to throw her log into the fire to put the finish touch on her wire-to-wire victory on Sunday in the eighth running of the Fire on the Mountain 50K.

Trivia: Kent is the fourth “Michelle” — and third consecutive — to win the women’s title in the eight-year history of the Fire on the Mountain 50K ,the flagship event of the Potomac Highlands Distance Club. Michelle Roy won in 2012, while Michelle Benshoff won outright in 2016 and took the women’s title in 2017.

Photo by Kevin Spradlin
Michelle Kent is all smiles after leading the women’s race wire-to-wire in the eighth running of the Fire on the Mountain 50K.

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