Spangler crushes FOTM course record

November 5, 2019


Spangler, Smith capture historic FOTM victories
Smith, 2nd-youngest winner, posts largest margin of victory in event history
Bouchard, Greenawalt earn Master’s titles


* FOTM all-time performance list (PDF)
* 2019 official results (PDF)
* TrailNotes: Moses, Jochim, Logan, Simon, Hastings, Inscho, Williams
* Photos from Mitch Hawbaker (Facebook)
* Photos from Scott Lemmon (Facebook)
* PHDC Facebook group
* FOTM permanent web page

LITTLE ORLEANS, Md., Nov. 3, 2019 — With about 5.6 miles to go, Allan Spangler finally looked human.

The 32-year-old from Juneau, Alaska, had stopped at the seventh and final aid station for a quick refill on his sports drink.

Photo by Kevin Spradlin
Allan Spangler, of Juneau, Alaska, passes Aid Station 3 en route to the midway point of the ninth running of the Fire on the Mountain 50K in Green Ridge State Forest.

“Man, I’m gettin’ tired,” he said with a half-hearted grin that made one question whether or not he really was.

And off Spangler went, to conquer arguably the two most difficult ascents in all of the 32.8 miles that encompassed the ninth running of the Fire on the Mountain 50K on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Green Ridge State Forest.

Spangler and his wife, Nina Schwinghammer, were the final two participants to enter the field. Schwinghammer had emailed the race director only 39 hours before race start to inquire if she and Spangler could join in on the fun. Sure, the RD said, come on out.

The pair did so in grand style. Spangler, crushed the course record set last year by Lucas Meyer by five minutes and nine seconds. Spangler stopped the clock by throwing the ceremonial log into the campfire at the equestrian camp site in 4 hours and 38 minutes. Meyer won in 2018 in 4:43:09. The two are the only runners to crack the men’s all-time top 10 list since the race switched to an out-and-back course in 2016. Spangler’s time is No. 2 on the event’s all-time performance list while Meyer holds the No. 5 spot.

Adam Lowe, meanwhile, had to wonder what was going on. By his own watch, he was doing quite well. He reached the oasis at the midway point of the race at Log Roll Overlook on the southern end of the forest in 2:30, a minute ahead of his effort last year in which he finished second to Meyer in 5:28:50. Like Meyer last year, though, Spangler had long ago hit the turnaround and headed back.

Photo by Kevin Spradlin
Adam Lowe, left, leads Clayton Bouchard to the oasis at Log Roll Overlook – mile 16.4 of the 32.8-mile trail race in western Maryland.

“What the hell is this guy’s problem,” Lowe asked as he approached the midway point. “He’s so freakin’ fast!”

Lowe, 37, of Hancock, Md., again finished in the runner-up position despite working to shave nine minutes and 35 seconds this year from last year. Spangler beat him to the finish line by 41 minutes and 15 seconds. Last year, Meyer beat Lowe to the campfire by 45 minutes and 41 seconds.

This year, Clayton Bouchard, 46, of Lykens, Pa., took the bronze medal in 5:26:54. Lowe beat Bouchard to the oasis but Bouchard was first to leave. Lowe finally put him away on the big climb shortly after the last aid station.

Photo by Noah Spradlin
Rachel Smith stands with race director Kevin Spradlin and her well-dressed winner’s prize of a stuffed bear.

Rachel Smith, meanwhile, put the finish touch on her own wire-to-wire victory in 6:18:11. The 22-year-old from Lebanon, Pa., hit the midway point in 2:58 and conquered the second half of the race in 3:20:11 to earn a stuffed bear dressed in a race T-shirt and a No. 1 bib.

One hour, 10 minutes and 11 seconds passed before Nina Schwinghammer, 33, of Juneau, Alaska, crossed the finish line. The one hour, 10 minutes and 11 seconds between first and second place was the largest margin of victory for a men’s or women’s champ in event history.

Smith wasted no time putting herself as the early favorite. She was in ninth place overall coming through Aid Station 1 at Mile 5.6 in 58 minutes, running near Nate Hawley, Ned Williams, Sam Lebowitz, Hunter Lewis and Connor Simon. At that point, Smith was already head of Schwinghammer by 14 minutes. At Mile 8.9, she increased her lead to 24 minutes; at Aid Station 3, she was ahead by 38 minutes. By the halfway point, the race was hers to lose as she had built up a dominant 46-minute advantage over the second-place female.

Schwinghammer finished in 7:28:22, while Jamie Greenawalt, 51, of Bedford, Pa., took the third spot in the women’s standings with a time of 7:46:19 — shaving 12 minutes and 3 seconds off last year’s time.

Smith is the second consecutive 22-year-old to win the women’s title. Last year, Michelle Kent took top honors — sixth overall compared Smith’s fifth-place finish. Next to Kent, Smith — at 22 years, 144 days — is the second-youngest FOTM champion in event history. Kent won in 2018 at 22 years and 46 days.

The field enjoyed a start-time temperature of about 35 degrees. It was forecasted to warm up to 46, but a steady wind helped to make sure it didn’t feel that warm most of the day.





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