Riddle blasts StumpJump 50k record

A remarkable Riddle left no question Saturday in the 2011 StumpJump 50k trail race.

And Nashville's Lindsay Beckner made her first trail competition a victorious one as the women's overall winner.

Cincinnati resident David Riddle broke the race record and shattered the "new course" standard by finishing the 31-mile run from Signal Mountain Middle/High School and back in 3 hours, 49 minutes, 52 seconds.

Andy Anderson, a Baylor School graduate who grew up on the mountain and lives now in Truckee, Calif., also broke the previous best of 4:15 on the current course but was nearly 18 minutes behind Riddle in 4:07:41. The race record had been 4:01.

Johnny Clemons, Dennis Bauer and John Brower were third through fifth Saturday in 4:20:13, 4:37:33 and 4:47:33, and 10 others finished in under five hours.

Beckner was 33rd overall in 5:22:27, and female runner-up Wendy Wright was 34th in 5:23:11. The third woman, Shannon Wells, was 37th in 5:28:33.

Former Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe and Bryan College runner Jacob Bradley was the 11-mile winner in 1:21:14, beating 2010 winner Jack McAfee by 62 seconds, and Shannon Hutchinson had the fastest female time of 1:41:38 in the shorter race.

"The trail is awesome. It's a beautiful course and it's tough," Riddle said after setting his "seventh or eighth" 50 trail record. "It was the most elevation [5,000 feet] I've ever done in a race, and it's pretty technical as well."

He started pulling away by the five-mile mark and his only difficulty, he said, was getting "almost too excited coming back from the Indian Rock House" and struggling up the climb from Suck Creek. "But once I got to the top I started pumping again."

Riddle, 30, had trained all summer for the World 100k road competition three weeks ago in the Netherlands as a member of the United States team but had an inner-ear problem and failed to finish.

"I was running with some fire in my step today," he said. "I wanted to put all that work to use."

He ran for Bob Jones High School in Huntsville and as a walk-on at Auburn University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in aerospace engineering, but "was nothing special."

"I can't explain it. I'm pretty decent on roads but no standout, but it's like I can float across the trails," he said. "And I haven't taken a day off from running in five years."

His wife is in her second year of residency at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and Riddle works for GE Aviation there.

"We make jet engines," he said.

He seemed like one was propelling him Saturday.

Anderson has a couple of interesting jobs. In the winter he's an avalanche predictor in the Lake Tahoe area, and in warm weather he's a climbing rescue ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Women's winner Beckner is a restaurant consultant. The 29-year-old Harpeth Hall and Vanderbilt alumna grew up as a competitive swimmer but has been a runner for a while -- she ran the Boston Marathon in 2010 -- but she said running a trail race was on her "bucket list." A friend in the East Nasty Running Club said he was going to sign up for this year's StumpJump and encouraged her to do so also.

"My boyfriend, Jamie Dial, is a longtime ultra runner and has done this trail, and he was at almost all the aid stops, so I had someone cheering me on," she said. "This was awesome. It was a good day."

Nine of the first 17 finishers in the 50k were members of sponsor Rock/Creek's trail race team, as was 11-mile winner Bradley, who won the Southern 6 in February and was second in the River Gorge 10-miler in March. Now 20 and attending Chattanooga State, he ran the StumpJump route for the first time in Saturday's race.