After some time away from competitive running events, Jefferson resident and Ashe County High School guidance counselor Annette Bednosky decided to take on the annual Grandfather Mountain Critter Crawl 5K last Saturday.
Bednosky ended up finishing the tough uphill climb in 25:56, good enough for first place among all women and a near 30-second finishing time in front of her closest competition.
“The Critter Crawl was fun, tough and well organized. It’s a very steep run and for me, was a joyful celebration of being back running,” said Bednosky. She said she took part of 2012 and all of 2013 to deal with some health issues, but has returned as strong as ever.
Bednosky’s finishing time shattered the women’s course record by over four minutes.
“I do feel pretty proud to be a 47-year-old woman who had a good day running a 5K. I am grateful for the gift of returning health and I hope to remind other men and women my age that although we’re stacking up the numbers, we by no means have to be over the hill,” Bednosky said.
Bednosky has three events planned coming up. She will run in “The Bear” and Grandfather Marathon which both take place during the Highland Games in July. She also plans to run in the Great Divide 50K on June 22, which is a 31.1-mile trail run near Pembroke, Virginia. She said she will use that race more for fun rather than for competition.
70 runners took part in the annual Critter Crawl event. The race is used to raise money for projects for the betterment of the animal habitats at Grandfather Mountain. The money from this year’s race will go towards the otter habitat renovations that were completed this spring.
The fastest time of the vent went to 15-year-old Matthew Cashin from Tallahassee, Florida. Cashin breezed through the course in 23:07, 32 seconds in front of second place Paul Jones from Apex and over two minutes ahead of third place Matt Campbell from Matthews.
The Critter Crawl provides a great challenge to any runner with over 1,000 feet of elevation increase from the entrance to Grandfather Mountain all the way to the finish line at the Mile High Swinging Bridge.
*Nathan Ham can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @NathanHam87