Northwest College hosted the second annual Heart of a Trapper Trail Run and Hike up Heart Mountain Saturday, Aug. 25, the culminating event of the Paint the Town Red festivities for the college’s kick-off weekend. More than 150 participants registered for the hike to the summit of Heart Mountain, benefitting the Trapper Booster Club.
There were three registration categories for this year’s event: The 5K, the half-marathon and the 8-Mile Hike. The event was hosted by the Trapper Booster Club, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
Thirteen runners registered for the half-marathon, with Mitch Svaty finishing in the top spot with a time of 2:26:05. In second was Ladell Merritt with a time of 2:39:31 and rounding out the top three was Amy Couture, with a time of 3:05:02.
In the 5K, Amberly Halstead finished first with a time of 36:36, followed by Kelly Christensen in second with a time of 40:51. Tiffany Lee finished third, posting a time of 41:01.
NWC President Stefani Hicswa said it was a good mix of community members and college students, faculty and staff who took part in the hike to the summit. The men’s soccer team helped with the set-up at the trailhead, and the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the wrestling team took part in the hike. A group of international students braved the trail as well, as did an assortment of other students who had yet to make the scenic, though challenging, hike.
“I talked to some of the athletes after, and of course some of them ran the whole way,” Hicswa said. “One of them told me it was the hardest thing that they had ever done. A lot of the athletes are not used to the altitude yet, and the speed at which they ran, it was difficult for them. I think as community members, we take that aspect of the hike for granted if it’s something we do all the time. And of course, running it is hardcore.”
Hicswa was pleased and encouraged by this year’s turnout, up about 20-30 participants from a year ago.
“I really appreciate the community members that came out to support our booster club and scholarships for athletes,” she said. “Our athletic scholarship program is really growing, and I’m thrilled with the level of support our community has given to our athletes and our fundraising events.”
Hicswa was amazed by the number of community members who were hiking Heart Mountain for the first time, despite having lived in the area for years. She said she’d like to see the Heart of a Trapper Run and Hike continue to be a event that will draw people from around the area to finally give the hike a shot.
“… We want to turn it into an annual tradition,” Hicswa said, “for students to hike it for the first time as freshmen and for community members and faculty who haven’t done it to make it an annual event. It’s a fun way to get everybody together and celebrate the beginning of the school year.”
The event also featured snacks and goodies at the trailhead from Uncommon Grounds and Gluten-Free Harvest.
“Uncommon Grounds came up and donated coffee, and Gluten-Free Harvest came up and cooked pancakes,” Hicswa said. “So we had a little carb-loading at the beginning of the race, which I know our students appreciated, because chances are they didn’t eat any breakfast that morning. Plus it was a way for Gluten-Free Harvest to roll out their pancake mix.”
Burgers were cooked up for after the race, and Hicswa said a good time was had by all.
“It was a fantastic event, and I appreciate The Nature Conservancy for allowing us to do it,” she said. “It was just a great way to kick off the year.”
Heart of a Trapper 5K Results:
1. Amberly Halstead 36:36, 2. Kelly Christensen 40:51, 3. Tiffany Lee 41:01, 4. Dustin Spomer 42:56, 5. Mindy Christensen 44:05, 6. Dusty Patrick 58:16, 7. Orrin Couture 1:03.58, 8. Nancy Hoffman 1:04.07.
1. Mitch Svaty 2:26.05, 2. Ladell Merritt 2:39.31, 3. Amy Couture 3:05.02, 4. Jeff Rode 3:06.42, 5. Anita Holden 3:25.29, 6. Justin Budd 3:33.31, 7. Garrett Growney 3:34.19, 8. Mark Nelson 3:34.43, 9. Riley McKeen 3:40.01, 10. Hugh McKeen 3:43, 11. Mark Vondersaar 4:04.43, 12. John Housel 4:27.05, Megan Lundvall 5:04.47.