Wind: 6 mph
Waitsfield residents David, Beck, and Mark Sinclair and Trey Kiendl recently competed in a unique running race around the Island of Nantucket, called the Rock Run. The Rock Run, held on August 1, is a 50-mile relay race around the circumference of the island. It is a run in the sand, on the beach and in the water. There are no course markings. Runners keep the water on their left and the sand on their right. They start when the sun comes up and are done when the sun starts to set.
The race is broken up into five legs. The Sinclairs had three family members participating, and they recruited local hockey star Trey Kiendl, son of Suzanne and Phil Kiendl, of Waitsfield, who own and manage the Barnacle Inn in Nantucket. After some arm twisting, the Sinclairs also convinced Neil Levine, cross-country running coach for the Oliver Ames High School in Massachusetts, to become the fifth member of the team. In honor of the Kiendl family's inn, the team was named "The Barnacle Boys."
The race was challenging. The footing was brutal at times. People run in sneakers. They run barefoot. They run in surf shoes. There were 25 teams and 8 individuals who started the race.
David Sinclair, a senior at GMVS and accomplished Nordic skier, started the race at Coutou, a barren windswept sandbar in the middle of the ocean. David did the team proud on this 12-mile leg. He ran with sneakers across the hard-packed sand, fighting off wind, greenhead flies and his competitors. He handed off to his dad in second place.
Mark took off from Great Point in sneakers to complete the second 12-mile leg. Battling the surf, sand and men and women half his age he soldiered on. Holding second place was not an option. Surviving was the goal. Mark handed off to Trey Kiendl in eighth place.
Trey woke up that morning with the exuberance of a champion. He did not want to let his team down. He took off with a vengeance. The footing was soft sand. Running in surf socks and with the heart of a lion he was able to advance the team into seventh place by the time he handed off to Neil Levine at Surfside Beach after seven miles.
For eight miles Neil fought pounding waves, wet gritty sand and the blaring sun. He held position and passed the baton to Beck Sinclair in seventh place.
Beck's leg started out with a two-mile run on the roads. He then turned to the coast crossing over marshland and quicksand. Next up were stone bulkheads that jut out into the ocean. You either climb over them or swim around them. The bulkheads are followed by soft mushy sand with shells and rocks that tear up your feet. With absolutely no training, Beck ran the 10-mile anchor leg with the best athletes on the island and the team finished in ninth place.
The team's combined time was 8:02:00. Not bad for 50 miles. Of the 25 teams that started, 24 finished. Of the eight individuals that started, four finished. The best reward, however, was that the race raised over $5,000 for charity to fight autism.