All runners agree that doing a race virtually is no comparison to the real thing. The participants in the 19th Annual Peterson Ridge Rumble, held Sunday, April 11, couldn’t have been happier to be back on the trail after the event was derailed last year due to the pandemic.

Race Director Sean Meissner said, “The Peterson Ridge Rumble was a huge success! There were a lot of COVID protocols that had to be met and all of the participants and volunteers graciously complied.”

Runners started in smaller waves this year in order to keep distancing more manageable, according to Meissner, and finishers spread out further than normal after the race, according to Meissner.

While the total number of runners was down by about 150 from pre-pandemic years, Meissner felt grateful to have the event take place at all.

“People love coming to Sisters for this race and despite having to make changes (such as cutting the 40-mile course down to 36 miles) we had a great day with perfect weather,” he said.

Colton Gale of Bend won the 20-mile race in a close finish in a time of 2:06:14 over Alastair Thurlbeck of Corvallis, who finished second in 2:07:36.

Daniella Morena of Mammoth Lakes, California, blew away the women’s field in the 20-mile course by over 20 minutes, with a time of 2:14:40, finishing sixth overall.

In the 36-mile race, Brett Hornig of Ashland took top honors in 3:55:38, while Keely Henninger of Portland finished fifth overall and first among women in 4:13:08.

Local finishers included Tim Roth (2:56:02), Jonathan Kelly (2:58:17), Ramon Alonso (3:20:49), and Gene Trahern (3:59:52).

Trahern has run the Rumble every year since its inception.

Meissner said a record number of dogs, 40, took part in the 20-mile race with their human partners and two canines actually did the entire 36 miler.

Finishers feasted on burritos from Longboard Louie’s of Bend and treats from Sisters Bakery. Dogs munched on pig ears following the race. All human finishers received a pair of commemorative running socks.

Proceeds from the race largely go to the Sisters Schools cross-country programs, which provided many of the volunteers at aid stations, road crossings, the finish line, and clean-up.

“Even though we had to keep things more low-key and follow protocols, looking around I could see people were still really glad to be here and I can’t wait until next year,” said Meissner.