NEWRY — Months of preparation and training came together on Saturday for 3,500 registered entrants at Sunday River Ski Resort’s sixth annual Tough Mountain Challenge.

For morning racer Christopher Parish, 26, of Sanford, everything fell into place at noon in one sublime moment in front of thousands of people when his girlfriend, Oxford Hills native Krystal Powers, 25, of Sanford, crossed the finish line.

She was stunned to see him dressed in a suit, big red tie and black dress shoes.

“I didn’t know what to think,” Powers said.

Parish exuberantly greeted Powers. They hugged and kissed, and then Parish took a knee, proffered an engagement ring in a small white box and proposed in front of an amazed crowd.

“I didn’t know what he was doing, and then he got down and I started crying,” Powers said.


Sobbing and soaking wet, with her hands pressed against her mud-splattered face, she said, “Yes!” The couple hugged and kissed again as people around them and spectators reacted in applause and shouts.

“That was so sweet,” Sarah Devlin, resort spokeswoman, said.

A few minutes later, while standing with Parish and friends, Powers said, “I’m absolutely amazed right now, I am.”

Parish was in the first wave of 125 runners who, at 8 a.m., took off up the mountain and right into the first obstacle, a little mud hole called “The Shoe Sucker.”

People in the back of the group were forced to walk while those in the front struggled out of it and into “Hurricane Valley,” the second obstacle. There, 12 high-powered snow-making guns operating at high velocity slammed racers with a continuous blast of cold water, pushing some right off the course.

Parish finished with a time of 1:07:38.1, beating his time from last year. Then his friends whisked him off to his cabin, where he got cleaned and suited up. He rushed back to the finish line, standing very nervously in a crowd of muddy racers while looking for Powers, who started at 10 a.m., up the hill.


When he and his friends returned and saw racers at the finish line who also started at 10 a.m., Parish said he panicked, thinking she had finished and he’d missed his moment. But then he learned she was still on the course.

“It was pretty nerve wracking,” Parish said of the wait.

Powers finished in 2:24:10.4. It was her first year. Parish talked her into it.

“That was intense,” Powers said of the 4-mile course.

Other racers agreed.

Andrew DiCentes, 32, of Norway, who ran with five others on the team Mud, Sweat and Beers, said the initial start uphill through The Shoe Sucker and Hurricane Valley was the toughest part for him.


Greg Goodhue, 49, of Sidney, who took second place with a time of 43:15.6, agreed with DiCentes. He also said the “WTF?!” obstacle “is hard,” because of its steepness.

Racer Matt Lindsay, 34, of Lincoln, said “WTF!?” was definitely challenging, offering a very steep climb and a rope to hold tight to for those seeking help getting up and over it.

“What gets you is the false peak,” he said. “You get up there to the rock ledge and see you’ve got another 60 feet to go. They really mess with your head on that one.”

The obstacle course consisted of a mix of obstacles from previous years, like “WTF!?,” along with new obstacles, including “Snow Carrying,” where competitors carry the slope’s snow guns for 270 yards through a miniature obstacle course modeled after the resort’s Wife Carrying Championship course; “The Big V,” where competitors race down a ravine before hiking back out; and “The Scraper,” where participants navigate a course of Jersey barriers left over from January’s Red Bull Frozen Rush truck race.

“You can’t run all the way,” Lindsay said. “Those hills quickly tire your legs out.”

He said even Goodhue walked some of the course. “If a guy as elite as Greg Goodhue has to walk, I’m good with it. I thought I was fast but Greg makes me look like I was walking backwards. He is fast.”


Heavy metal and hard rock songs cranked from a stage between the start and finish lines. Emcees Caroline Ochtera and Jake Treadwell took turns revving up starting waves of 125 racers every 15 minutes, filling the course with 500 racers an hour. Many took more than three hours to finish.

Lindsay, who finished 17th with a time of 48:57.1 seconds, ran with his father, Richard Lindsay, 61, his brother, Rich Lindsay, 37, and his nephew, David Lindsay, 14, all of West Enfield.

“Three generations in one heat,” Matt Lindsay said. “That was fun.”

Watching the family from the sidelines was Matt’s wife, who held their twin children born four months ago.

“It’s a family affair,” Matt Lindsay said. The three generations ran the challenge last year, but not in the same heat, so Matt ran it a second time to help David.

“Obstacle racing, it’s addicting,” Matt Lindsay said. “They call it that ‘runner’s high’ about the adrenaline you get when completing obstacles, not to mention you get to feel like a kid.”


That’s why he said the hardest part for him “was finishing and knowing it was over. It was so much fun out there.”

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Top Finishers

Patrick Powers, 24, of Trenton, finished first in 43:9.1. Greg Goodhue, 49, of Sidney, took second at 43:15.3 and Brian Wagner, 27, of Lisbon, took third, posting a time of 44:3.6.

For the women, Kate Joseph, 31, of Northeast Harbor, finished first at 49:50.1; Melinda Bedard, 35, of New Gloucester, took second place at 52:36.6; and Caitlin Cross, 27, of Brewer, finished third at 52:53.4.

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