Williston runner goes from surf to summit

Skiff: Why isn’t this a thing?

By Lauren Read

Sports correspondent

At 4 a.m. on Aug. 6, Shane Skiff dipped his toes in Lake Champlain then turned around and began to run.

Hours — and almost exactly 26.2 miles — later, the 17-year-old stopped running at the top of Mount Mansfield.

“I felt pretty good, it was nice to sit down for a moment, to stop moving and look at the lake,” Skiff said. “You could see where you came from.”

A few days before, Skiff decided to give the “surf to summit” run a try. He had heard about a similar run in California and thought it would be fun to carry it to Vermont.

“It just kind of seemed like a cool thing to do,” Skiff said. “I am not a huge runner, it just seemed fun to go lowest to highest. Why not?”

Skiff, who will be a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School this year, hit a few bumps on the way to the highest mountain in Vermont.

“There is a section right near Underhill called Underhill Flats; it was just 2 miles of just flat in the sun,” Skiff said of his toughest moment. “That was the hardest part, mentally.”

It wasn’t all rough going for the Williston resident, who had an “I can do this” moment when he reached Jericho more quickly than expected.

“I didn’t know what my pace would be,” Skiff said. “I got there a lot faster than I thought I would.”

Skiff’s parents then met him in Underhill State Park, finishing the summit to Mount Mansfield with him — though he passed them about halfway to the top.

At the top, Skiff realized that he had a run almost exactly 26.2 miles — a marathon distance to the highest point in Vermont — all in 4 hours and 59 minutes.

“It was going to be however long it needed to be, but it ended up being a near-perfect marathon,” Skiff said.

Skiff believes the run could be an official Vermont event, considering the distance and the ability to go from the shores of Lake Champlain to the summit of Mount Mansfield in a few hours.

“Given that it turned out to be an exact marathon, I was surprised that it wasn’t a thing,” Skiff said. “It seems like that would be a really popular event.”

The senior now turns his attention to returning to school and his fall season on the CVU cross country team — no matter what it looks like.

“It’s going to be really nice to see people who I haven’t seen since March, to get back into a normal routine,” Skiff said. “It’ll be nice to get back.”