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Runtrails' Rocky Mountain Journal
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"The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it."
- Moliere


More than 400 runners in the Bighorn Wild & Scenic Trail Runs can attest to the obstacles on the course and the thrill of overcoming them to finish 30K, 50K, 52 miles, or 100 miles. Each received a distinctive award to commemorate their achievement. More importantly, they have the satisfaction of knowing they reached their goal of finishing the race.

Although Jim and I didn't finish our races this time and get finishers' awards, we've received some fine ones in the past, including handsome embroidered fleece vests and pullovers. Age group and overall awards are even nicer - engraved or hand-painted mugs and/or plates. In 2000, I also got a generous gift certificate to the Sport Stop for winning my age group in the 52-miler.

One of our friends, Mariann Foster, made felted alpaca western-style hats this year for the men's and women's overall finishers in the 100-miler. What a great award! We weren't present at the awards ceremonies for the three shorter races, so I don't know if those winners got hats, too.

Mariann and her husband, Jeff, have a ranch about five miles from Dayton. They raise alpacas, horses, and other animals. Despite parenting a one-year-old daughter, helping keep the ranch going, and crafting all sorts of felted alpaca products (hats, purses, etc.), Mariann is also a very fast runner who used to win races when we lived in Billings. I'm sorry we weren't able to visit their ranch while we were in the area, but you can visit their website here.


Ultra runners can have big appetites, especially after running a hundred miles. Bighorn knows this, and caters to them. Not only does the race have a great picnic spread for runners at the finish line in Scott Park in Dayton, it also has a delicious free buffet on Sunday morning for the 100- and 52-milers and their families and friends. Awards for the 100-miler are also given out at this time (this year the 52-mile finishers got their awards on Saturday but were recognized by name on Sunday).

The last time we were here (2003), the buffet was still held in the the alley behind the Sport Shop in downtown Sheridan. It was crowded and unattractive. The venue this year was much nicer: in Grinnell Plaza across from the store. There was plenty of room and interesting surroundings with trees, murals, and sculptures that I've shown here previously.

We were both so relieved to find out what was causing Jim's weird physical symptoms Saturday night that we slept very well and had a hard time getting up early to drive down to Sheridan for breakfast. But we know how good the food always is and we wanted to support both the runners who finished their tough races and those who didn't. So we got our butts out of bed and arrived soon after the buffet began at 8 AM.

We thanked the race organizers and said hi to some friends in the store before heading for the food line:

Yum! Huge pancakes, slices of ham, various kinds of fruit, and juices - all you can eat.

We found a table with some of our VHTRC and other friends who came and went throughout the morning. I tried to take a candid photo of John Prohira and Kerry Owens, but John caught me and posed! Kerry had a fine 28:30 in the 100-miler and finished second female.

Hans-Dieter Weisshaar from Germany came over to greet us soon after we sat down. It was a pleasure to see him and his wife, Susi, again. Both are very friendly, huggy people who can  make you feel like the most important person around!

We moved around to greet other folks after we got done eating. Although we'd be seeing some folks soon at either Hardrock or Leadville, others we might not see for another year or two. Here's Hans again, talking with Joy Turner (hand up, blocking sunshine) and Betsy Kalmeyer, both from Colorado. Betsy is going for her eighth Hardrock finish in three weeks. She paced Roch Horton at Bighorn.

After Wendell Robison (blue shirt, standing far right) began the awards ceremony, we moved into the shade:

You can see Roch Horton, who finished fourth in the 100-miler, in the photo below. He's sitting on the right in the red hat and dark blue shorts. We'll probably see him again at Hardrock.

After the ceremony the large contingent from our Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (VHTRC) gathered for another group shot. Members either running one of the races or crewing/pacing other members included Ed C. and his wife, Tom Corris, Scott Crabb, Anstr Davidson, Lucia Davidson, John DeWalt, Russ Evans, Quatro Hubbard, Karl Knipling, Kerry Owens, John Prohira, and Bill  Turrentine and his wife. If I've missed anyone, please let me know the name!

Most everyone is included in this photo that I snagged from the website because it was better than the one I took:

This is one I took and liked, featuring Quatro, Tom, and Scott:

VHTRC members know how to have fun, as you can tell from that photo! I think most of them will have great things to say about their visit to the Bighorn Mountains.

Next entry: Monday morning quarterbacking - what went wrong and how do we "fix" it??

Down but not out,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

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2006 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil