Runtrails' Rocky Mountain Journal
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"You are better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can!
- Ken Chlouber, co-race director


In celebration of its 25th anniversary, more runners (592) began this race in 2007 than in any previous year. Only 210 crossed the finish line within the thirty-hour limit, a dismal 35%, the second-lowest finish rate in its history (one year only 29% finished). Sometimes you just can't do what you think you can, let alone more than you think you can! But I'm sure the many veteran and new 100-milers in the 65% who did not finish (DNF) gave it their best shot. I know Jim did.

More rumination about the low finish rate in the next entry. Let's talk mostly about the finishers today!

After a good ten or eleven hours of sleep, Jim and I woke up with a little more optimism and energy this morning. Isn't that just like an ultra runner?? It's a new day. Never give up.

From our camper we could see runners making the turn at Sixth and McWethy, less than a mile to the finish line. Several spectators cheered them on. Traditionally about half of the runners finish in the last two hours at Leadville. A great time to watch the finish is from 7 or 8 Sunday morning until the final gunshot goes off at 10 AM, indicating the end of the race. You can see the finish banner in the background in the photo below:

Jim's focus at this point was trying to diagnose what was wrong with our truck. About 9:30 we borrowed Brent's truck to drive down Sixth Street, past several tired but happy runners, to within two blocks of the finish line where our F-250 was still sitting. We could see the last few runners and their entourages pass us on their way to the red carpet amid cheers from the crowd:

We recognized Dennis Drey and David Strong, two of the last three finishers, when they went by our truck. We cheered them on. David, winner of the "Last Ass Over the Pass" award, was leaning heavily on one of his team for support, literally and figuratively. He is a multiple finisher of this race -- this is his 13th, I believe -- and he squeaked in with only six minutes to spare. Talk about stress!

There's the goal

The gun went off at 10 AM and the race was over.

While Jim still had his head under the hood of the truck (hoping that the new fuel filter he was installing might fix the problem), I walked up to the courthouse to retrieve his three remaining drop bags. I walked through the medical tent, not realizing what it was. Since we'd put drop bags in there on Friday, I assumed that's where they'd be returned. I was happy to see only a couple of finishers lying on cots in the tent. No one seemed to be in dire straits.

Just beyond the now-medical tent, two runners were napping on the shady grass next to the piles of drop bags:

Ahhh . . . bet it felt good to get off their feet after one hundred miles! Notice the sheets of paper hung on the courthouse doors in the background? Those are results from the Leadville Trail series races. Final results from this race are now hanging in the LT100 store windows for all to see. They are also posted on the LT website, which you can access at the link to the left of this page.

As the finish line was being torn down Jim slowly drove the truck about a mile away to a service station with a mechanic recommended by our friend Jack (on whose property we're camped). We're hoping he can diagnose the problem and fix it this week, but since it's Sunday we'll have to wait one more day. This afternoon Jim spent a bunch of time on the internet trying to determine what the problem might be, and he'll discuss the possibilities with the mechanic tomorrow morning. He can do a lot mechanically himself, but with diesel engines having so much electronics, he doesn't have the tools and skills to do some technical jobs.


After doing some laundry, I went to the awards ceremony at noon. Many of the runners who didn't finish the race didn't attend, and I respect that. It's pretty hard when Ken asks all the folks who DNFd to stand up and be applauded for the courage to try. (Recently Ken's been in that category himself, and he doesn't hide it.) It's not that they don't want to congratulate the ones who DID finish, but they're tired, discouraged, and sometimes just want to be left alone. I completely understand. Been there, done that.

Ken had on a new shirt and looked mighty fine in it! I don't know if he does any other emcee-type of work, but he's made for it. He's a former miner, former state representative, and does a good job as a motivational speaker and presenter at the LT races. Ken can seem a bit gruff sometimes but he has a big heart and sincerely wants people to stretch their limits and "be all they can be." He's also been a major factor in keeping Leadville alive since the mines closed, and the people he draws to this race are a big reason.

Merilee more quietly handles many of the details of putting on five large races every summer. She is officially the LT100 race director and is in charge of the Leadville 100 Store. She keeps track of the statistics and organizes the order of the briefings and awards ceremonies. She also plays the "straight man" to Ken's humor and larger-than-life persona.

Ken Chlouber, right, wearing his 1,000-mile LT100 buckle, introducing Merilee O'Neil, race director

You can see some of the age-group and overall winners' awards on the table above: heavy mining trophies for the male and female winners (Ken advises the male and female winners to have help carrying those!) and mining pans and cider for the top three in each ten-year age group.

The gym was almost as full as it was for the pre-race briefing. I was sitting in the bleachers above Bill Moyer (white shirt, right foreground), Mick (whose last name I can't remember -- he's in the red shirt), and Jo Ann Beine (blond hair, black shirt), so they are in several of my photos:

Poor Bill. He could barely stay awake during the awards ceremony. He and his wife Jan are like Jo Ann and Mick, volunteers extraordinaire. Every year the Moyers come out here for two weeks, at their own expense, to help Ken and Merilee with many aspects of the 100-mile bike race and run. The last couple years Bill has been too exhausted from volunteering to run the race! He and Jan (and probably others) spent all night Saturday screening the finishers' sweatshirts with their names and times on the left sleeves. The finishers can be mighty proud of those shirts. Jim has one from 1999 but rarely wears it because he doesn't want to wear it out.

Here's a close-up of Jo Ann, Mick, and Bill again, simply because this race wouldn't be the same without them! (I didn't see Jan at the ceremony today.):

Ken began the program by thanking the volunteers, sponsors, runners, and families/friends for being involved in the race. Runners who didn't finish were recognized, and it was obvious that many of them weren't there because fewer than a hundred stood up.

About thirty of the finishers weren't present, either, as evidenced by how many sweatshirts were repacked in boxes to be picked up or mailed later. If you've just finished running a hundred miles a few hours ago, or been up all night crewing or pacing, it's doggone hard to get out of bed the next morning! Exactly one hundred of the finishers came in during the last two hours, nearly half of those who officially finished the race (which is typical every year). They barely had time to shower and get dressed before this ceremony, let alone catch any shut-eye.

Ken called up the finishers from last to first to receive a handshake, hooded sweatshirt, buckle, and necklace (women only!), recognizing age-group winners (three deep) and special accomplishments such as multiple finishers and those who completed the Leadman series successfully. Several men received their ten-year buckles or eleven-year jackets. (For finishes above that, another star is added to the sleeve each time.) I believe six of the nine remaining Leadman contenders finished the run, too.

This process always takes a while, even though Ken calls the names pretty quickly, because about a quarter of the finishers have friends and families who want to take their pictures with Ken and Merilee. Ken clearly enjoys that part, but makes sure the photographers don't take too long!

I took notes on several "notable" accomplishments, perhaps with too much emphasis on people I know, so forgive me for not mentioning all 210 finishers or showing photos of everyone.

One of the most impressive accomplishments is that of Bill Finkbeiner, age 51, who completed his 24th LT100, the most of any competitor over the years! His time was 27:34. Bill, shown below, has huge buckles to celebrate reaching both 1,000 and 2,000 miles. Now that he has raced 2,400 miles on the course, I wonder what he'll get for 2,500 miles next year??

Garry Curry (27:25) is the next most prolific LT100 "repeat offender" with his 19th finish this year. Will he catch up to Bill in the numbers race?

We were very happy to see that Pete Stringer, our friend from Cape Cod, finished the race. He had some "unfinished business" here from last year. Pete has had a great summer, with a finish at Vermont last month also. He was 200th overall and eighth in the 60-69 age group in a time of 29:38. Only nine of the original thirty-nine men in their 60s who were entered in the race finished this time. 'Way to go, Pete!!

Paul DeWitt, a former winner of the race, ran this year with his father Jim DeWitt, both finishing in 28:42. I think that's pretty cool.

Harry and Chisholm Deupree, were recognized as the first father-son team to both earn their 1,000-mile buckles. Harry got his in a previous race, and didn't run this year. Chisholm, age 41, earned that REALLY big 1,000-mile buckle with a 27:13 finish this year. (Ken and Bill are wearing theirs in photos above.)

I've already mentioned Jo Ann Beine for her volunteer work and showed two photos of her above. Here she is again, reacting to Ken's glowing words about her dedication -- and third LT100 finish.

Jo Ann was embarrassed by all the attention, but well deserving of it for both her countless hours of volunteering as well as finishing first in the women's 50-59 age group with a fine 28:16. Only five women in that age group (MY age group!) finished the race out of seventeen who were entered. That's 29%, an even lower finish rate than in the overall race. Great job, Jo Ann!!

Then there's Hans-Dieter Weisshaar. What more can I say? He's one of my favorite people, truly an athletic inspiration at age 67 with his 101st hundred-mile finish. I think he's run them all since he turned sixty. He's a crowd favorite, always hugging people as he runs by or when he sees them before and after races. I've never seen him grumpy.

Hans with his loot. Notice all the sweatshirts to be given out to other finishers.

Hans and the paparazzi?? (guy with big camera on the right, not me!)

Hans' times are usually pretty consistent and he rarely DNFs a race. This year he had enough competition in the 60-69 year age group that his 28:11:59 put him third in his age group. Here he is again, congratulating another competitor in his age group, Stuart Nelson:

Stuart, who finished second in the 60-69 age group in 27:06, proudly wears the eleven-year jacket he just won.

The first-place 60-69 finisher, Darrel (Drew) Meyer, is Deb Pero's brother. Drew finished in a great time of 24:47, 50th overall, and will receive one of the gold and silver belt buckles awarded to all sub-25 hour finishers. He was one of two finishers NOT present, however. Ken indicated that both Drew and Eric Bindner, who placed eighth overall, were both in the hospital after the race. We hope both men recover soon.

Our Georgia friend, Liz Walker, shown in a photo in yesterday's entry, finished 9th in the 40-49 age group with a time of 28:54 -- after finishing the even-tougher Hardrock Hundred five weeks ago.

Others I know who finished both Hardrock and Leadville this summer are former LT champion Kirk Apt (27:34), in the rust-colored shirt below,


Rickie Redland-McManus (28:26, second female 50-59), James Nelson (29:52), Dennis Drey (29:51), Larry Hall (28:51), Hans-Dieter Weisshaar (already mentioned), Bill Geist and Jason Halladay (tied at 27:55), Tom Garrison (27:32), Tyler Curiel (26:25), Kristen Kern (male, 25:19), and Brian Fisher (23:54). If there are others who finished both races this summer, let me know who I missed.

We're glad that our new friend from Oregon, Ronda Sundermeier, finished the race. We met Ronda on one of our training runs a couple of weeks ago. She is one of only two women left in the Grand Slam, along with eleven men. Ten of the contenders DNFd this race and are "out of the running" (although they may still run Wasatch if they were original lottery entrant winners to that race). A very happy Ronda is shown in the next two photos below with Ken and Merilee:

Ronda received the larger gold and silver sub-25 hour buckle for her fine 24:16 finish, which placed her third in the female 40-49 age group (she looks much younger than that, doesn't she?). Ronda had excellent times at Western States and Vermont, too. We wish her well at Wasatch in three weeks. Go get 'em!

In the second photo of Ronda, below, you can see Leadville's mayor (Bud Elliot) seated in the corner, as well as three of the volunteers who helped give out the awards:

It was nice to meet the fastest foreign runner, Hiroki Ishikawa, from Japan during check-in. He's one of the remaining eleven men in the Grand Slam and has the fastest overall times so far. He finished 18th overall in 22:41.

We were also pleased to meet David Goggins, a well-respected -- and fast -- Navy SEAL during registration for the race. David, in the red shirt below, placed 15th in 22:15. He finished eighth, I think, at Badwater (a tough, hot 135-mile race across the desert of southern California) in July. We've read about him in Ultra Running magazine and on the internet ultra list serve but this was the first we've seen him at a race. He was one of at least two active servicemen in the race. Thank you for your service to our country, David, and congratulations on another fine finish!

As an indication of how competitive men in their 50s are, the top three men 50-59 placed in the top thirteen overall! That should be encouraging for all you younger guys under age 50. Todd Holmes was first in the age group (6th OA) in 20:26, Eric Bindner was second (8th OA) in 21:05, and Jeffrey Welsch was third (13th OA) in 21:53.

The men's 40-49 year age group was tough, too. Second place overall went to Harry Harcrow with a fast 19:33, and third place overall was Charles Corfield, with a terrific 19:42 in his first hundred-miler! (First time doing the distance, not just the first time doing it at Leadville.)

If you read yesterday's entry you know that 23-year-old (I think -- the J's and K's are missing from the race booklet we have) Anton Krupika won the race in the second-fastest time ever: 16:14:35. He was three hours and nineteen minutes faster than the next guy, and only about half an hour off the course record (15:42:59) set by Matt Carpenter in 2005. Anton was paced by Kyle Skaggs, another young speedster.

Watch out for Anton if he decides to run the race next year. According to an article by Katie Redding in The Leadville Chronicle, he'll be doing graduate work in geology at Camp Hale (just north of Leadville) next summer, giving him even more of an opportunity to train on the race course.

Tammy Stone, age 45, was the first female with a time of 22:44:54, which placed her 19th overall, narrowly edging out Michele Jensen, in her 30s, who was 20th overall in 22:49:14. This was Tammy's fourth attempt and fastest of three finishes at Leadville. When she realized Michele was close behind her at the Turquoise Lake Dam near the end of the race, she really put the hammer down the last five miles to ensure her win.

Here are several pictures of Tammy and Anton with Merilee and Ken at the end of the awards presentation. Each champion talked for just a bit to thank everyone who helped them reach the winners' circle:


The representative from major sponsor Q-West is on the left below; he presented the overall awards to Tammy and Anton:

Young ladies might prefer the photo of a tanned and shirtless Anton Krupika in yesterday's journal entry!

You can check results for all the finishers at the Leadville link to the left. A big CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who beat this course!

Next entry: what went wrong at LT100 for so many people this year?

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

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2007 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil