Race Director Dale Garland keeps note cards with him at the
finish line to record the succinct witticisms of the finishers each
year, and regales us at the Sunday morning awards buffet with many of
the comments. I wish I'd had a recorder, because it was hard to write
all of them down as he recognized each finisher from last place to
first. I'll include a few of them here. If you want to hear all of them,
you'll just have to participate in some manner in the race next year!
One of many traditions at Hardrock is the privilege to "kiss the
hardrock" when runners cross the finish line:
It's a requirement, in fact. Rule #10 for runners reads,
"You must kiss the HARDROCK upon your successful completion of the run."
I can guarantee you that Billy Simpson has already had a tough
summer on the trails. He's been hiking the Appalachian from Georgia to
Maine and stopped to run Hardrock just two hundred miles short of his
goal of reaching Mt. Katahdin. The AT will train you for just about
anything except the altitude at Hardrock. When I ran/hiked it in 2005,
our friends Deb and Steve Pero commented that now I was ready for
Hardrock. Ha! Not this old lady, but I'm sure it was good
training on all those steep climbs and descents -- and rocks -- for a
tougher fella like Billy, who finished Hardrock in a fast 36:34
The Hundred Mile Wilderness will be a piece of cake for him now as he
completes his AT hike.
TASTY BREAKFAST BUFFET
Everyone involved with the race -- runners, crews, pacers, families,
volunteers, race staff, media, sponsors, etc. -- is invited to the
awards brunch and ceremony at 9 AM on Sunday. The race officially ends
at 6 AM so finishers in the last few hours have enough time to clean up
but they don't have much time to get any sleep. Even some of those who
finished on Saturday are hobbling around on tired legs, but the ones who
got to "kiss the hardrock" have the most satisfied looks on their faces
that you can imagine.
They can proudly call themselves "Hardrockers."
One of them is Larry Hall, shown in the buffet line, below,
behind the ever-smiling Beth Simpson. Larry finished the race in
44:15 (78th place) and I bet that anything besides aid
station food was looking mighty good to him about now (although the
multitude of aid station selections at this race is outstanding):
The buffet is the opportunity to hear everyone's stories about the
race, both the triumphs of completion and the pain of not finishing (and
the pain of da feet!). Some of our closest ultra running friends
gave it their best but came up short of the finish line. Their stories
are as interesting as the stories of those who finished, and we try to
learn from them. We know they are disappointed and will train harder
For most, there will be a next time. It's easy to see how this
race gets into your blood.
We are especially proud of Kathy Lang who, in her first HRH, made it
to Chapman AS at 82 miles. Kathy is my age (58) and would have been the
oldest woman to ever finish if she'd been able to go eighteen more miles
(she said the climb up Virginius did her in). Kathy has done lots of
trail marking and trail work this year and in previous years. She knows
the course better than most first-time Hardrockers and she knows it's a
major challenge for anyone to finish it. She had the guts to
enter the race, something I can't muster. This is a great
accomplishment, Kathy, and we hope you'll be back again soon to get 'er
The line for breakfast encircled the entire gym and at one time was
even out the door yet there was plenty of food to go back for seconds or
thirds after everyone was served. How do they do that?? The selection
was as good as I described at the Big Horn race -- fresh fruit,
pastries, cereal, eggs, potatoes, bacon, juice, coffee, and more. Even
though Jim and I didn't run a hundred miles, we were pretty hungry and
went back for seconds before the awards ceremony began about 10:30.
KUDOS & MORE
After everyone had their fill at the buffet tables, Dale entertained
us with facts and figures, entertaining guests and non-runner awards,
kudos to the sponsors, and funny comments the runners and their crews
made to him during and after the race.
He began with a rundown on the success of this year's race, which saw
not only the highest number of finishers -- 97 -- but also the highest
percentage of finishers -- 73% -- since the race began in 1992. (This
was the fourteenth running because the race was cancelled twice, once
for excessive snow pack and once because of the fire danger.)
In addition, both the male and female course records were broken by
Scott Jurek and Krissy Moehl. It was Scott's second time on the course
after a DNF several years ago, and Krissy's first time here. Both
gracious, approachable winners, Scott and Krissy addressed the audience
near the end of the ceremony when they received their awards:
There was a new "oldest finisher" record set by 71-year-old
John DeWalt, who also happens to own all or most of the "old" oldest finisher
records! He wasn't last this time, either. He finished in 94th place in
47:36 -- and ran much of the race with a dislocated little finger
which didn't get set by a doctor until after the race! This was John's
TWELFTH Hardrock finish -- he's a very tough dude and one of our
favorite people. Only Kirk Apt has
finished more Hardrocks. (Blake Wood has also finished twelve times.)
Here's a shot of John talking to Blake Wood's wife, Rebecca Clark, at the awards
ceremony a day before his right
little finger was popped back into place:
Jim and I were hoping that 18-year-old Jimmy Wrublik would become the race's
youngest finisher at age 18, but a bout with pleurisy ended his attempt
at 29 miles. He'll surely be back. Jimmy helped us
set up our aid station tent before the race (see July 12 entry) and he's been the RD for the Javelina Hundred near Phoenix since he was only sixteen. We hope to see
him again at Across the Years in December.
Another record that was set was the number of hits on the HRH website
during the race. Dale announced there were 66,000 hits compared to
41,000 last year. I know Jim and I contributed at least a dozen of those
hits as we checked the progress of the runners on Friday and Saturday.
This has become a very popular feature of the websites of hundred-milers
in recent years.
The race gives out scholarship money to deserving college-bound
students from Silverton. One of the fundraisers this year was selling
this beautiful quilt to the highest bidder:
I haven't heard who bought it or for how much, but the minimum bid
was $500. Half goes to the scholarship fund and half to the talented
quilter, Phyllis Tippig. She and her husband Terry (both
shown above) have been actively involved
with the race for many years -- probably twelve, because that's how many
different shirt designs Phyllis incorporated into the quilt.
Next Roch Horton and Jeff Browning, The Hardrock Ramblers, sang Roch's HRH theme song,
"My Runnin' Shoes Don't Fit Me Any More." Each
year Roch adds another verse. I didn't think he could possibly improve
on last year's version, where the very tired John DeWalt helped him with
the "No More" part on each stanza, but Roch and Jeff did a great
rendition with additional lines and guitar riffs this year. The awards
ceremony is worth attending for this entertainment alone! Roch is shown
on the left, Jeff on the right:
Dale thanked the volunteers -- over two hundred of us -- and
communications team for their hard work, mentioning that many have
received five- and ten-year pins for their dedication to the race. In
the photo below, Dale (background) talks with long-time communications
director, Greg Hine and his wife, Ilse, who shared our
also presented the annual Mother Lode award for "volunteer contributions
above and beyond" for many years. Previous recipients (shown below) choose each year's
newest member of the club:
This year's recipient of the Mother Lode award is Rick Trujilo,
one of the HRH board members. Rick was sitting next to me
during the awards presentation and I can guarantee you his
surprise was genuine. He's shown at the podium in the photo below, with
a happy Blake Wood, his wife Rebecca Clark,
and Carolyn Erdman:
(Someone help me with her name, please. She's also in the photo with
Dale then had an apology for finishers number 77 to 97 -- they ran
out of Deb Pero's beautiful finishers' prints because there were only 76
produced! That's how many finishers were expected, about 50%, the usual
number who finish
this race. "We just didn't figure so many of you would finish,"
he said. So Deb will be getting more printed up and the race team will mail
them to the last twenty-one finishers.
In between all this, Dale gave out great sponsor's gifts to runners
whose names had been chosen earlier. Most were from Nathan (packs) and
Montrail (shoes), two of the major sponsors. The person who came in in
the middle of the pack (Mike Ehrlich) and the new five-year finish
inductees also received very nice running packs and bags.
MASTERS OF MILEAGE & DOCTORATE OF
Then Dale proceeded to give out the "Masters of Mileage" awards to
those finishing their first HRH, the "Doctorate of Distance" awards to
those finishing at least once before, and the "Post-Doctorate" awards to
runners who have finished two or more times in the past. He and
presenter Lois MacKenzie (aid station and volunteer coordinator) wore graduation gowns
to emphasize the theme as they conferred the degrees:
This process of calling up 97 finishers can take a while, mainly
because of the added humor provided by Dale as he flips through cards
with comments either about or made by almost all of the finishers. But I
love it and I'll include some of the comments here.
NOTE: I take much better photos of scenery outdoors than of people
indoors, despite a new camera this year, so I apologize in advance for
some fuzzy photos below. I took a gazillion pictures at the awards
ceremony but most aren't suitable to put on the website. <sigh> I need
more practice . . .
Dale always calls up the runners from last to first. There is a
special "Caboose" award for the last official finisher, Lonny Vogt. He
received passes for the popular steam train ride between Silverton and
Robert Andrulis, our new friend from Phoenix, finished his first HRH
in 93rd place (47:04) with less than one day's notice he'd be
running (he was wait-listed until Thursday). His comment to Dale at the
finish was a simple, "Well, that's that." Love it! We
have photos of Robert in several previous entries during trail marking
and work days.
The well-respected huggy-bear Hans-Dieter Weisshaar finished his
sixth time here in a respectable 46:27, 87th overall at age 67.
He is shown below in a huge bear hug with Dale as Lois shares the
Momentous, you say? What is most remarkable is that this race was widely-known as
Hans' attempt at
hundred-miler number one hundred, so the pressure was really on him to finish. Not a serious problem for this wiry, prolific ultra runner from
Germany who has run these hundred hundreds in only a few years. That's ten thousand miles
just in races, not including training miles, for those of you who are math-challenged!
Hans is also shown below on the right in serious conversation
before the awards presentation with
Ray Grunewald, who finished 95th in 47:39:
I saw Hans in the Durango Wal-Mart a few days before the race,
looking for boxed wine (he and Susi are also known for
bargain-hunting!). I think in Colorado you have to buy alcoholic
beverages only in liquor stores, so he was SOL in finding what he wanted
at Wal-Mart. Susi mentioned to me that she wanted to buy some champagne
to celebrate Hans' remarkable achievement.
Well, Jim and I just happened to bring along several bottles of
various types of wine from our favorite Virginia winery, Chateau
Morrisette, to give out on such occasions. (They're my favorite winery
more for the good wine than the cute labels with Laborado Retrievers on
them. Honest!) Last summer there were several times during
our Rocky Mountain adventures that I wished I had had such gifts to give
friends who invited us for dinner, etc. I told Susi about our wine cache
and asked her about Hans' preference -- dry or sweet, red or white? She
said "sweet white," so we presented Hans with a bottle of Chateau
Morrisette Sweet Mountain Laurel for his victory party:
Back to the awards ceremony . . . another interesting comment came
from Eric Hodges' wife, who tattled to Dale that her husband wanted to
brush his teeth before kissing the rock at the finish. We kind of
scratched our heads over that one. Poor Eric. There are no secrets here!
Eric finished his fifth HRH in 85th place (45:30) and was
inducted into the five-year finisher club at the end of the ceremony.
Jeff Heasley finished 75th in 43:54 with "no pacer, no crew,
and no job." His comment to Dale at the finish was, "My fun meter is
pegged out." Gotta remember that quote.
Kirk McCarville, 73rd in 43:43 must train hard for this. His
wife told Dale, "You know, I hate you most of the year." I bet
she said that with pride in her husband's accomplishment, though.
Our Montana friends Margaret and Mark Heaphy did very well again.
Margaret finished for the eighth time (92nd in 46:56) and
Mark for the ninth (70th in 43:20). Margaret is one of three
women in their early 50s who finished the race this year. The others are
Susan Gebhart and Rickie Redland-McManus, who have both
finished the race several times, too.
I believe there are only three
other women in previous years who have finished the race in their early 50s:
Diane Ridgway at 50, Jennifer Roach at 51, and Ginny LaForme at 53.
(That's only six different women in their 50s who have ever finished
this race, unless I missed someone in the historical results.)
I'm so proud of these women! Last year only six of eighty-one
official finishers were women. This year the percentage was higher with
eleven females out of ninety-seven finishers, but that's still a low
percentage for hundred-milers. It says a lot about this course (and the
difficulty of getting into it).
We met one of the female finishers at Old Dominion Memorial
50/100-miler in May, Diana Widdowson. She finished her first Hardrock in
72nd place (43:23) and proudly accepts her award from Lois in the
Randy Gerhke, RD for the Cascade Crest 100-Miler, gave Dale fifty
cents at the end of the race and asked him to call his mother (he's
50!!) and "tell her I don't have to do this anymore!" Randy
finished 67th in 42:35.
When presenting 48th place finisher Kirk Apt with his award, Dale
reiterated that "perseverance is the key to Hardrock." Kirk,
shown below, has finished
every Hardrock except one -- this is his 13th, the most by anyone, and
he did it in a fine 38:25.
Jim Nelson, who finished 40th in 37:26 told Dale that the plan
to "eat nothing, drink nothing, toss nothing" doesn't work. I can attest
to that after barfing the last fifty miles at Vermont one year with
virtually nothing in my stomach . . . In a tough mountainous
high-altitude race with a 48-hour deadline, runners need more fluids and
food than in a 100-miler with a 30-hour cutoff but the faster runners
probably don't need as much sustenance as the slower ones.
Bill Geist, 36th in 36:58, had a large gash on his leg at the
finish. When Dale asked what happened, Bill replied, "Well, the rock
won." (Not sure if he meant the hardrock or another hard rock
on the course!)
Betsy Kalmeyer was recognized not only for her ninth finish (32nd
overall, fourth female in 36:14) but also for her five previous
female wins on this course. Do you think she'll be back next year for
number ten??? (Well, duh!)
Brian Robinson, renowned for being the first Triple-Crowner for
hiking/running the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide
Trails in one calendar year, came in right before Betsy in 35:55.
Blake Wood, who finished for the twelfth time, was 30th overall in 35:46.
Blake is a former course record-holder and isn't slowing down all that
much at age 49. He's one of the HRH board members.
We get a kick out of seeing Tom Garrison at races. He's fun and
more metal attached to his body than his kids do! And those leather kilts he
wears . . . memorable. Also 49, Tom ran a fast 35:12 for a 28th-place
I've mentioned our new friend, James Varner, in previous posts about
trail work and showed a photo of him yesterday coming down from
Grant-Swamp Pass. He posted a fine 34:54 in his first Hardrock,
placing 25th and giving Dale an appreciative hug when he went up for his
Dale pronounced Tyler Curiel the "best-dressed" runner for his Mardi
Gras beads and colorful tights (see photo July 13 on the first morning). Tyler, one of
several MDs running the race, finished his eighth HRH in 19th place with
a fast-paced 33:18 -- third male over age 50. Don't these guys
ever slow down???
I talked about Tyler and about a dozen of the other top-25 finishers
in yesterday's entry, so I won't repeat all of that here. I will mention
that 6th-place finisher Glenn Mackie (30:45) ended up in a
Durango hospital with HAPE (High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema) after the
race and wasn't present to receive his award. I'm sure there were more
injuries, but the only other two we're aware of were John's dislocated
finger and a woman with a bad gash on her knee when she came into our
aid station at Cunningham. She insisted on continuing and I think she
reached Telluride at 72 miles before dropping out (we aren't sure who
These are some tough folks who like to push the envelope, just like
the original hardrockers back in the 1800s.
One final fact that's interesting about Karl Meltzer, last year's
winner and second to Scott Jurek this year: in 2006, Karl wore
bib #142 when he won and set a new course record. Guess what Scott
Jurek's bib number was this year when he won and set a new course
record?? Karl had a great win at Big Horn in June and was close to Scott
for much of this race. He ended up taking about two hours at Chapman (82
miles) and finished in 28:59 this year. He and Scott will compete
again at Tour du Mont Blanc in August. Both appear to still be at the
top of their games this summer.
At the end of the awards ceremony, Dale called up all the runners who
have finished the race at least five times -- many of the thirty-two
runners were present:
Then several new five-year inductees were introduced and added to the
club -- Emily Baer, Tom Garrison, Eric Hodges, Karl Meltzer, Scott
Mills, Don Platt, and Craig Wilson. There were no new ten-time
finishers, but both Mark Heaphy and Betsy Kalmeyer will be eligible next
At 12:30 the ceremony was over and folks milled around saying
their last good-byes. I found David Coblentz waiting to have
Deb Pero sign his print:
We got to know Dave pretty well last year when he co-captained
Cunningham aid station with Jim. This was his first time running
Hardrock and he finished 24th in 34:39. Great job, David!
I also persuaded Deb to pose pose with her original
oil painting, which was chosen as this year's finishers' print (she
argued that she was a "mess," but Deb NEVER looks anything less than
adorable!). Deb is a very talented painter. That's her proud husband Steve
We're so sorry neither Deb nor Steve made it to the finish this year
but it certainly wasn't for lack of trying. This has been their favorite
race and we hope they will be back. The couple will be very busy this week as they close on their New
Mexico home and move all their belongings back to New Hampshire. It'll
be nice to have them back on the East coast again!
There is one more runner that I have to mention here -- Matt Mahoney,
a four-time official finisher at Hardrock and now also a three-time non-official
finisher. Matt came in six minutes late last year, surely a
disappointment after such a long, grueling effort. This morning he
bettered his time, but not quite enough. He was a mere twenty-eight
SECONDS over the 48-hour time limit. He didn't expect to get a
finisher's award or be listed as an official finisher -- and he's not.
What did surprise me is that he wasn't even mentioned at the awards
ceremony. I don't know why that decision was made and I'm not
criticizing Dale. A cutoff is a cutoff and he wasn't an official
finisher. But I'd like to recognize his effort here and recommend you
read his race report at
Jim, who is increasingly ambivalent about whether to enter next
year's race, says he wants to print out Matt's graphic course
description so he can re-read it in January when he has to make his
My own thought after reading Matt's report was a cynical, "Yeah,
sign me up!" NOT!!!
After Jim and I said our good-byes to many old and new friends, we
headed back to the camper. I spent the afternoon writing in this journal
(behind several days) and doing various tasks that needed doing at "home." Jim
went back into town for several hours to help move everything
race-related from the gym to various places around town where all the stuff is
stored until next summer (visitor's center, Lois' house, the Wyman
Hotel, etc.). Jim's help was greatly appreciated by race management and
he will be aptly rewarded for his work ethic (not an automatic entry
into Hardrock, but something just as special). It's nice when people
notice extra effort and I'm proud of Jim for all he did to help with the
race this year.
Tune in for our next adventure tomorrow -- seeing if we can find the
new Colorado Trail re-route from Stony Pass to the head of Elk Creek in
my very favorite CT segment (#25). Just how lost can we get on the
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and
© 2007 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil