Again, there might be some disagreement about this quote from the
speedier folks among us, but I think Sheehan's sentiments are as
appropriate for most ultra runners as those in the marathons and shorter road
races to which he usually referred.
In ultra marathons, it's primarily you against the course, the clock,
and your own mind. Ask anyone who has struggled to finish an ultra and
they can tell you this is true. So will anyone who has ever DNFd when
they just couldn't keep going, for whatever reasons. Often the body is
capable of continuing longer than the mind is willing to push it (that
"second wind" or "second sunrise" thing).
Eight-one runners out of 147 who began the race finished this year's
Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail 100-miler despite the extra-wild course conditions. That simply amazes
me. Many tough, veteran 100-milers did NOT finish. Each had his or her
reasons. Each most likely gave it his/her best shot. Some may have given
in to the little voice inside their heads that said, "Enough. I'm outa
They are all winners to me for simply trying. A hundred miles is never easy,
and most certainly not on this tough course. You can see the race results for
all four races at the Bighorn link to the left.
One of the best features of the Bighorn race is the Sunday morning
brunch and awards ceremony for the 52- and 100-mile finishers. In order
to save time, the 52-milers receive their finishers awards on Saturday
when they cross the line, but overall and age-group winners get their
additional goodies and recognition at the Sunday brunch. All of
the 100-mile finishers are called up to the front to be recognized and
to get their awards. Runners in all four races are invited to the free
brunch, as are crews and pacers.
The brunch begins even before the announced time of 8 AM on a street
across from the Sports Stop. I'm not sure what they'd do if it was
raining, but it's never rained the years Jim and I have been here. The
food is always good, and you can't beat the company -- runners,
volunteers, race officials, families, and friends. It's a fitting finale
to a wonderful four days of race events.
Jim and I got in line early for the hot pancakes, slices of ham,
fruit, and beverages. After everyone is through the line, you can go
back for more. Ultra runners are capable of eating a LOT of food the day
after a race, so they have plenty available!
Jim talks with Dave Westlake from Sheridan, below. We
met Dave last year on a long training run before the 100-miler, which
Dave finished. This year he ran the 30K as his last long run before the
Western States 100 a week later. Good luck, Dave!
There was a large contingent of fellow VHTRC (Virginia Happy Trails
Running Club) members at Bighorn this year -- 43 of ux, plus crews and
pacers. Quatro Hubbard (blue shirt) has a big smile for the photographer:
VHTRC members Bunny Runyan and Gary Knipling are also in the photo
above but you can't see their faces. Gary ran the 52-miler with his son,
Keith. Here's a better shot of Bunny and Gary as they talk with Dave
The huggiest guy on the 100-mile race circuit, Hans-Dieter Weisshaar
(below) shares war stories with Diane Van Deren. Diane won the race last
year and had another good race this year. She's one tough lady. Hans is
near-bionic, running numerous difficult mountain 100s each year. This was
his 99th 100-mile
finish. Number 100 will be Hardrock in July.
Susan Donnelly (black shirt, below) talks with Gary Knipling and Bunny Runyan.
Susan finished the 100-miler. VHTRC'er Tom Corris, on the right, chose to do the
50K for about the same reasons as me -- to have fun and take pictures!
Several of the VHTRC group will be going to Glacier National Park this
week to extend the good times.
Here's another photo of Bunny (left) and Susan:
I wasn't close enough to get good shots of the 100-mile race winners,
Karl Meltzer and Darcy Africa. Both set new course records despite the
most unfavorable course conditions in the six years this race has been
run -- Karl by a few minutes, Darcy by about four hours!
Here Karl (left, below) receives his award from co-race director
Cheryl Sinclair and announcer Wendell Robinson:
Darcy (white shirt, back to camera) is congratulated by co-RDs Michelle Powers Maneval (green
and Karen Powers:
There was another drawing for nice items like Nathan packs and Smart
Wool socks. This time my name was called and I received a Nathan water
bottle and hand carrier. We can use it, although it would have been nice
to be the NEXT name drawn -- that guy received a Nathan pack. Since Jim
won women's socks in the pre-race drawing, I guess he can have my bottle
and carrier. <grin>
We chatted with friends after the awards ceremony, filled out our SASEs
for early entries to next year's races (important since they fill
so quickly), and stopped in the Sport Stop one more time before heading
back to the Foothills Campground in Dayton. By then, the skies were dark
with storm clouds (another in my "windshield series"):
Good thing the street had been cleared of all the food, race tables, chairs,
boxes of shirts and awards, etc. by then.
This race is always so much fun, but it ends too quickly. Most of the
tents and campers were already gone when we got back to Dayton, another
sign of the end of another successful year for this race. Not all the
runners were happy with their races, including Jim, but all had a good
time overall. If you're considering running Bighorn for the first
or tenth time next year, get your entry in as soon as the race opens. If
you don't get in, go anyway and crew, pace, or volunteer. Be a part of
one of the best ultra races out there. You won't regret participating.
Thanks a million to all the volunteers, including the hard-working
race staff that attends to details all year long, for allowing us to
participate again this year. You're all winners, too.
Next up: a mish-mash of entries regarding what Jim and I did
right and wrong in our races, photos from a friend's alpaca ranch in
nearby Parkman, WY, interesting sculptures in Sheridan, a quick visit to
Leadville, and getting back on the Colorado Trail. We're having trouble
with both our computer and internet connections, and we stay busy, so
I'm behind on entries by a few days . . .
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and
© 2007 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil