2009 ULTRA RUNNING ADVENTURES

 

   
 
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  RAINY DAY MUSINGS:  MEMORIES OF
 ULTRA RACES & RUNNERS IN THE EARLY 1990s

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10

 
" . . . when you sometimes wonder why you're still running, when the years have
brought the days of PRs to a close, when the sweat and effort and time just don't seem worth it,
just remember -- running won't keep us from getting old, it just keeps us from feeling that way."
 
 - sage advice from Gary Cantrell (before he used the moniker "Lazarus Lake")
in the December, 1991 issue of UltraRunning magazine
 
 
Today was chilly with a persistent rain all day at our house. Neither of us was motivated to get outside to run or walk. It was a perfect day to hunker down inside the house on our comfy recliners in front of the fireplace and read.

Since we're considering selling our house and going on the road in our RV full time, we've been organizing and sorting some things that we can sell, donate, hand down to younger family members, or recycle before listing the place for sale. We have to carefully balance what we really want to keep versus what is extraneous to our lives at age 60+.

Whenever empty nesters and older folks downsize, some hard decisions often have to be made. In our case, we plan to purchase another house or condo after several months or years indulging our gypsy muses. (Where did I get this nomadic DNA? My other close family members are so stable!) That means storing the "keepers" after selling our house, not getting rid of almost everything like some full-time RVers do.


Camping at Huntsville State Park, TX last winter; we're headed there again in a few weeks.

Because of our traveling lifestyle we don't subscribe to very many magazines any more. Several of them, like Consumer Reports and traveling/camping magazines, we get online now. We've had no trouble donating or recycling most of the old magazines we've had lying around the house, even Trail Runner magazine.

But there are two publications we've definitely decided to keep and store:  all the AT Journeys and UltraRunning magazines we've gotten since initially subscribing to them.

PERUSING OLD ULTRA RUNNING MAGAZINES

I started getting UR in late 1990 or early 1991, about two years before I actually had the guts to run my first ultra marathon, the 1992 Mountain Masochist 50+ miler in Virginia (which is fairly close to our current house). I learned a lot about training for ultras, the races that were offered then, and the names of people who frequented them. I wanted to be one those people who could run all day on mountain trails!


My first ultra -- not some easy 50K, but MMTR with its notorious
"Horton Miles" (i.e., 3-4 miles longer than advertised)

It was a thrill to find my own name among the finishers when I started running ultras myself. Of course, back then we didn't have real-time internet updates as the races were being run, or even final results on the race website within a few hours after the race was over. Ha! I don't think there were any race websites then. We had to wait (gasp!) two or three months to see published results.

Today Jim and I sat and leafed through three or four dozen UR issues from the early 1990s. The black-and-white magazine was edited and published in those days by Peter Gagarin, Fred Pilon, and Stan Wagon (emeritus), before Don Allison's long tenure as editor. For those new to the sport, UR didn't include any colored ads or photos until recently, after being sold to John Medinger, Lisa Hensen, and Tia Bodington.

Even though Jim didn't begin running ultras until 1997 he really enjoyed reading some of the early-90s race reports and other articles, especially those by our favorite writer, Gary "Laz" Cantrell.

I noted with interest the races I marked as "want to run someday" -- some I have, many I haven't, and some bit the dust before I could run them. I especially enjoyed re-reading about the races I did run back then. Those were the days when I placed well in classic ultras like Mountain Masochist, Strolling Jim, and LeGrizz, races that were well-established then and still challenge runners to this day.

Jim and I marveled at how many of the runners we know, how many we've heard of but may have never met, how many are still actively participating in ultras today (running, directing, and/or volunteering), and how many have dropped off our radar screen. Sadly, some have also died in the ensuing years.

I'm going to list many names in alphabetical order that I saw repeatedly in the 1991-1994 issues of UltraRunning. Please forgive me if yours was there and I missed it; this is by no means an exhaustive list, just folks with whom I'm more familiar (many who lived in the East, since I was in the Atlanta area at the time).

See how many names you recognize and think about "where they are now" in terms of running or enjoying other pursuits. Runners who are newer to the sport will see some names they've never heard. As my own role in ultra running diminishes with age, I wonder who will recognize my name in ten or twenty years. 

Have fun!

FAMILIAR ULTRA NAMES FROM THE EARLY 1990s

WOMEN:  Eleanor Adams Robinson, Po Adams, Janice (DeHaye) Anderson, Ruth Anderson, Mo Bartley, Sally Barwick, Suprabha Beckjord, Claudia Berryman-Shafer, Pat Botts, Randi Bromka, Sandra Brown, Lorraine Bunk, Bonnie Busch, Danielle Cherniak, Kris Clark-Setnes, Shelby (Hayden) Clifton, Mary Croft, Dipali Cunningham, Theresa Daus-Weber, Pat and Vicki DeVita, Kathy D'Onofrio Wood, Bobbie Dixon, Nancy Drake, Linda Elam, Chrissy (Dureya) Ferguson, Lucinda Fisher, Lin(da) Gentling, Lorraine Gersitz, Susan Gimbel, Eldrith Gosney, Nancy Hamilton, Kathy Harshbarger, Terri Hayes, Margrit Howard, Margaret (Smith) Heaphy, Dot Helling, Marge (Adelman) Hickman, Anne Huntzicker (below) . . .


Anne Huntzicker (L) is wearing her 1992 MMTR sweatshirt after the race.
Anne is still running and I still have that sweatshirt to commemorate my first ultra!
Volunteer extraordinaire  Leland Gammon is on the right.

. . . Kristina Irvin, Sue Kainulaninen, Betsey Kalmeyer, Sandra Kiddy, Geri Kilgariff, Helen Klein, Mary Ann Klute, Carol LaPlant, Maria Lopez, Dixie Madsen, Nancy March, Louise Mason, Jo May, Ellen McCurtin, Linda McFadden, Donna McGovern, Maureen McGrath, Barbara McLeod, Diana McNamara, Barbara Miller, Rebecca Moore, Jonie Mork, Claudia Newsome, Sue Norwood, Janice O'Grady, Susan Olsen, Lynn O'Malley, Alene Nitsky, Rose Papp, Debbie Peebles, Lou Peyton, Margaret Phillips, Pam Reed, Noel Relyea,  Linda Sledge, Melissa (Lee) Sobal, Laurie Staten, Suzi Thibeault, Sue Ellen Trapp, Ann Trason, Luann Turrentine, Geraldine "Lady G" Wales, Kathy Welch, Pat "Trail Patty" Wellington, Suzanne Williams, Margie Withrow, Louise Wholey


Mike and Marge Hickman are all dressed up for the 2004 Leadville Boom Days celebration.
This is a different Mike Hickman than the runner made famous in the recent book
"Born to Run," who is now known as Micah True.

MEN:  Don Adolf, Carl Anderson, Jurgen Ankenbrand, Gordy Ansleigh, Rob Apple, Kirk Apt, Byron Backer, Ernst Baer, Dan Baglione, Jim Ballard, Ralph Balsamo, Richard Benyo, Harry Berkowitz, Patrick Binienda, David Blaikie, Bob Boeder, Alfred Bogenhuber, Bruce Boyd, Dan Brannen, Dan Brenden, Jack Bristol, Gary Buffington, Tom Bunk, Buzz Burrell, Pat Caffrey, Gary "Laz" Cantrell, John Cappis, Doyle Carpenter, Matt Carpenter, Trishul Cherns, Ken Chlouber, Don Choi, Joe Clapper, Rae Clark, Eric Clifton, Alan Cohn, Dick Collins, Dave Combs, Ted Corbitt, Sean Crom, Joe Dabes, Anstr Davidson, Cliff Davies, Ed Demoney, Henry Deupree, Bill Dickey, Mark Dorian, Dave Drach, Jim Emig, Bill Finkbeiner, Alan Firth, Jim Fisher, Bruce Fordyce, Robin Fry, "Frozen" Ed Furtaw, Peter Gagarin, Dale Garland, John Geesler (below) . . .


John Geesler (L) and Ray Krowlewicz celebrate the finish of
their 72-hour run at Across the Years (ATY) on January 1, 2009.

. . . Bill Gentry, Prasad Gerard, Henri Girault, Aaron Goldman, Rob Grant, Tom Green, Jeff Hagen, Jussie Hamalainen, Rick Hamilton, Gordon Hardman, Mark Heaphy, Herb Hedgecock, Dennis Herr, Ben Hian, Mike Hickman, Gary Hilliard, Jeff Hinte, Kent Holder, Bob Holtel, Al Howie, David Horton, Heikki Ingstrom, Rick Innamorato, Randy Isler, Tom Johnson, Lou Joline, Andy Jones, Ben Jones, David Jones, Errol "Rocket" Jones, Bill Keane, Johnny Kenul, Karl King, Norm Klein, Dennis Klute, Ray "K" Krowlewicz, Leo Lightner, Andy Lovy (next photo) . . .


Andy Lovy is all smiles at the end of the ATY 72-hour race on January 1, 2009.

. . . Joe Lugiano, David Lygre, Joe Magruder, Steve Mahieu, Leonard Martin, Rob McNair, Don McNelly, John Medinger, Bill Menard, Milan Milanovic, Dana Miller, Scott Mills, Andy Milroy, Stu Mittleman, Art Moore, James Moore, Jim Musselman, Tom Nelson, Andy Nicholl, Ray Nicholl, Blake Norwood (no relation to me), Valmir Nunes, Joe Oaks, Jim O'Brien, Kevin O'Grady, Phillip Parker, Steve Papp, Fred Pilon, Roy Pirrung, Ray Piva, Jim Pomroy, Rolly Portelance, Tom Possert, John Price, Brian Purcell, Paul Reese, Fred Reimer, Jesse Dale Riley, Kurt Ringstad, Larry Robbins, Wendell Robison, Tony Rossman, Tom Rowe, Mike Sandlin, Johnny Sandoval, Dwayne Satterfield, Ray Scannell, Rich Schick, Joe Schlereth, Lee "El Burro" Schmidt, Chris Scott, Dave Scott, Kevin Setnes, Regis Shivers, Sr. (below) . . . 


Regis Shivers, Sr. on the cover of the November, 1991 UltraRunning magazine.

. . . Steve Siguaw, Larry Simonson, Marv Skagerberg, Jim Skophammer, Tom Sobal, Karsten Solheim, Rick Spady, Tom Sprouse, John Stowers, Pete Stringer, Brandon Sybrowski, Herb Tanzer, Mark Tarr, Dink Taylor, Gene Thibeault, Dan "Dirt" Thompson, Charlie Thorn, Carl Touchstone, "Micah True" AKA Mike Hickman (not the same Mike Hickman above), Rick Trujillo, Glen Turner, Bill Turrentine, Tim Twietmeyer, Marshall Ulrich, Fred Vance, Steve Varga, Dick Vincent, Dave Waraday, Jeff Washburn, Scott Weber, Max Welker, Richard Westbrook, Danny Westergaard, Nathan Whiting, Jose Wilke, Ed Williams, Don Winkley, Hal Winton, Gary Wright

Like I said, I've listed folks whose names are familiar to us, not everyone who was running ultras back then. I wonder if Bob and Tom Hayes, Liz McGoff, and Peter Bakwin were doing ultras then? If I've missed someone really obvious or have misspelled any names, please let me know.

TO KEEP OR NOT TO KEEP?

After immersing ourselves in old issues of UltraRunning for several hours, Jim said we should definitely keep them. I had wanted to do that all along, but figured he'd want to offer them to local friends or folks on the ultra list so we didn't have to store them. I'm glad we decided to keep them! We have almost every issue from April, 1991 through this year. Several years ago I threw away a few older issues, then realized what a treasure I had and kept the rest.

And we'll definitely be keeping the November, 2005 issue(s)!!! For those readers who didn't follow our AT Adventure Run, we were on the cover of that one -- a once in a lifetime event for average runners like us! When Don Allison sold the magazine, he generously sent us a bunch of copies of that issue to give to friends and relatives.


Of course we framed it!  You would, too.

There are some other running items besides old issues of UR that are no-brainer "keepers" for me, at least for as long as it's practical, either in storage or with us in the camper as we traipse around the country:

  • 30 years of my running logs; Jim keeps his information on his computer, but I prefer to do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper
  • photos and albums from races BWJ (before website journal)
  • much of our running gear and supplies, even if we don't take all of it in the camper with us; you never know when we might need some of it (typical excuse of everyone who hoards too much stuff!)
  • most or all of our ultra race folders, although I can eliminate some of the papers in them and toss the ones we know we'll never run again
  • the box full of 1996 Olympics memorabilia when I volunteered throughout the Games and carried the torch a few hours before the opening ceremony in Atlanta (I have my torch, too!)


Definite keepers from the 1996 Olympics Torch Run

  • everything to do with our Appalachian Trail and Colorado Trail journey runs -- maps, books, articles, albums, album supplies, patches, certificates of completion, etc. Those were the absolute high points of my running career, even better than the Olympics because I was the athlete, not the spectator/volunteer.

Some other running-related items are more problematic to me as we decide what is practical to keep (it's not always easy being "practical").

What about all the running books we've collected? There are three or four dozen of them. Some are real classics, like John Parker's And Then the Vulture Eats You. That compilation of several ultra distance events by various runners is going for a minimum of $88.95 on Amazon.com right now!! No way I'd sell it anytime soon.

Parker's Once a Runner. Noakes' Lore of Running. Sheehan's Running and Being and other classics. More recent books like our Roanoke friend Neal Jamison's Running Through the Wall? We'll definitely keep those, but we can't keep all the others forever and forever.

What to do, what to do?

I simply can't keep all the notebooks I compiled during my road running days with race numbers, results, and articles from hundreds of races, but gosh, they are interesting to go back and read. Nor do I need three years' worth of Atlanta Track Club minutes, notes, and budgets when I was a board member. That box is easier to shred.

Then there is our ever-growing collection of shirts. Ironically, some of the ones we like the best are race volunteer shirts, not even entrant or finishers' shirts! We each have 20-30 favorites that we wear the most frequently; they have a special place in our closets and drawers. But even though we've donated dozens of race shirts and sweatshirts over the years, we still have six or seven large plastic bins of them in the basement. How many should we keep? How do we decide?

  
My first and last Peachtree Road Race shirts:  1982 - 1999

To save space, I've already cut out the designs on the ones I most want to keep, either to remind me of the race or to maybe someday make quilts or more wall hangings -- like the eighteen Peachtree Road Races I ran, the intricate Nature Conservancy and Tar Baby designs, the prestigious Boston Marathon and Western States shirts, the first ultra Jim and I ran together, my first marathon, my first sub-40 minute 10K, the first road race I won . . .

How can I possibly give those away??

I can't, at least not yet.


Nice pottery from Miwok 100K (our finishers' medallions at bottom), senior masters awards at
Bighorn 50-miler (Jim's L center, mine R center), and my AG award from McDonald Forest 50K

Figuring out what to do with our remaining race trophies, plaques, medallions, buckles, pottery, posters, and other memorabilia is another challenge for similar reasons. We worked hard for those! I gave away most of those objects from my road running days (marathons and shorter distance races) when I moved from Atlanta to Montana ten years ago, but there are some finishers' and age group awards that are harder to part with, especially the ultra-distance ones from the past seventeen years.

They are part of who I am.


100-mile buckles (clockwise from top): Western States, The Bear, Wasatch Front, Across the Years,
Arkansas Traveler, and Leadville.  All are Jim's except Arkansas Traveler, my first 100-miler finish.

Maybe we can keep a couple boxes of awards to look at when we're in a nursing home thirty years from now . . . along with the photo albums, race shirts, running logs, and UltraRunning magazines we simply had to keep! Yeah, right.

Happy trails,

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the Ultra Lab

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