We love attending the HRH awards ceremony each year we're in
town for the event -- there's a delicious brunch
buffet that is free to all the runners, volunteers, crews, and
pacers . . .
. . .
(donations are encouraged if runners have an entourage),
it's a great chance to hear the "war stories" for which Hardrock
is renowned . . .
Matt Watts and Jim (two good
L-R: Aid station and volunteer coordinator Lois MacKenzie, Marcy Beard, and Deb
. . . and it's fun to hear RD Dale Garland's individualized remarks
about each of the finishers as they are called up to receive
their awards in the special "graduation" ceremony (Master of
Miles, Doctorate of Distance, etc. -- the race is
billed as a "graduate-level" 100-miler, after all).
Lois MacKenzie and RD Dale Garland
congratulate Diana Finkel
for her 1st place female (2nd overall)
Jared Campbell received the same trophy and
other awards for his 1st place overall
finish. All finishers received a certificate and
poster printed with Deb Pero's
award-winning painting of the course, which
I showed in a
And then there's Roch Horton's and friends' entertaining song
about the race . . . wouldn't want to miss that!
Roch (with guitar, at microphone) belts out
another stanza in tribute to Hardrock
Each year Roch adds a new verse to his humorous lyrics.
rendition occurred several years ago when legendary John DeWalt joined in
just a few hours after finishing the race. He was sleep-deprived
and funny as all get out.
Unfortunately, John wasn't able to start the race this year
because he's recovering from a nasty case of giardia. Now in his
mid-70s, he's the oldest Hardrock finisher (last year at age 73) and a crowd favorite.
He has finished the race a whopping 14 times and his presence was sorely missed this
Krissy Moehl (in white sleeveless top) and
Paul Sweeney (right foreground) listen
attentively to the awards presentations.
Both are former male/female HRH winners.
There were several other HRH veterans who were unable to
start the race this year because of lingering injuries or other
including female CCW-direction course record holder Krissy Moehl,
former course record holder David Horton (bum knee), and
prolific 100-miler Hans-Dieter Weisshaar (a serious achilles problem that has forced him out of
most of his 2010 races).
Some of the DNFs during the race were also the result
of previous injuries or physical problems that limited veteran runners'
ability to train adequately enough to complete the race, including Charlie
Thorn, Rodger Wrublik, Karl Meltzer, Jim Ballard, and
more I don't know about.
Matt Watts receives his finishers'
certificate and poster from Lois and Dale
Exactly 100 of the 140 runners who started the race finished it
this year, a 71.4% finishing rate.
I think that includes Leonard Martin, who came in two minutes
over the official 48-hour limit. Missing the cutoff by a few
seconds or minutes is always tough but Leonard was
characteristically gracious about it. Last year in his first
official finish he had only four minutes to spare so he knows
what it's like to be very close to either side of the cut-off
-- stressful, I'd guess!
Jerry and Jennifer Roach in last year's
Jennifer Roach was the last
official finisher this year, winning the "Caboose Award" in a time of
47:57. Both of her previous finishes were also
within ten minutes of the final cut-off. Jennifer may be the
oldest female finisher ever at Hardrock; she is 57 this
year. I didn't get a good picture of her this year so I've used
the one above from 2009 as Jerry escorted her out of the Cunningham
AS early in the race.
[I've mentioned Jennifer's and John DeWalt's ages because they
have accomplished something no other male or female ultra
runners have accomplished -- they are Hardrock's oldest male and
female finishers. I think John is the only man over 70 to have
finished the race. I know it was one of Hans-Dieter's goals to
be the second (he's 70 now) but he wasn't able to start this
year. There have been several different women who've finished
the race in their mid-50s but no females over 60 have finished
it yet. I hope there's a F60+ finisher soon.]
Many runners like Jennifer and Leonard "get their money's worth" on this course
by being out there for two nights.
On one page on the race website there is a statement that
prior to this year's race, the average finishing time is
41:10 hours, which is significantly longer than the final cutoff times of
most mountainous 100-milers in this country. Over forty hours is
a long time to be moving up and down these mountains!
Pat Homelvig gets a big hug from Lois for
his third HRH finish.
This is a tough course and it is an ultra running honor to be
called a "hardrocker." Of course, some folks say you have
to complete the course in both directions to be a real
hardrocker . . . I'm guessing those are people who've
already accomplished that!
My vote for the toughest Hardrock hombre is Peter Bakwin,
who ran/hiked the course in both directions back-to-back in
2006!! We saw him at Cunningham AS nine miles from the finish of
the race, after he'd already run almost 200 miles. Incredible. I
don't know anyone else who's attempted that feat.
You can see this year's aid station splits and results at this
link. If that one doesn't work
(it's been fickle) go to the race
home page and click on results.
I've mentioned in these journals several times that I'm much
better at taking landscape photos than indoor pictures. I've
just never taken the time to learn the proper settings for any
of the inexpensive digital cameras I've had, including my
current 10-megapixel Nikon Coolpix L20 (which I picked up for
less than $100 at Sam's Club last year). I'm a little
embarrassed when I see the fancy equipment some folks use, but
too frugal -- and lazy -- to get into the SLR
I apologize right here and now for the poor quality of many of
the photos in this entry. You should see the ones I deleted!
The official race
photographer (L) and others take photos of the
overall male and female winners.
Inexpensive cameras can take great photos if you use them
correctly. I've gotten great feedback on the scenery shots on
our website. My main problem here was being in a lousy position to take
photos during the awards ceremony and I didn't realize it until
it was too late to move (too busy eating and socializing before
the presentations began). We had a good seat to observe everything
going on at the podium but I was facing a wall of windows.
Consequently, the foreground was very dark in most of the
photos. When I lightened them to highlight the people, the
pictures got all pixel-y. Even PhotoShop couldn't fix them.
Real estate isn't the only thing where
location-location-location is critical.
All the photos in this entry are mine except the one below that
Blake Wood took. I'm including it because he captured me in the
background (taking another picture!) when he was focusing on
Paul Sweeney and Lizzie:
L-R: Roger Ackerman, Paul Sweeney,
Lizzie (Betsy Nye's daughter), and me with camera.
Photo by Blake Wood
Blake took lots of photos at the awards ceremony with his more
sophisticated equipment and expertise. You can see some of them at
the "Photos and Race Reports"
link on the Hardrock website,
as well as photos other folks took before, during, and after the
race this year.
Each year runners who have completed "milestone" multiple
finishes receive special recognition and awards. Kirk Apt
remains the champion in this regard, with 16 finishes. (The race
has been held 17 times.) Blake Wood racked up finish #15 this
Kirk Apt (L) has the most Hardrock finishes:
Blake Wood (R) now has the second-most HRH
Also receiving special awards for ten finishes were Mike Erlich, Margaret Heaphy,
Roch Horton, and Betsy Nye. (Betsy Kalmeyer has the most female
finishes with twelve.)
(L) Margaret Heaphy now has 10 HRH finishes; (R) Betsy Kalmeyer
her 12th HRH this year. Both women
have been previous female winners.
Scott Brockmeier, Brett Gosney, Scott Jaime, Glenn Mackie, and
Duane Nelson were honored for completing the race five times.
That's an important milestone a lot of Hardrock veterans strive
for; runners who have finished the race at least five
times in recent years do not have to go through the lottery in
subsequent years they want to run the event. Four-time finishers
have a bit of an edge in the lottery but they aren't guaranteed
a spot. Even former winners aren't assured a spot unless
they won the previous year or they've finished the race at least
five times. A former course record-holder found that out the
hard way several years ago, when he ended up pretty far down the
You can read all about the complicated lottery process and
Roch Horton gets a big hug from Lois for
finishing his 10th Hardrock
(she and/or Dale gave ALL the finishers big
Although fewer runners came off the wait list this time, there
were a fair number of first-time Hardrockers this year and the
overall finish rate (71.4%) was relatively good for such a
difficult race. There are two main reasons, I think: the
excellent weather and course conditions this year and the
stringent qualifying requirements; entrants come into
this race with more experience than runners in most other 100s.
Dale noted personal course records for several of the runners
who've finished the race previously. Neither the male
nor female winners set new CW course records, however.
Betsy Nye has finished the race ten times,
always placing very well.
Dale does a great job with the awards ceremony, personalizing
his presentation with individual comments for each finisher.
He chooses something memorable or comical to say about the
runners as he calls them up to receive their awards, keeping
notes on a separate card for each person. It might be the first
remark the runner makes when (s)he crosses the finish line,
something interesting that happened to him or her along the
course (like the occasional bear or moose sightings that occur,
or the wife who locks her husband out of their car when he wants
to quit), a milestone the runner reached this year, or something
diplomatically humorous that draws a chuckle from the audience.
This is Liz Bauer's fourth HRH finish.
Howie Stern also finished his fourth HRH.
Dale's very good at this and it makes the presentation of awards
Dale is not afraid to display his emotions. I remember last year
when one of the veteran ham radio guys was unable to attend the
race after a bad accident, Dale was close to tears when telling
his story. Same thing when John Cappis nearly lost his life in a
Dale (L) and George Velasco
This year Dale choked up when he called George
Velasco to the podium during the awards ceremony to commend him
for sacrificing his race to assist a runner who was injured and
possibly lost; I wrote about that in the
July 10 entry.
TRIBUTE TO HEIDI
One of the neat things about Hardrock is the high regard that
race management has for its volunteers, especially loyal ones.
Even the runners seem to be more appreciative of volunteer
efforts at Hardrock than most other races we work.
Each year an HRH volunteer is honored for multiple years of exemplary
service to the race. The people who have received this
award in the past include most or all of the board members and
the coordinators of the major race functions (aid stations, course,
volunteers, communications, etc.) -- people who have
given many hours of their time to the race.
We were pleased when this year's special volunteer award was presented to our
friend Heidi Schutt, who for many years has coordinated the sale
of HRH merchandise for several days during the event. We have
helped her with that a couple times. Proceeds from the sale
fund the race, keeping entry fees relatively low.
Here are two pictures I took last year in the gym before Heidi
and her crew of volunteers got all the merchandise organized:
The next photo is from this year, showing the large number of
garments and race gear available for purchase. The prices are
always reasonable. No one's making a killing off these items. I
rarely buy any running clothes because I've gotten so many
garments in races I've run but I sprung for a cozy fleece jacket
with the race logo this time:
Heidi's always been special to us and we're happy that her
efforts to make HRH sustainable financially have been
acknowledged with this award.
Our friendship with Heidi was the reason Jim and I originally
became involved with Hardrock. Here's the story.
I met Heidi at the Atlanta Marathon expo back in the late 1980s
or early 1990s. I was living in the
Atlanta area then and heavily involved with the Atlanta Track
Club. Each year I'd volunteer at the pre-race expo in some
capacity and Heidi would have a booth to
sell merchandise from the company she founded, Running Delights
(she later sold it to a bigger company). I especially liked the
cute little edible chocolate "running shoes" she sold, buying them to give
to friends as gifts.
But I digress . . .
Fast-forward to the year 2000. Heidi had talked so much about
Hardrock that Jim and I became interested in going to Silverton
during the race to see what made it so special. Heidi's
then-husband was running the race and Jim volunteered to pace him the
last 28 miles. We arrived at the race early to help Heidi with
the merchandise and become familiar with the course. We already
knew many of the other runners from 100-milers we'd run.
We immediately loved the area and the people involved with the
We were hooked on the event and have returned as part of the "Hardrock
Family" several times since. It's like a really cool reunion
every year, only more fun because no one forces me to play the
piano (long story from my childhood!).
Heidi (in orange shirt) receives her
special volunteer award from Dale (red gown) as some of the
past recipients look on. Blake Wood
and his wife Rebecca Clark are 2nd and 3rd from the right.
Betsy Nye and her daughter Lizzie are in
the right foreground; I was sitting right behind them.
Heidi is also an inspiration to me.
Like me, she used to run a
lot faster in her 30s and 40s but developed serious knee
problems in her 50s. Three years ago she had both
knees replaced at the same time. Ouch! That's a very courageous
thing to do. Although she went through
a lot physically and emotionally to heal from the surgery,
various other life challenges she faced, and
the loss of her favorite sport -- trail running -- she
has overcome all those challenges with grit and determination.
She is able now to do
ultra-distance hiking and cycling in the Colorado mountains,
even with those artificial knees.
That gives me hope for my own future when my own knees deteriorate
to the extent that I need replacements, too.
In addition to this special annual award, other volunteers are also recognized after five, ten, or fifteen
years of service to the race. Jim and I both received handsome
five-year pins this year during the awards ceremony:
That was nice! The pin itself is much smaller than this photo of
it. I just wanted you to see the detail of the logo, which is
used for other awards, HRH merchandise, and promotional
GOODBYE TILL NEXT TIME
All this and more makes the HRH awards brunch very special to
just about everyone involved: good friends, interesting
stories, satisfying achievements, great bonding experiences,
quality awards -- and they even feed us! (Tasty stuff,
too, including scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage links, hash-brown
potatoes, several kinds of muffins, melon wedges, strawberries,
juice, coffee, which are all fine for the runners after burning all those
calories and OK in moderation for the rest of us.)
John Beard: we'll miss ya, buddy!
It's kind of emotional when both the race and the awards
ceremony are over and folks start heading off in every direction
to return to their "normal" lives. Jim and I always hate to see
it end, especially after spending two or three weeks with
friends who've been in the Silverton area to acclimate and/or help with
the race. We'll see some of them at other races later this year
but many we won't see until we come back here again.
Since our time and itinerary are pretty flexible we could hang
around Silverton longer but we usually leave soon also, heading
off to another race or place. It's just not the same when the
race is over.
We'll be here another couple of days, though. And I've got more
photos to show you from Silverton.
Next entry: running and hiking on Kendall
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2010 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil