2010 RUNNING & TRAVEL ADVENTURES

 

   
 
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   HARDROCK HUNDRED (HRH) AWARDS BRUNCH

SUNDAY, JULY 11

 
"Jared Campbell won the 2010 Hardrock in 27:18. Diana Finkel,
after having led the run through 92 miles, finished in second place overall
with a time of 28:32. Third overall was Michael Foote in 29:35
and fourth was Darcy Africa (2nd woman) in 30:14 . . ."
 
~ partial synopsis of the 2010 race, currently on the HRH home page
 
 

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 story-tellers!)


L-R: Aid station and volunteer coordinator Lois MacKenzie, Marcy Beard, and Deb Pero

. . . 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) finish.


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 recent entry.

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.

The best 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 year.


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 physical problems, 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 undoubtedly 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 race

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.

FUZZY PICTURES

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 thing again.

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.

MILESTONES

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 year.


Kirk Apt (L) has the most Hardrock finishes: 16!


Blake Wood (R) now has the second-most HRH finishes: 15

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 finished 
 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 wait list.

You can read all about the complicated lottery process and qualifying standards here.


Roch Horton gets a big hug from Lois for finishing his 10th Hardrock
(she and/or Dale gave ALL the finishers big hugs).

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 go quickly.

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 car wreck.


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 help 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 race.

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  materials.

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!  (Marcy, too)

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 Mountain

Happy trails,

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

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2010 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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