Monday, September 28, 2009

Running the Entire Pacific Crest Trail...Again

Bob Holtel runs along the Pacific Crest Trail 25 years ago.

What were you doing in 1985? Let's see if we can refresh some memories:

Ronald Reagan is sworn in for a second term.
The charity single "We are the World" is recorded.
Mike Tyson makes his professional boxing debut.
Coca-Cola releases, then quickly kills, New Coke.
The Discovery Channel is launched.
Tetris is released.
Live Aid concerts go world-wide and raise millions for famine relief.
The MacGyver pilot debuts.
The comic strip Calvin and Hobbes debuts.
Wham!, Lionel Richie and Phil Collins top the music charts.
Route 66 is decommissioned.

Often overlooked, however, is the beginnings of the first transcontinental trail run in US history.

During the summers of 1985 to 1987 Bob Holtel became the first person to run the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail. During those 110 days on the trail he averaged a marathon a day. His adventures are chronicled in his book "Soul, Sweat and Survival on the Pacific Crest Trail."

The One and Only Bob Holtel

Now, exactly 25 years later Bob will attempt to be the oldest person to run from Mexico to Canada on that same trail. He hopes to reach the Mexican Border on his 80th birthday. Bob plans on running 17-18 miles a day during his 168 days on the trail. In June of 2010 Bob will start his journey at the PCT's mid-point in California and travel north to Canada. During the summer of 2011, he'll start again from that mid-point but travel south to Mexico. All that you need and want to know about Bob and his PCT trail run can be found on his web site here.

Besides his PCT endeavors, Bob touts quite the runner's resume:
  • 195,000 miles of lifetime running miles
  • Four Western States 100 Mile finishes
  • More than 90 ultra finishes
  • 154 marathon finishes, with a PR of 2:48:08
  • completed the John Muir Trail 3 times
  • Runner-up Age Group winner at Pikes Peak
  • Bronze finisher at the World Veteran Marathon Championships
  • Coached two national champions and won two state cross-country titles at West Torrance (CA) High School
  • 17 years as a Wilderness ranger
  • 25 years of trail maintenance, mostly on the trail he loves so well, the PCT
  • Biggest Rogue Valley Runner fan and motivator
Bob tells it like it is. "Trail running is in my blood. I want to share this PCT trail experience with others. I don't and won't run every step of the way. There's no record on the line. I just want to enjoy the trail: eat, sleep, and nap when I want to. I intend to make this fun."

Bob in Washington's Cascades.

Bob is currently training for his adventure by running 14-mile sections of the trail, preferably on the hardest segments of PCT available. Bob is currently looking for folks that would like to join him on or off the trail for a day or two or three as he runs along the trail next summer. Folks who are interested in learning more, helping out or simply wishing luck can reach him at Stay tuned for more on Bob as his adventure nears...

Bob crosses one of the many torrents with his friends in tow.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

2009 Lithia Loop Trail Marathon Application, Course Map and Profile

Click on photo to enlarge...

2009 Lithia Loop Trail Marathon Application
OR go here to to register

2009 Lithia Loop Trail Marathon 2009 Course Map

2009 Lithia Loop Trail Marathon Elevation Profile

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In Memoriam: David Terry

David Terry tackles the heat at one of the hottest Western States (2006) on record.

A week ago the ultrarunning community lost one of the first and one of the best.

This taken from the Enumclaw Courier Herald:

"Former Enumclaw resident Dr. David Terry, 47, died unexpectedly Sept. 13, 2009, at his home in Portland, Ore. He was born Nov. 12, 1961, in Seattle to Dr. Irvin Terry and Helene (Montcalm) Terry. He was the third of four brothers and one sister. In 1971, the family moved to Enumclaw, where he graduated from high school in 1980.

Following a year taken to pursue his passion of ski racing full-time, he entered Colorado College and graduated with a pre-med degree in 1986. He graduated from St. Louis Medical School in 1990. Following a three-year radiology residency in Chicago, he moved to Portland in 1995 to take a teaching fellowship at Oregon Health and Science University and then took a full-time position at the veterans hospital in Portland where he worked as a radiologist until his death.

He was an accomplished ultra/trail runner. He finished the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run 10 times in less than 24 hours, placing as high as fifth one year. He was a 10-time finisher at the Wasatch 100, finishing as high as third, and a two-time finisher of the Hard Rock 100.

He was an accomplished writer, poet, gardener and gourmet cook. He was passionate about the outdoors which strengthened his spirit and gave him peace. Friends were extremely important to Dave and he maintained close contact with his network throughout the country.

He is survived by his mother Helene and brothers Paul and Lawrence, all of Enumclaw; brother Irvin and wife Kate of Lynnwood, Wash., and sister Frances and husband David of Whitefish, Mont.

Friends and family are welcome to funeral services at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1614 Farrelly St. in Enumclaw.

The 2002 Western States. Montrail Teammates (l to r)Jim Kerby, Dave Terry and Ian Torrence head out together from the Devil's Thumb aid station. High spirits and motivation provided by Dr. Dave Terry.

Dr. Dave Terry was an icon of the ultrarunning sport. Selflessly assisting those in need. Whether it be advice and consultations on an injury or motivation needed for the next climb. Dave was always there; quite frankly, he loved the sport and the people who gravitated towards it. He left behind a legacy and will always be remembered. Run on good friend!

Americans win! Oxfam Trailwalker Hong Kong 2001. Champion team Montrail Protrek from the U.S. completed the course in 12 hours 52 minutes, breaking the official record set by the Gurkhas in 1993. (left to right) Scott Tucker (Montrail CEO, in white), Team Montrail Protrek (in blue) Nate McDowell, Scott Jurek, Ian Torrence, Dave Terry.

Another of Dave's friends, Craig Thornley, shares more over at his blog site.
Sean Meissner shares is memories of Dave here.
Andy Jones-Wilkins' good words on Dave can be found on his blog here.
Krissy Moehl shares her's here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Virgins No More: First Timers at Cascade Crest, Tetons and Wasatch Front

Boom, Boom, Boom! Three 100-mile races, three first-time 100-mile finishers!

Cascade Crest 100 Mile

Ominous skies await Renn before the start of his first 100 mile.

The ball started rolling in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. Chris Rennaker (RVR store employee and Trailrunner Magazine cover boy) took on the 100-mile beast at the Cascade Crest 100 Mile. Success was his! After a grueling night of running Renn crossed the finish line in 22:22:47. He was paced by his good friend Aaron Brian. Rennaker's account of the event can be found below:

Rennaker powers over the mountains en route to his first 100 mile finish.

Chris Rennaker in his own words,

"The race started at 10am. So, lots of time to walk around and chat with fellow runners some I know some I'm meeting for the first time at the start area. We had huckleberry pancakes and fruit for breakfast at the Easton Fire Department. then did a pre-race breifing for 20 minutes. Everybody sort of shuffled to the start line and we were off.

The morning started out cloudy and never really got sunny at all during the day. I didn't get to see any of the vista's around the area that the race is known for. No Rainier, no craggy peaks or anything. Then it turned to night time and I didn't see a damn thing then either. I felt like I was running smart and at a good pace, not too fast, for 68 miles. But I think I may have been pushing it up the hills a little too much and that's what caused my quads to blowout around mile 85. I lost 8 places that last 15 miles. CCC 100 was the hardest thing I think I've ever done and really made me dig deep through the pain in my quads, knee and feet, to continue. At several points throughout the last 15 miles I told Aaron, that this has turned into a nightmare, a trainwreck, a f@#$ing disaster.

I laid down once at mile 91 or 92 and got passed by a runner, Aaron said to them "this is where runners go to die" in a nice deep voice. They did not get as much of a kick out of it as Aaron and I did, I got up and kept going. All in all, I was only 22 minutes over my 22 hour goal. I ran a 22:22 for my first 100 mile run."

A popular Chris Rennaker pose. Congratulations big guy!

Grand Teton 100 Mile

Then the ball bounced over to Alta, Wyoming for the Grand Teton 100 Mile. Erin Keller and Jody Waters (both of Ashland, OR) put forth excellent efforts on their first 100-mile race. Jody called it at mile 75, though the mind and spirit were strong, disabling blisters brought her to a halt. Erin finished in 29:52:58, 4th woman and 8th overall.

Erin runs through the aspens of the Tetons.

Jody Waters had this to say about her experience,

"Good news and bad news. Erin supplied the good news with a strong and happy finish - just under 30 hours (29:52) with a smile on her face the whole time and won our age group. I am the bad news (well, good and bad). I was doing really well and feeling great until mile 70 - holding pace for around a 23-24 hour finish, and 3rd woman most of the day - but huge blisters covering the heel pads on both feet eventually took me out at 75 miles. Miles 64-75 were a death march on my toes to avoid placing weight on my heels. Very painful. Big bummer.

Regardless, many smiles and good experiences. John was a stellar crew, and I owe big thanks to him and to Sean Meissner who stepped up to guest crew and help administer to my ravaged feet after he finished his own 50. We had great weather and a fun and challenging course. Both the overall male and female winners (Ty Draney and Ashley Nordell) broke course records (19:19 and 23:03, respectively), and the race directors and aid stations were incredibly supportive and well-prepared. The race is funny - really small and seems to be geared towards first-timers. The 4-loop course is probably not for everyone - some good views and a great climb and descent on one of the laps, but definitely requires some mental fortitude to stay excited through all four loops.

I'm trying to sort out what the hell happened to my feet - the blisters don't look or act like regular friction blisters and are showing some signs of infection which is scary. My doc ran a blood panel this morning to check for signs of hypo or hypernatremia and I'm on elevated feet house arrest until they clear up and I can take weight on them. But, I'm thrilled at how things went otherwise and am hoping to problem-solve this foot issue and take all the good
things into my next 100 and not DNF again.

Erin was a star - she infected everyone on the course with her great attitude and big smile."

Jody descends the meadows of Wyoming.

John Price (Erin's husband and the ladies' crew person) summed it up like this,

"Erin had a very solid first 100 at Tetons. She had a great attitude the entire way and managed herself very well. In the end she snuck in under her goal time of 30 hours with a 29:52 after a strong effort during the last 5 miles. Jody had a great 70 miles (running with the lead women) but her feet began to betray her and by mile 75 her heals were so badly blistered that running, let alone walking, was not going to happen. Though disappointed, she put out a great effort and ran 25 miles farther than she ever had. On reflection I'm sure she'll realize that she really put it out there and will be as proud as we were of her effort. Overall a beautiful day in the Tetons-no rain or wind-and mild temps. Ashley Nordell shattered the women's record with a 23 hour effort and Ty Draney broke the men's course record."

Erin Keller (left) and Jody Waters in their matching chocolate Moeben Sleeves!

Wasatch Front 100 Mile

The finish...what they've all come for!

The ball finally came to rest this summer in the mountains outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Carly Varner (also of Ashland) took on her first 100-miler at the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run. Hal Koerner, Carly's fiance and RVR's owner, didn't want her to feel lonely on the course, so he too took on the 100-mile challenge.

Carly, hands and plate full, gets help from her crew.

When asked to describe her experience, Carly responded with this heart felt message,

"I truly can't believe I made it. It seems so surreal now that we're back. I’ve been told in the past that if you’re not sore after your race that you didn’t run hard enough. Certainly I was sore the day after the race and yesterday during our 11 hour drive home, but today I feel as if it was all just a dream. Of course the reality of being back home and back to work is quite sobering, I still think I played my cards wisely and that I’m proud to have been successful.

Another thing that I heard several times before embarking on this 100 mile adventure was that the Wasatch 100 was a stupidly tough first hundred to tackle. A thought followed of course by another obvious one; that all 100-milers are tough. Why yes, yes they ridiculously are. 100 miles of heaven and hell is no joke. I knew that my legs would grow weary, that my breath would weaken and that the “lows” would tirelessly haunt me, but what I was happy to discover was that my spirit couldn’t be broken, that my laugh wouldn’t go unheard and that my smile could shine through even the thickest layers of dust. So with a little patience I was able to ride the ups and downs straight through the finishing tape and I have a kick-arse buckle to prove it.

It all just brings tears to my eyes. I wasn't emotional out there, like I've been in other races. But thinking about it now, about the hugs at the finish line and the encouragement at the aid stations, it really has become a special time for me to spend with family and friends... These crazy things bring us all together!

Certainly I would love to run another 100. I discovered that I’m a big fan of night running – lucky me."

The 100 mile stare!

Hal at Pole Line Aid Station

Hal would go on, after a somewhat brutal night of running, to finish Wasatch in 22:18:16.

Hal Koerner's Crowning Moment.

Carly would rock and roll through to witness a second sunrise and finish her first 100-miler in 32:38:29.

Brew deserved indeed. Shout it from the mountain! Congratulations Carly!

Nice Work Everyone!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Thank You from Skaggs


Hey there folks, Erik here. I thought a little update straight from the source would be good. After several weeks of waddling around in a water retaining 185lb body the dam released and within several days I was back to my normal weight of around 150lbs. Not only did it feel amazing to loose 35+lbs in several days it also suggested that my kidneys were starting to function again. Yipeeee for pee! Blood tests also showed a significant reduction of the creatinine which is also an excellent indicator of kidney rejuvenation.

…also, and of greater importance, is the need to issue a big THANK YOU to all the kind and generous people who have given so much of themselves to make me feel better. There is no way to express how much it meant to see friendly faces at the hospital, hear familiar voices on the telephone, or read heartfelt comments in letters and e-mails. There are so many damn good people in this world, and somehow, a lot of them are my friends. If only it were possible to give each and every one of you a big ol’ hug I would…it would take a while because there are so many of you fine people out there but I’ll do it. Really, it’s the least I can do.

You all are amazing people,


Saturday, September 05, 2009

Skaggs Finally Sees Improvement

Well, we've finally heard some good news from Skaggs! He'll have to knock on wood, throw salt over his shoulder, avoid walking under ladders and steer clear of black cats for a while, but it looks like he has a turn for the best!

After his last hospital visit on Friday, Erik has seen a reduction in body weight (water weight) and his vital blood enzyme levels have finally started reversing to a more normal level (though still unbelievably high, they are no longer growing but shrinking). All very good news. He will continue with the regular hospital visits to ensure he doesn't suffer any further set backs.

Meanwhile, Rogue Valley Runners and the Southern Oregon Runners have rallied and are putting together a run to assist Erik with his hospital bills. The "Birds of a Feather Run" will be held on Saturday October 24th near Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon. There'll be shirts donated by New Balance and Adidas with the race logo (designed by Carly Varner). Screening will be donated by Spearco. There is also an ever growing list of prizes that will be raffled at the race as well as at Rogue Valley Runners in the upcoming weeks. Dagoba, Sporthill, Moeben, ClifBar, and local masseuse Tim Olson have come to the table already, more are sure to come.

The race will start and finish near Lithia Park. There will be a five mile and two mile version. Entry fee is on a donation basis. Give what you can. But most importantly your presence is necessary! Entry applications can be found below, on the Southern Oregon Runners web site, or at Rogue Valley Runners. Below is a map of the courses as well.

Stay tuned! In a few days well have some reports that'll wrap up the Transrockies, Cascade Crest 100 Miler and Grand Tetons 100 Miler.

Thanks for all your support and well wishes!

"Birds of a Feather" Race Entry Application

"Birds of a Feather" Course Map

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Skaggs Still Recovering

Since his release from the hospital, Erik has kept a pretty low profile. He spends his time at home, eating a low sodium, low potassium, low protein diet, and hydrating. We caught up with him today...

Skaggs says, "I'm eating salads, pasta, basically bland food...can't even have red sauce! I was up all last night peeing. That's a good sign, but I'm still 30 pounds overweight. I spend a lot of time lying on my back looking at my fat stomach. I spend my time hanging out with my brother, Kyle, and Jenn. I'm trying to stay positive. I feel much better today and my breathing is easier. I think I'm headed in a positive direction even though my enzyme levels have risen slightly in the past few days."

Here's today's Mailtribune article on Skaggs' status. Definitely some interesting comments being fired back and forth at the end of this article...

Meanwhile, several races have developed with the purpose to raise funds for Erik.

Here's details on a race in Memphis.

Rumor has it a similar run might happen in Washington State?

Here in Ashland, Oregon plans are going ahead for the "Birds of a Feather Run", a run for Erik Skaggs. The date has been set for October 24th and starts near Lithia Park and The Plaza in Ashland. Rogue Valley Runners and Southern Oregon Runners are working together to put this run on. Stay tuned for further race information and the application process.