2017 Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run

Debbie capped an amazing year of running at last weekend’s Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run. There are still four months to go in 2017, but even if she doesn’t start another ultra, this year will go down as one of the best in her long career. Results have become less important as the experiences have become more important. That means that she has focused on more challenging events; where finishing, remaining injury free, and recovering to do it again and again, are better than winning.


I’ve played the role of proud trip planner, Crew Chief, Sherpa, photographer, pacer, blogger, father, and husband. When you couple her races and training runs with her roles of yoga teacher, fitness instructor, coach, Cub Scout Den leader, land trust director, community volunteer, mother, and spouse; then it adds up to a lot. She is always fit because she has a balanced regimen of core strength, yoga, stretching, running, swimming, and cycling. People are always surprised by how “little” she runs. Exercise is part of her day, but not an obsession. One overlooked factor is her mental strength. It’s as strong as you can imagine.


In February, I joined her in finishing the St. John Trail Race. In April, I joined her again to run the Promise Land 50K. In May, she and I shared another Long Trail adventure. In June, we did a modified Mohawk Trail loop, and then she did the rugged Manitou’s Revenge Ultra (54 miles). In July, we climbed Mt. Katahdin, and then she finished the Hardrock Endurance Run. She filled in the “gaps” with additional races, including the Goodwin Forest Trail Run, five Winding Trails Summer Tri Series races, the Mt. Greylock Trail Race, the Bolton Summer XC Series, the Soapstone Assault, and the People’s Forest Trail Race. This is quite a list considering that September hasn’t arrived yet and 33% of the year still remains!

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When we planned her 2017 schedule, she didn’t aim to run 100-milers in consecutive months. Last December, during the Hardrock lottery, she was quite fortunate to get picked 7th on the “Never” wait list. Even still, that was a precarious position to be in with no guarantee that she would be one of the 45 first-time runners (out of 145 total) to start the July race in Silverton, Colorado. Her qualifier, the 2015 ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI, was good for 2016 and 2017, but if she didn’t finish Hardrock, she would need another qualifier to enter the lottery for 2018 and 2019.

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In reviewing the list of Hardrock qualifiers, the only race that fit into the calendar and not conflict with our kids’ school, our work schedules, or the fall cyclocross schedule, was Cascade Crest. The late August date was six weeks after Hardrock, which provided adequate recovery time should she get off the wait list. If she ran and finished Hardrock, she wouldn’t need to run Cascade Crest; but she needed a backup plan should she not get into Hardrock, or should she start the race, but fail to finish. Cascade Crest is also a lottery, so she was lucky to gain one of the 161 entries in the February drawing. There were more than 400 entrants, so her odds of getting in were much better than Hardrock, but she was still fortunate to be chosen.

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As the Hardrock refund deadline approached in late-May, she moved up the wait list, and then got a welcoming call from Dale Garland, the Run Director, on June 1st. Only eight “Never wait-lister’s” made it into the 2017 race, so Lucky 7 was a good spot to be. Our trip to Colorado was amazing. I was worried about post-Hardrock blues, and it took some self-motivation to get geared up for our Washington trip. Work at Horst Engineering is busy as usual, and another trip out west was a big commitment.

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Seattle was a lure, because I wanted to visit Boeing. We don’t do direct business with them, but they are our largest indirect customer because our two largest customers are major suppliers. We have hundreds of parts on every Boeing aircraft. We were last in Washington 14 years ago, for the 2003 White River 50 Mile Endurance Run. That race was a few years before I started my blog, so there is no race report, but scan the finisher list for that year’s USATF 50 Mile Trail Championship. It includes some of the iconic names in ultrarunning from the last 15 years. As Debbie heads into her 20th year of ultrarunning, it’s fitting that we returned to the state where she ran her first 50-mile race that wasn’t the Vermont 50 Mile Run. Cascade Crest dates back to 1999, and is considered to be one of the classic 100-milers.

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She rested for a few weeks after we returned from Colorado, and then she eased back into running and mountain biking. Her longest run between the two 100’s was a 2.5 hour jaunt a couple of weeks before the race. After such a big buildup to Hardrock, there wasn’t any more fitness to be gained for Cascade Crest. The mountainous races both include a lot of climbing, but they are different in many other ways. The high point of Hardrock was 14,048 feet, the low point was 7,680 feet, the average elevation was 11,019 feet, and there was 66,100 feet of total elevation change. At Cascade Crest, the high point was 5,840 feet, the low point was 2,140 feet, and there was an estimated 52,000 feet of elevation change. The big difference was the altitude. There was a lot more high altitude hiking at Hardrock on rough terrain. Another difference was that Hardrock had a lot more moisture, both in the air and on the trails. At Hardrock, we had to deal with a lot of snow and a lot of snow melt. Cascade was warmer, and as dry as it gets.

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The approximately 26,000 feet of climbing is even more than the standard Cascade Crest course. Unfortunately, the Jolly Mountain Fire, 11 miles northwest of Cle Elum, forced a course change two days prior to the race. Race Director Rich White (who like me, comes from Vernon, Connecticut), and the race committee were forced to adjust. Heavy smoke filled the air throughout the week. The fire was too close to the northern half of the loop, so rather than cancelling, the race was run as an out and back on the first half of the course between Easton and Hyak. That 51-mile section is more rugged than the northern section. A loop course is always preferable, but an out and back is better than no race at all.

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The dry and dusty conditions were made worse by the smoke that hung low and obscured the spectacular views. The smoke did add a layer of texture to many of my photos, and the bad air quality was another challenge that the runners were forced to deal with. The proximity of Snoqualmie and Wenatchee National Forests to urban Seattle, and with Interstate 90 cutting through the mountains, this a very busy recreation area.

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In Debbie’s own words, “I tried hard.” She started with a smart and conservative pace, held it for quite a while, slowed a bit, and then was able to push a bit at the end. She finished the 102 mile course in 28 hours and 37 minutes, which is a long time, but much shorter than the 41 hours and 1 minute that it took to run Hardrock. Veteran Cascade runners took up to two hours longer than prior races on the standard course. Before the course change, she figured it would take between 25 and 30 hours, but she would have preferred being closer to 25. Given that the course was more difficult, she was happy with the result, finishing 42nd out of 161 starters. There were 109 finishers, and she was the 12th woman. Despite the course change, the 33 hour time cut remained.

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When she hit mile 79.9 after daybreak, she was poised to make a charge, but the last 22.1 miles were brutal, taking more than six hours to complete. The big charge didn’t materialize, but she did steadily make up several spots as the heat, hills, rocks, and other conditions conspired to slow other runners even more. This was the first major race in six years that we weren’t joined by Danny Roy, and we missed him. The Livingston’s were able to do the “Hardrock/Cascade Slam,” but two big trips in two months was too much for him given his relocation from northern California to Boston. We were grateful to have his help at Hardrock, but were forced to find crew replacements for Cascade Crest.

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Sean Greaney, a fellow Shenipsit Striders clubmate, moved to Seattle earlier this year. He and his girlfriend, Sarah Geneser, joined our crew and they were a huge help. Our team also included Marcellina Tylee, and her husband, Lou Tylee. They live in Seattle and love the outdoors. Like Debbie, Marcellina is coached by Al Lyman from Pursuit Fitness. The Tylee’s are seasoned runners, triathletes, hikers, campers, and outdoorspeople. They also know this part of Washington very well, and travel here for adventure all of the time.

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Sean and Sarah are also amazing outdoorspeople and they are experienced with crewing. In June, Sean ran his second Western States Endurance Run. He completed the famous 100-miler in 2016 and 2017 and has many other ultras on his resume. At Western States, he suffered an injury (tendonitis) that forced him to wear a walking boot for a few months after the race. He is on the mend and was well enough to pace Debbie for 10.8 miles between Stampede Pass (69.1 miles) and Tacoma Pass (79.9 miles). Sean has also been helping Steve LaBranche, another Shenipsit Strider, who is doing the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning. He was with him at Western States, he crewed for him at the Leadville Trail 100 Run, and will be helping at the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run. All four of my crew mates were fantastic with Shepard and Dahlia, who were also a big help. It’s been years since I’ve had to change a diaper at an ultra, but they still need to be fed, entertained, and separated when conflicts arise.

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We rented a house in Hyak, which turned out to be a perfect base camp. We arrived in Easton on Friday afternoon, after spending the previous two nights in Seattle. The small A-frame reminded Debbie of the A-frame that she grew up in, and where her parents still live. This rental is a popular destination in winter when the Cascades are covered in deep snow. For us, the proximity to the course (a five-minute drive to the Hyak Aid Station) was fortuitous. Cascade Crest has a very “chill” vibe compared to Hardrock and some other 100-mile races. It’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from all of the “pomp and circumstance” at this week’s UTMB. There were no pre-race events or festivities. The focus was exclusively on the race, and that was nice in its own way.

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The 9:00 A.M. start on Saturday morning is another unique feature. That is late compared with most Saturday/Sunday 100-milers. Debbie has done Friday starts at 6:00 A.M., 3:00 P.M., and 6:00 P.M. Typically, a Saturday start is at 5:00 A.M. or 6:00 A.M. In the end, it doesn’t really matter, but the Cascade approach allows you to ease into the day. It even provides enough time for people, like Sean and Sarah, to drive from Seattle, and still make the 8:15 A.M. pre-race meeting. The volunteers were wonderful and welcoming, the aid stations were fantastic, and stocked with everything that a runner would need. There were many vegan options, including several hot soup choices.

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At the start, we saw some old New England friends. Vermont native but longtime Montanan, Nikki Kimball, was there to crew for a friend. Debbie and Nikki go way back. They met when Debbie was a Springfield College summer intern at the New Life Hiking Spa in Killington. The two developed their love of trails at the same time, running  together in the Green Mountains. They traveled to, and ran their first ultramarathon at the 1999 Vermont 50. Nikki won that race and launched a career that is ultrarunning “Hall of Fame” worthy. Debbie was fourth in that race, and her legs were so hammered, that Nikki had to drive her home when she couldn’t depress the clutch of her car.

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The 1999 VT50 happens to be the same race where I met Debbie for the first time, so despite not seeing Nikki as often, we have always had a strong connection with her. She was a bridesmaid at our wedding in 2001, and I helped her aunt crew for her when she won UTMB 10 years ago. That same race was Debbie’s first attempt at a 100-miler, and is one of only two ultras that she hasn’t finished. Her first attempt at the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run in 2013, ended in similar fashion, with profuse vomiting. Debbie was able to help Nikki in 2012, when she broke the supported female Long Trail End-to-End FKT. Debbie makes a cameo appearance in Finding Traction, the award-winning film about that adventure. We watched the DVD with the kids, but you can stream it on Amazon Prime.


It was also great to reconnect with Jennifer Shultis, who is a Cascade Crest veteran. She also hails from New England, but moved to the Seattle area several years ago. In the early-2000’s Jen was a “fierce rival” on the New England adventure racing circuit, back when Debbie and I used to do a lot of two and three-person event. Seeing Jen always makes me smile!

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The runners started under a cloudless, but smoky sky. The haze surely affected their breathing during the race. I don’t know what was worse, the smoke or the dust. It has been an extraordinarily dry summer in the Cascades, and the forest roads were in rough shape. After watching the start, Sean and Sarah departed for a day-hike. They climbed Mount Catherine, a 5,052 foot bump that I did on Thursday morning. The mountain offers amazing 360 degree views, which include the monstrous Mount Rainier 50 or so miles to the south.


Marcellina and Lou joined the kids and me at the first two aid stations, Tacoma Pass and Stampede Pass. The drives to Tacoma, and then back to Stampede, were dusty and challenging, but nothing like the white-knuckle long drives to some of the Hardrock aid stations in the San Juan Mountains.  These early aid stations were crowded and entertaining. We had good fun interacting with the other crews and cheering loudly for the runners as they passed through on the Pacific Crest Trail. Debbie started slowly, but was in good spirits when we saw her the first time at 22.1 miles. She got neutral aid at the early stations, including Goat Peak, Cole Butte, and Blowout Mountain, but she was still happy to see us at Tacoma Pass.

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When we saw her again at 32 miles at Stampede Pass, her spirits remained high. She was in for a long day ahead, but she reported that she was running smoothly without stomach or foot issues. She took her UltrAspire Lumen 600 waist light and a headlamp, plus a lightweight windproof jacket. She needed the lights and jacket for the Snoqualmie Tunnel, another unique feature of this race. Even in daylight, the 2.3-mile former rail tunnel requires lights because it is pitch black inside. It can also be quite cold. After Stampede Pass, it was a tough 19 miles without crew support, but she and the other runners had ample neutral support at the Meadow Mountain and Olallie Meadows aid stations.

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Debbie ran off. Marcellina, Lou, the kids, and I parted company with a plan to regroup at the Hyak Aid Station some five hours later. I drove the kids back to the house where we met up with Sean and Sarah. They had a great hike, but were also sun-baked, dusty, and grimy. We had some “happy hour” appetizers while taking turns in the single shower. Once we were all clean, we went to dinner at Commonwealth, next to Dru Brew in the neighboring town of Snoqualmie Pass. It was only five minutes up the road. When we arrived on Friday, I picked up a mini-growler at the brewery, so I already knew that the beer was good. Sean and I were planning to run, so we skipped the dinner drinks. The place was jammed, and it took about 90 minutes to get our food. We kept checking our watches, knowing that we were cutting it close. We didn’t want to take a chance at missing Debbie at this critical aid station. It would be another 19 miles without crew once she got there, and we wanted to make sure she had enough warm clothes to run through the night. It was also important to make sure that her lights were working well and that she had backup.

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The temperature had dropped noticeably, but it was warmer than the night before. We drove to the aid station and found a good spot to set-up Debbie’s stuff. This was a large aid station with multiple tents and a major first aid station. Walking through, we noticed a lot of runner “carnage.” Some folks were on cots. Others were slumped in chairs. I saw several runners getting their feet worked on. 51 miles on rugged trails had taken its toll on the field.

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Our son pulled out book number seven in the Harry Potter series, and was content to read with a flashlight. Our daughter was exhausted and fell asleep in a folding chair. The rest of us chatted, but it wasn’t long before I heard a familiar voice calling out as she gave her bib number to the volunteers. The big beam of her waist light cut through the darkness. I can spot Debbie from a mile away!

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It was 9:43 P.M. when she arrived. It had taken her 12 hours and 43 minutes to cover the first half of the race. Once again, she said she was feeling good and reported no gut issues, cramping, or foot problems. She did have a bloody elbow because of a fall on the “ropes” section of the course that brings you down from the PCT to the John Wayne (Rail) Trail that goes through the tunnel. This is a very steep section that is off-trail and more like a bushwhack. It had lots of loose rocks. She was lowering herself with the ropes, but the rope was not taught in the opposite direction and she ended up falling onto the rocks. Since it was fresh, the cut looked worse than it was, but Marcellina and Sean cleaned it out and bandaged it for her. We restocked her UltrAspire Zygos hydration vest while she ate some solid food. Shepard was very helpful, running back and forth to the food table, fetching whatever Debbie requested.

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Her headlamp wasn’t working well, but her waist light battery life was great, so I gave her a handheld flashlight for backup. She didn’t stay long, said her goodbyes, and headed back to the tunnel. I escorted her a little way up the trail and made sure she had what she needed. She kept her Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles with her the entire race, but had them strapped on her pack for this section of the course. We packed up all the aid station gear, and once again, parted company with Marcellina and Lou. They remained at the aid station and eventually slept in their GMC Suburban for a few hours. Sean, Sarah, and I took the kids back to the house. We washed up again and put the kids to bed. The plan was for Sarah to stay with them and then transport them to the finish line on Sunday. Sean and I discussed when we should be back at the Stampede Pass Aid Station. Debbie had done very well on the last section of course and arrived in Hyak nearly 20 minutes ahead of our own predictions. With that in mind, we decided to get to Stampede by 3:30 A.M. It was a 25-minute drive.


I set my alarm for 2:30 A.M. and then laid down on the couch to rest a bit. Sean rested in one of the beds, but we were both up three hours later. He said that he slept soundly. I was a bit more restless. I kept mentally calculating the time estimates. There was a manual “live tracking” system on the race website, but it had a huge lag and lots of missing data. It was also difficult to navigate. Frustratingly, they didn’t have a column for “place,” which made finding Debbie’s name maddeningly difficult every time you checked. Compounding the tech glitches was very poor mobile phone coverage and no Internet/network at the house. I relied on old school techniques to estimate her splits.

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Sean and I were on the road around 3:00 A.M. and made the uneventful drive back to Stampede. There were a lot fewer people there this time. We parked and found a spot to settle in. At the aid station, we met up with Susanne Olson, who was crewing and pacing for another New England friend, Garry Harrington. Garry was also at Hardrock this year, but was a DNF for the second time. He attempted Hardrock five years ago, but it took him four more lottery tries to get back in as an “Else” runner.  Garry needed a Cascade finish to requalify for the Hardrock lottery this December. With that in mind, he went out very conservatively. Even still, he was hot on Debbie’s heels. All day long, he had been moving up in the field and each time we saw him, he proclaimed that he was getting stronger. He was still suffering like everyone, but maybe less than most.

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Marcellina and Lou arrived to round out our crew. They were real troopers, making it to multiple aid stations, regardless of the time of day. She was super enthused to be supporting Debbie, which made us all a little peppier. I’m glad we got there when we did, because Debbie arrived 15 minutes later. Our math was accurate. She was feeling a little worse than the last time we saw her, but it was 3:36 A.M. and she had gone 69.1 miles. Finally, she requested a shoe and sock change. She sat down and we helped her switch her Altra Lone Peak 3.0 shoes and Darn Tough socks to fresh pairs of the same models. We restocked her pack. Her light was fine and it was only two hours until daylight anyway. Sean was pumped to join her for the next section. They took off up the trail. I followed them for a few hundred meters and then said goodbye.


As I returned, Garry arrived, and he was looking good. Marcellina and I helped Susanne tend to him. We couldn’t find his drop bag, but he was able to get neutral support. She originally planned to pace him from there to the finish, but he was running so fast. Even in the darkness, the next section was very  runnable, so she wisely decided to wait another 10 miles before joining him. With that, I gained a companion for the drive to Tacoma Pass. Marcellina and Lou opted to go to the finish in Easton, rather than make the drive back to Tacoma. They wanted to see the leaders, who were only a few hours away from being done. Susanne and I had a good time on our 40-minute drive. It was nice to have a companion. It was funny that at 4:00 A.M., we were “talking shop.” She works for Markem-Imaje, a division of Dover Corporation, in Keene, New Hampshire, where Garry is from. Horst Engineering has done business with multiple Dover divisions, including Waukesha Bearing and Sargent Aerospace. She is training for her first 100, the TARC Ghost Train 100 Miler in Brookline, New Hampshire.


We talked about kids, college, the economy, and running. It was fun. We figured that it would take 2.5 to 3 hours for Deb, Sean, and Garry to run this section, so even after we arrived at Tacoma, we had time to chat. We had a great parking spot, within view of the aid station and the trail, so we could remain in the vehicle. It was chilly, but not uncomfortably cold. Debbie had remained in her tank top until nighttime. Afterwards, she donned her jacket and regulated her temperature by zipping/unzipping. When she reached Tacoma, she stowed it in her pack for the rest of the race. At Tacoma, I was already dressed to run, and prepared my gear and Debbie’s gear for her arrival. Once that was done, I made breakfast for Susanne and me. We had peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I joked that the only thing we were missing was a toaster.



Sunrise was obscured by the trees, but still beautiful. I assumed that the view higher up where Debbie and Sean came from was spectacular. Throughout the night, we noticed that the stars were amazing. As the sun came up, Susanne and I got out of the truck and hung out with a few other folks waiting for runners. Around the time I expected Debbie to arrive, I went up the trail to take some photos. Garry got there first, but he said she wasn’t far behind. I expected him to make the pass. He was looking good when we saw him at Tacoma. A minute or two later, I spotted Debbie and Sean. She was still in a good mood, which was fantastic. She didn’t suffer any terrible lows at Hardrock, and she was having a good race here too. I made sure that Sean had the truck keys, not wanting a repeat of my prior key episodes at Hardrock when I thought I lost them and had to chase down Debbie and Danny a mile up the trail to fetch a spare set from his pack. This time, I only had one key, so I was careful to place it on the front tire and not risk locking it inside the vehicle. It had taken her just under three hours to go between Tacoma and Stampede.


Before Sean returned to the house, he ended up hanging around the aid station and talking to an old acquaintance who he met at another ultra. Debbie and I left before Garry, but he and Susanne caught up to us within 10 minutes. The section between the two previous passes was relatively smooth, and rolling. However, from this point on, it was going to be a relentless series of climbs and descents, starting with a very big climb of more than four miles in length. By the time we started, the sun was up, so we ditched our lights and donned our sunglasses.


It was already a gorgeous day, and soon became a hot one with the temperature reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Debbie’s pace slowed noticeably on the steeper sections of the climb, and she started to fade. This became the theme for the next six hours. She only had one steady tempo, or “gear” to hike in. That first big climb after leaving Tacoma wound through some of the most beautiful forest I had ever seen. Huge evergreen trees stood straight as an arrow. As the sun got higher in the sky, it came shining through the canopy. At one point, we caught up to another runner. His name was Jeramie Mcdonough. He was out of it when we first met up with him. He was literally asleep on his feet, while still moving forward. His eyes were half shut, and he knew it! He had driven from Salt Lake City the day before the race and gotten very little sleep on Friday night. Amazingly, he recovered, and a few hours later, he was zooming ahead again. He finished a few hours in front of Debbie, so he had a great final 15 miles.


She was OK, on the the rare flat section, and she was really good on the runnable downhills. Unfortunately, a lot of the downhills were loose rock and sandy dirt, which made footing difficult. That kept her from opening up her stride and forced her to hike down some the steep single track. When you are going uphill at 1 to 2 miles per hour and then only able to manage three to four miles an hour on the downhills, you can’t make up any time. She continued to make up time by quickly moving through the remaining aid stations, including Blowout Mountain, Cole Butte, and Goat Peak. One climb was on an exposed dirt road through heavily logged forest. It went on forever and had dozens of switchbacks. The sun was high in the sky and it baked us. Over the course of 28+ hours, the one hour on that road was when she struggled the most. Even after we reached the aid station, the trail continued to pitch up, turning to single track for the final section.


Some of the toughest downhill came at the end as we plunged back down to Easton, the low point on the course. At each of the last three aid stations, she left before me. I helped her first, and then stayed a few minutes longer to refill my UltrAspire Epic hydration pack, chat with the volunteers, take photos, and ingest some food. Each time, it only took five minutes to catch back up to her. She was moving slowly but steadily on very tired legs. At the last aid station, one of the volunteers talked me into taking a popsicle. Debbie didn’t want one, and I didn’t really want one either. For a moment, I figured I would give it to my daughter. I must have been delusional because we were still a long way from the finish. I put it in the front of my vest/pack, but by the time we got to the finish, it had turned into a liquid sack. I had to toss it, and made sure I didn’t mention it to Dahlia.


We passed a few more of the male runners, with their pacers, on the last section. The closest runner to her was Diarmuid Truax, who ended up three minutes behind her. At the finish, I got a great shot of his filthy feet. I later learned when we bumped into him on the airport car rental center shuttle bus, that he regretted not taking a photo himself. I was able to text him mine and he was thrilled. On the descent into Easton, we also passed by Glenn Tachiyama, a local runner and photographer. I have always admired Glenn’s work. He is frequently published in Ultrarunning Magazine and other running periodicals. Glenn and I snapped photos at the exact moment that Debbie was passing by a large pointy rock. I didn’t see him, but in my image, you can make out his white Seven Hills Running Shop shirt where he was literally hiding in the bushes. Earlier this week, I liked his photo of her on Facebook, left a comment, and confirmed that was exactly what he was doing.


It wasn’t long after that, and we were back in Easton. We navigated through a final section of ATV trail (complete with ATV’s), then on to some gravel roads, before once again running on the John Wayne (Rail) Trail. The last section was a one mile stretch. Debbie kept asking me to look back. She wasn’t running for a high place, but it is still demoralizing to get passed in the final minutes of 100-miler. I gather that is what happened to the two leading men. After leading for most of the race, Matthew Urbanski was passed by Lindsay Hamoudi not far from the finish. I am anxious to hear how that went. Matthew ran 20 hours 11 minutes and 25 seconds. Lindsay ran 20 hours 8 minute and 9 seconds. That’s close. Ben Koss was third, but nearly two hours behind.


On the women’s side, Kaytlin Gerbin and Ashley Nordell had a race-long battle. At one point, both of them were in the top three or four overall. Kaytlin came out on top, finishing 5th overall in 22 hours 22 minutes and 45 seconds. Ashley was two spots behind her in 23 hours 20 minutes and 59 seconds. Jess Mullen was third in 24 hours 42 minutes and 37 seconds. Garry ended up gaining 41 minutes on Debbie in those final 22 miles. He had a great race and got his Hardrock qualifier. Rob Lalus, one other New England friend, who now lives in the Pacific Northwest, also had a good race. This was his 6th time, and he said it was by far, the hardest.


Debbie now has two Hardrock qualifiers, but that doesn’t do her any good. You can’t “bank” them for the future. I’m sure she will enter the lottery again, but she is uncertain if she would run. If she gets in, she has to. At least, that’s my opinion. Right now, she says she wants to dial back the ultras and dial up XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon as a change of pace. That is also something we can do together. She had fun at last year’s XTERRA French River Triathlon, and is keen to do more.


The only race on her calendar right now is the Vermont 50. We go every year. The only time we missed since 1999 was 2015 when she did UTMF in Japan. The big difference is that she is registered as a mountain biker. We dropped her bike off at the shop today. It’s 15 years old and needs a little updating.



Cascade Crest was a great race. The volunteers were fantastic. The start/finish is at the fire station in Easton. They pulled out the trucks and used the interior as a staging area that was in the shade. After the race, we hung out for a few hours, eating, chatting, and resting. A bucket was provided to each runner so they could soak and wash their feet. That was a really nice touch.


Our crew was having such a good time. We didn’t want to say our goodbyes. We extended our time together by driving over to Lake Easton State Park to take a dip. The kids swam and played on the beach. When we had enough of the cold water, we finally parted company, with Sean, Sarah, Marcellina, and Lou returning to Seattle. Debbie, the kids, and I had one more night at the house. We returned there, washed up, and made a pizza. That was also exciting. Somehow, she ignited the peppers and onions when she was warming them in the microwave. That created a bit of a stir when I had to extinguish the six-inch flames.


Just in case you didn’t know, we love adventure.

Live Results

Prior Years Results


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Senior Night at Bolton High School: Bolton vs. Somers vs. Coventry. Made it from the middle school race in time for the boys race. Missed the girls but stayed for the festivities. #xc #running 🏃🏽‍♂️
Fantastic evening for XC at my middle school alma mater. Bolton vs. Vernon vs. Porter. @trailrunningmom is a wonderful coach! #running #xc 🏃🏽‍♀️
From #newyork Sunday for @pearljam at @thegarden to #Chicago on Wednesday for @imtschicago it’s already been a busy week with lots of planes, trains, automobiles, and jet packs! Amazing technology at the show.
A final @hardrock100run update for now and it’s a bit of a bummer. @trailrunningmom stoped at Animas Forks Aid Station just shy of the 59 mile mark. Persistent nausea and the inability to eat or drink weakened her. She arrived in Ouray in this condition and even a 40 minute nap didn’t improve the situation. She is at peace with her decision to stop and it helps that she finished this beast of a race in 2017 going the other direction. I unexpectedly joined her between Ouray and Animas Forks because I didn’t want to see her go alone. We got to suffer together for eight hours and enjoyed an amazing moonlit night. In our household there is always more to learn when you miss a goal than when you hit one.
@trailrunningmom has quite a crew assembled in Ouray at the @hardrock100run We await her arrival. From the looks of the tracking she was likely suffering in the climb and dealing with the t-storms. She might have had to hunker down because her location didn’t change for a long time. Now she appears to me hammering the six plus mile descent to the LOW point in the course in Ouray at a 7,792 feet.
Riding out the latest storm in Ouray. This weather is something else. To be a Hardrocker this year is going to take extra gumption. ⛈ @trailrunningmom appears to be moving steadily (according to the tracker) but the climb to Kroger’s Canteen slowed her. She gets a lot of downhill into Ouray so let’s hope she can keep running. We are planning a longer pit stop here including a full wardrobe change. Fingers crossed she gets here by dark around 9:00 P.M. @hardrock100run
Telluride was a blur. @trailrunningmom left the aid station around 3:20pm or so. She changed her socks (needed dry ones), got some solid food, freshened up in the “latrine”, and got moving again. We met up with Amy and John and they were a big help. Even my friend Mike, a part time Telluride resident, stopped by Town Park to cheer and assist. On to Ouray…she won’t be there for five hours or so. There are serious ⛰ ⛰ in between.
@trailrunningmom came into Chapman Gulch at 11:46am but if you are tracking then you know that. She was doing fine at 18.1 miles. Little D said Mom is pacing well but wasn’t as “exuberant” as past races. A big rainstorm just blew through and the clouds are threatening again. Next up: Telluride

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