Our running club, the Donner Party Mountain Runners (DPMR), is approaching its second birthday. Last year my fellow board member Gretchen Brugman reflected on her favorite moments from our first year. I recently found myself wanting an excuse to write about my very favorite DPMR experience, the Hilloween Hill Climb. Since that was over two holidays ago, it seemed a bit dated.
In the context of reflection and gratitude, I’m happy for the opportunity to share my favorite running club experiences of 2015. In chronological order:
The Canyons 100k
DPMR was “born” the same year as the The Canyons Endurance Runs, and we are “growing up” together, so to speak. All three race directors are founding members of DPMR and two currently bring their energy to the DPMR Board of Directors. Our Board President (Peter Fain), holds the 50k course record.
I ran the inaugural Canyons 50k in 2014 and the inaugural 100k in 2015. It was supposed to be an early training race for me, but the day went well (I wrote a race report here) and I ran strong. The DPMR aid station was located in the second half of the course, and I got to visit it twice. The excitement of seeing my peeps twice in the later part of the race was literally what kept me moving all afternoon.
The Memorial Day Picnic
Our first DPMR Memorial Day Picnic in 2014 was a surprise success. Everything somehow came together and the weather was unusually good for Memorial Day. To exceed the energy and excitement of that first picnic seemed impossible.
And, yet, the 2015 picnic proved just as memorable! Families again brought their kids for the trail race with recycled bibs. Club members and friends joined for various group runs. And then the skies let loose with rain and lightning (Gretchen wrote about it here). So there, near the historic site where the Donner brothers perished in the deep snow, a group of like-minded friends had no problem keeping the party going in the stormy weather.
Save the date for the next Memorial Day Picnic on Monday, May 30, 2016!
Castle Peak 100k
The Castle Peak 100k has already taken on a life of its own. As the co-Race Director, it will always be special to me, but it is not my baby. It belongs to our running community (click here to read about my Castle Peak 100k RD experience).
The successful execution of our first ultramarathon is a huge testament to the strength of the Truckee-Tahoe running community. Anyone who wasn’t running the race was volunteering. Some volunteered ahead of the race and then ran it! Even our non-runner friends signed up to help, some managing whole aid stations, for the excitement and inspiration of being involved in this grand adventure.
Registration opens January 1, 2016 for next year’s grand adventure, Saturday, August 27, 2016.
Hilloween Hill Climb
And, finally, the most fun I had with the club in 2015… perhaps because I got to experience it simply as a participant!
The Hilloween Hill Climb is a multi-location hill-climbing contest, and the club decided to really go after it by making it a group event. Board Treasurer Mike Tebbutt treated us to a menu of his favorite backyard trails in King’s Beach, including a climb up Mt. Baldy and various routes along his power line playground. Our Trail Steward Betsy Nye helped marked the course and Vice President Pete Broomhall organized an aid station.
I had no expectations for the Halloween Day event. My racing season was over-done and I only thought to put together a costume (Tamsen Donner) the day before. We started the day with a climb up Mt. Baldy, then everyone picked different routes from there. I considered stopping after the first 3 or 4 hours, but by then I was getting into the fun game of optimizing the amount of vertical verses the 8-hour time limit, and decided to keep going.
There were ample opportunities for high fives and photos ops as we criss-crossed the various route options and returning to the same aid station. Some runners took turns staffing the aid station. But I got to just climb and descend! The course was marked, the aid station ample, and the company delightful…. so this is what it’s like to participate in a DPMR group run?!
I ended my 8 hours atop Mt. Baldy, then descended to help pack the aid station and get a ride back to the car. The DPMR put together a very solid showing: Mike Tebbutt took the Men’s U55 award (early missing the top male spot) and Virginia “Ginny” LaForme took the Women’s U100 award. (Click here for all the Hilloween Hill Climb Results.)
I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the Brothers Tebbutt (Mike & Joel) for their spectacular disco costumes, Diana Schlaff for the best “trail themed” costume, and Ginny LaForme for the most inspirational climbing at any age.