2006 - Year 2

The trail chewed them up and spit them out....Rob MacDonald at the finish

Photo: Rob MacDonald having a well deserved rest at the finish of the Vancouver 100

It was cruel and unrelenting.  “This is the hardest run I’ve ever done”, repeated several runners including one of the most experienced and the fastest runner this year, Rod Hatfull.  “Thanks very much but you’re an evil Race Director”, to paraphrase Geoff Palmer.  “This is the hardest 100 km run anywhere” according to Glenn Pacé.
I get the feeling runners weren’t necessarily happy with me this year but they certainly felt they had accomplished a great task whether or not they completed the full event.  Full of newbies and veterans alike, the 2006 Vancouver 100 is shaping up to be in a class of its own quite simply because of the unexpected nature of the snow in the hills and the persistently technical course that runs across five giant mountains on the North Shore of Vancouver.  And there was no shortage of excitement to fill in the gaps between gasps.
The day started with runners awakening to rain with their alarms around 3:00 am.  They were already unhappy campers hearing that wet sound outside but definitely past the point of no return with many being committed to the event for several months prior.  By 4:30 am we were all gathered at the start line in Deep Cove with the crews ready for what lay ahead.  I reiterated that the start would include a 2.7 km warm up on Panorama Drive to stretch the distance to 100 km and clarified the route directions for Cypress Provincial Park including Hollyburn Mountain and Black Mountain.  By the way, ya gotta like a race briefing that can skip over about 35 km of trail because the participants already know the route very well or will stick with someone that knows the route well.
So at about 4:34 am the runners started down the road.  I and the crews were so excited for them after all the anticipation that it seemed like forever until they made it back to the starting point (after 2 km) only to turnaround again and head for the Baden Powell trailhead.  But they did and they were already damp when we saw them with the rain drizzling down.  Thankfully the rain didn’t last long and it was only a matter of a few hours before the sun was starting to peak through the clouds.
Since the first part of the trail is straightforward to Hollyburn, it was a matter of going through the turns and getting settled into a good pace.  There was no clear leader and the front 8 were closely bunched.  Rod made it to the halfway point first with Bill, Dan and Tim in hot pursuit.  Everyone was running well and the custom runners had mostly finished their day by this time.  All except for Baldwin who was just getting going at Cleveland Dam, ready to chase the back of the pack.  Baldwin was close behind them going up Hollyburn Mountain and managed to make it all the way to the top of the Hollyburn ski runs before turning around. He was also well coordinated with matching wild blue shirt and gators.  At the top, Baldwin decided not to go past the turning point as It did not look pleasant.  The 100 km runners confirmed he was right.  That section has endless slippery roots and gnarly footsteps with all the rain, wear, and tear in recent years.
After sending all of them off at Cleveland Dam, I did some grocery shopping for the return trip burgerfest and delivered the goods to Ethelyn who kindly offered to cook it up.  Actually, before going to the Dam, I drove custom runner Chris Benn back to Deep Cove from Lynn Headwaters since he was done early due to groin pain.  Chris was supposed to be meeting up with Desmond later at Cleveland Dam.  But just to show the spirit of our runners, Chris offered to walk back to Deep Cove from Lynn Valley, with a smile.  Like, right. Chris, are you sure you didn’t mean to do the full 100?  Also, Berglind went on to do her out and back to St. Georges from the Cove and by this time, Sibylle, Michele, Pat, Faith and Claudia had started at Grouse to manage a mid trail meet up with the runners coming their way.  There was no end of opportunity for club members to join in the fun for this daylong event.
So while the big guns were hauling ass up the Hollyburn Chute, Ethelyn kindly cooked up burgers and macaroni to be served at Cleveland Dam for our picnic.  And eventually I headed out in a hurry to beat them to the ½ way point at Nelson Canyon Park just East of Horseshoe Bay.  Part of my rush came from a frantic short phone call from Lucy Barbeau (Gilles’ crew) about Linda Machray’s car being on fire up at Cypress Bowl.  A bystander called the police and fire and there was lots of excitement.  They drove all the way up that long road to help mom Linda with her three kids in need.  Thankfully it turned out to not be a fire but a loose hose that caused a lot of steam.  One tow truck later and a round-about ride from Ron Adams and all was taken care of.  Ron stopped at Cypress because he has Western States 100 in a couple of weeks and didn’t want to push it.  Ron and Gilles are both heading down to California for the big one on June 24.  They’ll have some good stories to share from this one.
Back in Nelson Canyon Park at the ½ way point, I almost made it up the new section of trail and out to the BP to do a little bit of marking before seeing the first runner come down off Black Mountain.  Rod got to me firstly, then Bill, Dan and Tim.  It felt like they were in a hurry somehow.  Was there pizza waiting for them like last year?  Like, no.  It was just that mid race focus and the end of the free-fall trip down short little Black.
But I did make it out to the sharp corner and hung some flagging tape for the unaware still to come.  That was also my first trip up this part of the trail.  It actually follows the Trans Canada Trail for a while and then veers off through old growth lush forest green from new ferns and thick moss.  I had a great time seeing the others come down and then have all the runners (except John and Gilles) pass me again for the trip back to Deep Cove.  Nobody was in a hurry to do the 3500’ climb to the top but they sure were focused.  I ran with Glenn and Mike for a few meters and clearly they were in the middle of a 100 km run. They were focused, determined, and ignoring the pain the best they could.  And Mike was glad his 11 pound pack was getting lighter.
When I got back out to the parking area at the halfway point, Lucy and Gilles’ friend Steve were patiently waiting for Gilles and John.  Lucy was knitting and Steve was preparing to join Gilles for the return trip. Earlier, I saw Cheryl and some of the other crew people biding their time.  It takes special people to hang out for a very full and long day to help their loved ones and good friends.  And we had the best crews being patient and helpful to see their runners through as far and fast as they could go.
I knew the runners had their work cut out for them at this point.  Having done this run before myself, the climb back up Black Mountain is the hardest section of ‘running’ around these parts.  It was the only time I remember hallucinating last year during this event and it is an incredible physical challenge after running 50 km over more than 8 hours.  And to top it off, the snow above would be softer and even more difficult in the afternoon to slug through than on the first time through.  Tim packed it in at Cypress after giving it his best shot.  A general uneasiness had overcome him along with wandering runner syndrome.  Those darn snow-covered trails were not easy to follow.
When I got to Cleveland Dam around 4:30 pm with Ethelyn, Ean and Sibylle were already settled in with their kids and a couple of others; I remember Rick Arikado and Desmond Mott in particular were there.  And Baldwin hung around after his run with the hot soup he had prepared.  The sun was shining and the day was glorious.  The Lions were in plain view with lots of snow still and the mostly clear blue sky and warm temperature was perfect.  I was preparing to run out with the last person and either go home in Lynn Valley or on to Deep Cove.
As the runners came in, they told us with their words and expressions that the third quarter was just plain hard and tiring.  They were punching through the snow on Black and slipping on the roots on Hollyburn.  Each one of them arrived with a persistent but slow pace and sat down for a major break.  Clothes were changed including Glenn’s funky toe socks.  And the extra food we prepared was appreciated but not eaten by everyone since stomachs were sensitive and at this point people didn’t want to take much of a chance.  Rod was going strong but shaking his head about the last 24 km.  Bill and Dan came next and were equally drained.  Bill sat down on the grass eventually for a break.  Dan headed over to the parking lot to see his faithful crew of mom and brother.  I got a chance to see Dan’s support box and it looked very good. I think that he was well prepared and that helped him to keep up with fast moving Bill.  Elke joined these two for the last quarter and learned what being a good pacer is all about. 
Rob MacDonald was having a tough time at the ¾ mark and he seemed to be not sweating enough.  But after some food and a couple of rough moments, his wife and crew, Margaret, helped him on his way. Glenn was greeted by his crew, Cheryl, and his wife, Manon, and their kids, and I think that felt like a breath of fresh air for him (not them though, whew).  I think Geoff came in at the same time and headed over to the parking lot to meet his crew of girlfriend Lisa.  Glenn and Geoff stuck together the remaining distance. 
Eventually Mike wandered in and also recounted his struggle on this quarter.  I learned afterward that Mike was ready to stop but I guess he saw me ready to go so he decided to keep moving after a burger and a sit down.  I decided to join Mike rather than wait for Gilles and Steve.  We had gotten a call from Lucy around the time Mike came in and the last two boys were just at Cypress Bowl.  They were doing well but it was going to be a couple more hours before they would make it to Cleveland Dam at which point they decided to call it quits anyway.  So I finally got a chance to hit the trail for some badly needed exercise.  Mike set the pace of course.  He didn’t promise to be chatty but I think a bit of conversation helped to keep him going and then to make the clear decision to finally stop at Mountain Highway.  We were able to call fiancée Melissa on the cell phone and get her and her girls to pick us up around 9:30 pm.  Mike was very satisfied with his 85km run and feels he’s lived to tell another tale in good health.
While Mike and I were on the trail I got a call from Rod Hatfull (15:52).  He had finished with an amazingly fast time for the second half.  I believe it is officially a negative split since it took him a full 8 hours to get half way and then less than 8 hours to go back.  And Rod said he felt great and was very strong coming into the Cove.  He sounded good and was also very happy to be done.  I’m sorry we couldn’t have been there to provide a better welcome but it was nice talking on the phone at least.  Considering the snow conditions I think he would have come close to matching Randy’s time from last year.  Rod made it home and was in bed asleep by 10:15 pm by the way.  What a fantastic run Rod, congratulations.
Melissa gave me a short ride down the hill to my home and I posted Rod’s time.  I finally did head out to Deep Cove around 10:30 pm to see most of the remaining runners come in.  When I got to the finish line, Bill and Dan were done.  Bill was sitting again but on hard pavement this time.  Dan was already long gone.  And by the way, Dan told me he left his identification with his mom so he didn’t have it when crossing the border back into Washington State.  The border guards then made him get out of the car and go tell his story to someone that cared.  It seems they weren’t fooled by the drawn look and beat up emotions.  He tried to explain what he was doing but they likely didn’t believe it anyway.  But Dan got through and admitted to me later that this was the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life (the run that is).  Don’t worry Dan. You’re young.  You’ll have lots of chances still to top this one.  Maybe next year on the same course?
When Rob MacDonald arrived (18:28) all he wanted to do was lie down.  So he did right in the middle of the parking lot.  His wife Margaret was there to bring him a pillow and blanket.  Rob was thrilled to be finished and even knocked off significant time from last year.  Rob is now only the second person to complete this wicked run twice (2005 and 2006), along with Randy Hunter (2000 and 2005).
I also saw Glenn and Geoff (18:59) happily saunter up to the darkened parking area with their headlamps beaming and where we sent them off a minute short of 19 hours earlier.  It was great to have both of them complete the run since Geoff had wanted to do it last year but couldn’t due to a cross-training injury.  And Glenn seemed to need this notch on his belt badly.  It’s a fine day when you can say you’ve crossed the North Shore Mountains twice.
It was now midnight and the day was done.  I headed back home and the only person remaining on the course was John Machray, determined as ever to do something great.  Ron Adams had been helping him from Cypress Bowl since his wife Linda’s wheels had given up.  John took a big break in the middle to avoid the big climb up Black with wise intentions.  And although he had no one to talk to anymore that didn’t stop him from yearning for the Cove.  He arrived at 12:40 am in good spirits as always.
After a night of mostly good sleep, we had the post-event potluck party at my place.  Dan didn’t chance another crossing of the border and rockin’ Rod stayed home to do house renovations.  But many others came to share their stories and war wounds, especially Gilles.  We all agreed that Gilles’ leg chaffing is the worst we’ve ever seen.  Man, that’s gotta hurt. Please take good care of it Gilles. 
Ya know, one thing I didn’t do at my post-event presentation was give out awards. So how is this:
Rod Hatfull
Most steady runner with strange eating habits

Bill Dagg

Most determined to finish without looking over his shoulder too many times.

Dan Probst

Dug deepest and came up strong

Rob MacDonald
Felt crappiest but couldn't stop running

Glenn Pace

Most thankful for an awesome run

Geoff Palmer
Second time lucky, yearns for new RD
Michael Wardas
Most satisfied self-supported runner
Gilles Barbeau
Best large round leg wounds

Tim Wiens
Most challenged with great potential  
Ron Adams
Most determined to have a shower but couldn’t   
John Machray
Best attitude, most talkative as always  
For me, this is the first time I’ve been on the other side of a big run.  Watching these guys put themselves on the line of pain and suffering for the simple act of being able to say they did it is amazing.  I also got to see the dedicated friends and close family members show their love.  Their support was beautifully unconditional and it was ultra-clear this event was something the runners had to do for themselves.  Thanks to everyone for making it a great day.
Craig Moore

Some Photos are posted here (more to come)

Rod Hatfull     15:52:00        - 2 points
Bill Dagg      17:48:00           - 2 points
Dan Probst  17:48:00           - 2 points
Rob MacDonald  18:28:00      - 2 points
Glenn Pace     18:59:00         - 2 points
Geoff Palmer   18:59:00        - 2 points

John Machray     87 km - drove from 1/2 way back to Cypress Bowl then ran back to Deep Cove      - 2 points
Michael Wardas   85 km to Mtn Hwy  17:10      - 2 points
Gilles Barbeau     76 km to Cleveland Dam        - 2 points
Tim Wiens   67 km   stopped at Cypress Bowl   - 2 points
Ron Adams  42 km  stopped at Cypress Bowl   - 2 points
Steven Lee   24 km Horseshoe Bay to Cleveland Dam with Gilles      - 2 points
Elke Bauer 25km Cleveland Dam to Deep Cove with Bill and Dan    - 1 point
Desmond Mott   Deep Cove to Cleveland Dam then home             - 2 points
Chris Benn  12.5 km  stopped at Lynn Headwaters Pipeline Bridge   - 2 points
Berglind Hafsteinsdottir   40km St. Georges return to Deep Cove 6:01:48 - 2 points
Baldwin Lee   Cleveland Dam to top of Hollyburn ski runs return        - 3 points
Pat Barry    Grouse to Mosquito Creek return 2:30                           - 2 points
Michele Sherstan     Grouse to Mosquito Creek return 2:30                 - 2 points
Claudia Bullington    Grouse to Mosquito Creek return 2:30                - 2 points
Sibylle Tinsel
    Grouse to Mckay Creek return 1:25                          - 3 points
Faith Wells
    Grouse to Mckay Creek return 1:25                            - 2 points
Craig Moore
   1:45 Cleveland Dam to Mtn Hwy with Mike Wardas      - 3 points

2006 Vancouver 100Crew
Maureen Wiens
- 3 points
Cheryl Johnson
- 3 points
Manon Pace
- 3 points
Lucinda Barbeau
- 3 points
Dan's Mom
- 3 points
Margaret MacDonald - 3 points
Linda Machray - 3 point
Cathy Adams - 1 point
Dan's brother
- 1 point
Baldwin Lee
-  see above
Sibylle Tinsel
- see above
Ethelyn David -  burger/macaroni cooker! 1 point
Ean Jackson - 1 point

Photo: A peaceful view from Cleveland Dam (km 76) west towards the Lions, just before the last participants, Gilles Barbeau and Steven Lee, arrived at the aidstation. Looks can be deceiving...there was snow in those mountains!

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