The verdant woods and meadows of southeastern Wisconsin were again the scene of the Kettle Moraine 100 endurance runs. At 11 years old, we’re still growing. A record 217 runners started our various events this year. This year we were finally able to comply with people’s request for no rain at night. The last few years there had been torrential storms between 1-4am, while this year is was idyllic. Of course the hot humid weather on Saturday afternoon could not be avoided. The 4 miles of open meadow at miles 19 and 39 were once again brutal from what everyone said.
Long-time competitor in races on the Ice Age Trail, Parker Rios, took home his first Kettle victory, winning the 100-mile race. He then proceeded to power nap in the finish line tent all wrapped up like a mummy. That way he was still able to hear the other runners coming in for both the 100km and 100 mile races. Finishing second overall, Rob Hruskovich led the race for the first 96 miles, before Parker was finally able to overtake him. In the true spirit of ultrarunning our first 5 finishers in the 100 mile race spanned 4 of our 5 age groups from Open to Grand Master, this was very neat to see.
Tracy Thomas, our defending women’s champion, repeated this year, running the hundred miles more than half an hour faster than last year. Second woman in the 100-mile race was Kathleen Yarger.
Todd Nott knocked five minutes off our course record in winning the men’s 100-kilometer race in convincing fashion. Francesca Conte won the women’s race. Francesca, Todd, Tracy and Parker were awarded our traditional copper kettle trophies for their victories.
Our 100-mile relay events are turning into quite a spectacle. We had a record number of four-person teams this year (11); the runners do 31, 31, 18 and 18 miles respectively. Four guys calling themselves the Midwest Conference Has Beens put on a great show of strength and speed and crushed the prior relay record in a time of 13:44:10. It was not unusual for this team to come into an aid station before we were even set up. Next year we will have to account for some fast teams pushing the pace. Finishing a 100 mile course in daylight is quite the accomplishment. The Kaminski family once again completed the relay, with dad Dick leading the way for his three sons.
We were delighted to have with us two relay teams from the Mexico City area. Eight spicy women traveled to Wisconsin just for our race. They made a fashion statement by wearing bright team uniforms and set a high standard for sportsmanship with their spirited cheering for all the runners. Hasta luego, Senoras!
How about a 38-mile fun run? We tried that this year for the first time, and it seems to have been a big success. A non-competitive event, we started 22 runners out on the 38-mile final loop of our 100-mile course at 8 p.m. Saturday night. This put fresh people on the trail for the nighttime hours, providing some company for the racers and giving our hard-working volunteers a little more action at the aid stations. If you wanted to see people having a great time it was only necessary to see the smiles on these runner’s faces. I think that’s because they could enjoy the comaradirie of the 100 mile runners without experiencing all of the pain. Many of these runners were using this event as a training run for near term 100 milers like Western. We are glad to be able to make their training a little more fun. Each “fun-runner” received a token award for their effort. We’ll do this again next year.