We have just called “Ready, Set , Go!” and started the race at 6 a.m. Saturday, and now 240 100-mile runners (including eight relay teams) and 92 100-kilometer runners are stampeding along the wooded, hilly trail. Their destiny awaits..It is partly cloudy and temperatures on the cool side – the most pleasant running weather we can recall for a Kettle weekend.
We have been co-race directors for this race for 17 years, going back to 2002, and this is our final year. We’ve announced our “retirement” and the runners have been most generous in expressing their appreciation.
But there is no time for sentimentality right now. We drive off to watch out for problems on the long, sinewy course and to help service our 13 aid stations. Runners have come to appreciate our great volunteers and we love making them happy.
The 100k racers run the same Kettle course as the 100-milers do, except that they stop at the 100k mark, while the 100-milers get to keep going. Our overall 100k champ was Ondrej Tomek, a Masters-age runner and the only competitor to break 10 hours this year. Lisa Wonneberg was our female 100k champ, finishing in sixth place overall. As is our tradition, we presented Ondrej and Lisa with engraved copper kettles for their first-place finishes..
We had over two dozen 100-milers pass through the 100k mark under 12 hours. For them, 62 miles down, 38 more to go.
Brad Revenis was leading by just three minutes. Annie Weiss was the first female 100-miler to reach 100k and had a margin of about 15 minutes over her closest competitor. The 100-mile runners still had the hardest part of our course ahead of them, with its many rocks, roots and hills, “enhanced” by nighttime darkness. In addition, the latest weather forecast predicted that a thunderstorm could arrive in the next few hours.
The 50k started at 1 p.m. and that race was winding down at this same location. And our fourth (and perhaps quirkiest) ultra-distance event was starting here too. It’s our popular non-competitive “fun run.” Starting at whatever twilight time they wish, these runners do the final 38 miles of our 100-mile course.
As predicted, a storm passed through the area. Few complaints were heard from the runners, as the brief shower was refreshing for most. Brad Revenis was the first and only 100-miler to finish so far. He pulled away from his rivals after a back-and-forth dog fight with David Hanson over the first 100k, and eventually won by a substantial margin. We were still waiting and watching for our female winner of the 100-mile event.
1 A.M. SUNDAY
Stacey Marion was the female winner of our 100-mile event, finishing in sixth place overall, one of just nine runners to achieve the feat of breaking 20 hours this year. She had a very strategic race and was over 30 minutes back of the leader for much of the day. Night time and true grit allowed Stacy to take over the lead at about mile 81.5 and she never looked back.
1:02 P.M. SUNDAY
Bless her heart, our final 100-mile finisher just crossed the finish line. She is Edna Vazquez Lung. Edna came in a bit over our official published cutoff time. However, she is given well-deserved credit for her accomplishment. She had made all the previous checkpoints in time and she was in good health and in good spirits as she continued to move forward. It is our special pleasure to present Edna with her finisher buckle, the last Kettle Moraine 100 award we will be giving out due to our “retirement.”
Overall for us at the Kettle it has been a great day (and night) (and day) (and 17 years). Between all of our races we had a marvelous finishing rate of 90%, which is a record for the Kettle and a great way to wrap up our 17 years.
We want to give a shout-out to Parker Rios, a local favorite and a good friend of the race, for completing his tenth Kettle 100-mile solo race. Congratulations to Parker. In the 23 years that the race has been in existence there have been only three “1,000-milers.”
The post-race outpouring of kind thoughts has been humbling to us. Now that the results are finalized and race reports written, our only two remaining tasks are to hold our volunteer party and to select a new race director so he/she/they can begin getting ready for the 2019 Kettle Moraine 100..Thanks to the 5,000+ runners who have graced our course since the race was founded. We have hours of stories we could tell. We’re sure going to miss all this.