2003- New Women's 100 k Course Record

2003 – New Women’s 100km course record sets overall record too

As our second year as race directors wound down we were again overjoyed to be able to help 135 runners, numerous pacers, our gang of volunteers and all the family and friends experience the extremes of joy and sorrow all rolled into a serious dose of pain.

Overall 97 runners wrote happy endings to their ultramarathon stories at this year’s Kettle. Another 29 were able to say they had finished 100km even if they had been hoping to tackle the 100 mile course. Once again we had 3 races starting off in the morning dusk, a 100 miler, 100 km and 100 mile relay.

In the 100-mile event, ultra newcomer Nate Emerson, 27, had a spectacular showing with his first 100 mile event. Our women’s winner was Jodeen Hettenbach, 39, and what made the race enjoyable for all was seeing what JoDeen would be wearing next. Her trip around the course included five complete costume changes in the first 62 miles alone. Nate and Jodeen were each awarded our traditional first-place award of a handsome copper kettle.

Our 100-kilometer event continued to increase in popularity. First place overall was also the women’s winner, Ragan Petrie with a new course record for men and women. Michael Davenport is a regular at Wisconsin ultrarunning events and won the men’s 100K race.

This year we doubled our participation in the 100-mile relay. The competition was tough and the solo race leaders were kept company by the fresh relay teams throughout the day and night. A mixed team from IL took honors as the first team.

Happily, we enjoyed a high finishing rate again this year. Nineteen hours of dry, mild weather helped. Also, for better or for worse, our course is set up so would-be 100-mile runners can drop out at the 100K mark and still get an official time for that distance. (However, runners are eligible for place awards only if they complete the event they sign up for.) Every runner who reaches 100K also receives one of our unique little copper kettles as a memento of the race. As we travel the country we are happy to hear that people appreciate our unique awards.

We mentioned those 19 hours of nice weather. By that time (1 a.m.), all of our 100K finishers were in. But most of our 100-mile runners were still strung out along the final 38 miles of the trail when a tremendous thunderstorm struck. The downpour was a deluge. How we didn’t lose anyone in the woods, we don’t know. The rain was so heavy, runners reported that flashlights reflected back all their light without shining on the path ahead. Maybe the lightning helped light the way. Lots of folks sought shelter at the nearest aid stations and squeezed in under cover with our volunteers.

For those stuck in between aid stations more ingenuity was required to prevent hypothermia. As Bill Wilkey and Parker Rios pushed through the finish line the rain couldn’t get much worse. Bill and a pacer had modified a space blanket to fit over their heads in bonnet style, providing some comedy for the finish line aid station volunteers.

After a wild half hour, the storm passed as abruptly as it began. No lasting harm came of it. As we’re fond of saying, our Kettle Moraine trails “drain well” and Tom Bunk’s painted trail markings withstood the test.

As the 30 hour cutoff neared we were speculating whether or not Vince Varrone would be able to make it. The consensus was positive and he came through with plenty of time to spare. The decision to finish came back at mile 85 where he had the aid station captain call the finish line to inform everyone that Vince was behind the recommended cutoffs, but would make them up over the last 15 miles.

The race directors’ “dessert” after an ultra is the post-race cards and letters we receive from runners and crew. Once again, most people’s comments this year rightfully reflected on the lovable volunteers who staff our aid stations. We wish we could dedicate an entire article to our many friends who rolled up their sleeves and worked to make the Kettle Moraine 100 a success for the eighth year in a row. And our volunteers are always the first to turn the praise back on the runners for their courage and tenacity as they wrote their ultramarathon stories again this year.

First 100 miler 2002

This afternoon, as I drifted in and out of consciousness on the massage table while Igor (yes, really, he’s Russian) tried to work the soreness out of my tired old body, I thought a lot about how truly blessed I am.  Yesterday morning at 10:28 am – 28 hours, 28 minutes, and some number of seconds after I had started – I had crossed the finish line of the Kettle Moraine 100 mile trail run. My training partner and best buddy, Jeff Wold, who planted the “ultra” seed in my mind back in 1995, was at my side, just as he had been since mile 62. My devoted crew, Anna Belu and Kathy Casale, were there waiting and cheering, just as they had been at every “crew accessible” aid station. Anna was taking pictures and writing down the numbers. Kathy had a tear in her eye – yeah, I saw that, Kathy. Race Director Tim Yanacheck came out with a big smile, shook my hand, and handed me my finisher’s award, the coolest little copper kettle. Another friend and occasional training partner, Scott Wagner smiled at me from the chair into which he had collapsed three minutes earlier. And yet another good buddy and training partner, Larry Pederson, who had paced Scott for those last 38 miles, beamed at me, grinning from ear to ear. Yeah, blessed.

Anna, Kathy and I had left the Twin Cities around 10 am on Friday.  During the six hours or so that it took to reach LaGrange, Wisconsin, we talked, listened to tunes, ate a hearty lunch, took turns driving, and had a lot of fun. By about 5:30, we had checked into the motel, the “girls” had changed into running clothes, and I was sitting at a picnic table at packet pickup, comparing braids with local speedster and 100K entrant Christine Crawford. Christine’s braid was judged (by Christine) to be a tad longer than mine, but mine was hands down grayer. The evening was rather warm, and the two of us confided to each other that we are NOT very good hot weather runners. We chatted more as other familiar faces came and went, and I realized that I felt very relaxed and ready for my first attempt at a 100 mile trail run. The heat concerned me a bit, but I felt confident that I was very well trained for every other aspect of the event.

I slept rather fitfully, evidently more apprehensive about things than I had realized. I woke a number of times, but the upside of that was that I knew I was well hydrated. The downside was that I probably only slept for about 4 or 5 hours, total. When the alarm went off at 4:25, I got up immediately to get dressed and get my breakfast down. I tried to be as quiet as possible, and let my crew get as much sleep as possible. As soon as I was dressed, I stepped outside to check the temperature, and also to check for Jeff, who had planned to arrive around 5 am, and tumble into one of the beds we would be abandoning and get a good day’s sleep before assuming pacing duties at the 100K mark. Jeff was there, as expected. Within a few minutes, my crew and I were headed for the start, and Jeff was asleep in the room.

The temperature at the bank in Whitewater was 56 as we passed by around 5:15. The sky was cloudless, and it was apparent that the day would heat up quickly. My stomach was feeling queasy already, probably a combination of too little sleep, too much breakfast, and nerves. I figured the feeling would pass once the RD set us in motion. At 6:00 sharp, 83 hundred milers, 29 hundred Kers, and a couple of 100 mile relay runners headed off into the woods.

I ran conservatively, drawing on my experience of 30 or so previous ultras, including four 24-hour races. As expected, the temperature rose quickly, and I drank steadily from my CamelBak. But unexpectedly, my stomach continued to feel somewhat upset. The smiling faces of Kathy and Anna at mile 7.5 gave me a huge lift, and the concern on Anna’s faceaf ter I spent about 5 minutes in the porta-potty at that aid station touched me. These two friends had each taken a vacation day, and devoted an entire weekend to support me in my quest for 100 miles, and another had driven through the night in order to be there to kick my butt when it would most need that treatment. There was no way I could let these people down. I ate some of the crystallized ginger that I had brought along for battling stomach upset, and headed out on the long stretch to the 31-mile turnaround.

The first 16 miles is well-shaded, and the ginger seemed to be doing its job. This part of the course is quite runnable, and I had to force myself to take walking breaks. The ginger had calmed my stomach pretty well, and I was running strong and on pace to easily finish under the 30-hour limit. Shortly after mile 16, however, there are some long stretches of unshaded meadows. The trails are very runnable, but very exposed to the sun. Knowing my usual vulnerability to heat, I became even more diligent about forcing myself to walk periodically, and made an extra effort to keep my water as cold as possible. At the next aid station, I filled my hat with ice, as Kathy and Anna swabbed me down with sponges drenched in cold water, and then slathered me with sunblock. Meanwhile, an aid station volunteer honored my request to put as much ice as he had to spare into my 70-ounce Omega bladder, and top it up with water. I hugged my crew, thanked the volunteers, and was off again into the oven that these meadows had become. I was staying hydrated, taking a Succeed! electrolyte capsule every hour, consuming Balance Bars and aid station fare, and keeping the stomach discomfort in the tolerable range. But about 30 minutes out of that aid station, I sucked on my bite valve, and nothing happened. I reached around back, and I realized that my pack is so well insulated that the ice had not melted. I had about 50 ounces of ice, melting at a pace slower than I needed it. Uh oh. Just suck it up and trust that all will work out in the end.

But remember, I am blessed. Before I got into any serious trouble, I was able to add some water to the bladder. The downside was that about 10 minutes later, I realized that while I was adding the water, I had dropped my bandana, which I use constantly during long events, for many different purposes. Again, I refused to let myself get too distracted by this little bump in the road, and at the next aid station, another runner’s crew had my bandana for me. Wow. My own crew, my two “babes,” as the usual suspects (you know who you are, Pat, Brad, et al) were calling them, continued with their wonderful support, greeting me with smiles, hugs, food, drink, sponges, and inspiring words.

I ran for many hours through this stretch with Phil Oelkers from Illinois, and we talked a lot and took turns pulling each other along. As we returned from the 31 mile turnaround, where we had made the first enforced cutoff by about an hour, we discussed our pace, and the dreaded open meadows that lay between us and the next enforced cutoff at mile 62, back at the start/finish area. Around mile 50, I think, after some clouds had mercifully helped us through those meadows, my stomach finally started to feel good, and I picked up the pace a bit. Anna and Kathy had my lights ready for me just when I needed them, and Anna, a scientist by vocation, let me know that I had even managed a pace that put me further ahead of the upcoming 62 mile cutoff. When I did get there, Jeff was all ready to begin his role as pacer, and guide me through those last 38 miles. I was 1:25 ahead of the cutoff – it was 10:30 pm.

Jeff and I have run probably a few thousand miles together since I moved to MN in 1995. Perhaps the only person with whom I have run more miles is my wife, Chris Markham. Chris teaches 9th grade science, and had stayed at home to wrap up end of school stuff, and to cheer for our younger son, Ari, who was competing in the 1600 meter race at Section Championships on Saturday. As Jeff and I headed out into the darkness, he told me that he had just spoken to Chris, and that Ari had run a 4:36, good for a 4th place medal in his event. Yeah, man, that was some great news, and got me ever more stoked. We cruised along, just as we have so many times before, sharing our love of running and the outdoors. We talked a little, but said so much more. Every once in awhile, we turned off our headlamps and enjoyed the silence and the dark of night. We listened wordlessly to the coyotes and frogs, and the other sounds of the night. Every so often, Jeff would tell me how strong I was running, and where we stood in relation to the cutoffs. And at every aid station, Kathy and Anna were there to make sure we were eating and drinking well, that we were staying warm, and to tell us how awesome we looked. It was very dark out there.

There was a lovely half to 3/4 moon that broke free of a cloud about 1:00 am. The temperature was now about 60, and I was finally very comfortable in my singlet. Virtually all the volunteers and crews, and many other runners, were now clad in jackets. But Jeff and I were moving very well, and were generating plenty of heat to keep ourselves warm. We were almost two full hours ahead of the cutoffs when we hit the four mile stretch to the 81-mile turnaround, and after stumbling over roots and rocks, decided that it was a good time to do a lot of walking. We power walked most of the way out and back, and still were 1:30 ahead of the final aid station cutoff “back” at mile 85. Our headlamps had been extinguished at 4:59 am, as we witnessed a lovely sunrise from some more of the open meadows that decorate the trail.

We had fifteen miles to go, and six and a quarter hours to get there. And we were still taking frequent running breaks from our awesome walking. All we had to do now was stay strong, and avoid doing anything stupid. Our excitement rose, as did Anna’s and Kathy’s. Their smiles got bigger at each aid station, and even in the daylight, they continued to tell us how good we looked. The volunteers at the last aid station, 5 miles from the finish, had promised pancakes upon our return when we had last seen them at mile 67. And they had then ready for us now! It was doubtless the longest aid station stop of the run for me, but I gobbled down a couple of pancakes with syrup, while Jeff more daringly devoured some breakfast sausage. We headed out of there well-fueled, and with plenty of time to walk it in if we had to.

My stomach problems had never completely gone away, however, so putting so much food in there all at once had a pretty quick effect on me. For the fourth time of the event, I had found a nice quiet spot to squat in the woods. Squatting after 95 miles has all sorts of interesting effects of the body. But I survived, and returned quickly to Jeff’s side, shaking the cramps out of my quads as we powered up and down the hilly cross-country ski trails that would take us home. The sun was up now, and the temperature had risen a bit, but it was still quite comfortable.  But I was finally starting to feel weary, and we were doing almost 100% walking. We were still about an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half ahead of the cutoff pace, so it was just a matter of maintaining forward motion for another hour and a quarter or so. It was about this time that we encountered an elderly couple walking together on the trail. They asked if we were participating in the 100 mile race, and when Jeff replied that I was, and that he was pacing me, the woman asked me, “What do you do with your mind when you’re running a hundred miles?” Without hesitation, I replied, “Ignore it.” About 10 seconds later, Jeff turned to me, laughing like crazy, and said that he might have a new favorite ultra quotation.

We finished strong, running the last mile or so, but still managing to get passed by a resurrected Scott, who had nearly dropped at mile 62, and had looked like a “Night of the Living Dead” cast member at mile 81. Another runner also passed us, but I couldn’t have cared less. As we came into sight of the finish, people were hollering, Anna was snapping photos, Kathy was brushing away a tear, and I was pumping my fist. I had completed my first attempt at 100 miles on trails, and I was proud and grateful. Upon learning a few minutes ago that I was one of only 38 of the 83 starters to complete the 100 miles, I felt even more blessed.

I can’t say enough thanks to Jeff, Anna, and Kathy for their support out there. I don’t want to even think about what it would have been like without them out there, inspiring me and taking such good care of me. Thanks to Tim Yanacheck, Jason Dorgan, and their volunteers for putting on an awesome race. Thanks to all my training buddies for their patience and support along the way. Thanks to Christine Crawford for the cute little flower hair thingie that she gave me for luck as we gathered for the start – I wore it all day, and it is permanently attached now to my race bib. And finally, thanks to my wife and son for inspiring me to run as strong as they both do, and for sending me off with love and confidence.

On the website (https://www.kettle100.com/), my name is listed as a “100 mile solo” entrant. Not the way I see it.

Tough Time 2002

Thanks for a most unforgettable experience.  I didn’t get back to Nordic for the 3rd time and a 100 mile finish, as I had hoped, but I pushed the envelope a little.

My first outing at KM100, in 98, resulted in a drop at 50 miles after taking a wrong turn and losing an hour exploring Wisconsin farmlands.

I returned last year, stayed on course, and felt fine, but couldn’t get past the 100k point due to the enforcement of the 9:30pm cutoff.

After that experience I had given up the hope of ever attempting KM100 again, until May 19–less than two weeks prior to the race–when I just happened to check out your website and discover that you had extended the 100k cutoff to midnight.  Wow!  A chance to FINISH this monster!  I overnighted my entry the same day.

All well…fate can be unkind.  Because of the heat I was popping Karl King’s S-Caps on an hourly basis and gulping cokes at every aid station.  During the night I took a NoDoz tablet and used caffeinated Hammer Gel to stay awake, which apparently didn’t do the trick because I was rudely awakened when my face bounced off the trail somewhere between
Nordic and Highway 12.  This was no wimpy “trip and roll” kind of thing but a real-for-sure FACE plant–no hands, no shoulders, just face, bouncing off the ground like a damn basketball.  THAT woke me up.

At some point I stopped to take a rock out of my shoe and noticed that my heart was racing.  Seemed kind of odd but then it had been a hard, hot day.  I missed the cutoffs at Highway 12 and Rice Lake, where I finally called it a day and headed back to the motel with my wife.

When we got up at 1 pm, my heart was still racing, so my wife (an RN) took me to the hospital in Fort Atkinson to have it checked out.  They put me in the ER immediately and rigged me up to monitors on one arm and three IVs on the other.  My heart rate was 150, which I can’t achieve on a treadmill with a full sprint.

By this time, I’d been tachycardic for maybe 30 hours straight, and the emergency room docs couldn’t get the rate down.  They tried two or three drugs with no results.  They finally eliminated the possibility of Atrial Fibrillation and concluded that I had a more serious condition, Atrial Flutter, in which the heart just quivers.  This is dangerous because it can wear the heart out and allow blood to pool and clot.

After several hours in the ER they gave me a drug that slowed the flutter from 150 to 70 beats a minute, although my heart still wasn’t functioning in a normal sinus rhythm.  Shortly later, as they were transferring me to the Intensive Care Unit, my heart “converted” to a normal pattern, pumping at my usual 46 pulse rate.

After monitoring the situation for a few more hours, they finally discharged me at 7:30 pm and the wife and I immediately headed to Randy’s for a delicious turkey dinner–our first meal since the day before.  This demonstrates the maxim that “all’s well that ends well” and in view of the alternatives, just being alive and well made up for not reaching the elusive 100 mile mark.

The doctors concluded that the electrical problem with my heart’s firing mechanism was caused by the high intake of electrolytes and caffeine combined with the heat and exertion.  So I wonder what the weather will be like NEXT year…

Thanks for a terrific race with unbelievable support and the nicest people I’ve ever met at aid stations.  Even with the detour to Fort Atkinson, we had a wonderful time in Wisconsin.

VHTRC 2002

Four members of the VHTRC successfully conquered the seventh running of the Kettle Moraine 100 Miler, overcoming a 93-degree, cloud-free day to pick up our commemorative copper kettle finisher awards.

Ed Schultze, John Dodds, Kerry Owens and I (Jaret Seiberg) traveled out to Wisconsin for this 100 Miler, which also has a 100 K option. John and Ed had both done MMT three weeks earlier so I thought they were nuts. Then Ed does a 50 mile training run the week before just because some friends wanted to run the entire Greenway trail out-and-back. That just reinforced my notion that he was crazy. Yet Ed appeared sane compared to Dodds, who still had a massive blister on his foot from MMT and who is signed up to do Laurel Highlands this weekend.

That meant Kerry and I were the only sane ones. This probably should be the time to mention that the prior weekend while cutting through a series of fields to cheer my wife on during her first 5K run that I got poison ivy all over both legs, both feet, both arms, both hands, my hips, and lower back. It was severe enough that the doctor put me on steroids. (No, not the kind that bulk up muscles.) Also, Kerry re-injured her ankle just a few days before the race, which resulted in much swelling and made it painful to walk

So as I was saying, Kerry and I were the only sane ones.

Ed and I meet up with John at noon Friday at the Milwaukee airport. Ed had a big duffel bag, I have medium duffel and a small backpack. John had three suitcases. Ed and I were quietly applauding ourselves for agreeing to the car upgrade when we saw all the luggage. Unfortunately we only had upgraded to a Dodge Neon, which has a trunk that barely fits one suit case let alone all the crap we brought with us. I can’t fathom what the other car would have been.

2002- New Race Directors

2002 – New race directors bring a hot year to the Kettles

Whew, it was hot for the Kettle Moraine 100 Endurance Runs this year!  The heat and humidity were too much for some runners.  An additional 27 100 mile runners opted to call it a day at the 100 km point.  The results reflect the fact that we gave our 100 mile runners credit for their 100 km time if they dropped out at or beyond that distance.  However, medals for place awards were given only for the distance the runners signed up for.  We crowned four new solo champions in addition to our two 100 mile relay champions.

We anticipate these 4-person relay events will gain in popularity in the years ahead, giving more trail-runners a chance to compete at a less daunting distance while enjoying the special camaraderie of a team effort and the ultra running community.

Our selfless and enthusiastic gang of volunteers was able to keep up with the runners’ needs throughout the day and night.  At the 100 km point one runner who was continuing, but at the same time fretting over how tired his feet were.  Upon hearing this, the aid station captain, offered up her socks and made his day.  (By the way, if you happen to read this please bring the socks with you next year.)

1996-2001 The Early Years

1996 – First Year

Kevin Setnes instituted a Friday afternoon start and a 28-hour time limit for the first KM100.  Wisconsin’s Ray O’Malley became the race’s first-ever winner in 18:41:50.  Christina Ralph of Washington was the first female winner, in 21:42:45.  95 runners started the race, and 63 finished.

1997 – New Records

The second KM100 also began on Friday afternoon, a factor considered as somewhat of an equalizer because all runners would be required to all night.  The men’s and overall winner, Dana Taylor of California, set a new course record in 17:51:40.  Marge Adelman of Kansas won the women’s race and also set a course record, 21:12:25.  54 runners finished the race under the 28-hour time limit.

1998 –  An historic victory

Donna Perkins, a Wisconsin local, was the first female and the overall winner of the third KM100.  Thus, she became the first woman to ever win a 100-mile trail race outright.  Donna also broke the women’s course record of 18:12:30.  The first male and second overall was Marty Hoffman, also of Wisconsin, in 18:36:10.  Kevin continued the practice of a Friday afternoon start and a 28-hour time limit.  62 runners completed the race within the 28-hour limit.

1999 – Hot, humid weather

Wisconsin summers can be hot and humid affairs.  This fourth edition of the KM100 was the first to deal such withering weather to our runners.  The Friday afternoon start proved to be somewhat of a boon, as the sunset provided a little relief.  Eric Clifton, New Mexico, came in first, winning by over two hours and setting the current course record in 15:57:09. Holly Neault-Zinzow, then from Illinois and now from Wisconsin, was the first female finisher, in 21:38:39.  The weather contributed to a 50% DNF rate  –  114 runners started, 57 finished. Again, there was a 28-hour time limit in effect.

2000 – New winners again

Our usual pleasant Wisconsin early-summer weather conditions returned for the fifth KM100.  The start of the race was moved to Friday noon, allowing a few more hours of daylight running while the runners were still fresh.  The winner, Hal Koerner of Colorado, finished in 18:03:59, less than 10 minutes ahead of Terry Pann in the closest KM100 finish to date.  In her first attempt at a 100-mile race, Ann Heaslett, another local Wisconsin runner, was the women’s winner in 20:44:10.  53 of 88 starters finished the race.

2001 – First repeat winner

Kevin switched to the more conventional Saturday morning start for this sixth KM100, extended the time limit to 30 hours, and added a 100-kilometer event.  The weather was pretty miserable for the most part, chilly and drizzly.  Terry Pann was the men’s and overall 100-mile winner in 18:06, while Ann Heaslett became the first runner  –  male or female  – to repeat as winner of her event, in 18:45, which was good for second place overall.  This was a year for outstanding performances by women, with Janice Anderson of Georgia finishing as the second woman and fourth overall.  The winners of the inaugural 100K race were Colorado’s Brandon Sybrowsky and Wisconsin’s Holly Neault-Zinzow.