For the third straight year, there were no finishers in the Silverton 1000 Mile Challenge, a brutal ultra marathon conceived by Silverton resident and ultra runner Rodger Wrublik in 2009. Rodger had read about a man in the early 1800’s who had run/walked 1 mile per hour for 1000 consecutive hours and was inspired to create his own version of the challenge right here in Silverton. After bouncing the idea off of friend and fellow ultrarunner Jamil Coury, the two set out to design a trail loop in Silverton worthy of this challenge. The Kendall Mountain Interpretive Trial was built by the two in 2010 for the inaugural Silverton 1000 which ended up also including 6 day, 72 hour, 48 hour and 24 hour runs. The loop features 250 feet of climbing and descent per loop which makes the challenge much more tough considering we are over 9300 feet the entire time! Those who are going after the challenge must meet the 1 mile per hour minimum, but also must run additional miles since the overall cutoff imposed by the race directors was decided to be 18 days with two intermediate cutoffs of 350 miles in 6 days, 700 miles in 12 days, leaving 6 final days for the last 300 miles.
Last year, Rodger completed at least 1 mile in 144 consecutive hours during the first 6 days, but failed to meet the cutoff, amassing 311 miles. This year, John Geesler became only the second runner to complete the first 6 days of running at least 1 mile per hour, completing 301 total miles. Rodger did add one mile to his personal best this year and again won the 6 day race with 312 miles, but ended up missing some hours this time. Other strong runners in the 6 day included locals Cody Braford who ran 250 miles and Ivy Lefebvre who ran 200 (both ran 100 more miles than last year). Their son Blaze completed 112 miles this year at age 11 and nine year old Evan Donovan ran 74 miles over the 6 days. Reina Jenkins was our first female finisher, who came all the way from Hawaii to run 222 miles. Our oldest competitor was Dan Baglione of Foresthill, California who hiked his way to 100 miles.
There were eleven other runners who competed in the 72 hour, 48 hour and 24 hour runs. Garrett Mulrooney ran 151 to win the 72 hour, Ray Dileo ran 70 to place first in the 48 hour and local Ken Webb ran 50 miles in the 24 hour to place first. Ken also created all of the ore cart awards handed out to race winners.
The course is run on an accurately measured 1.0 mile loop of the Kendall Mountain Interpretive Trail which starts at the ice rink at the Kendall Mountain Recreation area and climbs its way 250 feet up to the top of the ski hill before snaking its way down through the forest and around the beaver ponds. Runners go through the large white event tent setup in the ice rink each lap where a timing system records their progress and food is served day and night at an aid station complete with a stove, microwave and refrigerator.
A sad turn of events on Friday night with Dillon Paxton’s passing shifted the focus of the run to be held in his memory. Dillon was entered in the 24 hour run to be held on Sunday and his stated goal was to go for 60 miles. His younger brother Tanner decided to run in his place, coming out on Sunday morning to wear his race bib and timing chip. Soon Dillon’s family and friends came out also wanting to run laps for Dillon. We passed out 12 timing chips by the afternoon, all for Dillon. Family and friends were out all day, night and into the next day running laps for Dillon, totaling almost 220 miles by race end. The showing of support was incredible to see and memories were made out on that course that will stay with us all.
Next year’s Silverton 1000 will start Tuesday, August 27, 2013. You don’t have to wait until then to hike or run on the course, as the Kendall Mountain Interpretive Trail is open to the public right now. Check out the new trailhead kiosk at the Kendall Mountain Recreation Area which houses the Silverton 1000 mine cart, the original Hardrock and soon a map of the trail. The trail is also sporting new trail markers and 1/4 mile markers courtesy of Ken Webb of Quiet Bear Art. Just follow the signs marked “KT” for Kendall Trail. Details, history, results and photos are available at Silverton1000.com.