2012 Silverton 1000 – In Memory Of Dillon Paxton

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.

-Jamil Coury

2011 Report – Elroy Whitworth

I came to the run looking to regroup mentally and do a little “pre-sixty year” review. I got much more than I paid for.

I got to see in a authentic way, life isn’t really all about me.  I experienced courage and humility from people like I hadn’t seen in a long time, if ever. I saw people hobble on a bad knee to a goal– come hell or high water, I saw people with big disappointments in their game plan go work on the trail instead of just sitting down (world class running people), I heard people talk through the aceptance of their age and of one day soon not being able to do these ultra-runs, but to just take up hiking and be content with that stage of life.

I got gifts of “gaiters” and “poles” just from mentioning I would like to borrow some (I have them on display to remember).

I got exposed to some of the most wonderful cooking and hospitality I have experienced so far anywhere — all and all it was the best time and lesson – with the best group of people a man “fixing” to turn 60 could have had.

I think instead of wars and divorce courts, if the parties involved would go to Rodger’s “little” 1 mile loop in Silveron, Colorado and spend 6 days with themselves going in circles till their legs felt like they were falling off — there would be much peace and love making instead of contention.

James Elroy Whitworth, D.V.M.


Don’t fool yourself thinking I learned a big lesson and won’t be back!! I am in Texas with my new “Rodger look a-like” tank tops and I am out here on the farm doing loops and jumping off the barn roof to simulate the down hills on the course — I will come back if the Lord is willing and I will be gunning for 300+ miles, but I would be happy with 100 miles and Tana’s and Ivy’s cooking.

2011 Report – Dave Combs

I just wanted to report on the great time I had attending the Silverton 1000 races (they ended a couple weeks ago on Labor Day.)  Stop now if you’re not interested in a blow-by-blow account of six days of slogging and running around!  VERY long report ahead. 😉

First off, some background.  Back in 1809 a Captain Barclay, a “pedestrian” near London, did an event where he walked/ran 1000 miles in 1000 hours, at a track north of London.  Specifically, he did exactly one mile each and every hour for 1000 straight hours (just short of 42 days.)  Betting was heavy (to the tune of $US 8 million in today’s dollars), but he came through in fine shape, having figured out how to survive on at most about an hour and forty minutes of sleep at a time (run a mile in 10 minutes, say, then sleep for 1:40, then run another mile and finish just before the second hour is up.)

Rodger Wrublik (Across The Years former host, now living in Silverton, CO full-time) decided a couple years ago to see if he could recreate that event, though Rodger loves to make things harder, so he a) did it in Silverton, at 9300+ feet elevation, b) did it on a 1-mile loop, and c) put a 250′ gravel and dirt hill in the first 500 meters of the loop.  The hill goes up to the top of the Kendall Mountain ski lift, then onto a single-track trail he and Jamil Coury cut through some woods and across the ski hill.  You lose all of the 250′ you gained over the next 500 meters or so, and then do a basically flat last 500-600 meters.  Each lap begins and ends inside the ATY 60’x100′ tent from Nardini Manor (those of you that’ve been there know exactly what it looks like), which works really well.  The aid station is also inside the tent, along with separate spaces and tables for each runner, and the timing tent.

Rodger and Jamil Coury put on the event last year, and Jamil’s brother Nick was there to co-RD this year as well. There are several individual events within the overall “Silverton 1000” name.  First, there is the 1000-mile Challenge.  Nobody tried it last year, so Rodger upped the difficulty this year.  You cannot miss any hours (like the original challenge from 1809), but you must complete 350 miles in the first six days, 350 in the second six days, and 300 in the last six day.  You don’t need to both start and end a mile within an hour–you just need to end one (so you can start the previous hour if you want.)  $5000 to the first person to finish it.  Then there is the 1000-mile run.  Same rules but you don’t need to finish a mile every hour.  Then there are the events mere humans can actually do–the six-day, 72-hour, 48-hour and 24-hour.  All finish at 9:00 a.m. Labor Day morning (unless you’re in the 1000-mile events, in which case that’s the end of your first six days, with 12 more to go, basically by yourself.)

Of the nine people entered in the six day (12 more in the 72, another half dozen in the 48 and a couple in the 24), four were legitimately considering going for the 1000-mile challenge: John Geesler (multi-day specialist and many-time U.S. national 24-hour team member), Rodger, Ed Ettinghausen (holds the WR for most marathons in a year with 135) and Jean-Jacques d’Aquin (at least I think he was.)

I was there both to do the race webcast and to participate in the six-day part of the event.  Since I had only a single 100-mile finish to my credit (my first attempt at 100 in Leadville in 1988), and because I can’t do a regular 100 any more (damaged kidneys from a bone-marrow transplant in 2000 make it too dangerous to attempt 100 all in one go), I wanted to try for 100 in five days, 20 per day, with a sixth day if I had problems.

Day 1 (Aug 30):

The first day was interesting, as John and local Cody Bradford (who’d never gone more than 24 miles in a single run) went out pretty hard.  Cody led for almost the entire first day, though was passed by John sometime during the night.  Cody hung on, but ultimately had a bunch of problems with his knees, making going downhill really hard.  He ended up stopping with 150.  John was over 80 miles (?) the first 24, and looking good for the Challenge (you need to maintain almost 60 miles per day for the first two six-day periods.)  Cody’s wife Ivy was also running, though only part time, as she had to deal with their kids after school and in the evenings.  She’d said she was only there to support Cody, but ended up getting 100 miles in 3 short days, running all the downhills and flats and passing virtually everybody a bunch of times.  There was a middle pack of 3 (Ed Ettinghausen, running around in a court-jester costume and hat, after having just completed the Run-de-Vous in San Jose, CA a couple weeks earlier, Jean-Jacques d’Aquin, at 72 the oldest person in the event, and Elroy Whitworth.  All would end up over 200 miles for the six days.)  Host/RD Rodger was also seriously trying for the 1000-mile challenge, and not far behind John and Cody after day 1.

For myself, coming from sea-level to altitude was difficult.  I could breathe fine on the flats and downhills, but was pushing a bit too hard walking the uphills, meaning I spent a lot of time stopped, bent over and breathing hard.  This got easier as the days went on, but never really completely cleared.  I also have bad problems with nerves in the balls of my feet (anything over about 20 miles will lead to a pins-and-needles feeling, which just gets worse until I can’t walk anymore.)  Amazingly, a set of $15 metatarsal pads from Zombie Runner that I got on a whim just before leaving the Bay Area, somehow worked perfectly and kept my feet feeling good the whole six days.  It was a miracle–the first race my feet were basically pain-free in probably 25 years.

Day 1 total: 20 miles by 10 p.m., then back to the Wyman Hotel for a night’s sleep before coming out for day 2.  I believe Ed Ettinghausen overslept at one point this night, so his 1000-mile challenge was over.

Day 2 (Aug 31):

I came out at 8:30 to get in a lap before the official day 2 start (various people mentioned, and I found it to be true, that it’s really great going around early in the morning, from about 6:00 to 9:00, because it’s cool/chilly, you don’t feel any pain, you’re not sweating, and you can rack up a bunch of laps before things warm up.  The second day was even more fun than the first.  All the front-runners kept lapping me as they passed 100 miles, the weather was warm (except for the 15-minute afternoon thundershower around 3 p.m.) and everybody settled into just going around.

The course is quite a bit different depending on which way you’re going (we switched every six hours).  The clockwise direction starts with a gravel hill that progressively gets steeper as you go up, and is pretty continuous except for a couple quick flats, all the way up to the top.  Once you arrive it’s downhill, then a couple very quick, steep drops of 15 feet or so, followed by a ‘Z’ section of single-track through some woods for 100 yards or so before you emerge to even more steep downhill.  Once you get to the open section you’re on the ski hill proper, where it just rolls for another 100 yards or so before another quick 15-foot drop to the flat section.  Then it’s flat or rolling slightly back to the start/finish tent. Going around counter-clockwise you get a nice flat section early, then the uphills start, but it’s more “quick up, then a little easier, then another quick up, then through the Z’s where it’s really steep, then the last two steep ups before the last slog to the top.  The downhill is really nice this direction as it’s all gravel and you can really zoom down it, as long as you’re careful not to kick anything and faceplant. 😉

Day 2 total: 19 miles (40 total) by 9:30 p.m., back to the hotel for the night.

Day 3 (Sept 1)

I was out at 7:00 to get in some early laps with John Geesler (now around 130 miles), and managed to get to 45 before the 9:00 start.  Unfortunately for John, a check of the lap-timing computer revealed that he had not crossed the mat between 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning, so his year+ training for the 1000-mile challenge was in vain.  It turned out, after John thought about it a while, that he’d finished a lap between 1:00 and 2:00, then taken a rest.  He then did a lap, finishing at 3:00:12.  By the race rules, if you finished the lap before 1 minute after the hour you could count it for the previous hour, so he had his lap for 2:00 to 3:00.  He then did another lap, and stopped at his table, just in front of the finish line timing mat.  He took a short break, then went out again and did another lap.  Unfortunately, he forgot to go over the timing mat to complete the lap he’d done just before his short break!  His next lap didn’t finish until a bit after 4:00, so he was missing a lap for 3:00-4:00 and his challenge attempt was over.  I felt really bad for John, given how long he’d been getting ready for the event.  Rather than continue for the rest of the six days, he decided to stay around and help for a couple days before catching a flight back to NY, then preparing for the North Coast 24 Hour (held yesterday and today in Ohio.)  It felt weird having John helping out rather than running, but he was great–he even went out to rake the course and fix a few rocks that were really in annoying spots.  With John out of the challenge that left only Rodger, somewhere around 170 miles.

Day 3 total: 18 miles (63 total) before stopping at 9 p.m. for the night (I found I needed a LOT more sleep than usual–not surprising given my total lack of specific training for the event. 😉

Day 4 (Sept 2)

Up at 6:30 to get in five more laps before the 9:00 start for the day (68 total).  I could see that getting to 100 was pretty much a foregone conclusion, as long as I didn’t injure myself.  It was fun to see the 72-hour folks starting, especially the group from Hawaii.  They had lots of energy and were doing really well all day.  The leaders in the six-day were now most all over 100 miles and pushing for 200.  I was just excited to get as close to 100 as possible before quitting at 9:00 or so, and had a good day.  This was the first day without an afternoon thundershower (they usually lasted about 15 minutes.)  Rodger passed 200 miles and headed for 300.

Day 4 total: 20 miles (88 total) before stopping at 9:30 p.m. for the night.

Day 5 (Sept 3)

Up again at 6:30 to get in six laps before the 9:00 start for the 48-hour folks.  94 total, so the 100 was in the bag.  Everybody that knew that I’d only done 100 once was being really encouraging.  I asked Rodger’s 10-year-old son Gavin (who’d done his own 100 last year in six days) to go around with me on my 100-mile lap.  I’d done the same with him last year (though he didn’t remember 😉 and it meant a lot to me to have him there.  We came around just after noon, and it was nice to finally have it done.  Rodger and Gavin were at the finish to cheer for me at the end, which was great! I then decided to take a two-hour break and basically had no real ambition the rest of the day, having accomplished what I was really there for.

Day 5 total: 11 miles (105 total)

Day 6 (Sept 4)

This was the last full day of the race, and there seemed to be a lot of energy going around.  I decided that it might be nice, if I had a good day, to see if I could tie John Geesler’s 133 miles overall.  I have tremendous respect for John, and I felt really bad that his Challenge attempt had ended early because of a minor mistake on his part.  I didn’t want to pass John, since he’d gotten his 133 in two days, but thought a tie would be nice.  One of last year’s entrants, Bob Combs, had recently moved with his famly from Ohio to Colorado and showed up with his wife Molly and 11-year-old son Shames (say “Shamus”) to just have some fun.  Molly, with no training specifically for the event, had done 12 miles the first day and wanted another 5-8 to make an even 20.  Several of us happened to go up the long hill at the same time, with me trying to set a pace where I didn’t have to stop to bend over to breathe all the way up (it wastes way too much time doing that.)  Everybody else except Molly pushed ahead, and it turned out she and I had exactly the same pace.  We ended up going around together the entire day.  One truly funny part was her “battle” with Shames.  He’d done 26 miles and stopped late in the day.  The two of us just kept going around, making pretty good time on the laps and not wasting much in the aid station.  She’d gotten to 24 miles and we were deciding if it was fair to try to sneak by Shames mileage and get 27 or 28.  We finally decided to see what would happen if we didn’t tell him.  Bob, however, had other ideas, and mentioned “hey, Shames, look at that–your mom has passed you!” when we came in after lap 27.  You could just see the gears turning in Shames’ head as he looked at the scoreboard, projected on the tent roof.  He was trying to figure out when he could sneak out at night from their van and put in more laps to pass his mom back.  Little did he know, however, that Molly and I had already agreed to put in another five laps on the final morning, just to get as much as we could.  She finished the day at 8:00 with 31 laps, having done 18 with me.  Much better than 5-8!

Day 6 total: 23 miles (128 total)  I quit at 8:30 as I only wanted five more laps to finish tied with John

Day 7 (Sept 5)

The race was over at 9:00 a.m., so various of us were out early, trying to get in as many laps as possible.  Molly and I did our five, finishing about 8:30. Rodger, battling ankle issues for the last day, finished with 311, so his challenge was officially over, too.  He was the only person to go the entire six days without missing an hour.  Ed Ettinghausen, dealing with high-altitude shortness of breath for a couple days, managed 251 for second place.  I’d hate to see what he could have done if the breathing issues weren’t there!  72-year-old Jean-Jacques d’Aquin went 233 for third and Elroy Whitworth got over 200 for fourth.

Some of the best parts of the race were actually after it was done.  Everybody that had been going around, from the six-day folks down to the 24-hour ones, had been really helpful and encouraging to all the runners during the entire event.  After 9:00 everybody pitched in to help take down the various inside tents and other equipment before having breakfast and the awards ceremony (last year it took a few of us several hours to do what got done in about 20 minutes.)  There was definitely a small-town, “family” feel to the race that I *really* enjoyed, and Rodger told me that’s one of the things he really wants for the race as it goes forward.  He wants it to grow, and for somebody to finally come along and actually complete the 1000-mile challenge (it certainly looks doable, though not easy, given how well he did the first six days.)  During the awards, Rodger was even nice enough that when it was announced that he was the six-day winner, he actually declined the award (a small ore cart made by a local artist with some fool’s-gold rocks in it.)  As he said, “a race director shouldn’t win his own race!” and promptly gave the award to Ed Ettinghausen, who’d finished second.  What a guy!

I used to say that Across The Years was my favorite race (also, probably not coincidentally, put on by Rodger, among others.)  While I still really enjoy it, I think this one, hard though it is, will now get that spot.  It’s got all you could want–challenge, GREAT scenery, wonderful people both running and helping out, the small-town feel, and one of those “this is all there is in the world” feelings for six days.  If you get a chance to come next Labor Day, take it.  You won’t regret it, whether you try for 1000 miles or do just a single day.  Rodger and the Coury boys have really created a winner here.

Dave Combs

2011 Report – Rodger Wrublik

We had about twice the amount of entrants that we had last year
and the run seems to be really taking off. We had three runners that
we thought had a real chance at making the minimum mileage
requirements and going the distance in the 1000 mile challenge, but
unfortunately, one of the runners, an international entrant, couldn’t
even make it into the states because of the recent hurricane and two
others missed the one mile requirement per hour. After the second day
there was only one participant left in contention for the 1000 mile
challenge, which to my surprise, was me.

For myself, I nearly didn’t start. The night before, we had a problem
finding a key component to our timing system and because of that, I
was up the entire night, looking for it. At about 5 minutes before the
start of the run, wearing my work clothes and work shoes, I told John
Geesler that I wasn’t going to start. I told him that I hadn’t had a
chance to even change my clothes, let alone get any aid ready for
myself. John said no way, and would not let me use that as an excuse.
He convinced me to start the run and at least run the one mile each
hour requirement and maybe I would feel better as the run progressed.
I reluctantly took his advise, made the minimum one mile lap each hour
and in between those laps, made trips back and forth to the hotel to
change my clothes and get my gear together. It all worked out and I’m
so glad that John was so supportive. It was a blast.

Sadly, Ed Ettinghausen made an error on the first night (by
oversleeping) and John Geesler made an error on the second night
(missed recording a lap), which left just myself still in contention
for the 1000. All of the other six day entrants had no intentions of
going for the 1000 mile challenge.

All went well for myself on the first two days, with John Geesler
giving me his support and advice. That is, until an injury from two
months ago at Hardrock, a tendon in my ankle, started playing havoc. I
taped the ankle and it seemed to help for about a day but by the third
day, things were getting much worse. Except for the ankle, I felt
great, but with the bad ankle it was next to impossible to get down
the steep grades with any speed. Each one mile loop has 250 feet of
climb per lap and that all happens in about a quarter mile stretch,
which makes for some really steep climbs and descents.

On the forth, day the 72 hour runnners started their race and I was
doing okay until about mid day. At that time, I was desperate to find
a way to fix my ankle so that I could run again and while in the
process of taping my own ankle for the second time, Joel & Reina
Jenkins from Hawaii (The Foot Guy and his wife who were running in the
72 hour), asked if they could help. Joel taped me up and most of the
pain was immediately gone. This held up for about a day but by the
fifth day, not even the taping was working and I was, once again,
reduced to a sideways crawl on the downhills. One more time, Joel
stepped in and re-taped the ankle which helped immensely but by this
time I had already lost way too much time. I continued on, but
couldn’t make up all those lost miles and came up short of the
required 350 miles to continue on in the challenge. I did, however,
complete a mile lap each and every hour and did finish with a total of
311 miles. I could have added a few more miles but decided to save the
ankle and settle with a 500k finish. Missing the minimum mileage of
350 for the six days, I became the last runner to be knocked out of
contention for the 1000 mile challenge. Long story short, I truly
believe the 1000 mile challenge is possible and feel that next year
will prove that.

There were many other very strong performances. In the 6 day last
year, we only had a single 200 mile finisher, this year we gave out
three 200 mile buckles and one 300 mile buckle. Dave Combs surprised
all of us with 133 miles and a young local, Cody Braford, who had
never run more than 24 miles before and just started running 6 months
ago, really surprised everyone with a strong 150 miles. Ed
Ettinghausen with his crazy costumes was amazingly strong and went 251
miles. Jean Jacques d’Aquin completed 233 miles – 33 more miles than
last years winner. Elroy Whitworth, not only went 205 miles but also
volunteered almost as much as he ran. It’s people like Elroy that make
these types of events so special!

In the 72 hour, we had a really strong showing from longtime friend
Dennis Drey with 138 miles. We also had a big group of runners from
Hawaii which are part of the HURT 100 group. Two in that group, Mike
Garcia and Patricia Carroll were on the course all hours of the day
and night and completed114 miles each. In the 48 hour we had some
solid 100 mile mile performances from William Murphy and Bill Losey.
In the 24 hour run, we had a local artisan that does all of our awards
do his first 50 miler. His name is Ken Webb and owns the Quiet Bear
Art Studio in Silverton. Here’s his site: http://www.quietbearart.com/

I’d like to publicly thank the Jamil and Nick Coury and Aravaipa
Running (http://aravaiparunning.com) for stepping in and taking over
all of the race day directing duties so that I could participate in
this run. It was more fun than I could have ever imagined! Thanks so
much to everyone that helped out and participated!

Registration for next years event will open on or before October 1st

Rodger Wrublik – RD

Silverton, Colorado

Silverton Special Events
Silverton 1000 & 6 Day
Silverton Alpine Marathon & 50k
Kendall Mountain Run