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Re: [hr100] The Story of the Kendall Mountain Run with References to Hardrock

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  • james varner
    thanks for sharing charlie! it s good to finally read a detailed history of the race and having run that race once myself i can attest that is one heck of a
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 25 3:20 PM
      thanks for sharing charlie! it's good to finally read a detailed history of the
      race and having run that race once myself i can attest that is one heck of a

      Rainshadow Running 2011 Race Schedule

      Feb 5 Orcas Island 50k/25k Eastsound, WA (SOLD OUT)
      Mar 12 Gorge Waterfalls 50k Cascade Locks, OR (SOLD OUT)
      Apr 3 Yakima Skyline Rim 50k/25k Ellensburg, WA (SOLD OUT)
      May 22 Sun Mountain 50m/50k/25k/1k Winthrop, WA (Was 95% Full on Race Day)
      Jun 12 Beacon Rock 50k/25k N. Bonneville, WA(Was 75% Full on Race Day)
      Aug 13 Angels Staircase 50m/50k/25k Carlton, WA(Registration Now Open!)
      Sept 17 Cle Elum Ridge 50k/25k Cle Elum, WA(80% full as of 5/26/11)
      Sept 25 Winthrop Road Marathon Winthrop, WA(Registration Now Open!)
      Oct 8 Mt Spokane 50k/25k Spokane, WA
      Nov 26 Christmas at the End of the Road 5k/1k Winthrop, WA
      Dec 10 Deception Pass 50k/25k Oak Harbor, WA

      North Cascades PCT 100k/50k has been postponed until Sept 2012--Sorry!

      From: Charles Thorn <thorncha@...>
      To: HR100List <hr100@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Mon, July 25, 2011 2:09:13 PM
      Subject: [hr100] The Story of the Kendall Mountain Run with References to


      I know that may Hardrockers are interested in our history. Below is a copy
      of a fine article by David Swanson that appeared in the July 21, 2011
      Standard and the Miner* beginning on page 2. It's really the history of the
      Kendall Mountain Run but contains important notes on our Hardrock History,
      in particularly the fact that Rick Trujillo, who was instrumental in making
      (and keeping) Hadrock what it is, is also credited with the modern revival
      of Kendall Mountain. I've made a pdf file containing two pictures from the
      Silverton Standard and the original article, that I can email to anyone who
      contacts me off line.

      Also, of historical note, is that 2011 (and multiple) Hardrock finisher and
      Wyman Hotel co-owner is the current Kendall Mountain Run RD. Rodger owns
      and set up the finish line tent and supports Hardrock beyond all proportion
      to his return. At http://silvertonalpinerunning.com/page.php?2 you can find
      out about other Silverton area runs, including the upcoming Silverton Alpine
      Marathon & 50K, that Rodger makes happen.

      Enjoy Hardrock history. Enjoy Silverton Running.

      [The Story of the Kendall Mountain Run with References to Hardrock]

      *Conquering Kendall — again*

      *[copied, with permission, from The Silverton Standard and the Miner, July
      21, 2011]*

      *An earlier rendering of the dash up the mountain during Silverton’s boom
      days — in August 1908 to be precise — predates the modern day version of the

      On Monday, August 24, 1908, miner Neil McQuieg raced to the top of
      13,066-foot Kendall Mountain and back to town on a bet that he could do it
      in less than an hour and a half. He lost the bet, but only by a minute and
      42 seconds.*

      By David Swanson

      With its revival in 1978, the Kendall Mountain Run has built up quite a
      tradition and reputation.

      Kendall, as it’s affectionately referred to by certain masochistic types, is
      a foot race which entails an ascent and decent of Kendall Mountain,
      overlooking Silverton.

      Beginning in front of the Grand Imperial Hotel the course follows a steep
      Jeep road that winds its way up the mountain, ending on the back side, and
      within 350 feet of the summit. From there, runners are required to do their
      best mountain goat imitation —minus the bleating — and scramble to the
      summit, touch a shepherd’s staff at the top and then descend in a mad
      scramble back down the mountain and into town.

      An earlier rendering of the dash up the mountain during Silverton’s boom
      days — in August 1908 to be precise — predates the modern-day version of the
      race. At that time, a casual conversation between a Silverton saloon owner
      named Jack Slattery and a man named Charlie Worden took place. The
      conversation drifted to mountain climbing and Worden mentioned to Slattery
      that he knew a man who could ascend and descend the mountain in an hour and
      a half.

      A $200 bet was wagered and word soon spread throughout Silverton sporting
      circles. Additional bets were placed and on the morning of Monday, Aug. 24,
      1908, the contest was set. Worden chose as his man to achieve the feat Neil
      McQuieg, a miner who worked at the Frank Hough Mine, high on Engineer
      Mountain above Animas Forks.

      McQuieg, 53 years old at the time and a man of small build and stature,
      started straight up the face of the mountain at 10:45 a.m., reaching the
      summit in one hour, seven minutes and 40 seconds — an amazing athletic feat
      even by today’s standards, and truly superhuman at that time. Despite
      getting lost twice during the descent, McQuieg still managed to blast his
      way back into town in one-hour, 31 minutes and 42 seconds.

      Slattery had technically won the bet, but those present at the time raved
      about the fact they’d just witnessed the setting of a remarkable athletic
      record. But as the saying goes, “records are made to be broken,” and this
      one was no exception.

      On Labor Day of that year, in response to heavy betting on his claim that he
      could better McQuieg’s time, Myron McWright, a 21-year-old Scotch Canadian
      miner, tackled the mountain in 1:27:25, beating the record by over four

      Legend has it that McWright was one of those strange types who was always
      trying to improve on things, so consequently he was not happy enough with
      his time. Four days later he attempted to break his own record.

      The historical record also shows that McWright tried to set his new record
      on a rainy Friday afternoon in response to a wager of $60. Being a
      spur-of-the-moment decision, McWright tried to pull off the feat under
      highly adverse conditions. Rain was falling in the valley, snow falling
      above timberline, nightfall was fast approaching and McWright was in a
      slightly inebriated state from his saloon socializing that afternoon. These
      were generally not the ideal conditions for attempts to break an athletic

      Predictably, McWright’s undertaking to cheat the devil backfired on him when
      he failed to return to town by 8 p.m. A rescue party was organized and an
      all-night search resulted in the finding of McWright’s body just below the

      On the way down he apparently tripped and fell over a cliff, striking his
      head on a rock and was killed by either early September exposure to the
      elements or the fall itself. No one is sure precisely what led to his

      This tragic turn of events led to the sport of running up and down Kendall
      Mountain taking a 60-year hiatus. No doubt curiosity and temptation got the
      better of some athletes, and attempts to break the record may have taken
      place during the intervening years, but historical records are sketchy or

      Finally in October of 1975, Rick Trujillo of Ouray, one of the most famous
      modern-day mountain runners in this (or any other part) of the world
      attempted to break the records of McQuieg and McWright.

      Using a route that closely followed that of those two, Trujillo shattered
      the record, completing the trip in 1:23:07. Trujillo’s record for that full
      frontal assault of the mountain still stands to this day. The modern day
      annual race does not go up the front face, but follows a steep Jeep road
      which winds its way up and around the mountain.

      The current version of the race should be credited to attorney and running
      enthusiast Bill Corwin.

      Inspired by the feats of Trujillo and by his own experiences running the
      Pike’s Peak Marathon, Corwin originated the idea for an annual foot race up
      the mountain in 1978. The first year it was held, the Kendall Mountain Run —
      to no one’s surprise — was won by Trujillo in 1:40:01. The modern day course
      record is held by Sheldon Larsen, a lightning quick ascent and descent of
      1:35:07 achieved during the 1985 race.

      In the 33 years the modern day race has been run, a number of unique
      features make it stand out. The sheer beauty of the course itself is a
      notable characteristic, with stunning views of the back side basin of the
      mountain as competitors catch the early morning sunlight during their climb
      up the mountain.

      Additionally, mountain wildflowers matching every color in the rainbow can
      be found in gaudy profusion during the climb up and back down.

      The road to the summit, once it hits the back side, becomes extremely steep
      — so precipitous that more than a few competitors begin to wonder whether
      that time they fell off the refrigerator at age 5 really did have a
      deleterious effect upon their mental state.

      The 350-foot hands-and knees scramble to the summit once the road ends also
      adds to the uniqueness of the race. Competitors have also been heard
      swearing under their breath as they scramble their way up this part of the

      Once the runner has crossed the finish line in town, a BBQ picnic awaits
      them post-race. The lunch was first established in the mid-1980s and
      continues to the present. It’s definitely a big incentive for many runners
      to get down the mountain as fast as possible — thoughts of that first bite
      of cheeseburger floating through their heads as they rip their way down the

      Whenever this author is asked if he’ll ever run the Hardrock Hundred or any
      other similar mountain ultraendurance suffer-fest, he always give the same
      pat answer. “No, I think I’ll stick to the ‘easy’ stuff —like Kendall.”

      *David Swanson is a resident of Silverton. He finished the Kendall Mountain
      Run in a time of 2:55:36 on Saturday, July 16.*

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