Among the 81 runners who registered for the fourth Grand Mesa 100 Ultramarathon on July 27 and 28 was at least one with true world class credentials.
Hans-Dieter Weisshaar, a resident of Mexico, Europe and America, is a 73-year-old marathoner who has completed 136 of the 100-mile events, a world record, he told the Delta County Independent at the race.
He is also considered to be the oldest active 100-mile marathoner.
Last month's GM 100 was Weisshaar's second time in Cedaredge for the run. He also participated here last year. Weisshaar's name doesn't appear among finishers of the 100-mile course this year. The event was visited by heavy rains which don't cancel an ultramarathon, organizers explained, but which can thin ranks of the finishers.
There were plenty of unique stories to be told by the entrants, who were from all across America and the world. One story of courage was that of Alyson Kirk of Lakewood. She was running with her husband, John, this year. But in the second GM 100 held in August 2011 she competed with atitanium plate screwed to her femur, the result of a mountain climbing accident earlier, in February of that year. She finished and won the women's division on the 50-mile GM 100 course that year.
During Alyson's broken leg mishap and mountain rescue, she had been aided by rescue squad member Linda Wacht of Littleton. They became friends, and Kirk told Wacht about the GM 100. This year they both competed in the event. Along with them came Alyson's parents from Texas and two in-laws from Denver to enjoy the Grand Mesa's midsummer alpine cool in mosquito-free comfort thanks to a hail storm the day before.
There are other stories of the interesting people that the GM 100 brings to Cedaredge for the event. Pascal Pittet and his family, residents of Switzerland, were here for the run. They had been on holiday in America and Pascal was hoping to find a race in the Lake Tahoe area. He brought his family to Cedaredge instead for the GM 100.
Other racers coming from far away to race on the Grand Mesa includedDon Frichtl of Paxton, Ill. Able to take a break from his non-irrigated corn and soybean farm, he found the GM 100 online and came because it fit his schedule. He was running the 60k (37-mile) course.
School teacher Carter Williams from Salt Lake City likes the "low key" feeling of the GM 100 event and the beauty of the Grand Mesa's natural setting.
Other runners agreed with Williams that the unpressured feeling of a smaller race venue, along with the Grand Mesa setting make for an attractive race venue. They also like the varied terrain, the Crag Crest section, and the course layout that lets runners challenge themselves at their own pace. Race director Phil Berghauser of Eckert wants to keep the four-year-old race event as friendly and enjoyable for racers as possible.
According to race results provided to the DCI, the runners were competitive. In the 100-mile course men's division, the first and second place finishers were only two minutes apart: 20 hours, 23 minutes vs. 20hours, 25 minutes.
The first-place women's finisher in the 100-mile course was 21 hours, 21 minutes.blog comments powered by Disqus