Last winter, the very tough Kerry Owens elected to drop in a race. She was roughly half-way through, but the prospect of covering 40 miles of largely unmarked trail that she didn't know, at night, during a winter storm in February 2007 led to a momentary lapse into common sense. This race requires participants to drag/pull a sled containing winter survival gear. Said John Hayward in nominating her: "I believe her own quotes say more [than I can] about why she deserves the award." Kerry wrote at the time: "People are losing toes. Lights don't work. Bikes are falling apart. Cars don't start. It seemed dangerous to go for 40 miles with no shelter and no companion." But then, afterwards, she wrote: "I hated to succumb to defeat. Physically, I was doing great, but I dropped out of pure fear of spending the entire night alone at 35 degrees below zero. Next time I will be more prepared for success. It was a learning experience." Anyone who would enter such a race might be considered for nomination, but only someone who is contemplating re-entering such an event is worthy of winning such an award in questionable judgment.
The 2005 award winner makes a reappearance for her performance in last Autumn's Mountain Masochist. Nearing the end of the race, Vicki suffered a deep gouge in her shin from a small, but very sharp stick. Ever the dogged competitor, she kept on going. Blood gushed from the wound, down her shin and into her shoe. Entering and leaving the Poplar Ridge aid station at the 43 mile mark, she was still confident that she could finish. It didnít take long to discover otherwise. Her sock and shoe had grown sodden with her own blood. Cold, growing sick to her stomach and a bit unsteady, she stopped, then collapsed. Fortunately, like Blanche Dubois, Vicki was able to rely on the kindness of strangers, as runners fashioned a litter made from sticks and jackets and carried her back to the previous road-crossing for extraction. While this award is intended in the spirit of good fun, Vicki's own email following the event really points out how dependent we are on others to save us from our own misdeeds and that we can serve as a bad example to others while providing colorful anecdotes for our friends. As she wrote afterwards:
"My deepest gratitude to all of you in no particular order: Darin, Carl, Devon, J.R., some other gentlemen, Tonya, Barb, Dr. Wortley, and the others for all the help and encouragement."
These gentlemen managed to get lost on a two-hour run, i.e. "a three hour cruise...a three hour cruise." They stayed lost for nearly as long as Gilligan, and as a bonus violated the territorial integrity of a sovereign nation, nearly ignited an international incident, and inconvenienced Tom Corris, who was waiting for them at the trail-head. In one of those big square states out west for the Big Horn 50/100 last summer and a couple of days before the race, they thought they'd go for a short run. At one point, making a 180 degree navigation error (they had no map and no compass, BTW) they were running in exactly the opposite direction from which they thought they were running. Thus, any corrective navigation would also be exactly the wrong turn. Encountering some ribbons for the forthcoming race that differed from their expert knowledge of the course, they very helpfully remarked the course. Eventually, they descended the mountain into a different big square state and into the Sovereign Crow Nation. Given that Aboriginal Americans once roamed an open land at will and now mainly deal blackjack for middle-class tourists, they were not exactly hospitable to the two white Americans who showed up on the .00000001% of the continent that the US Government hasn't yet taken away from them. An angry crowd of teenagers formed, causing Quatro & Scott to retreat into the IGA Grocery, from which the store manager called the US Forest Service, which sent an officer to rescue our own Lewis and Clark. No one was amused. About 11 hours later, they were re-united with Tom Corris, who declined further comment on the matter. Apart from all that, it was a great run.
Brian R. McNeill