January 29, 2012

So Cal Ultra Series Award Picnic

Age Group And Overall Winners
This weekend I celebrated with many of my fellow ultra runners at the So Cal Ultra Grand Prix Awards picnic. What a great event! A culmination of a long season and a kick in my ass to get back in the saddle for 2012.

Gary Hilliard, the grand master of ceremonies, put out an awesome feast replete with tacos, refried beans, cookies apple pie and an ultra cake with its very own trail on the frosting. Before the ceremony we did  little morning run...12 miles up some 3,500 feet to Mt. Wilson. Nothing like a little run up 3,500 feet to get the appetite going. Probably best I didn’t eat this stuff before the run...

Receiving My Award From Gary H
It was good to see so many other runners I’ve shared the trail with this last year, and to meet many of them for the first time. Jack “attack” Cheng took home the Male Overall Mileage Award with 456 miles. Jack is an ultra machine and told me that he was already gearing up to run four hundred mile races to kick-off the new year. Yen Darcy took home the women’s Overall Mileage Award with 409.2 miles. I had a chance to chat with both Jack and Yen at the event. They are the real deal – true ultra runners with a commitment to their sport. They ran 19 races in 2011 between the two of them!

My bro Al and Age Group Winner Audry W
Diana Treister won the women’s overall title for the second year in a row. That is commitment. I won the men’s overall title. And to that, all I can say is YEAAAAA! I won’t deny it. It was a lot of work. But I enjoyed every mile. Well, maybe not every mile. There were some dark moments, sure, but I think they made the lighter moments shine a little brighter. Hanging out at the awards picnic with so many cool people that share a similar passion for running was a bright moment for me.
Hal W's 30 Year Buckle - Avalon 50 Mile
Congratulations to my friends Larry and Cherri Rich who both took home age group awards. They are the only father and mother ultra running duo that I know who run 100 milers together while raising three kids! And many, many thanks to the director of the grand prix Gary Hilliard and his crew Fred Pollard and Joe Magruder. These guys put in a lot of time to keep this southern California tradition alive and kicking. 


EricG said...

Hell of a year Will! Nice that you got to share it with so many cool people. Look forward to sharing the trails with you one of these days. Peace E

Will Cooper said...

Thanks Eric, hope you are feeling better. I'll give you a ring next time in NY. Keep the faith!

Rachel said...

that's a lot of miles! congrats on the win. you definitely had a killer year : )

watergirl said...

Congrats Will, you earned it and deserve it! I enjoyed seeing you at a handful of races last year. Hope to see you again soon.

Regarding the cougar situation. To keep them from pouncing on me, flashing my wedding band usually does the trick.

Will Cooper said...

watergirl, the wedding band is a good idea, they can be used for a lot. I've gotten good at opening beer bottles with mine.