Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Marathon Du Slush, 2015

Marathon Du Slush
November 7, 2015, 8 am
Fort Collins, CO
"It's legit!"

The Recap:

A charming mid-Fall day in the Fort witnessed the beginning of a special tradition.  The First Marathon du Slush!  10 competitors toed the line on a crisp, sunny morning for the 8 am start.  7 completed the surprisingly challenging and leg-destroying course.  2 Brits half-assed their way through a self-proclaimed half marathon course.  And 1 participant inaugurated the "mystery k" Sherpa course.

The field started out in a bunch for the first 10 miles, with scant seconds separating first from last.  This began to change after the Whiskey aid station at miles 10, when Mike and Sarah broke apart the field with a surge down the backside of Bingham Hill.  The remaining 5 marathon participants jockeyed for third on the Horsetooth Hills.  By the time the runners reached South Dam, Ryan and Emily and Alex had gapped Justin and Slush.  At the May Aid at mile 20-ish Justin and Slush caught up with Alex, and Justin made a late charge.  Slush and Alex plodded on through Spring Creek and Alex eventually surged past Slush, and then caught Justin as well.

Up at the front Sarah and Mike ran together with Mike graciously granting Sarah the overall at the nose.  Emily entertained thoughts of catching Sarah but ended up settling for a podium spot some 8 minutes off the pace.  Ryan cruised in comfortably under the 4 hour barrier, with Alex, Justin, and Slush all sauntering in a bit over the 4 hour mark and in the case of Slush, complaining loudly, and wondering why he thought this was a good idea.

All agreed that the course was tough, and that including south dam and its attendant hill was "totally unnecessary" and "not at all appropriate".  But there are no plans to change the route.

In the half-marathon division a couple of Brits ran around for a bit and then wandered off for a pint and a bowl mushy pees.

And in the mystery k division Chris Roberts took the crown, and took a bunch of jackets and hats back to the start/finish, so that's pretty legit as well.

Will this become an annual thing?  Stay tuned!

The Results:
Runner Time Place
Sarah Omann 3:34:22 1
Michael Hinterberg 3:34:22 2
Emily Warner 3:42:06 3
Ryan Quinnelly 3:47:07 4
Alex May 4:11:04 5
Justin Liddle 4:14:10 6
Scott Slusher 4:21:19 7
Half Marathon
Ruth Waller-Liddle 1:44:21 1
The Nick Clark 1:44:22 2
Chris Roberts ?? 1

the route:

the map:

The entrants:
Slush Pup
Alex MayDay
Emily Airheart
Marie-Hélène Far-running
Justin a Liddle farther to go

Q: I couldn’t find any particulars on the gel brands you will be stocking at the aid stations… 
  A: Uh, that's aid STATION, not stations.
Q: Also, what assorted corral/wave starts will there be, 
 A: The runners should thin themselves out by dodging traffic on Shields at mile 0.1
Q: and what about gear check?  
 A: Just put everything with Maggie Mae 
Q: Chip timing, or chronotrack?  
 A: I'm trying to get Pete to sit on the porch all morning and yell at you when you finish.
Q: Finally, is there a live app where all my family and friends can follow my progress?
 A: No but they can check out my band's YouTube channel all morning, that's pretty cool.
Q: Is there a wheelchair division? 
 A: Wheelchairs will be available after the race.
Q: A relay division? 
 A: never.
Q: Will the shirts be technical or cotton, and are they gender-specific? 
  A: thick, absorbent cotton
Q: what time is the race expo tomorrow?
  A: 7:37 - 7:38 pm

The Passion:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

6th annual Human Powered Brewery Tour 2013: The Next Generation

6th Annual Human Powered Brewery Tour for ALS

Saturday, February 16th, 2012.  10:00 am.

Fort Collins... the final frontier....
These are the voyages of the Human Powered Brewery Tour.
Our five, er, Six year mission: 
To explore strange new breweries, 
(without the aid of motorized transportation).
To stamp out ALS once and for all.  
To boldly go where no man has gone before.

The tour of the constellation of Fort Collins breweries is as follows:
(Times estimated)
a.       New Belgium Brewery. 10:00 am.  
b.      Fort Collins Brewery.  10:45 am (ish). 
c.       Funkwerks Brewery.  11:30 am.
d.      Odell Brewing Company.  12:15 am.
e.       Pateros Creek Brewing Co.  1:03 pm.
f.        Equinox Brewing.  2:00 pm

Raffle prizes along the way, including race entries, and other cool stuff!

Yes, everyone starts at New Belgium at 10:00 am.  

Here are some pictures from previous years:

2008, First, uh, annual!

2009, 2nd annual!

2010, 3rd annual!

2011, 4th annual!

2012, 5th annual!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2nd annual Runners Without Borders, 10/28

2nd annual Runners Without Borders

It's back!

Please join me for the 2nd annual Runners Without Borders!

Let's do a recap for those who may have forgotten:

Last year about this time I said to myself, "Self, how's about we raise some money for Doctors Without Borders?  Gee, that'd be swell, huh!"

Then this happened:  RWB.

And now it's going to happen again!  With a few minor changes to the format, because, you know, I like to mess with success.

Let's start with the basics.

It all goes down on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28th, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Get yourself to Lory State Park on Sunday, October 28th.  You don't have to be there for the whole day.

Start at the "Eltuck" picnic area.  See map here:  Lory map

Run to one of the very lightly defended "borders" between Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park.  You choose the route.  There are two border crossings as you know.  Valley and Mill Creek, we'll call them.

Pick up a poker chip at the border crossing, there will be a bag of them at each crossing.

Return to Eltuck with your poker chip.  This represents a "lap".  One poker chip per person per lap, people.

Repeat.  Or don't.  (yes do...)

But wait, there's more!  So much more...

The Pledges


Just like last year, I'm donating one dollar per "lap" per person to Doctors Without Borders.  Up to $250.  Last year we combined for 168 laps.  I know we can get to 250 this year.  Don't let me down, people.


Express yourself, people!  Please show up and get one or more of those poker chips and bring them safely back to Eltuck.  It's worth money to DWB!  And I encourage you to pledge as well.  You can match my pledge.  You can pledge for yourself.  You can get your friends and family to sponsor your laps.  You can make up some insanely complicated formula (Laura B, I'm pointing at you; well I'm pointing in the general direction of the Vet Hospital right now.  Well I'm typing, actually, but you get the visual)

What else is different?

New starting point:

This year I've rented out the Eltuck picnic area in Lory, it's about halfway between the Lory st park entrance and the Arthurs Trailhead (our base of operations last year).  I wanted more space and more amenities, picnic tables and the like.

No fixed route:

That's right!  I continue to turn the concept of an organized run on it's head.  Just get to the border.  Or the other border.  How you do it is up to you.  Clearly there are speedy and slower ways to get to the borders, but part of the fun should be to explore the trails.  Which is why I'm dispersing a as-yet-to-be-determined number of...

Magic Tokens!

Magic tokens will be placed in secret locations along the trails of Lory state park.  Find one on your lap, and bring it back for a fabulous prize.  One magic token per person, please.  What prizes?    TBD.  How many tokens?  TBD.  Wha-?  Quit asking so many questions.  Friggin MAGIC TOKENS, people!  Go find them!

Still with me?  Good.

Here's what I need from you.


Please let me know if you're planning on showing up.  I'll add you to my online RSVP list.  There is no charge to participate, other then the Lory State Park fee ($7 per car, so carpool).

Wait, when is it again?

Sunday, October 28th, anytime from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Get there early if you want to find a (friggin) magic token though.


You don't have to pledge but of course I encourage it.  Last year we raised over $4,000 for DWB.  Yeah that's right.  I think we can top that this year.  Give me some sugar, people.

For point of reference, here are last year's participants and pledges:
2011 Participants:

2011 Pledges:

ok that's it for now.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


5th Annual Human Powered Brewery Tour for ALS

Saturday, February 4th, 2012.  10:00 am.

On July 27th of this year, the finest, most handsome competitors from around the world will gather in swinging, rioting London for the Games of the XXX Olympiad!  Oh that we could be there, to hurl a silvery spear into the steamy yob-filled night, to toss aloft the gossamer weight of a gleaming white plastic ball, to swim, swim synchronously and true in costumes scant, yet somehow tasteful.  I fear I’m mixing up synchronized swimming and ice dancing.  Maybe they should be mixed up.  No matter, off subject as usual. 

But alas we are no Olympians, merely mortals who like to compete.  So compete we shall, in the Fort Collins Human Powered Brewery Tour Heptathlon!  In honor of this being an Olympic year we will transform our annual brewery tour into a quasi-competition and celebration of international costume and bad accents.   

Here, then, are the rules:

1)      Choose a country and align yourself with that county.  Lean their dress, their customs, their favorite sport, their favorite beer, their favorite accent.  Come prepared, come dressed up.  Medals will be awarded to the three best representatives.  More than one person can be part of the same country.  Then you will be a team!  Organize yourselves accordingly.  My inclination is to represent Ghana of course!

2)      Give generously to the ALS Association.   Every year we do this as a fund-raiser for ALS and this year, particularly this year, is no exception.  5 years ago Celeste lost her cousin Annie to ALS.  Last fall she lost her cousin Bob to the same disease.  We honor their spirit and memories by hosting the brewery tour and raising money for the ALS association.  We raised over $400 last year, and we want to raise over $1,000 this year.  Medals to the top three fund-raising countries.  That’s a good reason to get together and join a team!!

3)      Visit all 7 old town Fort Collins breweries by human powered means only.  This means anything not motorized!  Bike, run, walk, skate, roller-blade, big wheel, pogo stick, kayak, you get the idea.  You will cover about 4 or 5 miles if you hit all 7 breweries so crawling or leap-frogging is not totally encouraged.  Obtain a coaster or a photo of yourself from each brewery and bring your coasters/camera to the Trail Head Tavern for verification.  Sampling of beers at each brewery is technically optional, but, you know, whatever.  Participants who visit all 7 breweries will be eligible to medal in the FCHPBTH (Fort Collins Human Powered Brewery Tour Heptathlon).  It is not a speed competition.  It’s a style competition.  A, dare I say, competition de panache.  I’ll know it when I see it.  You will be competing in the following events at each brewery. 

4)      The 7 breweries and competitions, you ask?  IN THIS ORDER:

a.       New Belgium Brewery. 10:00 am.  Competitions:  Frivolity, Punctuality.
b.      Fort Collins Brewery.  10:45 am (ish).  Competition:  Generosity. 
c.       Funkwerks Brewery.  11:30 am.  Competition:  Panache.
d.      Odell Brewing Company.  12:15 am.  Competition:  Levity.
e.       Coopersmiths Brewpub.  1:00 pm.  Competition:  Brevity.
f.        Pateros Creek Brewing Co.  1:03 pm.  Competition:  Orienteering.
g.       Equinox Brewing.  2:00 pm.  Competition: A certain daring-do, a certain je ne sais quoi.

Yes, everyone starts at New Belgium at 10:00 am.  We have a lot of stops on this year’s tour, so get cracking (remember on the first year, when there was only one brewery in town?  Me neither.).  Everyone meet at the Trail Head Tavern after it is all over for awards.  Believe me, they’re the only place that will accept us by then.

Oh and, special prizes for legacy members, you know who you are!  The prizes will be even more special than last year!

Here are some pictures from previous years:
2008, First, uh, annual!

 2009, 2nd annual!

2010, 3rd annual!

2011, 4th annual!

Friday, October 28, 2011


One came out with a new famine video today, thought I'd promote it with a quick post:

Quick comment on the video; why does the cool edgy guitar music represent famine, death and destruction, and the piano music represent redemption, peace, and hope?  So typical.  I'd like to see that reversed, because, you now, pianos are inherently evil, right?  j/k.  One is a funny sort of organization, I don't think they take donations directly, but they act as a sort of message-driven outreach voice for African development issues. They're sort of a "celebrity" organization, with Bono from U2 being their most visible supporter, and they spend a lot of time making slick and flashy videos and what not.  This can be a little off-putting for some but I think it's fine to use a little star power to get your message across, and I like what they are trying to accomplish.  Here is One's mission statement from their web site:

"ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures. Cofounded by Bono and other campaigners, ONE is nonpartisan and works closely with African activists and policy makers."

That sounds fine.  So One isn't really on the front lines administering aid.  Rather, One works with and supports several dozen aid organizations, including notably (RED), Oxafam, Bill & Meninda Gates Foundation,, and CARE, US Doctors For Africa, and several dozen others.  Ideally this allows One to focus on getting the message out to people like me, and to politicians, and allows the aid organizations to focus on solving the problems on the ground.  Of course this can also cause problems, particularly when and if One's messages don't align with their partner's aims and goals.  But One tends to keep things pretty generic and simple, by design likely, so there's probably less of a chance of that happening.

The full list of One's aid partners is impressive and comprehensive, indeed.  But notably absent from One's list?  Doctors Without Borders, baby!  Why?  I doubt there is any serious schism between One and DWB, I rather suspect it is because DWB strives very hard to maintain absolute neutrality, and therefore can not align themselves with any umbrella organization.  Respect.  But a quick glance at all of the One partner organizations reveals many worthy aid organizations who are trying to do the right thing. 

Just for Bono:

"One life, but we're not the same, we get to carry each other, carry each other, One"
-- One, U2

Johnny got it right:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What's Going On?

The latest from Somalia:

So what's going on in Somalia, you ask?  Ahh, you don't want to know.  There's trouble over in the horn of Africa, some of it involving our dear Doctors Without Borders.  As you probably know, we got together and raised over $4,000 for DWB at the Runners Without Borders event last weekend.  I requested that the money go to Somalia if possible (DWB does critical work all over the world so I'm sure it could be put to good use in many places, but Somalia seems to need assistance the most right now).  One of the super-critical and time-sensitive tasks DWB is trying to accomplish in Somalia right now is a massive measles vaccination campaign for children.  Yup, that measles shot we all got as babies in the USA, well, they don't get those shots over in Somalia.  And measles is actually a nasty and virulent little disease with a very high fatality rate among small children, particularly children who are already malnourished.

So DWB took it upon themselves to try to vaccinate as many high-risk children as they could, focusing efforts on the capital, Mogadishu.  But last week heavy fighting erupted (side note, does "heavy fighting" ever do anything besides "erupt"?) in Mogadishu, forcing the DWB doctors to abandon the campaign for the time being.  Read DWB's press release here: Somalia: Vaccination campaign Suspended Due to Fighting in Daynile.

Some thoughts from the press release; Daynile is on the outskirts of Mogadishu, and I'm assuming this is where a lot of the refugees are coming from the famine-striken areas.  So it's an important base of operations for DWB, since this is likely as close as they can get to the people that are the worst off.  Although they have suspended the measles program, they are still at the hospital, providing medical assistance and nutritional assistance as much as they can.  I take two things from this.  One, the DWB doctors are total bad-asses and I am more proud than ever to support them, and you should be too.  Two, the Somalians really need to put down their guns, even for just a little while, so these doctors can save the lives of their children.  Priorities, people.  It's all very irritating. 

The other bit of news from DWB in Somalia is the news of a kidnapping of two DWB staff members from a refugee camp in Dabaab, Kanya, which is serving as a Somalian refugee camp.  This happened on October 13th, and as of yet I believe the two staffers are still being held by their kidnappers.  You can read this article here:
Kenya: Two MSF Staff Abducted in Kenya (Updated).  Dangerous indeed.  You can read the article, but the effect of the kidnapping is that DWB has suspended much of their operations in the Kenyan refugee camps until they can get the situation resolved.  Maybe the refugee camps need more protection, but DWB tries very hard to distance themselves from the conflicts that cause these refugee crises, and not take sides, but as you can see it's difficult not to get into trouble.  Trouble has a way of finding you, I suspect, in places such as these.

What is also interesting to note is that DWB does not want this kidnapping to be publicized, as publicity is not helping their efforts to get the staffers returned.  So, uh, I'm not totally sure I should be writing about this, but the story went out on much larger news organizations already, so it's probably ok that I'm bringing it to your attention today, since I expect about, you know, 23 people to read this.

What's my point besides being full of rather depressing news today?  I wanted to give you all a greater appreciation of the dangers that the men and women of DWB face in trying to help people in the worst places in the world.  Major props to them.  Hopefully the money we raised last week will do some good there, hopefully they can get back to working at full-capacity soon. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Runners Without Borders: Recap

Where do I start?  The stats?  The donations?  The idea?  The need?  How about the people!  At some point during the day Saturday it dawned on me with amazement that whatever the motivation, 97 other people came out to run and do something good.  I knew my wife would be there, she helped come up with this plan, and she was the most supportive of my idea, and she was out there running over 30 miles herself on the trails, earning money and generally going way above and beyond.  I knew my crazy trail running friends would be there, heck they would have been there anyway, I just gave them a wonderful excuse to do something they wanted to do anyway!  And they came out in force.  Heck, a few of them just happened to stop by on their regular run and got involved on the spur of the moment.  But right away at 8:00 am when the first runners showed up to run 5 and 7 mile trail loops through Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park for Doctors Without Borders I realized something cool was happening: people whom I didn't even know decided to show up and run.  39 out of 96 by my rough count, 39 people who didn't know me, but heard about the event somehow or through someone, and wanted to participate, wanted to run, wanted to do something good.  It was one of those days where I felt that people generally want to do something good; it's just sometimes they need a reason, a little push out the door.  I was so happy and proud to help provide that reason, even if just for a day.

And what a day it turned out to be!  Apparently it is supposed to snow here on Wednesday, so we may have enjoyed the last beautiful weekend for a while.  A thin veneer of clouds kept the sun a bay just enough to keep the temperatures warm but not baking hot.  There was just a whisper of wind in the valley, and the cottonwoods along the creeks were in full color.  Up in the trees the smell of pine filled the air, as the evergreens seemed to stretch their limbs one last time in the warm sun before donning their white winter cloaks for another season.

I'm not going to lie, if you missed this event, you missed out on one special day.  It was a sustaining sort of day, not only realizing that people want to do something good, but also being reminded that what we do matters, what we do can make a difference.  And it doesn't really take much to make a difference, not when you have your friends out there helping you out.  But don't worry, I think we're going to do this again next year, so you'll have another chance to run without borders.

98 people (including myself) came and ran at least 1 loop, with many running more than one loop.  A special mention to 6 runners who ran at least 4 loops:  Celeste and Kristel each ran 4 loops, Cat, Mindy and Pete each ran 5 loops, and Shannon ran 7 loops!  All told the 98 participants ran a total of 168 loops.  We had 50 women and 48 men participate.  I was able to sneak out and run 1 loop myself, and enjoyed sharing my loop with Celeste.  Also we had 7 dogs run a total of 11 loops!

And we raised a lot of money.  $3986.78 at this point, with apparently a few more pledges yet to come.  We had 82 people pledge money, at least a dozen of which were not even at the event, and they were some of our biggest contributors!  A heartfelt thanks to all of you who contributed, and special thanks to those of you who believed in my vision enough to pledge even though you were not able to participate.  Anyway I'll go ahead and call it $4,000 raised for Doctors Without Borders, and it looks like the total will exceed that amount.  And that entire amount is going to be matched by Audrey Steele Burnand, so basically what I'm saying is that we were responsible for sending $8,000 to Doctors Without Borders on Saturday.

Even though it was only about two months ago, it seems like a long time ago when I thought I should "do something for Somalia" and thought about going on line and sending them a couple hundred bucks.  It could have stopped there, and that would have been great, but I felt so strongly about what I was doing that I knew I had to try to do more.  I drew inspiration from my wife and my mom and my friends, who help keep my moral compass pointing North, so to speak.  I drew courage from the unwavering support of my best friends, who stepped up with pledges right away, and were always there with encouraging words, and there to assist me in planning and implementing the event.  I literally could not have done this without you all -- I certainly could not have ran 168 loops on my own! -- so thanks again.  I think this was a pretty neat idea and I'm happy to see so many people participate.  And yes, I think we'll crank it up again next year, so stay tuned!