Although I enjoyed physical activity, I was a bit of a fat kid in high school and college. But at Dartmouth College (grad school) I learned to be more active, and then when I took up running seriously after leaving Dartmouth I was amazed by how much my weight went down and my speed went up. The Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club in Amherst, Mass., played a big role in my development.

Top Thirteen Racing Highlights

Nov 1980. Foxboro Marathon, 2:47:00. I had run 2:50:30 a few months earlier, but in those days a sub-2:50 was needed to qualify for the all-important Boston Marathon. So I trained even harder and was rewarded by a time about 2 minutes faster than I expected. Then I ran 2:52 at Boston, my last road marathon. In 1987, in Rome, I met Jock Semple, who said they would have let me in with the 2:50:30.

June 1980. Laurel Highlands 70-mile Run, 14:20, 7th place. 10000 feet of climb. My first ultra.

August 1980. Timberline Trail around Mt. Hood in 8.5 hours.

Sept. 1981. 100 miles on the Bowdoin College track in 23:53.

Nov 1983. Grand Canyon Double Traverse in 10:53. 40 mi, 12000 feet climb.

May 1984. Multiple Wrightson Massacre: 3 times up and down Mt. Wrightson near Tucson, within 12 hrs. I finished in second place. 12000 feet climb.

Oct 1988. A 25-mile race from Tuolomne Meadows to Yosemite Valley over the top of Clouds Rest. Two leaders took a wrong turn and I finished first by about two minutes, in a field of 26.

Sept. 1991. Superior Hiking Trail 100-Mile Race: 29:05. 14000 feet climb.

May 1995.  59.7 secs for 400 meters. I had been trying to break a minute for years; finally did it at age 43 on the Macalester track (solo, spikes).

March 2001. Elk Mountain Grand Traverse with partner Phil Williams. 11:20 for the 37-mile ski race carrying 20 pounds, and with 7000 feet of climb. We were 24th out of 96, far better than expected.

March 2005. Leadville Ski 100, 100 Mile ski race. 16:25. 8th of 13. Total climb of about 6800 feet. The course had four laps of a 25-mile route, some of which was steep, narrow trails. Skiing those by headlamp was a challenge. I got lost in the last lap adding about 3/4 of a mile.

March 2004. Leadville Ski 100, 100-km ski race. 8:11. 14th of 21. Very satisfying time (under 8-minute-per-mile pace) for a course with 6200 feet of climb and between 9700 and 10700 feet above sea level. I had my skis waxed professionally, which made a big difference. The course was a double out-and-back around Turquoise Lake. My first split was 1:51. The last 25 km were in slushy conditions, but I changed skis for that and managed in 2:11. This race was to have been 100 miles long, but serious melting caused a change of course.

March 2013. North Routt Coureur de Bois. 60.4 miles, 6600 feet climb, 9:02, first place in 60+, pace of 8:59 per mile. Report below.


A More ski races

March 2006. Coureur des Bois 90 km ski race from Steamboat Lake to the Wyoming border and back. I was the last finisher at 9:36 (time limit was 10 hours) so this could hardly be called a great race for me. Yet just finishing this one is an achievement since the total climb is 6500 feet and it all seemed a bit difficult -- even harder than the 100-miler of 2005. The course is a beauty: One giant loop through lots of interesting terrain.

March 2007. Coureur des Bois 90 km ski race from Steamboat Lake to the Wyoming border and back. Conditions were very fast for first four hours. I finished in 8:20, in 64th position of 69 starters. 76 minutes faster than last year!

March 2008. Coureur des Bois 90 km ski race from Steamboat Lake to the Wyoming border and back. Conditions were very slow for the day (cold and fresh snow). I finished in 8:48, slower than last year, but not as much slower as most others were. Place was 54th out of 62 finishers, with 13 DNFs, so 54/75. Course was especially beautiful with no snowmobilers (they were warned off) and lots of new snow. GPS info seems to indicate course is 82 km (51 mi) long; short course is 42.73 km. This does make sense considering the climb of 6500'. GPS reports climb of 9000', but that is incorrect.

March 14, 2009. And again the Coureur des Bois race. I had trained hard all winter and was rewarded with a time of 7:49:16, good for 47th out of about 70. Conditions were fine, but not super-fast. Very nice to see an improvement of about 19% in 4 tries. I had worked hard on my V-1 technique and that allowed me to cruise through the first big climb feeling quite fresh at the top. Then the long stretch to Wyoming with only small hills went quite well, though the final climb to the aid station is always tough. Then the big climbs start, and I again used my skins near the top, and on the final big hill of the course. I passed four people from the Wyoming border to the finish line (and was not passed). Even though my training meant that things went well overall, there are several small hills on the high Continental Divide section which are difficult. My friend Jonathan Kriegel skied up to the last aid station and so could take my fanny pack and CamelBak, making the final descent freer. Overall a very nice day. On the next day Jonathan and I hired a snowmobile to get to the Wyoming border, from which we skied back to Columbine on the high route, about 19 miles. Conditions were pretty awful: icy. Makes one really appreciate the superb grooming on race day.

March 14, 2010. And again, Coureur des Bois race #5. Conditions were overcast which made the snow pretty good for skating, but high winds added some difficulty. My time was 7:37:36 (pace = 8:58/mile). I hoped my improved times would mean I would see other people but I saw only one person from Wyoming to the finish. And there were fewer slow skiers so my overall place was 54th out of 60, including the classic skiers. Among skaters, only two were slower than me. I was the second-oldest finisher. The course, as always, is difficult, but if one can spend less time on it, it becomes less hard!

March 5, 2011. Snow Mountain Stampede ski race. 25 miles exactly on my GPS, 2500 feet of climb. Conditions: Fast tracks, but soft snow. Time: 3:10:44. Place: 47th out of 58. Since I did the Stampede (different course) in 3:15 in 2003 I was pleased with the time. And at least I am breaking out of the last 10% of the field. Felt very good during the two-loop race. Most enjoyable.

March 19, 2011. Coureur des Bois race #6 (I have done all except the first). I got to Wyoming in 4:02, my fastest ever. But the winds picked up dramatically and we had a strong headwind for the return. This also hurt glide a lot as new snow blew into the tracks. It quickly became apparent that a fast total time was hopeless. But there were almost always people in sight of me, so I was motivated to keep pushing and I finished, totally exhausted, in 8:14, well slower than last year, but with a good placing for me (roughly at the 75% level among the 90 starters). Several skiers passed me in the last couple of miles, but their energy and technique were both better than mine; I was happy to have stayed near them. The most enjoyable part for me was a comfortable climb on the very steep hill after the lake loop, and then a comfortable and fast climb on the stretch leaving Columbine. For this entire stretch I skied with Beth “Hurricane Carter” of Crested Butte and we chatted quite a bit, which of course helps pass the time.

March 17, 2012. #7. Now the race is called Glide the Divide. Very warm weather and low snow cover made it challenging. I got to Wyoming in 3:45, a solid record for me, but then the snow got very mushy making the return trip a trial. My glide was good, but it was still exhausting and I finished in 7:59. That was good for second place in the 60+ division. Good: Wax and deep structure worked well in the warm weather. Bad: CamelBak water was undrinkable. Maybe I need to return to just a small water bottle on a hip. The winning time by Rune Oedegaard was a remarkable 4:08, a solid course record. One might think from this that it was a fast day, but that was true only until about noon.

April 2012: Rabbit Ears Coureur des Bois 50 km (really 45.5 km; 2600 climb). 3:21:00; 7:06 per mile; Second place in 60+.

March 2, 2013. Snow Mountain Stampede. 26 miles over 4 laps. 3:10. Second place in 60+. Very fast field as I was second-last overall.

March 16, 2013. And again! #8/ The North Routt Coureur des Bois (now called Glide the Divide) course was moved this year because of snow conditions. Start in Columbine and then TWO loops to Wyoming and over the divide. Very tough cutoffs of 4:00 for 50 km and 5:30 for Wyoming the second time. Sadly the people at the aid station did not get the memo on the correct times and they tried to stop me both at 50 km (3:58, but they mistakenly thought cutoff was 3:45) and then when I hit Wyoming (41.4 miles) in 5:29:43 (with 17 seconds to spare!!). But I bullied them into letting me go on and I finished in 9:02 for the 60.4-mile course with perhaps 6650 feet of climb. I was first in the 60+ age division, a first for me. I was thinking of dropping out after 5.5 hours, but since I was legal by those 17 seconds I figured I should go on a bit. At this point I could relax with no cutoff pressure and so the final 32 km passed with no problems. Very satisfying, as this is a very tough course (toughest ski race in America). So that is eight straight finishes for me. And of course a thrill to be an age-group winner, even if my race was against the clock. Eighteen seconds slower and I would not have gone past the 41-mile aid station. My pace of 8:59 per mile is about the same as my fastest on the old 82-km course, so that is satisfying.

March 30, 2013. Rabbit Ears Coureur des Bois. First place in 60+. 3:22:47. 28 miles. Slushy in parts.

Feb. 22, 2014. Leadville Loppet. 26.9 miles. About 2100 feet of climb. All above 10000 feet. 3:26:17. First place in 60+. Excellent conditions. Holmenkol HF Blue wax worked very very well.

March 1, 2014. Snow Mountain Stampede. 26 miles. Very bad conditions with wind and snow. 3:36:45. First place in 60+.

March 15, 2014. Glide the Divide 55 km. #9. The time limits were down to 3:45 for 50 km, so I had to try the shorter race this year, not the 100 km. The limits were enforced, so there were very few finishers of the 100 km, as conditions were very slow. It snowed hard much of the day, making skating very difficult and times slow. At least slush was not a problem. My time was 5:28, much, much slower pace than last year, when I did 100 km on the course! Still, I got first place in 60+ age group, for fifth win in a row at long ski races over two seasons. I had the Frisco Nordic Center wax my skis and they did have good glide throughout, even though the new snow limited things a lot. About eight skiers passed me just before Wyoming, but I caught them all except one: Alice Phinney skied a great race to beat me by 2.5 minutes (we had raced a few years earlier with the opposite result).

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