|Across the Years
There are ultras and then there is Across the Years!
— Gillian Robinson (ZombieRunner)
Love the race so much that I moved to Arizona from Pittsburgh just to be closer to it.
— Robert Webster
I ran the 24-hour run at Across the Years, and felt lucky to have a chance to talk with Yiannis Kouros. It was the third day of his run, so he was moving more slowly than in his record-setting first two days. Glen Turner, one of his handlers, suggested that I do a lap with Yiannis to raise his spirits. So I just fell into step with him and asked how it was going. His English is quite fluent, and we chatted for a couple laps. He told me he preferred roads to this surface, and that he was walking because the running was too jarring for him. I got to share in a small Greek treat — baklava — and then I continued on my running pace. From then on we said hey (or some other acknowledgement) on most laps. Later in the night I walked with him again. He held my hand and said some very nice things. I even paced him for a little while (when he started running again) by having him chase me for a few laps. And, I got a kiss at midnight After the race, I was done with 87 miles, and he congratulated me on my distance, joking that I had lost weight. He spoke with other people a little bit and lots of people took his picture.
I am in awe of the man. His accomplishments are amazing, but yes, he's human like the rest of us. He had highs and lows during the race, got cranky with his handlers sometimes, and was polite to me and friendly (maybe over-friendly). Meeting Yiannis was a highlight for me, and a story I get to tell for a while. I'm glad I made him smile a little and he sure made me smile. His handlers made me smile too.
And while I'm at it, I'll also say that Across the Years is an amazing experience, which seems to improve each time. (How can it get any better?) I love having the chance to talk to so many different people during an event. I did also talk to John Geesler, which was fun too. This event is certainly a combination of great volunteers and great runners, which makes an experience that is unforgettable. I have great admiration for everyone out there who participates.
— Gillian Robinson
I can't rave enough about Across the Years, and I didn't even run it. I was just a lowly slave and I still had a blast.
The only complaint I have is that runners at this race are spoiled rotten. And every year they get even more spoiled. Probably next year slippers and bath robes will be included in runner packets along with mints placed on pillows every morning.
Across the Years doesn't raise the bar for race directors — it goes way above the bar. Anyone who tries to compete with this event will go broke trying even to match it. And it all comes from the heart — some very BIG hearts.
— Geri Kilgariff
I couldn't have said it better, Geri! I still feel as though I was in a dream on another planet. Some of that is from NO sleep in all those days, but mostly because of the unbelievable treatment and spoiling that we runners received from all the volunteers and race committee members. I don't know how you all did it. Everyone was just so nice the whole time and NO ONE had any sleep, yet no one was grumpy.
I learned so very much at this race. I did most EVERYTHING wrong and had to stop with 12 hours to go, but I still keep raving about the race and all the people. I think most of the reason I felt like a failure when I quit was because after all that everyone had done for me, I wanted to finish strong and do them proud. Apparently that will have to happen next year because I am definitely going back. Time to go back and sit in the ice water again to try to get my legs and feet back to normal size!
— Tracy Y. Thomas
It was terrific to watch the ebb and flow of all the runners' progress at the Across The Years this weekend with the web site's hourly bulletins. Performance of the event might be accorded to 73-year-old Aaron Goldman.
Big thanks to Lynn David Newton for the state of the art program and design, and all the volunteers (including our List's Dave) who manned the scoring table that allowed us wannabees a seat in the peanut gallery.
In a personal aside, heart felt congratulations, Mr. Nattu Natraj, for completing 100 miles! This is the kind gentleman (who I still have never met) who sent me some photos he took of my finish at Leadville this year. Yep, even the one that made the UR magazine. Otherwise, I'd still be thinking I must've imagined it ... and wouldn't now have the evidence on my very own bedroom wall.
— Pete Stringer
I miss you all tons already. Thank you will never be enough for such a magnificent gift of an experience. I am still struggling to digest and comprehend the slendour and specialness of what I experienced. Thank you kindly and very sincerely once again.
— Michele Santilhano
To Rodger: Just wanted to say you and your family are on my list of most admired people — you give soooooo much. ATY is totally awesome. I just loved all the runners. I will always help you.
— Don Meyer
Once again, we might be the littlest bit spoiled these days, I was planning on waiting for Nick Marshall's annual ultradistance summary for the complete results anyway. Let's see, would it be in the 2005 edition out in a couple of months, or maybe not until March or so of 2007? Actually, maybe I could pick up a lot of word of mouth results if I can get to 8 or 10 ultras this year.
Seriously, the coverage was great, and improving all the time, I expect lap by lap results, complete with pictures, piped directly into my brain in a couple of years.
— Marv Skagerberg
From a runner's perspective — yes, we loved the projector! Being able to see the lap splits and distances for yourself and everyone near you every time you crossed the mat was terrific. I can hardly imagine doing a timed race without all that instantaneous info now.
The whole event was wonderfully run, and I highly recommend it to anyone who can stand the pain of running that long on a perfectly flat surface. (Personally, I think I'll be going back to trails for awhile.)
Thanks to Paul for directing, Rodger and his family for hosting, Lynn for the web stuff, and Dave and so many other terrific volunteers. Across the Years is really a full service event!
— Jasper Halekas
Paul Bonnet is a class act who understands ultrarunning like few others do.
— Andy Jones-Wilkins
Thank you so much, Rodger, to you and your fabulous family for all that you did to make this past weekend an unforgettable experience for our whole family. We were all practically giddy when we arrived on Friday to see your spectacular place, all lit up, with both world famous and novice runners moving around the track. And it just got better from there. Seeing you and Dave right away, checking out the beautiful and warm bathrooms, wandering around your gigantic tent, seeing not only the aid station but the kitchen set-up, setting up our own tent right near the start/finish - as Wendell said, it was like an ultra-fest! And what can we say about your timing arrangements — incredible!! Jasper was worried that he'd be so engrossed in the display of technology after each loop that he would stand, dumbstruck, just across the mat!! But he was able to run, and run well, as you saw, as was Wendell. As were so many people! And so many of those successes were helped, in large part, by you, your family, Paul, and all the other people who help make ATY the fine race that it is.
It was a blast to be out there with the other Aaron, Yiannis, Don, Gillian, Lynn — some old friends, some people we'd only heard of. And seeing the smiling faces of you, Dave, Jimmy, and all the others made crossing the mat each time and even better experience.
And thanks, too, for giving our Aaron the freedom to play all day long, chat with runners and crew, and man the fire in your most-cool fire pit. He had a great time all weekend, and is really looking forward to next year when he'll have one day to play and one to run.
— Sarah Spelt
I just want to thank you again for hosting ATY. What a wonderful venue! It was great seeing you and James out there, and sometimes I probably didn't respond much either due to the MP3 player on or just too tired to care, but rest assured I was very appreciative of your help in allowing this race to be held on a wonderful track. Really outstanding!
I really liked the projection screen split results at the timing mat. This was a Godsend for anal types like me who want to know times and distances all the time. Really nice!! Thank you.
And best of all I stayed out of the tent!
— Dale Perry
First off, what a terrific event you all put on. All the volunteers, runners and race officials were outstanding. As many of the other notes on the ultrarunning list have already stated (I'll be posting mine soon), I can't imagine another race doing more for the runners than you all have. And the website was great for friends to follow — Lynn has done a great job with that!
Despite my terrible performance, I still had a fantastic time and can't wait to go back next year to avenge myself. I was on pace to reach my expectations and come in the top 3, when my body basically quit on me. After that, I focused on learning what I can to rebound from such a situation and to prevent it from happening again, and stopped looking at miles and position.
Special thanks to Chris and Andy who helped me figure out what wrong for me physically. I'll continue to communicate with Andy as I learn and improve. As I told Andy at dinner on Sunday after the race, it means a lot to me to know that the medical personnel for the event are also experienced ultrarunners.
— Phil Rosenstein
Clearly you did a fabulous job organizing and putting on the run. Congratulations! As a former RD, I understand what it takes to do this. You deserve the credit that people are now giving.
I looked at one of the pictures of Yiannis and thought that his body doesn't look much different than mine. Obviously, talent is not measured by simple physical dimensions. What a treat to get to see a living legend.
— Karl King
Thank you for providing such an excellent venue for our running event. I think it is one of the premier events in multiday running.
The medical team of Andy and Chris is phenomenal, especially since they are also in the race. Chris is absolutely the best blister repair person I have met in all my years of running. Andy is so multitalented from his own profession to adjustments made on the runners. I'll bet that you did get to nap at some point but it seemed to me that you were always available.
— Fred Riemer
Your website is wonderful. I have enjoyed using it to see how our friend, John Geesler, is doing in the race. The site is very user friendly. Thanks for the efforts. The pictures are great.
— Viola Pliszek
ATY is a great race. I didn't know if I'd like a 24-hour run, but I did. At least this one, they spoil you rotten. I got sick and had to leave early, but even with that I enjoyed it and can't wait to do the next one.
John Geesler has a wonderfully positive personality. It's easy to see why he does well at ultras. He is so very upbeat.
Yiannis Kouros was also supportive. We didn't talk much as I was mostly running and he was mostly walking (hard to believe, I know), but he always called me by name and said something positive when I went by. I didn't get a kiss (like Gillian), but he was charming and friendly and I still can't believe I was on the same track as him.
Paul Piplani was an amazing sportsman as well. He always had positive comments, is interesting to talk to, and is a pleasure to be around.
Come to think of it, everybody there was pretty darned jovial. It's hard not to be in a good mood when the race organization is serving sushi and tending to your every need.
— Cathy Tibbetts
I wanted to thank you and your family again for treating me so special. I didn't have a good run but had a great time. The clock the race gave me was really quite nice. Please let Paul know I appreciated it a lot. You have a lovely place and I look forward to a return visit.
— John Geesler
Timer and programming goddess Laura Nagy, along with Rodger and Paul, upped the bar significantly on last year's monitors for checking lap times. This year there was a movie screen like you'd see for home movies or in a business conference room at each end of the start/finish area. A projector hooked to the timing computer showed the last ten runners' names, laps and distances in miles and kilometers, updated as they crossed the start/finish line, so everybody could check their stats without even slowing down as they ran by. All the runners LOVED it, and there was great grumbling whenever the projector went down for a few minutes. (it was rather finicky from time to time, but RD Paul Bonnett had the magic touch getting it going again every time.)
— Dave Combs
Running in circles for three days? You people are nuts!
— An Anonymous School Bus Driver