Decorations from the 2014 Awards party.

Keith Knipling

Awards Party Honoring 2018

February 2, 2019  •  Cabin John, MD

About 115 members of the club gathered on February 2, 2019 for one of the social highlights of the year — the VHTRC’s annual Awards Party. Thanks to Tom McNulty, Jane Chung and Kirstin Corris for coordinating the delicious hors d’oeuvres, Pam Gowen for the “Mud Year” theme and decorations, Rob Colenso for entertaining everyone as master of ceremonies, and to Jaret Seiburg for securing the venue (the now traditional venue at the Bannockburn Community Club in the Cabin John area of Maryland). It was a fabulous evening with friends!

Here are the recipients of the 2018 VHTRC Awards.

Performance Awards

Rookie of the Year

Carl Bligan won for Rookie of the Year, which recognizes the male or female member of the VHTRC who, in his or her first year of trail running has demonstrated mental toughness and persistence as well as ability. Lokesh Meena and Daniel Gracias were the other nominees in this competitive category.

Most Improved

Sirisha ‘Iris’ Golla beat a competitive field including Wendy Valdes, Samantha Neakrase and Becca Weast for Most Improved Female runner in 2018. It was Marty Fox beating an equally competitive field of Enrique Rubio, Jon Jester, Josh Howe and Brett Martin for Most Improved Male. This award recognizes one male and one female member of the VHTRC whose performances in trail running in the past year have significantly improved.

Furbutt Award

The Furbutt award is all about participation in VHTRC club events as a runner AND a volunteer. This award recognizes two runners — one male and one female member of the VHTRC — who showed up at just about every club run and participated by running to the very best of his or her ability and volunteered at several events. This person is persistent, engaged and always there at club events — running, volunteering, and representing the club and who we are. This award is performance based, in the sense  that the recipients run most of our club events, and finish the events that they entered. The recipients are also active volunteers, helping out at club events throughout the year. This is the award for the person who is really engaged in the VHTRC and supports the club by running well and volunteering in all of our runs and events. A person can only win this award once.  

Sarah Smith won over Addie Welch, Tracy Dahl, and Sheila Vibert for the Female Furbutt Award

Dan Aghdam won over Keith Knipling and Ryan Brown for the Male Furbutt Award.

Performance of the Year

The Performance of the Year recognizes one male and one female member for the most outstanding performance of the year in a trail run. 

Diane Behm won Female Performance of the Year for completing the Shenandoah National Park (SNP) 500 miles of trails program challenge…running! The SNP 500 consisted of EVERY blazed or maintained trail in Shenandoah National Park.  Megan Alvarado, Kathleen Cusick, Daisy Weill and Sheila Vibert were all nominated for outstanding performances in trail running this year.

Patrick “PJ” Vaughan completed the Triple Crown of 200’s this year, awarding him the Male Performance of the Year. Trevor Baine, Ryan Brown, Tony Escobar, Keith Knipling, Olivier Leblond, and John Andersen were all nominated for their outstanding performances.

Runner of the Year

The Runner of the Year recognizes two runners — one male and one female member of the VHTRC — who have demonstrated consistently outstanding performances in trail runs during 2018.

Kelly MacDonald edged out Sheila Vibert, Sara Davidson, Kathleen Cusick and Diane Behm for the Female Runner of the Year.

Jared Byrd was victorious over a competitive field of Chris Moore, Dan Fogg, Aaron Ellison, Jesse Fuller, PJ Vaughan, Keith Knipling and John Andersen for Male Runner of the Year.

Volunteer of the Year

The Volunteer of the Year Award is for a person who graciously gives of his or her time to help at club events. The recipient of this award does not have to be a runner, but may be. This award is for the person who volunteers in many different ways: at aid stations, helping organize events, pacing, crewing, or otherwise helping the runners of the VHTRC.  A person can only win this award once.

Quatro Hubbard was the Volunteer of the Year, winning this award over a strong field of nominees including Guy Towler, Mary Shaw, Tracy Dahl, Cherry Grassi and the Carrie Drummond / Eric McGlinchey Family.

Other Awards

Photo of the Year

The Photo of the Year Award went to photographer Keith Knipling, for the photo of Sophie Speidel and Gary Knipling with his trademark “fist-bump” at Promise Land 50K. Other photos that captured the spirit of the VHTRC included marvelous photos by Sarah Smith, Katie Burke and Erik Price.

Ambassador

Whereas many of our awards acknowledge service within the VHTRC, the Ambassador Award recognizes the single individual who favorably represents the VHTRC to the greater trail running community. Criteria for this award may include noteworthy performances at national and international races, improving trail conditions through volunteerism, serving as an advocate for trail running in civic and government arenas, and volunteering at VHTRC and non-club running events. In short, the Ambassador Award is given to the one person who somehow manages to make us look good. A person can only win this award once.

Tom McNulty was voted Ambassador of the Year, and Kevin Sayers was also nominated.

THE James Moore Award

Anstr Davidson received the James Moore Award, recognizing him for being Anstr!!  In other words, for being Mr. VHTRC for the life of this club, as well as his more recent work with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC).  Anstr is now the elected Director of Communications for the PATC, and he is their District Manager for the Massanutten North section of trails that are all under the PATC umbrella. He also pulls shifts in the PATC offices in Vienna at least one day a week.

More to the point than Anstr’s efforts on behalf of the trail community over at PATC, the VHTRC would not be here, or at least not nearly in the form that it has taken in what is now its 27th year, if not for his wide-ranging and tireless work to make it so. Anstr has always been the heart and the soul of this club. 

For years, the VHTRC website was truly Must See TV. Anstr would pop something of interest onto that news feed that, with his easy wit and unique voice, set a tone for the club that drew so many of us in.  We wanted to be a part of his tribe. Mix in the wonderful array of area trails, the fun atmosphere at events (running and non-running alike), and the like-minded characters who began to turn out in greater and greater numbers, generally attracted to club through the magnet that was Anstr’s news feed, and voila!  We now have roughly 650 members and a club that looks set to continue in strong fashion, moving forward with a new generation of leadership.

Anstr has been involved in so much more than being that ringleader as webmaster, however.  He has been the institutional knowledge in the background that knows how everything works: how to create a new event, how to properly time an event, who to contact to get the permits to make an event happen, and on and on and on.  Anstr has been passing these tasks on to others in the club for the last few years, enpowering others to take all of these different reins from his singular hands into multiple new hands. Finally acknowledging him with the club’s highest honor, the James Moore Award, at this time is so very fitting for a man who has poured so much of his own heart and soul into the Virginia Happy Trail Running Club for the past quarter century.  Thank you, Anstr!

Last updated January 13, 2020