About 90 members of the club gathered on February 1, 2020 for one of the social highlights of the year — the VHTRC’s annual Awards Party. Thanks to Tom McNulty and his team of volunteers for the delicious hors d’oeuvres; Rob Colenso for entertaining everyone as Master of Ceremonies; Helen MacDermott for compiling a wonderful member accomplishments slideshow, and Jaret Seiberg for securing the party site (the now traditional venue at the Bannockburn Community Club in the Cabin John area of Maryland). It was a fabulous evening with friends!
Party pictures — taken by several attendees.
Here are the recipients of the 2019 VHTRC Awards and here are the nomination details:
Rookie of the Year
Heather Moldofsky won 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. Laura Bergmann and Dani Sevel were the other nominees in this category.
Shelly Cable beat a competitive field including Heather Dougherty, BJ Shannon and Mikala Shremshock for Most Improved Female runner in 2019.
Larry Huffman won over an equally competitive field of Ted Bielawa and Scott Lee for Most Improved Male (runner). This award recognizes one male and one female member of the VHTRC whose performances in trail running in the past year have significantly improved.
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.
Sheila Vibert won over Neisa Condemaita and Jill Jacobs for the Female Furbutt Award.
Ryan Brown won over Andrew Arbuckle, Justin Faul, Barry Hauptman and Alex Papadopoulos 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.
Ashley Carr won Female Performance of the Year for completing Bigfoot 200 - with a stress fracture for the second half!
Paul Jacobs set a new course record for The Ring in 13:29, which led to the club’s membership awarding him the Male Running Performance of the Year. John Andersen, Dan Fogg, Jeffrey Garstecki, Josh Howe and Larry Huffman were all nominated for their outstanding trail running 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 2019.
Sheila Vibert won over Megan Alvarado, Jana Fridrichova, Adeline Ntam and BJ Shannon for the Female Runner of the Year.
Paul Jacobs was victorious over a highly competitive field of Olivier Leblond, Stephen Cooper and Erik Price 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.
Tom McNulty was the Volunteer of the Year, winning this award over a strong field of nominees who give back to the club tirelessly, including Sarah Curtis, Josh Howe, Mary Shaw and Dave Woll.
Photo of the Year
The Photo of the Year Award went to photographer Keith Knipling, for the photo of Sheila Vibert at the finish line of BRR50 - squeezing the life (and bourbon) out of Quatro. A reenactment at the party will be sure to be among the 2020 nominations! Other photos that captured the spirit of the VHTRC on the trails included marvelous photos by Josh Howe and Tom Simonds.
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 runs, 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.
Sarah Smith was voted Ambassador of the Year, and Sirisha “Iris” Golla and Jack Kurisky were also nominated.
The evening was capped with that most significant of the club’s awards:
THE James Moore Award
Amy Zbikowski received the James Moore Award for 2019.
Amy, an active VHTRC member, is an English teacher for children with learning disabilities in Baltimore. We know her as an accomplished and talented runner who raises awareness for many causes through running and fundraising. She is a true advocate for the disabled, hunger projects, literacy, abused women, animals, and the environment.
She is a volunteer communications and fundraising affiliate for the Jerry Cebulski African Disability Foundation (JCADF). This is an organization that provides opportunities for education, basic care and economic development for adults and children with special needs in Liberia. Amy raised awareness for this program while running Devil Dog 100 Miler (winning the women’s run in 2017); and in Feb 2018 running TWOT, where she finished second woman. She designed and raised funds via JCADF orange Buffs worn by runners at ultra events. Every December Amy continues to raise funds via social media.
Amy volunteers for Free to Run, a non-profit organization that provides running and outdoor adventures for females in Afghanistan and other countries affected by conflict. Amy collected shoes, winter gear and shipping costs from the local running community. Amy and her team Zombie Unicorn also ran the Run for Cancer to raise funds and awareness.
Amy was a central figure in organizing a fund raising trail event for a fellow ultra runner, after her Bean Hollow coffee shop was destroyed by the devasting 2016 flooding in Ellicot City.
Last year, Amy helped a fellow runner raise awareness with his goal for contributions via running to assist the purchase of a special chair for his daughter in the 40/40 Run for Emily.
Amy is a very active trail ambassador in the Bacon Ridge Trail system in Anne Arundel County; and a trail builder volunteer with the Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park.
Her many contributions to the trail running community and beyond, make her the perfect winner for the James Moore Award. She has made a difference in the world and has touched many lives. Congratulations - and thank you - Amy!!