Decorations from the 2014 Awards party.

Keith Knipling

Awards Party Honoring 2022

February 4, 2023  •  Cabin John, MD

John Calabrese

About 70 members of the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club gathered on Saturday evening, February 4, 2023 for one of the social highlights of the year — the VHTRC’s annual Awards Party. This was our first time gathering in two years and it was wonderful to be together again! Thanks to Tom McNulty for coordinating the delicious hors d’oeuvres, Rob Colenso for entertaining everyone as master of ceremonies, Helen MacDermott for compiling a member accomplishments slideshow, and Jaret Seiburg for securing the host site (the now traditional venue at the Bannockburn Community Club in the Cabin John area of Maryland). It was a fabulous evening with friends!

A special note of thanks to the awards hostess for the VHTRC, Katie Keier! Once again, in order to celebrate the running achievements of the club’s membership in 2022, Katie handled all the details around the annual awards and the party. This included choosing the very well-received style of award for this year, which consisted of a set of four stone coasters. Thank you, Katie!

Mark your calendar for the 2024 Awards Party. It will be held on February 3. Nominations will open December 1, 2023.

Here is the Member Accomplishments slideshow by Helen MacDermott.

Here are the recipients of the 2022 VHTRC Awards. Congratulations to all winners and nominees!

Performance Awards

Rookie of the Year

Nora Jodrey 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. Erika Fry and Anthony Wolosik were the other nominees in this category.

Most Improved

This award recognizes one male and one female member of the VHTRC whose performances in trail running in the past year have significantly improved.

Judith Weber beat a competitive field, including Heather Moldofsky and Jeni Dwyer, for Most Improved Female runner in 2022.

Carl Bligan won out over Tom Calla for Most Improved Male.

Charlene Howard

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.

Charlene Howard was selected through the club voting for the Female Furbutt Award this year, over Heather Dougherty and Tracy Cooley.

Ram Oruganti won over John Hord, Eric McGlinchey, and Larry Tumblin 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.

Tracy Cooley won Female Trail Running Performance of the Year for her epic run at the inaugural Massanutten’s Revenge 100 miler. Kari Brown and Ivory Lira were both nominated for outstanding running performances, as well.

Bob Gaylord won Male Performance of the Year for his finish at MMT 100. Justin Contois, Paul Jacobs, and the duo of Shawn Cissell and Jared Byrd were all nominated for their outstanding trail running performances.

Heather Dougherty

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.

Heather Dougherty edged out Jana Fridrichova for the Female Runner of the Year.

John Calabrese was the top vote getter, over Carl Bligan, Scott Lee and Keith VanGraafeiland, 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.

Mike Bur was the Volunteer of the Year, winning this award over a strong field of nominees who give back to the club tirelessly, including Dan Aghdam, Jeni Dwyer, Jesse Fuller, and the father/son team of papa Kevin Bligan and son Carl Bligan.

Other Awards

Photo of the Year

The Photo of the Year Award went to photographer Sarah Smith, for the photo of Tracy Cooley grinning with joy in the pouring rain at Massanutten’s Revenge. Other photos that captured the spirit of the VHTRC and the trails included marvelous photos by John Hord and Charlene Howard.


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.

James Moore, flanked by the winners of the 2022 James Moore Award, Andrew Arbuckle and Neisa Condemaita

This year there were no nominees for the club Ambassador of the year 2022. Keep your eyes open for what no doubt will be a slew of great candidates to nominate for this award in 2023, everyone!

THE James Moore Award

The evening was capped off with the award with the highest distinction, and one that is not necessarily awarded every year. Andrew Arbuckle and Neisa Condemaita received the James Moore Award directly from THE James Moore. It is always a delight to see members at the Awards party who have been involved in the VHTRC and in area trail running since the early days of the club, and that is particularly the case with Rebecca and James Moore.

Neisa and Andrew have worked over nine years with the Girls on the Run DC (GOTRDC). Neisa has served as a season coach, and her husband Andrew has volunteered to do the social media at the GOTRUNDC events. Andrew has also worked as a coach for Teens Run DC. This program promotes the physical, social and emotional well-being of under-served youth through a mentoring and distance running program. Both Neisa and Andrew do radio correspondence - sometimes bilingual in order to include Spanish-speaking communities. Neisa and Andrew organized a trail running community in Bolivia aimed to help people understand international norms for safety, as well as systems and rules of trail running.

An apt quote from Neisa and Andrew, ” Alone we can do so little! together we can do so much”. Congratulations, Neisa and Andrew! And congratulations to all the award winners and the very worthy list of nominees.

To see the complete list of awards winners over the years, click on this link.

Last updated February 16, 2023