Rob Colenso

2015 VHTRC Awards Party

“Hey, so that’s what you look like in not-running clothes!”

Our members once again gathered at the start of a new running year for the VHTRC Awards Party, our annual celebration of the great things our folks are doing both on the run and in support of Happy Trails life.

Behind the scenes, Katie Keier organized the evening’s festivities, with Bob Fabia and a support crew providing his usual wide array of dinner offerings. Stephanie Wilson and Pam Gowen provided some cool decorative touches, including tablecloths featuring the results of our three signature races, and bowls of M&Ms with little banners listing each of the races’ major aid stations.

And of course more than a few adult beverages met their demise as we raised a glass (or two, or three) to our fellow VHTRC’ers over the course of the evening.

VHTRC Race Directors Tracy, Kevin, and Bob
VHTRC Race Directors Tracy, Kevin, and Bob.

Along with the presentation of awards to this year’s recipients, the race directors of our signature events – the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run, the Bull Run Run 50 Miler, and the Women’s Half Marathon Trail Run – received special honors. Kevin Sayers (MMT 100), Bob Gaylord and Toni Aurilio (BRR 50) and Tracy Dahl (WHM) received custom embroidered fleece vests featuring their name and title, along with our Furbutt logo.

The 2014 award winners and nominees are listed below. Winners in each category are denoted in boldface. Congratulations to all of our winners!

Furbutt Award

The Furbutt Award is a performance award that recognizes participation in 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 in a determined manner, to the very best of his or her ability. This person tries really hard. But whereas the recipients would run most of our club events, (and would finish the events they entered, including MMT or BRR), he or she would not run all club events. He or she would occasionally volunteer. 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 our runs and events.


  • Katie Keier
  • Stephanie Wilson


  • Paul Crickard
  • Thomas McNulty
  • Tom Simonds

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 the past year. Nominees for this award may be considered not only for their speed but also for their versatility and consistency as well as their support and representation of the club while performing at this high level over the year.


  • Kathleen Cusick: 1st, Cloudsplitter 100; 1st, Eastern States 100; 1st, Pinhoti 100; 1st, Vermont 100; 2nd, Pine Creek Challenge 100; 3rd, Massanutten Mountain Trails 100; 1st, Bull Run Run 50; 3rd, Stone Mill 50; 3rd, Tussey Mountainback 50; 2nd, The Big Schloss 50K; 2nd, Patapsco Valley 50K; 8th, Promise Land 50K; Double Reverse Ring (46:47, first loop 19:02, second loop 23:45, 1st)
  • Annie Stanley: 4th, Grindstone 100; 9th, Bull Run Run 50; 10th, Mountain Mountain 50K; 10th, Holiday Lake 50K; 15th, Promise Land 50K; 1st, Willis River 35K
  • Megan Stegemiller: 1st overall, Dia de Los Muertos 24 (122.5m, U.S. National Team qualifier), 1st, Virginia Run for Cancer 24 (108.75m); 1st, Old Dominion 100; 1st, Iron Horse 100 (2nd overall); 2nd, Grindstone 100; 11th, Bull Run Run 50


  • Brad Hinton: 8th, Grindstone 100; 2nd, The Ring; 4th, Hellgate 100K; 1st, Cacapon 12-hour (65m); 2nd, OSS/CIA 50; 9th, Bull Run Run 50; 3rd, Capon Valley 50K; 3rd, Dahlgren Heritage Rail Trail 50K; 3rd, Elizabeth’s Furnace 50K; 3rd, Martha Moats Baker Memorial 50K
  • Keith Knipling: 2nd, Old Dominion 100; 13th, HURT 100 (29:03:00); 12th, Grindstone 100; 17th, Massanutten Mountain Trails 100; 1st, The Reverse Ring; 1st, The Big Schloss 50K; 4th, PB&J 50K; 7th, Martha Moats Baker Memorial 50K; 9th, Barkley Fall Classic 30, plus finishes at Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc 100 (36:26:37), Vermont 100, Hellgate 100K, Mount Hood 50, Bull Run Run 50, Stone Mill 50, Catoctin 50K, Terrapin Mountain 50K, and Promise Land 50K
  • Jack Kurisky: 5th, Oil Creek 100; 15th, Massanutten Mountain Trails 100; finish, Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc 100; 9th, Virginia Run for Cancer 24-hour (90m); 7th, Hellgate 100K; 7th, Bull Run Run 50; 16th, Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50; 3rd, Icy-8 8-hour (50.3m); 1st, Mount Tammany 40; 8th, Elizabeth’s Furnace 50K; 6th, Barkley Fall Classic 30

Performance of the Year

Recognizes one male and one female member of the VHTRC for the most outstanding performance of the year in a trail run. “Outstanding” is considered in terms of course difficulty and weather conditions as well as the age, gender, and ability of the runner. In other words, this is a relative, not an absolute, test.


  • Cherry Grassi: One of five women to complete the 2014 Beast Series – total time, 90:10:11; 8:32:13, Holiday Lake 50K; 7:58:27, Terrapin Mountain 50K; 8:22:59, Promise Land 50K; 35:50:39, Grindstone 100; 11:46:35, Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50; 17:39:18, Hellgate 100K.
  • Robin Watkins: Course Record at Grindstone 100 – 1st woman and 14th overall, 22:53:13


  • Joe Clapper: Completed his 22nd running of the incredibly rugged Escarpment Trail Run 30K (400 cumulative miles). This remote and rugged trail run features 10,000 feet of elevation change and is extraordinarily technical. To finish under 6 hours is noteworthy; Joe ran a 4:50:30 – just 7:15 slower than his 1993 finish.
  • David Frazier: Course Record at Elizabeth’s Furnace 50K, 4:59:32.
  • Gilbert Gray: One of five finishers of the 2014 Peak Races Ultra 200-miler, 78:20:05 (48,000 feet of climb).
  • Frank Probst: 10th age group win and 25th finish at JFK 50, 10:40:57.
  • Dave Quivey: Completed the Grindstone 100 in 31:36:57 despite bad knees, power-hiking past many runners to a sub-32:00 finish.
  • Enrique Rubio: After a DNF at MMT 100 earlier in the year, went on to finish Grindstone 100 in 35:03:57 despite a knee injury that forced him to gut out miles 80-100 at a walk, using a tree limb to bear much of his weight.

Most Improved

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


  • Shelly Cable: 48:56 improvement at Bull Run Run 50 (11:38:13), 29:34 improvement at Stone Mill 50 (11:07:10), finish at Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 (34:05:30, DNF in 2013)
  • KC Guevara: 2:20:27 improvement at Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 (33:15:04).
  • Siobhan Leonardis: 1st, Glacier Ridge 50; 2nd, Beast Series (75:36:28); 6:37:43 improvement at Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 (27:57:24), 34:46 improvement at Terrapin Mountain 50K.
  • Helen MacDermott: Finish at Grindstone 100 (34:22:23, first 100); finish at Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50 (11:25:15, DNF in ’13); 13:16 improvement at Holiday Lake 50K, 37:42 improvement at Terrapin Mountain 50K; 57:25 improvement at Promise Land 50K.
  • Birgit Mitchell: 3rd, Oil Creek 100 (23:55:11); 1st, 12-hour Adventure Trail
    Run (52m); 1st, Gunpowder Keg 50K (6:35:35); 1st, Holy Cowan’s Gap 50K (7:09:00); 2nd, Bel Monte 50K (7:00:25


  • Nicklaus Combs: Grindstone 100 (27:35:06); Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 (32:05:44); Badwater Salton Sea 81 (24:46:50); 4th, TJ 100K (12:06:58); 5th, Martha Moats Baker 50K (6:26:00), 8th, Barkley Fall Classic 30 (8:32:45); Magnus Gluteus Maximus 50K (4:55:00)
  • Dave Herring: Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 (30:01:33, first 100-miler); 7th, WV Trilogy (19:43:16); The Ring (23:47:00, first Ring finish); Highland Sky 40 (8:21:53); 2nd, The Big Schloss 50K (6:52:00); PB&J 50K (6:10:00), 26-minute PR at MGM 50K (5:14:00)

Rookie of the Year

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.

  • John Andersen: Finished Holiday Lake 50K (5:33:23), Terrapin Mountain 50K (5:04:55), Promise Land 50K (5:30:30), Catoctin 50K (5:24:36), Jarmans Invitational Marathon 30-miler (5:44:15), Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50 (7:59:22 — 64 minutes faster than ‘13), and Hellgate 100K (12:06:40 — nearly 5 hours faster than ‘13)
  • Stephanie Huffman-Chivis: Finished Destin Beach Ultra Runs 50 (10:28:28), Bear Bait Ultramarathons 50K (7:01:00), Rosaryville 50K (6:11:21), 12 Hour
    Adventure Trail Run (45.5 miles), PB&J 50K (7:32:00), and Stone Mill 50
  • Sarah Smith: Finished Icy-8 8hr (33.4 miles), 24 Hour Adventure Trail Run (75
    miles), OSS/CIA 50 (12:47:31), 12 Hour Adventure Trail Run (52 miles),
    Patapsco Valley 50K (6:11:26), Stone Mill 50 (9:52:00), and JFK 50 (10:20:01
    — 5:25 faster than ‘13)


Given to the VHTRC Ambassador of the Year. You figure out the criteria.

  • Rob Colenso
  • Tracy Dahl
  • Frank Probst