On Saturday, October 29th, about a dozen Unafraid runners gathered at Diamond Peak at 8am. Thanks to Julia Millon for organizing our local edition! It was the 2nd annual Donner Party version of Hilloween, a national contest to get as much vertical gain as possible in an 8 hour time period. It is up to individuals to record their “tracks” and submit them to the Hilloween website. We hiked up 1 mile from the Diamond Peak parking lot and set up our makeshift “aid station.” Everyone left water and snacks, and a few left whiskey. From there, we turned on our watches and phones to track our 1 mile laps up to the top of the Crystal Express ski lift and back down as many times as we could manage for the next 8 hours.
I had dreaded this event. Uphills continue to be my biggest challenge. I arrived with no expectations and like every other Donner Party event I have ever attended, it turned out to be great fun. It was the best hill workout I could have ever planned, all due to the company of great people. A few were in costumes of some sort, some played music, and all had a smile or a high five as we passed each other going up and down for the next six or seven or eight hours. The uphill was a grind each time, but the downhill was so fun to run and really lived up to the definition of running: “controlled falling.”
Donner Party Mountain Runners made it on the national scoreboard for the second year in a row! Amber Monforte Weibel crushed it beating EVERYONE to earn the top vert of 15,715′! Geoff Quine was the top male in the under 55 category with 14,493′ (and 3rd overall). Julia Millon was 4th overall with 13,387′ and Ginny Laforme won the under 100 category with 10,550′, at a different location.
It was so inspiring to watch Geoff and Amber, as well as Sam Skrocke, Julia Millon and several others do lap after lap. Some were doing two laps to each of my one. But instead of feeling like I was losing a race at the back of the pack, we were all together on the same 1 mile hill passing each other or getting passed, all together having fun. Everyone there seemed to have a great time cheering for each other and encouraging others to do “just one more trip up.” I always leave events like this so inspired to push myself further than I thought I could. I lasted 7 hours and was satisfied it was my best hill workout of the year. I never would have done 7 hours of uphill on my own, but with the company of DPMR it was the most fun hill workout I’ve ever done. Thanks guys!