It was 14 years ago when Matt Carpenter completed the 100-mile Trail 100 run in under 16 hours.
Instead of the crowd of well-wishers usually stationed at the finish line to cheer him in, Carpenter was met by his wife Yvonne, who had the only camera present to record his finish.
“He crushed last year’s record by one-and-a-half hours,” said Ken Chlouber at the following-days awards ceremony.
The previous record, set in 2004 by Paul deWitt, was 17 hours, 16 minutes, 19 seconds. Carpenter’s time was 15:42:59, which explains why so few were standing at the finish line when he crossed it.
Carpenter’s record still stands today
The women’s record-holder is Ann Trason, in 18:06:24. This record dates all the way back to 1994.
Course changes and improvements complicate direct comparisons, but it will be quite an accomplishment if either of these records are broken in 2019.
The race begins at 4 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, on West Sixth Street. Sunday at 10 a.m., 30 hours after the start, is the final cutoff.
The popularity of the race has grown substantially since the first race in 1983. Back then 44 runners began the race and just 10 completed it, a 23% completion rate. Since 2015, those interested in running the race have had to go through a lottery process.
For many years, starting with the first race in 1983, Chlouber participated in the 100-mile Race Across the Sky. The second race is the one he remembers best, he told the Herald last summer. After not completing the 1983 race, he was determined to finish in 1984.
He had run 99 miles and was coming to the end of the race thinking to himself that anyone who finishes the race had to be a real athlete, a real jock.
But as he struggled to pass one of the other runners he did a quick double-take. “He looked like death warmed over,” Chlouber said. He was an older guy and didn’t look like anyone who could run 100 miles. “And, he was wearing blue flowered tights,” Chlouber said.
But the guy finished the race because he believed in himself. Chlouber said he tells that story often.
The first thing he learned: “If you believe in yourself, success can be yours.”
The second: “The key to success is persistence. Don’t quit.”