Pablo Vigil may be called the greatest mountain runner in the world. He is the only man to have won four straight 32-kilometer Sierre-Zinal Mountain race titles (1979-82), setting a race record that lasted for a decade. He also won the Cleveland Marathon three times and competed in three U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials (1980, 1984 & 1988) and was a member of the United States World Cross Country Championship Team in 1978 and the World Mountain Running Championship Team in 1980. He boasts a 1989 win in the Super Marathon de Hoggar, a 100-mile stage race in Tamanrasset, Algeria and was a National 25k Masters Champion in the Old Kent River Run in 1995. Pablo continues to run cross country and mountain races around the world. He lives in Loveland and teaches literacy in both English and Spanish at Harris Bilingual Elementary School.
• Coached at Wayne State, Colorado State, Idaho State, Colorado, the United States Military Academy and the U.S. Olympic team
• His coaching career spanned more than 40 years
• Directed 19 All-Americans, including Olympians Adam Goucher and Alan Culpepper
• Named the Patriot League Coach of the Year 22 times
The late Jerry Quiller, affectionately known as “Coach Q”, was inducted to the Hall posthumously, having passed away on February 3, 2012, after a long after a long battle with multiple myeloma. Jerry, a Fort Collins native, was a highly successful coach and fixture in the track and field community in Colorado. After a successful high school and college career himself, Jerry developed into an incredible track and cross-country coach leading his CU teams to three Big Eight Conference titles and 12 trips to the NCAA Championships (both men’s and women’s teams). He was named the league’s coach of the year five times and directed 19 All-Americans, including Olympians Adam Goucher and Alan Culpepper. Jerry was also one of the most successful coaches in Army history. He guided the Army men’s and women’s cross-country and track teams to 37 Patriot League titles in 13 seasons and was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year 22 times. He is remembered not only as a great coach, but also an amazing and genuine man.
• National age group record for 5k (23:30)
• National age group record for 10 miles (1:19:22)
• National age group record for 10k
Libby James didn’t enter her first race until her 40’s, but she made a mark from the beginning. The mother of four and grandmother of 12 set national records in the 5k (both 70-74 and 75-79 age groups) as well as the 10k (75-79 age group) and the 10-mile (75-79 age group). She set an age group world record in the 2011 Aetna Park to Park 10-miler with a chip time of 1:19:22 and is the 2011 Running Times Master Runner of the Year in age groups 70-74 and 75-79. In 2010 and 2011 she ran the Bolder Boulder with her oldest grandson when she was 63, and in 2000, she ran the Steamboat Springs Marathon with both her daughters. She currently has a business “oldBags,” (tea bag art) and has also finished the text for a picture book about an old woman who decides to run a marathon (“no research required” she says).
• Helped create the Leadville Trail 100
• Served as Lake County Commissioner, State Representative and State Senator
• Ran in the annual burro day races in Leadville for over 30 years
• He has notched 14 Trail 100 run finishes
• He celebrated his 60th birthday by riding a wild bull
• Ken commemorated his 70th birthday climbing Mount Aconcagua in Argentina
Ken Chlouber is the brainchild behind the Leadville Trail 100, an ultramarathon held annually on trails and dirt roads near Leadville, Colorado, through the heart of the Rocky Mountains. First run in 1983, runners in the race climb and descend 15,600 feet (4,800 m), with elevations ranging between 9,200-12,620 feet. Ken and the Leadville 100 are recognized as establishing Leadville as the ultra-endurance capitol of the nation, drawing in elite athletes like Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis and Levi Leipheimer. Ken competitively ran the annual Pack Burro Race in Leadville for over three decades as well as racked up 14 Leadville Trail 100 finishes. He has served as Lake County Commissioner, State Representative and State Senator, working to promote the Leadville and Lake County communities.
• Held the MN state high school mile record (4:05.1) for 39 years
• Five-time All-American
• Broke Big Ten records in seven categories
• 13th place in 10,000m at the 1976 Olympics
• Won 10 major road races in 1978
• Inducted into the Road Runners Club of America’s Hall of Fame in 1988
• The Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth named the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon after him
Garry Bjorklund started his running career in high school, setting a Minnesota state record mile that lasted for 39 years with a time of 4:05.1. He represented the U.S. at the 1971 and 1975 Pan American Games as well as the 1976 Olympics, managing to make the 10,000m team in spite of losing a shoe during trials. Following his Olympic appearance, Garry became a marathon runner, earning fifth-place finishes in both the 1977 New York City Marathon and the 1979 Boston Marathon. By 1980, he had set a national age group record and personal best time of 2:10.20 at Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth Minnesota. His strong road running during this time earned him a place in the Road Runners Club of America’s Hall of Fame in 1988. Garry has lived in Colorado since the late 1970s, training with the Colorado Track Club and running partner Frank Shorter.
• Four-time Pikes Peak Marathon winner
• Six-time, four-sport U.S. Athlete of the Year
• Unbeaten in snowshoeing 1997 to 2001
• Multisport Athlete of the Year (‘95)
• U.S. Pro Duathlete of the Year (’97)
• U.S. Mountain Runner of the Year (’99)
Danelle Ballengee, “Coach Nellie”, is known as one of the world’s premier adventure sports athletes, boasting four Pikes Peak Marathon wins, three Primal Quest adventure race victories, and six “U.S. Athlete of the Year” wins in four sports. She is the top-winning endurance athlete in the world, having won several hundred events in various endurance sports including skyrunning, adventure racing, mountain running, rogaining, snowshoeing, triathlon, and duathlon. In 2006, she survived an incredible accident where she was stranded for 56 hours with a shattered pelvis when she fell about 60 feet after slipping on an icy rock while trail running near Moab, Utah. Today, Danelle is married with two young sons and splits her time between Dillon, CO and Moab, UT.
Given that she is 75 years old and has been a runner since the 1970s, Libby James can’t complain too much about the way her body is holding up.
“My feet are older than the rest of me, I think,” James said. “But it’s not serious stuff. It’s like callouses and corns and stuff that just bugs you.”
We should all be so lucky.
James, who will be inducted into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame on Thursday night, is one fast grandmother… Read more at The Denver Post