“Of the five athletes inducted into the 2014 class of the Colorado Running Hall of Fame, three enjoy roots in mountain and trail running. The class was introduced at the Denver Athletic Club on the evening of April 9, by emcee Creigh Kelley, with a special keynote address by Olympic gold medalist Frank Shorter.
Shorter’s address focused on the community of running. “We support each other, we really do. Competing is one thing, but when we turn the switch off, we’re friends,” said Shorter.”
Simon Gutierrez is versatile athlete as a three-time member of the USA National Cross Country team, an Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon, and is a seven-time member of the USA National Mountain Team. He is a three-time World Masters Mountain Overall Champion (2006, 2007, and 2008) and has won the La Luz mountain race in New Mexico a record eight times. He is a three-time Champion in the Pikes Peak Ascent as well as Mt. Washington Road Race. Gutierrez is also a mountain representative to the USATF Mountain, Ultra, and Trail Running Council and in 2005 he was named the USATF Mountain Runner of the Year. Now 48, Gutierrez is enjoying a career as a physical therapist in Colorado Springs.
Rick Trujillo is considered a pioneer in the sport of mountain running, earning his reputation as an
Rick Trujillo 1977– Pikes Peak Marathon, on the Golden Stairs
elite and unconventional runner over his long career. Trujillo enjoyed an early cross-country running career in high school and college, but later preferred mountain running. He is a five-time champion of the Pikes Peak Marathon, holding the course record from 1973-1982. He founded the Imogene Pass Run, winning the race several times and holding the course record from 1974-1985. In 1995, at age 47, Trujillo ascended Colorado’s 54 14,000-foot peaks in record time of 15 days, nine hours, and 55 minutes. He also won the Hardrock 100 Mile Run (66,000 feet of ascent and descent with average elevation of 11,000 feet) in 1996. Trujillo has never yielded to traditional training conventions, making his achievements that much more impactful.
Marshall Ulrich is an elite extreme endurance athlete, as well as an accomplished speaker, author, trainer, and guide. Ulrich has finished over 125 ultra marathons, climbed the Seven Summits, including Everest, all on first attempts, and has completed 12 expedition-length adventure races. At the age of 57, Ulrich broke two transcontinental speed records when he ran 3,063.2 miles in 52.5 days from San Francisco to New York, about which he wrote his book, “Running on Empty.” A record four-time winner of the Badwater Ultramarathon and still the record holder to the summit of Mount Whitney, Marshall has crossed Death Valley on foot, in July, a record 25 times, including the first-ever self-supported circumnavigation of Death Valley National Park. Ulrich has also raised more than $850,000 for various charities.
Jay Johnson is an elite mountain runner and record holder. He was the first American to win the World Mountain Championships in 1987, and also placed 9th in 1980, 22nd in 1991, and 24th in 1992. He held the uphill record at the 32-kilometer Sierre-Zinal Mountain Race for many years at 1:45. He won the Vail Hill Climb in 1987, as well as the Vogorno-Bardughee in 1988. He was an impressive high school distance runner, running a 2:28 marathon as junior at Paavo Nurmi in 1977, earning one of the top five times in the US. He founded the LaSportiva Mountain Cup in 2008, and is a donor & supporter of many US mountain running teams. Johnson is a long-time Boulder resident and his wife Lilly, a two-time Bolder Boulder winner herself, owns Fleet Feet Sports there.
Nancy Hobbs has been running trails and directing running events since the mid-80’s and her articles and photographs about the sport have been published in magazines including Runner’s World, Running Times, Trail Runner, and Ultrarunner. She is the founder and executive director of the American Trail Running Association, a council member of the World Mountain Running Association, manager of the US Mountain Running Team (starting the women’s team in 1995), and chairperson of the USATF Mountain Ultra Trailrunning Council. Hobbs lives in Colorado Springs, traveling extensively both nationally and worldwide to support and promote trail and mountain running.
Melody Fairchild was called the greatest high school distance runner in U.S. history. She was the first high school girl in history to break 10 minutes in the 2-mile (9:55.9) and although she struggled initially at the University of Oregon in the mid-1990s, she came away a 3,000m indoor NCAA champion and an Olympic trials qualifier in the 10K. Melody Fairchild was considered a star constantly on the rise from her earliest years, until 2000, when after a disappointing showing at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials, her name disappeared from race results for a decade. Fairchild, now 39 and living in Boulder, is rising once again and back at the top of the race results, this time on the trails. In 2012 she made the U.S. Mountain Running Team and went on to the World Mountain Running Championships in Italy, where she placed eighth, helping Team USA earn a gold medal for the first time since 2007. She then helped Team USA win another gold medal at the World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge at the Jungfrau Marathon in Switzerland. In 2007 she founded the Melody Fairchild Running Camp for High School Girls in an effort to help other athletes overcome the struggles she experienced first-hand in her own running career.
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.
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.
Danelle at Pikes Peak Summit in 2005. (Photo: multisports.com)
“Fairchild, now 39 and living in Boulder, is rising once again and back at the top of the race results — this time on the trails. In July she made the U.S. Mountain Running Team by placing second in the 5-mile Loon Mountain Race in July, the qualifier in New Hampshire that averages a 10 percent grade, with sections of more than 40 percent. She went on to the World Mountain Running Championships in Ponte di Legno, Italy, in September, where she placed eighth, helping Team USA earn a gold medal for the first time since 2007…”
“Whether it was the renewed strength, a newfound desire to inspire the youth she worked closely with, or her induction into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame, Fairchild was ready to return to the competitive scene. In 2010 she won the open women’s division of the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run, with her teammate Ellen Parker. The six-day stage event, which traverses 120 miles of the Rocky Mountains, “busted open” Fairchild’s perspective on her ability.
“The recipe for my success of late includes being coached by [2:07 marathoner] Steve Jones and having the opportunity to train with a strong, positive and supportive group of women,” Fairchild says.”