The Heart of the Hellgate 100K - Page 2
“Hellgate is classic Horton,” says Grossman, “There is no other event like Hellgate. Horton created it to inspire humility.”
Its unique challenges include the December race date and the midnight start time, the latter of which was implemented, Horton has said, to insure that all runners, no matter their speed, will spend the same amount of time in the dark. Due to unpredictable late-season weather conditions, the nature of the course varies greatly from year to year.
Adds Grossman continued, “Hellgate is perhaps most representative of what an ultra means to "Horton": huge withering climbs, brilliant wide-open vistas, plenty of brutal technical terrain but also miles of free running.”
Another unique aspect of Hellgate, however, is what Grossman calls its “intimacy.” Hellgate is semi-invitational; Horton hand picks the field based on runner applications and experience. “Entries are capped to keep the numbers low—140 runners this year. Horton knows you. And he wants you to face your demons, even if it takes 'Forever' to do it,” says Grossman, referencing a notoriously challenging section of the race known as the Forever Trail. The race includes a pre-race family style meal, lodging at a comfortable bunkhouse and a great post-race party, including bonfires, bowls of chili and birthday cakes with friends old or new.
In 2012, the race’s 10th year, temperatures soared. Start temps hovered around 45 degrees and by midday Saturday, had risen to a humid 70 degrees. “Perfect for Californians but not-so-perfect for the East Coasters who have no acclimation!” says Spiedel.
After a bit of leap-frogging with Shellhammer (11:07:29), one of only five runners who have competed in the race all its 10 years, Grossman finished second (10:57:54) behind Canadian Alister Gardner (10:52:48).
Kristin Eddy, a 42-year-old Virginia native, claimed the women’s victory with a fast time of 12:49:51. Jacqueline Palmer, 24, who had come from Delaware for the event, finished second in 13:53:48, while Speidel, 49 and also from Virginia, came in third, clocking 14:33:50.
Updating Horton's Facebook page, his wife, Nancy, wrote, “I cannot begin to express our gratitude for the many prayers and so many comments & emails! It's very humbling to see the photos and hear the stories. You have truly been a blessing! David is doing well. The doctors are amazed at how quickly he has come along.”