Garry Bjorklund, Coach Jerry Quiller among those recognized for 6th class
DENVER - (March 20, 2012) - The Colorado Running Hall of Fame Selection Committee announces the 2012 inductees into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame. The Colorado Running Hall of Fame recognizes Colorado residents for their achievement and contribution to the sport. The Colorado Hall of Fame 6th inductee class consists of Danelle Ballengee, Garry Bjorklund, Ken Chlouber, Libby James, Jerry Quiller and Pablo Vigil.
* 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, Ballengee is married with two young sons and splits her time between Dillon, CO and Moab, UT.
* 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 Summer Olympics, managing to make the 10,000 m team in spite of losing a shoe during trials. Following his 1976 Summer Olympics appearance, Bjorklund 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. Bjorklund has lived in Colorado since the late 1970's, training with the Colorado Track Club and running partner Frank Shorter.
* 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. It is common for less than half the starters to complete the race within the 30-hour time limit. Chlouber 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. Chlouber 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.
* Libby James didn't enter her first race until her 40s, but she quickly began to make her mark. 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 did the Bolder Boulder with her oldest grandson and 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 just finished the text for a picture book about an old woman who decides to run a marathon ("no research required" she says).
* The late Jerry Quiller, affectionately known as "Coach Q", will be inducted to the Hall posthumously, having passed away on February 3 after a long after a long battle with multiple myeloma. Quiller, 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, Quiller 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. Quiller 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.
* 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 also boasts a 1989 win in the Super Marathon de Hoggar, a 100-mile stage race in Tamanrasset, Algeria and was a USA 25K Masters champion at the Old Kent River Run in 1995. Now 60-years-old, Vigil 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.
Colorado has one of the highest concentrations of world and U.S. record holders and Olympic and world championship medal winners. The Colfax Marathon Partnership, Inc. Board of Directors established the Colorado Running Hall of Fame in 2007 to recognize Colorado residents who have achieved national and international recognition on the long-distance running stage.
"The Colorado Running Hall of Fame provides you with an array of very special people," said Creigh Kelley, Race Director of Kaiser Permanente Colfax Marathon. "The inductees are chosen for their contribution to the sport and the state of Colorado."
The 6th class induction ceremony and reception will be held on Thursday, April 19 at the Denver Athletic Club. The event features keynote speeches from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and Lakewood Mayor Bob Murphy. This event is open to the public, with a limited number of tickets available for purchase at $25 per person.
In 2010, the High School Athlete Recognition Program was introduced, awarding 7 high school distance runners with High School Achievement Awards recognizing not only athletic achievement but also community leadership and character.
To learn more about the Colorado Running Hall of Fame or to purchase tickets to the induction ceremony, visit: www.runcolfax.org