Notes Extra: 25th annual Up-the-Hill
A hint of the islands wafted up to
the mesa on August 20, as participants in the 25th annual
Up-the-Hill Races showed off their best straw hats and
grass skirts to celebrate the event’s Caribbean theme.
Staffers display their island
event proved extraordinarily popular. Some 59 men and women
took part in the bicycling and running races, which was the
highest turnout in the decade for which complete records
are available. “After 25 years, this is still an extremely
popular event,” says Mark Mulholland, the chair of
the Employee Activities Committee, which organizes the event.
cheered as Alan Hills (MMM) won the men’s bicycle race,
the first contest of the afternoon. With a time of 5:50,
he edged SCD’s John Clyne by two seconds in a duel
reminiscent of the early 1990s, when the two men often vied
against each other to win the event.
this marked his 11th first-place finish since 1985. As much
as he enjoyed the race, the 46-year-old scientist says he’s
starting to feel his age.
Alan Hills edges John Clyne
feels a little worse every year,” he said with a smile
after the race. “Win or lose, it always hurts a little
John Weatherley came in third with a time of 6:01.
women’s bicycle race, Deirdre Garvey finished first
with a time of 7:34, followed by fellow RAP staffer Kay Levesque
at 7:55 and ACD’s Cynthia Nevison at 8:27. Deirdre
and Kay then went back down the hill to take part in the
running race—and finished in the same order. Deirdre’s
running time was 11:52, and Kay’s was 12:33. Julia
Lee-Taylor was third with a time of 13:26.
Deirdre Garvey bears down for the first of her two victories.
“I love these races,” Deirdre said after her
second victory. “This is a great event for everyone.”
While few staffers take part in both
races back-to-back, Kay says she liked the feeling of being
thoroughly warmed up by the time it comes to the foot race.
She credited her strong bike performance in part to her
bike — which she
bought from Deirdre. “How could this bike not place?” she
In the men’s running race, SCD’s John Tribbia
took first place for the second straight year. “It’s
a good excuse to go up the hill,” joked John, whose
time was 8:35. ESIG’s Rick Katz was second with a time
of 8:51, and COMET’s Mark Mulholland finished third
John Tribbia nears the finish
While the first-place finishers
had all won races in past years, many staffers back in the
pack enjoyed the personal satisfaction of taking part in
the event. “I just go
for personal bests,” says RAP’s Becky Ruttenberg,
who participated in the bike race and scored her second-best
time in the event.
Relay racers run with their
Katja Matthes of ACD had no illusions
of setting speed records in the relay race. That’s because she’s nine
months pregnant. “I can go 25 meters,” she said
of her relay leg.
In the climactic relay race, CGD’s Jim Hurrell crossed
the finish line first, shortly ahead of ACD’s Danny
McKenna. Jim’s running style was unhindered by his
grass skirt, worn in honor of the Caribbean theme and adorned
with seashells picked out by his daughter.
Crossing the finish line first, however, does not guarantee
a relay team victory. Under the event rules, teams are rated
by a complex formula that takes into account such factors
as the number of participants, the creativity that went into
their straw hats, and how much water remained in the plastic
cups that served as batons.
Thanks to the scoring, ACD won the
relay race with a strong running time combined with a fine
demonstration of tropical shirts and “grass” skirts made out of green newspaper
bags. The NCAR Director’s Office, with 100% participation,
finished second, and CGD — with lower participation but
a great hat — finished third.
Almost as soon as the races ended,
a summer rain began to fall. Events Services mobilized
quickly to move the Caribbean-style buffet from the Tree
Plaza to the indoor cafeteria. The post-race festivities
included live music by the band Ricky Fire and an awards
• David Hosansky
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