(posted by Mark Thurston) Rob Hall was "Top Dog" (first to Doyle Saddle) and probably the first one to make the full round trip. I didn't carry a camera, and there was no one else at the saddle when I arrived next behind Rob (he had headed back down already). The wind was howling and blowing fog at about 25 mph through the saddle, so it wasn't looking good to relax there this year and wait for other Wardogs. I decided to run over to the IB (Inner Basin) side of the saddle to get out of the wind, thinking when I turned back I would see a gang at the saddle and get into a group shot. The trail over there was sweet, much smoother than below Doyle Saddle, so I kept going for about a mile and a half or two until I was on a section of trail out of the shelter of the trees, exposed to the weather, with talus above and below. There were a couple big blasts of wind I'd estimate at 40+ mph, then it started raining and sleeting, so I retreated back to the saddle to see if others were around. No one was there so I headed down, passing 5 more Wardogs coming up along the way.
Rusty Knott and I hung around at the Schultz Tank parking lot long after most of the other Wardogs had headed down the hill/home to warm up. We wanted to make sure everyone got back OK from the run. So we were there when the last finishers crossed the line... and the True Grit awards at this year's Wardog go to: Stephanie Sandner AND Valerie Brazzell (they ran and finished together). Here's a picture of them just after they finished. Stephanie is holding her baby Peyton, who patiently waited with husband/dad Jeff at the parking lot for the gritty ladies to return. Download War Dog photos.