Staffers have a ball at 2006 Up-the-Hill Races

In honor of the party theme "Have a Ball," staffers converged at the Mesa Lab last Friday for the annual Up-the-Hill Races dressed in everything from frilly ball gowns to "ball-and-chain" jail uniforms, as well as functional Spandex bike shorts.

Nine employees dressed in ball gowns
Employees dressed in convict costumes in relay race
EO staffers get decked out for the ball. (Photos by Carlye Calvin) Members of CGD, aka "Chain Gang Division," compete in the relay race.

Some participants took the races seriously (or at least somewhat seriously), while others participated for the thrill of running up the road in costume while bouncing a ball and balancing a cup of jelly beans. Most just came for food, music, and mingling on a sunny summer afternoon.

The foot race this year was dubbed the Andrew Crook Challenge and dedicated to the life of the late NCAR scientist and athlete. (For more about Andrew, see the March 2006 issue of Staff Notes.) Memorial race bibs were available at the start line, and runners observed a moment of silence just before the race. Greg Holland (MMM director) offered a bottle of 1992 E&E Black Pepper Shiraz, from the Barossa wine region of Australia (both his and Andrew's native country), to the first person to beat Andrew's all-time Up-the-Hill record of 7:28.

Andrew's record held and nobody claimed the wine. "It is on permanent wait for someone to beat Andrew, and should cellar for at least 20 years," Greg says. "I will continue to add one bottle per year to make the challenge even more interesting."

In the foot race, Mark Mulholland (COMET) and Deirdre Garvey (RAL) took first place in the men's and women's categories, with times of 8:51 and 11:07, respectively. Rick Katz (ISSE) came in second among the men in 8:57, followed by Tom Hopson (ASP/RAL) in 8:58. Mary Beth Reece (DLESE) came in second among the women in 12:05, followed by Anne-Marie Tarrant (RAL) in 15:22.

Woman running
Two men running
Deirdre Garvey (RAL) cruises to a first-place finish in the women's foot race. Mark Mulholland (COMET) leads Rick Katz (ISSE) in the men's foot race.

In the bike race, Rory Kelly (SCD) cruised to a first-place finish among the men with a time of 5:23, while Heidi Godsil (COMET) won the women's competition in 6:32. Tom Hopson (ASP/RAL) and Alan Hills (ACD) came in second and third for the men with times of 5:41 and 5:55, respectively. Kay Levesque (RAL) took second for the women with a time of 7:16, followed by Deirdre Garvey (RAL) in 7:27.

Woman riding a bike
Man riding a unicycle
Heidi Godsil (COMET) comes around the final bend in the bike race. He's missing a wheel, but never a beat. Scot Colburn (SCD) on his unicycle.

EO won the divisional relay race, which is scored with a formula that takes into account hat decorations, ball decorations, number of jelly beans successfully carried up the hill, and actual race time. CGD and RAL came in second and third.

Women in ball gowns participate in relay race
Woman dribbling beach ball
EO's Lisa Gardiner hands off to Sandra Henderson during the relay race. Carol Park (RAL) demonstrates her beach ball dribbling skills.

After the races, staffers listened to the music of Wild Six while dining on Australian cuisine that included shrimp on the Barbie, outback ribs, kangaroo puck burgers, corn salad, onion rings and, of course, Vegemite-style spread.

Credit for planning the successful event goes to volunteers with the Employee Activities Committee (EAC). Like all staff parties, the event was a Zero Waste event. With the help of UCAR's Environmental Stewardship Program, all food and beverage containers were compostable, including paper plates and napkins, and cornstarch cups and utensils.


On the Web

Up-The-Hill 06 Photo Album