Annual Report
The Harper Family

(You can click any of the photos to see a larger image)


Ashley turned 12 years old this month.
She also started a little side business with her pony Mandy, doing pony rides at birthday parties.

Not Blue but Not Bad! That pony can FLY! Go MANDY!

William and I made a trip to Alexander Springs, to do some hiking, fishing, and it turns out, also feed a squirrel. All was well, until William ran out of food... and the squirrel bit him!

William on Mandy(with motorcycle helmet) Emily on Mandy, maybe another perfect combination in the works? Getting ready to ride

On a trip back to Alabama to run my 4th Mountain Mist 50k Trail run, I stopped and took some photos of the first house Tamara and I ever bought. When we bought the lot, there wasn't even a street here, it was a muddy field. And when I planted all the trees, they were only 3-4 feet tall! Hard to believe. On my trip up to race in Huntsville, I rode my motorcycle, which was an adventure. So I rode 650 miles on Friday, ran 50k(31 miles)of trails on Saturday, rode 650 miles home on Sunday. On the way home, I was in HARD rain for about 5 hours and I was VERY happy to be off the motorcycle when I finally rolled into the driveway.


William and I made a trip to Ocala National Forest for some 4 wheeler riding with friends, and we started construction on our barn for our horses. After living their 3 years without one, they didn't know what a treat was coming.

Later in the month, we made a trip up through Alabama (for a race of course), and then up into Tennessee. In Alabama, we spent a couple days at Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama. I had a great race there, in a 50 kilometer trail run, 10th overall and 3rd age group. We then went and spent a few days up in Tennessee, in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville. Sevierville is where Tamara and I got married, and the photo shows the building we got married in, MANY years ago. The kids did some ice skating at Ober Gatlinburg, played in the snow, saw the new aquarium. ( And Ashley got to stand in two states at the same time)


In March, both David and Ashley sat on our Arabian, Rochmoninoff (Rocky) for the first time. That was just a little bit terrifying. Both Uno and Rocky love to run, and when they aren't doing that, lying in the sun suits them fine.

All the kids had a Karate Tournament, William did Fighting, the girls both competed in the Forms division. They all did well, and came away with medals.

Our friends from Alabama came down for William(not our William, their William) to run his first 50 miler, the Croom 50 mile trail run, which we both ran in. Then we got to get away for some fishing. I had not had the boat out in a while, and as you can see from the photo, it was cleaning up pretty nicely. We got out for two days of fishing, bringing back 5-6 keepers each day.

David put some new black wheels on the Z28, they are larger and fatter, very cool.

Before... and After


Well, there was Easter...

William and David managed to get out for some fishing. William caught a BonnetHead shark. And David kept working with the horses.


Ashley continued with her horse shows, usually riding Sir Reginald(Reggie). He's a very young half-Arabian, which makes him a handful. She had a tough time on him all year, but that's part of bringing a young horse up. We are very proud of her for being as tenatious as she had to be, and she's turning this horse into quite a competitor. Ashley also did a Dressage competion on Mandy this month, almost certainly the last time that she will compete on her pony.

Emily also has started showing quite an interest in horses now, doing a lot of riding herself, Ashley is helping her, and we might have another natural talent on our hands. Ashley kept doing her Birthday Pony Rides. Along with the warm weather, comes time to play in the pool too.

I began preparing for the heat of Badwater by spending 30 minutes to an hour in our attic, (125 plus degrees) after every run or bike ride. I also ran in the Massennutten 100 mile trail run, the most difficult 100 miler in the Eastern US with my buddy Chris. We both made a good showing for Florida in the rockiest, most unrunnable terrain I have ever seen. It was VERY hard on my feet.


It wouldn't be Summer without going to the beach...

And horse shows...

And Emily's riding is improving all the time.


Emily turned 7 years old, and we had a skating party.

Of course, the kids are in the pool every chance they get.

And I finished my second Badwater 135 mile ultramarathon. With plenty of help from my friends. Vince and I spend a day hiking around and seeing some really cool rock formations a few days before the race. Link to Race Report


My birthday this month...

I made a trip to Leadville, Colorado to pace a friend for the last 50 miles of the Leadville 100 mile run. The night before I was to leave, I was trying to ride Rocky, who had other ideas on this evening. Before I could get fully mounted, Rocky started bucking and put me on the ground. I got back on, and Rocky started bucking and freaked completly out, falling over backwards on top of me. My knee and ankle were very swollen. This was Thursday evening, and I was supposed to help Liz the last 50 miles of her 100 mile run on Saturday. I was able to complete the run, and do what I needed to do, but it was a close call. Leadville is a great place, and crossing over Hope pass at 13,000 feet is very cool. There is an aid station up there, almost at the top, and they use llamas to pack everything up the mountain.

The kids started back to school.

Lake County magazine listed me as one of the 'Top 5 Athletes of Lake County', which was pretty cool. LINK

September, October

Again, I made a trip out West to help a friend for the last 50 miles of his first 100 mile run. Complete success, my buddy Tom placed very high in the standings, and we had a great time at Grand Tetons Wyoming.

William turned 9 years old, and we went on a camping trip, taking one of his buddies. We camped, cooked over the fire, went bicycling and canoeing. The boys had a great time swimming in the springs and hiking.

I also made another trip to Death Valley, this time to compete in the 508 mile Furnace Creek 508 bicycle race. In this race, rather than have race numbers, we have a 'totem', an animal spirit that is our race identification. I was ArabHorse in honor of the greatest endurance horse breed, the Arabian. I made it 325 miles. 300 of those in a 24 hour period. I had great support from some of my buddies out there, I owe them big time for all the work they did to help me. I will go back and finish that race.

Before the race, I was able to spend some time training and exploring some of Death Valley. Including an area within a mile or so of where Charles Manson lived at some point. I spent a lot of time talking with a guy there camping on his motorcycle, something I hope to do on mine at some point. A lot of history in this area, back to the 1800's especially.

While I was actually doing my bike race, Ashley was doing a horse show on Reggie, and really did well. My crew was able to speak with Tamara, and tell me all about it at night as I was passing right through Death Valley.


A little creative Pumpkin Carving by Ashley, William and Emily in that order.

November, December

The big news is that we finally bought Sir Reginald for Ashley. For a full year, she's been bringing this horse along, and they seem to be turning in to another team like she had going with Mandy. He seems to perform best for her only, and he should give her several years of great showing.

I also put a bridle on The One (Uno) for the first time. He really did well with it, it did not seem to bother him as much as I thought it would.

The kids were in the Parade in Clermont, with their music school.

I've been doing some customizing to both of my motorcycles, and having some relaxing time without doing too much excercising. As I write this, I am getting started back up, with races scheduled up to 100 milers, in January, February and May.