Michele Hartwig OMR Founder
RACE DIRECTOR BIO…
Lover of trails, wild flowers, my dog, friends and family
I started running after my kids were born. The picture in the header is me finishing one of my first marathons. My son Royal and daughter Tasha ran me in. I love them so much, and this picture means the world to me.
As I continued this sport I was quickly drawn to trail running, with a strong curiosity towards ultrarunning. I heard about Kettle Moraine 100/100k trail race which is close to my house. I decided to go to the race and spectate as my first ultra-experience.
I showed up at Nordic where Timo and Jason greeted me like an old friend even though I had never met them. I was nervous and intimidated by the event. To be welcomed so warmly helped me relax.
It was my first time seeing aid stations set up on trails, and volunteers caring for runners of all ages, shapes and sizes. I spent the day and night watching runners. I met families, crew, and volunteers. I witnessed how special those night time aid stations are. It was an exciting, laid-back welcoming community. I knew then I wanted to be a part of it.
A year later I showed up at Kettle 100k. I had a great plan, go out at my marathon pace and try and hold it all day. I blew up like a typical newbie, and walked in complete fatigue and agony for the next 50k of mileage. I was hooked on ultra “running”.
Since I enjoy the sport of ultra and trail running so much I wanted to share it with everyone. I decided to put on a trail race on my local trails at Veteran Acres Park in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The first race I put on was Earth Day 50k/15 mile/5 mile in 2012.
In life we tend to mimic people we admire. Timo and Jason are two of those people for me. I have thought of them often as I make Race director decisions over the years. As an RD, it is very important to me to that everyone feels as welcome as I did at my first ultra.
I believe in people, and want to help them believe in themselves. Nothing makes me happier than getting to see new runners discover the sport. I feel the sport of ultrarunning is great for entire communities. I have some dear friends that are not ultra or trail runners that have enriched their lives by regularly volunteering at trail races.
Running an ultra-marathon is a huge family commitment. Runners and their crew have put their trust in the race organizers to give them a great event. I take that responsibility very personally, and I work hard to ensure they have a safe and awesome experience.
I am a believer in supporting the things I care about. I care about trails. I am committed to being a good steward to the trails. I am on a few volunteer boards that support trails and outdoor space. I also believe as a trail runner I need to donate above what my tax dollars do to maintain trails.
Outdoor and trail Boards I am active in
Crystal Lake Park District- Board President
Trails for Illinois- board member
Friends of the Hennepin Canal- board member
Hennepin Canal steering committee
Founder/Owner of Ornery Mule Racing races
A few of my ultra-racing highlights:
Kettle Moraine 100k - 1st Master Female 15:11, 4th overall Female
Green Swamp 50 mile- 1st Overall female
Winona Lake 50 miler-1st Overall Female
Marquette 50 mile, Michigan- 2nd overall female, 11:37
FANS 12-hour race, Minnesota- 2nd Overall Female, 63.07 miles
Coyote Springs 100, Nevada- 1st Overall Female and only female finisher, 31:45
North Country 50 miler, 1st place AG, 11th overall Female 10:26
Pumpkin Holler 100 -4th overall Female, 24:48
Devils Lake 50 mile- 5th overall female
Javelina 100-mile finisher
Javelina 100k 2-time finisher
Bear 12 Hour Trail race, West Virginia- 3rd overall Female, 52 miles
Lean Horse 100- 2-time finisher
Ice Age 50 mile
& many DNF’s that taught me my best endurance lessons