In 1991, when I lived and worked in Colorado, I met Jim Nolan. Upon learning that Jim was a mountaineer who had "bagged" all the 14ers in Colorado (there are 54), I asked how many 14ers he could put in a point-to-point 100-mile course. It took him about a week to give me his answer, "14," and then he outlined the course for me. I had planned to attempt Nolan's 14 in the summer of 1992 with Jim's support, but had to cancel the plans as I moved to a new job in California.
In 1998, prior to the Hardrock Hundred, Blake Wood, Charlie Thorn, and I met at a restaurant in Silverton. We talked about establishing Nolan's 14 as an adventure run. Their suggestions and advice helped to make this adventure run a reality. They continue to help by serving on the Nolan's 14 Steering Committee, along with Jon MacManus, Jim Nolan, and Gordon Hardman.
The course needed a name. I orginally considered "Sawatch 100", because I wanted to make the course a 100 miles in length. Blake convinced me that the course should not be arbitrarily lengthened to force it into a 100 mile format. He also advocated the geographically defined course, i.e. no defined route, just the start, finish, and 14 summits. Charlie Thorn proposed the name, "Sawatch 14", which I like very much. "Sawatch 14", however, doesn't say which 14. The name "Nolans 14" is stuck in my mind, though "Fouteen Fourteeners" might be a good alternative.
What does Jim Nolan call it? He refers to it as "the Death Run". Since Jim is a fan of Rheinhold Messner, whose exploits make this adventure look like child's play, I'm sure he is jesting.
So, after seven years delay, Nolan's 14 became a reality. Gordon Hardman, Blake Wood, and I became the first three people to attempt Nolan's 14. We managed to summit 7 of the 14'ers. Blake and Gordon stopped after about 36 hours because there was no aid for them between Mt. Yale and Mt. Columbia, and because there was no aid between Mt. Harvard and Mt. Oxford. It took me about 12 hours longer to do the same seven summits, and although I had better support, I found other reasons to stop before the 60 hour time limit.
Within a week, Stephen Simmons became the fourth person to attempt Nolan's 14 and without any support, was able to summit four 14'ers. He also unintentionally summitted a 13'er along the way.
The inaugural event was, in my opinion, a great success. I would like to thank the volunteers, runners, and steering committee members.