BY ROBERT ASSARIAN
GLENDALE—Telma Ghazarian Altoon races in the mountains while holding high the Armenian tricolor. The Armenian Hikers Association and the Armenian Hiking Society will recognize her accomplishments on Khachadour Apovian Mountains Day, October 9 at 8:15 am, in Topanga State Park’s Trippet Ranch with a hike and potluck brunch program.
Telma has been an athlete and runner since childhood. She got on Glendale High School’s Varsity Track and Cross Country teams in 9th grade and competed until graduation. Her talent earned a full athletic scholarship to USC and continued to compete for this Division I school.
About seven years ago, Altoon caught the extreme sports bug. She became the only Armenian ultra-marathoner and competitor in self-sustaining multi-stage and long endurance races locally and internationally, consistently placing at or near the top of the pack.
In her most recent race, the Kodiak 100 Mile Endurance Run in Big Bear, CA, Telma came in 10th among the women with a time of 34:58. “Just imagine,” commented an amazed Garen Yegparian, one of AHA’s organizers, “that means Telma was running essentially non-stop for a day and a half, at pretty high elevations! We’re honored to have this opportunity to recognize Armenian excellence.”
A sample of the races she has participated in and their lengths includes: Grand to Grand Ultra – International Self-Supported Stage Race – 170 Miles – Grand Canyon, UT; Kodiak Ultra – 50 Mile Endurance Run – Big Bear, CA; Nirvana Racing Company –Endurance Run – 100K (62miles) – Joshua Tree, CA; Sean O’Brien – 50 Mile Endurance Run – Malibu State Creek, CA; Golden Ticket Race for Western States 100 Featuring Top Female 50 Milers in the US;
Badwater Salton Sea 82 Mile Endurance Run – Salton Sea, CA.
Most of these races are featured in “Ultra Running Magazine” along with Telma herself.
Join AHA and AHS as Telma Ghazarian becomes the third annual Khachatour Apovian Mountains Day honoree (Apovian, along with Hovhannes Ayvazian and Mourad Poghossian, were the first Armenians to summit Ararat in 1829, then the highest mountain climbed outside the Andes). She is preceded by Emil Markarian (2014) and Gegham Minassian (2015).
The parking lot where the hike will start is located at 20828 Entrada Rd, Topanga, CA 90290. There is a $10 parking fee. Street parking may be available along Entrada Rd for those who arrive very early. For details, contact Robert at [email protected] or on the day of the event at 818/434-5952.
The Armenian Hikers Association promotes enjoyable, healthful, and safe hikes and similar activities in the wildlands, woodlands, and wherever else Armenians and their friends can go. AHA! can be reached through armenianhikersassociation.com or Facebook.
On Khachadur Abovyan Mountains Day, October 9, AHA! and AHS, with great joy, jointly invite you to honor a VERY SPECIAL woman, Telma Altoon, an ultramarathoner, the ONLY ultramarathoner in Armenian history, who, at every race on the mountains, proudly represents ARMENIA and displays the ARMENIAN flag.
Altoon was born in Tehran, Iran and lives in the United States. Her passion for running started at a very young age and still continues as a wife, a mother of two and going to work every day! (she wakes up at 3 am and almost runs a marathon for training, sssh, don’t tell anybody)
As an ultramarathoner, she runs 80, 100, 150 and beyond miles on the mountains mostly nonstop without sleeping, ALWAYS, ALWAYS with the YERAGUYN on her jersey.
We will meet at Trippet Ranch in Topanga State Park, do a short and Easy hike to Eagle Rock, 4 miles roundtrip and then we will have a simple brunch pot luck style. We will enjoy listening to Telma’s stories, ask her a thousand questions and go home EMPOWERED with the energy radiating from her soul.
Directions: Trippet Ranch in Topanga State Park, 20828 Entrada Rd, Topanga, CA 90290.
There is a $10 parking fee (carpool) or you may park along the road off the paved road.
Contact: Robert at [email protected] or day of Event at 818 434-5952.
Telma Ghazarian Altoon was born to Armenian parents in Iran on May 14, 1975. She was raised in Glendale, California and currently lives in Porter Ranch, California.
Altoon is married to Eric A. Altoon with children Jamie Altoon (14) and Andre Altoon (11).
“I have been running and competing since I was a child,” said Altoon. “I got on the High School Varsity team in 9th grade and competed all through High School in Track and Cross County at Glendale High School. I also competed in track and cross county in college at USC (Division I) on a full athletic scholarship.”
“I am an ultra-marathoner and compete in self-sustaining multi-stage races as well as long endurance races locally and internally,” she said.