Through driving rain, high water, and heavy headwinds they did press onward.
Conditions were far from ideal at this year's 43rd annual Trinidad to Clam Beach Race. Over 700 runners braved a blistering cold front to run the 8 3/4 mile, 5 3/4 mile and 3 mile races on the northern California coast. The courses runs along rural windy and hilly coastal roads, through the small town of Trinidad, CA, to the ocean where they must ford the Little River and run the final two miles along Clam Beach to the finish line.
Erik Skaggs, from Ashland, OR, was unaffected by the weather conditions and the waist deep rushing waters of the river. He took the lead early in the race and ran full throttle across the final sandy miles to win the 8 3/4 mile race in a time of 47:35. He out paced San Diego's Pete Chenard by more than a minute.
Erik Skaggs races across the final beach miles to the finish.
The top ten was rounded out healthily by several other Rogue Valley runners including Bob Julian, Neil Olsen and John Leuthold who finished in 6th, 7th and 8th places respectively.
In the 5 3/4 mile race, Todd Ragsdale, from Talent, OR, handily took top honors with a time of 33:52. Joe Griffin finished a close third in 36:29, by being out paced slightly by Jim Howard of Applegate, CA, the winner of the 1981 and 1983 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. Emily Olsen, from Central Point, OR, took second place in the women's race by crossing the line in 40:17.Todd Ragsdale crosses the Little River in the lead.
A hardy congratulations goes out to all those who finished the races in such tough conditions. Full results can be found on the Trinidad to Clam Beach Run web site.
On a more personal note: Several local Rogue Valley Runners car pooled over to the race and made a weekend out of the event. The guest of honor was John Leuthold, who's 40th birthday occurs this month. After the race we returned to his parent's house near Crescent City, CA for a crab and beer feast. On Sunday morning we awoke to brighter skies and ran 14 miles beneath the coastal redwoods before returning home. A good time was had by all.
Some of the crew (left to right; Joe Griffin, Ian Torrence, Erik Skaggs, John Leuthold) dwarfed by one of the great redwoods of northern California.
Birthday boy, John Leuthold, being helped across the Little River in this year's Clam Beach Race. He's little, but he's fast!