It's pretty simple, two 15.5 mile loops. You see it once, and if you don't get lost you know exactly what to expect on your second trip around the trail at the Pemberton 50k. My competition included three time champion Josh Brimhall as well as the 2003 winner, Ian Torrence. Suffice it to say, they have been running circles in the McDowell Mountain Desert for almost 10 years.
The day started off fast and got, well, slower from there. Going in, I told Josh we were there to run 3:20, under would be fine, but I would be a little disappointed with anything slower. My 50k PR heading into the race was a 3:34 at the Ice Age 50k back in 2004. I might have been asking for too much. As we made our way around the first loop, Josh and I separated quite early from the rest of the 150+ racers, the running was easy and the sandy trail firm. The temps were perfect and it was nice to steal some quick glances at the rocky peaks surrounding the valley. Starting our second lap, I thought our 200 minute race might be in jeopardy when the salt caked to our faces wasn't getting washed away by massive amounts of perspiration. Add to that a small bout of cramping on the first sustained climb and Josh began to disappear over the rolling trails with the only chance at going under the bar. I was able to keep moving rather well, enough to run in a finishing time that bested my previous PR by ten minutes. Josh went on to win his 4th Pemberton on this, the events 10th anniversary. A solid performance was turned in by the snow locked visitor from Flagstaff as Ian narrowly missed the 1-2-3 sweep of ultrarunning veterans by finishing fourth.
Yes, both feet still off the ground.
The three amigos enjoying that dry desert air, anyone seen my fat tire?
Valentines weekend was not complete without the annual running of the Couples Truffle 5k. Partner's were picked and parlays positioned. There was an abundant amount of talk leading up to this years event and in the end, the fairer side of the tandems ended up shining brightest. Ladies Group Runista Maria Clementi, along with partner Heidi Paine won the Female Open division while usual suspects Erik Skaggs and Jenn Shelton ran away with the Mixed Open. The Husband and Wife teams of RVR runners Dorsey Dobry and Tom Dobry along with Laura and Tom Raber took 1st and 3rd respectively. In the Male open, AHS standouts Wilder Schaaf and Paul Schwarzer dominated begging the question, what happened to these two?
If you live in Oregon and your vacation time doesn't coencide with your running schedule you may just end up at the Hagg Lake 50k. You should be aware by now that February in Oregon means, well, mud. A few RVR's ended up running laps around a lake that would better suit a hog, boar or sow. I guess that's why they go? Shahid Ali, looking strong in the quagmire, finished his first ultra of 2010 along with Dez Barnes and Mel Bailey of Ashland. Nice work gang!
This past weekend, a few southern Oregonians headed north to the Buck Mountain Mudslinger Trail Run . Silver Falls State Park is located approximately 40 miles east of Salem and is Oregon's largest State Park. Waterfalls run amok in this temperate rain forest and make for slippery conditions just about any time of year, never mind a weekend in February. Erik Skaggs and Jenn Shelton followed Southern Oregon Runners president Chuck Whitely in registering for this event, evading any apprehension for the shoe sucking stuff. In the end, Ashland's fastest couple came away with victories and represented well. Chuck stayed clean and finished just ahead of Kierra Huggins of Medford.
Erik, in his pearl button western top. Have I seen this before?
Oh yeah, right where it belongs!
Jenn walks away with the loot, once again.
The Sylamore 50k was held on the 20th of the month in Allison, Arkansas and saw the return of Rogue Valley Runners employee Nick Lewis.
Nick returned to the scene of his first ultra in an attempt to capture the course record of 3:40:37 set by this man in 2000.
Huntsville, Alabama's Dink Taylor.
Conditions were decent but the rocks have grown on the course and with the addition of a 25k the trail becomes event more of a gauntlet. The bloodied and bruised ex-Memphisonian bettered his time by some 35 minutes and captured a hard fought runners up 3:55, but the course record remains. The good news is that Nick has unbelievable better abs than Dink.
Can March hold even better results?