Sunday, December 30, 2007

Not Your Typical Group Run

The group assembling pre-run.

This past weekend a large group gathered at The Plaza in Ashland for a run. Different groups went different distances. The pièce de résistance was an ascent up Hitt Road/Trail to the summit of Ostrich Mountain (3,000 feet in five miles), a traverse of the No Candies Trail (four miles through three feet of newly fallen snow) and then the knee jarring decent from Horn Gap on the 2060 Road back to downtown Ashland: Sixteen miles of heart racing climbs, screaming descents, snow, wind, cold fingers and toes and great conversation.

It was a special run in that several folks came in from out of town to partake. Seattle's Scott Jurek (seven-time winner of the Western States 100 Mile Trail Race, two time winner of Badwater, two time winner of Greece's Spartathalon and this year's winner and course record holder of the Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run) and Las Vegas' Josh Brimhall (winner of the Zane Grey 50 Mile Trail Race, Lake Hodges 50 Kilometer Trail Race, Pemberton 50 Kilometer Trail Race, and the Crown King 50 Kilometer) joined the usual suspects for this weekend's frolic in the woods.

Post-run group photo. From Left to right: Abbey the dog, Eric Poole, Josh Brimhall, Hal Koerner, Kyle Skaggs, Scott Jurek, John Leuthold, Chris Rennaker, Ian Torrence

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ted Corbitt "The Grandfather of American Ultrarunning" passes away at the age of 88

Ted Corbitt, who some say is the "Grandfather of American Ultrarunning", passed away at the age of 88. The International Assocation of Athletics Federations (IAAF) posted this about Corbitt on their web site.

Distance running inspiration Ted Corbitt passes away at 88

Wednesday 12 December 2007
Ted Corbitt, 1952 Olympian, training pioneer, administrator, and author, has passed away at the age of 88.

Born in 1919 in South Carolina, USA, into an African-American family, Corbitt as a child ran to and from school in an era of racial discrimination in which there was only school transport available for white children. Corbitt was never bitter and found great enjoyment in that daily regime. When as an older student he read a newspaper article about Theodore Ellison "Tarzan" Brown, the Narragansett Indian who won two editions of the Boston Marathon in the 1930s, that childhood enthusiasm for running was turned into a lifelong passion.

During college, segregation kept Corbitt out of many interstate meets and generally restricted his competitive opportunities as a runner. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a masters’ degree with honours in physical education and then studied to become a physical therapist, but always retained serious thoughts of competitive running.

At a time when there was very little knowledge in the area of professional training available to runners, most of his early self coaching was experimental. Using the methods of Czech Olympic legend Emil Zatopek as the foundation of his training he added a lot of resistance exercises to his own regime and married speed sessions with long slow runs.

Corbitt debuted at the marathon at the age of 32 with a 15th place finish in the 1951 Boston Marathon and after two further marathons was selected for the Helsinki Olympic team.

During a career which lasted well into his 50s Corbitt ran just under 200 marathons and ultra marathon races. His strength and stamina were legendary. At age 54 he ran his 175th marathon in Boston in a time of 2:49:16, less than one minute slower than his first marathon 23 years earlier. His fastest marathon time was 2:26:44 in 1958. He held the American record at 25 Miles, at the Marathon distance, and at 40 and 50 Miles.

Corbitt was the first President of the Road Runners Club of America, and as the third President of the New York Road Runners Club, he pushed for a masters category for runners over the age of forty, knowing that it would bring out the retired racers who couldn't compete successfully any longer in the younger arena.

Largely responsible for the movement to adhere to strict measurement criteria and course certification, Corbitt’s 1964 book, 'Measuring Road Running Courses', became the benchmark for certified road race courses at the time and is the foundation upon which accurate road racing rests today.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

This is Your Forum

Rogue Valley Runners would like to encourage any and all runners to use this blog spot as way of communicating between your fellow runners and the store.

Looking for a running partner? Want to carpool to a race, far or near? Have a question on new running routes and trails? Want to hear honest reviews about the new, latest and greatest running gear? Want the skinny on an upcoming race? Do you have injury questions, training questions, nutrition questions? Want to share what works for you? Also, share links to race photos, results and interesting stories and news articles here.

To post your information, click on the "comments" link at the bottom of each blog post and type in your contribution.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ryan Shay Memorial Fund

On November 3rd the nation lost one of its most talented and promising distance runners. Ryan Shay, at the age of 28, collapsed five miles into the Olympic Marathon Trails in New York City and could never be revived.

Here is alink to his remembrance ceremony held recently in his home town, Flagstaff, AZ.

In honor of Ryan Shay, an integral member of the Flagstaff, Arizona running community, the Center for High Altitude Training has designated its current "Running Fund" through the Northern Arizona University Foundation to be a "Ryan Shay Memorial Fund," with the targeted purpose of serving as a source for athlete stipends. These stipends are financial allocations to eligible U.S. middle distance and distance runners that help pay for their training-related expenses while training in Flagstaff.

For further information and details on how to contribute, click the following link:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Quad Dipsea no match for Ashland runner

Erik Skaggs, of Ashland, Oregon, was the men's winner of the Quad...Most everyone considers crossing the Dipsea Trail a formidable challenge. To run it four times in a row - 28 miles, with 9,200 feet each of precipitous uphill and downhill - appears nearly incomprehensible.
To do it in under 4 hours is, well, off the chart of adjectives. At Saturday's 25th annual Quadruple Dipsea, Erik Skaggs became the second runner ever to turn the feat with a sensational time of 3 hours, 53 minutes, 7 seconds. San Rafael's Victor Ballesteros was runner-up, 20 minutes back.

Skaggs, making his first visit to the Dipsea Trail, laid down the gauntlet by covering the opening leg from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach in a scintillating 54 minutes. Buchanan (last year's winner) lost sight of him by the top of the steps which open the course. Skaggs returned to Old Mill Park, halfway through, in 1:51:14, well on track to break the Quad's legendary record of 3:52:29, set by Carl Andersen in 1992. But a slowing, though still torrid, third leg of 59 minutes kept finish line observers guessing. Despite a furious final charge, Skaggs missed the record by 38 seconds.

"It was hard," said Skaggs immediately after finishing. "I walked, for the first time, on the hill out of Stinson Beach on the last lap, and that demoralized me a bit."

taken from the Marin Independant Journal

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Pioneer Road Run

This past weekend marked the running of southern Oregon's oldest road race (started in 1971), The Pioneer Road Run. The race, located in Phoenix, Oregon, had two different race distances: nine miles and five kilometers.

Rogue Valley Runners' store employee, Ixel Sanchez, won the women's nine mile race in a time of 1:01:07. It was her first race back after her stellar performance at the Portland Marathon (see her marathon story here). Darcy Kleiman, also a RVR store employee, finished third in the women's race in 1:11:00.

In the men's race, John Leuthold, won yet another southern Oregon race (read about his other recent victory here). Chased all race long by Darren Goff, Leuthold eked out another close victory by finishing the nine mile course in 50:40, four seconds ahead of Goff. RVR store owner, Hal Koerner, finished third in 51:32. Other store regulars, Aaron Reed and Jeremy Eisen, finished fourth and sixth respectively.

A special congratulations must go out to Trevor Palmer, Elliot Jantzer and Joe King. Trevor set a new course record in the five kilometer race by crossing the finish tape in 15:03. Elliot set a new age group record (14-18) by finishing the 5K in second in 15:55. Joe finished the 5K in 25:37, in an 80+ age group record time of 25:37!

Congratulations to the more than 130 runners that took part. Results can be found on the Southern Oregon Sizzlers web site.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Seiad Valley Preview

Many locals know well the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) as it crosses the flanks of Mount Ashland on it's way to Pilot Rock, Soda Mountain and over to Green Springs and Hyatt Lake. But on rare occasion the need to get away strikes. A recent, clear November day gave such inspiration for a trip like this.

The troops loaded up for the drive into southern California and then west on Highway 96 along the mighty Klamath River. Less than ninety minutes after having left Ashland the group found themselves at a dirt turn-off along the road, just west of the small community of Seiad Valley, with a Pacific Crest Trail marker pointing the way. Up they did charge. The car was left along the banks of the river at 1,500 feet and six miles later the runners stood next to an abandoned lookout tower at 5,200 feet.

Here the northern California mountains are framed by the old building's now vacant windows. Mt. Shasta can barely be seen.

Abbey (tongue a hanging), Erik, Kyle and Ian (R to L) stand on Lower Devil's Peak with rugged Kangaroo Peak in the distance and the Red Buttes Wilderness beyond that.

Looking down on Seiad and the Klamath River more than 3,600 feet below.

Now that most of the elevation was gained, the group continued to contour along the mostly above treeline flanks of Middle and Lower Devil's Peak reaching almost 6,000 feet. The crew took in the views and then backtracked to the car...a few trip notes...water is scarce and ticks are a plenty on this section of trail.

This little excursion definitely whetted our appetites to explore further on the PCT and to find out what other incredible vistas, summits and sweeping ridge lines lay between here and Mount Ashland.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Pre Seen Training on The Plaza!!!

Steve Prefontaine was spotted sprinting through Ashland's downtown Plaza last night. The photographer was lucky enough to catch him in what was, no doubt, a warm-up for this weekend's Olympic Marathon Trials. His die hard fans seem to follow him everywhere he goes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Park Street Challenge Heats Up!!!

...and they came a runnin'.

Here are the newest updates from the run up Park Street (For more info on the Park Street Challenge see the blog posted on October 15th).

1) Erik Skaggs 4:31
2) Kyle Skaggs 4:56
3) John Leuthold 5:05
4) Todd Ragsdale 5:10

Though John and Todd ran up Park Street together, the Skaggs' time trials were set on solo attempts on different days. It would be interesting to see what would happen if everyone ran up Park on the same day. There are still many folks that we need to hear from! We have yet to hear some results from a lady or a master's runner.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Results from Around the States: Vegas, Redding, and Chicago

Team Rogue Valley Runners went out of state this past weekend in order to test their skills.

Mr. Hal Koerner traveled to the outskirts of Sin City (Las Vegas, NV) for the World of Hurt 50 Kilometer Trail Race. Preliminary results had Hal as the winner in 4:17, out kicking local ultra-star Josh Brimhall by two seconds. Those two seconds earned Hal $500 in cold hard cash that he could later spend in the casinos of Vegas as he recovered from the race in style. Ashland's Carly Varner missed winning prize money by one place. She finished forth in the women's race in 6:36. More details and, perhaps, some photos of this race are forth coming. Stay tuned!

RVR store employee, Chris Rennaker, traveled south to the outskirts of Redding, California for the Whiskeytown 30 Kilometer Race. This was Chris' first race after a long recovery from a knee injury. After setting an early fast pace, he was passed by only one competitor in order to finish as a strong second place in 2:32:17. Congratulations Chris!

Many other Rogue Valley runners traveled to Whiskeytown for the 50 Kilometer version of the trail race. Aaron Reed was the first local finisher. He covered the course in 4:58:02 and cracked the top ten. Other local valley finishers were Jeremy Eisen, Becky Hacker, JC Callans, Robert Hodge, Vic Harris, Anne Crispino-Taylor, Mark Sherbow, Jennifer Callans, Tom Pelsor and Jim Clover. Results can be found here.

Finally, off in the quiet mid-west, RVR store employee, Ian Torrence, tested his mettle in a fast road 5K. Through the quiet morning streets of Downer's Grove, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) Ian managed to eke out a 17:39. Good enough for third place in the Trick or Trot 5K.

Group Run Spooked

Our highly anticipated wednesday night group run has been moved back a day to Thursday at 5:30 inorder to allow all the ghosts and goblins to roam freely. We will resume our regularly scheduled activites next week at 5:30. We hope to see everyone for some leftover candy and an all around good time.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Stagecoach Run

On October 13th Team Rogue Valley Runners took the Stagecoach 10K Run by storm, placing runners in four of the top five places.

After these parting words, "I'm going to make you pay." Talent, Oregon's John Leuthold laid down one final push over the last half mile of the 10K race to seal his victory against his closest competitor and rival, Hal Koerner. John crossed the finish line in 34:46. Six seconds later, Ashland's Rogue Valley Runners store owner, Koerner crossed the line. Central Point's Neil Olsen crossed the line third in 35:55. Rogue Valley Runners newest store employee, Ian Torrence, crossed the line in fifth about a half minute behind local hero and legend, Leonard Hill. Other notable finishes in the 10K were recorded by some of Rogue Valley Runner's Wednesday night group run regulars. Jeremy Eisen and Scott Martin finished in seventh and eight places respectively.

In the 5K, Talent's own Todd Ragsdale posted a second place finish in 17:46. RVR Wednesday night group runners Carly Varner and Maria Clementi finished in 23:55.

The race was sponsored and organized by the Southern Oregon Sizzlers. The races started and finished in historic downtown Jacksonville, Oregon. The contestants ran out and back on the Old Stagecoach Road. Most would agree that it was a long uphill return to the finish after the turn around! More than 130 runners participated.

Final results for the Stagecoach 5K and 10K can be found here. Congratulations to all runners!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Park Street Challenge

Looking up Park Street from the "Start Line."

Here's the Challenge: Drive, bike, run or walk to the base of Park Street (with it's intersection with Siskiyou). From that intersection run or walk as fast as you can to the top of Park Street. The "Finish Line" is where the asphalt road turns to dirt. Using the Honor System...comment back to this blog spot with your name, age, hometown and state, date and finish time. You can run it as many times as you want, we will keep track of your fastest time.

The "Finish Line."

Looking back down Park Street.

The statistics: Distance from the "Start" to the "Finish": 0.60 Miles
Vertical Rise from "Start" to "Finish": 420 feet
That's a 13.26% grade on average, but you'll find that the last 0.30 miles are steeper than that!
Fastest Time: Unknown at this point in time...this is where your name could go. We will keep track of both women's and men's times, as well as age divisions. There is no end date for The Challenge at this time. If things get competitive enough, there could be some awards on the line! Stay tuned! Now get out there and do it and let us know how you did!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Look Here! It's a Shoe Sale!

Save up to 50% on select styles and sizes of Brooks, Saucony, Fila, Asics, and Adidas running and walking shoes at Rogue Valley Runners! Hurry while supplies last.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Strong Portland Debut!

This past weekend (Sunday October 7th, 2007) was the 36th annual Portland Marathon. Rogue Valley Runners' store employee, Ixel Sanchez, was there to take part. Portland was her first marathon and she confidently took it by storm. Running strong all morning long she finished in 3 hours, 16 minutes and 18 seconds. She averaged 7:30 minutes per mile and, in doing so, qualified for the Boston Marathon.

You can view Ixel's speedy finish here on You Tube.

Ixel said that the roughest patch for her was just after the half-marathon mark, where the bottoms of her feet began to hurt and the hills and bridges of Portland began to slow her down. Things turned around, however, after the 20 mile mark when she was joined fellow store employee and good friend, Natalie Hemphill.

Congratulations Ixel, job well done!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Todd Ragsdale's 100 Miler

Photo taken by Andy Atkinson

On Tuesday, September 18th local runner Todd Ragsdale ran 100-miles around Ashland, Oregon's Lithia Park. Why? Just to see if he could. He ran a 3.5 mile loop 29 times. He started at 2am and 16 hours and 36 minutes later he was done. A fantastic time for a 100 mile run! He was accompanied throughout the day by many local runners, bikers and drivers. He spent little of the day without friends. Even the local news showed up. See Todd's interview on You Tube.

Congratulations Todd!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Runner's Destination: The Red Bridge

Try and find it...the City by the Bay. Most days of the year the city of San Francisco and it's infamous bridge of note, the Golden Gate, can be enveloped in a dense wall of fog. Though no fog was to be found on this early Fall morning, our intrepid runners would encounter other dangers on their way to their destination.

Aliens from Mars...


Tall men in horns and dresses...

But being the good runners' they were, the band regrouped and hydrated at the Treasure Island Music Festival.

Then headed for the Golden Gate...

And, finally, after many miles they arrived at their destination.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

McKenzie River Invite

Why would anyone invite so many Rogue Valley Runners to a central Oregon party? Probably because they knew we would give their course a run for it's money, and that in part is exactly why RD Phil Vaughn decided to have the Mckenzie River 50k invitational on Sunday. The allure of the Mckenzie river 50k has grown greatly in my mind over the years based in part by the fact that it fills so quickly year after year. On the day that entries are taken, it fills leaving those who want to experience a first rate NW race on the sidelines watching. This year, Eric Poole, Joe Griffin, John Leuthold, Todd Ragsdale and myself provided the SO contingent and became the exception to the rule as the MRTR hosted a special invite for it's 20th anniversary. The race was as billed; fantastic single-track, cascading waterfalls, nice temperatures, fast course, easy crew access and all the lava rock you can handle. The race started way too friendly and as the morning progressed I found myself waking to the realization that if I wasn't too careful I could let some of the excited folk get too far ahead. And that is exactly what happened as the eventual winner gained 10 minutes on me in some 20 miles. However, as is the case with speedy sub 2:20 marathoners that shouldn't be out running for 4 hours they start to "come back." Unfortunately for the invite I could only regain 8 minutes. Oh well, there's always next year and the hope of breaking that inconceivable CR. Congrats to Todd, John, Joe, and Eric for making the A standard and for putting up with all the razzing that preceded the race.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Give them chocolate!

As many of you may know by now Rogue Valley Runners is giving away Dagoba chocolate in return for your old shoes. Most recycling centers don't have an option for athletic shoes and we want to be the outlet for Nike's reuse-a-shoe program. In addition, we will give you 10% off the purchase of your next pair of shoes. I don't know if you can handle that sweet of a deal. Read more about it in John Darling article for The Mail Tribune.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Where Schwag Comes From

After a long drive through Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats...

...the weary travellers arrived in the much welcomed oasis of Salt Lake City, Utah. Their mission: To take the Outdoor Retailer Show by storm. Meetings with shoe (Puma, Montrail, New Balance, Brooks, Saucony, INOV-8, La Sportiva), clothing (Smartwool, Darn Tough, Skirt Sports) and accessory (Nathan, Suunto) companies could leave one almost breathless. With cell phone in hand, caffeine in the other and schwag tucked safely under the arm, our intrepid warriors fought the madding crowd.

Breaks between busy meetings where punctuated with adrenaline filled action. Take for instance the Treadmill Uphill Challenge where some of the best trail runners in the country went head to head and battled it out for fifteen minutes at a 15% grade. Here Karl Meltzer (on the left) and Scott Jurek (on the right) take their heart rates to the limit.

Fellow ultrarunners came together during the Show to chat and play catch-up in a relaxed, non-race setting. Here (from left to right) young James Bonnett (three days before his 21st birthday), Andy Jones-Wilkins (fresh off his Vermont 100 Mile victory), Hal Koerner (winner of the 2007 Western States 100 Mile) and Karl Meltzer (winner of the 2007 Massannutten Mountain Trail 100 Mile, McNaughton Park 100 Mile and Bighorn Trail 100 Mile) smile for the camera.

The highlight of the Show and the culmination of a fruitful several days was a rugged trail run near the Speed Goat 50 Kilometer race course near the Snowbird, Brighton and Alta ski resorts. The all-star cast included (right to left) Scott Jurek, Karl Meltzer, Hal Koerner, Tony Krupicka (ready to defend his Leadville Trail 100 Mile title) and his good friend Brennan.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hill Climb Heats Up!

The Mt Ashland Hillclimb Run this weekend was a huge success, in 28 year's the run had never seen so many participants and dusty shoes. In the end, Rogue Valley Runner's posted a number of top finishes. Store employee's Ixel Sanchez, Darcy Kleiman, and Ian Torrence found out why so many people shy away from this monster run, 5,500 feet in 13 miles! John Leuthold and Neil Olsen both finished in the top 15 along with Ian and Hal, as did fellow ultrarunner's John Anderson and Lewis Taylor who traveled far and wide to participate in this unique race. The Mail Tribune covered the run and had a phenomenal write-up as can be seen below. Do we have to wait until next year?

ASHLAND — Bob Julian jokingly referred to them as "those darn mountain goats."

They were actually nationally-ranked, professional cross country skiers from Bend, and they ruled the 28th annual Mt. Ashland Hill Climb Run on Saturday.

"We're used to really hard, uphill climbs for long periods of time, but that was definitely the hardest run I've ever been in." — Brayton Osgood, winner of Mt. Ashland Hill Climb Run.
Brayton Osgood, 26, won the grueling 13.3-mile run that started at Lithia Park and ended at the summit of Mt. Ashland in 1 hour, 57 minutes and 14 seconds.

Ashland's Hal Koerner, 31, the defending champion and the winner of the Western States 100-mile ultra marathon in June, pulled even with Osgood with a couple miles remaining but Osgood found another gear while scaling the final, brutally steep ski runs between the Mt. Ashland lodge and the finish line at the top of the mountain.

Koerner completed the race five minutes faster than last year but settled for second in 1:57:56.

Zach Violett, 25, another Bend-based cross county skier, took third in 1:58:19.

Two other members of the Bend group known as XC Oregon — J.D. Downing and Colin Mahood — finished ninth and 13th, respectively, while the group's Evelyn Dong and Sarah Max went 1-3 among the women.

"We're used to really hard, uphill climbs for long periods of time," said Osgood, who didn't even seem out of breath as he conquered the top of the Tempest ski run to reach the finish line. "But that was definitely the hardest run I've ever been in."

Asked what would prompt a person to compete in a run that goes uphill virtually the entire way, gaining 5,600 feet in elevation, Osgood laughed and said: "That's a good question. Maybe just being able to talk about it the next day and having people say, 'You did what?'"

Osgood, who grew up in Vermont, and Violett, who hails from the Lake Tahoe area, are ranked among the top 15 cross country skiers in the country and are aiming for the Olympics.

"This is one of the best training exercises we could do," said Violett, a former standout skier at the University of Alaska-Anchorage. "Working out that hard for two hours does wonders for your body. You're in a steady state of pain, but once it's over, you feel good."

The XC Oregon skiers worked out at Diamond Lake Friday, using custom-made roller skates while wearing their Nordic boots, and planned another workout near Crater Lake on their way home.

Koerner, no slouch himself when it comes to challenging fitness activities — he runs a dozen ultra-marathons a year — started conservatively and was in sixth place at the halfway point. He put on a burst the last few miles and pulled even with Osgood shortly before reaching the ski lodge.

"He (Koerner) came out of nowhere," said Violett.

Koerner had visions of defending his title, but he was no match for Osgood on the steep ski runs.

"I gave it a go but my quads (quadricep muscles) said no," said Koerner, who moved to Ashland from Seattle 11/2 years ago to open a running store. "He (Osgood) had a fantastic push up that steep pitch."

Koerner has competed in an uphill half-marathon on Pike's Peak in Colorado that starts at 7,000 feet elevation and ends at 14,000 feet.

"To have a race here that mirrors that one is awesome," he said.

Julian, meanwhile, had the lead with about 31/2 miles to go but then, he said, "All the mountain goats took over."

"Mountain runners are a different breed," he added.

Julian, a two-time runner-up in the event, wound up 11th in 2:07:0 as he struggled to get past the lodge and up the final ascent.

"I don't think this is as hard as a marathon," Julian, 39, said. "It doesn't tear you up, but you use up so much energy. My mistake today was not using the aide stations enough. You lose time at them, but you end up losing more time out on the course if you're not well-hydrated and fed."

Dong, the women's winner and 17th overall finisher in 2:17, said endurance trumped speed during Saturday's taxing run.

"You don't need much speed in this race," she said, "just a strong pair of legs and lungs."

Top 15 Finishers

1, Brayton Osgood, 1:57.14; 2, Hal Koerner, 1:57.56; 3, Zach Violett, 1:58.19; 4, John Anderson, 2:00.44; 5, John Swain, 2:01.56; 6, Lewis Taylor, 2:03.04; 7, Andrew Stevens, 2:03.34; 8, John Leuthold, 2:04.38; 9, J.D. Downing, 2:05.20. 10, Andy James, 2:06.12.

11, Bob Julian, 2:07.00; 12, Richard Bott, 2:08.38; 13, Colin Mahood, 2:11.49; 14, Ian Torrence, 2:12.32; 15, Andy Barber, 2:13.0

Friday, July 27, 2007

Rest Peacefully Boy

Rogue Valley Runners lost one of its family members last week. Raleigh was our two-year-old Pixie-Bob that had been with us since, well the White River 50 in 2005. We knew right away he was going to be good luck seeing a he crewed with Carly for my 50-mile championship that day. He was also a constant fixture at Montrail's headquarters in Seattle with Carly all-the-while alluding their top designers as to how to fit a pancake polydactyl (that’s a cat with snow shoe like feet.) I'm sure he picked up more shoe knowledge there than most of us will ever know. We knew he wasn't doing well as we left for Western States but he was able to hang tuff for a couple more weeks proving his indomitable spirit and fight. He will be missed.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Question #437; How long does it take to recover from one of those things?

By now I think I have begun to ask myself that same question. And does that time account for set backs due to excessive celebration. Obviously the answer to the question matters much less now that I am able to write this while looking at my new bronze cougar.
While laying in my hotel room the night after crossing the finishing line it really didn't surprise me that I had just run 16:12, and that for the most part I had felt "on point" for the entire course. I had run the course 5 times before, pretty much all at a win at all costs pace. I had felt the pain of finishing 20 plus hundred miler's with a top 3 spot "in mind." I was unbelievably rested but impossibly not too rested. And last but not least, a little overlooked.
I've told the story a few times in the last week that my longest run in the 5 weeks preceding WS was the Silver State 50k, which everyone know is more like 34 miles. In the remaining weeks leading up to the run I flew through a 17 miler on the Monterrey coast(road) and ran another 17 miler two days later to the top of Mt. Ashland. I also had hiked a 5 hour tour of the Siskiyou Wilderness with Carly that undoubtedly helped by keeping me on my feet but not by tiring me out. This was probably the smartest tapering I had ever scheduled. I'll let you know that my work schedule at the store leading into the busy summer months played no part in my running frequency.

Back to the race

Heading up to Emigrant pass felt like an every day run up terrace street and onto my favorite trails, only the temp was suuuuper cool. I was happy to run with my friend Mark Godale, who's running I truly admire, up the hill and with whom I was able to laugh off the ominous and serious task at hand. How amazing it was that he would be the only competitor I would run with all day.
By Red Star Ridge I was just completely amazed that the sun was not tapping on my shoulder's anymore than I was able to shrug off with out a second thought. I had also put on my tunes and was enveloped in another world, one that reminded me of a peaceful training day in the High Sierra, far away from the 400 pounding footsteps following closely behind me.

So here's that Playlist AJW!

1. John Butler Trio, Grand Nationale
2. Citizen Cope, Every Waking Moment
3. Michael Franti, Yell Fire
4. Kings of Leon, Because of the Times ( and more )
5. Modest Mouse, Good news for people who love Bad news
6. Various artisits, Kayne West, Pete Yorn, Built to Spill, Hendrix, J Mayer (Belief)

Ok, so off that first album up there I believe I put 8 minutes on the field over to duncan canyon. Like not drinking coffee for two weeks before a race I was rationing my JBT.

That being said, it was certainly more glorious to take off the tunes leading into Forest Hill to hear the encouragement of my pacer Krissy Moehl and later on at Green Gate Scott Hajicek.

to be continued........................

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Hal Koerner of Ashland, Ore. crosses the middle fork of the American River Saturday afternoon during the Western States Endurance Run. He led within the first climb at Squaw Valley all the way to the finish at Placer High's Le Febvre Stadium. Photo by Michael Kirby/Auburn Journal
Determined to run his own race Saturday, Hal Koerner made sure he didn't have any footsteps to follow.
The 31-year-old from Ashland, Ore. darted up Emigrant Pass from the start at Squaw Valley and didn't look back until the finish line at Auburn's Le Febvre Stadium. He led virtually the entire way to win the 34th Western States Endurance Run in his sixth try.
"I knew there were so many talented guys and gals here today and I wanted to run my own race," Koerner said. "I knew if I got out a little further (in front), no one else could dictate what my pace would be. Usually if I run behind other people, things don't go so well."
Things went beautifully for Koerner on Saturday. He finished the 100-mile trek in 16 hours, 12 minutes and 15 seconds, crossing the finish line at 9:12 p.m.
Folsom's Erik Skaden chugged across the finish line in 16:37:01 and was the runner-up for the second straight year.
Koerner took third overall in 2004 and was ninth in 2003, but never felt as good as he did Saturday, when relatively mild temperatures in the canyons and no snow at the start of the race made for excellent running conditions.
Koerner set a brutally fast pace early, cruising through the Robinson Flat aid station at 9:30 a.m., 15 minutes ahead of Lon Freeman, who dropped out some 50 miles later at Auburn Lake Trails.
Skaden slid into second place between Foresthill and the Rucky Chucky River Crossing, followed closely by Phil Kochik, who finished fifth. The Folsom runner, who won the American River 50 in April, said he struggled in the middle of the race in the heat of the day, but was able to pull through.
"The Deadwood and El Dorado - it was warmer than I anticipated," Skaden said. "It was nothing compared to last year." Skaden referred to the soaring temperatures in 2006 that led to leader Brian Morrison collapsing less than 400 yards from the finish line. His crew physically aided him to the finish and he was disqualified. Graham Cooper, last year's WS champion, took third on Saturday, followed by Andy Jones-Wilkins and Kochik.
In the race for the women's title, defending champion Nikki Kimball had a sizeable lead at press time Saturday night, nearly an hour ahead of second place runner Beverly Anderson-Abbs. It would be Kimball's third victory in four years.
Koerner won the prestigious Angeles Crest 100 in Arcadia last July, but considers the Western States victory his crowning achievement in eight years of endurance running.
"I've done a lot of runs, but no other race brings together the caliber of runners that this one does. No other race is even close," Koerner said. "To be out here on this course with all the variables and then to run 100 miles, this here is pretty huge."
Many along the trail believed Koerner's strategy might come back to haunt him once the heat of the day set in, but the owner of Rogue Valley Runners in Ashland was never threatened.
"I thought if I could get as much of a lead by 80 miles, then I could have a little cushion for the last 20," Koerner said. "It was a cool day, so I figured I had to get as much out of the way as I could before it got hot."
Koerner was not a runner in high school, preferring to play basketball as a youth growing up in Colorado. He got into endurance running at age 23 and quickly emerged as a star.
His mother Diane Koerner said her nerves were still on edge even after her son crossed the finish line as the champion.
"I've been here when he was hooked up to an IV at the end and had to drop at mile 89," she said. "I've been through some bad times, so this is definitely a happy ending. Relatives, friends and everybody asks why? But we've crewed maybe 27 of his races and you get here and you just get caught up in it. This ultrarunning community is fantastic. It's just a great sport."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ashland Run

The time has come once again for the annual Ashland Run. The course winds through downtown Ashland, up the hills and down around Lithia Park. It should not be missed. In year's past the run had an outrageous cover charge, however this year the run is FREE with prizes donated by Rogue Valley Runners and various other local proprietors

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Full Belly 5k

Alright everbody, this race is for those full bellies that are still hungry. If your in need of a flat and fast 5k in Ashland(is that possible?) then you need to be down at SOU Raider Stadium Saturday May 19th at 8:30. Registration is ongoing at Rogue Valley Runners and will be available 7-8am on race day. This would be a great opportunity to help support the students at SOU while having a great time. Walkers and runners will be rewarded with cool sounds, good food and t-shirts while they last. Any questions give RVR a call 541-201-0014.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Zane Grey 50 Thoughts ( From Montrail Blog )

(Pictures: Josh with the essentials....IV and RC Cola, Ian contemplating what it all means and Hal Finishing)

1. Payson is hot.

2. Skunk odor can linger for weeks……even months.

3. Never eat a meal known as the “Quesadilla Explosion” the night before a race.

4. Hal Koerner CAN dance…..seriously.

5. “That’s what I am talking ‘bout” –Howdy-…..if you were there you understand.

The Zane Grey 50 lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest 50 milers as the extreme heat and rocky trails took a serious physical and mental toll on the 2007 field. Most of the runners I observed crossing the finish line appeared to be suffering from varying states of dehydration and delirium. In the end, Kyle managed to take first with friends Josh Brimhall and Hal Koerner rounding out the top three. Overall, the weekend was filled with good friends, both old and new, and many good times.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Pear "31"

Well it was only the most rain in the history of the PB, but amazingly enough it didn't stop everyone from having an otherwise great run! Rogue Valley Runners Neil Olsen (56:14), Todd Ragsdale (57:32), Hal Koerner (57:41), and John Leuthold (57:46) all finished in the top 10 while Ashland High coach Bob Julian (54:24) earned top valley runner status finishing 3rd. Store employee Chris Rennaker (1:06:46) set a new pr in the atrocious conditions as did Carly Varner (1:23:02). Congrats to all finishers, it wasn't easy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

500th Hash!

" Local running notable, Hal Koerner opened the doors to the new running store(Rogue Valley Runners), which had beer and M&M's on the back porch proving that serious runners use it to hydrate and eat candy."

Over 500 hash runs for our little town, I find it amazing that these guys and gals can remember to put on such an extravagaza after all that drinking!

I succumbed to the new shoe rule! As a visitor to the hash, and having what appeared to be "new" shoes I had to use them as my keg cup. I guess I can admit that they mad me "tea bag" them with my sock, ughh.

I can't wait til tuesdays this summer to catch up with the hashers and take part in what has become an Ashland landmark.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Running on the Sun

I was back in the desert for the first time in a long time to take care of some unfinished business. South of Tucson and north of Nogales, in the Coronado National Forest among the Santa Rita mountains and a bunch of dust lies 50 miles of trails set to punish even the most hardened ultra runner. Last year, my half-hearted effort and beat up body pushed through the course in just under 8 hours having only sniffed first place at the crack of the starting pistol.

The race began under stars and a startling chill but, in the land of the rising sun I quickly found myself chasing the ghost of Brandon Sybrowsky as my closest competitors began to wither. It was no wonder I couldn't find him, as the noon day sun and the temps began to rise, the sun shown brightly and I had to squint. Although I was 2 minutes up on his CR at mile 40, I faded in the rays to finish 7:15. A little redemption from last years woes and now I am looking forward to getting the chance to place first in Arizona's two premier 50 milers as the Zane Grey 50 looms on the horizon later this month.

2006 Ultrarunner of the Year

Nice to finally break into the top 5. First time that I can remember that the top 5 were all trail ultra runners from the West.

2006 UltraRunning Magazine's Runners of the Year
(first-place votes in parentheses)

1. Karl Meltzer, 38, UT (7) 154
2. Scott Jurek, 32, WA (7) 150
3. Jorge Pacheco, 39, CA (1) 98
4. Phil Kochik, 28, WA 71
5. Hal Koerner, 30, OR 56
6. Howard Nippert, 41, VA 53
7. Eric Grossman, 38, KY 51
8. Leigh Schmitt, 33, MA 40
9. Bob Sweeney, 39, NY 30
10. Graham Cooper, 36, CA 27
Josh Brimhall, 31, NV 27

Performance of the Year
1. Scott Jurek's Spartathlon 255 Km, 22:52:18 (10) 54
2. Howard Nippert's World 100 Km, 6:52:56 (2) 50
3. Jorge Pacheco's Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile, 13:16:56 31
4. Greg Crowther's Sunmart 50 Mile, 5:37:37 (1) 13
5. Anton Krupicka's Leadville 100 Mile, 17:01:56 11

1. Anne Lundblad, 40, NC (9) 160
2. Nikki Kimball, 35, MT (6) 154
3. Kami Semick, 40, OR 110
4. Beverly Anderson-Abbs, 42, CA 101
5. Connie Gardner, 42, OH 73
6. Darcy Africa, 31, CO 61
7. Krissy Moehl, 29, WA 59
8. Julie Udchacon, 36, AK 27
9. Carolyn Smith, 41, WI 20
10. Sue Johnston, 41, CA 16

Performance of the Year
1. Anne Lundblad's World 100 Km, 7:47:18 (13) 73
2. Kami Semick's World 100 Km, 7:56:19 34
3. Nikki Kimball's Western States 100 Mile, 19:26:51 (1) 26
4. Beverly Anderson-Abbs Vermont 100 Mile, 16:52:33 16
Carolyn Smith's Ultracentric 24 Hour, 139.2 Miles 16

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hot times at the Redding Marathon

This weekend I decided it was time to shed some of the pounds I had accumulated from last weeks Bad Ass 50k in Bend and hit the pavement for some real leg turnover. Seriously, I knew it was time to run a little out of my comfort zone, by that I mean, a little faster than I had been pushing myself lately. The Redding Marathon served it all up. I saw a lot of familiar faces at the starting line including Beverly Anderson-Abbs, who has won the race outright a couple of time. Peter Warda, another Ashland resident, also made the trip down after running both the Portland and Humbolt marathons back in October. He was a little worried about his level of training but knew that he had gained a lot of strength and experience from his previous outings. I assured him we had nothing to worry about, easy enough to say when your body is filled with all that pre-race adrenaline!

I started out the marathon like a crazed 5k runner. It helped that I had a relay runner spurring me on as we screamed down from our start on the dam to the Sacramento river clocking 5 minute miles for the first 3 miles. Our tempo eased off a bit as we made our way onto the rails to trails footpath that follows the river down the canyon for what seemed forever, altogether it was probably more like 7 miles. After 10 miles I was running close to race pace, 59 minutes. The next 3 miles contained a good bit of elevation gain, and seeing as I was now running all alone in front I had to really push myself to get a move on it. I ran pretty consistently for a half hour when I meadered onto the asphalt path that lines the Sacramento river. The terrain took the path up some rather steep pitches and I really began to feel it in my legs. I ate my third GU and waited for it to kick in. Returning on this little out and back section allowed me to see the rest of the runners and that really helped me pick up the pace. Redding has a number of bridges that cross the SAC river and I kept waiting to see the Sundial Bridge to know that I had made it. I wound my way through the arboretum for the last mile and flew across the bridge to finish in 2:45. A new course record, and also for the ladies as Bev finished 2nd overall in 2:55. I was certainly thankful for the amount of dirt on the course, I imagine my legs will be thanking me all this week as well. The race was well run and I was happy to see so many finisher, 105 in the marathon alone. Don't know if I'll be back just yet, but I've definitely "done that."