Monday, January 21, 2008

Fifth Annual SOFA 50 Kilometer

The Rogue River and trail head parking from the Graves Creek Bridge.

When you are confronted with the word "sofa" one often conjures up images of a soft piece of furniture that one can recline upon. But here in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon, runners have brought a new meaning to the word "SOFA". Southern Oregon Fat Ass...a full 50 kilometers of it...roughly 31 miles for those that don't know their conversions.

So, what exactly is a Fat Ass? Truth be told, there's nothing really exact about it. Fat Asses or FA's is the name given to a series of low key runs that are frequented by runners. The phrase "No Fees, No Awards, No Aid, No Wimps" describes the run to a tee. FA's are free to enter and are put on by other runners who usually run the unorganized event as well. Since it's really not an organized race, there is no guarantee of anything other than a course to run (maps may or may not be included), and don't expect course markings or aid out on the course. It's a good way to shed unwanted holiday pounds and prep your body for the upcoming spring racing season. FA's occur all over the world during the winter months. Heck, there are four to choose from here in Oregon alone.

The SOFA 50K begins at the Graves Creek Boat Launch along the lower end of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River. The trail the SOFA course follows can eventually be taken along the river for 40 miles to the village of Agness, OR. SOFA runners, however, ran an out and back course, distances travelled by runners ranged from 54 kilometers to 10 miles. In total, 31 runners (and many doggies) showed up for this year's non-event, breaking the attendance record of 27 set two years ago.
The Lower Rogue River Trail Head at Graves Creek.

A group shot of some hardy souls...

Here's a list of those who showed, how far they ran and how fast they did it. As you can see, even the results follow suit with the Fat Ass theme...lots of inclusive evidence.

Distance Name City Time
54k Mark Humphreys Eugene 6:02
54k John Price Ashland 6:09
54k Rob Cain Ashland 6:09
50k Eric Poole Ashland 4:39
50k Ian Torrence Ashland 4:41
50k Erik Skaggs Ashland 4:41
50k Jenn Shelton Bend 4:41
50k Chris Rennaker Talent 4:56
50k Sean Meissner Sisters 5:21
50k Chris Askew Bend 5:34
50k Darla Brader Bend 5:35
50k Ken Ward Corvallis 6:09
50k Kelly Woodke Eugene 6:34
50k Ben Benjamin Ashland 7:15
50k Colleen O'Malley Medford NA
50k Carin Humphreys Grants Pass NA
24 miles Julie Peterson Ashland 6:00
24 miles Maura Schwartz Madras NA
24 miles Stan Nowakowski Madras NA
20 miles Ric Sayre Ashland 3:28
20 miles Clayton Gillette Medford 3:50
18.2 miles Teresa Hogan Medford NA
18 miles Mel Bailey Ashland 4:20
16 miles Dana Bandy Ashland 3:15
16 miles Tom Ahle Ashland 3:25
15 miles Tom Pelsor Yreka 4:11
10 miles Tim Turk Ashland 2:01
10 miles Annie Crispino-Taylor Ashland 2:01
??? Doug Naverson Jacksonville 3:00
??? Brad Putnam Coburg 6:07
??? Clem LaCava Corvallis 6:29

Kudos to Race Director Tim Turk for organizing such a great non-event and supplying the where with all to be silly runners and the feast after such silliness.

A sample of the treats that awaited runners upon their return.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Speaking of Marathons: Win a Ticket to the One Time Showing of "Spirit Of The Marathon" at Rogue Valley Runners

On Thursday January 24th at 7:30pm there will be a one time showing of the documentary Spirit Of The Marathon at Tinseltown in Medford, OR.

"As six unique stories unfold, each runner prepares for and ultimately faces the challenge of the Chicago Marathon. More than a sports movie, Spirit of the Marathon is an inspirational journey of perseverance and personal triumph; a spectacle that will be embraced by runners and non-runners alike. Filmed on four continents and in five countries, the film stars legends such as Dick Beardsley, Paula Radcliffe, Bill Rodgers, Toshihiko Seko and Grete Waitz." - taken from the Spirit of the Marathon website

Rogue Valley Runners will have a drawing for a free ticket to this movie at their next Wednesday evening group run. All you have to do is be present to win at the store on January 23rd at 5:30pm. Along with the ticket to the movie, the lucky winner will also win a NeatSeat, NeatSeat is an on the go automotive seat cover perfect for runners, swimmers, cyclist, or anyone who drives to and from their workout.

If you can't make the drawing, tickets can also be purchased HERE for Spirit of the Marathon.

And, since marathons are the topic of late, let us not forget what it feels like after we finish one of those buggers. This You Tube video does an excellent job of reminding us.

Hope to see YOU next Wednesday!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Gonna Make You S.W.E.A.T. (Redding Marathon Redux)

In keeping with our theme, it was a glorious morning to go running with nary a cloud in the sky. The sixth annual Redding Marathon and 5k entertained some 200 folks along the banks of the Sacramento River Sunday morning and proved again to be one of the ultimate tests of endurance.

The race, which starts at the Lake Shasta Dam 7 miles north of Redding in the foothills of the Shasta Wonderland, begins its journey to town via the Sacramento River. From the heights of the Dam, runners drop 500 feet in the first 2 miles to a scenic and fast path (rails-to-trails) and continue on for 8 miles. From miles 10 -13 the route follows paved country roads that lead back onto double track to the Sacramento River Bike Path. From here, there is a section of out and back on the asphalt bike path, a residential loop, a tour through the arboretum and a picturesque finish over the Sundial Bridge and Turtle Bay.

I took the lead as we made our way across the dam and headed down the huge descent. After 2 miles in 10:20 I was feeling pretty strong but was a little worried that my facetious prediction of starting out running 5:20's that would turn into 7:40's in order to run 6 minute pace might just come true. Never-the-less I continued on with my feverish pace as one glance over my shoulder noted that 5 time Redding Marathon women's champion and Western States women's runner-up Bev Anderson-Abbs was 15 seconds back. Where was my boy Ian? Where were my relay folks I needed to help pace me along the long stretches of monotonous linear ground? I thought to myself, I had better go it alone, and in a hurry. I had set a few goals along the way, 10 miles in 57 minutes, 13 miles just to get to, then 17, 20 in less than 2 hours and 23 miles just to break up the last 6. I was intent on looking ahead to those markers in my mind to help keep up the pace. I hit 10 miles in 57:20, 13.1 just under 1:15 and mile 20 in 1:57 and change. I was pretty psyched with all the splits, but I knew from the year before that I still could fade terribly in the last 6 miles. I eased off a little to find the confidence to push the last 3 if needed and luckily it held out as I hit the bridge in 2:35, just enough time to break 2:36 and 6 minute per mile pace.

At mile 19 I was able to high 5 fellow Rogue Valley Runner, Ian Torrence, whom had taken over second place and who appeared to be some 12 minutes behind. I was psyched to see how well he was looking and that made me kick it up a notch, or at least a quarter notch. I also ran into Bev, as well as Marty Fagan (RD of the Cle Elum Ridge 50k) on the quick out and back. It was so good to see some familiar faces and to hear their words of encouragement.

In the end, a new CR was thrown down as Ian and I took 1st and 2nd handily. Ian's 2:49:27 was one of his faster marathon times and I could tell he was very happy with it, and 2:35:51 will probably be my PR for a long time. I think we were both happy that our legs let us finish a few minutes before Bev's. With 250 ultra's between us, Ian side much more weighted, we don't have too much time for all this hard pavement.
Fellow Rogue Valley residents Tom Bell and Adam Elson also made the trip for the marathon finishing as close together as one from Medford and Ashland might.

The 5k that ran in conjunction with the marathon also had a Rogue runner in the mix. Maria Clementi, of Ashland, ran a PR in 21:41 taking 2 overall in the women's race.

In the end it was quite apparent that we are no longer welcome in Northern California. It seems as though we have taken it to the locals lately and a little too often. Seriously, it has been great to have so many races to choose from that are nicely organized and well run, and that are within an easy drive.

Thanks S.W.E.A.T!

Full results can be found at

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Return of the Frostbite Run

...And They're Off!!!

On a wet and drizzly morning more than 90 runners headed out for the two mile and seven mile options at the Frostbite Run in Talent, Oregon. Big names toed the line. Erik Skaggs, a new employee at Rogue Valley Runners, was entering his first road race in history. He was coming off an impressive trail race victory at the Quad Dipsea (28 miles) Trail Race in northern California. Elliot Jantzer, 2007's 4A Boy's High School State Cross-Country Champion, was in the mix. Perennial race favorites Neil Olsen and John Leuthold were also there to add to the race day excitement.

"After coming through at a pedestrian 5:30 first mile split, I decided to start picking up the pace," said eventual winner Erik Skaggs. And with that, he made his move on the first uphill on Foss Street.

Lead Pack at Mile One (l to r, Olsen, Skaggs, Jordan, Leuthold, Jantzer)

The pack worked together and chased Skaggs.

Lead Chase Pack at the Turnaround (l to r, Olsen (in the far distance), Moses (in yellow), Jantzer, Leuthold, Jordan)

With his final mile in 5:10, Skaggs went on to cement his win in 38:00. He was chased by JJ Moses, John Leuthold (who both tied for second in 40:04), Neil Olsen (40:24) and Drew Jordan (41:05).

Erik Skaggs for the Win

Other Rogue Valley Runners participated:

Hal Koerner and Carly Varner finished in 56:22.

Chris Rennaker finished in 45:28 with a thumb's up.

Marci Klimer put in an impressive race to win the women's seven mile race in 45:50. Full results can be found soon at the Southern Oregon Runners website. Congratulations to all!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

We've Added Some of Our Favorite Links

We've finally added some of our "Favorite Links" to our blog. Check them out on the sidebar to the right.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Koerner and Skaggs Featured in February 2008 TrailRunner

Pick up the latest TrailRunner Magazine (Feb 2008, Issue 50)!!! Why, you ask? A few of the Rogue Valley's top ultrarunners are featured.

Erik Skaggs, a new employee to Ashland's Rogue Valley Runners, is mentioned in two stories. On page TS-30, in an article about the La Luz 9 Mile Trail Race and Simon Gutierrez, Erik is briefly mentioned in having pushed Gutierrez to the finish. Erik's recent accomplishments are further described in the story beginning on pages 54-55 about the San Juan Solstice 50 Mile Trail Run. Photos of Erik and his brother, Kyle, can be found there too.

On page 10, an article can be found that discusses American runner's experience at France's Ultra-Trail Tour du Mont Blanc, a 100-mile trail race that circumnavigates the Alps. In this story, Hal Koerner, the owner of Rogue Valley Runners, is cited several times as to his own experience with the race on foreign soil.

This issue is available at Rogue Valley Runners now. Stop in and take a gander, I'm sure Erik or Hal would be available to sign a copy for you.