Monday, December 21, 2009

USA Track and Field's National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships

Ominous clouds hover over the race course near Reno.

We rarely highlight the impressive talents of southern Oregon's running youth on this blog. Probably about time...

Lela quietly racks up some impressive performances here in our Rogue Valley. This year Lela won the 14 and under age division in the Southern Oregon Runners "Runner of the Year" Race Series. On her way to doing so she placed sixth for women in the Frostbite 5K, fourth for ladies in the Rogue River 5K and finished with a 1:15:31 at this year's Pear Blossom Ten Mile (good enough for 226th out of 1270 total finishers!) All impressive results for a twelve year old.

This past weekend Lela Stemple traveled to Reno, Nevada for the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships. Though she personally felt she could of run faster, she still thrilled by finishing 50th out of 228 runners in not so ideal conditions.

Lela Stemple chills, but stays warm before race time.

Walking the course.

So without further ado, here's Lela Stemple, in her own words, as she discusses her race last weekend:

"As far as the race goes it was okay. There was about a foot of packed snow, they tried to clear it, but it was still very snowy. It was super cold. My arms were numb by the end of the race - even with the arm warmers. I started out with sunglasses which really helped me to see where I was going in the snow. But, when the huge flakes of snow started to come down during the race, they were a pain, so I threw them to Dad. I had a lot of fun and it was a great event, but my time and place weren't what I was originally hoping for. My overall time was 12:26 - a bit slower than my PR. I was super nervous, this being my first trip to something as big as Nationals. The winner came in at about 10:57. Next time..."

Racing through the snow...Check out those arm warmers and that jersey!
Congratulations on some fine racing Lela!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Southern Oregon Ultra Party

In stunning fashion the Southern Oregon Ultra Party was held this past weekend in Ashland at Rob Cain's house, located on the fringe of Lithia Park. The masses descended on our host's house, as did the hilarity and booze.

Without further ado, the recipients of this year's awards are as follows:

Best Paula Radcliffe Imitation-Becky Hacker
Annie Sandwich-Annie Crispino-Taylor
Team Check Engine Light-Erik Skaggs
The "WTF" Award-Erik and Rob Cain
Drunken Pacer Award-Ian Torrence
Best 100 Mile Stare-Carly Varner
Keeper of the Oregon Trail-Annie
Derek Zoolander Poster Boy Awards-Chris Rennaker and Hal Koerner
Most Borrowed Clothes-Erin Keller
Mind Over RF-John Price
Will Pace for Aid Station Food-Eric Poole
Fastest Family Man Award-Neil Olsen
Dumbest Injury Ever Part 2-Ben Benjamin
Most Damaged Feet-Jody Waters
Most Damaged Stomach-Clyde Acre
Things That Lean A Lot Award-Rob
Most Damaged Overall-Rob
Most Damaged Period-Erik
Puke Of The Year-Jenn Shelton
Puke Runner Up-Ian
Worst Route Navigation-Ixel Sanchez and Shahid Ali
100 Mile High Club-Renn, Erin, Carly, Annie (officially this year!)
50 Mile High Club-Eric Poole, Darcy Kleiman
Best Crew-Carly
Hall Of Fame Crew-Sally Jones
Best Aid Station-Renn and Eric Poole
Streaker (no, not naked) Awards-Mark Sherbo and Ian
Gold Toes-Hal, Erik, Jenn, Rob, Ian, John

Now onwards to some visions of the night of infamy.

Tim Turk wins the Phoenix Award, rising from the ashes.

Line-up now folks. Skaggs will be cutting a CD before you know lyrics ever!

The Skaggs hydration pack. IV included!

Renn wins the Poster Boy Award (see cover of TrailRunner Magazine).

Neil Olsen wins the Fastest Family Man Award.

Mel wins the Mud Queen Award.

Jody wins the Most Damaged Feet Award.

Jenn Shelton wins Best High School Assistant Coach Role Model Award. We're glad this photo is grainy...can you say incriminating? Phew!

Hal and Carly are gifted the all practical "Wedding Planning for Dummies."

Skaggs wins the WTF? Award. Get in my belly!

Darcy - Saltest Runner Award! Cheers!

Annie shows off her winnings. A newly developed ultra-light and insulated running jacket.

Aaron Brian wins the Fastest Beer of the Beer Mile Award. He didn't even puke.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile

When $10,000 is on the line, you just show up. The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championship offered this prize purse to both the first man and woman finisher; the largest single prize purse in trail ultra history. Set in the idyllic setting of the Marin Headlands, across the bridge from San Fransisco, runners would pit themselves against some of the best trail runners in the country in some of the roughest sea-level terrain available in hopes of grabbing a cash prize that would help pad the wallet.

Several southern Oregon runners headed south to test themselves in the 50 mile and 50 kilometer versions of the race. Rogue Valley Runner Chris Rennaker topped the list of southern Oregon finishers in the 50 Mile race. He finished 33rd in 8:37:52. Chris came away with not only an appreciation of rugged seaside terrain, but with a very personalized shoulder to wooden stair collision. Ashland's Eric Poole finished smiling right behind Rennaker in 8:49:45. Rogue Valley Runner Hal Koerner gave the 50 mile race a good go, but after having run his legs out two weeks prior at the JFK 50 Mile, he was more than satisfied with seeing only half the course, calling it a day and then going for breakfast.

The 50 kilometer race saw two locals run very well. Stephen Meador, from Medford, finished 58th in 6:32:50. Ashland's Shahid Ali, a Wednesday store group run regular, finished 79th in 6:59:06.

Full race results can be found here. A unique view of the race can be found on Uli Steidl's blog, the actual winner of the 50 mile race and aforementioned money prize purse.

Renn refreshes his bottle.

Chris Rennaker moves on the downhill.

Koerner descends in the early morning light.

Hal: Grabbing a Gu to go. And, perhaps, already thinking bacon and eggs or french toast?

EP likes the compression! Eric Poole comes into an aid station.

Most photos were taken by Ashland's Brian Mcguire. Congratulations to all runners!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Koerner Signs with The North Face Athlete Team

Verbiage from the Official Press Release:

Hal Koerner Joins The North Face Athlete Team

The North Face reinforces its ultrarunning heritage, welcoming one of the world’s best runners to its team.

SAN LEANDRO, California—December 2, 2009— The North Face, the world’s premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear, today announced ultrarunner Hal Koerner has joined its global athlete team. The North Face has a team of more than 60 professional global athletes which includes runners, snowboarders, skiers, rock climbers and mountaineers.

“Hal embodies the passion of The North Face,” said Aaron Carpenter, Vice President of Marketing for The North Face. “His determination, enthusiasm and fresh take on the ultrarunning scene not only inspires the running community, but the entire family at The North Face. We are excited to work with Hal in accomplishing his goals.”

A world-renowned runner, Koerner has raced in almost 100 ultramarathons (classified as anything longer than 26.2 miles) and has placed in the top three in 75 percent of them. Koerner set the speed record for the Colorado Trail (≈500 miles, topping out at 13,334 feet) in 2003 with a time of 9 days, 10 hours and 19 minutes. Koerner is a two-time champion of the Angeles Crest 100 mile Endurance Run and five time champion of the Bear 100. He set course records at the Whiskeytown 50k Trail Run in 2006 and the World of Hurt 50k in 2007.

Just in 2009 Koerner placed first in the MacDonald Forest 50k Trail Run and the grueling Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run (his second win of the race). He took third in the Chuckanut Mountain 50k Race and sixth in the epic Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run. For 2010, Koerner will attempt to win his third consecutive Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, his favorite ultra race, in hopes of completing in less than 16 hours.

“There is a thread in all races where the juxtaposition of dirt and air, camaraderie and solitude, adrenaline and guts, winning and losing all go away, it’s then that you know you love it,” said Koerner. “I’m excited to run for a team that has so much talent, breadth and combined experience.”

Koerner will be making his debut as a team athlete for The North Face this coming weekend, December 5, 2010, at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships in San Francisco, California, taking a shot at the $10,000 grand prize. The North Face Endurance Challenge is a nationwide series featuring four course lengths - 10K, Half Marathon, 50K and 50-Mile – designed to push people to run farther than they ever have. It will be his second time running the race.

“The North Face has been committed to the ultra scene for some time now and hasn’t backed down. I’m attracted to this characteristic and would love to make trail running a more familiar activity,” said Koerner. “I think that enthusiasm creates motivation. I like to promote ultrarunning as much as one person can and hopefully steer more people into making the uncommon, common.”

Koerner, the owner of a successful running store in Ashland, Oregon, will be working closely with The North Face Research, Design and Development team, especially on footwear. His expertise and experience will add to the rapidly developing collection. When he’s not running or at the store, Koerner can be found hanging out at home or at a concert in Ashland, Oregon, with his fiancĂ©, Carly, and their dog, Abbey. He organizes a number of races that help foster running and trail work in the greater Rogue Valley of Oregon.

For more than 40 years The North Face has teamed up with the world's finest ultrarunners, mountaineers, alpinists, climbers, skiers, snowboarders and endurance adventurers who have defined the limits of what is humanly possible. The North Face Ultrarunning Team includes Nikki Kimball, Diane Van Deren, Lizzy Hawker, Kami Semick, Dean Karnazes, Sam Thompson, Tim Twietmeyer, Michael Wardian, Tsuyoshi Kaburaki and SĂ©bastien Chaigneau. The North Face Athlete team works closely with Research, Design & Development, creating innovative designs that push new technologies and inspire cutting-edge products.

For more information on the The North Face Running Team and The North Face Endurance Challenge, check out

About The North Face®

The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in San Leandro, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company's products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Southern Oregon Fat Ass (SOFA) Announcement

This update from the SOFA "race director" Tim Turk:

The plan:

To run the Wild and Scenic Rogue River Trail. We'll leave Graves Creek about 9AM on Saturday, January 23rd and run out-n- back for a total of about 50k. Remember, out-n-back means you can cut it short or make it long. I hope to see you there! Let's try beat our record of 27 runners. Our etiquette in the past has been to run in social groups on the way out, regroup at the turn-around, and run what ever you feel like on the way back.

This is a self-supported run that crosses countless streams that we drank from for years without incident. I'll run with my filter this year, since Rob Cain had to ruin my delusion and get giardia. Do I need to mention rain, after all this is Oregon, right? Oh yeah, poison oak too.

The SOFA started out as a way to celebrate birthdays of some Oregon ultrarunners . Tim Turk (me), Craig Thornley, Jeff Riley, Marcus Mayfield, Clayton Gillette and Hal Koerner all celebrate birthdays around the same time. You too? Let me add you to the list.


From the north, take the Wolf Creek exit #76 to the Graves Creek Trailhead. I think it's about 9 more miles.

From the South, take the Merlin exit #61 and do the same. You'll go about 20 more miles to the trailhead.

Give me a call or email if you have questions,

Tim Turk

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

47th Annual JFK 50 Mile

For the 47th year tradition still holds true at the John F. Kennedy 50 Mile Race. Held amongst the rolling hills and along the banks of the meandering Potomac River of Western Maryland the JFK always holds true to its promise of fast times, big crowds and good memories. This year would prove no different.

The race starts in the sleepy town of Boonsboro, Maryland. The course climbs from the start for three miles up onto South Mountain where it gains the ridge and follows the rocky, leaf-covered Appalachian Trail (AT) for roughly eleven miles to the Weverton Cliffs. At the Cliffs the course descends steeply to the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal. Once on the Canal, twenty-six miles of flat, dirt towpath await the runners. The final eight miles criss-cross paved country roads to the finish line in the small town of Willamsport, Maryland.

At the end of this year's race we'd see some of the fastest times ever run on the course. Three runners would finish under six hours and twenty-five runners would finish under seven hours. Greg Crowther of Seattle, WA would win with the second fastest time in course history; 5:50:13. Devon Crosby-Helms from Sausalito, CA would set a new women's course record in 6:29:21. In total, 1027 runners would traverse the course; one of the largest ultramarathon finishing fields ever in North America.

Along with individual performances, JFK 50 also recognizes Team categories. Rogue Valley Runners put together what we thought to be an unstoppable "men's open team" consisting of Hal Koerner, Scott Jurek, Eric Clifton, Josh Brimhall and Ian Torrence. We had a good run but it was Team New York City consisting of Michael Arnstein, Oz Pearlman, David James and Michael Oliva that had the better day. Team NYC topped Team RVR by a good 32 minutes.

In the open race it was great to see Hal Koerner and Scott Jurek finish in the top ten men at JFK. Hal finished with a 6:05:02 (his fastest of three finishes) and 4th overall. Jurek finished 10th in 6:31:12. Josh finished just outside the top ten in 6:32:13. Ian finished 20th overall in 6:48:14 and Eric rounded out the Team by finishing in 8:12:55.

Congratulations to all runners, race directors and volunteers who completed and assisted with the 47th Annual JFK 50 Mile Race.

Full Individual and Team results can be found on the race's web site.

Below is a photo-montage of the day's events from the Rogue Valley Runners' perspective. Photo's are courtesy of Jenny Uehisa, Maria Clementi and Bill Susa.

Boonsboro, Maryland

Scott Jurek, Hal Koerner, Josh Brimhall & Ian Torrence minutes before the start.

The crowd assembles in downtown Boonsboro, Maryland.

The start of the 47th JFK 50 Miler.

The AT

Koerner high fives spectators on the Appalachian Trail.

Koerner runs through the first major aid station at mile 9; Cramptons Gap.

Jurek grabs supplies at the mile 15 aid station called Weverton Cliffs; the end of the Appalachian Trail and beginning of the C&O Canal.

The C&O

Hal grabs some food to go at one of the many aid stations along the C&O Canal.

The Crew and Photographers: Jenny Uehisa and Maria Clementi.

Torrence on the Canal at mile 27; Antietam Aqueduct.

Jurek receives his goodies from Jenny near mile 38.

Josh Brimhall moves along the Canal near mile 38.

The Final Eight

Jurek enroute to a top ten finish. He is passing the Downsville aid station.

Torrence rounds the bend at Downsville, four miles to go. Maria Clementi cheers him on.

The Finish and Awards in Willamsport, Maryland

Jurek slaps Ian as he finishes his 15th JFK 50.

Eric Clifton (JFK 50 course record holder) is the fifth finisher for Team Rogue Valley Runners. Eric's wife Noni is there to congratulate him.

The top three finishers for Team Rogue Valley Runners show off their medals. (Left to right: Brimhall, Koerner & Jurek)

Not Worthy. Jurek bows in the presence of Greg Crowther; this year's JFK 50 Mile winner.

Some of the top ten men receive their trophies. (left to right: Jurek, Ingram, Lavine, Ricklefs, Koerner & Woods)

Some of your top women finishers. (left to right: Devon Crosby-Helms, Monica Ochs & Meghan Arbogast)

Post Race Cool Down

Post-race cool down at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC with special guest Umphrey's McGee.

That ain't soda! Cheers to a race well run!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2010 "Tribute to the Trails" Calendars Now Availble

Now available online and at Rogue Valley Runners, the 2010 Tribute to the Trails Calendar. All proceeds from the sale of the calendars benefit the Washington Trails Association, the body responsible for creating, maintaining, and repairing trials in Washington State. We all know Washington used to be a part of Oregon and that we all still travel north to play and race on a number of the trails that they work on. So pick up your copy today or purchase one for a friend or family member for the holidays.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pioneer Road Run 2009

The Pioneer Road Run, which runs from Phoenix, OR to Talent, OR and back again, is southern Oregon's oldest road race. The race was first run in 1971 and has continued since. There is both a nine mile and five kilometer race. This year more than 150 runners ventured out for these races. Here are some race images captured by Andy Atkinson along the course.

The outpouring of volunteers made it possible for Joe Griffin to run Pioneer this year. Usually he's found behind the timing table recording finishing times.

Ian Torrence huffs it through the last quarter mile of the nine mile race.

Personal trainer, Mike Sotos, demonstrates the proper use of compression socks.

Adam Seibert leads a long string of runners, including Chris Redfedlt (red jersey), in the early minutes of the five kilometer race.

Chris Rennaker uses Pioneer as preparation for California's North Face 50 Miler in December.

Trevor Palmer enroute to a 15:07 5K victory. Five seconds shy of his own course record.

Hal Koerner digs in as he closes in on Erik Skaggs in the closing seconds of the race.

Sarah Hyman wins the Pioneer nine mile race.

Corey Hartgrave crosses the line in the nine mile race in 43:07 to win the wheelchair division.

Damian Baldovino (nine mile winner) leads a charging Bob Julian and fully recovered Erik Skaggs (red jersey) in the nine mile race.

More of Andy Atkinson's photos can be found on the Mailtribune's website here.

Full race results can be found on the Southern Oregon Runners website here.

Congratulations to all runners, volunteers and race director Jan Griffin for a job well done!