Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pole Postition

Over the years our End of the Year/Holiday Party has taken us some amazing places. It has also involved a number of equally unique individuals, all of whom have made RVR a special place we like to call, "work." 

Looking back, we've hit the bowling alley only to realize that most of us can't even bowl our own weight.  With the addition of Timothy Olson,  a Wisconsin native, our team score has improved substantially as he informed us bowling was a school sport back home. 

We then ran circles at the indoor go -kart track a couple years back only to watch as our stable business carried on where, I guess, indoor go karts in a motor-centric town like Medford couldn't.   What I'm trying to say is they went out of business.   If squint your eyes it almost looks like any 5k in the valley.   

Last year we hosted our own dodge ball party and shrunk the court about two hundred percent adding injury to insult.  Yeah that's right, injury to insult.  I will say however the dodge balls we picked up were top notch, and made out of real rhino skin, so you know they're good. 

2011 seemed to have us stymied until we decided to call on an inner passion that had lain dormant all these years. It was right under our nose all along and fit in with the bosses open door policy.  Something he so sorely needs to work on for 2012.

In pictures, here is a taste of what you're allowed to see.

Complete with bibs and technical socks!

There's a reason the ladies don't wear jeans.

Wicked dance moves.

Yes, Leland did arrive with those shorts!

Graceful Jeff

Not the first time we've looked this worn out.

Big thanks to the gals at The Pole Dance Fitness.   Happy Holidays Y'all!

Monday, December 12, 2011

RVR inagural USATF XC Club Championships

This past weekend, Rogue Valley Runners fielded it's first open women's team for the 2011 USATF Club XC Championships.

The USATF National Club Cross Country Championships featured top clubs from across the United States, More than 100 clubs and 1,100 competitors vied for honor and bragging rights at Jefferson Park Golf Course in the Emerald City, Seattle. 

Mercy and Bree Ray, Tara Crempley, Maggie Donovan, Victoria Mayfield and Jenn Shelton ran the 6km grass course finishing just outside the leaders but closer to the port o potties.  In all seriousness, the team traveled some 500 miles to compete in one of the most competitive open fields in the country and represented the valley proper.  

Mercy hangs tough with a, perennial favorite, Club Northwest runner

Tara Crempley placed second for the team with a fast 23:08

A few gentlemen also represented Southern Oregon, Bob Julian Jr and Matt Thomas ran for prestigious, Bowerman Athletic Club in the Master's Men category and in Matt's words,

"My club, Bowerman Athletic Club, ran A and B teams. Our A team finished fourth, missing 3rd by 1 point. Had they tied for 3rd they would have won the tie breaker. In fact if you scored six deep or seven deep or eight deep BAC would have finished 2nd place. Our B team, for which I ran in the fourth position, finished 10th overall out of 21 teams which shows the depth of the BAC mend 40+ team."

Matt charges to a 36:43 on the 10k course!

The Coach in action.

Full results can be found here.

Monday, November 21, 2011


For those of you that caught the NCAA XC Championships this morning then you know what it takes for those young men and women to compete at such a high level.   The majority of the men's field finished under 31 minutes for a 10k and the women ran 20 minutes for 6k.

But before any of them ever though of racing at nationals they busted it out at events like the NXN regional in Boise during their formative years.  

Their website describes the competition as, eight regional championships qualify both teams and individuals into one race for all the marbles over the whoop-dee-doos and hay bales at Portland Meadows.  But everyone now knows that it rivals the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships as the de facto HS race in the country. 

As couple of  South Medford runners headed to the meet under the auspices of the Panther Track Club to garner some valuable racing and came out with some great times.   

Camden Stemple ran 17:40 a week after qualifying for the state meet in Eugene and only a couple hours prior to that the family was heading an aid station at Lithia Loop.  Lela Stemple also got to battle it out with a 20:57 in this super competitive field and gained some invaluable experience that will certainly pay off in the years to come, I just know it.   

I commend both of these young runners for their determination and effort.  It seems like yesterday that they walked into the store, no more than 5 feet in stature, grinning from their Friday runs up and around the trails in Ashland. 

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Results and a few Pics are Up!

Well you'll be able tell from the pics below that the event was not an easy one despite the ridiculously fast times up front.

Max King breaks his own course record by almost 10 minutes and Megun Lund Lizotte comes up just short on the women's side.   Check everything  here.

Mile 13, Max seconds in front of Ryan Bak  

Eric Poole feeling optimistic
Erik hangs with John Tribbia over the top.
The Stacies!  Not like in training eh ladies? 
It would get better.  
Perhaps a look of indecision from Karl Pryor.
Clayton, Jen and Annie pause to fuel the furnace. 

More snowy scene from mile 15.7

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Race Day Ready

The sun did make an appearance today and at times it seemed like late October in Ashland.  Never mind, no not the Nirvana album, that the hills looked like they'd been dusted with marking chalk and that the forecast is for more tonight for I have seen the rain, snow, and the course for that matter.  

While there are patches of snow on the 2060 plateau it's confined to the few open breaks in the trees and it could be all of 10% of the middle 12.  At that, I can't say I think it'll be around Saturday morning and with the dust gone we are looking at a perfectly responsive yet spongy surface for fast running!  I think gloves are a must.  

Packet pick up is at the store tomorrow November 4th from 10 - 7 but give us a few minutes to get her open.  We'll also be handing out packets race morning from 6:45 - 7:45 at Pioneer Hall.   You'll be able to leave your warm clothes there as you make your way up (south) Winburn Way to the band shell for the start (100 yards.) 

After you finish you'll be wined and dined back at Pioneer Hall where we'll be handing out awards sometime around 2:30.  There will be USATF medals handed out to the top ten Male and Female finishers as well as $2500 in prize money for those registered members.  You can sign up at RVR tomorrow and on race morning.  Breakdown is as follows;  

Open Men:  500 , 300,  200 
Open Women:  500 , 300, 200
Masters Man: 250
Masters Woman: 250

There will also be an open raffle for a Garmin GPS watch, not to mention the usual schwag from RVR!

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Little Lithia Preamble

We are now on the precipice of the 2011 edition of the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon.  Many of you have decided that, NOW, is the time to enter.  I can't help but imagine how fit our participants are compared to any "old" marathon.  I mean how is it that 25% of the entrant base signs up in the last week, this is a 26.2 mile race people!    

All I'm saying is, it add up to our best turn out yet.  I hope we can entice a few more to leap in come Saturday.  Speaking of which, yes it is a Saturday marathon, how RUDE.  Never mind that the Oregon State Cross Country meet is this weekend in Eugene, the USATF Trail Marathon Championships are in Ashland for the third year in a row.

Max King, the reigning World Mountain Running Champion, is back to defend his title against a bevy of challengers.  Erik Skaggs will finally race the course after years of training on the infamous loop and John Tribbia, 3rd place in 2010, contends from Colorado once again.  There are at least a handful of other qualified runners that will be gunning for the top spot come race day.

On the ladies side, Jenn Shelton has finally found it within herself to compete for the title as have a number of local superstars including Bree Ray and, well, Bend citizen and 50k national champ Stephanie Howe.  Megan Lund, a 2:41 marathoner from Basalt ,Colorado is fit and ready to capture the title as Titan of the Trail as well. Surely the first 8 miles and 3000 feet of gain will give her little to no hesitation come Saturday morning.

Stay tuned for more info, but be prepared for any weather condition although it looks like it will be perfect for running at 2,000 and 5,000 feet.

Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 Pine to Palm Wrap Up

I wanted to send over a hearty THANK YOU to everyone involved in making Pine to Palm a success.  This was my first 100 mile race and I was so impressed with the quality of the aid stations, course markings, and above all the folks out on the course running the stations and directing runners.  Overall this was one of the best race experience I have ever had.  I continue to enjoy running in Southern Oregon and look forward to more events put on by Rogue Valley Runners.  Compliments to you, your staff, and all the volunteers.  You nailed it!  Premiere event in my book.

Special thanks to the folks working the aid station at mile 90 on Sunday AM.  They were chipper and encouraging…

All the best,  Stephen

Finally! I made amends with my 2010 DynaBuckle order and have now sent the remainder of the brass ovals to finishers that may or may not make it onto a belt.  One thing is clear however, for those 45 folks that brought home either substance they did it the old fashioned way, they EARRNED it.

The 2011 edition of the The Pine to Palm 100 Mile Endurance Run was marked with consistency and the word for the opposite of consistency.  The most welcome change had to be the weather, for how could it not  be, it was the most talked about element of our race last year.  There was a return to normalcy on race day as nary a cloud could be found and temps topped out in the low 70's.   It was chilly at night and on the peaks but that just made runners move faster over the ground and through the aid stations.

As it pertained to logistics we continued the theme by removing a few miles of pavement at the start of the race and we relocated our pre-race meeting to the Provolt Community Center while adding camping along the East Fork of Williams Creek.  All editions that will stand for years to come.   

Derek Schultz cruises the early miles, he stopped running for 18 miles but finished 3rd in the end.
Many things remained the same and continue to be the glue of the P2P100. 

Runners came far and wide to test themselves in the lesser know mountains of Southern Oregon. They weren't threatened when their race director didn't make back to the pre-race meeting (he was out marking the first  10 miles of the course and if you've run the first 10 miles then that's that) and didn't miss beat when his wife fielded questions that either quelled or quickened peoples fears.    

Ashlander's taunting the Palm at mile 21.

Not quite sure what happened to Craig, much the same could be said of him in the 70's too.

One point I harp on with all our events is my unending gratitude towards our volunteers.  Some come out because they need service hours, many just to be in the woods, most to partake in the spectacle, and others because I make them.  That said, our aid stations are captained by no less than 8 current or former race directors.  The remainder easily match in service and professionalism although you might not know it by looking at most of these pictures.

I made a point to a friend the week before the race when I wore a rather scandalous Nicky Minaje shirt to a party and mentioned that I was thinking of wearing it at P2P.

OK so my Mom didn't like it much either.
"I don't think people will take you seriously, " she hastened to tell me.  I replied that I would wear something out of the ordinary like that to take folks minds off the seriousness of running 100 miles and hopefully interject some humor into the event, but to be assured that underneath, the team and I were every bit as serious with every one's safety and the ultimate goal of getting them to the finish.  Again, our finisher rate suggests that although hearty, racers beat the 50% attrition rate that I feel sets the bar for 100 milers.        

Along the Stein Butte trail

and along.

Squaw Lakes

Pristine single - track.

Hanley Gap AS, positive vibrations.
I followed the course most of the day, satellite phone in hand with drop bags in the rear.  I love making my way across the mountainside, mostly because I'm doing it in a car (yeah right), taking in the course and all that it has to offer; crews, volunteers, wildlife, anticipation.  I enjoy watching the frontrunners scamper over the terrain like they're on a a training run while I admire the rest of the pack for their determination and never say die attitude. I wish I was out there with them but then I remember that this is one of those days that I get to  give back to the sport that has given me so much. My hope is to build this into a legacy run, one for the Siskiyous.

So I revel in the race that begins to develop. Defending Champion Timothy Olson, whom had developed an ultra running highlight reel in 2011, was gunning for the word go.  Fellow Oregonian, Yassine Diboun, was a pre race favorite and set the early pace with Timothy over Greyback where a chase ensued down the expansive draws to Applegate Lake.  TAO's intensive training and knowledge of the course really shined over the next hours as he distanced himself from the rest of the field.  Chris Downie from BC Canada would close the gap to nearly 20 minutes at the half way point but that was when Tim finally found his grove and began to chip away at the course record.  

On the ladies side, first time 100 miler Liz Koop looked strong all day.  She ran a very even paced run, over routes that were unfamiliar, but with the keen sense of a veteran.  The miles and the elevation took a toll in the end but persevering is what champions do best.   All the champions can be found here, and hopefully back in Ashland for 2012!    

Leaving Hanley Gap with Squaw Peak in the background.

Dutchman Peak (mile62)

Tim finds a way not to waste the daylight.

Jeff Kozak takes in the views along Siskiyou Crest, and looks to be moving rather well still.

Mount Shasta from Jackson Gap.

This is the 2060 (mile90) AS, ripe with attentive volunteers; Carly Koerner, JB Benna and Jen Benna (l to r.)

I don't know why one would need to take off the FF after 100 miles, they're just an extension of the foot.

Lovely Pioneer Hall, perhaps the last time we stage out of here.  Help us grow!  

Your 2011 champions; Liz Koop and Timothy Olson

Over and over again I must thank everyone who made this event possible and for putting Ashland on the map as a one of a kind destination for a 100 miler.  To Carly, Mom, Dad, and Medical Director Kelly Lange they know what it takes to put on a first rate event.   To all my volunteers,  this is your event too and how can we do it without all two hundred of you!  To my sponsors; GU, The North Face, Succeed,  and everyone at RVR thank you for trusting in ultra trail racing and supporting grass roots events like ours.

See you in 2012!