Brett Rivers (7th) and Nathan Yanko (3rd) of The Endurables and Trail Run Times, Will Gotthardt (4th), Caitlin Smith (10th and 1st Woman, new female course record holder), Mark Tanaka (14th), while Dan Brown (15th) hangs out catching his breath at the side. Someone donate some of their body fat to Mark Tanaka, he ran with his La Sportiva team jacket the whole time, even when it warmed up. He's fresh off a 2nd place finish at the McNaughton Races, the 150-mile event.
Winner and new course record holder, Leor Pantilat, Brian Wyatt and Caitlin Smith. Brian is a good friend and one of the folks I consistently race against. He's running quite strong this year, following up his 10th place finish at the Mt. Diablo 50-miler last weekend with a 12th place finish here with a 4:21:40.
Will G., tireless volunteer, front pack runner and now a t-shirt model. Sporting the shirt for this year's event. Design by another tireless volunteer, Miki Higuchi.
This race which was run for the first time last year in September was moved to April because of problems with yellow jackets. The front pack would get them all riled up and the rest of the field would smack right into them. I think it was Steve Holman who had over a dozen stings last year. Well at least it brought out the best in people. Runners would take the time to dust off the insects from their fellow competitors. They would get stuck in clothing, hair, and sting away. However Spring is quite a busy time in the Bay Area for ultra events. As much as I wanted to I had to bow out. I know my body. It would not be happy about a fast 50k after a tough 50-miler prior to a 100k. The race is mostly downhill and there's just no way I would hold back on a course like that. I live for downhills. I know my body and I know myself so I did the smart thing and stayed in the sidelines.
However there's more than one way to enjoy the race. A friend was running and several of us came down to support her. I figured since I was going to be down there anyway I might as well volunteer. We stopped by at the start, watched them go and then proceeded to the first aid station to help out. From there we headed to the finish where I took charge of heating up the chili and chicken soup. By the time we got there the first 7 finishers had already come in and I got a chance to rub elbows with the speedsters as the rest of the group filtered in. Serving the chili and soup was quite rewarding. Not only was in charge of a hot commodity - hot food, but I got to talk to people about their race. From the leaders to the back of the pack I got the scoop on the course this year. Definitely no yellow jackets and an abundance of water. People were raving about a waterfall and a creek on the course. It was somewhat dry when we came through last year. Met new folks, connected with new internet friends in person and got caught up with old ones.
La Sportiva Mountain Running Team's Leor Pantilat and Caitlin Smith won the day, both setting new course records. I was able to chat with them afterwards and Leor mentioned that he wasn't in peak shape. Caitlin on the other hand felt like she could have run more despite getting lost on the course. Full results here.
Our runner Dana came in with a huge smile in her face, finishing her first 50k. It didn't take too long for her to start limping. She had the "fried quads walk." I checked on her yesterday and she replied, "Quads hurt! I am walking like everystep costs money and I am debating whether I want to spend or save."
For those of you who can relate, smile with me:)
For the complete photoset, click here.