The past two years I've had my Junes filled with Western States and the Dirty Half Marathon in Bend two weeks before. Usually I also had Comrades two weeks before that but this year in an effort to be slightly more sensible (unlike Ellie Greenwood who foolishly put in lots of effort for her close second place at Comrades just three weeks before WS - tut, tut [head shake]), I skipped Comrades and the days of flying it involves.
Last year I opted to run the Dirty Half in 10 layers of clothing for heat training and most people kept asking if I was ok or if I wanted to leave some layars at an aid station. I didn't. This time I tried going for a hard run, especially since it's a competitive race with the leaders gunning for the national USATF half marathon trail title. It's really a race for second since Max King rolls out of bed each time after a hard shorter distance race the day before (this time it was an Olympic Trials qualifying time of 8:36 in the 3,000m steeplechase in Portland). He won in 1:15, as expected.
The course is pure Central Oregon with beautiful, twisty single-track trails through the pine forests with plenty of sandy-colored background inbetween thanks to this being the beautiful Central Oregon High Desert. Not too much ascent, just rolling and sharp mini climbs. Basically really fun and fast for most of it.
I managed a 1:20 so was happy with 8th and some faster running on trails thaan I usually would do.
Everyone had a great time, but later that day we found out there was a real tragedy that one man had collapsed on the course and died. The organizers weren't at fault at all and put on a fantastic event again, but there's always that chance that something can go wrong with any extreme exercise, as accidents can happen anywhere, any time.
The women's race was tight with local Marci Klimek edging out Colorado's Megan Kimmel in a sprint to the line in 1:24. My North Face team-mate (and Bend resident), Steph Howe rounded out the podium in 1:26 after winning her third Pole, Peddle, Paddle race the month before.
Full results here. Come and do this sell-out trail race next year.