|View along the first out-and-back|
Around Monday last week I looked at the options for crewing, sweeping or generally helping out at the Mt Hood 50 miler in Oregon which I ran last year. The website showed two last minute entries available so I emailed the RD, Todd Janssen, as a long run seemed like a good idea and I knew plenty of Oregonian friends would be there. I was also feeling the Olympic vibe and doing a race therefore appealed.
But other than Mt Hood, there were numerous major races around the world this weekend. Too many to note them all, but the most interesting were probably as follows:
Davos Swiss Alpine K78 (Switzerland) - a sixth consecutive win for Jonas Buud (unless I've lost count) in this classic 49-mile race in the Swiss Alps, running 5:57. Hope he comes to some US ultras soon! Lizzy Hawker came second and has won or been second here numerous times, but local Jasmine Nunige won a long way ahead in 6:31. Good day for the Brits, as Jo Zakrzewski was behind Lizzy to round out the ladies' podium.
|High parts of the Davos course|
|More Davos loveliness|
Speedgoat 50k Skyrace (Utah) - Kilian won, but didn't win. A top-class field on the men's side and yet another win for Frosty on the women's side. Read the comments on the irunfar results article for the debate on whether Kilian should have been DQed for cutting the switch-backs, but in the end he was given the win for Skyrunning series points but not the course record or the prize money, which second-place, Rickey Gates got. I'm not going to go into it here but the debate is interesting and it seems more than odd that Kilian can win the Skyrace but lose the American race. Also, there's some debate about whether he was the only one to cut corners, not that any of them intended to cheat.
White River 50 (Washington) - Sage Canaday smashed the tough CR with a super-human 6:16, lower than multiple attempts by Uli Stedl and Anton Krupicka. Ellie Greenwood turned up and therefore she won the women's race, of course. But since she didn't taper and just ran on tired legs, she was a few mins off the CR (head shake - we're all sooo disappointed).
Lakeland 100 (UK) - Have to admit I didn't really follow this, but it has become one of the premier 100s in the UK and involves navigation along a beautiful course.
Giir di Mont Skyrace (Italy) - A 20-mile major European mountain race. There's an increasing overlap between the runners at different mountain distances although some of the longer distance guys were at Speedgoat instead of this. Won by Tofol Castanyer of Spain in 3:19, just ahead of Tom Owen of the UK. For the ladies, Kasie Enman of the US won comfortably in 3:45.
So as well as running, I was keenly following all these other races, some of which I've run, some are on my to-do list.
But getting back to Mt Hood, the weather was perfect and the trails are sublime for running on. It's 99% single track with not a whole lot of elevation gain (+/- 5,600ft), so it's great for cruising along through the woods with views of Mt Hood occasionally - very enjoyable. The course has a north-bound, 14.2-mile out-and-back which is slightly faster than the south-bound, 10.8-mile out-and-back that finishes the race. A good option for someone doing their first trail 50.
I wanted to see how my fitness was without going at 100% and all that Western States training is still paying off as I generally felt strong. Last year I ran 6:29 so the only target was to try to go under that and, hopefully, feel good at the end. I went through 28.4 miles in 3:12 but still had to push to run 6:24 for the full distance for a new CR. Legs not perfect but not too trashed either.
Here's a video from Yassine Diboun and Animal Athletics with some shots of the trails near a couple of aid stations. I couldn't help doing a sprint finish as it's a fun way to end a race, even if completely unnecessary - see 2:50 into the video.
The coming weeks are busy for me but all based in Oregon. Firstly, the Cascade Lakes Relay (216 miles for a team of 12 over 36 legs) next Friday, the Crater Lake Marathon the following weekend then Waldo 100k the week after with the likes of Hal Koerner, Timmy Olson, Joe Uhan and many more fast Oregonians and two Western States places available. That last one's getting me excited already. There are definite benefits to living in Oregon!