I am guessing every state has its own get-together favorite race. In Oregon – it’s MacDonald Forest 50k. Father Clem had organized it some 14 years ago, and it was first race officially that started the era of ultrarunning in OR. If you want to meet every single person who had ever laid their eyes on trail ultras, and especially staid with it – come to celebration at the Mac.
Mike and I carpooled for an early start (which he, obviously, wasn’t taking), and parked almost first, a treat. In 2 minutes my voice overridden voices of RD’s Ken and Scott carrying megaphone – I am THAT loud – and my hugs could fit half the Universe. On this high note, at 7am, a group of some 20+ folks began as a first wave on a trek to see what Sander Nelson designed for this year (Mac is famous for changing its course every year, thus they have 14 male and female winners and course records. They utilize the best dirt roads and single tracks criss-crossing at different angles, allowing runners to see each other a few times).
Below is a picture assay. I took some 50 photos along the course, of runners, of trails. The whole day I felt great. I came to run sub-7, and I was confident I can do it. I knew I took it too fast on the first section (by the way, this was the first time I had no idea where the aid stations would be, this is how relaxed I felt for this party), but instead of slowing down, decided to just hang in there. It doesn’t mean I struggled though. I just went by the feel. I chatted, flirted, snapped photos, gave hugs to volunteers and runners, not to mention race directors. At Dimple AS with Craig Thornley and Co I drank served vodka shot, arguing it can’t be officially called “White Russian” because we drink it straight and not mixed with some white sweet stuff and ice. I waited for some folks on those intersections to make sure the pictures are close-ups, was super-excited to see leaders go by (with Hal blowing by at mile 12.5, and Darla at about mile 17, both smiling ear to ear and making it look superbly easy). It was amazing to witness elite athletes in action – and each of them slowed down by a second and gave a word of encouragement. What a community we have, guys! I passed all but a few (who had no business having an early start, especially Micheal) 7am folks by mile 19, and even kept up with a few regular who caught up with me. I managed to run last incline road of 2.5M before turning on the last sweet single-track downhill – me, running uphill at mile 26…that’s weird. I rolled my ankle with 0.5M to go, but didn’t even blink, just laughed it off. The weather – oh, the weather was the best any state or date can provide. Rumor is, RD’s paid $1000 to ensure it. Thanks! I am certain runners would chip in for that! Mild low 70’s, gorgeous sunny day and awesome shade of majestic Oregon forest. I loved every minute of it. At the finish I felt like I could go another round easily, and today all I thought - I need a Gorge run! But, with Mother's day, I am staying put and spending it with my kid. Have fun on your adventures!
"Slacker's" start. We had a fun group!
Hanging otu together on first small climb.
Ready for first sweet downhill?
Chuckanut 50k is proud of Little Chinscraper? Mac has Chinscrapers every 4 miles, followed by plunging downhills! How else would you squeeze 6500 feet of climb into a 50k?
AS#2 with local boys track club. Cuteness of youngsters!
Blasting "Nice to see ya" Hal 4:01 leader.
I got my picture taken too!
RD#1, Scott, and hugs. Don't you think he is missing some sleep?
Sean Meissner took it down while I was having a pit-stop Nascar-style a mere 6 inches off a trail. "Hi, Sean, sorry, Sean" - " Hi, Olga, not that I haven't seen that or haven't done that!" Quite an exchange we have when do these stuff called trail ultras, huh?
Some downhills, not only dropping drastically, had a nice amount of slipperage, not too bad though, but I did slow down to keep my skirt clean.
Bushwhacker passing by, granting, unusual that early.
First woman Darla, sweet smiles! And by the way, she is running uphill, in case you didn't notice.
RD#2 Ken and his best buddy John L. - more hugs!
Drinking AS! Craig "The Dude" Thornley served "White Russian" in cups as energy drinks. I couldn't pass it on:)
Dave "We all recognize you from behind, and not by pony tail" Terry
Dave Stevenson and Cary Miller
Happy Van "Pigtails" Phan, whom I waited at intersection for as we don't see each other that often anymore. This crazy gal ran 56 marathons and ultras for 2 years in a row. I think this year she decided to slow down - making it 40 or so?
Pam Smith hill climbing together, 3rd (?) woman, wicked fast!
I was supposed to catch Hal giving me a kiss on camera, but I suck lately with timing (and focusing) my shots!
Gail finishing a few minutes behind. She had an awesome day! Last bridge you cross has a plaque in memory of Scott McQueeney. Take a look next time you're there...
Her dog Che missed his mommy!
Girls having great soup and home-made bread for after-party! I was drinking beer which somebody got in - it pays to be cute, loud and obnoxious:)