Saturday, October 06, 2007

North Face Endurance 50K - Bellevue, WA

This was the first year of a series of races in Washington, DC, Iowa and Seattle, designed to promote trail racing to newcomers. With a championship in San Francisco in December, they introduced the largest prize purse in the sport: $10,000 to the overall winner of the 50 Mile Series.

This race starts and finishes at the Sky Mountain Trailhead in Bellevue, in the heart of Eastside Seattle-area suburbia. Seattle runners are lucky enough to have both Cougar Mountain and Squak Mountain in easy reach. 75 runners gathered for the 50K before the 8am start, in the cold drizzle. Runners gathered around space heaters and underneath tents until the race began. Although a complicated course the trail was extremely well marked, and had aid stations stocked with Accelerade and food every four or five miles.

The course had a quite a bit of climbing, over Cougar and Squak Mountains and back. Its a style of race that I like quite a bit. I don't remember walking any of the hills. I finished seventh overall and second master at 5:54, and first master was Tim Twietmeyer himself (the guy in all the North Face ads that Dean isn't in). Age group winners got free Zune MP3 players! Hey Tim, don't you think they would have given you a free Zune just for being on the North Face promo material!

This was a very well organized race. Since their final race in the series is in San Francisco December 1st. I'm tempted to skip the Vegas Marathon on the 2nd to do that race instead.


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