Saturday, January 05, 2008

Epiphany Ultra

Don Medinger, publisher of UltraRunner, hosts this fatass (free, unorganized) race on the Skyline firetrails (on a course also used for Dick Castro Firetrails 50M, the Golden Hills Trail Marathon, and the Skyline 50K) above Berkeley to celebrate his birthday each year, around the Feast of the Epiphany (hence the race name). He used to do it as a mile per year until 2001 when it reached 50 miles. Now its 1K per year, so this year was a 57K. Runners can show up whenever they like and track their own time.

I decided to just run a marathon. I arrived at the start at Skyline Gate above Berkeley at 8am. Although we'd been having hurricane rains for a couple of days (I had no power when I left my house), it was a clear beautiful day to start. I wasn't quite sure of the course when I got there (most people had started at 7am). So I made up a course around the periphery of Redwood Regional Park. This one was quite hilly, up and down the ridgelines. I got back to Skyline Gate at 10:20 and signed onto a rain-soaked clipboard (by this time the rains had started again). Then I figured out what the real course was supposed to be and ran straight out the stream trail all the way through the park, to the MacDonald Landing. Then up the hill towards Lake Chabot. I ran into Chuck Wilson at the 57K turnaround and ran back with him for a while. It started to really rain heavily. I slogged back through the muck and mud to the Skyline Gate at 12:32. Chuck had told me that the 57K turnaround was 5.5 miles from the start. So I "owed" two more miles. I ran out one mile on the West Ridge Trail passing Caren Spore (who was also making up her own 19 mile route and starting late) and turned backaround. I finished the first marathon of the year at 4:47:50.

Fatass races are fun. But I don't like to drive so far for them. I need them to catch on in the South Bay. Ironically enough, the first Fatass ever was supposedly in Los Altos, but it seems to be inconsistently held recently. Supposedly its running this year on January 19th. But most ultrarunners I know will be at the Pacific Coast Trail Runs Pacifica run that day.


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