Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bronco and Bighorn

For the 2nd time this month, a Fleet Feet friend has won a 100 miler! Jeff Browning battled hard at the Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic 100 miler yesterday, winning against the deepest field in the history of the event. He ran 18:56; Seattle's Justin Angle was 2nd in 19:20-something, while Ty Draney from Afton, WY rounded out the podium in 19:56. Three sub-20s at Bighorn means it was, indeed, a good, fast field.

Jeff was also victorius at Bighorn in 2005 & 2006, so he has now completed a hat trick there. Nice job, my friend! Including his 3 wins at Bighorn, Jeff also won the Arkansas Traveller 100 last year, giving him 4, 100-mile victories in 7 starts/finishes. Yep, he's a pretty darn good 100-miler.

On the women's side, Ronda Sundermeier from Tigard ran to a strong victory in 25:10. Team Oregon continues to rock at ultras of all distances across the country.

Congratulations Rooster and Bronco!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Kickin' it at Kettle!

Fleet Feet friends and Bendites Darla Brader and Chris Askew ran their first 100 miler yesterday in Wisconsin, the Kettle Moraine 100. After an incredible spring of hard, smart training, I knew they were fit, fast, and ready to rip it up. But, it is 100 miles, and anything can happen.

They played it smart all day long, not running too hard too soon. As the day wore on and eventually turned to night, our heroes just kept passing people and moving up in the field. We, their anxious fans, were getting updates from the webcast and their crew.

Darla did have a dark moment around the 100 km mark and contemplated dropping. But she decided to go on 7 miles to the next aid station and see if things would turn around. By 69 miles, she was pepping up again.

I went to bed last night and could hardly sleep...I was so excited to hear how they were doing. Then, finally, at about 2:20 a.m., the phone rang. By the time I woke up and realized it was ringing, it had stopped. Crap! Was it Tate calling to give me an update...was it Darla and Chris calling to say they had finished...was it their crew calling to give other news??? I didn't know, but wanted to, and could hardly get back to sleep.

Finally when I woke up I checked the webcast. This is what it showed:

Joel Eckberg 31 M 18:10:07 10:54
Mark Tanaka 41 M 20:39:37 12:24
Rick Gaston 36 M 20:40:38 12:24
Darla Brader 35 F 22:04:50 13:15
Chris Askew 37 M 22:04:50 13:15
(full results)

Yes, they kicked ass! Tied for 4th and Darla was first girl!! I was so excited when I saw it, I had to call them immediately. A quick run-down said what I thought: Darla pulled out of her funk and the two of them just kicked it in to the finish. Then, as is common at 100 mile finishes, within 2 minutes of finishing, they both completely seized up.

Chris and Darla...we are so PROUD! Congratulations! We can hardly wait to hear the blow-by-blow story.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Two New Challenges

Last night while running up and over Awbrey Butte, I came up with 2 new, local challenges. I must admit that I got the idea for these from our friends at Rogue Valley Runners in Ashland and their Park Street Challenge.

The first challenge is running up Archie Briggs Canyon on the trail on the north side of Awbrey Butte. Begin at the bottom where the Canyon Trail starts at the First Street Rapids River Trail. Go up all 5 sections of this canyon, then stop your watch when your foot touches pavement at the end of the 5th section. Rod and I agree that sub-8 is fast.

The second challenge is also a hill climb up Awbrey Butte, but this time on the road. Start at the intersection of 9th and Portland. Run up 9th and keep going as it curves around onto 12th. When you get to Summit, cross the road, get on the small bike path straight ahead and keep going up. When the short bike path ends at Promontory, cross over to Gill Court and go up Gill, continuing past the end of the cul-de-sac, past the vehicle gate, and finish when you touch the chain link fence at the top (it's the fence that keeps you from going to the towers).

Let us know what your times are and we'll keep a tally. No prizes for either, but you may just get an atta-girl or atta-boy, and, of course, the admiration of all your running peers.