2013 Chuckanut 50k
|photo courtesy of Ross Comer|
Last Saturday, Angel and I ran the Chuckanut 50k in Bellingham - at its 21st running, one of Washington's oldest ultras, and arguably its most prestigious. A bunch of other people ran it too, so (spoiler alert!) we didn't win.
The race is among the most competitive early season 50ks, and it always attracts top runners from around the country. On the men's side, Max King was without a doubt the most recognizable name, but other savvy veterans showed up - Dusty Caseria, Gary Robbins, Justin Angle, Phil Kochik - along with a long list of up and comers - most notably David Laney from Ashland, Oregon, who won the race in his 50k debut and broke Geoff Roes' previous course record by finishing in 3:40:20. Among Washington runners, the Seattle Running Club's own Maxwell Ferguson made a serious statement by finishing 3rd, a few minutes behind Max King, in 3:47:40 - a time that would have been good enough for the win last year. A lot of folks were surprised when Laney outpaced Max King in the last few miles, but King clearly made some egregious rookie training mistakes - most notably ruining his taper by running a Way Too Fast 3:08 at the Way Too Cool 50k the week prior. They also outkicked me in the end - by about an hour and a half - but I got a 50k PR on a course that is only kind of fast, finishing in 5:18, which I was happy with.
On the women's side, probably the most accomplished runner in the race was Devon Yanko, who finished 2nd with the 4th fastest time ever run by a woman at Chuckanut, 4:22:01. Alicia Shay, a former Olympic Trials qualifier in the 10k with a really interesting backstory, finished 3rd in 4:24:01. The eventual winner, Bellingham local Jodee Adams-Moore, somehow managed to be both a darkhorse and a favorite. She's only been running ultras for 2 years, but has apparently won everything she's entered except last year's Chuckanut, when some unknown named Ellie Greenwood beat her. Those of us who ran or paid attention to the Orcas Island 50k in February could tell that both she and Maxwell Ferguson (the men's winner there) were prepped for potential wins here. Some locals told me that she'd been focusing on this race with the hopes of setting a course record, but I'm guessing very few people expected that she'd finish 10th overall in a strong field of men (Gary Robbins, this year's winner of the H.U.R.T. 100, would have only been 2nd woman at this race), and would solidly crush Ellie's record by 8 and a half minutes, running an incomprehensible (to me, anyway) 4:01:22. From what I gathered during my brief internet stalking, she was a high school track star in Washington back in the day, she ran Division I at Georgetown, and now she makes pretty rad pottery and kicks everyone's ass on the trails. I'm guessing there are going to be some sponsorship offers coming.
Maybe more importantly on the Women's side, while she didn't quite win, my wife Angel also PR'd in 5:35, finished 22nd woman and came in just ahead of the most famous runner in the race - Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie - a Seattle Running Club Member who finalized his resume as the world's most sexually attractive man by finishing his first ultramarathon in a very respectable time. Angel immediately left me for him at the end of the race, as did everyone else's wife.
|Photo courtesy of Ross Comer again. Not the finish line yet.|
Also, to finish things out with a feature on me, Glenn Tachiyama was on hand taking photos, which is itself worth the price of admission, because he makes pretty much everyone look cool. Somehow I always end up making expressions like this in at least one of my pictures:
|Photo Courtesy of Glenn Tachiyama|
|Photo Courtesy of Glenn Tachiyama|