If you can believe the write-up about Kendall Mountain on summitpost.org then you “[shouldn’t] feel too proud when you reach the summit of this one.” However, we disagree. The basis for their argument is this race, Kendall Mountain Run: because runners run up Kendall Mountain it is brushed aside. Standing in Silverton, looking up at Kendall as it towers over Greene Street you get your first sense of the injustice done in that one sentence.
It is not hard to image how that 1908 bet started… seeing Kendall looming over their town the locals were sure that no one could possibly reach the summit and return within 1.5 hours and the bet was made. Although the 53 year-old, Neil McQuieg, lost by a minute and 42 seconds he sparked the imagination of other like-minded athletes. Rick Trujillo holds the FKT (fastest known time) to the summit and back with 1:23:07. Read a full history of Kendall Mountain Run here.
The race uses a different route than the one McQuieg probably took and it’s definitely a different route than the one Trujillo took (avalanche chute). The course takes a less direct approach along the jeep road leading to the top. It is longer but slightly less steep but still requires a scramble to the summit. The current course record was set last year by Joseph Gray in 1:34:59 and women’s record was set in 2008 by Mallory Kneller in 1:58:45.
Kendall Mountain Run is, again, part of the US Skyrunning Series for good reason: it is one of the toughest 12 milers around. Runners contend with altitude (the race starts at 9318 and reaches 13066), mountain weather, steep grades, hand-over-hand climbing, and quad-trashing almost uncontrolled descent.
Both course records are in jeopardy with Sage Canaday lining up for the men and Stevie Kremer for the women. They face contention from previous podium finishers Luke Ott, Andrew Benford, Jenn Shelton, Stephanie Hinds and the likes of Timmy Parr (prolific Colorado racer and frequent resident on any race podium), road-speedster Sam Yount, and Aravaipa Racing Team member, Kristina Pham (2nd in last year’s US Skyrunning Sky Series).
Besides the win the racers are going after a total prize purse of $2,500 and Skyrunning Series points. Many of the same faces will be lining up in October for the US Skyrunning Series Continental Championship with Aravaipa Running’s Flagstaff Sky Race. Both events are sponsored by Ultimate Direction with free product giveaways for lucky runners!
It’s not just the prize money or records that attract people to this race. It’s the history, town-support, and finish-line atmosphere that really makes for the experience. Silverton, with its population of less than 700, welcomes runners with open arms. The barbeque at the finish line to support San Juan County Search and Rescue is a party and will be enhanced this year with beer from SKA Brewing of Durango. Once the barbeque is over the party doesn’t stop and the festivities move to Greene Street with a free beer for every runner and a DJ at Silverton Montanya Distillers (The Rum Bar) starting at 7pm until they kick us out. If you won’t be able to make the race this year it’s definitely one to add to your 2016 calendar!
What happens when you are forced to ignore heat training advice? You know, the articles where they give varying degrees of heat and what you are supposed to do in each scenario. Invariably there is a section that tells you to cut back once it gets too hot or stick to running indoors for faster recovery. There was a Runner’s World article I read not too long ago that described racing in 80° as “gruesome conditions.” However, as many of us know, living in the desert, trying to train for a fall race, and being morally opposed to spending hours on a treadmill leaves you with little choice about braving the heat.
I could listen to the “leave water along your route” recommendation (which logistically would work better if I ran roads) or run on small circuit trails, but that hardly mimics my race strategy. So I acclimatize as best as I can for 110°+ heat and I run in the heat and other like-minded runners do the same.
To rewards our efforts (or to punish… not sure which) Aravaipa Running puts on the Insomniac Night Trail Run Series during the summer months (and into the fall) where the unsuspecting believe the lack of sun will ease their passing though gnarly desert single track. Instead, they find large pockets of stagnant super-heated desert air, terrible footing with only a headlamp to illuminate the way, and the realization that 104° without the sun is still triple digit heat that the sane majority of the world seeks to avoid. With daytime temperatures reaching 116° just days before the 2014 July version (Vertigo), and minimum temperatures not dropping below 93° a runner isn’t going to find much solace in the dark.
The Aravaipa Running Insomniac Night Trail Runs are almost a monthly occurrence throughout the summer starting in May and not ending until mid-November. Usually 3 distances are offered: 10K, 25-30K, and an ultra-distance for those humans who suffer better than others. The competition in each distance can be as fierce as the heat. There is no getting used to one venue either – every month runners find themselves lining the start at a new trailhead, each with its own perils: some are sandy, some are entirely too rocky, some have imperceptible dips that the headlamp cannot catch, and all have cactus – so a fall isn’t exactly a nice little roll into the bushes.
Before working for Aravaipa, I made the Insomniac Series my reward for summer heat training: a good test of my fitness once or twice a month and a chance to socialize with friends from all over the valley. This year I get to be behind-the-scenes and my excitement is only heightened as I am able to watch these events come together into what can only be described as big parties in the desert. For 2015 almost all of the races except Blackout (duh!) will be near-full moons! If you haven’t already heard, the Insomniac Series is all grown-up and we are now offering a Beer Garden at our events to help support the local chapter of Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB). Both Huss Brewing and Blasted Barley have signed on to sponsor the Beer Garden and are generously offering multiple cold-beer options for runners at the end of their race (or in the middle… if that’s when you decide it’s necessary). A BIG thank you to our other sponsors: Black Diamond & Nathan Performance Gear. You can pick up a Black Diamond Spot Headlamp for a 25% discount when you register online or race-day ($30). Nathan will also be doing product giveaways at every race!
Team RWB will be hosting training runs for every Insomniac Series race so look out for Facebook events with further details on each one. Even if you can’t make the race, you can always go check out the training run for a minimally supported weekend long-run.
One of the great things about the Insomniac Series is how it allows for safe, fun, and effective night-time training that many of us who train for ultras seems to neglect. However, if it’s just not for you then make sure to check out some of our volunteer opportunities and be part of the fun while saving those race credits for a cooler fall race!
Can’t wait to see you out there for the biggest party on the trails this summer!
The 6th annual Mesquite Canyon Trail Runs are upon us. I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. Not just the time this year, these first two months of 2015 but even the last 5 years! Just 5 years ago I was preparing to direct my first ever 50K that I created from scratch at a mountain park that I’ve been hiking, camping and mountain biking in since I was a kid. This would prove to be not just your ordinary 50K either. I was sending runners through two “hazardous” sections of trail, deemed the “most extreme” by the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation department. So much so that they highlight the Goat Camp and Ford Canyon Trail on their park maps with a very appropriate “double black diamond”.
The Mesquite Canyon Trail Runs take place in the White Tank Mountains which run North / South along the western edge of metropolitan Phoenix. The great thing about the trails at this regional park are that they actually climb up to the top of the mountain range. They rise sharply out of the saguaro studded desert floor through several named canyons riddled with boulders, rocks, differing species of vegetation and plenty of wildlife. I’ve seen families of Javelina, lizards and snakes in these mountains and I remember seeing a photo posted at the front of gate of a wildlife camera in the high reaches of the park capture a mountain lion on film.
I’ve always loved the White Tank Mountains and the ability to share their beauty and ruggedness with others really gives me great joy. I like hard, tough and adventurous places to explore and the White Tank Mountains offer that all on marked trails (ok and the occasional creek bed).
Mesquite Canyon also marks the conclusion of Aravaipa Running’s annual Desert Runner Trail Series which I created to highlight the best of trail running across the Maricopa County Regional Park system. I wanted to get people out to the parks and on to the trails. I’ve been given so much by them that I wanted to share that with others. We offer an opportunity for participants of all abilities from hikers to elite mountain runners to test themselves on these amazing trails and locations on the edge of our city.
If you haven’t yet checked out any of the Maricopa County Regional Parks, I encourage you to give this one a try. Come camp with us, run, hike, or heck even volunteer. Get outdoors and experience what nature has to offer. Getting away from the city for a night or even a few hours can be a restorative experience for the soul.
If you are serious about getting involved here is our schedule leading up to the 6th edition of the Mesquite Canyon Trail Runs which is sure to be an amazing day of trail running:
March 6-9 – Hauling water up to Mesquite Canyon Aid Station (required hiking a 50 pound pack up 1.8 miles)
March 7 – Mesquite Canyon Training Run #2 (Goat Camp Trail)
March 11-13 – Course Marking
March 13 – Race Setup & Camping Pre-Race
March 14 – Race Day & Camping Post-Race
March 15 – Final Cleanup
If you’d like to help haul water or course mark I’d be glad to exchange volunteer credits for this or a future race.
Aravaipa Running is incredibly excited to announce the 1st annual Big Pine 108K to be held June 13-14 in Flagstaff, AZ! We will also be offering a 13K, 27K and 54K that morning and hosting the Blackout Night Runs as a new addition to the Insomniac Series that evening! In scouting race courses we are always on the lookout for something new and exciting and a location that allows us to make the race a community affair. We have found just that with Big Pine and its location at Fort Tuthill County Park.
All runners will get to experience the Soldiers Trail and Highlands Trail Loop. The course is mostly graded wide forest paths within the shade of the ponderosa pines. However, as you reach Highlands Trail the views open up at the top of a wide and expansive mesa that draws back the curtain to miles of mountains and rolling forested hills. With only 4160ft of climbing in the 108K it is designed to be a fast course and one that would work well for beginners. However, do not be fooled into thinking there is no challenge, as almost the entire course is over 7,000ft total elevation.
For runners coming from the Phoenix area this will be a great reprieve from the summer heat with the likelihood of temperatures dropping into the 40s in the evening! However, for runners across the country this is a great chance to explore Flagstaff – the mecca of distance running – and bring the whole family along for the ride. That weekend boasts a beer festival and a horseshoe tournament at the park. Camping will be setup with the convenience of tent and cot rentals available. Camp games, a bike park, and a ropes course are a small portion of what this race location can offer!
We are pleased to be able to partner with Team Red White & Blue for this race and the entire Insomniac Series to help create an event where runners of every level can participate. The cutoff for the 108K will be 24hours and is optimal for those who have yet to step up to the distance for fear of stricter time limits. In fact, every distance has until 7am Sunday morning before final cut off and is a great opportunity for first-time ultra runners!
Experienced endurance athlete? Looking to test your limits? Look at our 162K Challenge. Runners must complete the 108K Big Pine in less than 12 hours in order to start the 54K Blackout Night Run at 7pm with the rest of the field. Total cutoff time will still be 24 hours. Runners completing the 108K in fewer than 12 hours must wait until the 7pm start of the 54K but will be given a cumulative time based on their true finish. Email email@example.com for registration instructions!
I’ll start this post by being honest. There was pretty much nothing about Crown King Scramble that ever interested me. I had no desire to run uphill on jeep road for 31 miles.
That was until today. I’m not sure my preconceived notions about a race course have ever been so wrong.
Jamil and I spent the day driving the Crown King Scramble course so I could learn the layout and we could post signs reminding users of Aravaipa’s race on March 28th. My contribution to the outing was to exclaim “Unbelievable!” or “Stop! I need another picture!” at almost every turn. It was love at first sight.
The race begins at Lake Pleasant and winds its way through Sonoran Desert, climbing into higher desert landscapes with purple hues and expansive panoramas of the Bradshaw Mountains and the valley below. From there, the road climbs further into pinyon-juniper woodland and crosses multiple flowing creeks before entering the Ponderosa Pines on the final miles into the town of Crown King. There is almost no portion of this race that does not boast spectacular views; nor can one become bored with a singular backdrop as there are so many to choose from along the way.
It is fitting that the end of this historic race (celebrating its 24th running this year) is at the Crown King Saloon. The Saloon was built in 1888 in the, now, ghost town of Oro Belle before it was moved piece-by-piece in 1916 to its current location. On race weekend the town is transformed from tiny mountain community (inhabited by 133 residents according to the last census) to a festival of ultra-runners celebrating their achievement. From live music to ample amounts of food and beer the post-race festivities are not lacking at this event with numerous runners and their crew choosing to stay the night for the full experience.
Many runners have their own storied history with the race and their own personal obsessions. Aravaipa Racing Team member, Kristina Pham, is one example of someone who has made it her mission to challenge the course record; a record set in 2002 by none other than Ann Trason in a time of 4:34:13. Kristina is the only woman in the last decade to post a top-ten finishing time on the course! Aravaipa Running has decided to up the ante for this year’s women with an updated Course Record Bonus of $1,000!! That’s right ladies, a race that is going to pay more for your record than for the men’s. Not to worry, gentlemen there is still $250 in prize money for first place (same for women) and a $500 Course Record Bonus for besting Dermot McGonigle’s 1996 time of 4:00:27.
With less than 100 spaces still available the race is already set to be a fast and exciting year. Runners with an unrelenting passion for fun looking for an epic race with history, challenge, and breathtaking views should click here to start their journey.
Once Arizona’s most competitive ultra, the Crown King Scramble is making a big splash in its first year back with a stacked field of runners on both the men’s and women’s side. Here we take a few minutes to highlight some of the amazing athletes that will be toeing the line this weekend. These athletes will be competing not only for the win at one of Arizona’s most historic ultras, but $250 in prize money going to the top man and woman to reach the finish in Crown King.
In addition to the $250 to the winner, runners are eligible for a $500 course record bonus. Men will need to break Dermot McGonigle’s 1996 record of 4:00:27 and women will be gunning for Ann Trason’s 2002 record of 4:34:13.
Those at home will be able to follow along live on race day at the finish line on Aravaipa Running’s ultracast (live webcam and instant finish line results). Periodic updates during the race will be posted to Aravaipa Running’s Facebook & Twitter as we hear updates from the course through our amateur radio support. Good luck to all runners!
Kristina Pham – Kristina has to be the favorite going into the race. She burst onto the trail running scene in 2010 with podium finishes at two Aravaipa races and a couple more during this season’s XTERRA trail races after several years of placing well in road races, marathons and triathlons. She smashed the Pemberton Trail 50K course record in 2012 in 3:47:02, becoming the first woman to break 4 hours in that race.
Erin Lostracco – Erin is new to the ultra scene, but has won the Javelina Night Run 50K and American Canyon 50K as well as a finish at her first 50 miler at this year’s Old Pueblo, finishing 4th woman in 9:34:39. She is our youngest entrant this year at 22.
Susan Kramer – Susan will be running her first Crown King, but she has several years of ultra experience. She recently ran her first 100 mile at the ATY 24 hour, placing 2nd female and 5th at this year’s Old Pueblo in 9:55.
Marie Repac – Marie is new to ultras, but has shown steady improvement over the past year. She is on a roll this year with wins at the Pemberton Trail 50K (4:09) and Elephant Mountain 50K (5:16).
Lindsay Scheiwiller – Lindsay is co-owner of the Sedona Running Company and well experienced in the ultra world. She placed 2nd at this past year’s Javelina Jundred and is sure to run smart and strong at Crown King.
Trent Briney – Trent is a member of the brand new adiUltra team and the 2004 Olympic Marathon alternate. He has a marathon best of 2:12:34 and placed 2nd at the 2012 JFK 50 Miler in 5:37:56 which is the 2nd fastest time ever on that course.
Joshua Trevino – Josh burst onto the AZ trail running scene in December with a win and course record at the McDowell Mountain Frenzy 25K and subsequent wins/cr’s at the Elephant Mountain 35K & Mesquite Canyon 30K. He has a marathon best of 2:24 at the 2010 Twin Cities Marathon and will be stepping up to the ultra distance for the first time in competition.
Kalib Wilkinson – Kalib lives in Flagstaff, but ran for Liberty University before jumping up to ultras in 2011. He has a marathon best of 2:19 and along with winning the Terrapin Mountain 50K and Holiday Lake 50K in Virginia, has placed 4th at JFK 50 mile and 2nd in December’s McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K in a personal best time of 3:28:50.
Michael Carson – Aravaipa Running team member Michael Carson will be running his first Crown King Scramble, but is no stranger to running and winning ultras. He has run 20 ultras over the past two and a half years, recording 6 wins and placing on the podium (top 3) all but 5 times. So far this year he has placed 3rd at the Pemberton Trail 50K in a personal best time of 3:33 and 2nd at last month’s Old Pueblo 50 mile.
Brian Folts – Has won and placed on the podium at many Aravaipa DRT Trail Series races over the past couple years, finished many Ironmans, other triathlons and 10th at Pikes Peak Ascent in 2012. This will be his first 50K. Fresh and loose.
Eric Bohn – Eric runs for Team Salomon, lives in Flagstaff and won last year’s Mesquite Canyon 50K in a stout time of 4:10. So far this year Eric is returning to form with an 18th place finish at the Moab 55K & 15th place finish at the super competitive Chuckanut 50K.
Jamil Coury – Jamil will be toeing the line at his first Crown King Scramble this year. He has lots of ultra experience and wins at several Arizona ultras including the Paatuwaquatsi Water is Life 50K, Zane Grey 50 Mile, Man Against Horse 50 Mile, Old Pueblo 50 Mile & Mogollon Monster 106 Mile.
Paul Bonnett – Paul is a former champion of this race, winning both the 50 km version and 50 mile versions. He will be in contention for the masters win.
Van Patterson – Van has been a part of the Aravaipa trail running scene since January 2011 and has recorded many top finishes at various distances from 9K up to 100 miles.
James Willis – James lives and trains in Flagstaff and placed 6th at the 2004 Crown King Scramble. He recorded a win at the 2011 McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K and podium finishes at several other ultras including the 2011 Bootlegger 50K and Mesquite Canyon 50K.
Sion Lupowitz – Sion lives in Tucson and is new to the ultra scene, but has finished the Old Pueblo 50 mile the past 2 years in 4th & 5th places and finished 4th at this year’s Coldwater Rumble 50K.
Other Notable Runners
We want to make mention of some other runners who have some historic significance to the Crown King Scramble that will be adding to the flavor of the event this year.
Chase Duarte – Former winner of the 50 km event and 8 time finisher.
Paul Norberg – Seven time finisher of the Crown King Scramble.
Melissa Masteller – Six time finisher
Debbie Leftwich – Six time finisher
Joe Galope – Six time finisher and race director of the Zane Grey 50 Mile
Karsten Solheim – Four time finisher and Arizona Ultrarunning legend
The 3rd edition of the McDowell Mountain Frenzy comes to McDowell Mountain Regional Park this weekend, taking place mainly on the “competitive track” mountain bike courses first built in 1998. The competitive tracks feature rolling hills, narrow single track, banked turns, and several named “features” including “T-Bone Ridge” (the final climb in the 25 Km & 50 Km courses), “The Chunnel” (a horse tunnel/bridge featured in all races), “Double Dip” (two steep descents at the start of the race), and “Cactus Corner” (aid station on the far southwest corner of the 10 mile course).
The 5 Km race is the shortest in the DRT series and follows the Sport Loop, featuring a single loop around “T-Bone Ridge” before descending through the “Clay Pit” just before climbing back up to the finish. The 10 Mile is a combination of the Sport Loop, Technical and Long Loops, taking the outermost line around the entire competitive track. The 25 Km race begins with the 10 mile course and then continues on to an additional 5.5 mile loop made of the Sport and Technical Loops. The race finishes with a bone crunching climb over “T-Bone Ridge” and a final screaming descent into the finish.
50 Km runners will run the 25 Km course with the addition of a figure eight “spur” out into the main park trail system and the Dixie Mine on the far West side of the course. 50 Km runners will depart the 25 Km course at the Gate Aid Station at mile 4, run a service road out to the Pemberton Trail junction and head in the clockwise direction out towards the Coachwhip trail. After turning down Coachwhip and visiting the Dixie Mine itself (Aid Station with drop bags located here), return to the Pemberton Trail via the Dixie Mine trail and continue again in the clockwise direction to the Tonto Tank Trail. A quick trip down the Tonto Tank will return you to the Pemberton Trail where you will again go clockwise back to the service road and the Gate Aid Station.
50 Kilometer Race
This will be the largest 50 Km so far in the DRT Series (currently 56 registered runners) and a large increase from last year’s inaugural MMF 50K which had 33 finishers. Current course records are held by Don Helfer (4:30) and Paulette Zillmer (4:47). In the women’s race, all 3 women leading the DRT Ultra series are registered to run (Deb Hamberlin, Margaret Dehesse and Carin Schmidt). Tony Delogne of Sedona is the pre-race favorite for the men with a win at last year’s Pass Mountain 50K, but will be followed close by Flagstaff’s Scott Bajer who has been up near the front of this year’s CCT and PM runs. Expect Tamas Varga, Jordan McKnight and Jeremy Schmuki to be in the mix as well.
25 Kilometer Race
The 25 Km course will stay the same for the 3rd straight year, but the field continues to grow. There were 56 finishers last year and currently 80 entrants for this weekend’s race. Try not to curse the course designer too much as you climb the final hill over T-Bone Ridge! Watch for Lauren Besenfelder to run away with the women’s race as she steps up to the 25 Km distance from last year’s 2nd place in the MMF 10 Mile. The men’s race should be closer, with a solid Paul Kramer running against last year’s MMF 10 mile winner Brian Dunn. These guys better keep an eye out for out of stater Kevin Tuck from Salt Lake City, Utah who has won several events in Utah over the past few years including Moab’s Red Hot 33K and the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K.
10 Mile Race
The 10 mile race is a fast, rolling course with a winning time just under 1:10 last year! Lisa Raykowski and Melanie Zeese should be up at the front of the women’s race this year as both have run well at PM and CCT this year. Brian Wieck, founder and race director of the Pemberton 50K and last year’s MMF 10 mile runner up is the pre-race favorite in the 10 mile.
5 Kilometer Race
The 5 Km race is a bit small this year, likely due to the Sally Meyerhoff 5K sharing the same day, but will feature Tim Merritt who has run 1st and 2nd at the CCT 10 Km and PM 11 Km respectively.
Registration for all events will be available online through midnight on Tuesday, December 6, at packet pickup on Thursday, December 8 at iRun from 4-7PM or on race morning at McDowell Mountain Regional Park 6-8:15AM.
We’ll be hosting a live web cam of the finish line and instant results on race day through our Ultracast for family and friends back home.
The second annual Pass Mountain Trail Runs will feature 50 Kilometer, 26 Kilometer and 11 Kilometer race distances on trails within Usery Mountain Regional Park and the Tonto National Forest. This is the only race in the DRT Series that ventures outside of the regional park system and onto Forest Service land. The views from atop the saddle on the Pass Mountain Trail are quite spectacular, with the Goldfield Mountains spreading out to the east towards the Superstitions, and views of the Salt River to the north.
While the 11K features little elevation gain (with the exception of going over Cat Peaks), the 26K and 50K courses will conquer an 800 foot climb up and over the Pass Mountain Trail. 50 K runners will make a second trip up and over Pass Mountain before heading into the finish.
50 Kilometer Race
The three DRT Ultra Series points leaders in the women’s field will all be running this weekend (Deb Hamberlin, Margaret Dehesse, and Carin Schmidt) along with last year’s Pass Mountain 50K winner Paulette Zillmer. Paulette is coming off a win at the Bootlegger 50K near Las Vegas two weeks ago and will be looking for her first win in this year’s DRT Series.
In the men’s field, several of our top runners will be sitting on the sidelines since they just ran the Javelina Jundred this past weekend. Keep an eye out for Michael Smith and Scott Bajer who both raced well at last month’s Cave Creek Thriller along with Rhet Stinson who placed 3rd at last year’s McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K. Michael Carson, the DRT Ultra Series points leader will be out volunteering at the Meridian Aid Station, taking the week off after his first 100 mile finish at the Javelina Jundred!
26 Kilometer Race
The women’s race should be a close race down to the wire, as Lauren Besenfelder (winner of this year’s San Tan Scramble 25K and Coldwater Rumble 18K) goes up against Ivana Jourdan (winner of last season’s Mesquite Canyon 1/2 and McDowell Mountain Frenzy 10 Mile). These ladies went head to head at last year’s McDowell Mountain Frenzy 10 mile, with Ivana edging out Lauren by just 11 seconds! Michelle Patuto, the current leader of the DRT Trail Series will also be racing.
Paul Kramer who was edged out in the closing feet of the Cave Creek Thriller may be able to breathe a bit easier since Bret Sarnquist (who won the Thriller) ran the Javelina Jundred this past weekend (finishing 8th in 18:21). David Santiago who finished 6th at the Thriller will also be back for Pass Mountain.
11 Kilometer Race
Lisa Raykowski who placed 1st at last month’s Thriller and 2nd at last yea’rs Pass Mountain 10 Mile, will be running along with Amy Boodry who placed 2nd at last year’s Pass Mountain 9 K.
The men’s race should be close again, with Tim Merritt leading the pack after his win at the Thriller 10K, but he’ll have to contend with Bryan Dunn of Fountain Hills who won last year’s Frenzy 10 Mile. John Borrego should be close behind for 3rd place.
We will be broadcasting via our “Ultracast” on race day featuring instant results and a webcam of the finish line.
The 2nd annual Cave Creek Thriller will once again jump start the Desert Runner Trail Series. The race is nearly a sell out, with over 190 runners currently registered. Although the distances are the same as last year, the 30 Km and 50 Km courses have been changed up to include some of the other trails within the park. An out and back spur along the Jasper, Slate and Flume trails will take runners to the southern reaches of the park and reduce the total number of loops. There will also be a new remote aid station (Flume) at the turn-around on the out and back. The main 10 Km loop of the course (utilized by all races) will remain the same combination of the Go John and Overton trails.
If this is your first time out to Cave Creek Regional Park, be prepared for a tough set of race courses! The Go John trail is especially hilly and rocky, while also providing the most secluded and stunning views that the park has to offer. Life gets a bit easier on the Overton Trail where the trail smooths out and is mostly downhill back to the finish line. Cresting the final hill of the course a 1/2 mile out, you’ll get a glimpse of the orange tents at the finish line and will have one last screaming downhill to the end.
As this race again falls on Halloween weekend, we are holding another costume contest. We’ll be giving out “Zombie” awards to the best showings!
Another exciting Aravaipa Running innovation that will make it’s official debut at the Cave Creek Thriller is the new “Ultracast“. Nick Coury, the developer of the project explains, “The Ultracast is the new standard in running webcasts. Updates and results are streamed instantly, without a second’s delay. Now, family and friends all over the world will be able to watch your progress in real-time!” Be sure to share this link with family and friends who will be able to watch a webcam of the finish line and see your results pop up instantly. This new feature will become standard at all Aravaipa Running events in the future.
We’ll end this year’s race preview with a summary of the top runners going into next weekend’s race.
50 Kilometer Race
This year’s ultra crowd should like the fact that there will be more than a dozen runners (last year’s field size), meaning more company out on the course. Last year’s winner Jay Danek is returning and we bet he’ll be looking to get a jump on the DRT point series. Jay is also coming off a win at the Javelina 12 Hour on October 15. 2010-11 DRT Ultra Series winner Michael Carson is a last minute entrant and with his recent wins at the Paatuwaqatsi Water Is Life 50K and Man Against Horse 50 Mile, is a clear favorite. Expect Alex Kaine and Tamas Varga to be within reach along with 1998 Hardrock winner Ricky Denesik from Telluride, CO. On the women’s side, Lori Hickernell (who also recently won the Javelina 12 Hour with 75 Km) will be back to defend her title from last year, but will have to contend with this year’s Lean Horse 100 winner Deb Hamberlin.
30 Kilometer Race
Out to test the new 2 loop course will be last year’s DRT Trail Series winner Bret Sarnquist coming down from Flagstaff. He’ll be going up against Tony Delogne from Sedona who won the inaugural Pass Mountain 50 Km, Jordan McKnight of Safford who placed 2nd at the McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50 Km and 4th at Pass Mountain 50 Km, and David Santiago who won the Master’s DRT Trail Series last year. Michelle Patuto, last year’s 2nd place finisher at the CCT 30 Km will be returning and is looking to be the favorite so far.
10 Kilometer Race
There are currently 77 entrants registered, so expect a bit of a crowded start as the course narrows directly onto a single track. The 2010 winner of the Mesquite Canyon 5 mile, Time Merritt will be racing, so we’ll see how he does on a much tougher course. For the women, Lisa Raykowski (2nd at several DRT Series races) and Jona Davis (3rd Mesquite Canyon ’10) should have a good battle up front.
Make sure to join us for packet pickup on Thursday at iRun from 4-7pm. Enjoy 10% off anything in the store when you pick up your packet. If you have any other questions about this weekend’s race, you can contact us by phone, email, or join us for the weekly Papago Park group trail run on Wednesday at 5:30pm.