Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pigtails Challenge 2015

I want to first thank all the wonderful volunteers who helped make this another successful year. We had the largest field ever with the addition of the 100K.

As many of you have heard, this is the final year that I will be directing this race. I expect it will continue. Thus far, several people have come forward offering to continue it, with Terry Sentinella having the most experience. Chances are, he will take it over with the assistance of a crew. After 4 years, which feels more like 10 years because of the 4 day format, I am ready to retire from the RD business. I have one more event this December (my marathon/50K), which will be the 10th year, and then I'm hanging up my hat. Thanks for the exciting ride!

The 200 milers-Nuff Said
This year, there were thirteen 200 mile entrants, but then we started with just 10. Tony Covarrubias was injured with plantar fasciitis and Gavin Woody was nursing a sore hamstring. Logan Beaulieu switched to the 100 mile but then did not show for that event anyway. We had many 200 mile veterans. Ras was back for his 4th straight year. Ken Michal had completed it twice before. He and Ras also ran in the inaugural Tahoe 200. Kent Dozier was no stranger to 200 mile races, also having run Tahoe. Daniel Kuhlmann was going for his 3rd Pigtails 200. George Orozco finished the 200 in the first year. Arthur had many 100 mile races under his belt. Daro completed 153 miles last year and simply wanted to come back and run more than that. He ended up completing on more loop, getting him to 162+ miles! I don't know of the other runners, but I'm sure they all have a special story.

The 200 milers always seem to get the worst of the weather. Maybe because they are running through 2+ day that they get everything from sun to rain and all that is in between. Unfortunately, the first day was very hot, which kept them from banking the miles when they were fresh. Lots of watermelon was consumed and I had popsicles in the heat of the day. We also had a hose hooked up to the water line at the start/finish, and more than one runner hosed themselves down between laps. Friday was cooler but the first day already took it's toll.

Arthur was making good time on the second day but had fallen off the course record on day one, too much to make a go at it. He still finished in an amazing time of just over 45 hours, only about 90 minutes off the record. Just like Tim Stroh, he did not sleep and was looking like he aged a few years in less than two days. Well done Arthur! We had three men drop for various reasons. Daniel had blister problems, something he never had before, so he wasn't sure how to deal with them. Finally, after refusing to switch to Hokas, he gave in and became a Hoka believer after just a lap. He finished his 3rd Pigtails in second place.

Ken Michal had the goal of running the 200 miler and then the 100 miler. But again, the heat took it's toll and he changed his goal to finishing the 200 in under 60 hours. He came close and finished hand in hand with Kent Dozier in 60:15, a PR for them both.

Ras became the only person to finish all four editions of Pigtails 200. One more and he'll have finished The Grand (1000 miles)!

Finishing rate was 50%. No girls this year. Come on girls, let's change that for next year!

The 150 milers-The Middle Child
Historically, the 150 mile race has the lowest finisher's rate. This year, there were 7 starters and 6 finishers. It would have had a 100% finisher's rate if Eric Clifton didn't have to catch a flight early Sunday. He had plenty of time to finish and would have if he didn't have the deadline. Thomas Jackson took first after running a well paced race. His longest loop was 2:45. Otherwise, all of the rest of the loops were under 2:30 and most in the low 2s. Ron Frederick showed that he is a true endurance runner, finishing 2nd and looking very strong throughout. Yes, he did tire towards the end, but all his loops were also under 3 hours. Jason Ryan took third, getting under 39 hours. Hope Fox and Shane Hill from the Tri-Cities, ran together the whole time, battling nausea, trashed feet, and fatigue. It was amazing watching them hang in there and not throwing in the towel. Kathy Vaughan only got stronger as the miles piled up. Sure she had some slow laps because of fatigue and painful feet, but her last 2 laps were sub three hours. That's just crazy! I believe that all the 150 milers achieved new mileage highs.

Finishing rate was 86%!

The 100 milers-I Only did the Half
The 100 milers always get the best weather. Sure there was some sprinkling early on Saturday, but it passed quickly. Just like Thursday and Friday, it was muggy out. The 100 milers started with the 100 K runners, so it was busier on the narrower parts of the trail, but they still got pretty spread out after the out and back. The pace seemed fast, but still slower than the 100 mile course record pace. Dave LaTourette, aged 53 but looking much younger and fitter than that, took the lead by the end of loop two and never let it go. He finished in a solid 18:16. Mitch Burbick pulled out a second place finish in 19 hours in his first 100. Jean-Gael Reboul ran a smart race and took 3rd in a time under 20 hours with 19:39, also his first 100. First girl Katie Graff traveled all the way from Texas to run her first 100. She also ran a steady pace and finished in 20:41:04, 2 seconds behind 4th place male Arya Farahani. Christy Hammond also ran her first 100 and in another solid time of 24:45. Hideko Opperman finished her 3rd Pigtails 100 in 3rd place in 25:35.

Other notable finishes:
First 100 mile: Paul Carr, Amy Iverson and Angela Wilder who ran together the whole time, April Graves on her birthday, Frank Fernandez, John Carpenter, Stephanie Eldore, Nikki Todd, and Mary Bettelli.
100 mile PR: Dane Leblanc

Sorry if I missed anyone.

Finishing rate 62%.

100K-The Piglets
I added the 100K for my last year as a race director to give runners who wanted to run the race but did not want to run 100 miles of it. Initially, sign up was low for the 100K, but as race day approached, more last minute entries came in. The 100K runners did the out and back with the 100 milers and then needed to complete 6 more loops. Colin Miller, who won the inaugural 100 mile race in 17:23 came back to this race from Canada. His finish time of 9:28 was probably closer to 9 hours after assisting in the medical emergency and sitting at the start/finish 15 minutes before we figured what to do about the closure of the trail. He was able to re-focus and complete the run with almost an hour lead over the next runner. That next runner happened to be Shannon Warburg, one of the nicest and speediest women you could ever meet. She was able to pass the 2nd place male in the last loop and finished strong in 10:28. Second place male in 10:37 Emry Ellinger carried an American flag the entire race. When I told him he could be so much faster if he didn't carry the flag the entire time, he said the flag stays. I saw him do the same thing at Lost Lake 50K. Inspiring. Third place male was Jeff Zeigler, 53 years old and first masters in 11:14. Sarah Duncan finished 2nd female in 12:11, a 4 hour 100K PR for her! Third place female was Heather Latham, who ran her first 100K in 13:31.

Other notables included:
First 100K: Daniel Saul, Ross Comer, Mary Ann Mason, Georgeta Gruescu, Julie Meehan, Gary Wright, Ray Ramirez, Sophoeun Seng, Ethel Marie Kitching, Tiffany Mcentire, Janson Sloughter, Cyndie Merten, and Jane Herzog.
100K PR: Lisa Wood by 3 hours

Again, sorry if I missed anyone.

Finishing rate 93%.

Here are results on Ultra-Signup:

Here are the splits-program provided to me by Ross Comer. Thanks Ross! You have to have Excel to open:!50549&ithint=file%2cxlsx&app=Excel&authkey=!AP2hmCA-8munx90

Here are pictures taken by our wonderful Takao Suzuki:

Good luck to everyone in your running goals! Who knows, maybe you'll see me on the trails next year!

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