Sunday, October 20, 2002

Humboldt Redwoods Marathon (California)

October 20, 2002
Marathon 21, State #15
Arcata, California

Five of the greatest fun filled days of my life!   I traveled to California for my first time for a race as a married man.  Homeyra and a co-worker Gary traveled along for the experience.  We flew into Sacramento and headed north for our first day to Lassen National Forest and climbed the Bumpass Hell section from the trail head to the Cold Boiling Lake about 1.5 miles into the trail.  We witnessed a great sunset over Lassen Peak.


From Lassen we drove down 299 east through the mountains to the redwood coast.  This had to be one of the most challenging roads I ever had to drive.  I wish it wasn't dark and I was on my motorcycle!  We finally made it to our hotel in Garberville. 

Saturday morning we tried to locate the start line near Founders Grove where we got our first real experience of the magnitude of the redwoods.  We hiked the 1/2 mile trail taking lots of photos.  From here we traveled to Ferndale to check out the Victorian homes and then our first glimpse of the coastline.   Traveling further north we made it as far north as Trinidad for another view of the coast and a nice hike with great views of the ocean from the hill.  We met a couple that referred us to McKinleyville where we tried to locate seals along the shore.  We never spotted any but had a hell of a time looking and wading past our knees out to an island.

Sunday morning, race day, was splendid.  The course was two out and back 13.1 mile loops for the combined 26.2 mile marathon.  The first half was along the Avenue of the Giants and the second half an offshoot which seemed more of a back road, but not any less beautiful.  The scenery was unbelievable from start to finish.
After the race we packed up and headed to Napa Valley.  We Highway 101 south and enjoyed the sights all the way including driving through all the vineyards along Highway 128 and 29 into Napa.  After a night out for our 3rd month anniversary we retired for our next big day.

Monday we awoke to visit our first winery.  We went to V. Sattui and sampled a wide variety of wines and took a few home for souvenirs!  From Napa we made the hour trip to San Francisco.  The day was full with a tour of Alcatraz, China Town, Pier 39's sea lions, a trolley ride and finally a trip down Lombard St (the Crookedest Street!)   Tuesday we headed back to Sacramento and visited the Jelly Belly factory and Old Sacramento.

What a trip!

Noble, old growth redwood groves provide a protective canopy almost every step of the way in one of North America's best small races, the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon.  The ultimate nature lover's race, Humboldt's fast course offers the perfect setting for inspired running and tranquil introspection as you weave among the creaping giants.  The filtered light cascades down runners like worshipers in an outdoor cathedral.  After the race, explore the rugged beauty of California's northern coast and surrounding parks.  [Craythorn & Hanna]

The Humboldt Redwoods Marathon starts and finishes at the Dyerville Bridge on the Avenue of the Giants (a Hwy. 101 alternative scenic route).  After crossing the south fork of the Eel River, the race immediately enters a canopy of centuries-old redwoods that recedes only for a quarter mile at 2.2 and 10.6.  The mostly flat, extremely fast, completely closed first half contains some gentle ups and downs that impart an interesting illusion.  "The first half seems downhill both out and back!  Really fast," says Jeff Hildebrandt of Roseville, California. Returning to the Dyerville Bridge at mile 13, runners proceed left down Bull Creek Road for the second out and back passing through Rockefeller Forest.  Monitored by CHP pilot cars, this section of the course is narrower, quieter, and more winding and rolling, gaining about 150 feet from mile 14 to 20 and losing the same amount from mile 20 to the finish.   [Craythorn & Hanna]

The undeveloped race site in the Redwoods State Park means facilities in the area are fairly limited.  You will need to drive to the start since lodging is scattered through the area.  If you are traveling north on Highway 101, take the Founder's Tree exit, while southbound travelers should take the second Redcrest exit.  You immediately hit upon the staging area and monitors will direct you to the parking location.  Try to arrive before 8:00 a.m. to avoid traffic hassles.    [Craythorn & Hanna]

Other than the thousands of ancient redwoods witnessing your quest, spectators are pretty much limited to the start, halfway, and finish.  In addition to the usual water and electrolyte replacement drink, the aid stations near miles 17 and 22 carry energy bars and fruit to help you get through the final miles.  Portable toilets are located at every aid station.   [Craythorn & Hanna]

Marathon entrants receive T-shirts, finishers earn medallions, and the top three in each age group receive special medals.  The overall winners are awarded merchandise prizes, and the top three overall, top two masters, and top seniors take home commemorative awards.   [Craythorn & Hanna]

You may want to run in the super fast Humboldt Redwoods Half Marathon which covers the first half of the full marathon course.  The popular half, the USATF Pacific Association Half Marathon Championship, regularly attracts over 1,000 entrants and runs concurrently with the marathon.  In addition, $4,000 in prize money is offered to the top half marathon finishers (must be USATF Pacific Association members to receive prize money)   [Craythorn & Hanna]

Spend some time wandering amongst the redwoods, such as the Founder's Grove Nature Trail for starts.  If you have the energy and time, we highly recommend driving north to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (south of Klamath) and hiking the incomparable Fern Canyon Trail with 50-foot precipices covered by immense ferns.   [Craythorn & Hanna]

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Kittatinny Mountain, New Jersey (1,803)

13th High Point Visited
40th Highest State High Point
36th Most Difficult

This high point was achieved while Homeyra and I were on our honeymoon in the Pocono's.  We spent two nights at Caesars Palace resort.  Fun filled with the classic heart shaped Jacuzzis!  Day one of the honeymoon Homeyra injured her hamstring while attempting to waterski, so it made all other activities we had planned like horse back riding impossible.  Fortunately New Jersey High Point was only thirty minutes away and a drive up, so it didn't matter that she was on crutches.  We drove to the top and examined the monument and the marvelous views, difficult to see everything because it was very hazy and a afternoon approaching.  Delaware Water Gap is nearby and a big tourist area.  We were also able to see one nearby Duncan Falls, the only handicap accessible falls in the area.

Delaware Water Gap

Saturday, June 1, 2002

Ridge Runner Marathon (West Virginia)

June 1, 2002
Marathon 20, State #14
Cairo, West Virginia

2002 was the 24th annual running of this quaint marathon.  Since this is the only marathon in West Virginia many runners across the country travel to complete this race as their West Virginia marathon.  Runners at the optional pre-race meeting were from states as far away as Maine, Utah, Washington, Florida, and Canada.  Only about 175 runners participated.  There was a 7:00am start for the marathon with an optional 5:00 am start for those who were walking or needed a little extra time.  The race director discouraged walkers and did not promise water stops the first few miles for early starters. 

One of the memories I have of this race is that I every triathlon and marathon I had competed on was a Sunday morning race.   I marked race weekend for the marathon on my 2001 calendar and drive down to West Virginia on Saturday morning.  Thinking that I would have a day to relax at the campground before race morning Sunday, but as I searched for packet pickup I was surprised and let down that the race was not only already underway, but nearly every runner had already crossed the finish line.  I was devastated yet at the same time accepted my mistake and decided to make it a training weekend and perhaps check out some of the course.  A year later in 2002 I learned from my mistake and arrived Friday!

2002 was the 24th running of the Ridge Runner Marathon.  The course is very challenging and very few people seem to have repeated the course.

2002 course was not the standard race course because of local bridge construction.  The race director said this made for an easier course.  I'd hate to have seen the regular course!  The Marathon starts in North Bend State Park in northwestern West Virginia.  The first mile is mostly up hill.  Containing some difficult hills, the mostly paved course ranges from 700 to 1,100 feet in elevation.  As you leave the park on Rt. 14 the course takes a left on Rt. 31 and continues on this road all the way to Harrisville.  The road winds through beautiful trees and rolling hills.  There is not a lot of traffic so the runners seemed to take advantage of cutting every possible tangent.

In Harrisville the course continues straight as the road turns into Rt. 16.  There hills to not get any easier as you approach Ellenboro there is one hill that goes up for over a mile commonly referred to "ball breaker hill" from all the runners I passed as they began to slow down!  In Ellenboro the course makes a loop onto the North Bend Rail Trail.  This trail is unpaved and makes up about 8 miles of the course.  As a relief the path is very flat except for a bridge over Rt. 16 in Ellenboro.

We all hoped the trail would take us to the finish line, but at mile 24 the course takes a left onto a gravel road and climbs steeply up for another mile.   At about mile 25 you re-enter the park and continue all the way to the camp ground.  The finish line and start line are not in the same place, the finish is about another 3/4 mile past the turn off for the start.  Most of mile 25 to 26 is downhill.  A small crowd awaits friends and family at the finish line.

Aid stations are spaced about every 2 miles along the route.  Water and All Sport were available at every aid station.

I managed to place 2nd in my age group.  Although a small pack, I gave the first place in my age group a run for his money.  As the race began I counted 20 runners that sprinted ahead at the beginning of the race.  As a runner would pass me I would add or subtract where I thought I was overall.

Two runners past me on the way to Harrisville, and for the most part I could keep them in sight.  I walked up most of the hills hoping to make a strong finish on the flat trail later in the course.  Once I entered the trail I caught one of the runners that had earlier passed me.  He was from Colorado and I managed to stay with him all 8 miles on the flat section.

We passed two other runners that were in our age group that had hit the wall. When we got to mile 24 the steepest hill on the course I refused to walk and tried not to lose any distance on him.   At the top of the hill I tried to make my move and gave every last bit of energy to sprint past him.

He quickly picked up his pace and wouldn't let me pass.  He said, "you may win, but I won't let you win easily."  We nearly sprinted all the way to the finish line from mile 25 to mile 26.  My heart rate was 185 and no longer could I keep up the pace, so I surrendered and he beat me by about 10 seconds taking first place in our age group and I got 2nd place and 13th overall.

North Bend State Park offers camping as well as a lodge.  Both fill up early so call ASAP for reservations.  (800) CALL WVA or (304) 643-2931.

North Bend State Park Rt. 1 Box 221 Cairo, WV  26337

Directions:  Located in the north-western section of the state, North Bend is easily accessible from four-lane U.S. 50 which stretches across north central West Virginia from Parkersburg to Clarksburg.  Driving east, take U.S. 50 to junction of WV 31 (21 miles).  Take WV31 to Cairo and follow signs to the park.  Driving west, take WV16 to Harrisville and follow signs to the park.

For those not interested in running the marathon, race day also includes a 10-mile event.  The 10 mile race starts 2 hours after the marathon and finishes the same place as the marathon.

The Ridge Runner Marathon also coincides with the North Bend Rail Trial Festival which includes mountain bike rides, sounds of the trail contest, and a luminary walk.  Dinner and music are provided at the post-race celebration.

There is also horse back riding in the area and along the rail trail.

North Bend Rail Trail extends from Parkersburg to Clarksburg - 72 miles of unpaved trail.  As far as food, there is not single restaurant in the county that serves alcohol.  In other words there are no fine dining places like we are accustomed to in the city.  The lodge offers a pre-race carbo meal which I recommend. - State Park Website - Link from Park Website to for registration - WV sports website - Official Results

Saturday, June 1, 2002 -- Cairo, WV
24th Annual North Bend Ridge Runner Races (iPO Event Id#: 5092)

Untitled 1
Place Name HomeTown Sex Age Time
1 Walchli, Gregg Belfair AZ M 40 3:07:30
2 Hodge, Philip Dallas TX M 36 3:18:41
3 Hoyer, Russ Voorheesville NY M 42 3:21:45
4 Jensen, Paul Wardsboro VT M 58 3:25:33
5 Marroquin Sr, Joseph E Duncannon PA M 55 3:29:59
6 Chatman, Ernie Brooksville FL M 52 3:36:44
7 Basham, Frank Huntington WV M 54 3:36:54
8 Pyle, Richard Richmond VA M 52 3:37:08
9 Jones, Troy W Lafayette OH M 35 3:37:25
10 Panzak, Bob Merritt Island FL M 36 3:41:55
11 Golding, Pete Newville PA M 47 3:45:33
12 McCabe, Ryan Denver CO M 30 3:48:55
13 Schweinhagen, Brian Galloway OH M 33 3:49:14
14 Sullenberger, Lance Reston VA M 31 3:55:09
15 Lengen, Bill Avon Lake OH M 48 3:58:09
16 Forbeck, Mike Pittsburgh PA M 44 3:59:17
17 Trump, Pete Beavercreek OH M 48 3:59:31
18 Faust, Mark - M 42 3:59:33
19 Huttunen, John Rockport MA M 51 3:59:37
20 Terbush, Alan Richmond VA M 24 4:01:29
21 Helbig, Greg Morgantown WV M 46 4:02:56
22 Thomas, James Castleton NY M 55 4:03:43
23 Edlerbroom, Susan Schenectady NY F 49 4:03:53
24 Boggess, Scott Alexandria VA M 38 4:06:25
25 Robinson, Ira Texarkana TX M 61 4:07:25
26 Winkel, Marty Titusville FL M 57 4:08:01
27 Robinson, Jonathan Orem WY M 56 4:11:31
28 King, Brian New Bern NC M 45 4:11:50
29 Janssen, James John Edina MN M 38 4:12:51
30 Stevenson, Joseph Bel Air MD M 53 4:13:03
31 Murray, Steve Eagan MN M 45 4:13:32
32 Simon, Dave Columbus OH M 39 4:14:08
33 Newcomer, Robert Decatur GA M 42 4:14:59
34 Shuff, Dan San Antonio TX M 67 4:16:06
35 Kellar, Michael Harrisville WV M 46 4:17:11
36 Hibshman, David Naperville IL M 42 4:18:29
37 Schulz, Mark Quantico VA M 26 4:18:55
38 Hay, Alec St Simons Island GA M 56 4:23:04
39 Horn, Reg Pawleys Island SC M 60 4:23:22
40 Moore, Gina Dallas TX F 50 4:24:33
41 Lehew, Bob Tulsa OK M 59 4:24:35
42 White, Dick Cocoa Beach FL M 49 4:27:26
43 Wilkes, David Orwell OH M 52 4:28:02
44 Halke II, Donald Newport PA M 43 4:29:51
45 Wilson, Daniel Westminster CO M 44 4:30:34
46 Regner, Rudy Frederick MD M 46 4:31:48
47 Reynolds, Michael Dublin OH M 49 4:31:56
48 Keleher, Michael Phoenix AZ M 48 4:33:38
49 Lechner, Robert Jeffersonton VA M 46 4:33:50
50 Strom, Sarah Lake Ridge VA F 27 4:34:05
51 Browder, Jim York SC M 47 4:37:20
52 Bellemare, Sarah Dover-Foxcroft ME F 18 4:38:11
53 Bellemare, Greg Dover-Foxcroft ME M 46 4:38:12
54 Fisher, Richard Norfolk VA M 44 4:41:35
55 Bradley, Marv Canon City CO M 63 4:41:54
56 Minnix, Tracey Malden SC F 35 4:43:19
57 Burlas, John Clarksburg WV M 43 4:44:21
58 Youchak, Michael T Pittsburgh PA M 39 4:44:59
59 Finney, Brian Decatur IL M 34 4:47:31
60 Carroll, Maxwell Charlotte NC M 54 4:48:31
61 McClure, Sam Canon City CO M 48 4:50:44
62 Horn, Delores Pawleys Island SC F 63 4:51:16
63 Faigen, Steve Washington DC M 43 4:52:46
64 Schuttler, Walter Seymour CT M 50 4:55:32
65 McCarty, Jennifer Cross Junction VA F 33 4:57:41
66 McCarty, Kevin Cross Junction VA M 37 4:57:42
67 Chung, Donald T Rockville MD M 46 4:59:40
68 MacLeod, Andrew - M 53 4:59:57
69 Moore, Arthur Strongsville OH M 64 5:02:33
70 Murphy, Don Coraopolis PA M 43 5:03:22
71 Whitmire, Tim Charlotte NC M 31 5:04:58
72 Tate, Duane New Berlin WI M 46 5:07:34
73 Hay, Geraldine St Simons Island GA F 56 5:16:23
74 Adams, Bill Anaheim CA M 59 5:18:19
75 Vaglio-Laurin, Marc Raleigh NC M 40 5:18:33
76 Cairns, John Barberton OH M 51 5:18:34
77 Patton, James Seminole FL M 62 5:18:37
78 Peck, Earl Spokane WA M 62 5:20:09
79 Hamrick Jr, Dennis Charleston WV M 44 5:21:39
80 Whitfield, Ted Hopkinsville KY M 58 5:21:56
81 Johnson, Cathie Ann Clarksville TN F 48 5:23:11
82 Johnson, Troy Clarksville TN M 55 5:23:12
83 Lim, Abraham Avon Park FL M 52 5:26:02
84 Allen, Terry Angleton TX F 33 5:30:39
85 Young, Larry Tulsa OK M 59 5:30:40
86 Farneman, Virginia Powell OH F 64 5:31:15
87 Troisi, Cathy Seneca Falls NY F 56 5:41:23
88 Fitch, Jim Meadville PA M 43 5:41:24
89 Babiak, Vicki Rochester Hills MI F 49 5:42:23
90 Phillips, Lydia - F 51 5:43:43
91 Bell, Dave Englewood CO M 39 5:46:04
92 Marten, John Dayton OH M 40 5:47:10
93 Morehead, Debra Dayton OH F 50 5:47:11
94 Collins, Beth Anne Edgewood FL F 41 5:49:41
95 Hoffman, David Milwaukee WI M 67 5:51:59
96 Mitchell, Carolyn Lenexa KS F 65 5:52:27
97 Gionfriddo, Paul Muskego WI M 79 5:52:54
98 Sicard, Michael Nashville TN M 32 5:53:13
99 Evans, Rosemary Flemingsburg KY F 48 5:53:16
100 Dames, Christine Bethesda MD F 51 5:54:53
101 Snyder, Cheri Alexandria VA F 33 5:56:07
102 Kunkle, Jennifer Jo Alexandria VA F 31 5:56:07
103 Moses, Alice Huntsville AL F 61 5:56:28
104 Solomon, Jerome Redford MI M 45 5:59:12
105 Murdock, Cheryl Pensacola FL F 52 6:02:42
106 Dembinski, Tom Fredericktown OH M 52 6:08:29
107 Moses, Ray Huntsville AL M 66 6:10:34
108 Bruckert, Gene Arlington Heights IL M 67 6:13:59
109 Herndon, Jerry Cabin Creek WV M 63 6:14:00
110 Rueden, Henry DePere WI M 52 6:17:37
111 Scharenbrock, Raymond South Milwaukee WI M 68 6:17:38
112 Pollock, Mike Huntington WV M 55 6:18:36
113 Murdock, Nelson Pensacola FL M 52 6:20:51
114 Friedman, Lynn Houston TX F 47 6:23:04
115 Friedman, Lawrence Houston TX M 65 6:23:05
116 Covey, Thomas Morgantown WV M 66 6:27:49
117 Hazlett, George Matthews NC M 46 6:28:15
118 White, Myra Jo Fort Ashby WV F 58 6:35:37
119 Pee, David - M 58 6:43:22