Race: Chuckanut 50k

Runner: Jeff K

Date: 3/18/17

Location: Fairhaven, WA

Results – 4:41, 3rd Place Age Category winner

3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most

– Being at the same race with all those elite and near-elite trail runners.  I was totally blown away.

– The “new” old start area at Fairhaven park was much better than the gravel lot as the past years.  They had a nice warm up area, bag drop, food trucks.  It was really great

– Had a good group of runners to ride up with (Ather H, Steven K, and Sudheer M).   We went to the brewery post race, and drank beer with other runner and that was really fun.

Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

There isn’t really anything about this race I didn’t like.    If pressed to name something, I guess I could do without sections of terrain that I’m not very good at running.   You think you are done with Chinscraper when you see Glen Tachiyama taking pictures, but then there is still a long way to the top.  This part goes on forever.

Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race

Runners were talking that they thought the classic course this year was longer than the modified course.  I checked my GPS data from last year in an attempt to myth bust this theory.   This year’s race did record 1.4 miles longer on my Garmin watch.     This could have been because of less switchbacks which are known to cause GPS data to be off slightly.   On the other hand, there were way more finishers under 5hrs this year than last year, so if it really was longer, you would think there would be a smaller number of faster finishers.   Perhaps this is a mystery that we will never really know.

Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular

The initial out on the IU trail went pretty good. I was running with Phil K from Seven Hills and we were running at a speedy pace.    There is loop at the end with a small section that doubles back so we were fast enough to see the front runners come charging back before they turned to go up fragrance lake.

The race got spaced out once I reached Cleator Road.  Up on the ridge I was mostly running solo until Corrine Malcom caught up with me then we ran for a half mile or so ducking and dodging on the terrain and then had a good downhill to the aid station.  It was nice to run with her because otherwise would have gone way too conservative and she is really good on a technical trail and it is one of my weak spots.

In past races the backside of the ridge and little chinscraper has always been a slog.   Some guy I didn’t know started to push the climb pretty good and we were passing the runners who passed me going up Fragrance lake.   We were nearing the high point of that muddy trail road then he just stops.  I’m like ‘cmon man we are killing it!’ and had to keep going without him.   There were a few runners keeping up to run with the rest of the way to the base of Chinscraper.  I had a yard sale wipe out that looked deadly to the guy behind me, but came away unscathed, luckily.

At the end of the race, you see everyone you were out there with, and we were all hanging around in the covered tent talking about it.  That was really a fun experience!  lots of camraderie.

This was my 4th time running and fastest run at Chuckanut.  Last year I did a 5:52.   I was over an hour faster this year.    The training program was definitely a highlight.

Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Be prepared to handle the long downhill on tired legs at the end.   It is harder than you might think.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Climbing fast doesn’t necessarily get you ahead in the end

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Chinscraper hill can take a big chunk of your time.   But know that when you reach the top, the climbing portion is basically over

Aesthetics – is it a pretty course

Yep.

Difficulty – is it a tough course

Uh huh.

Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Absolutely.

Competition – is there a strong field?

This year had Max King, Hayden Hawks, Ladia Albertson-Junkans, Sage Canaday, and David Laney and that was just the tip of the iceberg

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

If you want to run it, you need to register on the day it opens.  It will sell out in 48hrs or less.

Aid Stations

Plenty of them and they are great.   The one on top of Cleator Road was a real production.

Weather and typical race conditions

Several years back there was snow on the ridge.  This year was rain and mud

Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

I carried an ultralight rain jacket in my pack and had gloves.   If something happened and you needed to slow down or stop for a while I think you could get chilled quickly.    Because there are a lot of aid stations, carrying one bottle was enough for me.

Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends

Yes.  It seemed as there are a lot of points you can be at to see runners go by

Awards –

The winners get prize money and there was a bonus for Max who broke the course record.

The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it

5 out of 5!

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