Congratulations Heidi!! Heidi finished her first 100 mile race! She is a rockstar! Karen brought her home to the finish, pacing the last 25 miles. Rio Del Lago starts in Folsom, CA and is a last chance qualifier for Western States. Heidi was joined by a large crew of SB runners including Andreas, Simone, Nick, Steve, and John with pacers including Karen, Terry, Lisa, and Melissa. They all had amazing races.
Rio Del Lago likes to make course changes. Once again, they altered the course from previous years changing the lollipop loops to one big loop. The race starts with a roughly 20 mile loop on the pavement (boo!), returning runners to the start/finish line. Runners then traverse the rock garden before following a beautiful trail along the American River. A little more pavement and then an epic No Hands Bridge crossing. The course picks up on the Western States trail. From there, a 25 mile loop follows part of the Way Too Cool 50k course (and allows no crew access!). Then it’s follow the trail back to the finish line. Overall a very beautiful course, especially during the fall with the leaves changing colors.
A bit of backstory. Last year Heidi trained hard for Rio Del Lago 100 as a first 100 mile race and as a way to raise money for the SB Cancer Center in memory of her father’s passing. She was running strong during much of her training but an injury crept up in the last month before the race. Heidi toed the line on race day despite her injury. She ran/hiked 50 miles and was forced to call it a day.
Her goal this year was to finish Rio Del Lago. She trained smart all year long and went into this race in amazing shape, injury free. Her husband was also talked into running all 100 miles this year and they made a strong, cute training couple. Their plan was to run their own races but start out together. The crew headed up Thursday for packet pickup on Friday and a very early wake-up call Saturday morning for a 5am race start.
Heidi and Andreas cruised through the first part of the race (thank goodness for ultralive.net so I could stalk their progress). They made good time reaching mile 44 for the start of their 25 mile loop as night settled in and Terry joined them to pace. Post-loop, Terry took a break and Karen and Melissa stepped in to help. Karen knows Heidi and Andreas so well – a great choice as a pacer. These two awesome ladies stuck with our couple in the dark and into a second sunrise.
Heidi and Andreas finished together. So cute! Heidi placed second in her age group. They had an awesome race!! Congrats to all the SB Rio Del Lago finishers!
Heidi Heitkamp: 116th overall and 20th GP, 26:43:37