Course changes, mud, and tough climbs didn’t stop Joe and I from finishing the Sean O’Brien 50 miler and 100k. Joe killed the course and finished 2nd with a speedy time of 8:04:57!! I pulled through for a 9th place female finish. There has been a plethora of rain in California in recent weeks, resulting in mudslides, muddy trails, and so much greenery! However this complicates trail running. Due to a desire to protect the trails, the Forest Service requested Keira, the race director, cancel the race. She argued successfully and the race went forward with a minor course change. The 50 mile race was closer to 45 miles and the 100k was between 58 and 59 miles.
Despite the mud and the tough climbs, the views were breathtaking. Many locations showcased sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean along with the mountains ahead and behind. There was actually water flowing in the creeks! Around 2 miles in and 2 miles to go runners used a rope to cross a thigh deep rushing stream. Not something us SoCal runners are used to! Plant-life was flourishing, treating runners to a lush landscape. Temperatures stayed mild all day and there was an occasional light mist but no major rain. Perfect running conditions. Except the miles long stretches of slippery mud. Many friends including Sean Garbutt and Lisa Carr turned up on the course to cheer runners on – their enthusiasm was much appreciated!
Joe pushed right through the mud and looked strong near the turn-around and at the finish. Congrats on a well-earned second place in the 50 miler!! In the 100k distance, runners traveled from all of the country and all over the globe to chase after a Golden Ticket (and thus entry into Western States). I tried to give chase; however, I’m overly cautious in the mud and managed to pull off 9th.
Joe DeVreese (50 miles): 2nd overall and 2nd GP, 8:04:57
Stephanie Fronk (100k): 44th overall and 9th GP, 11:54:43