March 18, 2008

Unknown...For Now.

When Greg Hardesty blogged me about an “unmarked” 50k run in a “unknown” location, I shrugged it off. What’s he smoking? But then he threw in that they will be serving up “gourmet” food. Hmm, gourmet and ultra, I’ve never heard the words used in the same sentence. Tell me more!

I rolled into the parking lot for the first official “Unknown Ultra” last Saturday before sunrise. Right away Charlie Nickell, run director, introduced himself and several other runners to me. Everyone was very friendly and I knew it was going to be a great day. The run started in waves, with the first group departing at 6:00 a.m. (in the dark) and the second group (my group) around 7:40.

Once we got going it was clear this event was not a race. Everyone stuck together as we clipped along through some of the best single track trail I’ve run in years. The route took us on a round trip from the Candy Store into the San Mateo Creek Wilderness, a green mountain sanctuary on the south side of Ortega Highway. Wildflowers, creek crossings, waterfalls, and a consistent cool breeze kept our spirits high as we ran along our path.

If Charlie is not careful, he might have to change the name of this event from the “Unknown Ultra” to the “Well Known Ultra”. Everything about the event--from the chocolate covered strawberries and assorted fresh fruit at the aid stations, to the broiled salmon, couscous with fresh peas and turkey chili at the finish--was stupendous! Given all its splendor, I don't know how this event will remain "unknown" for long. Thank you Charlie and your family for a fun, rewarding and well supported run!

(From there I made my way back to the homestead where I found two anxious little friends ready to keep the fun going.)