Sacramento Running News

Running news and gossip from in and around Sacramento
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Big Smiles, Long Miles at American River 50

April 05, 2015 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Masters Runners, Trails, Ultrarunning

Caton Avilla (left) with pacer power to a 2nd place finish. (SRN photo)

Caton Avilla (left) with pacer powers to a 2nd place finish. (SRN photo)

If one were impulsive enough to choose to do something silly, like run 50 miles with your friends* along the American River, this Saturday would have been the perfect day to do so.

After a string of overly warm spring days, and the threat of inclement weather, Saturday was a picture-perfect day to spend with friends* mucking about in the poison oak thicket we call the American River canyon.

The American River 50 Mile Endurance Run is one of the original ultras in the region with a long and storied history. And with approximately 700 starters, it is also one of the largest ultras in the nation. Sharp organization and an army of caring volunteers–many of whom are veterans of the race–make it an ideal first 50.

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A Big Crowd Takes on the New Course at American River 50

April 05, 2014 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Masters Runners, Trails, Ultrarunning

Top Women. Left to right: Tomory, Laird, Guijarro. (SRN photo)

Top Women. Left to right: Tomory, Laird, Guijarro. (SRN photo)

Taking advantage of beautiful conditions, Joel Frost-Tift, 25, of Los Angeles, bested the field of more than 800 runners at the 35th running of the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run in 6:26:52.

In a pretty close 2nd place, Matthew Morales, 24, of Visalia, made it to the finish line at the American River Overlook in 6:30:40.

Coming in 3rd overall was Thomas Reiss, 46, of San Luis Obispo, with 6:39:59. Reiss was also the top male masters finisher.

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Fast Times are Traditional at Jed Smith Ultra Classic

February 19, 2014 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Masters Runners, Ultrarunning

Hanna (left) and Pommier lead the pack. (Photo by Joe McCladdie)

Hanna (left) and Pommier lead the pack. (Photo by Joe McCladdie)

There is a certain appeal that has kept one of the regions oldest ultras going year after year. While some races tout scenic or difficult routes, the Jed Smith Ultra Classic, hosted by the Buffalo Chips, is where ultrarunners go to be fast.

The race features two ultra distance races–50 mile and 50 km–as well as a 30 km and new 13.1 mile “fun run.” All of these are run on a 4.9 mile loop course along the American River, between Watt Avenue and the Guy West Bridge at CSUS.

This year, despite being early February, the weather was more like fine spring day, which made for pleasant running, spectating, and volunteering.

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Rites of Spring: American River 50

April 10, 2013 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Masters Runners, Trails, Ultrarunning

Second woman finisher Tera Dube navigates the trails. (Photo by Sean Dulany/Freeplay Magazine)

Second woman finisher Tera Dube navigates the trails. (Photo by Sean Dulany/Freeplay Magazine)

As we crowded up on the levee near the start line for the 2013 running of the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run, two things were dominating conversations of the old timers: the temperature and the crowd.

It was warm, and it was also humid and still. I spotted a few trash-bag wearers, but most people were lightly dressed—at least for 6:00 AM on an early April morning. It always unnerves me when it’s unseasonably warm at the start of an ultra.

The crowd was huge. There were around 1,100 registered runners in the field, which is much larger than in previous years, and makes this race one of the country’s largest.

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Way Too Cool: Hills? What hills?

March 10, 2013 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Masters Runners, Ultrarunning

Meghan A

Meghan Arbogast on her way to the win. (Photo by Sean Dulany/Freeplay Magazine)

While Jed Smith is the opening day of the NorCal ultra-running season, the Way Too Cool 50K is undoubtedly the opening day of the ultra trailrunning season. It is the first major trail-ultra in the region and the day folks get to test their fitness and see the trails after hiding out in the cold winter months.

Old friends get an excuse to hang out and visit, and rivals get to check out the competition.

There is a soft spot in my heart for this race, as it was the first ultra I ever ran–way back in 2000. It’s grown a lot over the years, and is a lot harder to get into, but still feels like a local event. The organization is tight and the volunteers are beyond outstanding.

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Running Far at the Jed Smith Ultra Classic

February 11, 2013 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Road Races, Ultrarunning

Amy Halseth wins the 50 mile race. (SRN photo)

Amy Halseth wins the 50 mile race. (SRN photo)

The green grass and warm sun of spring still seem far away on these cold and damp Valley mornings. But there are harbingers of happier times!

There are occasional, cheerful, sunny afternoons that remind me of how much easier it is on these old bones to run when it’s warmer, and how much easier it is to get out of bed when it’s daylight already when I wake up for work.

One such harbinger of spring is the Jed Smith Ultra Classic, put on by the Buffalo Chips Running Club each February since I was a wee lad in short trousers. (Actually, since 1979.) For as long as I can remember, it has been the first race in the Pacific Associations Ultra Grand Prix.

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Fast Times at the Jed Smith Ultras

February 06, 2012 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Masters Runners, Ultrarunning

Meghan Arbogast on her way to a new American age group record for 50 miles. (SRN Photo)

If you were looking for a top finish at this weekend’s Jed Smith Ultra Classic, you’d better have brought your “A game” because some of the country’s top talent was there throwing down.

There are many (many!) ultras in California and they are all, for the most part, pretty long. Some of them are known to be beautiful. Others are popular, mountainous, hot, sadistic, and sometimes famously hard to get into. Jed Smith has always been about speed.

The Jed Smith Ultra Classic, put on by the Buffalo Chips for the past 34 years, includes three events–a 30km, a 50km, and a 50 mile race. They are all run on an accurately measured, 4.85 mile loop course along the American River that is ideal for setting records and running 100k team qualifying times–as long as the weather on the first day in February is fine.

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Blame it on Rio (Del Lago)

September 22, 2011 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Trails, Ultrarunning

Lukas Temer nabs the win in his first 100 mile race. (Photo by Agnès Pommier)

Every summer, a million words are spilled in honor of the big, local hundred mile race: The Western States 100. Under the shadow of so much reporting, it would be easy to miss the region’s other, smaller, long-standing hundred mile race: The Rio Del Lago 100.

This race had been Norm Klein’s baby for many years, and last year he passed the baton to new Race Director Molly Sheridan.

This year, Sheridan reconfigured the course significantly—eliminating the loop around Lake Natoma, and replacing the lost mileage with a repeat out and back from Twin Rocks to Cardiac. “This part of the course is so cool that we wanted you to experience it again!” says the race website.

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Jed Smith Finds a New Home

February 11, 2011 By: John Blue Category: Ultrarunning

50 km winner Chad Worthen accepts his winner's certificate from Co-Race Director John Blue

How fast can you run 30 km? How about 50 km? Fifty miles?

This past weekend, a small crowd of distance runners met up at the Watt Avenue access to the American River to explore that question.

The Jed Smith Ultra Classic is a 33-year-old, local tradition hosted by the Buffalo Chips Running Club.

Traditionally held at Gibson Ranch Park in Elverta, the race has been relocated along the American River due to cuts in the County’s park budget.

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