Sacramento Running News

Running news and gossip from in and around Sacramento
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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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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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Records Fall at Western States 100

June 25, 2012 By: John Blue Category: Trails, Ultrarunning

Aaron Mulder and Quintin Barney work their way up to the Devil's Thumb aid station. (SRN photo)

With a race as long and challenging as the Western States Endurance Run, it is hard to strip it down to the essential kernel of a story that everyone should know.

Every single runner, finisher and non-finisher alike, has a compelling story to tell–about the race itself or the long journey that brought them to the starting line at Squaw Valley.

An astonishing field was assembled, the weather was perfect for running fast times, and records were destroyed.

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Records Fall at Lake Sonoma 50

April 15, 2012 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Trails, Ultrarunning

Dakota Jones and Joelle Vaught set new course records on a muddy Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, yesterday.

Dakota Jones, of Durango, Colorado, ran 6:17:27, beating Hal Korner’s course record of 7:08:20 that was set in 2010. In fact, the field was stacked with so many ultra-talented ultrarunners, the top seven men, including the 4th place Hal Korner, were under the old course record.

On the women’s side, Joelle Vaught, of Boise, Idaho, set a new course record of 7:52:44, knocking more than 30 minutes off the 8:26:53 set by Devon Crosby-Helms in 2010. As with the men, the top women in this field were throwing down and six of them went under the old course record!

Tyler Stewart, of Novato, was the second woman with 7:56:30. You might remember that Stewart was the women’s winner in her ultrarunning debut at last month’s Way Too Cool 50K.

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Women Runners in the News

October 27, 2011 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Road Races, Trails, Ultrarunning

Things have changed for women runners!

There are a couple of recent articles about women runners of note that are delightful in their juxtaposition, in what they say about women’s running.

First off was a New York Times article about women’s running pioneer Dr. Julia Chase-Brand.

On Thanksgiving Day, Dr. Julia Chase-Brand, 69, plans to run a 4.75-mile race in Manchester, Conn., where the presence of women will be plentiful and unremarkable. Fifty years ago, when she and two other women ran there the first time, it was a widely publicized act of civil disobedience that became a pioneering moment in female distance running in the United States.

Not only was she pushing against the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) prohibitions against women competing in road races, she was fast. Starting a block behind the rest of the runners (to avoid race officials), she still managed a 33:40 for that run.

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Runners Fly at Run on the Sly–Updated!

August 21, 2011 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Trails, Ultrarunning

Jesse Barragan took 3rd in the 50K despite a bad stumble that had him walking the last mile or so. (Photo courtesy of Scott Sandow)

Sunday’s Run on the Sly trail races continue a long tradition of August trail racing along Jenkinson Lake in El Dorado County. This year, more than 600 runners completed the various races.

In the 50K, Palo Alto’s Cameron Berg ran away with the overall win in a smoking 3:57 on that hilly course.

The next three in were locals. These were Lincoln’s Michael Fink, finishing in 4:17 (only a couple minutes off his age group course record), Folsom’s Jesse Barragan, with 4:30, and the women’s winner Jen Pfeifer, of El Dorado,  in 4:33.

(more…)

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