Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Little 50K Inspiration: a Trip to the Lake Sonoma 50

With all of the hype that has been the Lake Sonoma 50, both on podcast, blogs, etc., we decided to take the two hour drive up to the lake.  Other than the North Face 50 Endurance Challenge in December, this is one of the few occasions that we would be able to see so many elite ultra-runners in one place.

We were rewarded with watching Sage Canaday win with a blistering course record of 6:15, this after overtaking Max King who was in the lead for most of the day.
Hal Koerner and other runners I probably should know the names of.

It was crazy to see so many elites finish.  Even more, it was fun to be  a fly on the wall and watch their interaction.  The comrade that these folks have is impressive, and while they are all competitive, there didn't seem to be any apprehension with anyone.  In fact, it was nice to see folks like Devon Yanko, who didn't run, show up for the interchange and Hal Koerner hanging out at the finish line even after his DNF. This pretty much sums up the trail running community in general; however, it was nice to see that it still flourishes even at the top.

Of course, the other reason for the drive is to get some awesome pictures, and here are some:

The Male Finishers
Sage Canaday with the course record 6:14

On the drive up, we were following the IRunFar Twitter feed which was good up to 10 miles from the finish line.  The last alert we had was that Max King was leading and ahead of the course record by 11 minutes, with Cameron Clayton and Sage Canaday 5 minutes behind.  Also we had heard that Hal had dropped.
Max King in third

So much to our surprise at the finish to see that Sage had passed Max (who we found out had seriously bonked) to beat the course record by 3 minutes (a blistering 6:14:00)..  Cameron Clayton followed 12 minutes behind, and Max coming in third 19 minutes behind Sage.  Jorge Maravilla came in fourth and rounding out the top five Dave Mackey

Dave Mackey with Chris Vargo following.
Of special note,  Dave had made a wrong turn near the finish and we saw Chris Vargo pass a good minute ahead of him after he turned around.  However, it was Mackey that came out ahead.  Vargo could have easily overtaken him even in the last moments; however, appeared to keep behind Mackey.  Vargo is definitely a class act in my book.
Also, on Monday, Trail Runner Nation released their podcast with Max King that was recorded prior to the race.  Interestingly, Max discussed his problem with bonking, which was his undoing here at Lake Sonoma. 

You can also find the UltraRunnerPodcast interview with Sage Canaday here.

Joelle Vaught in second after a detour through the parking lot

The Female Finishers

Amy Sproston in third
Rory Bosio running in her custom design running outfit.
We waited a little over an hour before Cassie Scallon, the first female finisher came in.  I unfortunately was getting the kids some lunch and missed her finish.  When I returned we saw another female runner, Joelle Vaughht off in the distance.
According to IRunFar post race interview, she was so focused on the finish line that missed the final turn and ended up off course for about 5 minutes.  She had run this course before (winning last year), however she had been experiencing really strong leg pain and her focus on the finish line was to keep her mind off of it.  Everyone at the finish line was holding their breath in case another female showed up.  She did end up coming in second. 
Veteran Meghan Aborgast finishing 5th with the youngsters.

Following her was Amy Sproston.  We had been sitting next to her parents for most of the afternoon and it was fun watching their reaction seeing her daughter come in.  URP did a podcast a couple of days before, and it was great putting a face to the voice.   

Rounding out the women, was  Rory Bosio and Meghan Arbogast.

Other Runners

Besides seeing the leaders finish, it was great just to see other runners we follow finish.  Folks like Victor Bellasteros  and Karl Meltzer finishing strong was awesome.  

Tim Olson
Victor Bellasteros
To top it all off, to see Tim Olson finish and be met by his wife and his baby was awesome.  You could definitely see how much a loving father and husband he is.  In fact, it looked as if his whole family had turned out!
Karl Meltzer

The trip up to Lake Sonoma was worth it and really put into perspective the 50K I will be doing this coming weekend.

You will find the recap of the race from Sage Canaday's family here:


  1. I love that you guys did this, and knew so many people. And I love how anyone can just show up and hang out at an event like this.

    Obviously the next step (besides actually running that race) is to come up and see the finish of Western States. It's a lot of fun but kind of a long night.

  2. Definitely! I can really see how being at one of the aid stations like you have done would be so awesome. What really impressed me is how it felt like a family reunion. Definitely worth the trip.


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