Coastal Marin 50K – An Epic Bay Area Adventure Run

The Lake Sonoma 50 Mile training run was last weekend and I had to miss it due to scheduling conflicts. As luck would have it, I happened to see the Coastal Marin 50K on Strava. Organized by Rob Rhodes of Bay Trail Runners, this is an amazingly picturesque course that starts from Olema and winds its way south along Bolinas Ridge hitting all of the classic trails like Coastal, Matt Davis, Dipsea and Miwok culminating in a spectacular cross of the Golden Gate Bridge. I was hooked once I saw the Google Earth fly over. With an elevation gain/loss of 5,148 ft over the ~34 miles, it’s not exactly a walk in the park, but the informal setting and the camaraderie is hard to beat. I met some amazing runners and made new friends on this run.

Más Locos

Más Locos – Photo by Peter Ferguson

Coastal Marin 50K Elevation Profile

Coastal Marin 50K

I drove up to Presidio after waking up early and got there around 6:30am. We stood around, waiting for the shuttle bus, introducing ourselves and chit-chatting. Rob and Pete did the raffle (two $50 gift certificates from Sports Basement and a pair of Altra Running shoes of the winner’s choosing!) and we then boarded the bus. As we reached the starting point at Bolinas Ridge Trailhead, I couldn’t help wonder if there was a drought at all. The day after a rain, everything was in high contrast lush green and you could feel the moisture in the air.

  • Pete & Rob doing the raffle
    Pete & Rob doing the raffle
  • Be back Golden Gate Bridge!
    Be back Golden Gate Bridge!
  • Rob telling us how not to get lost
    Rob telling us how not to get lost
  • At the starting line
    At the starting line
  • Bolinas Ridge Trailhead
    Bolinas Ridge Trailhead
  • Coastal Marin 50K is off to a start
    Coastal Marin 50K is off to a start
  • Cattle country out here
    Cattle country out here
  • First few slushy, muddy miles
    First few slushy, muddy miles
  • Rob negotiating with a cow
    Rob negotiating with a cow
  • Lush green all over
    Lush green all over
  • Krista making it look easy
    Krista making it look easy
  • First checkpoint
    First checkpoint
  • Kristen and Liz churning up the trails
    Kristen and Liz churning up the trails
  • Bolinas Ridge Trail
    Bolinas Ridge Trail
  • Jerome, Ivan, Mike and Rob
    Jerome, Ivan, Mike and Rob
  • Moss and Ferns, Lush Green
    Moss and Ferns, Lush Green
  • Another Junction
    Another Junction
  • Out of the woods
    Out of the woods
  • Dang, that
    Dang, that's gorgeous
  • Stinson Beach From Above
    Stinson Beach From Above
  • Jerome, Ivan, Rob and I
    Jerome, Ivan, Rob and I
  • Kenny, all smiles
    Kenny, all smiles
  • Eric Rhodes, Mr. Aid Station with Rob
    Eric Rhodes, Mr. Aid Station with Rob

We navigated the first couple of miles of cattle country and 11 miles in at the first aid station, Eric Rhodes, Mr. Aid Station himself, was there parked with the trunk full of goodies. There were about 8 of us running together and constantly regrouping. Everyone was in high spirits to tackle the next segment. We would soon come out of the woods into meadows that were in full bloom with yellow poppies. The Coastal Trail is something to reckon with. Switchbacks after switchbacks of “Dang, I have to take a picture of this”.

  • Coastal Trail
    Coastal Trail
  • Jerome, cruising on the downhill
    Jerome, cruising on the downhill
  • Spectacular Single Tracks
    Spectacular Single Tracks
  • Poppies, meet Stinson Beach
    Poppies, meet Stinson Beach
  • McKennal Gulch Trail
    McKennal Gulch Trail
  • The Hills Are Alive ...
    The Hills Are Alive ...
  • Stinson Beach, Another Perspective
    Stinson Beach, Another Perspective
  • Dear Hoka One One, Meet Luna Sandals
    Dear Hoka One One, Meet Luna Sandals
  • What A Day!
    What A Day!
  • Ivan & Kenny
    Ivan & Kenny
  • Surreal, High Contrast Lush Green
    Surreal, High Contrast Lush Green
  • Waterfalls = Mud, lesson from Way Too Cool 50K
    Waterfalls = Mud, lesson from Way Too Cool 50K
  • Turkey Sighting
    Turkey Sighting

Nate Dunn, from Ultra Sports Live TV was there at the Pantoll Ranger Station with his newly acquired puppy, Rosie. Cutest thing ever! We regrouped again, took our time and headed out to the next segment towards Muir Woods, Dipsea and then the Miwok climb. On the downhill run, I was chatting with Scott Corbin who had met up with Caballo Blanco in the Copper Canyons some years ago. Quite the story! I definitely felt the Miwok climb at the tail end of this segment. One of the low grade ones you think you can run up, but you are wiped out at the end. Next stop Tennessee Valley.

  • Old Mine Trail
    Old Mine Trail
  • Miwok Trail
    Miwok Trail
  • Climbing The Miwok Trail
    Climbing The Miwok Trail
  • See Miwok Trail Sign, Will Take Picture
    See Miwok Trail Sign, Will Take Picture
  • Tennessee Valley, So Close, So Far
    Tennessee Valley, So Close, So Far
  • Getting Closer, Marin From Up Top
    Getting Closer, Marin From Up Top

I don’t think I ever saw Liz and Kristen stop chatting! And Liz had a smile at mile 23 that made it look like she was running a 5K. By the time I ran down into Tennessee Valley, I was tired. Drank a Gatorade and the salty liquid felt good. Power hiked up Marincello and felt my legs loosen up again as I got to the top. There in the distance, was the all too familiar eucalyptus grove where the Alta Trail passes through. Picked up my pace caught up with Rob and we ran together the rest of the way. Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge was epic, but was also a major culture shock – 7+ hours of quietude and it was too jarring to be back in the civilization.

  • On Bobcat Trail
    On Bobcat Trail
  • Hullo Golden Gate Bridge!
    Hullo Golden Gate Bridge!
  • Working our way down to the bridge
    Working our way down to the bridge
  • Rob keeping up the pace on the bridge
    Rob keeping up the pace on the bridge
  • Ivan, Jerome and Mike at the Finish
    Ivan, Jerome and Mike at the Finish
  • Kristen and Kenneth at the finish
    Kristen and Kenneth at the finish

It took us 7+ hours to traverse the 34 miles, but the moving time was around 5:45. I’ve never really run this distance in a non-race condition and it was too much fun just running, chatting, eating without worrying about pace, finishing at a certain time, etc. And running with all these amazing people was an incredible experience. Thanks Rob Rhodes for putting the Coastal Marin 50K event together. And I learned that Rob can negotiate with the weather gods as well as talking to cows and having them move out of the trails! :)

Here’s my Strava activity for the Coastal Marin 50K.







 
 

 

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  • https://www.facebook.com/runReneeBlogpost Renee Yeoman

    I really want to do a run out there!

  • https://www.facebook.com/kelli.stephenson.3 Kelli Stephenson

    One of my FAVORITE places to run!!!

  • https://www.facebook.com/anne.crispinotaylor Anne Crispino-Taylor

    The wildflowers there are amazing.

  • Tim Thompson

    Looks like a fantastic run!

  • http://twitter.com/k0ws1k kowsik

    ICYMI – Coastal Marin 50K, an epic Bay Area Adventure Run http://t.co/atviYWcrax #trail #running

  • http://twitter.com/baytrailrunners Robert Rhodes

    RT @k0ws1k: Coastal Marin 50K – An Epic Bay Area Adventure Run – http://t.co/5l5YmmqfvZ

  • http://twitter.com/CoastalMarin50K Roadblock

    @k0ws1k had a great perspective too! @baytrailrunners #trailrunning #ultra http://t.co/4btMQwvL7Q

  • http://twitter.com/k0ws1k kowsik

    RT @CoastalMarin50K: @k0ws1k had a great perspective too! @baytrailrunners #trailrunning #ultra http://t.co/4btMQwvL7Q