Racing The 2014 Whiskey Hill Redwood Run 10K

Not once in the last 2½ years of running have I remotely entertained the idea of actually racing during a run. I’ve been, for the most part, happy to finish in one piece (without injuries), taking pictures along the way and occasionally hurting a little bit too. The Whiskey Hill Redwood Run 10K was different. Organized by Robert Rhodes of Baytrailrunners, it’s 10K with a ~1,000ft elevation gain – 3 miles up and 3 down to the finish line. Going in, I kinda wanted to give it my best shot to see where I would end up. The setting for Whiskey Hill Redwood Run was at the Huddart Park which I explored last year as part of the Bay Area Trail Running series. Lush redwoods and coastal live oaks provided an almost complete shaded run.

Whiskey Hill Redwood Run

Bumped into Kristen Dymmel (she ran at the Coastal Marin 50K earlier this year) at the parking lot, who’s been on fire lately. Just a day ago, she placed 1st female at the Chabot Lake marathon and she’s running the Leadville 100 in just four more weeks! Rob gave us the low down on the course, ribbons to follow and it was neat to know that his Dad was the time keeper for the race. There were 75 runners at the event, which apparently is more than double the last time around!

I toed the line in the front and took off on the go. Turned out to be a good thing as we had to pass through a narrow gate before getting on the single tracks. I can only imagine the congestion behind me. I was right up ahead and running way too fast on an uphill – definitely anaerobic. By mile 1 or 2, my throat was parched, lungs were burning and I was panting crazy. Stopped a few times to take of pictures, partly to just catch by breath, but I was still 7th or so.

  • Whiskey Hill Redwood Run Start
    Whiskey Hill Redwood Run Start

Once the Garmin 220 beeped on mile 3, the fun really began for me, as it was mostly downhill rest of the way. Picked up my pace and passed Greg Bauer and Owen O’Keeffe. Blazed past the aid station yelling out thanks to the volunteers and I could see Jeroen Domensino a couple of switchbacks further down. The soft trails were perfect for bolting downhill and probably passed Joeroen around mile 4. I could see Mike Wells, running his first trail race, maybe 100 yards further. He was flying, but I kept at it and slowly started to reel him in. I thought I was going to lose him on the little uphill at mile 5, but managed to pass him on the last downhill stretch with only half a mile to go. One last push and some runner coming the other way shouted out that I was third. That kept me going and I crossed the finish line at 53:24, 3rd overall. Mike was just 40 seconds behind me.

That. Was. Too. Much. Fun. Not the podium bit (well, okay, maybe that too), but just running as fast I as could without worrying about getting injured or having to think about hydration and food. What a rush! Kevin Jefferey held his crown as the course record holder, with Martin Jambon finishing up 2nd. My strava activity for the run says it all. And to put things in perspective, the Hardrock 100 runners have to run 60 times this elevation and 16 times the distance, while facing the real threat of lightning. So, um, yeah.

Did you run the Whiskey Hill Redwood Run 10K?

[sc:follow_me ]