Pacific Coast Trail Runs put on another great race this weekend down in Woodside, California (the hills just west of Palo Alto). I made the drive south from San Francisco with eager anticipation as I was excited to run in the 50K to see what improvement on my time I could make and to run some trails that I had yet to run. All of us 50K runners gathered at the start at Huddart County Park shortly before 8:30 and I was really pumped to see how many people raised their hands when Wendell from PCTR asked if it was anyone’s first ultramarathon; a lot of hands went up (!) which was great to see for the sport and for the trail running community here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Woodside course was just as the name described, surrounded by the woods. I am pretty sure 90% of the race was run under a forest canopy of redwoods covering the rolling wooded hills. The race basically felt like a forest run the entire time.. very refreshing.
The 50K racers began right around 8:30 am with Will Gotthardt and Ben Goldman setting the early pace. I followed behind and was quickly passed about a mile into the race by Andy Anderson who zoomed by and quickly caught up to the lead runners (Andy eventually won). Running close behind me were Alan Abbs and Beverley Anderson-Abbs (Montrail profile). Alan and I passed one another a couple times the first 8 miles or so and Beverley was no more than 20 seconds behind as I kept seeing her bright green armbands every time I changed direction on a switchback. I kept my pace but in the back of my head I was wishing Bev would run me down so that I could pick her brain on her experiences running the Tahoe Rim 100 which I will be running in this July.
About 15 miles in I made a wrong turn that ended up costing me roughly 5-6 minutes. It was totally my fault.. but I would do it again! There was a troop of boy scouts out hiking with their parents and the kids started yelling and cheering and had their hands up for high-5s as I ran by. I got so caught up in the moment high-fiving them that I followed the turn that they were making instead of going straight. After a couple minutes running down hill I realized I was not seeing any race markers so I instantly knew I must have run off-course. Three hikers were coming my direction so I asked them if they had seen any runners, they said no and then asked if I was “orienteering.” I mustered a laugh and replied that no I was running a trail race but at the moment happened to be orienteering, a good laugh now.
I made the climb back up to the intersection where I made the wrong turn and got back on course at the same time that Jen Pfeifer was running by. Jen and I shared a laugh at my mistake as its easier to laugh those things off than stay frustrated with so much race left. I ran with Jen for about the next 20 minutes picking her brain on her past and future races. Jen was fresh off of a Women’s win at the Pacifica 50K a couple weeks prior so we chatted about that race ad the climb up North Peak. I was also really pumped to hear she was a 3-time finisher at Western States 100 and her next big race was going to be the American River 50 Mile this April. For the next 12 miles Jen and I probably passed one another 4 more times right up until the end of the race.
I ran strong through the end and managed to catch a couple runners that had passed me when I made the wrong turn. I knew that Jen was right behind me for the last 2 miles and ran to the finish feeling like I was being chased down which helped in keeping a strong pace through to the finish. Jen laughed afterwards that she also finished strong because she was trying to run me down… I knew it!
The Woodside course was fast and an absolute blast to run. I set a new personal record for my 50K distance in 4:21.09 (even with getting lost for a bit) and managed a 5th place overall finish and came in first in my age division. After the race I chatted it up with Shan Riggs and his wife Abbey which was great and congratulated a lot of other runners on their strong performances. A big congrats to all of the runners at all distances and also to my The Endurables coach Rachel Baker-Rodriguez for her top-10 finish in the 35K and for being the top female finisher at that distance. Four new course records were set on the day, wow! As always, a special thanks to Sarah and Wendell from Pacific Coast Trail Runs for putting on another great race and to all the race volunteers for helping out, you all are the best.
Woodside Trail Run Race Website: Click Here
Full Race Results: Click Here
50K – Mens
1. 4:01.38 Andy Anderson, 32, Truckee, CA
2. 4:08.09 Will Gotthardt, 44, Fremont, CA
3. 4:18.04 Ben Goldman, 30, Los Gatos, CA
50K – Womens
1. 4:17.11 Beverley Anderson-Abbs, 44, Red Bluff, CA
2. 4:21.09 Jen Pfeifer, 37, Folsom, CA
3. 4:47.36 Luanne Park, 48, Redding, CA
35K – Mens
1. 2:35.00 Will Hudson, 27, Berkeley, CA (*Course Record)
2. 2:41.11 Ed Baker, 29, Palo Alto, CA
3. 2:42.36 Joel Lanz, 36, San Francisco, CA
35K – Womens
1. 3:10.32 Rachel Baker-Rodriguez, 33, San Francisco, CA
2. 3:14.47 Caroline Barishievich, 36, South Lake Tahoe, CA
3. 3:30.09 Trudy Nygren, 46, Eldorado Hills, CA
17K – Mens
1. 1:11.00 Leor Pantilat, 24, Stanford, CA (*Course Record)
2. 1:16.04 Charlie Anderson, 28, Fremont, CA
3. 1:18.41 Alexander Gaber, 28, Walnut Creek, CA
17K – Womens
1. 1:22.10 Anne Ruminski, 27, La Jolla, CA (*Course Record)
2. 1:28.19 Rebecca Anderson, 31, Truckee, CA
3. 1:32.29 Meghan Morris, 27, San Diego, CA
10K – Mens
1. 48:49 Benjamin Schaefer, 32, San Francisco, CA
2. 49:54 Moshe Zilversmit, 25, Palo Alto, CA
3. 50.21 Ralph Lewis, 40, Portola Valley, CA
10K – Women
1. 46:16 Valerie Young, 42, Novato, CA (*Course Record, First Overall)
2. 53:19 Luana Espana, 29, San Leandro, CA
3. 59.35 Anna Tye, 27, Palo Alto, CA
Woodside Trail Run Race Beta:
This course is almost entirely shaded, on soft trail, and FAST!
– Brett Rivers