SFCF Athletes Attack The Miwok 100, By Robert Tuller
At 5am Saturday May 5th five of us from SFCF had our bib numbers pinned to our shirts awaiting the start of the Miwok 100km Trail Race.
Pon, Karrie Hutchins, Josiah Bunting, Charlie Kirst and your beloved old coach departed the Stinson Beach parking lot up the Willow Camp Trail, a 1500 foot climb, to the Coast Trail as a large orange moon descended into the Pacific. Flashlights were in order and we trudged single file up a very steep trail with smells of morning dew fresh off the oak forests along the trail.
We were able to douse the lights by the time we crested the trail and headed north to Bolinas along the Coastal Trail. The sun was rising and passing through the redwood forests along the Ridgecrest Road as it intersects with the Fairfax Bolinas Road and we light footed our way along a soft jeep road towards the northern turnaround point, mile 12.5.
Josiah first, Pon followed by Karrie, myself and the Chuck Wagon headed back up the trail from whence we came running now south towards the Matt Davis Trail to descend into Stinson Beach Fire Department Aid Station, mile 26.2. The morning weather was epic, warming and the glow along the trail Saturday morning reminds you that we are fortunate to live so close to such staggering beauty. It is at this time that a trail runner can think such glorious fleeting thoughts fully absorbed by his surrounds and the wonders of nature. The heat has not risen yet and the legs are still relatively fresh.
The steep twisting descent into Stinson Beach dotted with tourists was enough for our dear Chuck Wagon who decided after conversation with Tropical Joe (Medinger) the RD of the Quad Dipsea that a cold beer was in order. Pon, Karrie and I chased Josiah up the Dipsea Trail heading south for Muir Beach as the afternoon sun began to raise the temperatures into the low 80s. There was a slight breeze and one can accept the gorgeous redwood glade up the Dipsea towards Cardiac as a stunning sight even though there in wait are the railroad tie steps that climb 1400 feet out of the beach. Once we reached Cardiac and headed south there were to be no more trees and therefore no shade for the remainder of the day. Karrie was behind Pon and I as we encountered Josiah battling an extremely tight IT Band along the Deer Park Fire Road. We wished him well and encouraged him to soldier on as we have always respected The Animal for his true competitive warrior spirit; knowing that with half the race yet to unfold over hilly terrain Josiah would have a difficult time meeting the cutoffs. As we approached Muir Beach Aid Station the leader was heading home along the trail and we had 29 more miles yet to run. It was one of those OMG moments when you see an incredible athlete heading for the barn. If you were to look at a trail map we’d have covered most of the trails in the Marin Headlands to include stops in Tennessee Valley, Rodeo Valley, Wolf Ridge and Pirates Cove. I met my pacer Dave Bonaccorso at mile 50.2, Tennessee Valley Aid Station at 5:50pm and we headed out to complete the next 12 miles. Pon was behind us and Karrie would eventually miss the cutoff at mile 50.2. We salute Josiah whose knee bested him at mile 38 and Karrie for covering the most miles to date in her life. Climbing up Deer Park Fire Road I had to stay ahead of a noisy huffing and puffing runner in tight biking clothes; I was following close on Dave’s heels and he’d turn to remind me how I felt about cyclists. That cheered me up for about 2 seconds and it was back to the slog uphill. As we crested Cardiac the huge full moon greeted us and we paused for a moment to soak up the spectacular view overlooking the Pacific and the Bay then made our way into the forrest with flashlight lit to drop into the finish at Stinson Beach.
After 16 hours 11 minutes of racing your coach was finally across the finish line. Pon, a tough strong man, battled the dark a bit longer to finish in 17 hours 39 minutes. It was hot, hilly and hard (24,000 feet of elevation change). Our crew of relatively new ultra runners found new distances to be proud of in their quest for more glory on the trail at another time.