Thursday, January 29, 2009

2008 SCA Mountain, Ultra, Trail Report

2008 Southern California Ultra Runners Grand Prix Series

Three races have taken place since my last report and the Series results have been tallied. Below is a recap of the three final races and the overall standings.

Rose Valley 33 Mile Run

Due to the Tea Fire and trail closures in the Santa Barbara Front Country, the 2008 Santa Barbara 9 Trails became the Rose Valley 33 Mile Endurance Run and was held in the forest east of Ojai.

According to RD Luis Escobar:
“The 2008 Rose Valley 33 Mile Endurance Run aka The Santa Barbara 9 Trails 35 Mile fire replacement run was a great success. We had about 100 starters and nearly 90 finishers. It was a day of pure ultra kookiness, the trails were gnarly but hospitable, dark blue skies, clean brisk California air, big views, long ass climbs, perfect single track, great aid stations, helpful, friendly and knowledgeable volunteers, generous sponsors. The finish line was ultra perfection - remote and funky location (abandoned county work station) with lots of happy people, cheese burgers prepared by chef Jurek, cold beer and shots of Jack. What could be better? We all had a great time.”

Mike Swan, 38, won the race in 5:08 and Krissy Moehl won the women’s division in 5:27. For complete results see

High Desert 50K Trail Run – SCA 50K Association Championship

RD Report: It almost never rains in Ridgecrest. But rain it did during the later hours of the 2008 edition of the High Desert 50k Ultra and 30k. Race day dawned with partly cloudy skies, but by noon more serious storm clouds became apparent over the mountains to our west. Soon a few sprinkles progressed to a steady drizzle. Hail was even reported by Gracies Mansion aid station.

Brian Krogman, of Van Nuys, was the 50k overall winner, in a time of 3:46:57. First 50k female was Angela Shartel of San Diego, in 4:10:45. Our military winner was Matthew Sandlin of Twentynine Palms, in 4:42:51.

In the 30k, Amy Grafius, Bishop, was first overall and broke the female overall course record, with an outstanding time of 2:08:16. The male winner was Ridgecrest local runner Robert Froehlich, in 2:19:57. Military category winner was Alex Luedke of Omaha, NE (2:37:11).

Course records in the 50k remained intact, but some 30k records were eclipsed. In addition to the overall female course record (as well as the F 30-39 record) set by Grafius, Matthew Johnson’s 2:36:25 finish bettered the male 19 and under record time, and Tylor Hill, of Santa Cruz, broke the men’s 20-29 record with a 2:20:46 finish. Finally, Ridgecrest OTHTC runner Dianne Rindt set a new best time for 60-69 females (3:13:44) in her first attempt on this course.

In all, 217 runners and walkers completed the 50k course, and 102 finished the 30k. For complete results see

Twin Peaks 50K and 50 Mile Trail Runs

RD Report: The mountains of Southern California on race day were plagued with a nasty storm that sent temps down to 30 degrees and saw snow coming down horizontally. Friends Michelle Barton and Keira Henninger, who finished hand in hand, dropped down from the 50 Mile to the 50KM (and were the female winners at that distance) told me they could not see each other while they ran the race together. Fourth place 50K finisher, Dean Dobberteen, had missed a key turn for the 50 mile course and ended up with the 50K finish. Runners began dropping like flies out there. If they weren't dropping from the 50 mile race altogether, they were dropping down to the 50K. Many 50 milers opted to skip the second trip to Santiago Peak but refused rides back down to the finish. They "unofficially" finished the 45 mile race and deserve much respect for toughing it out to the finish line despite not getting finisher awards.

Tracy Moore, a talented and fast runner, won the overall 50 mile race in 9 hours 30 minutes with his nearest competition almost a full hour behind him. Only 4 of the 22 finishers (Tracy Moore, Patrick Sweeny, Greg Hardesty & Cris Francisco) even managed to come in under 12 hours. First place female (and 5th overall) Gina Natera-Armenta in the 50 mile race finished in an impressive 12 hours flat.

Jonathan Mitchell took home top honors in the 50K race despite taking a rough fall at the top of West Horsethief Trail. He finished, covered in mud, in 5:35:30. Andy Salinger and Robert Rust rounded out the top 3 with first places females Michelle & Keira finishing 6th overall.

This course is arguably one of the toughest races in the Santa Ana Mountains. The 50K boasted 11,000' of gain with 17,000' in the 50 miler. Just two days after Twin Peaks the Santa Ana Mountains, including the Indian Truck Trail where the race began and ended, saw snow! For complete results see

2008 Southern California Ultra Runners Grand Prix Final Standings

The 2008 Southern California Ultra Series was a great success with XX members participating in XX series races: GP Leaderboard (PDF)

A huge thank you must go out to Gary Hilliard for coordinating this very successful series and for promoting USATF membership among the participants. Even with the infusion of prize money, many participants still do not join USATF even though two of the series races host SCA Association Championships - The Mt. Disappointment 50 Mile Trail Run and the High Desert 50 km Trail Run. We will continue in our efforts to promote USATF in the ultra community and also in the sub-ultra trail athletes in 2009. (See “Year in Review” below for more details.)

Thanks should also be sent to all the race directors who participated in the 2008 series as well as to Fred Pollard, Series Statistician, and Joe Magruder, Series Treasurer, who have assisted Gary throughout the year. Fred has compiled some statistics from the series participant’s efforts this year. This year seventy-nine athletes entered the Series and ran a total of 14,039 miles in 344 races. The average Series races distance was 40.8 and the average number of races per runner was 4.5. Twenty-six runners ran 6 or more races and three runners ran 12 races.

On January 31 the Series Awards/Run/Pot-Luck Lunch will be held at Chantry Flat in the San Gabriel Mountains. A mountain run will be followed by good food and camaraderie. Gary and MUT Chair Lorraine Gersitz will actively recruit USATF members at this time by speaking about the benefits of joining USTAF and especially the support MUT events receives from SCA. Overall and age-group awards and high mileage plaques will be awarded as will prize money to USATF members. Patrick Sweeney is the 2008 Overall Male Winner and Gina Natera-Armenta is the 2008 Overall Female Winner. The 2008 Men’s Mileage Champion is Ted Liao and the 2008 Women’s Mileage Champion is Gina Natera-Armenta. For complete results see the series website at

Read the Full Report (PDF)

Lorraine Gersitz
Mountain/Ultra/Trail Committee
Southern California Association
USA Track & Field