New this year to the Ultra Running calendar on May 2, 2015 was the Canyons 100K, along with the original 50K, in its second year. Race Director Chaz Sheya and his assistant directors Pete Broomhall and Chris Perillo were bundles of energy and super helpful as the Tahoe Mountain Milers provided encouragement and aid at Ruck a Chucky along the banks of the American River.
The Canyons 100K started in Foresthill to Swinging Bridge and back, along the historic Western States Trail and then continued on WS down the Cal loop to our aid station at the river. After a nice descent, in temperatures reaching the mid 80’s runners were greeted by the beautiful Middle fork of the American River, lots of ice and cool drinks. The lead runner Rob Krar set a blazing time of 9:20 to win the event, even though he took time to float in the river to cool off.
It was a tough day as temperatures rose into the mid to high 80’s as runners dropped down to the Tahoe Mountain Milers Aid Station. Every runner was greeted with a smile and a cold drink, directions to the river and a helping hand. Chris and Chaz indicated that there was a “soft” cut-off at the aid station and if we felt runners were capable of finishing we could let them proceed, until the sweeps came through. It was nearly dark and the last runner was 40 minutes behind the cut-off, when the sweep said that he would follow her, if she wanted to finish. Off they went into the cooling night conditions. We were able to quickly take down the tents and pack up the supplies to take to Foresthill. Just as we were getting into the trucks, to drive up the dirt road to Foresthill, we noticed a runner approaching the now gone aid station. Somehow he had been missed by the sweeps, but was determined to finish the run. We quickly emptied our personal coolers of food and drinks and he was last seen heading back up the trail, with an aluminum pan of everything we had left, a bottle of Gatorade, oranges and a Monster drink. Unfortunately we’d emptied all the water jugs in anticipation of dropping them at Foresthill. He assured us that he’d leave the pan and empty bottles at the next trash can a couple miles up the trail and left with a big smile. He finished in a time of 21:12 having caught up to the sweep.
If you are looking for a run with a laid back atmosphere, extended cut-offs and a huge volunteer commitment, which allows runners to experience the beauty of the American River canyons, on well-marked trails with fun aid stations, this is one to add to your list.
Special thanks to Leslie Wunder, Judy Luce and her partner Ray, Carol Hohn and John Lee, Dan Fuller and his wife, Mark Struble and our new found friend who stayed to help Leslie and I finalize the clean-up, and load all the Foresthill supplies into his truck. We look forward to next year and we will definitely take advantage of the camping opportunities at the aid station.