2019: A great tenth year of successful trail run adventures!
The biggest fields in the 10th running of the Vashon Island Ultramarathon & Trail run enjoyed perfect weather and immaculately groomed trails on Saturday, June 1, 2019, with conditions and competition leading to new course records in the 50k (31 miles) and 10 mile runs.
The 50k was won by Vashon-born-and-raised Christine Mosley (Issaquah) and Seattle's Ben Brown in 4:20 and 3:23, respectively, both in personal best times.
Mosley was followed in by Mary Robbins of Puyallup and Yvonne Naughton of La Conner rounding out the podium in 4:49:02. The first Vashon finisher was Zoe Marzluff in a personal best of 5:42:09.
Vashon's Graham Peet ran much of the race battling Brown, finishing in 3:40:18 (personal best), followed by Vashon's Christopher Walker in 4:06:57.
The 50k had an unheard-of finishing rate of 97%, as 61 runners completed the course.
In the 10 Mile race, both men's and women's course records fell. The men's course record, set by Graham Peet as an 18 year old, was broken by the first two runners, Sam Peckham from Poulsbo and Keith Laverty of Bainbridge Island. As the two battled throughout the race, Peckham pulled ahead in the final miles to finish in 60:21, followed closely by Laverty in 62:05. 19 year old Jacob Tomer of Bainbridge Island rounded out the mens podium in 69:00. The first Vashon finisher was Nate Robinson in 1:18:12.
The women's winner had a bit more breathing room. Amy Schmitz of Bainbridge Island broke the year-old record by winning in 1:19:06, with Phaedra Branom and Danielle Harrington filling the women's podium in 1:30:17 and 1:32:42. The first Vashon finisher was Erika Ellison in 1:44:41. The 10 Mile run had also had a great 100% finishing rate.
The 50k's "Red Lantern" award was once again claimed by 81 year-old Bob Norton, raised on Vashon and living in Huntington Beach, California, finishing the 50k in 9:33. Norton said "Once again, I had more fun for longer than anyone else."
Norton was not the only out-of-state runner - two couples traveled to Vashon to run - the Humphreys from Salt Lake City, Utah and the Ingalls from Wichita Falls, Texas took advantage of the races to visit the Pacific Northwest. Llew Humphreys, 63, finished in 8th place in the 50k in 4:42, while he was cheered in by his wife, Sally, who had already finished her 10 Mile in 2:12. Frank Ingalls, 74, finished in 7:56 and was greeted by his wife, Margaret, finishing the 10 Mile in 2:41. Sally Humphreys said "Llew and I were first-timers but we’ll definitely be back! Beautiful course and so well organized. Thanks to all the great volunteers who made this such a fun race." Other families returning to Vashon to run again were the Fontenot family from Folsom, California and the Fournier family from Fernandina Beach, Florida, with three runners in each family participating.
Specially printed pint glasses were awarded to "Race Veterans" who had run the 50k and 10 Mile runs for five or more years. The highest total went to Vashon's Warren Maierhofer, who has run the 10 Mile in all the ten years' of the race's existence. There was also 9-year Veteran, Matt Glew, who has run nine years in the 50k run, missing one year to attend a wedding overseas. There were many other finishers with eight, seven, six and five year totals, including seven-year Veteran Dan Chasan of Vashon, 75, running in a near-personal best of 1:44:03 in the 10 Mile for 30th place.
The runners were helped along the way by an amazing crew of volunteers, who had worked hard in the weeks prior by clearing and marking the trails and preparing the aid stations and finish line banquet, where runners and their supporters enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit, guacamole, cheese quesadillas, Mulligatawny stew and cold beer and sodas.
Some runners were inspired to speed up along also by ground nesting hornets, with one woman stung ten times (and finishing!). Vashon's Allison Shirk, running her first long trail run, was also stung twice on her ankle - and persevered. Shirk had quite a story to tell about the highs and lows she felt on her run, and concluded by saying "Finally, I could hear the crowd and I knew I was close. I spotted by son waiting for me and I started smiling and waved at him. I could now see the finish line and my daughter and Pete waiting for me. Then the emcee announced my name and the crowd cheered, “Go Allison!” Tears streamed down my cheeks and I crossed the line. I sat on the grass in a mix of pain and happiness and a million other emotions. A little girl came up to me and gave me a medal. My family hugged me. I’ll be ready next year. And more than anything, I’m just so impressed with the folks that organized the race, all the volunteers that make the run possible, and most especially the men and women who run the Vashon Ultra every year who were so welcoming and encouraging. I’m hooked and I’m incredibly appreciative to be in such good company. Congrats to all the runners today and thank you so much to the organizers."
Where does the course go?
The 50k and 10 mile races will embark from the same start line/finish line located at Vashon’s Open Space (see map here). The first half mile will be surface streets taking runners into Island Center Forest’s 188th Street parking lot.
Turning right runners will get their first exposure to the Gateway Trail – one of the newest additions to ICF’s trail system. Runners will briefly exit the park and navigate around the perimeter of Dragon Head Cider Farm, and then quickly re-enter the park to pass Mukai pond.
From the 115th parking lot, all runners will exit the north end of the park and run a short paved section of 115th out to Bank Road. At this point, runners will cross Bank Road and run down the grass shoulder of 115th to the entrance to Fisher Pond Preserve. Runners will then turn west into the beautiful Fisher Pond Preserve trail system. Runners will circle the pond (approx. a 1-mile loop), exit the nature preserve, re-cross Bank Road and navigate south back into the Island Center Forest.
Once back in the forest the real fun begins. The remainder of the loop will be on single track trail and runners will experience the majority of what Island Center Forest has to offer. As usual the course will be clearly marked – but runners should remain alert just the same. The course will basically travel the perimeter of the park, crossing occasionally to create a large figure eight ending up back in the 188th parking lot from where the 10 milers will head back to the finish line at the O Space and 50k runners will head back out on Gateway Trail for two more loops.
Aid stations will be located at miles 5 and 9.5. 50k runners will pass each aid station 3 times.
What is the terrain like?
This rolling race course will include primarily single track and double track park trails, with some dirt roads, gravel driveways, grass shoulders and short sections of paved road.
The elevation change is less than 750 feet per loop (exact elevation for the entire 50k to be provided soon). Though don’t let that fool you – while generally short in distance, there are some nice steep hills in the mix on this course. Very little of this course qualifies as flat.
Technically the trails are mostly well groomed and free of obstacles and hazards. That said there are sections of the trail where footing will be challenged by roots, downed logs, or quick turns and sharp changes in elevation. Staying alert is important.
Will the course be closed to the public?
No. Runners will be running on both public and private land. While the Vashon Island Ultramarathon & Trail run has permits and permission for all properties that runners will be accessing and crossing – those permits and permissions do not include exclusive use of those trails. Runners should be aware of their surroundings and should anticipate encountering equestrians, pedestrians and bicyclists. Please be courteous and review the Vashon Island Ultramarathon Trail Rules for trail etiquette. Also when crossing and running on paved roads runners should yeild to all motorized vehicle traffic.
The Vashon Island Ultramarathon & Trail Run course map and detailed description will be emailed to runners in the week prior to race. Thanks for your patience!
Local time: 9:14 AM