June 5 blew new life back into island running as the 11th Vashon Island Ultramarathon & Trail Run returned to the Island Center Forest and Fisher Pond trail system Saturday, June 5, 2021.
The windy day did not deter the 10 mile and 50k (31 miles) runners from enjoying their day, running on a new route which was slightly longer than in years past, starting and ending at Sawbones International. The races brought the trail running community back together after a long absence, with exciting racing and more than a few instances of the incredible spirit of trail runners.
First, the results:
In the 50k (this course well over the official 31 miles), Meredith Edwards from Durango, Colorado finished first in 4:39:03, with Islander Camille De Guzman in second place in 4:48:38 in her first long distance trail race. Both women made it into the top ten finishes ever for the event despite the long course. For the men, there was a group of three running together through 20 miles before Normandy Park's Paul Young pulled away for the win in 3:46:10. The first Islander was repeat runner Rusty Knowler in 4:55:51, who stated that he might not have started running were it not for this local race. Perennial front-runner, past winner and former Islander, Christine Mosely, took time out of her race to stop and help another young woman who had fallen and hit her head, by stopping, calling her emergency contact, and running back to the nearest Aid Station to alert the Wilderness Medicine trained Captain, Islander Tara Vanselow. Vanselow took the runner back to race HQ to get checked out by the attending emergency MD on staff, Islander Meghan Ahearne. Christie went on to finish in third place in 4:59:39.
In the ten mile race (closer to 10.5 miles), Olivia Manci from Port Orchard won the women's race in 1:23:56, with Kristy Salinas as the first Islander in 1:42:00; for the men, Alex Calderwood from New Haven, Connecticut was the winner in 1:16:48, with Islander Wyatt Golding in second place in 1:19:01. There was also the biggest age gap in the history of the race, with 72 years separating the youngest and oldest runners - Islander Harrison Decker, 11, finished in fifth place in 1:21:53, and perennial runner Bob Norton, 83, in 3:06:06. Another notable finish was the run of Leah Blakemore of Tacoma, finishing in 2:04:53, at 30 months into her pregnancy.
The race remained dedicated to the local community, with the t-shirt design featuring an owl on the back designed by Island artist Lynanne Raven, and the medallions that were handed to the finishers designed and made by Island artist Sailor Frith. The course was well marked by a crew led by Casey Lawrence, with trail markings picked up after the race by the VHS Cross Country team, led by Island runner Jesse Dungan. A large crew of volunteers made sure the runners were well fed, with Aid Station fare and final boxed lunches made from scratch by Island chef Lisa Cyra. At the Disco Themed Borrow Pit Aid Station, runners were greeted by volunteers and music, who asked the runners to "shake their booty" for prizes. For the first year, the race was certified as Trail Sister Approved, with equal starting line access for women and menstrual products at each of the two Aid Stations.
Results can be found at 2021 Vashon Island Ultramarathon & Trail Run 50K - Results (ultrasignup.com)
Day of Race
@ Sawbones (Pacific Research Laboratories aka The Bone Factory)
10221 SW 188th St, Vashon, WA 98070
Parking is limited, please carpool. If the lots are full, drop and park down at the 188th parking lot or on Vashon Highway (tires off the road or risk tickets). Please respect neighbor’s driveways and mailboxes.
7 am – 8:15 am: 50k Bib/t-shirt Pickup
8:15: 50K Race Course Briefing / Announcements
8:30 am: 50K Race Start
8:30-9:15 am 10 mile Bib/t-shirt Pickup
9:15: 10 Mile Race Course Briefing / Announcements
9:30 am 10 Mile Race Start
Post Race Food Grab-n-Go with Refreshments
Cut-off for last 50K runners heading out on third loop
5:30 Course closes
Getting to the Race: Due to WA State Ferry problems, they did not start the north end (Fauntleroy/Seattle) 3-boat schedule on time this year, and they’re still stuck on the 2-boat schedule. If you’re coming from Seattle, don’t miss that 5:15 sailing! If you do, drive down to the 6:45 Pt. Defiance boat.
Heading South from North End Ferry Dock (Arriving from Southworth or Fauntleroy):
When exiting the Ferry Dock you will stay to the left and head up the hill on the Vashon Hwy
Continue South on Vashon Hwy to SW 188th Street (approx a 1/2 mile south of downtown)
Turn Right on SW 188th Street.
Follow signs to parking area.
If arriving Friday to camp out, camp in the lot where posted.
Heading North from Talequah Ferry Dock (Arriving from Pt. Defiance/Tacoma):
When exiting the Ferry Dock turn left onto Vashon Hwy
Continue North on Vashon Hwy for approx 8 miles to SW 188th Street.
Turn left onto SW 188th Street.
Follow signs to park.
Please consider carpooling – as parking is limited.
Getting to Vashon Island
Vashon Island is only accessible by ferry boat. You can walk or drive onto the Washington State Ferries that service Vashon. We recommend you drive or plan to carpool if you walk on. The ferry is a really fun way to commute to Vashon. You can get out of your car and enjoy the beautiful crossing of the Puget Sound. But it is important that you plan ahead so that you are not stuck in the ferry line or on the boat as race time approaches!
Recommended boats are as follows:
From West Seattle/Fauntleroy – 50k runners your last ferry is at 5:15 am.
From Tacoma – 50k runners your last ferry is at 7:35 am (6:45 am recommended);
From Southworth – – 50k runners your last ferry is at 7:20 am (6:55 am recommended).
Beware of over-loads and to be safe take the recommended ferry, carpooling is also recommended. If you cannot drive onto the “last ferry” due to over-loads, walk on and ask for a ride/hitch-hike with other racers on the boat.
10 Milers, while you have an extra hour to get to the start finish – beware that Saturday morning ferries coming to Vashon in Summer months tend to overload the later in the day you get. We highly recommend you catch the last boat for 50k.
Camping on Friday night is an option. Please email us to confirm you are planning to camp prior to arriving. Thank you!
2021: Trail Sister Approved!
While running can seem to be egalitarian and accessible to all, that is not necessarily the case. We have always tried to treat everyone alike at our events, and realize those attempts may not make it so. We are happy to be Trail Sister Approved, which means that we have promised to abide by certain minimum standards, and strive to go above and beyond. Trail Sisters Approved is a standard to identify and promote races who abide by standards. These standards were developed and set forth by a team of women trail racers. These standards are a starting point, as there is much more that can be added, but the goal is to start moving forward and making progress. While we have always have had Equal Podium Spots, Equal Prize Money & Awards, we are making special efforts to offer Women’s specific swag & apparel, Menstrual products at aid stations and Equal opportunity/space for women on the starting line. For more information, contact us and visit the Trail Sister website, https://calendar.trailsisters.net/trail-sisters-approved/
Where does the course go?
The 50k and 10 mile races will embark from the same start line/finish line located at Vashon’s Bone Factory at the corner of SW 188th and 103rd SW. The first 1/2 mile will be dirt road, then taking runners into Island Center Forest’s Gateway Trail system.
Turning left, 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 Dragons 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 interior and perimeter of the park, ending up back at the Bone Factory, where the 10 milers will finish and the 50k runners will head back out on Gateway Trail for two more loops.
Aid stations will be located at miles 5 and 10. 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: 6:29 AM