It was unusually cool at Malibu Creek St Park yesterday during the 16th running of the Bulldog 50K Ultra. I’ve been involved with this race since I ran it as my first trail ultra in 2001, this year ending up as a volunteer, marking the course again.
The race is a 2 loop route that starts at MCSP, heads west along Crags fireroad past the famous MASH site, then begins the climb just before the first aid station, up Bulldog to the course highpoint (2500′), before descending into Corral Cyn, the half-way point in the 15 mile loop. After leaving the aid, navigating through the rock formations, runners start on the Backbone Trail, for a couple miles, before starting a steep downhill all the way into Tapia Park, the location of the last aid station before taking the Spur trail back to the start/finish area.
This year, Nancy asked me if I could mark the course, since Bill Graney wouldn’t be able to. Usually, I would be the one helping Bill, so I would follow his lead, but now, I was the one responsible. I recruited my buddy Jeff, and a last-minute addition to our crew was Michael, who would be using the opportunity to train for an expedition race he’s doing next month. We started around 11pm the night before, and didn’t finish until almost the start of the 50K, about 6 hours of hanging ribbons and drawing arrows. I think the reason it took so long was because we pretty much walked the whole course (very little running), and we spent more time hanging/painting more markers then were probably necessary. I decided to bike it, since I was still nursing an injury sustained last week at Leadville, which in retrospect, wasn’t so sure was a good idea, since the task involved a lot more hiking/walking than I anticipated, which is not very comfortable in bike shoes.
Afterwards, I got to see Michelle finish, taking the women’s race in about 4.5 hours, but could not stick around for the rest of the race, since Michael wanted to leave. I also don’t know who won the men’s race, but do know it wasn’t Jorge, who has run it for the last 9 years in a row, or last year’s winner Sal.
In other news, Scott Jurek, Karl Meltzer, and Hal Koerner all dropped from Mont-blanc — see Scott’s account here. Topher Gaylord and Dean Karnazes place 24th and 47th place respectively, and Nikki Kimball takes the women’s race in just over 25 hours. Marco Olmo, a 58 year old Italian and previous year’s champion, takes the overall win in 21:31:58.
Jamie Gifford takes the win at Cascade Crest in 20:54, and Darcy Africa takes the women’s race in 21:10, second overall. Keith Knipling, who is having a fantastic year with some incredible finishes out on the east coast, places fourth. Still anxiously waiting to find out how Olga, Larry, and Devon are doing.