Grey Rock 50K Results - 31.1 miles with over 6000 foot elevation change.
August 20, 2005 - A fund raising event for the Ahtanum Valley Museum
This was the first year of the race which was held west of Tampico on the middle fork Ahtanum.
Click here to see photos taken by Eric Anderson
Race Report from Director Gailon Gentry:
The 1st Annual Tampico Grey Rock 50K Trail run was a huge small success. Small only because we had eight registrations and seven runners. Huge because everyone seemed to have a good time and all runners who entered the wilderness exited the wilderness in one piece, more or less. One runner with a GPS reported an amazing find in elevation. Seems our little run starts at 4200', climbs to 6200', descends back to 4200', climbs to 6500' then repeats the process in reverse. Grey Rock 50K Trail Run has over 6000' of climb done in three different stages. As you can see from the attached pictures the view is truly unbeatable.
Over all winner was our own James Klarich with a time of 6:58.36. Way to go James!
30-39 Van Phan, Maple Valley, 6:59.05
30-39 Jennifer Yogi, Seatte, 7:30.02
40-49 Sandy Boyd, HCRC, 10:20.00 Yea Sandy!
30-39 Matt Yogi, Seattle, 7:29.50
30-39 Arthur Martineau, Renton 7:46.42
40-49 James Klarich, HCRC 6:58.36 Yea James!
50-59 Eric Anderson DNF ouch Eric!
Many, many thanks to our volunteers. We would have never found the turn around point without Sandy's help tromping around in the woods. Thank you to Bill and Virginia for taking care of the Trail Head check point. You're the best! A huge round of thanks to the West Valley Fire Department for 10+ volunteers and an ambulance ALL day! Thank you so much! I am so glad we didn't need you. Thanks to our camera man, Eric for some great shots. Next year, Eric, next year.
Next year the toughest little 50K in Eastern Washington will be better and much bigger.
50K Addendum from Eric Anderson, HCR President:
Runners..........this is an awesome, tough course....and a very well directed 1st time event....this is a good one to put on your calendar. It is obvious that Gailon and his volunteers from the Yakima West Valley Fire Department and Ahtanum Valley Museum Association put some time into making this work. Thanks and congratulations to all of you for putting on a very fine ultra trail running event. To the Hard Core Runners Bill & Virginia Nicholson and Sandy Boyd....thank you for helping as well! I know that this event was not advertised very widely and was kind of a "shakeout the bugs" sort of thing. Well, from my perspective....Director Gailon, you have a jewel of a run on your hands....there are not many ultra trail mountain runs in eastern Washington....this fills a big void. Trail runners....I don't know how you cannot put this one on your calendar for next year (2006). Congratulations to this years Hard Core Runner 50K event finishers, James Klarich & Sandy Boyd. Also, great job flagging the course Sandy. To our fellow runners from across the mountains .....thanks for coming over and participating in this event...hope to see you next year. As for my own performance....well, yes...I did not finish (DNF). Unfortunately, after falling and twisting (spraining) my ankle at mile 6 or so, I foolishly pressed on past the 8 mile aid station to the top of the next ridge just so I could take some more pictures (right...!)! By the time I got to the top of Foundation Ridge (approx. 14.5 Mile mark) I knew it was all over for me....time to take my bruised ego and head back down to the finish line! Thanks for the ride Gailon...even on that bumpy old road! You can checkout the pictures on the Hard Core Runners website at http://www.hcrunners.org/ . Yes, I'll be back next year!
P.S. Final thanks to the Yakima County Sheriffs (Deputy Steve) for on site checkout and to the Washington Department of Natural Resources for their on site presense and for allowing this event to take place.
.......and from Arthur Martineau -
> I just wanted to thank everybody involved in the
> Rock 50k. It was my first ultra and you made it
> special. Now that I've recovered, I look forward to
> coming back and beating my time time next year.
> shouldn't be too hard)
> I can't wait to see the pictures you were taking
> posted on your site.
> Please forward my thanks to all the wonderful people
> that helped organize this small but fun race.
> Arthur Martineau
Great report !! Heres my version, though it is long like the race was!!!!
This trail run is a new race held west of Yakima,Wa on DNR land. There was only 7 entries, and I was the lone early starter. I started at 6 am, knowing I needed all the time I could get. The trail immediately started climbing, literally from the start line. I climbed 1400 feet in three miles, and I did that in an hour. I was hoping to get a good jump on the 7 oclock starters, but later heard they got off late anyway. At three miles I was at the top of the ridge, you could see for miles . My legs were already starting to feel like jelly, even though Id done hill training the last couple of months.
I entered a patch of forest that had been burned quite some time ago. Hard to imagine, but it was beautiful. The trail softly meandered down the ridge, gently going this way and that. Not many rocks, just dust. Lots of this I was able to run. I kept thinking the lead runners would catch me soon, but they didnt catch me till mile 13 or so. This stretch of 4.5 miles dropped 2000 feet. I arrived at the first aid station ( 8 miles) in 2.25 hours, I was happy with that. I visited with Bill and Virginia from the running club, they refilled me and I was on my way again.
The next part of the trail I had hiked before, by myself and part of it with the race director, Gailon. The trail took off straight up again, this time 2000 feet in 6.5 miles. I saw many elk in here, they scattered FAST when they heard me. I also had the pleasure of breaking spider webs for the runners behind me. Crossed many bridges, hiked along ridgelines with sagebrush on one side and fir trees behind me. The views were breathtaking. But I didnt dare look unless I stopped. There were so many ROCKS I had to watch every footstep. I couldnt risk twisting an ankle.
I was really looking forward the the 14.5 mile aid station. About a mile before I got there, the lead runner, a lady, passed me followed by another runner. I was surprised that it took the lead runners so long to catch me. I refilled again at the aid station, and continued on, now down hill for a mile. Another runner passed me looking really fresh. Only one more mile to the turnaround, I made it there in 5 hours 1 minute. I was looking forward to the 6.5 mile downhill coming up soon, but first had that mile to climb back up again.Two more runners went by looking really fresh. This part of the trail also crossed several bridges and went through a couple of meadows.And it climbed UP! I was starting to wonder why I was doing this.
Finally making it to the aid station, Eric and Gailon were there. Eric had pulled due to an ankle sprain.The firefighters/aids told me to tell the next firefighters that I was the last one. Gailon wished me well and off I went.
Now I had 6.5 miles of downhill. 2000 feet down. I started getting blisters on my toes. They only bothered me when going across the ROCKS, and there were lots of ROCKS.
I started wondering if they would pull me at the next aid station. Supposed to be there by 1 pm. I might not make that. I hurried as best I could, but came to terms with the idea that I might be pulled. It didnt sound too bad to stop soon, sit down and rest. I was getting very tired. The fire fighters were there at their post, I told them I was the last one. I answered "tired , but ok" after they asked me how I was. 2 more miles to the aid station.
Virginia met me on the trail a few hundred feet from the aid station. Said she didnt know how I do it, I think I said stupidity, but I dont know if the words came out or not, I was starting to get rummy. They refilled my gatorade and assured me they knew nothing about pulling anyone by 1 pm. So I went on UP the trail, carrying the banana for over an hour before I could choke it down.
This was my low point. And I mean LOW. I was so tired and knew it was a steep 4.5 mile/2000 foot climb. I figured it would take me 2 hours to do the 4.5 miles. It felt like I wasnt even going 1 mph. I had to stop many times and lean against a tree to rest. The climb seemed impossible, I was so TIRED!!! All I wanted was a chair to sit down in. I promised myself, if I made it to the finish line, I would sit, immediately after crossing the line. And water, I wanted lots of water, but had to ration it because I forgot to have it filled at the last aid station. I had my small bottle filled, but not my camelbak. If a 4 wheeler would have came by I would have quit right there. Pulling your self out of a race cant be so bad. I could live with that . But none showed up, so I trudged up the hill.
Finally I entered the part of the forest that had burned. I knew the top wasnt too far away now. I still stopped and rested every now and then. Once I looked up after resting and jumped, thinking a big rock 5 feet away was a deer, I was very tired! I kept thinking I was at the top, but wasnt. Eventually, though, I crested the top to the vast beautiful view. And I had even made it in 2 hours! I knew now there was only 3 miles of down hill.
My spirit lifted immediately!! I knew I could finish now. I had figured an hour for this last 3 miles downhill and it was easy now to speed up! Where the energy came from, I dont know. I knew there was a bridge one mile from the finish, so 2 miles in 40 minutes was the plan. The rocks still hurt my feet, but the labored breathing was gone now. Downhill is so much easier!! At almost exactly 40 minutes exactly, I found the bridge! I let out a holler and knew it wouldnt be long now. Gailon met me somewhere in here on the trail. We talked about the race, what the other runners thought of the trail, and how the day went. The last 1/2 mile flew by. and before I knew it I could see the bottom! I asked Gailon exactly where the finish line was and I ran across it!!!! 10:20 was my time, exactly 3 mph for 31 miles! Not fast by any means, but I finished, got first in my age group, and conquered the lowest point of any race Ive been in.
All the other runners had left, but there was still plenty of great food . Pasta with marinara sauce, garlic bread and strawberry shortcake for dessert. And a chair!!! And boy did it feel good to sit. Later, I walked down and soaked my feet in the creek.
It had been a great, but long day. I did have mild cramps off and on during the race, but the salt capsules kept them to a dull roar. The knees were somewhat angry, but not too bad considering.
Definitely one to do again next year, by then I may forget how much climbing there was. ( We climbed up and down 5900 feet in 15 miles)
Grey Rock 50K August 20, 2005
After White River 50 mile, I looked into my calendar for future races, but there was nothing until Cle-Elum in mid-September! What was I going to do? I needed to get my fix. With my husband’s studio show in the last week-end of August, my pacing distance for my friend Marty at the Cascade Crest 100 mile shrunk from 53 miles to 20 miles. I was thoroughly disappointed and set out to find something to keep my running juices flowing.
First, I found a nice new trail marathon in Bend, OR, the Haulin Aspen Trail Marathon. I’m always on the lookout for new marathons or ultras to create a streak if the race survives. But Bend was at least a 6 hour drive away, and I couldn’t leave earlier on Friday. Everyone else seemed to be running Crater Lake on Saturday then run Haulin on Sunday, oh how I was envious of those people. So I drove down on Saturday. I had to make a 2 hour stop at the Redmond Les Schwab, as my brakes went out. This was becoming a very expensive trip! The trail marathon run was very nice, a great success for an inaugural run. I think I’ll be back, despite the long drive.
While I was searching for runs in August, I happen upon another new race here in Washington. I found it listed in the Fort Steilacoom Running Club newsletter. The Marathon Maniacs did not have it listed yet. Probably because the race was only officially advertised one month before, I found out later. Apparently, it was a year in the making, but the Yakima Hardcore Runners Club had just put it up on their website. I signed up immediately, content that I had Haulin Aspen Trail Marathon and Grey Rock 50K on back to back week-ends.
Instead of spending the night in Yakima or camping at the start, I decided to wake up at 3:45AM and drive there race morning. I actually got to Yakima with an hour left before the start and thought I would have plenty of time to get my gear together, use the bathroom, etc. But the drive after you get off the freeway to the Tree Phones campground took a lot longer, and I got turned around at the final intersections. There was another car coming down a road I was going up. They were also looking for the start. We finally flagged someone down who directed us up that same road for another five miles. Okay, I thought, we’ll just get a late start. But, when we arrived, the race had not started yet. One lady had already taken the early start at 6AM. There were two other guys there waiting to get started. I was pre-registered along with Brandon Sybrowsky, but he never showed due to a flat tire. Jen Yogi and Matt arrived about 5 minutes after me.
Finally, we were off about 20 minutes after the 7AM start, all six of us. The gradual climb from the start kept us all pretty much together, but two guys, James Klarich and Arthur Martineau decided to run instead of walk some of it. That left me, Jen, Matt and Eric Anderson. The trail was dry and dusty. And it felt like you were running on the beach in sand that left your ankles feeling tired. The stabilizing needed was getting old fast. This was interrupted at times with rocky sections that required you to pay more attention. After about 3-4 miles and what I thought was 1800 feet of gain (it really was 2000’), we topped out on a ridge where there were great views of both Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams. We ran along the ridge for a while before descending the same. The running again became fun but still technical with rocks and numerous trees to run over or around. At this point, I left my group and caught up with Arthur and James at the first aid station at 12K. I was feeling pretty good until realizing that we were starting another climb, this time 2300’ feet.
The next aid station was at 24K. I didn’t notice it on the first climb, but my breathing was pretty erratic. It was short and shallow. My weakness at altitude was showing itself. I later found out that the run starts at 4200’, climbed to 6200’ descended back to 4200’ and then climbed back up to 6500’. We were on our way up to 6500’. Breathing in the dust of the person in front of me combined with my asthma and the heat made that section seem very long. I heard the temps in Yakima were in the 90’s on this day. It may have been a little cooler higher up, but it seemed awful hot. James and I finally reached the second aid station. I had heard at the briefing that there was a one mile out and back section from that aid station. I was thinking it would be rolling or even uphill, but I was disappointed to find that it was downhill and dreaded the fact that I had to run back up this thing at the turn around. Running downhill was harder than I expected. The jarring motion of going downhill knocked the wind out of me and made my stomach hurt. Later, it would present itself as back pain.
I finally reached the turn around. Arthur was not far behind me. Then came James. Then it was Jen and Matt, cruising along happily and chatting away. Earlier, I noticed that Arthur was wearing a Seafair Marathon shirt. I commented about it and learned that he just ran it after a 20 year hiatus from running. This was his first ultra. It was also Matt’s first ultra. I kept thinking as I was running along that this was a pretty tough first ultra to tackle. Arthur asked me in the beginning how long I thought it was going to take me. I said probably 5 ½ hours. But after reaching the halfway point at 3:18, I would be lucky to break 7 hours.
The 2300 feet downhill and rolling section again was not as easy as I thought it would be. I thought I would be able to pick up some time, but the trail was rocky, and I was still feeling winded. I had a hard time even running the rolling stuff. I ran into Eric on his way to the second aid station (24k) before the turn-around. He had rolled his ankle around mile 6 and was going to call it quits at the aid station. I felt bad for him, but after seeing his ankle at the end of the race, I knew he made the right decision. It was pretty fat. On the way down, James passed me, but he never got too far ahead. We finally reached the 36K aid station, which was the same aid station at 12K, and we were now facing the final 2000 feet climb back up to the first ridge. I don’t think I ran any of this section. If I did, it was only for about 10 feet. My breathing was very choppy, but I think everyone had the same problem, as I would get James into my site on several occasions and the other runners did not gain any time on me. Twice on this run, I disturbed a pair of elks. They scared the living daylights out of me when they heard me and would start charging down the forest. I was grateful to get a look at them and confirm that it was not a bear. Matt told me later that he spotted a bear cub but never encountered mama bear. Jen did not see it. I know there are a lot of people out there who find it cool to see a bear. Me, I never want to see one in person.
Because I had to walk even when I reached the ridge, I was able to notice that many of the trees were scorched. It felt like a tree cemetery. Earlier on in the week, I guess there was a forest fire nearby. It did not affect the trail we were running on, but would have affected access. Finally, I reached the clearing where I saw the two mountains before and knew that the last 3 miles of downhill were near. I was very tired. I had been out on the trail for 6 ½ hours. That, combined with the fact that I got up at 3:45AM, was getting to me. I was hot and thirsty, but drinking was not on my mind at that time. Finishing was. Again, I kept getting James in site, but every time I neared him, he would pick up the pace. I just said forget about passing him. The last two races I had done, I had to sprint the last part to stay in front of the next girl (White River 22 sec margin, Haulin Aspen 13 sec margin). I was done with sprinting.
Oh at last, I could hear the cheering voices of the people at the end for James. He came in under 7 hours at 6:58:36. I was a close 29 seconds behind at 6:59:05. It was finally over. Sun-drenched, covered with dirt, and parched, I had finally finished. I told the race director that I have done a lot of 50Ks, and this one is up there as far as difficulty. But I still enjoyed the run. I always do. Overcoming these challenges is what ultrarunning is all about. Matt and Arthur successfully completed their first ultra. Way to go!
After cleaning myself off in the shallow creek, I sat down to a feast. There were three types of pasta, salad, garlic bread, vegetables with dip, all kinds of fruit, BBQ sirloin tip steak, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. There were more volunteers than runners. I thanked everyone for their support before getting in my car for a 3 hour drive home in 90 degree weather. At least it was a clear road home, unlike the trip home from Bend where I hit 5 different traffic back ups. This is a very popular location for horseback riding and ATVs, but neither of these were encountered on the trail. I had heard that the ATVs were not allowed on the trails today, but I saw a lot of horse trailers at the campground. They must have used different trails.
So would I recommend this race to my fellow runners next year? Sure I would!
The race was challenging but rewarding. The volunteers were great. And the
post race feast was one of the best that I have had. Plus, the proceeds benefit
the Ahtanum Valley Museum. So look for it next year when you are filling in
your race calendar.
Grey Rock 50Km
By Van Phan
The inaugural Grey Rock 50K was run on August 20, 2005 in Tampico, WA. This
small town located in the farming country of Eastern WA is about a 3 ½ hour
drive from Seattle. Because this race was only recently advertised, the field
was a small and cozy 7 runners. One had to withdraw at mile 6 after severely
rolling his ankle. Matt Yogi and Arthur Martineau were attempting their first
The trail was technically challenging with many sections of rock and dusty conditions that made it feel like we were running on the beach. The run featured three major climbs. The race started at 4200’ and climbed 2000’ in the first 3-4 miles. Once we crested the ridge, views of both Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams rewarded us. After running along the ridge briefly, we descended the same amount. Another climb awaited us. This time, it was 2300’ over the next 4-5 miles to the next aid station. Then it was 1 mile downhill to the turnaround. The rest of the run was the reverse route, so there was still another 2000’ climb in store. Temperatures in the 90’s added to this challenging but rewarding run.
The volunteers were wonderful, and the post race meal was truly a feast with three types of pasta, grilled steak, all kinds of veggies and fruit, salad, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. This run benefits the Ahtanum Valley Museum. I’ll be looking forward to the second annual race next year.