Saturday, October 20, 2012

QuickSilver Challenge: on the other side of the fun!

[For those only interested in the pictures, here is the link to my Picasa photo album (volunteers at registration, 10K runners at Buena Vista, half-marathon runners).]

Our QuickSilver running club (San Jose) organizes two major running events each year at our hosting QuickSilver Almaden County Park, a treasure of 34 miles of hilly trails just in/on the outskirt of the Capital of Silicon Valley. In May we have the hot (temperature wise) 50K and 50-mile ultra races, directed by Pierre-Yves. In October, a 10K and half-marathon, directed this year by Race Director, Bree, and RD Assistant, Lolo aka Lauren, both in glowing colors and great spirits, both recto:
and verso:
Having the race in October is the opportunity for some Halloween flavors among the volunteers at the registration table. Jim as an ultra religious dignitary for a change:
I ran the half marathon only once, in September 2009, in 1:29, but it was another course. Indeed, the course was changed this year and I'd say is more challenging, with more single track (New Almaden) and cumulative elevation (to be confirmed). I helped Adam, then RD, marking the course last year and, this year, it was time to give back again and be on the other side of the... fun (I mean not racing): my duty was to be a course monitor for the first 4 miles of the race. I left the start area around 7:20 am to mark this section and in particular the intersection with Buena Vista trail where I then sent the 10K runners onto the left, while the half-marathoners were going straight on New Almaden. That gave me the opportunity to took pictures of all the runners (I think I only missed a couple), see the Picasa album.

And, among the 144 pictures, here is the winner for this year's half-marathon, also the defending 2011 champion, Yoshihiro Ishijima:
And the most exquisite volunteer couple on the course today, Keith and Kay, trying hard to sell their ultra food ;-):
Once all the runners went through the following intersection on Prospect #3 trail, which I monitored for a couple of hours, I myself ran the rest of the course, encouraging the back of the pack runners and stopping at the aid stations to catch-up with my fellow club members. I was exciting to see so many new faces among the runners, this race being the first trail experience for many. And it was funny to see the faces of the runners when offered ultra food like peanut jelly sandwiches or S!Caps... A few runners even admitted they had no idea so many trails existed so close from the city. Which is exactly the reason our club organizes these events, to democratize trail running and the blessings our rich park system represents for all the Silicon Valley people. Overall we could have had a few more runners to leverage such a professional logistics setup by Bree and her team of volunteers, but at least we had a hundred folks particularly happy to test their physical and mental limits on these hilly trails thanks to this... challenge! Good job to all, kudos to the volunteers who stayed at their post for more than 5 hours, the time for all runners to go through (e.g. lonely Gary who distributed the green bracelets at the English Camp turn around and almost got his water bottle and cell phone stolen by a thirsty female runner!) and special thanks to Bree for stepping up as RD! See you all next year!

PS: race results will soon be posted on the UltraSignup event page.

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