Jamal Shoto and I joined some local runners on a 24 mile training run this weekend on the Cascade Crest course. Jamal is a member of our Y-Run Club and is without a doubt the fastest member in our club. He wanted to join me this weekend because he is seriously thinking about doing an ultra trail run. He wanted a nice trail run and some pointers on how to run trails. This it turned out was his lucky day.
We met at my house at 6:30 AM and departed for our 8:00 AM meeting with some other runners up at the Snoqualmie Summit Chevron Station. Jamal and I arrived first and not soon after a red PT Cruiser pulled up. The male driver stepped out wearing a Montrail shirt so I popped out of the car and asked if he was making the CC100 training run. With a big smile and a loud "Yes we are" he introduced himself as David Horton. David introduced us to Dorana Cervetto from Venezuela. She ran the White River 50 miler and is staying with friends in Seattle until the CC100. The next runner to show up was Charlie Chrissman the Race Director for CC100. He brought along his dog Joe. Joe is a 5 year old Australian Shepard. Last but not least James Varner, Alison Hanks, and their friend Dan rolled in. James had organized the run and shared the run plan and car drops with us so we could head out on the course. We had originally planned to run from Easton to Tacoma Pass but due to a 400 acre forest fire in that area due to a helicopter crash we were unable to venture in to that area. Instead the plan was to run 24 miles from Tacoma Pass to Olallie Meadows. James and his crew went ahead to drop water at the midway point for us and then meet us at the PCT trail at Tacoma Pass. Charlie, David, and I all headed for the Olallie Meadows PCT area to drop two cars and shuttle to Tacoma Pass to meet the others.
As Jamal and I started our drive to Olallie I looked at him and said "David Horton's name sounds familiar, do you know him"? He said "I know what you mean but I can't place him". We both shrugged and guessed that we had seen his name at some races. When we got to Olallie Meadows we all piled into Charlie's SUV and headed for Tacoma Pass. A few miles down the road Charlie asked David a question about the PCT. David answered him with, "Well when we made the film I...". It suddenly struck me that David Horton held the record on the PCT for going from the Mexican border to Canada in 66 days. I looked at him and said "Are you the Dave Horton who made the film about your PCT run"? Charlie piped in and said "No he's the quiet Dave Horton". Ironically my friend Rob Hester who considers David Horton his idol had loaned me the movie "The Runner" just two weeks before. I was honest with David and told him that I sat down to watch the film after a long run and fell asleep about a quarter of the way through it. When I woke up Michelle told me that I had missed some incredible scenery in the Sierra Nevadas. He laughed and told me that sometimes the movie moved a little slow. I told him now I needed to go home and watch the whole movie. David was in the area after having run the White River 50 and working some with Montrail PNW headquarters.
We got to Tacoma Pass and Varner and the gang were no where to be seen. We decided to start without them since they were the speedsters of the group. Charlie led the way with David then Dorana, Jamal, and I. It was not long before Charlie and David had put some distance between the us. I told Jamal that he should run ahead and join Charlie and David. Jamal took off and soon caught up. Dorana and I stayed back at her pace. We ran for a couple of miles and Dorana told me that I should run ahead and catch up with the others. I started to run ahead but decided it would be best to stay with her in case she fell or twisted an ankle so I stopped and waited for her to catch up and we continued on. At one point Jamal and the others were about 3/4 of a mile ahead of us on a horseshoe shaped ridge. David saw us on the ridge and yodeled out my name, he's know for his yodel while running. I yelled back and waved and that was the last we saw of them. Dorana shared with me that she is a celebrity in her country of Venezuela. Due to cultural influences ultra running is not a sport that many women from Venezuela participate in. Simply speaking women are not considered tough enough to run ultras. Dorana is out to prove that concept wrong. She explained that she is slow but steady and is attempting to finish her first 100 miler at CC100. She attempted the race last year and dropped at mile 70. Venezuela is an oil rich company. She shared with me that she could fill the gas tank of her Mazda for $1.25. In her next breath she also told me that for a liter bottle of Diet Coke it cost $1.45. She is a 6th grade teacher at a private elementary school. Due to the poor running trails in Venezuela there are not any real long trail runs. She told me the longest race in her area was a 25K. The problem it seems is that most of the Mt. trails go straight up and over the Mt. They don't meander and run along the edge of hillsides like they do here in the PNW. At about mile 18 we dropped down to cross a small stream bed and discovered a nice patch of huckleberries and salmon berries. We stopped to snack when we heard voices coming up the trail from behind us. It was James, Alison, and Dan. They stopped to have some berries too and then we pressed on.
Dan was running slow and James was nursing a sore Achilles tendon so Alison chose to run ahead. I ran with James, Dan, and Dorana for about another mile past a beautiful Mt. Lake ?Mirror Lake? and then chose to run ahead myself. I got in about 5 good hard miles and managed 6 hours of time on my feet.
Turns out that Charlie was not up to staying with David and Jamal so he dropped back. David being a running instructor at Liberty University in Lynchberg Virginia started in on Jamal. Jamal asked a bunch of questions and was given some great personal instruction on how to successfully finish your first 50K. Jamal was giddy.
I arrived about 25 min. after David and Jamal had finished. When they got to the cars they met a couple that had just moved to Washington from Georgia. They recognized David Horton and started offering food and beer to him. The offers continued as runners came in off the trail.
I am so lucky to have such a great running community, geographic area to run in, and the opportunities to meet and run with some very talented runners. This was a great weekend of running. I hope that all of you enjoyed the same.