McKenzie River 50k Invitational

Photos by Tom Riley

Well, I have to say I was stoked to run this course, as it’s basically in our backyard (just over Santiam Pass) and I had only mountain biked the McKenzie River Trail a few years back.

However, I only ran 5 times in the 3 weeks since Waldo 100k, as I had some knee pain that I had to let chill before I could start training again, then the Monday before the race I got the flu…the hits keep coming sometimes.

So, I went into this with NO expectations, just to run hard for as long as I could, then clump through to the finish, with the idea it would be an excellent trainer for Arkansas Traveler 100 Miler coming up in 4 weeks. Plus, it was a good excuse to come over and camp in the tent trailer with my buddy Tyson, who crewed for me (minimum aid was offered).

So, 18 of us showed up for the Sunday morning start. I went out with Sean Meissner and Jeff Riley and was feeling pretty good through the technical sections about mid-race. But, then my legs came off at about 19 (what? you mean 5 training runs in 3 weeks aren’t enough?). Anyway, I just enjoyed the lack of stride length and chalked it up to good 100 mile training, as that feeling always hits you in a hundred. I started feeling better, leg-wise about 3 miles from t he finish and picked it up. I ran a 4:18.

I would love to come back to this course with ready legs, it’s fast and fun…the scenery is awesome, with lava flow sections, waterfalls, blue-green clear pools and tons of trees and shade. It was awesome. A good post-race pizza shindig and a good soak in McKenzie River’s ice cold water ended a great day. Phil Vaughn puts on a stellar event. Thanks, Phil and all the volunteers.

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