June 4, 2011
Shadow of the Giants 50K
Shadow 2011 - Race Report Story
2011 SHADOWS of the GIANTS 50K…. only 29 miles really.
G’Day to one and all, on this very nice Monday in Oakhurst, California!
I have just returned from the Fish Camp area where Frank and I removed ribbons. Thanks to a few nice runners, it was less of a job than I thought. Runners had removed 80% of the orange tape before I arrived. We must keep the Forest clean.
OK, where do we start with this story! As you all know by now, including the runners who didn’t make the 22nd Annual running of the Shadow, we had a tough couple of weeks. With my good luck we were able to congregate at Green Meadows for a magical event. At the popular pre-race dinner I explained the new Plan C course details. Our bad winter weather, including over 30 inches of snow in the Fish Camp area, really played havoc with my original course. The new course had a main-road crossing with the 11 mile loop on Miami Motor Bike Trails, all areas of danger for runners, but because I lead a clean and quiet life style we had no mishaps! Of course, the 30 or so volunteers did help some! One runner decided his head was strong enough to challenge a tree branch and ended up in the local Oakhurst emergency room with 12 staples required to hold his noggin together. But he returned to Green Meadows to enjoy the entertainment and no legal action…. Many thanks mate.
Yes, we had our usual turnout of good runners. My mate and past 6 time winner Oswaldo Lopez did his usual appearance 30 minutes before the start along with running mate Benny Madrigal. My long time good mate Bruce LaBelle finally made it to Fish Camp as did Hal Koerner with wife Carly. One never knows who may turn up. I know the first timers where ready to rumble! To those who expected an accurate 50K course – tough – 29 miles is an ultra. Come back again maybe I can add a few miles! Over the years we have had many distances, but no one really complains. It’s just tough to have a course record that stands.
So, we got started in a slight drizzle with 121 smiling faces on the start-line. Boy was I happy to see them run out of GM after 2 tough weeks. I raced round to the highway 41 crossing in down town Fish Camp where Nancy and her twin Susan were handling the danger of crossing a main highway! All the runners were still happy and those who offered verbal abuse to the RD will be named later.
I then drove South to help Big Mike set up the first aid station. The front runners arrived on time and didn’t stop to wine and dine. I then took off again with McDoogal in tow to set up his station, Karen my long time helper arrived on time. Finally, my mates from Fresno - Brandon and young Chris followed me down a couple of hills to their station at the lowest point of the course. Actually, it was a nice bridge crossing with fast flowing water, trouble was the front runners had beaten us there and so we had to refuel them on one of the steep climbs up from the river. No problems. Nice surprise was to see my OC mate Michelle Barton charging up the long hill in third place and only minutes behind Hal and Ozzie baby. She was smiling and shouted "I love your new course".
By the time I hit the course again the front-runners had reached McDoogal and were heading North. I stopped at Big Mike’s station and he shouted “They had gone through heading up to Fish Camp”. Back in Green Meadows my good mates Stef and the young twins from Orange County had prepared the aid station. The 2 speedsters arrived together and left together heading for the Dump turn around point. I arrived there to find the volunteers were not at the right location, but only a 100 yards away. So a quick move and all was reset and ready for the leaders and only a minute or two later they arrived.
Big Hal had taking a 200 meter lead and Ozzie had removed his shirt, both now a little intense, because the final downhill was around the corner. By the time I returned to GM they had both finished, were chatting and going over respective stories of the race. Both enjoyed the new course and the bad conditions were not a factor. Hal considered it a little more than a challenge in prep for WS, but praised Oswaldo. Miss Hair arrived in GM with a fan fare of cheers to finish third overall and another win from the talented mum. Ken Letterie came in smiling and happy to be the third man. Second women overall, Hal’s wife Carly was 48 minutes behind Miss Red Blur and third was Christy Scott only 6 minutes further back.
Sorry I was missing some age group awards, my good mate in OC missed a few medals in the short time he had to make them. I will get them made and sent. All the award winners were very happy, including me ole mate Frank who won the over 60 age group. His support for the race over the years has really helped Bazza, nice for an old champ to still be competitive as well as a good helper. “He’ll be back.” The raffle was gleefully accepted, most who were there got something.
My one problem area after the race was those who want to start early and putting them into the respective time slot…. adding an hour, etc. My decision is there will be no awards for those starting early. I know you want to finish and that is OK with me and I will be at the finish line. It was nice to see my long time mate Pat DiVita finish… she has had a tough year.
All my volunteers did magic work in conditions not usually known for this time of year in California. Again no problems and all runners were accounted for back at GM. Green Meadows offers the best location for a race in the Sierras. We thank all the cooking staff for the magic food, especially the homemade soups and cold beer after the race. They are worth every penny I give them!!!
My photographer mate Mark Haymond was seen in many places on the course. Please check out his magic photos on www.markhaymond.smugmug.com Thanks Mark, especially for spending your birthday working in the rain all day!
I want to thank one and all for the kind words and appreciation I received for organizing the event. Uncle weather is a problem at 5,000 feet. Next year I will schedule a week later (June 9, 2012) hopefully to return to our original course that includes visiting the Giant Sequoias in the Nelder Grove. I look forward to seeing you all again soon. Please visit my web site at www.bigbaztrailraces.com for up-to-date race schedules for the rest of the year.
Thanks for coming. It
was Magic. Much Love Big BAZ XXX
2011 SHADOW OF THE GIANTS 50K RESULTS