Friday, December 31, 2010

Winthrop Marathon and Half Marathon Registration Opens

Registration is now open for the Winthrop Marathon and Half Marathon. I expect these races will sell out well before the sept 25th race date.

New for 2011 there will be a half marathon option that has 635ft of loss, 188 ft of gain and a net loss of 447ft.

By the way, I looked to see how the 2010 Winthrop Marathon's 24.5% Boston Qualifier rate compared to the the fastest races in country and little ol' Winthrop is right up there with the very best! 24.5% is better than Foot Traffic Flat(Portland,or), Eugene and any other marathon in the northwest and if it qualified for the list it 24.5% would have placed it 12th in country! To qualify for the list compiled by marathon guide the race must have at least 250 finishers . Anyhow great job to all the finishers of the inaugural Winthrop Marathon-- I think we got off to a pretty good start!

2011 Yakima Skyline Rim 50k & 25k

Come April you're gonna be sick of the clouds, of the rain, of running through puddles and wet brush. You're gonna be tired of being socked in and covered in mud. You're gonna hate the dark, dreary days and you'll be thinking summer will never arrive. Unless, that is you either live on the East side of the Cascades or you make frequent pilgrimages there. Heading East of the crest you can get a decent dose of Vitamin D and at least temporarily fend of the 9 month long winter blues of the Pacific Northwest. I know this because I've been there. It got so bad for me I moved to the sunnyside.

For those of you who have not yet been enlightened or who are trapped for one reason or another on the wet(sic) side of the hill I have created a cure for your plight(though it's only tempoary). The Yakima Rim Skyline 50k and 25k is your saviour when you need one the most. The sun shines there on that high open ridgeline. It really does. Yes in April. There's no mud either or wet brush that soaks you to the core. You can see forever and it feels good!

Sure the trail is steep and hard and relentless and has more elevation gain than Orcas Island but at least you can see where you're going and where you've been. With each climb you're rewarded with ever expanding views of the Columbia Highlands, the Yakima River Canyon and the Cascade Mountains including Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and the Stuart Range. Also as you climb in and out the Umtanum and Roza creek valleys you see the ecosystem change before your eyes. And the ridge running here is liberating and invigorating.

I've chosen each of my races very carefully and I love them all but this one stands out from the rest by allowing the runners to run moderately high(3500ft) in the mountains early in the year snow free and by being such a great escape of the seemingly endless of winter. Summer starts early in the Rainshadow-- April 3rd at the Yakima Skyline Rim 50k and 25k!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 Cle Elum 50k & 25k Registration Open

Cle Elum 50k and 25k Registration now open at Databar Events.

2011 Gorge Waterfalls 50k

The Gorge Waterfalls 50k is crazy full of waterfalls! There are so many I lost count! The course goes right past Wahkeena Falls, Fairy Falls, Multnomah Falls, Oneonta Falls, Elowah Falls, Dry Falls and a bunch that I can't remember the names of. Oh, and don't forget that the course goes right under Ponytail Falls(see above photo)!

The point-to-point course is nearly all super fun single track trail that winds is way along the base of the Cascades Mountains where they come down on the Oregon side to meet the mighty Columbia River. The route is mostly in deep old forest with some enormous trees and moss is everywhere (in some places covering every inch of the surrounding ground). We are certain elves and gnomes live here. Occasionally the trail will pop out of the trees and you'll get great views of the river and the mountains towering above it.

I can't think of another race in the United States that is like this one and with out any major climbs(except the first one: 1500ft in two miles) this run should be pretty quick and enjoyable for everyone!

All the details at the website:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Sun Mountain Registration Now Open

The registration for the Sun Mountain 50m/50k/25k/1k is now open: click here

Be sure to note the date change for this year's race: May 22 2011

Registration and more info on all our other races is coming along quickly so stay tuned for all the latest. To be sure you don't miss a thing sign up for the Rainshadow Running Newsletter and or "Friend" Rainshadow Running on Facebook.

2011 Snow Fun 35m/22m

The Snow Fun 35m/22m will be unlike any race you have ever done before. In the Methow Valley and North Cascades we are fortunate to have hundreds of miles of trails to run year round-- yes even in the winter when there is 2-5(or more!)feet of snow on the ground. "How is this possible" you ask. "Snowmobiles." "What?" "Yes, Snowmobiles... well actually to be more accurate the snow cats that groom hundreds of miles of mountain forest service roads to be used for snowmobiles." You might then ask "but who wants to run with a bunch of noisy and stinky snowmobiles?" Well you might be surprised but despite the beautiful scenery, amazing views, and easy access I rarely see more than a couple snowmobiles on one run(even on runs that take all day)! And thanks to the grooming which is done frequently there is a wide and compact surface to run on in your normal trail shoes that is neither slippery or so soft that you sink into the snow-- it's like running on a wide, white, soft trail.

This course starts near the tiny town of Carlton in the world famous Methow Valley at the S. Fork Gold Creek Sno Park at an elevation of 2000ft and climbs 11 miles up to a gap in the Chelan Sawtooth Ridge at 5800ft. At this gap the 22 milers turn around enjoying the long descent all the way back to the sno park and the 35 milers continue another 6.5 miles to their turnaround point which is at 6550ft on top of Coyote Ridge. Those runners taking the longer option get views down to the narrow and deep Lake Chelan and near 360 degree views of the North Cascades, Chelan Sawtooths, and Okanogans. The 22 milers also get nice views but not as cool as the 35 milers--go further if you can!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 Cle Elum

Join fellow runners on the 16th annual Cle Elum Ridge 50K(actual gps measured distance 30.9 mi) trail race that provides beautiful scenery along with challenging terrain with approximately 7000 feet of elevation gain or the 2nd annual 25k (actual gps measured distance 17.0 mi) with approximately 3900 ft of gain which also has a few nice views and rugged trails.

Entry Total: Limited to 200 runners.

When: Saturday, June 25th, 2011, 8:00 am (for 50k runners only there also is an early start available at 7:00 am).

Where: Wenatchee National Forest, south of Cle Elum, WA. The Start/Finish area is at the Taneum Junction Campground and the courses use the following trails: the South Cle Elum Ridge(#1326) and the North Fork Taneum Creek (#1377). The Green Trails Maps #240 and #241 show the entire course. Click here for Driving Directions

Entry Fees: 50k: $55 or $65 after June 1st; 25k $45 or $55 after June 1st. Register(coming soon!) at Databar Events

Refund Policy: Full refund if requested by 9/01/10 after that date refunds might be possible depending on circumstances. Entry Fees can usually be transfered to another runner or be used at a future Rainshadow Running race.

T-Shirt: A short-sleeved patagonia capilene 1 t-shirt is available for an additional $23 in mens and womens sizes. The to get a t-shirt you must be registered by the end of the day on June 1st 2011.

Cutoff Time: 5:00 pm (9 hours or 10 hours for early starters).

Awards: For the 50k we provide awards to first place finishers for men and women in each age group plus random drawing for prizes. For the 25k there will be just random drawing prizes. You must be present to receive your award.

Post Race Food: Once again we'll have a yummy post race meal at no extra cost to you or your family

Race Director: email James Varner at

photo credit: Glenn Tachiyama

Monday, December 27, 2010

2011 Sun Mountain Races

After having the races in April the first year and June the 2nd year the 3rd annual Sun Mountain Trail Races will now be moving to May-- Sunday May 22 to be exact. Hopefully this will be the permanent date for the race from now on.

One great thing about moving the race to May will be that the "sunflowers" (Balsam Root) will be in full bloom! And the weather is usually perfect(not too hot, not too cold) in May at the elevations the races take place at (2000-3800ft).

The Date will not be the only change, The 50m course will no longer be a point to point but will now be a loop course that starts and finishes at Sun Mountain like all the other courses--50m course will run the same exact route as the 50k(which will be almost exactly the same as last year but the first and last few miles of the race will be different) plus will do an additional 19 mile "lollipop" style route in the same area of the second half of MVSTA's Sunflower Trail Marathon. This change will eliminate all the road running the 50m runners had to do last year to go from the Twisp River Trail to the Sun Mountain Trail System--it also means the 50m runners won't have to take a bus to the start anymore!

The pictures are from last year's Sunflower Trail Marathon and Relay(the 1st weekend of May) that runs right through Sun Mountian and follows the same partially the same route as the Sun Mountain Races. Photo Credit: Kristen Smith of MVSTA

Monday, December 20, 2010

update for 2011

i had a question from a runner that is probably similar to what others are wondering so i thought i'd repost the question and my answer here.

Q: Are your spring races and dates on the Rainshadow site 100% certain?

A: i wish they were 100% certain. the process is taking longer than i thought but that being said i would be surprised if any of them didn't happen as planned.

snow fun could be done as a fat ass so even if i didn't get a permit for a race i'd still put it on as a free fun run.

as for the gorge waterfalls 50k in march... this one is probably the coolest of all the spring races but is also the one that i'm most worried about but i think no matter what they'll give me a permit--i'm just worried they'll put some silly restrictions on the race(like the nearby forest service has done to the mt hood races). it's a popular area so i understand their caution but the reason why it's popular is why it's gonna be one of the coolest races in country! no race in the country that i know of will have more big waterfalls on course!

so far everything seems like it'll be fine for the yakima skyline race in april but the land managers have been dragging their feet(i think they were busy this fall with hunting stuff).

sun mountain in may will happen i'm just waiting to hear about my changes to the 50m route but no matter what i'll be able to work something out.

as for beacon rock in june i'm also just waiting for approval of the route but the park seems pretty open to the idea of a 50k there so i'm sure we can work something out.

as for the rest of the year, (cle elum, angels staircase, no cascades pct, winthrop marathon and half marathon, mt spokane, xmas at the end of the road 5k and decpetion pass) the only one i that i forsee having a tough time getting a permit is no cascades pct(again b/c it's such a popular area) but even if i don't get a permit we'll do it as a free fun run with a 75 person limit. in general all the land managers have been initially favorable in responses but they've been a little slow moving and i've been very slow moving due to juggling so many new races at the same time. but i think we're on verge of getting signed permits on a lot of these so as that happens i'll start opening registration and putting up all the details on the website.