Born To Run Ultramarathon, Los Olivos, California – 50k, 100k and 100 miles, May 17, 2014

Lphoto1 (1)[By Amy Dedic] My husband and I had decided we wanted to do something big for our 10th wedding anniversary. Somehow we found out about the Born To Run Ultra and we knew a trip to California was the answer.

Emir and I decided that our celebration would include running our first 100k ultramarathon, at Born To Run, and follow that with a road trip to San Francisco, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Hoover Dam, and end in Vegas.

The Born to Run race is definitely a one of a kind experience. The entire event takes place on a ranch in Los Olivos, California. Runners camp at the ranch for several days. On Thursday and Friday there was music, beer races and scavenger hunts and of course plenty of food and drinking. There are people selling all kinds of unique running and Born To Run items, a man doing real tattoos and an amazing Mexican food truck. The main event took place on Saturday May 17. This year’s distances were 10 miles, 50k, 100k and 100 miles.

We arrived at the ranch Friday evening in our rented camper van. As we drove into the ranch, we started to descend down a big hill and what we saw made both of us say “wow! This is so awesome!” in complete unison. Down below were tons of tents, cars, RVs, vans and people. It was a huge village of ultrarunners.

After we set up our campsite, we headed to the start area which had a wooden stage setup. We enjoyed some beer, tacos and the music of Metalachi (a heavy metal, mariachi band) who were awesome!

Saturday morning we were awakened by a gunshot by race director Luis Escobar followed by Mariachi music blasting from the speakers at about 4:40 AM. By 6 we were out on the trails. The course consists of two beautiful 10 mile loops all on the ranch. Both loops lead back into the camping area. Aid stations are accessible every few miles and were fully stocked with anything you could want or need. The trail was not very technical, completely runnable. There were however plenty of tough elevation gain. I ended up with about 7500’ in ascent over my 100k.

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I had many ups and downs physically and mentally throughout the race. The excitement and energy every time I came back through camp was awesome and would really help push me back out onto the course for the next loop. I also ended up with amazing support from a group of runners who had set up camp next to us. They ran the shorter distance races so they were hanging out at camp, partying.  Every time I came in they gave me water, ice, food, sprayed me down – whatever I needed, they helped me with. The one girl even waited for me at the finish line to greet me as I finished, since she knew Emir was still on the course. I had never met them until my first time through camp, and I will probably never see them again, but I owe a lot to them for helping me survive my first 100k.

Lphoto3The day started out with temperatures in the 50s. However, as the sun came out, it quickly rose into the 90s. So I just kept trying to keep moving along as best I could, drinking tons of water, Tailwind, eating occasionally and pouring tons of water on myself in between the spray-downs at aid stations. I walked when I needed to, which was really only long, steep hills. Anytime I started to get doubts in myself or feeling like I wanted to stop, I thought back mostly to the waiver I signed and the oath at the beginning of the race. Both with the statement “If I get lost, injured or die-It’s my own damn fault.” Knowing that no one was going to come help me was pretty good motivation to carry on.

Eventually I made it to the finish with a time of 12:57.33. I found out later when the results were published that I was 3rd overall female! Emir came in at 13:44. It was an amazing feeling to have finished not only our first 100k, but a tough race at that. The finishers’ necklaces were unique handmade amulets, a very nice touch.

photo2We sponged off a bit of dirt, grabbed a few beers and some giant burritos, and settled in to watch the band that was playing on stage. The crowd was pumped, and we would periodically all stop in our tracks to cheer for 100-milers coming through camp on their way out to another loop. In the morning we all watched as a bunch of the 100 milers finished, what an accomplishment!

I loved the atmosphere and camaraderie Born To Run created amongst the runners. It definitely highlights the things us crazy ultrarunners have in common. We love to run hard, but we love to have fun and party hard too, all while demonstrating the utmost support and respect for each other no matter what. My only regret is that we didn’t plan to arrive at the event sooner. I didn’t realize how many people would be there since late Wednesday/early Thursday. I also thought we would have plenty of hanging out party time after our race which, thinking about it now, I don’t know why I thought that. By the time Emir finished it was closing in on 8pm so while we had a couple hours of fun, we just felt like we didn’t get enough of the whole experience.

First place finishers were:

50k:

1st male: Nick Coury, Phoenix, AZ, 3:17:15

1st female: Lauren Besenfelder, Scottsdale, AZ, 3:55:32

100k:

1st male: Miguel Lara Viniegras, Mexico, 9:00:54

1st female: Sarah Moore, Aliso Viejo, CA 11:23:38

100 mile: 

1st male: Neil Feerick, Coronado, CA 17:00:33

1st female: Jenn Shelton, Durango, CO 19:06:22 (3rd overall)

You can find the complete Born to Run ultramarathon 2014 race results here.

There will be a few changes in the race distances for 2015: 10M, 30M, 60M, 100M and 200M courses.  The 200 milers will start Thursday, 100 milers Friday and the rest will start on Saturday.  Registration is already open for May 2015 and will be closed at 500 runners so sign up here!

Amy Dedic (aka @marathonmom217) and her husband, Emir, are ultrarunners who manage to juggle their training with parenting two young children. Find her on her MarathonMom blog.