by Tim Hebert, Fort Collins Roost Race Team Member
The plan was to take a long weekend away without the kids and head to the beach for some relaxation. My wife’s focus was sitting on the beach and watching the waves roll in. My first thought was race on Saturday morning. The wife agreed I could run as long as I didn’t wake her up when I was leaving for the race. I found this 10K online that looked fun and contacted the race director with some questions. It turned out Jeff Stoner, the race director, actually lives in Colorado and travels to California for the race series. We had a great conversation and he provided me with some needed information.
When I arrived at the race I asked some questions about the course since there were a good number of turns and I was not familiar with the course at all. Jeff came over and helped me orient myself with the area and course. The entire 10K would be on dirt, but think packed dirt that ran more like pavement for the most part. The weather was great, 58 degrees, overcast, and some occasional moisture.
Not knowing the local runners I put myself in the second row at the start and flowed with a pack of 3 runners for a couple hundred yards before moving to the front. I worked through some rolling hills and headed down a quick hair pin addition to the course. When I made the 180 degree turn I could tell the pack of 3 runners was not going to come after me as they were already 40 yards back. We took a long turn and headed west. The mile felt comfortable at 5:35. The next 2 miles worked under I-5 and headed to the ocean. The course followed the edge of a lagoon until we were about a block away from the ocean working our way to the end of a boardwalk and took the 2nd of our 180 degree turns. This turn had me concerned as the boardwalk just abruptly ended and was surrounded on 3 sides by water. After a gingerly turn I headed back the way I came for 2 miles. During the trip back I was able to see the entire field which is always fun. It’s fun to have all of these people you don’t know cheer you on. This helped to keep the pace quick. Around the 4.5 mile mark I started to pick up 5K runners that had started after the 10K. Having people to pass helps to keep the motivation high. We had one more finger out past a horse arena with our final 180 degree turn and a long straight away headed to the finish. I was proudly sporting my Roost gear as I crossed the finish line a little more than 3 minutes in front of 2nd place.
The course was amazing with the soft surface and amazing views. This is on the list of my favorite vacation runs for sure. The race was very well organized and in a great location.
I had some great conversations with the local runners after the race and was able to give some input on some training questions some of the runners sent my way. I’m always encouraged by how friendly and inviting runners are where I travel in the world.
Prizes were great in my opinion as they were small and fit in my suitcase easily: a large finisher medal, a shot glass, a beer bottle opener and a Runner’s Roost Gift Card. Jeff, the race director, arranged for the gift card knowing I would not be visiting the local running store before I headed back to Colorado.
The only downsides to the race were the 3 different 180 degree turns though I understand they couldn’t be avoided with the layout of the natural area. The course was way long at 6.4 miles so the first additional hair pin turn could have been eliminated which would bring the course closer to the 10K distance.
This was an amazing way to start a vacation and I would run this race again for sure. The race is a part of an Endurance Race Series and may be worth a look for other runners headed to California next winter as they are very well organized.