Chuckanut 50km Sidelines

Chuckanut 50km Sidelines

It was settled; the house was booked, the deposit was made and it was another Fraser Street Run Club race/field trip down to wonderful Fairhaven, Washington for the annual Chuckanut 50k race.

After racing it last year, I was looking forward to this race for quite some time. The terrain is mostly runnable, well organized, and tones of great volunteers make it an excellent event overall.

Unfortunately this time around,  I was dealing with a knee injury that prevented me from running the race.

After some thought on whether or not I should even go down to Fairhaven, my wife (who was also dealing with returning from an injury) said she was going to give it a shot anyway. Also, our little running club (FSRC) had about 8 people who were racing, so I decided to head down with the group for support.  This was a great decision- I had so much fun!

We all got into town on the Friday night, as it is only a few hours drive from Vancouver.  Once we arrived, we settled into our 2 bedroom rancher on the lake and Michelle warmed up her pre- race dinner for everyone;  sweet potato Shepard’s pie!  The next morning was an early one, everyone had to be at the start area for just after 7 am.  After hanging out at the start area for a while with our crew,  I took our two dogs and drove to the first aid station at the 11 k mark with extra bottles and fuel for some of our racers.

The first runner through the 11km mark was Nike elite trail runner David Laney at 39 mins at about a 3:32 pace (per km). ‘Dang, that dude is quick!’ The first of our crew was Cody in 8th place.  He had a great race last year, placing 6th overall. Right after the race last year, he had a bad foot injury which almost took him out for the whole season.  It was great to see him racing again with a smile.

Next from our group was Mark Lister, humming along and chatting with others, then Ben, Greg, Kat, Michelle, Andrea, and  Martina.  Everyone was looking good and were smiling away.  I was worried that since I wasn’t racing, I would get a little bummed and feel left out, but that wasn’t the case at all! I was having a great time cheering, high fiving and just being in the open air.

After everyone that was racing was thru the first aid station, I decided to head back to the car, let the dogs out and go for a little run myself. I decided to run the course from the first to the second aid station.  It was a nice little climb with some more rolling trails nestled into a very lush fern filled rainforest.  Quintessential Pacific Northwest! After I got my run fix for the day, I met up with my friend Thomas and we went back to cheering on the racers.

We hiked into the woods just a bit before the last aid station and set up camp. We had our own little aid station set up: cookies, gels, water, electrolytes, gin gins, fig bars.  After being out there for over 2 hours, most of our group had come thru except for my wife Michelle and good buddy Ben. We continued to wait, but still no sign of either of them. I eventually received a text saying Michelle had dropped and was at the finish line.  We decided to wait a bit longer for Ben, but after another 30-45 minutes still, he did not show.

Finally, Thomas and I were too cold from standing around for hrs hours so we decided to pack it in. When we drove back to the start line and entered the parking lot, we crossed paths with the missing Ben driving out the start area parking lot! We both threw our hands up while driving past each other, faces showing looks of puzzlement. Turns out both Ben and Michelle dropped at 33km.

Everyone did so well and it was a couple people’s first 50k too! That night we decided to celebrate, we all went out for some great dinner and craft beer.  After giving our weekend rental home a good clean, we set off for our drive back to Canada.  What a great weekend! Everyone had a great time and it just goes to show even if you aren’t able to race, just simply being around that environment helping out can be just as fun and rewarding. I am now looking look forward to the next time where I can be a part of the race experience. Whether racing, helping with crewing/pacing duties or even just on the side lines cheering.

Jesse Booi
Kintec Race Team

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