More Miles in Chiles, Orcas Island 100 Mi, Chocolatathon 5k, Two for the Road 5k and Love Em or Leave Em 5k!!

Wednesday, January 31 – Continuing to represent in indoor track, Rachel competed in another Miles in Chiles Indoor Mile, taking another W in an incredible time of 5:19.3, edging out 2nd place’s Kyla Becker in 5:20.6!Friday through Saturday, February 9-10 – Alex Giebelhaus competed in Rainshadow’s Orcas Island 100 Mile over the weekend, taking 26th M in a time of 28:09:52. In order to qualify for Orcas, racers must have completed a trail 50-miler with at least 7,000 ft of elevation gain in the last year and/or a trail 100k with at least 8,500 ft. of gain and/or a trail 100-miler -and- all participants in the 100 mile are required to volunteer on trails for at least 8 hours. We love this. The Orcas Island 100 Mile consists of five 25.2 mile loops. “Orcas is a special island. More rugged than Lopez yet less crowded than San Juan Island, it has struck a delicate balance between friendliness and frostiness, development and preservation, tourist dollars and priceless privacy – for the time being at least. The growth of tourism is a distinctly modern development and an inevitable consequence of Orcas’ refreshing get-away-from-it-all location. With that said, the Orcas Island 100 Mile Ultra is the place to be.” Gabe Joyes of Lander, WY won the 100 Mile in an incredible 19:39:24. The Female winner and 15th Overall was Jordan Wirfs-Brock of Golden, CO, finishing in a time of 24:41:27. Full results can be found HERE!

Saturday, February 10 – Rachel Cundy, who has been crushing it in Oregon, raced the Chocolatathon 5k in Cook Park in Tigard, taking 1st F and winning herself a luscious pineapple! Way to go Rachel!

Photo Cred: David Robb

Saturday, February 10The Greater Bellingham Running Club (GBRC) hosted their Valentine’s Day race, Two for the Road, at Whatcom Falls Park on Saturday; Hazel Clapp, alongside her husband, Caleb, raced, placing 1st in the Couple’s Division and 5th Overall. Also…they broke the couple’s course record! Sunday, February 11 – Courtney Olsen raced the Love Em or Leave Em 5k in Seattle, WA, placing 1st F, and bettering her 5k time to 16:57. The Valentine’s Day themed race hosts a 5k & 10k, and is held at Green Lake Park. 2nd place F in the 5k was Bellingham native Bronwyn Crossman in 17:08, after having competed in a UW Indoor Mile the Friday before. The men’s 5k winner was Roman Kirkov in 15:27. The men’s and women’s 10k winners were the fabulous Sophia Liu as she trains for the Boston Marathon, winning in a time of 36:42, and Evan Williams, who won the 10k in 31:45. The post race festivities are kickass, with mimosas, wine, beer, chocolate brownies and a costume contest. Partial proceeds from the event are given to Green Lake Chamber of Commerce. RESULTS!

Up next weekend – the Fragrance Lake 1/2 Marathon and the Woolley Trail Runs 50k!!

Miles in Chiles, Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass 50k and the Orcas Island 25k!!

With athletes braving the dreaded indoor track hack, and the rain and wind storms that is Bellingham winter, we wanted to give a little shout out to them and their performances this past month. If you haven’t already caught up with earlier January performances, check out our latest blog highlighting “Nookachamps Winter Runs & the Sandelie Golf Course Mud Run!” We’re really proud of the accomplishments of these athletes, because training to race in the winter and racing in the winter isn’t easy, what with short daylight hours, poor weather, and less than perfect race conditions. Forever inspired. We also want to thank the race organizers and volunteers who brave these very conditions for the sake of the athletes and the community, because their job isn’t easy, and standing in such (in our opinion), is a little bit worse than running in it!

Wednesday, January 17 – Representing BDP in indoor track, Rachel kicked ass mid-month at the Miles in Chiles Mile, at the University of Portland’s Chiles Center in Portland, OR, as she continues her studies. Taking the lead at the 800, she powered on for the W – her only goal to have fun and practice racing tactics. The Miles in Chiles is an indoor track series and all comers meet for high schoolers and up. Races, which include a rolling schedule of 200, 400, 800 and the Mile, will continue rolling on January 31st, February 7th and February 14th.

Saturday, January 20 – In what might be one of the best race names ever, Alex Giebelhaus laid some serious work at the 15th Annual Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass 50k, taking 5th behind Isaiah Hemmen, Dave Mitchell, Tony Hawkes and the winner, Adam Hewey of Seattle, WA. The finish earns Giebelhaus a shiny new PR at the distance (4:49), taking a near hour off his time from last year, and an hour and a half off his time before that…and this wasn’t exactly a 50k – it was a 34 miler! “The Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass has two distance options, 17 miles or 34 miles…You will need to be self-supported, so no WHINING!” We want to thank South Puget Sound Search and Rescue (SPSMSAR) for their continued support for Capitol Peak Ultras events. What’s rad about the event is that they request everyone bring either a can of chicken noodle soup or butternut squash soup for a community soup feed.

Full results can be found HERE!

Photo Cred: Tad Davis

Saturday, January 27 – Female power abounded at Rainshadow Running’s Orcas Island 25k with Scarlett Graham taking 3rd F/13th Overall and Maria Dalzot in 1st/5th Overall. “The Orcas Island 25k is unique in the trail running world, with old-growth forests, tough climbs, and spectacular views of surrounding islands, mountains, and Puget Sound – but what truly sets it apart is the chance to hang out all weekend on a gorgeous island with your trail runner friends. These are the oldest of all the Rainshadow Running raecs – Races that will leave you wondering: Why run anywhere else?” To see the ever-beautiful capture of athletes in their element, check out Tad Davis’ photographs HERE!

Photo Cred: Tad Davis

Full Results for the Orcas Island 25k can be found HERE!

Nookachamps Winter Runs & the Sandelie Golf Course Mud Run!

Saturday January 13, 2018 – The 39th Annual Nookachamps Winter Runs took place in Mt. Vernon, WA, with a 5k, 10k and 1/2 Marathon. BDP had athletes in all distances, with Derek Thornton in the 5k – 2nd Place in 17:56, second to Casey Barten who won in a time of 17:20. David Larpenteur was 2nd in the 10k in 35:54 to Kurt Warwick in 35:42, after taking a wrong turn and fighting his way back up. Katelyn Steen, who raced alongside her father for his birthday, was 1st F/6th Overall in the 10k in 39:09. Shawn Bussert was 3rd in the 1/2 Marathon and 1st Masters in 1:25:34. Hazel Clapp was 1st F/5th Overall in the 1/2 Marathon, bettering her previous 1/2 Marathon record by over 3 minutes to finish in a time of 1:26:36. Alex Giebelhaus, who is currently training for some big ultras, including the Orcas Island 100 Mi on February 9th worked on some speed in the 1/2 Marathon, placing 6th, closing in the 5:50’s and finishing in 1:26:52.

Full Results can be found HERE!

Saturday January 13, 2018 – The same day was host to the Sandelie Golf Course Mud Run in West Linn, OR, where teammate Rachel Cundy dominated, taking 1st F/5th Overall in the 5k in 21:19. What made it even more special, was that 2018 would be the last year for the Sandelie Mud Run. The cross-country style 5k & 10k takes place on a wet and muddy golf course, the kicker being that you can’t wear spikes. Though not a course for fast times, Rachel had a lot of fun slipping around in the mud and considered it a wonderful way to incorporate strength work. A portion of all proceeds benefited the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.

Full Results can be found HERE!

Graham Takes 2nd at the Deception Pass 25k!

Sunday, December 10, 2017 – Rainshadow Running hosted the Deception Pass 25k at Deception Pass State Park in Washington. The sold out race is known for its rugged coastline, steep cliffs, dense forests and great views, as well as being one of RS’ “faster” courses with 3,000 feet in elevation gain. “The race covers just about every inch of the park, running at times right at sea level and other times high above on bluffs and hills and twice crosses the pass itself via the historic Deception Pass Bridge, which sits about 180 feet above the water.” Scarlett set off at 8:30 am on Sunday from the West Point Amphitheater (the race also hosts a 50k and kids 1k race).

Scarlett had a phenomenal day, taking 2nd F behind Bothell’s Paige Pattillo (Graham ran a 2:17:20, Pattillo ran a 2:08:34), and 7th OA. The overall winner was Joshua Musson of Juneau, AK, followed by Dave Melanson from Squamish, BC in 2nd, and Mike Orton of Seattle, WA in 3rd. 2017 Results can be found HERE!

Rainshadow Running is known for their great post race parties, and encourage people to stay post their race to cheer on other racers as they come in. They had live bluegrass music, fresh, wood-fired pizza by Pizza Jim & Co., and more.

Congrats to all the racers in the 1k, 25k and 50k, and many thanks to Rainshadow Running for yet another incredible event!

Holy Turkey Trots!

Photo by: Matthew McKinnon

Thanksgiving 2017 was host to many, many trots. There was the GBRC Turkey Trot which benefits the Bellingham Food Bank, where Hazel placed 2nd! RESULTS! There was the Mukilteo Turkey Trot 5k and 10k in Harbour Pointe, Mukilteo, WA, where in a downpour and windstorm Rachel took 1st in the 5k, and Courtney took 1st in the 10k, winning themselves some pumpkin pie. RESULTS!

Photo by: Frank Cone

Photo by: Run Wenatchee

There was the Wenatchee Turkey on the Run 5k and 12k, where Derek took 1st in the 5k, and Scarlett took 3rd in the 12k amidst a thick fog. RESULTS! There was the 11th Annual Seattle Turkey Trot, which benefits the Ballard Food Bank, where Aly kicked ass alongside some friends (RESULTS unknown). The race raised over $150,000 for the Ballard Food Bank! Leighton ran for a cause as well, participating in Kennewick’s The Gesa Credit Union Turkey Trot Family 5k, which benefits the American Red Cross serving Central and Southeastern WA…yeah, I’m pretty sure half the team raced over Thanksgiving…Happy Holidays to you and yours!

The North Face Challenge 50 Mi feat. Corrine Malcolm!

*Photo above by @nbthemountains

Saturday, November 18, 2017
– “Located in the visually stunning Marin Headlands, The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship course engages runners with both scenic views and drastic elevation change.” Our teammate, Corrine, toed the line at 5:00 am in Sausalito, for The North Face Challenge 50 Mile race. As most teammates were competing at the USATF NW XC Championships in Portland, OR the same day, a teammate was appointed as tracker, to let all of us know how Corrine was fairing.

From an article posted back in June by Competitor Running, titled, “Big Changes For The North Face Endurance Challenge California,” Allison Pattillo wrote on the changes The North Face Endurance Challenge would see, including a different start date, start and finish location (moving from Fort Barry to a start in Sausalito and a finish across the Golden Gate Bridge in Crissy Field). I particularly liked this tidbit on why changing the date was a good idea: “The new date is a result of the NPS and Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) wanting to avoid events the first weekend of every month. It also means participants will be in post-race recovery mode when it’s time to celebrate Thanksgiving!”

Pattillo goes on to write, “Even though some aspects of the event are different, the $30,000 prize purse remains, with each first place male and female finisher at TNF EC California Gore-Tex 50 Mile going home with $10,000, each male and female second place finisher earning $4,000 and $1,000 for each male and female third place finisher. The North Face also recently signed the Clean Sport Collective pledge, and is committed to having the events in the Endurance Challenge Series being clean, drug-free competitions.” Hell yes.

The 50 Mile field was stacked for both women and men. iRunFar had some excellent and thorough Women’s and Men’s previews documenting the likes of Ida Nilsson, Megan Kimmel, Stephanie Howe Violett, Anne-Lise Rousset, Annie Jean, Clare Gallagher, Anne-Marie Madden, Anna Mae Flynn, Camelia Mayfield, Megan Roche, Kelly Wolf, Renee Metivier, Brittany Peterson, our own Corrine Malcolm as “Other Fast Women to Watch,” plus a slew of others. For the men: Zach Miller, Hayden Hawks, Max King, Paddy O’Leary, Tim Freriks, Mario Mendoza, Chris Mocko, Tyler Sigl, and a huge list of others to keep your eye on. Ok, enough of the backstory, let’s hear how Corrine’s race, and her 2017 season went…


By Corrine Malcolm

I made a promise to myself to create more this year, and now at nearly 90%-ish (!?!?) of the way into 2017 I’m a little bit behind. In part it’s because I was suppose to be writing. I was suppose to be writing a lot. I had thousands of scientific words that were supposed to be constantly flowing out of me. Manuscripts, literature reviews, abstracts, my…thesis. Writing on spectral analysis, Nephrology, sodium receptors, recovery metrics, heat shock proteins. I have not read a book for fun in about as long, because I’ve felt guilty…guilty that I was not reading scientific articles instead. However, in recent months I’ve made some major life changes and I’m happy to be creating words once again.


After much deliberation, I think the best concise way to sum up the forward flailing that has been my 2017 season is through haikus.

Things were very bad
I retired from grad school
yes you heard me right

-Hey Coach-
I got a new job
I will tell you what to do
please go run some more

-An Ode to Bowels-
For the Chuckanut
I spent more time in the ferns
then on the race course

Practice races, fun
pushing off my quads all day
goodbye first toenail

-Pulled off Course-
got a shot in my bottom
so pretty, so sad


Not the teams first choice
fought hard for the team I love
everything hurts now

-Lonely Long Runs-
1-2-0 mile week
solo miles in no-where
must carry bear spray

I am so tired
100 miles is far
how can I do it?


4am race start
Eating battle is the worst
how did I not die?

-Douche Grade-
SF you so mean
please chop off my left leg now
friends won’t let you quit

In essence…2017 was hard. I challenged myself to meet race goals that I knew would test my limits, races that were flatter, faster, and outside my comfort zone. I made a huge life change by ultimately leaving my graduate program to find a future profession that I hope will be healthier, happier, and more satisfying. 2017 I’m glad you’re almost over, because I can not wait to embrace the new things coming down the road in 2018!”

In case you didn’t catch it, Corrine’s experience at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile was revealed in haiku (which I’m obsessed with), and was titled, “Douche Grade.” She elicits, “I had a decidedly rough go at #TNF50…My plan had been to go out conservatively and pick up the carnage in the final 10 miles…that worked until my legs imploded and I became carnage myself. I’ve had some issues all season with my left side and with a quick build up over the last month my imbalances were clear by mile 12 when I came into the Tennessee Valley aid station. I did my best to check my ego and keep it positive as I grew frustrated with myself, but when I got a much needed hug at mile 41 I started crying. It was hard out there, and not in a type 2 fun way…but despite the tears, and the disappointment I’m happy that I toughed it out and got to finish smiling over the Golden Gate Bridge. Thanks to all those who came out to cheer, support, offer me rides, food, and places to stay, you are the community that keeps me running!” Corrine finished 18th F in a time of 8:45:29.

Results from The North Face Challenge 50 Mile: 1. Ida Nilsson (7:07:56) 2. Clare Gallagher (7:12:05) 3. Megan Kimmel (7:19:27) 4. Megan Roche (7:24:09) 5. Brittany Peterson (7:29:49). For the men: 1. Tim Freriks (6:02:26) 2. Zach Miller (6:15:23) 3. Hayden Hawks (6:20:39) 4. Kris Brown (6:32:23) 5. Paddy O’Leary (6:36:07)

*See Corrine’s post on her blog HERE!
*Check out interviews by the top female & male competitors at iRunFar HERE!
*See The North Face Endurance Challenge: California Race Results HERE!
*Featured image on the blog by: nbthemountains


USATF NW Regional XC Championships!

Saturday, November 19, 2017 – USATF NW Regional XC Championships were hosted by Team Red Lizard of Portland, OR, and Stumptown Cross, a series that our teammate, Rachel competed in this fall, balancing racing with her studies in PT in Oregon. The series culminated at Race #5 at Fernhill Park. BDP hosted a full women’s team of (8) athletes, and (1) competitor from the men’s division, Maxx Antush. Carpooling and caravaning, the group left Friday morning, packing with them homemade snacks from our resident baker and nutrition influencer, Nikki; she prepared homemade breads, a healthier version of dog chow (cereal coated in coconut oil and dark chocolate), and various other goodies. The group met up for a course preview and post roadtrip shakeout at Fernhill Park in NE Portland. Gold leaves littered the ground, and though there was a slight chill in the air, the rain never came. After a few loops, a stock up at the grocery store (incl. OR IPA and tangerine juice for post race mimosas), the team settled into their cute airbnb house, a short mile from Fernhill Park. One teammate, Kathryn turned Regionals into a runcation with her family, and were a short jaunt away (they had never been to Oregon before, and made a beautiful trip out of it). Nikki made dinner that satisfied all palates: pasta dressed in pesto, roasted vegetables and beets, chicken, sliced baguette with olive oil and vinegar. After a beer or two for some, a lot of hip opening stretches and butt roll-outs, as well as handfuls of Nikki’s delicious homemade “everything in the pantry” cookies and dried mango slices, everyone filed to bed.In the morning, after bagels, flax peanut butter, bananas and copious amounts of coffee, the team left for the course. Fernhill Park was bathed in low clouds and fog, which enhanced the yellow of the wet leaves even more intensely. The course flagging fluttered in the wind, low fires were built to warm the hands of other teams. Team Red Lizard did an incredible job checking people in. We’re very thankful for their organization and kindness. All women checked in, all excess gear dumped at the base of a tree, the women toed the line. It proved evident that pre-race cheer practice is a must, “BDP” when shouted was not a roar, but a word not matched and seemingly followed by a question mark. Also, someone got elbowed in the head. We’ll work on it.The gun erupted and the women took off; the lead group stayed pretty tight for the first mile, before slight separation arose and clusters formed. The course features two full loops enclosed between two abbreviated loops with slight variances in uphill and downhill, and finished on a track. The star feature were the two hay bales set in place before a slight grass hill. The course can be viewed HERE.

Courtney led BDP with a 6th place finish, followed by Amber in 10th, Brittany in 15th, Kristen in 18th, Nikki in 27th, Scarlett in 42nd, and Kathryn in 45th. After an incredibly exhaustive few weeks of testing, Rachel made the smart decision to drop. As a team BDP took 2nd at the USATF NW Regional Championships with 47 points, behind 1st place team, Club Northwest (A), who had an incredible 19 pts! 117 women competed.

Just a short while later, Maxx, who represented the men’s division as a lone stud, competed in the USATF NW Regional Champs Men’s 10k. After competing in his first XC race of the year two weeks ago at PNTF’s, the day after the snow-saturated Bellingham Trail Marathon, this 10k would surely proffer better energy…and it did! Maxx ended up 32nd out of 117 racers in 33:13 (5:20 pace), bettering his XC 10k time from 2 wks ago, and bettering his XC 10k PR altogether.  Results for the USATF XC Regionals Men’s 10k and Women’s 6k can be found HEREAfter a cooldown, snacks at the house and mimosas, the team went to the Pearl District for a nice walk to stretch their legs, lots of shopping and beer tasting at BackPedal Brewing. “Located in Portland’s Pearl District and boldly directly next door to 10 Barrel Brewing, BackPedal is…the home base of BrewCycle Portland.” For dinner – 10 Barrel Brewing – small bowls of popcorn and deep fried chickpeas. A sampling of the menu, from calamari with pickled kombu and spicy chili garlic sauce, to curry chicken salad with fresh za, to the pubhouse burger and on. A few rounds of beers (always great choices to order: apocalypse, pray for snow, sinistor, but the gintuition sour is good!). After dinner the group disbanded for more food and dessert at Whole Foods, more drinks out, and a cd release party for Polyrhythmics, who are now on tour. In an uber ride home, Courtney and Scarlett got their driver to stop off at Voodoo Donuts for that iconic pink box of delicious donuts, making sure to grab one for the driver, and met the rest of the team back at their airbnb for some late night bonding and donut sampling. In the morning, after cleaning up and checking out, the team drove to St. John’s Bridge, where they ran across the gorgeous green structure, with the Willamette below, climbed a steep set of stairs up into Forest Park, and explored for 10-17 miles the infrastructure and beauty of the park (Forest Park literally has 5000+ acres to explore…). Scarlett planned the route, and did a kickass job navigating. With some traversing the Leif Erickson and others rolling their ankles on the narrow single-track routes of Hardesty and Nature Trail, the team had an incredible time getting in their Sunday LR in a new way, on a new course. The group who needed less mileage took off for home, with Rachel heading back to school, and the group that needed more finished their trip at Homegrown Smoker…It was insane. It’s entirely vegan. 100%. They have things like tempeh ribs and fufish filets and soy curls and breaded tofu and endless styles of burgers and on tap kombucha…Nikki had the Big Kahuna burger (we’re still trying to figure out what constituted the “patty”), with grilled pineapple rings, teriyaki, vegan cheese and slaw, with sweet potato fries and a spicy, creamy dipping sauce. Scarlett had the Buff Burrito with “Smoked chikn,” tempeh bacon, MacNocheese, mozzarella, grilled peppers and onions, spicy buffalo sauce, ranch, raw greens and diced tomato. And Courtney had the Macnocheeto burrito wrapped in a grilled flour tortilla the size of a newborn, with smoked soy curls, BBQ beans, MacNocheese, grilled peppers and onions, and HGS BBQ sauce, with a glass of cold, on tap kombucha.Everyone got back safe and sound to Bellingham, thankful to have spent some quality time together, proud of a 2nd place team finish and hungry for a full XC season in 2018! We can’t wait! Thank you to Team Red Lizard and Stumptown Cross for your wonderful race organization!

*Photos pulled from Jose Sandoval, and Red Lizard’s SmugMug!

Mt. Tam Trail Run, Fowl Fun Run & Fall Cascade 6hr Adventure Race!

A plethora of races kind of just snuck up on us. I thought spring/summer was the happening seasons for our athletes’ race calendar’s…no. Year round. YEAR ROUND BADASSES! On Saturday, November 11th, at Stinson Beach & Mt. Tamalpais State Park in California, our dear Maria Dalzot took 1st Place F/ 4th Overall in the Mt. Tam Trail Run 10k, setting a course PR, and this after having taken quite a bit of time off, nursing a nagging injury, and for the blessed break each one of us needs to remind ourselves to take. “Mt. Tamalpais is the dominating feature in Marin County. Any true trail runner who sees it wants to run up it…Mt. Tam Trail Run begins at Stinson Beach and climbs (and climbs!) to perched views from Tam before returning via some of the best trails the Headlands have to offer until reaching the beach and bountiful post race food.” The 10k hosts 1,650′ in elevation gain…in a mere 6.9 miles (ps: who the heck put another 1/2 mile in there?) A 50k, 30k and 1/2 Marathon accompanied the 10k race the same day. We look forward to Maria’s 2018 and to her continued health! Mt. Tam Trail Run RESULTSOn Saturday, November 11th, taking off from Mount Vernon Christian School in Mt. Vernon, WA, teammates Amber Morrison and Hazel Clapp competed at the 39th Annual Fowl Fun Run presented by Skagit Runners. Having come back from the Snohomish River Run Marathon where she took 1st, and racing her way back to fitness, Morrison took 1st F/ 3rd Overall in the Fowl Fun Run 10k! Hazel Clapp was 3rd Female / 7th Overall, bettering her course PR! On top of all of it, Morrison’s mother also competed, taking 1st in her age group in the 5k, and winning a turkey in the raffle! Fowl Fun Run RESULTSOn Saturday, November 11th, Krank Events hosted their Fall Cascade 6hr Adventure Race in Maple Valley, WA, and our resident adventure racer, Scarlett Graham, alongside teammates Brent Molsberry, Annie Hewlett-Molsberry and Mitchell Harter of Team Quest Race Team, took 2nd to Team Krank. Considered a challenging race on foot and mountain bike, in all there were 59 checkpoints in 6 hours. The race started and finished at Lake Wilderness Park in Maple Valley. Results not yet posted.

Coming this weekend, Corrine Malcolm sets off for The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile. She will start at 5:00 am in Sausalito, CA among a stacked field. Results to come! Also coming this weekend, our women’s team will represent at the USATF Regionals XC Championships, hosted by Team Red Lizard/Stumptown Cross at Fernhill Park in Portland, OR! The women’s 6k race starts at 9 am!

I mean, we have to earn our third helping at Thanksgiving somehow…Good luck to all those racing this weekend and congrats to all those who have accomplished so much in the previous weeks!

Bellingham Trail Marathon & Half!

On Saturday, November 4th, before Daylight Savings gained us an extra hour of morning light, teammates Nikki and Maxx set out to tackle Destination Trail’s Bellingham Trail Marathon; also on tap was Kathryn who competed in the Bellingham Trail 1/2 Marathon, racing for the first time since summer after enduring chronic plantar fasciitis. A few days earlier the sky glowed in purpled light, and a half a foot of snow fell on Bellingham. Race morning, as Nikki and Maxx warmed up in the dark, snow and ice still covered the course. Many trees had fallen due to the premature snow, and though some were removed, many others remained as mid-race hurdles. The Bellingham Trail Marathon started at 7:30 am, and in a cluster of spotted headlamp light, a group of badass trail fans took off, knowing full well that it would be a day for racing and enduring, not for times or splits or specs. Kathryn would start an hour and a half later, after busing to the start of the 1/2 with the other racers, and having the added benefit of light. We’ll start off with Nikki’s Race Report:

“My fall training has been going great; I’ve been having fun jumping into a string of races, starting with a near PR at the Homestead 15k, a fun time chasing Lauren in the rain at Baker Lake 25k, and testing my trail skills on a beautiful day at the Lake Padden Trail 1/2. The Bellingham Trail Marathon hosted by Destination Trail on Nov 4 was set to be the end of a fun season. Candice’s races are notoriously difficult – 26.2 miles with 5000 ft of elevation gain and all of my least favorite trails on Chuckanut definitely sounded like a challenge. To add to the challenge, the Saturday before the race I did a 16 mile training run in the trails, completing it in one of my best times thus far. I felt strong on the climbs, confident; like I was finally becoming a real trail runner. That is until I tripped on a rock descending fast down Lost Lake…I did a full somersault, hit my sacrum on a rock, and got a few nice scratches and bruises. I shook it off as a clumsy mistake and finished the run. I was achy and sore the next few days but figured it was to be expected and was able to do all my training runs as planned. When the cold weather set in on Thursday and Friday I noticed way more soreness and started to worry about whether it would actually hold up for 26.2 miles of trails. With the dropping temps, continued snow, and gusty winds I was starting to panic – a tough course, tough conditions, and a sore back seemed like too much to handle. I hate winter. I’m always cold, not a fan of slippery, muddy trails, and I’m a bit of a chicken. Luckily my coach answered all my desperate emails, my co-workers checked my injury to assure me it was just a bruise, just stiff, and my teammates convinced me to at least show up and give it a try. It’s important to have good friends for your moments of weakness 😉.

Photos by: Takao Suzuki

Saturday morning in the pre-dawn snowy darkness I pick up Courtney and headed to the race.  Walking across the snow to grab my bib in the dark I was convinced I shouldn’t do it. I didn’t even have a headlamp with me for the warm up. But we bumped into Maxx and he was prepared with a nice bright light and after more whining and a few tears in the car, they convinced me to warm up. Bundled up in all my winter clothes, it wasn’t as cold as I expected and the footing in the snow was surprisingly manageable, best of all my back barely hurt.We lined up for final pre-race instructions, they gave a hurried count down, the gun sounded, and we started across the snow covered grass in the dark. The first few miles of trails were dimly lit but all the fellow racers yelled out warnings for trees, rocks, and other hazards, and a few people were smart enough to wear headlamps which helped illuminate the darkest sections. By the time we reached the south side of the lake the sun was up and my nerves were starting to calm. The course was very well marked but the weather had made it a mess with downed trees everywhere and slick spots because of the snow. I knew a fast time wasn’t going to happen and that the conditions were using up more energy than they should. I revised my game plan – stay relentlessly positive, keep calm and keep moving, and give myself grace when the moving was slow – the goal was to prove to myself I could finish.

Photos by: Takao Suzuki

Photos by: Takao Suzuki

With a new mindset and a lot of patience, I carried on down the trails, running when I could, walking when I couldn’t, trying to take it all in stride, and enjoying the gorgeous snow covered trees. My summer European adventure in the Alps came in handy as I actually passed or gapped other runners power hiking. I leap frogged back and forth with the eventual women’s winner, Emily Gordon of Anacortes, and a few very cheerful and kind guys. It was a ‘let’s do this together’ kind of day and everyone was super encouraging and helpful trying to be sure we all navigated the more gnarly sections safely. There were way too many downed trees to count, at best I could clear them with some high stepping and hurdling, at worst it was a full stop and crawl through, climb over. My hat served as good protection from white-washing snow as I ducked under and through the low hanging branches. I think if it weren’t for the trees, the actual footing on the trails was decent, especially for those mountain goat runners with steady feet and technical prowess (I’m not one of them). The slickest section of trail was the upper ridge. Snow was freshly falling and the compacted snow from other runners was re-freezing over the rocks and roots making it especially slick. I was leading Emily when we got to the ridge but fell 5-6x’s in the first section and freaked myself out, so I let her pass and tiptoed my way across cautiously. I knew I was giving up too much time and hoped I could make it up on the more run-able sections of the course, but as I finished the ridge and started down Salal I was frustrated at myself for not being braver. Finally back on the urb I fought to make up whatever ground I could over the last 3 miles climbing back up to Padden, but ended up about 2 minutes behind. Overall I was happy with how my legs handled the distance and even the 5000 ft of elevation seemed manageable (though admittedly both were made easier by the excessive walking). I know I’ve gained fitness over the past few months and I’m excited to race again on a day where I feel like I can really use it. I learned I can tough it out in bad conditions and to not give up before I even start. I also learned that I need to practice my hurdling and fancy footwork if I want to really compete in these technical trail races!The finish line hosted plenty of food, tacos, hot drinks, and more but after 5 hours in the snow I was ready to head home. Thanks to Destination Trail for hosting a great event, to teammates Scarlett, Maria, Tad and David who cheered out in the cold, and extra special thanks to my coach and Maxx and Courtney who made sure I actually got to the starting line 🙂 ”

Photos by: Takao Suzuki

Photos by: Takao Suzuki

Maxx’s Race Report:
“Winter made a premature announcement, just in time for the Bellingham Trail Marathon. What was already a challenging course became a test of mental fortitude and perseverance through the conditions. For me personally, the greatest challenge came in the form of fallen trees. My biggest strength as a trail runner is that I can fly once I hit a run-able trail. The numerous fallen trees across the trail proved to be my kryptonite as the constant stopping to climb over, under, or through downed trees kept me from being able to pour on the speed relentlessly. However, this turned my day into an excellent adventure and forced me to rely on the other tools any good trail runner should be constantly working to develop! Remaining patient and calm in the face of adversity and honing my fueling and hydration strategy as I found myself out on the course longer than anticipated were more than worthwhile areas for me to focus on and were some of the reasons I was able to finish the race in one piece. Despite the rough conditions, it was impossible to lose a positive attitude with such amazing volunteers out on the course. My favorite part about running local races is the familiar faces out working on the course. I wasn’t able to go more than 30 to 45 minutes without running into a friend out on the course working an aid station or directing an intersection or serving food at the finish. So many people braved the rough weather conditions to make this an amazing event and I am eternally grateful for that. I may not have had the result that I hoped for or that I know I am capable of, but none of that matters when I can experience the love of our local trail running community through the amazing events put on by Destination Trail.”

Kathryn’s Race Report:
“The Bellingham Trail Half Marathon began with snow on the ground and temperatures in the 30s! I have done a 6 mile race on trails before, but never a race this long and with snow! As this was my second trail race, I felt like a novice when I showed up to the line, but I was impressed and put at ease by the welcoming and warm attitude that the trail community exudes. I made friends with four different people out there as we all utilized each other to run a little bit faster and for company as we climbed 3100 ft into the frigid air. I am definitely grateful to a guy from Seattle who showed me it was possible to go much faster on the downhills than what my timid legs told me I could! The course was really well-marked, and they had aid stations WORTH stopping for, with m&ms and gummy bears! The climbing was really quite tough through the first 4 miles, and it had me thinking that maybe the stair master at the gym might not be a bad idea…Once at the top, we were rewarded with breathtaking beauty that escapes description and almost made you forget all that hard work it took to reach it! Almost. Things I learned: trail runners rock! Elevation gains in a race are no small matter. I definitely need to invest in trail shoes, be a bit more courageous in my downhill running and perpetuate the welcoming and vibrant spirit radiated from those who love running free in the woods!”

All photos by: Takao Suzuki
Photos can be purchased HERE!
Bellingham Trail Marathon RESULTS!
Bellingham Trail 1/2 Marathon RESULTS!

WWU Classic, Hole in the Wall Invite, Oregon Coast 50k & Chicago Marathon Results!

October 7 – The weather held out for the WWU Classic at Lake Padden in Bellingham on Saturday; teammates Brittany and Katelyn traversed their old college-hosted course side by side once again, finishing with Katelyn in 9th in a time of 21:58 and Brittany in 18th in 22:27. Though BDP did not field a full scoring team, the two kicked a**, and the work put in at Padden will greatly compliment their endeavors at the Lake Padden Trail 1/2 this coming Saturday. It’s not too late to sign up for the Lake Padden Trail 1/2-sign up HERE! Results for the WWU Classic HERE!

October 7 – The Hole in the Wall XC Invite (5k) is a 2-loop mix of grass, track and gravel road, held in Arlington, WA, and teammate, Rachel, home from school in Portland for the weekend, raced, taking 3rd Female in her prospective race, and bettering her time from the same course the year previous. October 7-8 – The sold out Oregon Coast 50k proffered not only a CR, but three male competitors under the old CR. Mario Mendoza of Bend shattered the record in a time of 3:42:11, followed by Paul Weeks of Seattle in 3:48:33 and Ryan Kaiser of Bend in 3:54:10. The previous CR was held by Ryan Ghelfi (3:57:58). Teammate Alex Giebelhaus was 37th in 5:12:18, as he works towards the Orcas Island 100 Mile in February. 50k Results HERE! 30k Results HERE!October 8 – As most of you were probably aware, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon took place on Sunday, and we were obsessively tracking a handful of runners, including our teammate, Amber. Amber was set to nab the OTQ of 2:45, but unfortunately came down with a pretty debilitating sickness, and had to stop at mile 10 of the marathon. We are thankful to the Chicago Marathon medical staff who treated her. It’s extremely disheartening when you train for something that you need to go right on one specific day, only to fall sick, but Amber is passionate and resilient, and we can’t wait to see which race she’ll choose next!

Even if you missed the Chicago Marathon, you probably heard that for the first time in 35 years, an American-born runner won…Galen Rupp (previously Greg Meyer in 1982), in 2:09:18. Letsrun has a great article about it HERE. Yet this wasn’t the only incredible thing to have happened…his Nike Oregon Project teammate, Jordan Hasay, finished 3rd in a time of 2:20:57 (a 2 min. PR, and now 2nd on the all-time list of American marathon performances). It seemed like it was hit or miss for most competitive athletes at this year’s Chicago Marathon, with some breaking new or old ground, and gaining PR’s, showing exemplary fitness, and others having a rough time, hitting the illusive wall. We’re incredibly proud of all, no matter what, and each act of perseverance had us running a little harder on Sunday, in solidarity. Full results for the Chicago Marathon can be found HERE.

WOW. What a weekend. So many distances, cities, states, styles. We’re enthralled and motivated. Fall is definitely racing season, and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Congrats to all those who raced, and best of health to all those in their recoveries.