Second annual endurance race explodes in popularity
Last Saturday saw a test of endurance as runners braved a difficult course to participate in the Second Annual Ochoco Trail Runs.
The three races, which started at Walton Sno Park high in the Ochoco Mountains, tested the stamina of even the fittest runners as participants chose from 50-mile, 50-kilometer, and 10.5-mile races, all featuring steep climbs and spectacular scenery.
Now in its second year, the races saw a huge leap in the number of participants as endurance athletes from around the world challenged themselves on the difficult course.
This year's race saw competitors from Australia, Sweden and the East Coast of the United States all attempting to survive a brutal physical test.
The 50-mile race featured roughly 9,000 feet of elevation gain and loss, with Portland's Duncan Hoge outlasting a field of 39 finishers to win in a time of 7:53:23.
The 30-year-old Hoge took the lead early and slowly pulled away to win by nearly 40 minutes, battling the terrain and warm temperatures in the afternoon portion of the race.
Nathan Stroh, a 46-year-old from Klamath Falls, held on to second place, edging 50-year-old Roni Kauri of Sammamish, Washington, for second.
Stroh finished with a time of 8:31:47, while Kauri was third in 8:38:37.
Victoria Mayfield, a 29-year-old from Bend, was the first woman finisher, placing fifth overall with a time of 9:26:11.
Melissa Ostaszewski of Beaverton was the second woman finisher, placing eighth overall with a time of 9:46:04.
Aaron Hasket of Prineville was the lone Crook County athlete to complete the 50-mile race. The 43-year-old placed 27th overall with a time of 12:25:08.
Nancy Cameron of Wilsonville was the oldest, and final, runner to finish the course. The 60-year-old didn't finish until nearly 8:30 p.m. in the race, which started at 6 a.m.
However, Cameron toughed it out, completing the course in 14:27:11.
The 50-mile course began with a relatively easy 10-mile gentle downhill. The course quickly gained difficulty with a 7.5-mile climb to the top of Lookout Mountain, eventually following the Independent Mine Trail. Once reaching the summit, the course descended down the Line Butte Trail before once again climbing to the top of Lookout. The course then went up and over Round Butte before returning to the finish at Walton Sno Park.
Although not as long, the 50-kilometer (30.069 miles) was still a very challenging course.
Adding significance to the 50-mile race, it is a qualifier for the prestigious Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race, the world summit of trail running, which takes place Aug. 27 through Sept. 2 in France.
The course also summited both Lookout and Round Mountains with more than 6,250 feet of elevation gain.
Bend's Colton Gale won a close race, outlasting Matt Palilla, also of Bend, and James Holk of Portland.
The 27-year-old Gale finished with a time of 4:16:33, while the 36-year-old Palilla had a time of 4:21:30, and the 33-year-old Holk finished in 4:28:20.
With a 7 a.m. start for the shorter race, the three runners still had to battle the heat near the end of the course.
Britta Clark of Goshen, Vermont, was the first woman across the finish line as the 24-year-old finished eighth overall with a time of 5:11:47.
Jessica Lamanna of Ashland was the second woman across the finish line as the 32-year-old finished 10th overall with a time of 5:21:16.
Lance Waitjen of Prineville was the first Crook County runner across the finish line. The 44-year-old finished 11th overall with a time of 5:29:50.
Jeff Kerr, also of Prineville, was 41st overall as the 47-year-old crossed the finish line with a time of 7:14:47.
Thirteen-year-old Elliot Steene, of Stockholm, Sweden, was the youngest competitor to finish the race, taking 44th overall with a time of 7:25:42.
Steene finished just in front of his father, 44-year-old Johan, who placed 45th with a time of 7:25:42.
Seventy-year-old Greg Spike of Eugene placed 60th with a time of 8:16:59, while 55-year-old Thomas Riley of Klamath Falls was the final finisher, crossing the finish line just before Cameron finished her 50-mile race.
Riley was more than two hours behind the next to last runner in the 50K race, Jennifer Fischer of Sunriver. Fischer finished in a time of 11:16:36, while Riley struggled to the finish with a time of 13:18:57.
Altogether, 78 runners finished the challenging course.
Although significantly shorter than the other two courses, the 10.5-mile run still offered significant challenges.
The out and back course had 1,900 feet of elevation gain and loss as it ran to the summit of Round Mountain and back to Walton Sno Park.
Sixty runners completed the difficult course, with Jeremy Scheid of Newton, New Jersey, making short work of it with a time of 1:17:08.
The 29-year-old easily outdistanced the field, finishing more than 20 minutes ahead of second-place Ryan Payne of Gresham, who finished in 1:37:27.
Portland's Tim Wray was just behind with a time of 1:37:55.
Caitlyn Reilley of Corvallis was the first woman finisher as the 25-year-old placed fourth overall with a time of 1:40:18.
Bend's Megan Myers and Glide's Rachel Hawkins were the second- and third-place women finishers, placing eighth and ninth, respectively, in 1:45:21 and 1:46:38.
Prineville's Chuck Coats was the 11th overall finisher as the 58-year-old finished the course in 1:47:59.
Fourteen-year-old Jesse Ordonez of La Pine was the youngest finisher, placing 13th overall with a time of 1:48:08.
Prineville's Jill Welborn, 45, finished in 28th place in 2:03:08, while Jim Rodesevich, 69, also of Prineville, placed 54th in a time of 2:44:03.
Family members Jane and Jim Updegrove, of Riggins, Idaho, were the final two finishers in the race. Jane Updegrove, 69, finished 59th with a time of 3:34:07, while Jim, 80, was 15 minutes back with a time of 3:49:11.
The race raises funds for both the Crook County and Redmond High School cross country programs.