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Race Recap: Monument Peak 10 Mile Trail Run 2014

On the trail! Photo credit: Marilyn Tycer

On the trail! Photo credit: Marilyn Tycer

When Matt asked me if I’d like to run and review Run Wild Adventure’s Monument Peak 10 Mile Trail Run in Gates, Oregon, I hesitated before saying yes. The no-frills Run Wild website welcomed participants of all abilities, but it definitely had a different feel to it than your typical road race homepage. I’ve never run a true trail race before, had never done a Run Wild event, had never driven two hours each way to a race by myself, and my allergies were acting up so badly that it was hard to run and breathe at the same time and I hadn’t done any hill training recently….yet I figured even if the race was a complete disaster for me, at least it would make a good story.

Just a bit of pre-race Fireball Whiskey... Photo credit: Marilyn Tycer

Just a bit of pre-race Fireball Whiskey… Photo credit: Marilyn Tycer

I was so nervous the night before that I could barely sleep. There were campsites near the start/finish area and runners were encouraged to come camp out Friday night before the race, but I decided to drive down the morning of the race instead. Saturday morning, I woke up and hit the road a little before 6 a.m., giving myself plenty of time to park and get ready for the 9 a.m. start. The forecast predicted a mix of some rain with some intermittent sunshine. When I arrived at Santiam Horse Camp, the sky was overcast but it wasn’t raining. Because I arrived so early, there was plenty of parking available, but it filled up quickly. I headed over to the bib pickup tent and saw a bottle of Fireball Whiskey on the table, along with a stack of cups. While I decided against sipping on a little liquid courage, I did see a few runners take shots.

Just before the start, the race director made a few announcements and then we got going. The course was well marked with chalk and colored tape the entire way. The first part of the race was uphill on a gravel logging road for almost a mile, and the approximately 150 runners spread out quickly. It was fairly steep and many runners walked parts of the hill–I figured I should save my energy for later on in the race, and I’m glad I did. Miles 2 and 3 were downhill and became mostly single track trail for the majority of the rest of the race. The trails were really muddy in some spots, and looked more like a creek than a path in others. Combining that with a lot of switchbacks meant slow going even on the downhill. From mile 3 through mile 7, there was about a 1200’ elevation gain. It was more like hiking than running. At mile 5 there was an aid station with water, Heed and Hammer gels. You could also give them any gear you wanted brought back to the start/finish. I didn’t stop at the station since I wore my hydration belt. At this point in the race, everyone was so spread out that I couldn’t see any other runners around me. Although headphones were allowed, I actually ran without my music this time.  Around mile 7, I was really relieved when the rest of the course was downhill, but that was short lived when I realized I had strained my left quad.


0.9 miles left. Run wild!

By the time I hit mile 9, I was more than ready to be done. The course had been very challenging, and I was so relieved to cross the finish line. While it was a beautiful course, I was a little discouraged to see how long it had taken me (much, much longer than I had expected
for a 10 mile race).

After the race, there was beef stew, hot cocoa,water, bread and peanut butter, and some pastries available. There was also a keg of Seven Brides Brewing beer and some bottles as well. Prizes (tree seedlings and a mini plaque) were given out to the overall top three men and women, as well as for the winner of each age division. Random other prizes such as t-shirts, hats and beer were raffled off also.

The Monument Peak 10 Mile Trail Race is a really reasonably priced, small event with a unique feel to it (registration was $18 in advance, $25 day of race; limited to 250 participants). If you’re in the Salem area, it’s worth checking out.

About Marilyn Tycer (71 Articles)
Marilyn Tycer was born and raised in the PNW. A former fencer for Duke University, Marilyn started running as a hobby in 2009. She was committed after finished a half marathon and they had run out of Jamba Juice--at that moment, Marilyn swore never to be that slow again. She's run every distance between the 5k and the full marathon, and loves to talk about running, especially races! Her other hobbies beer tasting and makeup. She writes her own blog, Lipgloss+Spandex (, and also writes for We Heart This (

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