Of the 49 of us that showed up, one guy stood out bigger than life and that was Mario Mendoza of Bend who is a nationally recognized runner. Turns out Mario was just using this as a quick warm up for his 50K the next morning (seriously). Mario ran away with the win, Brandon Hoffman (no slouch himself) of Bend took second and yours truly finished third. Finishers got to take in the beauty of the summit of Black Butte, which held views that were simply breathtaking. Most of us remained on top to see the majority of the runners make it up and offer a congratulatory high five. After relaxing at 6,436 feet for a while, a bevy of us ran back down 3 miles to the Black Butte Trailhead where we caught a shuttle back to our cars. It’s possible that a few of us had more fun chatting with each other for that 40 minute ride than the run to the top.
Run (through the forest), run!
Certainly, much can be said of the scenery of this race and the weather of the day, which was perfect. But I would be terribly remiss if I failed to point out the phenomenal job that was done by the race organizers and all of their volunteers. Matt, May and Susan were the main brains of the race. Matt stayed down below and ensured that everyone got up to the starting line on time. May was atop the Butte congratulating each runner as they crossed and then talking them up, thanking each one personally for participating and Susan played a huge part in managing the after party at Camp Sherman after the race. All three were on the ball but what made it even more amazing were the countless volunteers in bright yellow shirts who were found at the start, along the course or at the top, cheering each runner as they made the summit.
In talking to Matt before the race, he told me the goal is to be back again next year, benefitting the Sisters Kiwanis again and putting on another great race. Both Matt and May emphasized that anyone interested in running this race should make a point to reach out to the forest service, letting them know how great the race was and/or how much they love Black Butte. The aim for next year is to increase the amount of people the forest service allows to possibly 100 or more, but in order to do so, there is a bit of a proving time, showing the forest service that we, as runners, are good about cleaning up after ourselves and taking care of the trails.
Oh, that view.
I’ll be back.