What happens when an accomplished ultra-runner, who loves dogs, thinks leftover Easter candy makes great race fuel, hates early mornings, and has too many race shirts, decides to organize a race? You get the Peterson Ridge Rumble in Sisters. The Rumble, put on by Sean Meissner, is a race that allows dogs on the course (20-miler), doesn’t start until 8am, stocks their aid stations with some unique items, and gives finishers a sweet pair of socks instead of a shirt. And that’s just the beginning.
This fun and fast trail race in Central Oregon, now in its 17th year, has two distances; 20 miles (~30K) and 40 miles (~60K). The Rumble is notable for a few reasons. First, there is $1,000 in prize money to be had for top finishers. Second, the race finishes on the track of Sisters Middle School, where participants run one loop before being encouraged to jump over a few hurdles just before the finish line. Third, these races bring out several top names, both local and from around the country. Lastly, but certainly not least, is the self-serve burrito bar at the end, courtesy of Longboard Louie’s of Bend, featuring endless guacamole. Who doesn’t love guacamole?!
The courses are perhaps one of the most amazing features of the Rumble. I’ve been fortunate to run the Peterson Ridge trail system and I love how the single track twists and turns, with lots of little rollers and a few short, steep ascents and descents along the way. The mixture of pine trees and underbrush make visibility ideal for maintaining an eye to the trail, seeing other runners around you and knowing what’s ahead on the course. The trail is not very technical, as some can be. A lot of the rocks and roots are easily manageable, including sections of smooth rocks that might remind you of a river bed. And with only a couple thousand feet of gain, the 40-miler is an excellent first ultra!
As always, race proceeds benefit the Sisters Cross Country teams, which were once coached by Sean, who was an assistant to head coach Charlie Kanzig. Charlie has since taken on the role of assistant to current head coach, and local runner, Josh Nordell. The town of Sisters boasts many great places to eat and stay while you’re there and is much closer than you might think, if you’re considering making the trip over. Temps in mid-April in Sisters are known to be all over the place, with snow on the ground (2016) to 80 degrees in the middle of the race (2018). Either way, expect an amazing event, put on by amazing people, filled with amazing views. But don’t wait to register, because the entry cap is 575 total for both races and typically sells out every year.
When: Sunday, April 14th. 40-miler starts at 8am. 20-miler starts at 9am.
Register: Online at UltraSignup. Cost is $65 for the 40-miler and $55.00 for the 20-miler.