What do you get when you combine huge hills, extreme heat, rocks, distance, relentless sun, a trail so remote that it is accessible only by 4×4 vehicles and helicopters, and an amazing volunteer team? You get the Ohlone Wilderness 50K Trail Run. One runner characterized the course as “brutal”, and added “I’ll be back!”.
This year’s event was the 30th running of the Ohlone Wilderness 50K Trail Run. Envisioned by John VonHoff, he organized the point-to-point with remote aid stations – most of which have no natural water source. Back then, supplies needed to be trucked in by the rangers in 4-wheel drive vehicles. Volunteers would run into their assigned aid stations, work the day, and run out at the end of a long day. Some volunteers backpacked in and camped overnight to support the runners. Things haven’t changed from those early days.
The race day morning started without any of the cool air from the bay. This sent a warning to all runners that it will be toasty on the trail. The warning was to be heeded. The hills and heat took their toll on many runners. The East Bay Regional Park District rangers and EMT personnel provided aid for several runners along the course.
Jean Pommier crossed the finish line pushing hard to beat the 5-hour boundary and win the contest. This is Jean’s 6th win at Ohlone 50K – a stunning accomplishment!
Remi Delille provided an outstanding performance with the overall second place spot in 5:09.
Arriving at del Valle with a beaming smile, Tanya Stahler took the women’s title in a time of 6:42. Madison McCarthy, from Ashland, followed taking second place for the women.
Errol (Rocket) Jones, while passing through Schlieper Rock at mile 26, questioned who turned up the heat and requested the race officials reject his application next year.
ZombieRunner honors the ‘ultrarunning’ rookies – those who have never completed an ultra prior to this year’s Ohlone 50K – with an award for the first male and female rookies. This year, the awards go to Damien Resch (5:26:23), and to Claudia Corona (7:26:08). Congratulations!
By the numbers:
Thanks to all participants who accepted the challenge on a warm day, and to the volunteers who made this event possible. The Hayward Radio Club provided communications along the course which proved invaluable during the race.