50K and 20K Run
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20K Course Profile
Big Baz Hawley the race director claims this is his final race as RD. We will see. His friend Nate will be taking over next year as RD for Shadow. The race holds many fine memories for me but as a middle of the pack runner, my best finish was only about 6 hours the year I finished Western States in 2001. The elite runners usually finish in about 3:30 with the course record at about 3:25.
Shadow of the Giants has changed over the years. It initially began in 1990 as a 50K run that included a one mile loop in the Nelder Grove of Giant Sequoia Trees. I will never forget the 1993 run when Baz had to stop the race because of a blizzard! The first 20 or so runners were allowed to finish but the rest of us were diverted off the course.
For the last few years the event has also included a 20K fun run. The first five miles of this course is essentially uphill to about 6,250’. My Suunto Ambit indicated that available O2 is reduced to 80 percent at that altitude. Then, it’s down to the Big Sandy Creek crossing, uphill for a time after that and downhill the remainder of the way. This is a “negative split” course. The 50K folks started first. I started running and as I approached Sharon, she suggested I go back and start with the 20K folks. Oops I don’t do the 50K anymore.
I once did a jungle run in Australia called the 6 Foot Track Marathon and if you can imagine this, it was Baz who handed me my race number. To make things even stranger, we met up on an icy Highway 41 just below Fish Camp one week later as we waited for Cal Trans to sand the road. Magic!
Sarah Ferguson was the first woman in the 50K and is a local from the Coarsegold CA area. Elizabeth Ochoa was second and Katie Burns was third. Dean Dobberteen was the first male 50K finisher with Thomas Warner 2nd and Rick Herr 3rd. Sarah and I had a nice chat and she hopes to finish a 100K run and qualify for the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. I think she is a rising star in ultrarunning. Oswaldo Lopez who essentially owns the course was missing this year.
My wife and perpetual crew (acronym for Crabby Runner Endless Waiting) and I drove up with our friends Mike and Marie Gilbert who also finished the 20K. Our friend and multiple Hawaii Ironman finisher Faron Reed mountain biked the course backwards for the fun of it. Sharon took the photographs.
This “run” was even slower for me than 2014. Four of the 50K runners went past me on the way to the finish line. I feel blessed however at age 71 that I can still participate. As we used to say, “The beatings will continue until the morale improves” The conditions were perfect for the run with cool temperatures and overcast skies.
It’s a wonderful event with showers and food available at the finish. I saw other Fresno folks there but the large group of competitors came from all over to run the course. This is a great run as a tune up for those who will run Western States at the end of this month.
I will miss Baz. They broke the mold after he was created. Who knows Baz, maybe we’ll run into each other again. Thanks for putting on such a wonderful (and Magic) race for 26 years.
Cookie And Coffee: Breakfast Of Champions
Baz And New Race Director Nate Moore
Dean In Red Hat Was Male 50K Winner 3:48
Baz has the results and a story here: