Blue Train represents at The Gorge Waterfalls 100k

Quite a few blue "Happy Trails" shirts could be found this last weekend at the second running of The Gorge Waterfalls 100k. Which saw a much larger and deeper starting field than the year previous; due largely to the heavy playing at the Trail Film Festival Tour and the fact that it is now a part of the Montrail Ultra Cup Series, with big names lead by our very own Amy Sproston. Rainshadow Running is known for putting on some of the best races with great trails, great views and great after party; they definitely didn't disappoint here!

The out-and-back course is a primarily stunning singletrack and winds its way along the base of the Cascades, where they meet the mighty Columbia River to create "The Gorge". They say that "rolling hills" is a fair descriptor for the bulk of the course, but this is no Bull Run Run "rolling hills". At mile 1-4 you climb an exhausting, steep switchback 1500' feet only to know that you will have to climb back up the other side again at miles 60-63. Plus the fact that all the "rolling hills" give the overall course over 12,000' feet of rugged gain. Flanked by deep, old-growth forest; moss blanketed trees; and deep, rich green ferns... several of our own said that it was like Laurel Highlands on steriods!!! But what we all came to see were the countless waterfalls you run past and under along the stunning course. Simply... Breathtaking!

The 4am start played well for us eastcoasters as it felt like 7am to us. The tempuratures held steady all day between 47-58 degrees and we only saw a slight drizzle on and off in the morning until 11am. Course was muddy in spots, but in fairly good condition now that they moved the 50k race to the next day instead of holding it prior to the 100k in the previous year. The men's race played out fairly closely until after Yeon aid station where a new to the scene runner, Justin Houck broke away to finish in a blistering 9:22:57 (Male Course Record). In the women's field, Amy Sproston was running strong when a hard fall took her out with a knee injury at mile 22. That left it wide open for Michele Yates to cruise in with a 11:03:05 (Female Course Record). Lori Johnson lead the way for VHTRC with a strong finish at 14:29:55 followed closely by Jeff Hills at 14:33:08 and Jaret Seiberg at 14:47:40. Rounding out the field of VHTRC finishers were WHTom McNulty and Betsy Nickle. It was a really uplifting to see Dean Johnson and Tom Corris out there and while the day wasn't theirs, they still got in the first 50k of the course and couldn't stop smiling & talking about how gorgeous it was.

As promised, the end of the race had freshed-baked homemade pizza and multiple kegs of great beer to ease the pains of our tired legs. Much thanks to Rainshadow Running for putting on a great race and thanks to James Varner, his whole crew and all the volunteers for making it an epic day!

Full results can be found here: http://ultrasignup.com/m_results_event.aspx?did=29929