Perhaps the best place to start is with our host and race director, Luis Escobar, known for his role in the book Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall. Here is Luis, as he appeared for a few hours on Saturday morning (he was in constant motion, changing clothes and styles throughout the weekend).
|Our Gracious Host and Race Director, Luis Escobar|
That being said, Luis does put on a wild and unique party. He invited Tatto Mike, his childhood friend, to give tattoos. Sorry Mike, but even if I were looking for a tattoo, I think I'd opt for a more sterile environment than a tent on the Chamberlin Ranch. On Friday afternoon, there was Tarahumara ball race tournament. A Japanese man in a Mexican wrestler mask started each race by firing a shotgun. Luis' friends from Hawaii brought all sorts of goodies which he passed out as prizes. At night there was a bonfire, and hula hoops, and alcohol of all sorts. There was a band playing part of the night, and Mexican Ranchera music blasting from the speakers most of the rest of the time. There was Tomo, the Japanese ultra runner who won the 100 mile race in a course record 17 hours. There was a 78 year old woman, Patricia Devita, who power-walked the 100k. Luis himself manned the grill at breakfast on Sunday morning, making banana pancakes and chorizo burritos.
|The sign that welcomed us to the Chamberlain Ranch:|
Greetings, and Welcome to the Chamberlin Ranch. Now Be Nice or Go Home!
The Chamberlin Ranch is desolate place, 10,000 acres of dusty double track roads, foxtails and scattered oak trees, with the occasional cow, wild turkey and snake thrown in for good measure. We camped along a dirt road in a small valley. Luis arranged for port-a-potties, and there were two hoses on either end of the camp sight, but that was it in terms of amenities.
|Base Camp, in the Middle of Nowhere|
The races -- 10 miles, 50k, 100k and 100 mile -- all began at 6am on Saturday morning. The winner of the 10 mile finished at about 7am on Saturday, and the 100 mile runners were still coming in when I left around 10am on Sunday morning. The course consisted of two ten mile loops, one West of the start line and one to the East, with the camp site in the middle.
We achieved our goal for the day, finishing in just under 14 hours. Along the course, we saw wild turkeys, a dead cow being eaten by vultures (the cow died while giving birth; I'll leave it others to post that picture), a gopher snake, a man running the 100 mile in a jester's hat and an aid station run by the aptly named Wild Bill.
Six loops of ten miles each is 60 miles, so as I mentioned, the 100k course ends with a two mile out-and-back section. The turn around point is marked by an mannequin wearing a mariachi hat. Kevin, Alison and Marshall joined us for the final two miles.
|At the Finish Line|
|Inappropriate re-hydration after the race|
|Jack and Luis|
|Watch Data: Does that course look anything like the map?|
|Jack and I tied for 8th/9th place in 13 hours and 54 minutes, not that time or place really mattered|