by Brian Wyatt, RD
All was quiet in the Old Growth Redwoods the night of Friday, May 20 as runners slept soundly – or not so soundly depending on their pre-race mindset – in preparation for the next day’s adventures. By nightfall of the following day, the Ancient Redwood Running Festival hosted by Scena Performance would be transformed into a scene straight out of the Return of the Jedi celebratory finale complete with Bay Area Ultra Running house band Voodoo Switch laying down some funky grooves.
While running was the primary focus, we wanted to provide a chance to immerse oneself in the celebration of self powered locomotion through amazing new places by providing camping and a big party. Thus, the festival component was born. The campground served as the perfect start/finish area as the trail dumped right into race central where participants could refuel and gather up any gear before heading out for another lap. With many folks opting to camp with us both Friday and Saturday nights, there was ample opportunity to socialize and explore the amazing venue. Runners could choose between testing their limits in the unique timed events for 6 or 12 hours around the five mile loop, or go for the more modest sub-ultra distances of 5 or 10 miles. Regardless of distance, each runner was treated to a tasty meal of pulled pork, multiple salads, fruits, various types of drinks (including a keg of local Anderson Valley IPA), and a chance to engage with other like-minded individuals while resting up from their efforts.
As the 12 hour time limit rolled around and runners amassed some hard earned miles, including an amazing 80 miles by 12 hour winner Ian Grettenberger, more food was served up, beer was poured, and the music started rolling. With a good helping of kids rampaging around, a few dogs lounging, and a nice crackling fire, the soul shaking sounds of Voodoo Switch put the cap on a long day of festivities.
When all was said and done and the Sunday morning aftermath gave way to the afternoon’s ghost town ambience, smiles abounded. It was clear in my mind that there is no better way to celebrate our crazy sport than gathering the tribe for a full-blown running party. Hope you can join us next year!