Salmon Run truly was fun
Being a runner and hearing about a challenging race is one thing. Seeing the course is another. Actually racing the course is yet another story all together.
Welcome to the Spring Salmon Run.
This 10K (it’s probably longer) trail run is not the place to go if you’re looking for a personal record time. It’s more of an adventure race that does offer a great challenge and the view is even better. The scenery is downright awesome, especially if you are able to look up at the hills, trees and foliage – providing you aren’t too focused on the race (or too tired).
Having heard how difficult this race is, I had to go see it for myself, just to see what I was getting myself into. Race director Karen Grosskreutz and her staff provided a guided tour late Saturday afternoon and it was a great opportunity to check out the scenery of the Yuba River Canyon and the Independence Trail, not to mention seeing the variety of the flowers – the blue larkspur, seep monkey flowers, wild ginger, Indian pinks, clarkia, fairy lanterns and wally baskets.
Overall, the course looked manageable so long as you conserve on the two miles-plus of downhill at the start. That was on Saturday. Running the race on Sunday didn’t offer as much of a chance to check out scenery. I was too tired.
The downhill start from Jones Bar Road toward the South Yuba River seemed easy enough at the time (watch out for sore quads later on). The route turns up and away from the river (watch out for some poison oak here) and then came a stream crossing (the water was maybe calf deep). After crossing the stream, the trail turned uphill on to what is referred to as the ladder, a steep trail that climbs four-tenths of a mile up to the Independence Trail. More people walk this stretch than run – I’m not sure it makes very much difference.
At the top, the course turns right on to the Independence Trail, an ideal trail that covers about 2 1/2 miles (watch out for some mud and one mudslide area) back to the dirt and rocky Jones Bar Road that we had descended to start the race.
At this point, you only have maybe a mile and a half to go. It’s also where the going gets tough – and where I slipped in the mud and skinned my knee. The knee was no problem; my mind was too occupied trying to deal with the task of keeping the legs moving on the uphill section.
At that point, it was just great to see pavement and knowing there was only another 600 yards or so to the finish line.
I did finish, which was one goal, especially since this was only my third race since 1999 (the other two being the 9.5-mile Ponderosa Ridge Run – a course that overlooks Lake Tahoe from the top of Spooner Summit – which is held annually on the first Saturday in July). Jeff Miller, who writes sports for The Union (and one-time discus thrower), also went the distance and did a very respectable job for his first race at this distance.
The second, and probably the most important, goal is to make it to the buffet afterward.
“It looks like your knee met the course,” Another runner pointed out as I sat in the line.
Looking down, I saw it had been scraped up pretty good, but that was no problem as far as I was concerned. So, maybe I’m a little crazy, but what’s a little scraped knee compared to the scenery I had just been blessed to see, not to mention the satisfaction of having survived a considerable challenge. Welcome to the Spring Salmon Run – I’m glad I did it.
To contact sports editor Dave Price, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4240.
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