San Elijo Hills Trail Marathon — Race Report by Dax Ross
I could only see about 3 feet in front of my car, the white sheet of fog bouncing the light back in my eyes, and covering everything on the short 5 minute drive from my house to Double Peak Park. Turns out the park doesn’t open until sunrise. We parked at the bottom of the hill and hiked the steep, rocky trail to the top, to the start of the Inaugural San Elijo Hills Trail Marathon.
There is a solid group of consistent runners that meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning between 5:30 and 6 (an email circulates the night before to determine the time and distance). There are about six people who show up regularly to run give or take 6 trail miles while the neighborhood sleeps.
It was on one of these early morning trail runs that I mentioned, between gasps for air, that we could probably string together a bunch of these trails into a marathon. Luckily there were only three of us on this particular run. The voices of reason chose to sleep in that morning, and about three hours, and some fervent typing on Gmap-Pedometer, I had a course mapped out and a Facebook group. I invited some friends, and the group grew, then shrunk when people saw the course and the elevation profile, then grew again.
On the morning of July 7th, 18 of us hiked above the layer of thick fog, I said a few words about the course, clapped my hands and said go. We descended down the steep, rocky hill for a loop that would take all 18 of us on 18 unique courses. At various points on the course, every one of us would get lost, be reduced to a walk, and at some point, curse me. Everyone would marvel at the amazing aid stations, stocked with juicy watermelon, fresh oranges, ice cold water and Gatorade, cookies, rice balls, pretzels, potatos dipped in salt, and vitamin B shots (seriously…syringes) set up by friends, girlfriends, parents, wives, and kids. It was about a 1:1 ratio of supporters to racers, and we all felt very spoiled. The aid stations were so good that it was hard to leave. READ MORE and see more photos. Watch YouTube video