Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Butte to Butte 10k....Short Races Are Fun Too!

"I don't know what the Butt to Butt is, but it sounds amazing." 
- Guy In Line Behind Me At Starbucks Reading My Shirt


Well, the race is actually called the Butte to Butte 10k, but I had to agree that it was amazing. This July 4th event in Eugene, OR (Track Town USA!) follows a point-to-point route between the two big hills in town, Spencer Butte and Skinners Butte. Now in its 43rd year, this race attracts top track and road runners, costumed locals, and plenty of families for some early morning fun. I know it as a staple race in my former hometown (go South Eugene High!), but one I had yet to run. Great course, lots of smiles, and you're done within the hour...a perfect way to break up a week of vacation in Oregon.

(Back in the day...Olympian Kenny Moore wins in 1974)
My Dad, Larry Dunlap, joined me to toe the line for his 20-something'ish running of the B2B, even though he was just coming off of a 360-mile week of cycling. What a bad ass! In any other town, he may be the only one in the M75-79 age group, but here, competition is stacked all the way up to M85+. And they look fit! That's Track Town USA, for ya. We jogged our way to the uphill start, as the warm 80 degree day got cooking.

(32 minute runners up front? Everyone step baaaaack....)
In the starter chute, they asked "sub 32 minute runners to step to the front" and about 30 complied. Wowza! This is a fast town. In fact, there have been many sub-30 minute finishers, starting with Olympian Kenny Moore's 28:34 inaugural win in 1974. My untrained-for-speed body was thinking a sub-40 minute finish would be nice, which I quickly found out was the pace of some 12-year-olds, fast grandmas, and a costumed teen playing a ukulele. Humbling, to say the least.

(Locals represent)
(Happy 4th!)
(This family wins best coordinated costume!)
The pace was fierce from the get-go, but I was able to catch many others on the long descent at mile 2-3. My top speed on the remaining flat stuff was about a 5:50 min/mile, and it sure felt like I was red lining. I caught up to Melissa Todd and Betsy Bies going stride for stride for 2nd Woman, and hung on their shoulders until they gave each other that steely-eyed look and kicked hard to the finish. They gapped me by 15 seconds in two blocks...that's some real racing!

(The original race...a trail run!)
(Thanks for those genes, Dad!)
I did manage to finish in 38:39, second in my age group (darn you, speedy Cameron Hanes!), but more impressively, my Dad cleaned house in the M75-79 group with a 56:28! Tony Clement (30:45) and Jenn Randall (36:16) won overall, keeping this race extremely competitive yet again. It all seems so impossibly fast, particularly as I see the Cascade Crest 100m next on my race list. But it sure is fun!

It seems like every time we visit Oregon, it deepens our yearning for the Pacific Northwest. The next couple of days were filled with nostalgic runs, days at the Oregon Country Fair with the coolest hippies around, beach trips, and a dozen new stamps in our McMenamins Passport for visiting pubs and breweries, and some gorgeous thick trails along the Portland skyline. This is a truly beautiful place! Let's find a reason to come back soon.

(The Country Fair is a wonderful gathering...)

(...of all shapes, sizes, and colors!)
(The Wildwood Trail of Portland never disappoints)
(I guess I wore the right shirt!)