Friday, April 07, 2006

Looking forward to the Sunsweet 2-Day Trail Fest (July 22-23, Oakridge, OR)!

I have a lot of great races on the schedule this year, but I have found myself getting the most excited about the Sunsweet 2-Day Trail Festival in Oakridge, OR on July 22-23. Four races in two days in some of the most scenic areas of Oregon - what's not to like?!? In case y'all hadn't heard about it, I thought I would give you some of the highlights. You can pick up an entry here.

(Another gorgeous day on the Oakridge trails, photo courtesy of K McCree)

Two Days, Four Races

The Sunsweet Trail Fest is a series of four trail races in one weekend (3 on the first day, 1 on the second), designed to give you a full flavor of what makes trail running fun. There is mountain running, trail running, ultras, and even a kids fun run. You can race solo in all four races for the "festival competition", choose your favorite races among the four, or put together a team of up to six people (including an ultra relay). Here's the layout of the races:

Race 1, the "Oregon Adventure Hill Climb" - Going UP! A 5 mile mountain run, ending with a 3-mile, 2200 vertical foot climb that would make Bernie Boettcher proud.

Race 2, the "Flying Turtle Downhill" - After a brief rest, groups of 4 runners/mountain goast sail down a 5-mile course in 1-minute intervals. If you have the need for speed, this is your race!

Race 3, the "Salmon Creek Stomp" - The afternoon race is a 10-mile run along Salmon Creek, one of the many gorgeous river runs that have made Oregon races like Where's Waldo 100k and the McKenzie River Run 50k instant classics (yes, I know "instant classic" is an oxymoron, but honestly, you will know what I mean as soon as you see the place). The kids can join in on the 1-mile Fun Run while you are out, play some minature golf, or meet you at the big dinner bash at the Trailhead Cafe.

(Crystal clear Salmon Creek, photo courtesy of K McCree)

Race 4 (on day 2), the "Sunsweet West Fir 50k". No race festival organized by the Abbs would be complete without a 5800 vertical foot ultra, and that's what awaits you on Sunday morning. If the distance is too much, you can run the 50k as a relay with up to 6 people. The course provides plenty of eye candy, including the Westfir Covered Bridge, the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, and scenic views from atop the mountain ridges.

(At 180 ft, the Westfir Covered Bridge is the longest covered bridge in Oregon, photo courtesy of 2G Construction who helped restore it in the mid-90's)

Whew! That's a lot of trail running. Cash prizes and merchandise will be awarded to race winners for both Open and Masters, best combined times, and more. Although the event is billed for fun, don't forget that folks like Craig Thornley, John Ticer, Jeff Riley (fifth at the AR50 last weekend), Sean Messiner (4-time Tahoe Triple marathon winner), and Kami Semick all live within driving distance, so no win will come easily. Oh yeah - let's not forget that nearby Eugene, OR, is home of Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar, Bill Bowerman/Nike, and the 2008 Olympic Trails. They kinda obsess about running. ;-)

(Majestic firs of the Willamette wilderness, photo courtesy of K McCree)

A Bit About Oakridge

As a former Oregonian (with a father who obsessively skied at nearby Willamette Pass), I got to visit Oakridge quite a bit over the years. The trails are lush, the trees are huge, and the water is insanely clear. The town's low key (and low cost) nature feel more fitting to me for a trail festival than the glitz-and-glamour Teva Mountain Games in Vail, CO. Oakridge people are laid back, have a deep appreciation for the outdoors, and welcome all visitors.

(The small town of Oakridge, nestled in the Oregon mountains, photo courtesy of K McCree)

There's going to be a Fat Tire mountain bike festival in Oakridge around the same time, so the whole town is going to be celebrating the joys of outdoor recreation. I think it's going to be spectacular weekend, particularly for these first few years before "word gets out". You can get a lot of "bang" for your trail running dollar at this event, and I'm looking forward to sampling the many trail formats. My thanks to Beverly and Alan Abbs, the Sunsweet Team, and all the volunteers for their hard work in making this vision into reality. I look forward to a great time.

- SD

(ps, if you need maps of the races, let me know and I can send them your way)


  1. Scott, thanks so much fro helping Abbs's promote this festival, as well as wonderful trails of Oregon! There is surely no better place like home:) Have fun!

  2. Looks like a lot of fun, Scott. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Scott,
    Thanks for the kind words! We're looking forward to it, and we've tried to come up with a weekend that has something for everyone, including great scenery and things to do for all of the friends and family that tirelessly follow us trail runners around. Big thanks to Sunsweet (AGAIN!) for supporting the event and the ultra team. And, a special thanks to the Cities of Oakridge and Westfir for welcoming the races with open arms!

  4. Just a note to say that the 2008 Trials are in Eugene, just to make sure that people don't get confused. The Oakridge runs sound great man, thanks for putting out the info!

  5. Good catch. I corrected it above.

  6. Hi Scott! I enjoyed reading your writing. I am a 23-year-old freelance writer in Austin, Texas. I just read your piece on Kristen Armstrong. I love her work, and I would love to email her for advice about journalism. Do you think she would mind? I am sure you are so busy, but I would love to hear from you about it

  7. To Scott Dunlap.
    Thanks for the article on the ar50, and the conversation on the bus ride.
    what is your email address?

    Paul Morris


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