Rocklin and Lincoln runners challenge Way Too Cool

By: Amanda Calzada Placer Herald Correspondent
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Fifteen Rocklin and Lincoln runners had the time of their life at the 15th annual Way Too Cool 50k Endurance Run held in Cool, Calif. last month. The ultra running event has become the most sought after 50K in the nation for both veteran runners and novices, drawing from some of the most competitive fields around. Rocklin resident, Jake Rydman, placed third overall in the event with a time of 3:34:08. He updated his personal record by 14 minutes from last year. Four Rocklin runners ranked in the top 100; Chris Knorzer of Rocklin placed 11th (3:51:53), Luke Garten of Rocklin placed 34th (4:10:09), Lamont Hurren of Rocklin placed 72nd (4:30:31). Leading Lincoln, Jason Buckman placed 195th with a time of 5:10:26. “I prayed throughout that God would give me the faith I needed to trust that I had what it took to keep pushing forward, even with not knowing who was in front of me and how far ahead they were. I'm thankful for His grace,” said Rydman, 27. The distance not only demands more physical strength of runners, but also more mental and emotional. The course is described to extend through breathtaking trails from the Secret Trail and Western States Trail. Surface was described as one mile of paved road and 30 miles of single-track trail and fire roads. Elevations ranged just short of 600 feet to over 6,000 feet. The course held no two-way traffic but was equipped with six well-stocked aid stations led by enthusiastic volunteers. This year’s course was more spectator-friendly, too. The “Way too Awesome Aid Station” was alive with 80s music, costumes, and coolers of beer. Through a chip-timing system, runners’ times were split at mile 8 and mile 21. Post-race, runners were able to relax and enjoy dessert from American River Pizza and Grill as well as homemade soup prepared by ultra runner and chef, Tim Ruffino and the event’s “signature frog cupcake.” Race director, Julie Fingar, thanked all the sponsors for their generosity as well as to the 200 volunteers who assisted in the organization of the race. In particular, Fingar thanked Western States Endurance Run Foundation, Western States Trail Foundation, Robie Foundation and the California Forest Foundation for maintaining safe and clean trails that afford runners the opportunity to run. The event was capped at 575 runners and time was limited to 8 ½ hours. A lottery system helped secure participants’ spots. Runner Scott Dunlap says he had the chance to say hi to many runners elite during the race, including Ironman triathlete Tyler Stewart, Erik Skaden, Tim Long, and Jean Pommier fresh from Dubai. Dunlap was able to photograph the course while running it. He said he was glad he did not have his iPod on him during the race because he was able to hear the morning symphony of nature during the event, a “well-practiced masterpiece.” Ultra runners pride themselves on being athletes of a community striving for connection with each other and cultivating depth in relationships. They say the community is about fostering a healthy community. For those interested in racing an endurance distance, Fingar suggests, “Train by time on your feet instead of total miles. Focus on quality workouts versus quantity. Your goal is to arrive on the start line healthy and injury-free. This is 50 percent of the battle in getting to the start line of any endurance race.” Rydman and Garten both highly applaud Fingar’s organization and racing events. Upon reflecting on the event, Dunlap said, “The freedom to choose a pace felt like the greatest gift of all, particularly when juxtaposed with my every-15-minutes booked weekday reality. Honestly, could there be a better way to spend the day?”