Last Saturday I ran half marathon at Brazen Racing’s Sanborn Park Trail Quake event. As with most Brazen events, the distance options include a 5k, 10k and half marathon (Brazen Racing primarily focuses on the non-ultra shorter distances with over 20 events per year to chose from). I have heard great things about Brazen races so I was eager to finally check out a Brazen event firsthand. Also, Sanborn County Park is a gorgeous park outside of Saratoga with single track trails under a lush forest canopy including redwoods, Douglas fir and madrones. The event is aptly named since the San Andreas fault passes right underneath the park! It was a great opportunity to visit these trails that I don’t run as often as the parks near my house. My expectations were surpassed with top-notch event organization, careful attention to detail and a great experience in all respects. It also didn’t hurt that the weather was phenomenal with sunny skies and pleasant temperatures.
The arduous half marathon course was actually close to 13.5 miles according to GPS measurements and entailed over 3,000 feet of elevation gain. The first 2.5 miles are a steep climb from the base of the park up to Skyline Ridge. It was a challenge to keep the pace under 10 min/mile on this initial climb. Once atop the ridge, the course featured two out-and-backs along the Skyline Ridge Trail that are more rolling in nature allowing me to get into a nice rhythm and pick up the pace. However, virtually the entire run was either ascending or descending with no substantial flat areas. The final couple miles descended the heavily switchbacked San Andreas Trail with the tight turns naturally keeping the speed in check. It was cool to gauge my pacing via the distance markers placed every mile and the course was exceptionally well marked with volunteers positioned at all key intersections. I felt fairly strong once I got into a rhythm on the ridge and finished with a 1:34:07. Peter Birney finished second in 1:44:49 and the top female was Justine Owen in 2:06:18. Chip timing allowed for remarkably fast compilation of times and complete results are here.
All finishers received super cool medals and were greeted by a nice spread of bagels, snacks, and fruit. In addition, FRS Energy was on-site providing samples. Congratulations to all the participants, many of whom in the shorter distances were running their first trail run. It was a great morning at Sanborn Park; thank you Brazen Racing and all the volunteers!