Orcas Island 50K Pre-Race Interviews with SMRG

I put the following questions out to the SMRG this week as we get real close to the February 2 running of the Orcas Island 50K through Moran State Park. It is an incredible ultra loop that encompasses almost every trail of this beautiful park, and also includes a hefty 8400 ft of elevation gain.

  1. What was your last race or run adventure?
  2. Is this your first run at Orcas? If yes, why did you pick this race early in the year? Is no, what  are you most excited about on February 2?
  3.  James Varner says this is the most difficult course in years. How do you feel about that statement?
  4. How do you feel about the target finishing time that Ultrasignup has given you – http://ultrasignup.com/entrants_event.aspx?did=17558?
  5.  Are you in it for the win on February 2? If not, who is your pick (both man and woman) to win?
  6. What do you think you will find at the top of Mt. Constitution?
The "new course" profile
The “new course” profile
Matthew post-race '12 summit of Mt. Constitution
Matthew post-race ’12 summit of Mt. Constitution

Matthew Hagenah

Matthew has one Orcas 50K finish. Last race: Waldo 100K.

“While I am not running, I am predicting a Bend sweep. Rod Bien and Darla Askew. Deep field with some really low seeding. Voodoo math.”

Next day: “I can imagine a couple Seattle boys getting some fire in their bellies. Lint, Hewey, & Kochik. Gonna be a killer race up front and fun all over the course.”

Tony Eckel

Tony Eckel up front
Tony Eckel up front
  1. Last Race: Ft Steilacoom Trail Run, final race of 2012 Evergreen Trail Run Series.
  2. “Yes. A weekend get away with a couple hundred runners in a mountain forest on a remote island — Utopia!”
  3.  “Sanguine. However, the 8400ft of climbing is more than the Pikes Peak Marathon, which I did a few years back and found very challenging. The only advantage at Orcas is A LOT more oxygen. (sea level vs. a 14,000ft peak)”
  4.  “Not Sanguine. Whoever wrote the algorithm that spits out those times at Ultrasignup is probably just a statistician who omitted many key elements that can impact a runner. What they should put there is a range of finishing times, from your near peak performance (due to excellent health, totally rested, high motivation, great weather/trail conditions, etc.) to your worst likely performance.”
  5. “No, winning is no fun since it can take away the drive to improve. My picks for the podium are Mac McClure and Nicola Gildersleeve.”
  6. “In addition to emesis (hopefully not by me), I expect a barometric pressure 929.7 hecto pascals, wind SSW at 8 knots, temperature 4.2°C(39.5°F), dew point 1.1°C(34.0°F), broken clouds at 7,500ft, visibility unrestricted, and no precipitation. (Can you guess my profession?)”

Ben Luedke

Mr. SMRG Legacy
Mr. SMRG Legacy
  1. Last big run: I ran 100K of the Wonderland trail around Mount Rainier
  2. “This will be my second time at Orcas and I’m equally excited about running with so many friends and running through such a beautiful course again.”
  3. I believe him and say, “bring it on!”
  4. “Indifferent”
  5. “If I finish the course and enjoy myself I’ll consider that a win, and I don’t frankly care who wins. The fact that there are some very fast mountain runners really has nothing to do with why I run or what I enjoy about the sport.”
  6. “My wife and son. Nothing better than that!”

Olga Nevtrinos

Olga celebrating
Olga carbo loading
  1. Last race: Tiger Fat Ass 25K if it counts or double Mt. Si ascent last Saturday 🙂 Last official one was Dick Collins Firetrails 50M in CA back to October. Not technical, but long and hot, kicked my ass 🙂
  2. “This is my second (Orcas), I hope the view and scenery will be as good as it was last year. Looking forward to the afterparty, it was great last year!”
  3. “The harder it’s for everyone, the better it’s for us. Just joking 🙂 I wouldn’t go for the “snow course” though as it’s just ridiculous to run all these flats for 32 miles.”
  4. “Never worked for me, just want to beat my last years time. The course is different and harder, but I am better now :)”
  5. “Of course I am in for the win, LOL. But I’ll put money on Adam Hewey and Jodee Adams-Moore (second place to Ellie on mega competitive Chuckanut last year oh my!)”
  6. “Sun, great view and potato chips.”

Glen Mangiantini

Mile 88 of Cascade Crest
Mile 88 of Cascade Crest
  1. My last run was Bridle Trails, preceded by the Tiger FA, which was more of an adventure because of the snow and mud.
  2. “I am the only person who has done this race and finished it every year that it has been put on. Van (Phan) has been there every year but missed a turn and cut off a chunk of the course so she wasn’t given an official finish that year.”
  3. “Any course out there will be great. However, I am a bit concerned about James’ comments about enforcing cutoffs. A lot of people have finished this race in the 8+ hour range, myself included on slower years so I think the cutoffs should be softer.”
  4. “Ultrasignup’s finish time for me of 6:47 seems completely off base; I’ll likely be a good hour slower if the course is as hard as it was the first year.”
  5. “Men: Adam Hewey or Rod Bein – Max is fast but I don’t know how he does on this kind of course. Women: Shawna Tomkins, Monica Ochs, or possibly Jodee Adams-Moore.”
  6. “A great view, if we’re lucky. I keep hoping James will put a bucket full of tickets at the top of the tower to force everyone to climb up and look at the view.”

Michael Linscott

Groovy!
Groovy!
  1. Last “race” was Grand Ridge 50K in November.
  2. “This is my first Orcas! Picked it because I learn something from every run and especially every race. Nutrition/Pace/Mental Fortitude, etc. And, hanging out and running with everyone at Orcas will be an adventure and learning experience all it’s own.”
  3. “I love Varner’s courses. We see all the beauty as well as all the crazy!”
  4. “Who is Ultra Sign Up? … It is never right but I always love to beat the “spread”.
  5. “Once you hit 40 you are not in it for the win (and me, not even the “master’s win”) but I’ll pick Adam Lint because of his shorts (and he’s hella fast) and Jude Ultra because she has a sweet name and she is an awesome lady!”
  6. “Tourists will be on top staring at us wondering what the halibut we are doing on a perfectly good Saturday morning.”

Stanislav Chiknavaryan

Mentally tough
Mentally tough
  1. “Last week I did a pretty cool run with Maxim Kazitov and Sergei Gringauze that went over 3 summits of West Tiger Mountain and then Central summit of Squak Mountain. With 5500′ of elevation gain that was a great training for Orcas 50K.”
  2. “Yes, this is my first Orcas 50K (and my second 50K). I just couldn’t wait any longer for another race.”
  3. “The 8400′ elevation gain does scary me quite a bit. I know the difficulty will be more mental than physical. I keep telling myself that I’ll get through it – I just need to remember to watch my pace in the first half and eat enough during the run.”
  4. ” I felt pleased, but it is likely off by at least 30 minutes. I slow down quite a bit once I hit 18-20 miles. Most of my racing history at ultrasignup consists of shorter races and it likely didn’t factor in the lack of ultra-distance endurance when calculating my target time.”
  5. “I’d be very happy if I make it in the top 25% of all finishers – that would be a huge win for me. I don’t have any predictions for the winners.”
  6. “A much needed aid station.”

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