Saturday, August 29, 2009

Oregon trail runner Erik Skaggs in the hospital

[From the Rogue Valley Runners]

As you may already be aware, Erik Skaggs (pictured left with Jenn Shelton) is currently in Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford, OR. Erik ran and won the Where’s Waldo 100 Kilometer Ultramarathon last Saturday in record time but began having medical difficulties later that day. After being treated with IVs in the emergency room earlier in the week, he was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday suffering from nausea and pain. His kidney function has not improved during the last few days.

Erik remains his usual good natured, positive self. He has been surrounded by many of his friends during his hospital stay. His brother Kyle arrives from out of town on Friday to be by his side. At last report, he was timing his splits as he walked around his hospital wing. Jenn, his girlfriend, has been supplementing moldy hospital food with treats from home.

Many friends throughout the ultrarunning community have already asked how they can help. One of Erik’s biggest concerns is the mounting medical bill. Erik does not have health insurance. He may be eligible for some assistance through his membership with USA Track & Field, but will no doubt require monies for the deductible and for the expected costs well above the coverage. An Ashland runner and friend of Erik’s has opened a bank account at Umpqua Bank in Ashland, Oregon to receive donations that will be used to help defray these medical expenses. You can contribute by sending a check to Umpqua Bank, 250 N. Pioneer Street, Ashland, OR 97520 made out to the “Erik Skaggs Medical Fund.” Any assistance that you could provide would be much appreciated by Erik. Please note that the Fund name should be on the outside of the envelope.

Updates on Erik’s medical condition will be posted to the blog at Rogue Valley Runners’ website, at, as it becomes available.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

US Mountain Running Team going to Italy

The 2009 Teva US Mountain Running Team will be traveling to Campodolocino, Italy next week for the 25th World Mountain Running Championships.

You can follow the team on Twitter at: or on the team blog at:

Pictured are Simon Gutierrez and Rickey Gates.

Here are some highlights from the US Team at the 2008 World Champs:

Junior boys - Tim Smith's 5th place is the best ever placing, beating Andrew Benford's 12th place from 2006. Levi Grandt's 13th place is the 3rd best and Jon Steven's 31st place is the 7th best.

The team 4th place is the best ever, topping the 8th place finish in 2006.

Junior girls - Alex Dunne's bronze medal is the first ever individual medal for a junior girl, this tops Anna Lieb's 4th place finish in 2007.

Men - Rickey Gates 12th = 10th best, Joe Gray's 16th = 14th best, Eric Blake's 23rd = 20th best, Simon Gutierrez 25th = tie for 24th best. Matt Byrne 34th is the best ever 5th man for a US team and Zach Freudenberg 36th = best ever finish for a 6th man.

US 5th and 6th man beat every other countries 5th and 6th man. So I'd say they were the deepest team in the field.

Team bronze medal tops the 5th place finish in 2006.

Women - Brandy Erholtz 11th place ties for the 7th best ever individual performance.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2009 Where's Waldo / USATF 100k Trail National Championship Results

"It is not a beginner-level ultra and participation in the race should not be taken lightly". This is the disclaimer on the Where's Waldo 100k website and one which lingers in the minds of all runners that toe the chalk line in the darkness just before the 5:00 AM start. Only 88 of the 135 entered runners crossed the finish line - one loop, 62 miles and 11,000' of elevation (climb & descent) after leaving the Willamette Pass Ski Area lodge.

One runner not intimidated by the course was Where's Waldo newbie and eventual winner Erik Skaggs (Ashland, OR) - pictured above after his finish. Erik blazed the course in a record 9:11:05 - a full 55 minutes ahead of the old course record set in 2008 by Neil Olsen. Erik has been a top runner in Oregon for several years now winning many races in the La Sportiva / USATF-Oregon Mountain Running Series.

Rogue Valley Runner Neil Olsen (Central Point, OR) did finish the 2009 race in 4th overall and became the Masters 100k Trail National Champion with a time of 10:02:39, just barely ahead of his record time from the previous year.

The women's overall winner was Joelle Vaught (Boise, ID) who finished 9th overall in record time of 10:23:32. Beverly Anderson-Abbs (Red Bluff, CA) came off her 3rd place finish at the Western States 100 miler to take the women's Masters National Championship in 11th place overall (2nd woman) in a time of 11:01:59.

One of the other great stories of the race was the participation in the National Championship with 58 starters being USATF members and eligible to win medals. 20 runners won USATF medals either by finishing in the top 10 (men and women) or top three in their age group. A complete list of medal winner can be found here.

Complete results and split times are posted on the race website at:

Race photos can be seen at:

First hand accounts and other race reports are at:

Rogue Valley Runners Blog

Yassine Diboun's blog - 7th place overall

Craig Thornley's blog - race director

Monday, August 17, 2009

2009 Great Northwest Mountain Run

The 2009 edition of the Great Northwest Mountain Run was an evolution of the 2008 race billed as the Northwest Mountain Running Championships which took place in September. Perhaps due in part to the change in date and name, the race this past weekend attracted a smaller and much less competitive field.

2009 Great Northwest Mountain Run:
35 finishers - no prize money - 1 finisher under 45 minutes

2008 Northwest Mountain Running Championships:
73 finishers - $6000 in prize money - 5 finishers under 45 minutes

In spite of the differences from last years race, all the runners seemed to have the usual great X-Dog fun. The 6 miles course was slightly shorter than last year but featured the same 1500' of climbing and descent. With perfectly clear sky's the views from the course were fantastic with the summit of Mt. Hood towering over the course.

The race was won in 44:06 by Zach Violett (Bend, OR) and cross country skier who finished 5th at the Mt. Ashland Hillclimb just 2 weeks ago. On the women's side Stephanie Howe (Bend, OR) won in 51:22 and finished 6th overall. Congrats to Zach and Stephanie for taking home free trail running shoes courtesy of La Sportiva.

Don Gallogly (pictured above) was the top masters man in 8th place with a time of 53:14. The top masters woman was Florencia Gascon-Amyx who finished 10th in 1:01:30.

For complete results visit:

Race photos can be found at:

The final race in the La Sportiva / USATF-Oregon Mountain Running Series will be the Sunrise to Summit near Bend, OR. This 3 mile lung burner will climb 2500' to the summit of Mt. Bachelor on September 5, 2009.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

2009 Mt. Ashland Hillclimb Run - Results

Joe Gray (Lakewood, WA) came south to run in his first Mt. Ashland Hillclimb Run thinking that MAYBE he could break Rick Sayre's record from 1986. A stout record of 1:42:?? was set the same year Rick won the Los Angeles Marathon. Coming off his recent victory at the USA Mountain Running Championships Joe had a shot at the record but could he overcome the heat, smoke from forest fires and not knowing the course?

Finishing in the second fastest time ever run (1:47:29) Joe won the 2009 edition of the Mt. Ashland Hillclimb Run and has a much better idea of what it's going to take to break 1:42.

On the women's side cross country ski racer Stephanie Howe (Bend, OR) came off a recent injury to finish 12th overall and beat the 2nd woman Jenn Shelton by almost 12 minutes.

A story from the Medford Mail Tribune can be found here.

The Rogue Valley Runners will have a blog post about the race very soon at:

Complete results can be found at:

Race photos can be found at:

Also look for photos from Andy Atkinson here.