2004 BullDog Race Report
The good, the bad, and the ugly, surprises, and the funnies…
by Nancy Shura, R.D.
Less than 48 hours after the finish of the Bulldog Trail Runs, I sit at the computer organizing data and calculating results, my work impeded by the influx of calls and e-mails from runners about the events that unfolded during my inaugural experience as RD of this popular event.
Good things first... Wonderful weather for an August race, probably the best in recent years. Most of the 30Kers made it in before the sun broke through the August gloom! The 50K back of the packers suffered most as the sun was it's typical hot self once it did appear. The Bulldog volunteers were the stars of the day. Help came from all directions... UltraLadies, New Basin Blues and a handful of JJ100-Mile hopefuls fulfilling their volunteer obligations! I had help stuffing goodie bags, marking trails (had some unsolicited help with this), monitoring turns on the course, working aid stations, start/finish support, race sweeping and clean up. Our community of runners coming out to support the race are so dedicated and unselfish... Some special mentions... Kim Montgomery and Sandy Gitmed who each stayed out on the course 11 hours without benefit of aid station goodies to comfort them! Another special helper was Patty Giebel (2003 3rd place female in 50K). Patty broke her neck in a bike accident on Easter but Patty was at Tapia aid station all day helping the runners before setting out to sweep the course from Tapia backwards to the start! Patty came marching to the start line with 100 yellow ribbons tied to her halo. Two days later she underwent 6 hours of surgery to fuse her neck. What a great UltraLady and example to the running community of how to overcome hardship and setback.
Even as the 50Kers toed the starting line, the Bad was waiting to strike! Sometime between 8:30PM and 6:00AM, someone had snuck onto the first mile of the course with flour in hand, scuffed out the race markings, pulled ribbons and made new flour marks, diverting the runners away from the course onto dangerous Mulholland Highway. At some point the middle of the pack sensed trouble and began to turn back followed by others including leader Jorge Pacheco, who suddenly found himself in last place. Some runners veered off in their own directions before realizing the problem and thankfully everyone returned to safely complete the race. Although several race monitors were present on strategic turns of the course, it is impossible to stand people at every turn in a race to protect the runners from the evil misdoings of those who would harm them. My final words before the race start countdown was "God Bless" and indeed the runners were! A blessing for the 30Kers was that a new decision for 2004 was to start the 30K race one hour later than the 50K. This good fortune allowed us to prevent 200 30K runners from suffering the same fate.
The Ugly... as described by our trail sweepers, aid station workers and ultra-listers: We observed a remarkable display of disregard from many runners who littered the trail with their cups, gel wrappers and plastic bottles (which were so generously provided by the race to keep the runners fueled and cooled). My opinion (supported by aid station witnesses) is that most of the offenders were 30K runners. Shame on all of you who tossed trash onto the trail! Learn some trail etiquette!
Surprises!!! Jorge Pacheco, coming from last place at the detour turn-around to become a three-peat winner of the Bulldog 50K! Jorge's first place finish time for his Bulldog 36.5 Mile (approx.) Handicap Run was 4:33:38. Seeing Jorge come from behind to win the race added a wonderful surprise finish to what had been a disappointing surprise start! Second place overall was another surprise... 40 year old world champion triathlete, elite marathon runner JulieAnne White, in a time of 4:47:52! Congratulations to these two extremely talented athletes!
The Funnies: Going to pick up the only U-Haul not rented in town on the last weekend of the month, My Tag Mobile; "I thought things looked strange as we headed on the highway. Soon everyone ahead was stopped, standing, and some starting to turn around. Myself and others headed back and ... ahead of Jorge Pacheco, today was my day... just kidding!" (Shannon Farar-Griefer)" "I then had the honor of carrying a bag of flour up the hill (with Nancy in tow) to where the sabotage had taken place. By the time my race got going again I looked like the victim of a freak bakery accident. (Fausto Rowlan); At the volunteer thank you dinner on Saturday evening... discovering that we had all survived the Bulldog "Trial" Run... see God does have a sense of humor!
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped before, during and after the race...it does take a village! Thank you to my husband Larry and our family for all their hard work. Thank you to the 50K runners for crossing the finish line with smiles on their faces...I don't think the 30Kers would have been that forgiving!
See you next year,
Course Adjustments: After the maps were posted, the decision was made to drop the paved part of the course(s) in the Malibu Lake area.
* 30K: According to 2001 Tom Harrison map the old 30K course is 19.3 and the new course is 17.8. We always thought the old 30K course was a bit long. We now know it was 1.5 miles longer than the new course. That combined with the slightly cooler weather this year, would explain improved times for 2004.
* 50K: According to 2001 Tom Harrison map the new 50K course is 15.70. For those who were steered off course, the trail distance from the tampered intersection to paved Mulholland trailhead is 0.5 miles.