Race Report: 100-Mile Club Endurance Challenge for Kids 2010
The route for the 100-Mile Endurance Challenge (100EC) cuts through the urban heart and hugs the scenic coast of Southern California. All race proceeds went to the 100 Mile Club® – a charity that challenges school-aged kids to run 100 miles during the school year. Athletes who ran the course passed through three counties (Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles) and an epic 20 cities. The event started at William McKinley Elementary School in Corona, CA on the morning of October 23 and finished 30 hours later at the Santa Monica Pier. Before the start of the race, most of the participants took the opportunity to run a few laps with the members of the 100 Mile Club® – some of them as young as five.
The route of the 100EC passed through Corona and Norco, before following the Santa Ana River Trail to the coast. From there, the runners continued along the Huntington Beach Bike Trail followed by Pacific Coast Highway. The course took on a more rural feel through Palos Verdes before returning to the coast along the so-called “Strand”. Those that made it through the night were able to experience both the sunset and sunrise as they ran along the California coast.
In keeping with the theme of the charity, elementary schools where selected as aid stations – each aid station was approximately 25 miles apart. Though many of the runners had crew, Jenson USA organized bike riders to sweep the course and look after the runners. The riders carried extra water, emergency food and medical supplies. Runners were also allowed drop bags which they could access at each aid station.
The field was limited to 25 teams to ensure safety and success of the event. One runner did not start, so there were 22 solo runners and two relay teams. The relay teams were comprised of a two-man (male-female) and a four-woman team. Overall, 17 men and 11 women took part in the race, with the youngest runner being 19.
With much yelling, screaming and loud rock music, the starter’s horn was sounded at 8:30am. The runners left the school parking lot where they were greeted by a pair of Corona Police motorcycle officers. These officers graciously supported the race for the first 11 miles. At that point, the runners joined the Santa Ana River Trail, a natural area that is studded with beautiful parks and wetlands.
At mile 24, the runners briefly left the river trail to meet up at Rio Vista Elementary School in the city of Anaheim. This was the first 25-Mile Aid station (nicknamed “Plum”). Robert Orcutt arrived first at 12:43pm (4:13). Benjamin Haldeman and Dennis Koors arrived soon after at 12:44pm (4:14) and 12:45pm (4:15), respectively. The runners were weighed, photographed, fed and resupplied. Only one of the starters did not make it to the 25-mile aid station. After the a few minutes, each of the competitors left the station volunteers and returned to the river trail.
After running another 16 miles, the athletes reached Huntington Beach and the Pacific Ocean. For many runners, the sun was just setting. At this point, they switched on their lights and continued along the coast. The first major milestone along this portion of the route was the Huntington Pier where the runners passed night fisherman and couples who had planned a “big night out” at one of the upscale restaurants that lined the beach. Soon after the pier, the runners entered Bolsa Chica State Beach where the bike path took on a more remote feel. There, it was pitch dark with very few people. If the runners removed their headphones, they could hear the waves crashing along the now-empty beach.
Finally, the bike path ended in Sunset Beach and the runners turned inland to meet the volunteers at the 50-Mile aid station (nicknamed “Orange”) at Harbour View Elementary School. Benjamin Haldeman arrived at 5:38pm. Robert Orcutt arrived at 6:14pm. And the triumvirate of Dennis Koors, Eric Yan and Jerry Knox arrived at 6:53pm. All the runners were greeted with applause by the volunteers and spectators alike. While some participants took the opportunity to get something to eat, others left as quickly as they arrived after being weighed and resupplied.
After returning the coast, the runners began the most difficult part of the course. In contrast to the natural beauty along the beach, the runners ran a 20-mile stretch along PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). There, they were confronted with endless traffic, seedy bars, nail salons, gas stations and fast food joints. Many people that the runners met on foot were surprised to see them with their compression gear, iPods, numbered bibs and headlamps. One group of runners saw what looked to be a drug bust with the lights of three police cars flashing. Nearing the end of this segment of the course, the runners came upon the race’s greatest challenge.
The runners entered Rolling Hills Estates at the foot of what became known as “King Kong” – a seemingly endless hill that must be conquered before entering the relative safety of the 75-Mile aid station (nicknamed “Watermelon”). This portion of the race claimed seven participants. Haldeman arrived just after midnight at 12:02am. Jerry Knox arrived some two hours later at 2:01am. And, Eric Yan arrived a few minutes later at 2:06am. Exhausted after battle, many warriors tarried here to care for their wounds and to regain their strength.
From the 75-mile mark, the course continued downhill through one of the most beautiful areas of Southern California. The runners passed silently through the cloistered neighborhoods of Palos Verdes Estates in full view of the Pacific, glittering in the full moon. They continued through the night along the Strand, through several beach cities as they neared Santa Monica. While out of place earlier that night, the runners seem to fit right in with the crowds of Venice Beach as they moved closer to the finish line.
Benjamin Haldeman ran the last 25 miles in a blazing 5 hours 47 minutes to finish at 5:49am (21:19). Surprisingly, this was Ben’s first 100-miler. Jerry Knox arrived a little more than two hours later at 9:03am (24:33). And, Eric Yan finished a few minutes after that at 9:14am (24:44), well under the 30-hour cutoff. Linda McFadden won the race for the women arriving at 11:13am (26:43).
All finishers received a medal – the same one the kids receive 100 Mile Club®. Whether they finished or not, all participants received thank you message written in crayon by a member of the 100 Mile Club® and placed inside of a bottle. Finisher Robert Orcutt summarized the race the best when he said “I had to cross that finish line for the kids.” In the end, over $9,000 was raised by the 100-Mile Endurance Challenge.
The 100 Mile Club® supports the ”Let’s Move” campaign’s goal to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation. It serves 50,000 school-age children at 82 schools in 5 states. It helps schools to be healthier places, and helps kids to be active every day, to set and achieve long-term goals, and to develop lifelong healthy habits. www.100mileclub.com MEDIA CONTACT: Darren Van Soye, email@example.com