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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 10:43 pm | Partly Cloudy 57º


Blue Canyon Trail Race Proves to Be the Ultimate Challenge

Andrew Henshaw of Colorado Springs wins again in the 100k, but many local runners also go the distance

The second annual Blue Canyon Trail Race held Saturday, June 5 in the Santa Barbara backcountry exceeded participants’ expectations as a “tough” Ultra race.

The challenging out-and-back trail race predominantly traversed through sections on the north side of the Upper Santa Ynez Mountains, offering entrants periodic views of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean. With temperatures soaring higher than 100 degrees on race day, many runners had to dig deep to remain in and ultimately finish the race.

Andrew Henshaw of Colorado Springs, Colo., took first place again this year in the 100k.

“I entered the 100k because I fell in love with it last year,” he said. “My goal this year was to beat my time and to see if the course still gave me as much trouble as it did last year. It did, and it still counts as one of the hardest races I’ve ever run.”

Henshaw finished the 100k at 11:51:00 (beating his time from last year at 12:45:58). Maria Petzold of Oak Park finished second at 12:24:00, and Charles Bauknecht of Costa Mesa came in third at 14:59:00.

Taking his first Ultra win, Brooks Williams of Colorado Springs finished the 50m at 11:02:00. Second place went to Ron Harding Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., at 13:48:00, and third place went to Dan Decker of Los Gatos,  finishing at 14:06:00.

Helen Cavender of Boulder Creek, who finished fourth in the 50m, said, “The race was exactly what I expected. It was tough, beautiful, rugged, and required us to be more adaptive and accepting of what nature decided to dish out. I will definitely be back for more.”

Finishing first in the 50k was Evan Hone of Eagle River, Alaska, at 5:29:00, second was Jayson Swigart of Boulder, Colo., at 6:09:00, and a close third by Shannon Waegner of Rancho Santa Margarita at 6:13:00.

For many, this was their first Ultra race experience, and it proved to be a memorable one.

“I had lots of memorable moments … excitement at the start, camaraderie on the course amongst the runners, outstanding volunteers, and the heat,” said Steve Bacharach of Thousand Oaks, who participated in the 50k. “When I got to the finish line, I was so happy and relieved that I couldn’t stop grinning for 20 minutes, and it took me awhile to sort through what I’d just experienced. For a first Ultra (and maybe my last), the conditions were pretty brutal, so it felt that much better to have accomplished it.”

This year Blacksmith Endurance Co. added the 15k and 25k for those seeking a shorter distance event. Completing the 25k within minutes of each other were Greg Branam of Newbury Park at 3:27:00, Ken Hughes of Santa Barbara at 3:30:00 and Joe Andrulaitis of Santa Barbara at 3:48:00, finishing in first, second and third place respectively.

New to trail racing, Reyna Talanian and John Sim of Goleta, who ran the 25k, said, “Everywhere you looked in this race you could see the amazing qualities in each of the participants. It was inspiring and yet another reason to do events like this. The participants were all so supportive of each other, and the volunteers were great.”

“The Blue Canyon Trail Race was my first trail race, and I had so much fun I can’t wait for the next one,” said Laurie Anderson of Santa Barbara. “I am used to road races and have done several half and whole marathons, but this was my favorite. I felt like I was on an adventure!”

The top three finishers for the 15K were Jack Hight of Santa Barbara at 1:39:00, Matt Klonowski of Santa Barbara at 1:44:00 and Zach Owen of Orcutt at 1:54:00.

Proceeds from The Blue Canyon Trail Race, totaling $1,500, will be donated to the Los Padres Forest Association. In addition, Blacksmith Endurance Co. cleared 7.5 miles of densely overgrown multiuse trails in preparation for the race, at a value of more than $6,000.

The Santa Barbara Backcountry D.R.T.E. (Dirt Roads & Trails Endurance) Race on Oct. 1-3 is the next upcoming trail race event.

Spotlighting the 100 Mile Solo division, the D.R.T.E. potentially will be the nation’s second-highest elevation gain and loss trail race, once again challenging contenders with higher temperatures. To address the issues of heat exhaustion and dehydration caused by potentially extreme temperatures, Blacksmith Endurance Co. plans to ensure that extra aid stations and water are provided. Additional distances and divisions will include the 100 Mile Team Relay, 100k, 50 mile, 50k, 30k and 20k.

Click here to register or volunteer to assist with the race.

— Kim Clark is the marketing director for Blacksmith Endurance Co.


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