Chase the Moon is a brand new trail race/ultra in Highlands Ranch. It was put on by my friends David and Ben, who are the same guys behind the very popular and highly-respected Bear Chase Trail Race in September.
CTM was run on a ~10 mile loop with 3 person relay teams and a solo division going from 7PM on Friday night to 7AM Saturday morning. I believe they had over 100 solo runners and another 100+ in the relay. It was a great turnout for a first-year race, and I’m sure once the word gets out, next year will be even bigger.
I got there around 5:00 and roamed around as a bunch of runners created a tent city on the Mountain Vista High School field. Everyone was nervously watching the sky as a huge thunderstorm had just passed through, but conditions ended up being perfect for the race.
A little before the start, I trotted a little over a mile up the course with my gear and got in position for the runners topping out on the first small climb.
The course was fairly tight so I could bypass some sections to leapfrog ahead and get in a different position. I did this several times throughout the evening and ended up running 5-6 miles and got in a good workout as a result. When I do this it always reminds me of the biathlon event in the Olympics (skiing/rifle) because I have to sprint into position and then work very hard to control my breathing while I fire the shutter.
The departing storm made for some nice evening light.
Soon it was transitioning to darkness and time for me to finish up the shoot as the runners settled in for a long night ahead.
This is one race where I was jealous of the runners going by me. They all seemed to be having such a great time! Lots of little groups were clumped together and seemed to be sticking together for the long haul, chatting and laughing as they cruised down the trail.
David and Ben put on a great event and I highly recommend this one. I think it will become a cornerstone race for runners training for a late summer or fall 100 miler (Leadville, RRR, Bear). Running through the night under a full moon in race conditions is a great training experience. It was great to see so many friends out running and supporting the race, I really had a good time!
More images can be viewed here.
With over 1,000 people running, this race was a butt-kicker to cover with the camera. I try to take short cuts across the course whenever possible to set up in a new location. In this race there were several spots where I had to hop in with the runners and follow the course instead of cutting. I get some funny looks being mixed in with the runners at a mid-7 pace while carrying two DSLR cameras and wearing a waist pack with 3 lenses. I worked hard for these shots!
Lots more here.
I’ve been part of the ultrarunning game for over seven years now, and I’m reluctant to admit that I haven’t ever paced anyone. What’s up with that?!? I was finally going to get my chance at the North Fork 50 mile race this weekend.
My original plan was to get up at 04:00 and catch the start of the race. That didn’t work due to a sick kiddo, but I was able to make it up to Pine Valley Ranch around 9:00 and seeing that I had my camera riding shotgun on the drive up I decided at the very last minute to carry it with me (DSLR w/70-200).
I jogged up the course in reverse, and was able to take shots of the 50k and 50 mile runners as they approached. My goal was to get to the Meadows aid station around 2pm and wait to pick up my runner for the final 18 miles.
I had a great time seeing so many friends out there running, crewing, and volunteering. It really made me happy to get a solid dose of the ultra vibe that I’ve been missing for a while.
Unfortunately, my runner missed the cutoff at that aid station. Very bummed for him, but super happy that he gave it a shot. It was the push I needed to get up there and be a part of the race.
I left that aid station a little after 4pm and made my way another 12 miles (26 total) back down to my car, hanging out and chatting at the aid stations along the way.
I’m posting some sample photos, the full gallery with free downloads for the runners is here:
It was a great way to spend the day!