Arts and Entertainment

Many Many firsts take place at this year’s ultramarathon

By BRUCE CYRA

Last weekend resulted in many firsts at the fifth running of the Vashon Ultramarathon & Trail Run.

This year’s race saw the highest temperature (76 degrees), largest 50k field, first broken rib with a finish, new 50k course record, first wedding proposal (she said yes), first 10-minute late start by a runner who then won the race and the first 15-year old’s birthday trail run.

In one of the notable firsts, a 46-year-old runner tripped and fell at mile 13 of her 31-mile race and broke a rib, but got up and continued on to finish. Emergency responders were summoned to the finish line, but after getting a quick checkup, the runner got back out of the aid car to cheer on the other finishers. The runner, a physician’s assistant from West Seattle, realized that her rib would heal on its own and was most upset at losing her lead in the women’s 50k race, later getting passed at mile 20 because she was unable to take a full breath and “falling” back to finish as the third place woman.

In another first, a race finisher used the setting of the post-race party to propose to his race finisher girlfriend, who must have been overcome by endorphins and accepted. The race organizers offered next year’s race — June 6 — as a wedding venue, but that offer has not yet been accepted.

Adon Ellis of Vashon celebrated his 15th birthday by running his first 10-mile trail run and out-kicking a visitor from Augusta, Georgia, down the home stretch to finish as the 67th male in 1:58:52.

Not letting a late start steal a first-place finish from him, high school junior Graham Peet finished his SAT and got to the start line well after all the other 10-milers had departed. He was able to pass more than 90 other runners on the narrow and twisting trails to take first place, barely beating his father, Andrew Peet, to the finish.

50k winner Justin Houck of Seattle, fresh off his win at the Squak Mountain Trail Run and his second-place finish at the Mercer Island Half Marathon (1:10), set a new ultra course record of 3:11:51.

The first Vashon runners in the 50k were David Waterworth, David Weller and Richard Staehli in the men’s race and Rosetta Avolio-Toly, Kathleen Farrell and Susan Hesselgrave in the women’s race.

The first Vashon runners to finish the 10-mile were Graham Peet, Andrew Peet and Jeff Cunningham in the men’s race; Tara Vanselow, Stephanie Halstead and Summer Peet in the women’s race.

All told, the miles run by all finishers equal the driving distance from Seattle to Boston, Massachusetts.

The complete race results can be found at the ultra’s website, www.vashonultra.com.

— Bruce Cyra is a runner and one of the event organizers.

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