Runners joyously exult in Vashon Ultramarathon and Trail Run

120 runners competed in the races on the trails of Island Center Forest and Fisher Pond.

On a beautiful sunny day, the 13th Vashon Ultramarathon & Trail Run welcomed 120 runners with their families and friends to the trails of Island Center Forest and Fisher Pond to run the 10-mile and 50 km trail races on June 3.

The closest race in history took place in the 10-mile race, when Doug Maurer (four-time finisher) led Isla Chadsey (three-time finisher) around the final turn by a step, with Chadsey edging out Maurer by a step to claim first place.

Chadsey owns the course record for women, set last year as a 17-year-old; she pushed Maurer to his fastest time on the course in his four races.

Chadsey now owns the top two times on the course, while second-woman finisher Caroline Renkin owns the next two fastest times.

Bob Norton, of Huntington Beach, California, was awarded the Red Lantern in the 10-mile race, in his eighth run on Vashon (five of those in the 50k).

In the longer race of the day, 50 km (31 miles), the top competition in the women’s race was between Kristi Williams, of Seattle, and Christie Mosley, of Issaquah, with Williams edging out Mosely in the final ten miles. Williams moved to third on the all-time list.

Mosely, raised on Vashon, a seven-times finisher, now owns five of the top 10 fastest times in the history of the 50k and would hold another, but for the race in 2021 when she stopped her race to aid a runner who had suffered a concussion after a fall — and then got back in it to finish in third place.

The Red Lantern Award in the 50 km race went to Jeff Funk, of Puyallup.

Four-time finisher and two-time winner Paul Young remarked on his Strava page, “Had some good runners to make this harder than planned and more fun. [The] first two laps were rough but ironed out the kinks by lap 3. Exceptional aid station perks.”

Fiona Hatfield, a two-time finisher from Edmonds, improved her 50 km time by 12 minutes from her race in 2016, remarking “What a beautiful course. Perfect weather, too!”

Racers remarked on how well the trails were marked by the marking crew led by Casey Lawrence; however, the runners had to overcome two instances of course vandalism by islanders who had moved signs and erased marker arrows.

Luckily, the runners noticed the discrepancies and took the correct paths. The event organizers, while disappointed that islanders would endanger the participants by the vandalism, were glad that no one got hurt by the damage and were able to correct the problems.

At mid-course at Fisher Pond, the runners were welcomed by the Heavy Metal-themed Aid Station created and staffed by islanders Dave Wilke and Nick Wiggins, who added Bacon Curls and Kentucky Bourbon to the usual Aid Station fare of Gatorade and Gu Gels.

Runners were welcomed into the Start/Finish area by announcer Jim Simmonds, where a small village had been set up on the large field provided courtesy of islander Morgan Brown.

There, the second Aid Station, staffed by islanders Ann Edwards and John Payne, supplied the 50k runners between their ten-mile loops, while finishers enjoyed truffle pate, assorted cheeses and charcuterie, Mulligatawny, and other fare by island chef and co-race director Lisa Cyra and her crew.

2023 is the final year the events will be produced by the extended Cyra family — 15 members in all, including their children, sisters and brothers, mates and mothers. Altogether they have produced the 13 trail races with a total of 1,881 finishes.

The runners this year ran on trails expertly maintained by King County, headed by 6-time finisher Joe Van Holebeke, and Vashon-Maury Land Trust, headed by Stewardship Coordinator Keller Cyra (seven-time finisher).

Runners were aided across the Bank Road crossings by islanders Emma and Peter Woodbrook, and the trail markings were picked up by sweep Ursa Medeiros, a past VHS Cross Country Captain, and now a certified stone mason.

Runners were enthusiastically welcomed and registered by Dmitri Hunter; finishers were handed their medals by island high schoolers Paloma and Sabine, who started the practice as 5-year-olds, and had their times marked by Joe Yarkin. In total, 28 volunteers made the events possible this year.

Bruce Cyra is the co-race director of the 13th Vashon Ultramarathon & Trail Run.