Pemberton Trail 50K's typical Sonoran Desert scenery.
Every year on or about the month of December I always get this little flier in the mail. A small, folded piece of colored paper that never seems to get lost in snail mail space no matter what part of the country I'm currently calling home. It's a little reminder that the Pemberton Trail 50 Kilometer Trail Race is coming up in February, I should mark my calendar and plan on being there. Race director, Brian Wieck, never lets me forget. I like that. Truthfully, its hard to turn down an offer like that when its directed at you specifically. Why, it'd be like not showing up at your best friend's birthday gathering. Total party foul!
The author en route to his fourth Pemberton finish (Nick Coury photo).
Pemberton Trail 50K is just perfect. For a February trail race its hard to beat. You can count on the weather being darn close to perfect; the central Arizona desert makes it so. The trail the course follows is fast, smooth, scenic and fun. You can bet the food spread at the post-race awards ceremony will be plentiful and inviting. The volunteers and race director know what they're doing; after all this was the tenth year of the event.
I guess the other unique thing about Pemberton is that the race can usually make you feel good about your early season fitness level. The course is ripe for a personal record (PR) picking. If you run it, you're likely to run your fastest 50K trail ultra ever. Kinda nice, yeah?
Hal Koerner and Carly Varner enjoy post-race beverages.
Josh and Hillary Brimhall; happy to be finished.
Another bonus for me personally was the chance to see good friends both in the race and along the course. Hal Koerner, Carly Varner and Craig Thornley came all the way from Oregon to participate and soak up the desert sun. Local Arizona runners Ric Hatch, Jamil Coury and Nick Coury helped operate the aid stations along the course. Josh Brimhall and Hillary Brimhall came over from the Las Vegas area to add to the excitement.
Josh Brimahll battled Hal Koerner most of the day for the win. This was Josh's eighth Pemberton and fourth win. I'd venture to say that it was most likely his hardest earned as well (Nick Coury photo).
Kudos to those who used Pemberton as their first ultra finish. Hillary Brimhall did just that.
Full results for the 2010 event can be found here.
Nick Coury's photo montage can be found here.
Thanks to Brian Wieck and all of the volunteers that helped make the event a success. Congratulations to all runners.
(l to r) Ian Torrence, Hal Koerner and Josh Brimhall post-race.