Welcome to the Noble Canyon 50k website. The Noble Canyon 50k is run each year in the beautiful mountains in east San Diego county and was established by the San Diego Bad Rats, these experienced ultrarunners man each aid station. Scott Mills was the founding race director and today Brian Gonzales is the race director. The race is operated by Cliffs and Meadows LLC and is a USATF sanctioned event which is run on National Forest land.
CHANGING COURSE - race report
Noble Canyon 50k – September 21, 2013
I have always appreciated when ultra race directors have kept the same course year-after-year for several good reasons; namely, in order to have a true "course record" and record holder, for ease of logistics and course marking, reducing the chances of runners getting confused or lost, and for overall legacy and continuity.
The first three Noble Canyon 50k races were staged out of the Pine Valley Bible Camp. Each year we had to tweak the course slightly to make aid stations more accessible. Then it was necessary for a venue chance. Years four through six also held changing courses. We used the Al Bahr Shrine camp which is home to the most spectacular view along Sunrise Highway. Standing under the trees is the 98 year-old lodge with old growth cedar timbers and gorgeous wood paneling inside. On July 6, 2013 tragedy struck as a fast moving California wildfire consumed the camp destroying the historic lodge and most of the cabins at the camp. Our collective hearts were broken. I want to thank the large number of people from the running community that participated in the fundraising dinner.
Losing our 2013 venue two months before the race meant another changing course and some quick work to identify yet another new course. This year we returned to our roots and staged out of the Bible Camp. In order to stay out of the fire burn area we added an exciting new section called Indian Creek Trail. This means that in seven years we've have seven different courses. The eighth course is yet to be determined but is sure to be Noble!
Perhaps a new course every year works for the Noble Canyon 50k. Perhaps it has become part of the race's identity. After seven years we have 22 five-time-finishers and several runners that have never missed a race; perhaps a changing course contributes to them coming back year after year, not to mention their love of kissing the rat!
The weather truly cooperated this year. Neil Feerick, relatively new to ultrarunning, lead the field as they ran the rolling mountain trails. Finishing at the Bible Camp meant runners again navigated the technical rocky downhill on tired legs and would work through the classic Noble Canyon uphill sandy stretch at the bottom of the course (an all-time favorite of the old-school Noble Canyoners). Feerick would set a new course record in 3:54:18 with Michael Alfred and Dean Dobberteen punching in at number two and three. Alpine local Jayme Baldwin won it for the women in 5:05:25 with Bad Rat Tracy Dimino right on her heals taking second and Michelle Racicot taking third. The rest of the field hammered away, enjoyed the day and all puckered up to kiss the rat at the finish. Veteran ultrarunners volunteered at the aid stations helping produce another high finishing rate of 97% (193 starters and 188 finishers).
We did not plan to have an ever-changing course. Inside I am against it. But for the Noble Canyon 50k for some reason we have all embraced it and it works.
CongRATulations to all finishers!