Well, here we are again at The Hermosa 24. It’s been little more than a year since the 2nd annual Hermosa 24. The inaugural event saw one man, Christian Burke (also winner of the inaugural 2010 Operation Jack Marathon) run 24 hours straight to break the world record for most miles run in the soft sand in 24 hours… a whopping 83+ miles! In 2011, it became a race with 8 solo entrants and 8 more relay teams, including both Team CORE & Team Structures (I ran for both). And we witnessed Manhattan Beach phenom Patrick Sweeney (winner of the 2011 Operation Jack Half Marathon) break the recently established world record by running 87+ miles!
So I knew I needed to come back for 2012. But this time, I planned on running solo. So I recruited hard to get 10 people signed up for each team. And I did! But then 3 folks dropped out, but we were still strong. Team Structures was anchored by returning runners Vinay & Francisco who were joined by Jimmy, Ryan, Stu, Sean and Alla along with Captain Zach. Team CORE was highlighted by returning members (and CORE co-founders) Chuck & Todd, aided by CORE President Bill and joined by Alex, Christian, William, Shin and Captain Tom. All told, there were 18 of us, five veterans and 13 braving (or is it stupiding) the hot sands for the first time. So how did we do?
Well, that’s William (paced by Shin) finishing their 6th and Team CORE’s 28th lap with less than 10 minutes to spare! That’s 2 more than last year. More than 94 miles. Ninety four miles on the deepest, driest sand you’ll find anywhere. Team Structures was strong as well, finishing in 4th place among the teams, with 24 laps despite a 1.5 hour gap with no running. That compares to 23 official laps or 26 unofficial laps in 2011. Really, really good guys! After breaking down camp, Zach, William, Shin & I decamped to Islands (the one in the Manhattan Village Mall) for a well-earned lunch… I enjoyed a full 4-course meal of lemonade, tortilla soup, tacos & an ice cream Sunday. Oh, and a 2 hour nap a little later. Everyone was great, but a special shout out to Tom, William & Shin who each ran 6 laps, and Stu & Ryan who each completed 5 laps. That’s more than solid! Zach covered 4.5 (including a half lap unofficial to help drag me across the line) and Sean ran 4 total, including the 2 where he paced Alla.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot about me! I had the ambitious yet achievable goal of completing 50 miles, which is 15 laps. I was right on track, with 9 laps complete by midnight and an even dozen by 6 AM. Then, exhaustion set in. I had to rest for 10 minutes mid-lap, and upon returning I consumed 3 pastries and passed out in the team camp (2 canopies, 1 large tent, 1 small tent, 10 folding chairs, 2 coolers, a case of Gatorade, a case of Propel, assorted sleeping bags, spare sand socks, first aid supplies and assorted other sundry items). 2 hours later, I woke up shivering from cold & exhaustion and declared myself done after 40 miles. Christian Burke would have none of that! I knew I had one more lap in me, but not sure about two. So I carefully timed my final lap so no one would be tempted to declare that my penultimate lap in retrospect! During the first 11 laps I averaged about 59.5 minutes per lap. The last two? About 1:15 each. I was toast. All told, 43.7 miles officially, but I think it would easily top 45 if I counted all the yards traveled from base camp to the start/ finish line! Below are the full stats for Team CORE, Team Structures, and ummm, Team “Jake.” Official results are on The Hermosa 24 website.
So how did Patrick do? I guess he did OK, I guess. In fact, he single-handedly matched 9-member Team CORE by completing 28 laps, more than 94 miles (even more impressive, more than 150 kilometers). Shattered his own world record. There’s an excellent race preview on Easy Reader, news coverage at the local Patch sites, a small news piece on the local CBS station and surely more to follow in the days ahead. Christian was set to give Pat a run for his money, but a foot injury in the first 10 miles put an end to those plans. I did have the opportunity to travel a mile with both Pat & Christian late in the race. I count both among my friends, and they are pretty much the reason why I started running on the beach. Many days this spring (when the sand was a LOT more forgiving) I would pass Pat on the beach and he’d run 5 or 10 miles with me. Keep your eyes on the event’s Facebook page for updates that are sure to flow through from organizers & entrants alike. At times I outlasted the King of the Beach! But not today. Thanks to both those guys, as well as all the other entrants–solo & relay. And of course other volunteers, especially Mike Naylor who volunteered to feed my parking meter when Christian was threatening to have it towed (not quite), and Kara Lubin who was there all night (I think?) with an upbeat attitude for the ultramarathoners and those embarking on the 1-lap challenge. It was great to see all the kids hanging out too, bringing the sort of energy that come only come from youth.
So that’s about that. I’ll leave you now with a picture of the remaining members of CORE posing on the podium recognizing their 3rd place finish. Sweeney wasn’t done yet, as he managed to photobomb the team photo… that bastard! And last thing, I’ll plug the 2012 Operation Jack Marathon & Half Marathon. Same great course, new start/finish line, new expo and many more improvements. Same day after Christmas tradition, might be the only Wednesday marathon you have the opportunity to run.