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  • Team CORE takes 3rd in 2012 Hermosa 24! (0) July 2, 2012 Jake Rome

    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!

    Sweeney finishes his 94th mile in the deep soft sand. Effing nutjob!

    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?
    William & Shin bring it in!

    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.

    Team CORE!

    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.

    3rd place relay, Team CORE!

    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.

  • Operation Jack: Post Race Wrap-Up (0) December 28, 2011 Jake Rome

    This is also posted at:

    (0) Survey
    Survey link is included in the email only!

    (1) Race summary
    What can I say? It was an awesome day! Perfect weather, and we had 4 great runners win the men’s & women’s races, topping nearly all of the course records from 2010. A total of 212 completed the half marathon led by first finisher of the day Patrick Sweeney. And 106 finished the marathon, highlighted by the perseverance of Margaret Tollner and Christy Borza. Sam’s got a great blog post, and so does half marathon winner Pat Sweeney; I encourage everyone to link to their own story on our blog or Facebook page.

    (2) Results
    Results are now posted at Gemini Timing.

    (3) Photos
    They're  Off
    Photos from Doug Brenizer are being uploaded to his SurfDaddy Photography website, and photos from our Montana Berg will be uploaded there as well. So far several hundred photos have been uploaded and that number should double in the coming week. As noted in an earlier blog post, we’re making the photos available for much less than race photographers typically charge. With a donation of $10 to Operation Jack, you can download 10 medium resolution photos (more than large enough for sharing via email or Facebook), and with a donation of $25 you can download 10 high resolution (great for printing). 100% of the proceeds benefit Operation Jack. Simply make a donation, then send an email to with the list of photos you want. I’ll send the photos or instructions how to download them in about a week– I’ll try to get them sooner, but that’s the best I can promise. Full details are in the blog post, just remember that if we raise $1000 then everything is free.

    Until then, everyone can view them on site, and easily share your favorites with one click with your Facebook friends. We’re working on tagging the photos to make them easily searchable, hopefully that will be complete by the time this post goes officially live. In the meantime, you can also check out photos from another supporter that was near Mile 4.
    Operation Jack

    The Hermosa 24 is an ultramarathon & relay held on the soft sand between the Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach piers. Last year nearly 100 runners participated, running through the night and camping on site while watching the World Record be set for the 2nd year in a row. Collect your team & sign up today at: If you want to participate but don’t have a team, contact

    (4) News coverage
    Check out this news report from ABC7 here in Los Angeles, and read more about the race in the Manhattan Beach Patch. Finally, the most popular weekly in the beach cities also published an article.

    (5) Huge worldwide success
    The short: over 300 runners & 50 volunteers and dozens more spectators. Likely over $40,000 raised by the time it’s all over with. Perfect weather. And thousands of smiles. It was a ton of work for the volunteers & organizers, but seeing the results made it all worthwhile & then some. In addition, 20 runners in Houston, 20 soldiers in Kabul and about 50 athletes in Portland, Oregon completed Operation Jack Satellite events. And nearly 100 more did satellite races on their own or with a few friends.

    (6) Stay connected
    Like us on Facebook, and follow Sam on Twitter and via his Operation Jack blog. If you want to raise money for Autism charities while training for a marathon or triathlon, learn more about Train 4 Autism on their website & like the Facebook page. And if you live in LA’s South Bay, like the CORE page to stay in touch with the local recreation news.

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    (7) 2012!
    Obviously there’s a lot of planning to do. The Operation Jack Marathon & Half will return in 2012, most likely on December 29. We’ll update everyone once the date is finalized and registration opens. In addition, there will be more satellite events– not only in Oregon & Texas, but supporters have already expressed interest in hosting events in Arizona, Vermont & Mississippi. We’ll have an update on that later, ping if you’d like to host an event in 2012– we’ll handle the t-shirts, medals, registration, bibs & marketing. You just need to find a course!

    (8) Donations still welcome
    You can still donate through the event page through any runner, and funnel it through our photos page to help Free the Photos! All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, etc.

  • Operation Jack Marathon 2011: Final Instructions (0) December 22, 2011 Jake Rome

    These instructions are posted at:

    Thank you for signing up for the Operation Jack Marathon & Half Marathon, . Please read the race instructions below. The race begins Monday Morning (December 26) at 7:30 AM in Manhattan Beach near 4498 The Strand. There is an optional early start (marathoners only) at 6:45 for athletes that need a little extra time. The time limit to finish is 1:30 PM. You can connect with your fellow runners by liking us on Facebook. Plan to arrive by 6:15 (early marathon starters) and 6:45 (everyone else) to allow time to park & pick up your bib.

    (0) Race map
    An interactive Google Map of the course, including aid stations & restrooms is available, . It is also embedded below.

    View Operation Jack Marathon in a larger map

    (1) Parking
    We recommend that runners & spectators park for free for 8 hours or more at Verandas, 401 Rosecrans, Manhattan Beach, see map: . The parking lot is about a 1/2-mile from the start of the race. The lot will open at 6 A.M.

    Alternatively, you may park in metered spots and pay $1.50/hour for up to 5 hours in the El Porto parking lot, located at the west end of 45th St in Manhattan Beach, see map: You’ll need to bring lots of quarters. The lot opens at around 6:15 A.M.

    (2) Directions
    If you are taking the highway to the race, exit the 405 at Rosecrans and head west about 2 miles. Verandas is at 401 Rosecrans. Park for free, walk west down the hill until you reach The Strand along the beach. Proceed to the northern end of the parking lot.

    You may also continue, turning right onto Highland. Turn left on 45th St., the last street before the Chevron station. Park in the lot, feed the meter and proceed to the start area.

    (3) Bib Pick-Up
    Bib pick-up will take place at the start line, adjacent to the north end of the El Porto parking lot. Bib pick up will begin at 6:00 AM and will continue until shortly after the race begins. THE RACE IS SOLD OUT. THERE IS NO RACE DAY REGISTRATION.

    (4) Pre-race considerations
    The race starts just several hundred feet from residences, so we ask that all runners be respectful of these folks. There are two restrooms in the El Porto Parking lot, one near Rosecrans & one close to the start line. There are also a half-dozen restrooms the first 4 miles of the course. Use only the restrooms!

    The entire race is run along the South Bay & Ballona Creek Bike Paths. Runners need to share the road with cyclists, joggers, skaters and walkers, so please bear right while running. Before the race begins, do not block the bike path as many cyclists will be passing through. At about 7:25 we will ask runners to line up by expected pace on the bike path. The first mile of the race will be very crowded and there is not a lot of room to pass. Follow race instructions, and make sure that you line up according to estimated pace to avoid being trampled or elbowed during the start. Within the first mile, race volunteers will ensure runners stay on the right half of the bike path. Follow all instructions from race organizers.

    The Hermosa 24 is an ultramarathon & relay held on the soft sand between the Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach piers. Last year nearly 100 runners participated, running through the night and camping on site while watching the World Record be set for the 2nd year in a row. Collect your team & sign up today at: .

    (5) Course description
    The race is essentially flat, with the biggest obstacle a 20-foot hill. There are aid stations at the start, 2.3, 4.7 & 6.5 miles where water, Powerade and GU products (energy gels or chomps) will be available. There are restrooms for the first & last 4 miles of the out & back course. As noted above, the bike path is open, so share the path with the cyclists, skaters, walkers & runners enjoying their morning exercise. There will be signs marking the first 6 miles, and these will include approximate mileage for the return leg & 2nd lap of the marathon.

    There are only two forks along the route. The second aid station, at mile 4.7, is at the entrance to Ballona Creek. On the way out, turn right and 100 feet later turn left to go over the bridge, then turn right and run along the jetty. Continue straight, staying on the Ballona Creek bike path and do not turn left towards Venice. You can view more of the course detail at MapMyRun. Results will be posted shortly after the race at & Gemini Timing within a day or two.

    (6) Spectator info
    Supporters are welcome to park at Verandas and watch the start & finish of the race. There are also many lots along Dockweiler Beach where you can park and be on the course a minute later.

    The best place for spectators is near the 2nd Aid Station, at the Pacific Avenue Pedestrian Bridge. in Playa del Rey. Plenty of time to watch the start, see your favorite runners go by twice & get back to the finish.

    (7) Post race entertainment
    There will be food & snacks available after the race. Half marathon awards will be presented at 9:35 (subject to change) and marathon awards at 11:30 (subject to change). Trophies will be given to the top 3 overall men & women in each race, and age groups will be posted in 10 year increments.  Plenty of food is available nearby, with a couple dozen restaurants on Highland Ave. between 33rd St & 45th St.

    (8) Post race party
    Food will be provided for the volunteers as well as marathon finishers starting at 12 Noon. We’ll hang out near the timing clock or the beach adjacent.

    Celliant is a revolutionary technology that harnesses the body’s natural energy through the use of minerals and fibers. Products containing Celliant have been clinically proven to increase blood flow and blood oxygen levels in the tissue and help balance temperature. Learn more at: .

    (9) Race photos
    We have 2 professional photographers that will be volunteering at the race, photos will be available at SurfDaddy Photography. If you donate $8 now, you can download 10 medium resolution photos (1 megapixel) for sharing. Donate $20 now & you can download 10 high resolution photos (10 megapixel) for printing at any size. If $250, is donated all medium resolution photos will be free, and if $1000 is donated all high resolution photos are free. If we don’t get any photos of you, please request a full refund. Prices will go up after the race, so jump on this deal now! More details: .

    (10) Village Runner Coupon
    The Village Runner, located less than 2 miles from the race finish, has been a great supporter for the past 2 years. This year they have offered all Operation Jack Marathon & Half runners a $5 off $25 coupon printed right on your race bib. It’s good anytime, but if you’re visiting Manhattan Beach I highly recommend heading to 1840 N Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 and buying some great gear after the event.

    (11) Additional donations welcome
    Additional donations are welcome! Please visit and support your favorite runner.

    (12) Other awesome stuff
    You’ve really got to check out our medal & t-shirt. These are nicer than what you’ll get from a lot of major marathons. Click for full size pics. Beer not included!
    Operation Harpoon Jack Operation Jack Marathon t-shirts
    The Operation Jack Marathon has gone global! For the 2nd year in a row, the Operation Jack Northwest Challenge, a timed race of up to 6 hours, will be held in Portland, Oregon. Also returning for 2011 are the satellite runs. You can still sign up at  and you’ll get the t-shirt & medal shown above. New for 2011 are the Houston edition with about 30 runners, and perhaps most awesome of all, the Kabul edition which has already attracted 20 runners and raised more than $600 (and counting).

    Good luck! Oh, and if there’s a tsunami, all you have to do is turn east & keep running!

  • Free the Photos! (2) December 18, 2011 Jake Rome

    I’m a photographer with a running problem. Or a runner with a photography problem. One or the other. So I have a love-hate relationship with race photos. On the one hand, I understand how hard it is to take hundreds of great action photos, process them, upload them. Not to mention the extended hours required, the talent that is required and the necessary equipment. On the other hand, no matter how much I pay to enter a race, it does burn a little bit to get charged $15 or more for a small 4″x6″ photo, and up to $50 or more for a digital download of sufficient quality to actually print. There’s got to be a better way!

    Since our volunteer photographers for the Operation Jack Marathon — Doug Brenizer or SurfDaddy Photography & Montana Berg of Montana Berg photography– have been so generous to donate their time to this race, we have the flexibility to try something new, and that’s what we’re going to do. I’ll bullet point this to make it easier to catch at a glance.

    • 100% of the proceeds go to Operation Jack– the photographers are waiving all their normal fees.
    • Go to the Race Photos page on the registration site & donate $8 or more before the race and you’ll get access to download any 5 photos at a size great for sharing on Facebook or via email. [Prices will increase after the race.]
    • Go to the Race Photos page on the registration site & donate $20 or more before the race and you’ll get access to download any 5 photos at extra large size, which you can use to print photos of any size and is still perfect for sharing on Facebook or via email. [Prices will increase after the race.]
    • If we receive $250 or more in donations, then ALL the photos will be available to EVERYONE at sharing size.
    • If we receive $1000 or more in donations, then ALL the photos will be available to EVERYONE big enough to print.

    This is a PHENOMENAL deal for everyone involved. These prices are less than you’d pay for even 1 photo from a normal race photos company. And because the photographers are so generous, ALL the proceeds will benefit Operation Jack. It’s a win-win. Let’s show everyone how well this can work! Here are some photos from last year’s race.

    OP JAck

    Operation Jack #61

    101226-100500_200 mm

  • Operation Jack Satellite Runs (0) December 11, 2011 Jake Rome

    So you all remember the 2010 Operation Jack Marathon, right? You can check my recap on the CORE blog. And watch the great video reviewing the race and Sam’s epic achievement of running (and running HARD) 61 marathons in 2010.

    So we’re back in 2011. The race itself, held right in Manhattan Beach, is set to be a sell-out. Which is awesome. At the same time, we are trying to raise more than $30,000 for autism charities and we need help across the country & the world. And here’s how you can help:



    1) Enter one of the satellite races. We have an awesome medal for 2011, 4″ die cast metal. And an excellent t-shirt and stellar bibs. Want to get all 3? Sign up for the 2011 satellite runs, 6.2 miles. Just register by December 16 for $35 to get all the gear by race day. You can read more about the satellite runs on Sam’s blog and then register to run as part of Team CORE. Choose the Satellite Run option.


    2) You can also donate through my fundraising efforts. I’m matching the first $5 of every donation and another $5 for each runner on Team CORE. If you donate $25 or more through me, you’ll get a t-shirt too (just remind me).

    For LA locals, there’s still time to register to run or sign up as a volunteer.