Red Devil: From the runners themselves

Written on Jun 10th, 2018 by , Category Features, Marlene Farrell Blog, Races, Trail Running

Marlene Farrell, wearing bib number 22, at the start of the Red Devil 50K on June 2 in the Wenatchee National Forest.













By Marlene Farrell

Red Devil is a coming together of fastidious race organizers and us athletes, all with a personal goal in mind, whether it’s our first race or our 100th, whether we’re about to sprint a 10K or slog it out for 50K. Here are snippets of what some local runners felt on race day, June 2, in their own words:

Andrew Holm, veteran Red Devil racer, focusing on speed in 2018, finished 2nd in the Red Devil 10K

“I had a feeling when that guy (now known as Phil) took off, I would have to hang on, up the gradual road with the sun at our

Andrew Holm, far left, along with Phil Hochwalt and Mike Parrish

backs. Then — what a wonky course — the headwall, hit flat out; we were warned. Around for the plunge back down the road, where lightness seemed to be perfect for Phil’s free-fall descent. Then the final challenge, after hitting the flats again, a last duck into the bushes. Any hope I had of gaining ground was thwarted by the brambles and the disorientation of “Is this really the route? Seems like it’s been going on for an awful long time.” Finally, the trail crossed the start road perpendicularly to a perfect funnel of a finish shoot. Phew!”

Heidi Loewen, women’s 25K winner, who made it look effortless to spectators and other racers

“This year’s race felt like the perfect storm of discomforts from a weird bruise-inducing cramp in my calf the night before to the hormone imbalance and distraction of dealing with menstruating. (sorry guys TMI) Running for me is usually a highlight of my day, it’s a time I connect best spiritually with Jesus Christ, filled with the runner’s high and thankfulness to be outside with my Creator. June 2, 2018 was a different story. It was 2 hours and 40 minutes of pain in one joint or another muscle where I battled to choose joy and victory in my mind over my body. The awesome views made thankfulness easy and constant changing of terrain fed my strategy-seeking mind.

“When tempted to give in to the frustration of hurting legs, God reminded me of our fellow runner, Bert Ivey, who I raced

Heidi Loewen, center, along with Cody Graf and Marysutton Carruthers.

against at the 2015 Red Devil, who is currently battling cancer. With renewed determination I prayed Bert would be filled with perseverance and strength. I enjoyed myself over the 15 miles, even though my body protested miserably. Sounds kind of crazy, but there is great satisfaction to find in the midst of a competition my heart and mind are stronger than my body, and my faith and trust in God’s supernatural love and strength helps me achieve what I could not do on my own. I am sure my fellow athletes know this joy.”

Win Van Pelt, visiting from Renton, ran the 25K and came in 2nd in the 60-69 age category

“3,2,1 … go! Surrounded by the great energy of all the runners we were launched on our ascent through pine forest to great vistas. On the ridge I wanted to keep looking at the snow-capped mountain range and craggy rocks that displayed their spender. My first race in Cashmere. After the two climbs …. I felt like I was flying as we descended the last three miles to the finish line. I will remember the scent of pine, the warm feeling of sunshine on my face and the array of color. And most of all my friends and new friends that shared this odyssey.”

Barb Ringel, who ran the 50K

“Looking at last year’s time for the 25K, I had forgotten how long this course with big climbs took. Luckily I found inspiration and perspective from fellow runners on the beautiful but very long trail. Life can be tough, with loss and struggles, and this course also challenged me, especially the endlessly rolling hills near the end, which after the big climbs I thought would feel easier. At the finish I was humbled but proud and glad to share this with other runners who through their own power and will completed Red Devil 50K.”

Karl Rowland, longtime RunWenatchee racer, his first time running a 50K

“It was amazing from start to finish. Grueling hills that just kept going. What made it for me was the food at the aid stations. If it wasn’t for them, I’m sure I wouldn’t have finished.”

Emerson Peek, fresh off a win at the Horse Lake Half-Marathon, came in 4th in the Red Devil 50K

“The new 50K course was beautiful, and in some twisted way, a relief to run after trying to race the 25K course fast for years.

Emerson Peek, far right, along with Will Young, Peter Graf and Colton Gearhart.

Despite digestive surprises early on and the seemingly never-ending climb in the middle, I enjoyed a successful run thanks to the supportive energy of my fellow ultra-runners.”

My own experience, running my first 50k in about 15 years, and, with luck, winning it

“The inaugural Red Devil 50k — wow!

“Standing at the start line, fear tried to take hold of me. For such a long race it seemed dumb to do a warm up, but I missed the little injection of confidence it normally gives me.

“I trained for this with friends, and many friends were running the three races. But each of us had to this on our own. Yet it was so heartening to know we’d all be out there, joyfully striving.

“I compartmentalized the upcoming suffering. Sure, there were three hills, but the first was the worst, so the second one, all eight miles of it — how bad could it be? I actually believed it, having fun, huffing and puffing along gorgeous ridges, until I was ready for the summit, but it was 20 minutes away.

“My mind had to stay engaged to keep me in the game, even with long stretches of solitary running. I referred to my watch to enforce a steady regimen of hydration and nutrition to keep my stomach functioning and my legs somewhat limber.

“The last 5K of a long race, on a good day, are the sweetest miles. Despite hours of work and holding it together, I entered a higher level of existence. The finish line closed in, I leaned, body and soul, toward it, and the pain fell away. I became nimble. My pace was the fastest I’d run all day. Nothing else mattered but running with all my heart.

“Once across the finish line, to no longer move felt weird, and thus began the post-race slightly delirious giddy reconnection with the ordinary world, and thankfully with fully-understanding runner friends!”

Marlene Farrell is a writer, long-distance runner and coach — and a frequent participant in the Red Devil Trail Runs. She lives in Leavenworth.

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