aloha fellow ultrarunners,
Executive Summary: At 0600 January 15, 2005 88 Runners
started the Hawaiian 100 mile run. As of this writing
the maximum possible 100 mile finishers is eleven. So
far forty-one starters took the 100k option.
At least no one died.
Longer version: Last October 30 a monster storm parked
itself over Manoa Valley for twelve hours and dropped
at least ten inches of rain in ten hours. The storm
had multiple effects on the Honolulu Mauka trail system.
Good: the rain scoured a lot of loose kine stuff off
the trail and provided firm footing in many places.
Bad: 1. the three sections of the system where the
trail could not quickly shed the rain there was deep
gullying and erosion. On one section of the "switchbacks"
portion of Manoa Cliff Trail the gully was up to your
armpits. The upper "cliffs" section of Manoa Cliff Trail
developed monster stepdowns and hidden holes. The upper
portion of Center (finishing) Trail had ruts you could
fall into and not climb out of. 2. The sections where
the trail easily shed water (Thanks to Aaron of Na Ala Hele)
parts of the downhill side of the trail washed away while
rubble narrowed the uphill side. 3. The scouring exposed
an unbelieveable number of trippy toe or ankle catching
roots in some of the worst possible spots. 4. The
scouring exposed some smooth topped boulders right next
to cliffs just after 170 degree switchbacks. That was
last October, since then the rains have continued keeping
the trail soaked.
I hiked parts of the trail last Monday and it looked so
good that I feared it would be most treacherous for
the uninitiated visitor who was unaware of the hidden
dangers. I shouldn't have worried cause it rained this
past week, if not during the day then at night. By
Saturday morning the trails were soaked.
Rain and dirt are not enough to make mud, no you need
something to stir them up. At 0600 Saturday morning
88 featherless bipeds provided that something, in
The one defining characteristic of Honolulu Mauka trail
mud is that it is SLIPPERY. It is hardly ever deep and
it hardly ever sticks but boy does it make your feet
go places not intended by you. As Saturday wore
on all those runners little feats made sure that by
evening (when I went out taking pictures) there wasn't
a square inch of firm stepping anywhere. Some of the
early runners tried running on the shoulder of the
trail, if there was one, and all that did is make
brand new slippery spots for the runners coming up
behind. So I really didn't have to worry about runners
taking the trail for granted. No, it was "save your own
life" time from the second lap on.
How to put that in human terms? Saturday evening, from
4-6 PM I took pictures of runners on the Nuuanu section
of the trail. My last shot was of a smiling Marty
Fritzhand who had just completed one and two-thirds
laps in twelve hours and was taking a rest before he headed
out into the night. The next morning, thirteen hours
later, as I headed out to shoot runners on the trail,
who is the first person I see? Marty! Thirteen hours
later he was almost at the two and two-thirds lap
aid station. He was commited to finishing the 100K
option but no more. He was reasonably alert cause
when I heled up the trail saying "Laters brah" he
called back "My name is Marty." I had to laugh.
Continuing up the trail, camera in hand looking for
someone to shoot, I saw a few others until about
one-quarter of the way up. From there to the
top to The Tree at Roots nada, nobody, all alone
on the trail. Next person I saw was John Robinson,
in second place, not having a good time making
his way through Roots. Anytime a trail can beat
up a natural born runner like John you gotta know
lesser mortals are in deep kim chee. Next Luis
Escobar caught me up going down Aihualama to
Manoa Falls. He was not a happy camper. He
told me he was in fourth place with Monica
ahead in third. As you can tell the remaining
runners were a bit spread out. Monica came at
me on Manoa Falls Trail smiling and looking fine,
but then she's always smiling and looking fine.
Luis checked out of the Paradise Parking Lot
just as I arrived. Jeff Huff, in fifth place,
looked very strong coming to aid just after I
left. Jeff was the strongest runner I'd seen
so far. I could tell that if Luis didn't find
a fifth gear Jeff would take him and might even
The humidity killed my camera right about then
so I put it away so I could see how strong I was
with two arms for balance. Not that strong.
Did I say something about slippery? Except for
Catra I saw the remaining 100 milers on my way back
to Nuuanu. What they all had going for them was
determination. Ben Cavazos in particular had that
steeley smile that said "eighty six down, fourteen
to go." Determination is what it takes to finish
this run. Even in a good year, like 2004, if you don't
start committed to finishing with no excuses allowed
you won't do the 100 Hawaiian miles. If there is a
flicker of doubt in your mind before the start the
100K option will be your undoing. This clearly was not
a "good" year. God only knows what 2006 will bring.
Once I got to Nuuanu I spent the rest of my hike
saving my own life. Ya gotta know a trail is
trouble when you spend more time going down than
you did climbing up just a couple hours before.
At the bottom of Nuuanu Monica looked strong,
but then she always looks strong and she was still
smiling. I saw Luis ten minutes later and Here Comes
I expect there will be a ton of tales told on this
list over the next few weeks. Believe anyone who
tells you it was scary, difficult, hard, insane
n lik dat. Snicker and snort at anything else.
If I can bring my camera back to life I'll complete
the Hawaiian 100 webshots photos later in the week.
e komo mai