I came of age in the sport of ultrarunning in the “old-school” days. It was a time without lotteries (except Western States) and online registration. It was, indeed, a simple era when most races allowed camping by the start/finish line and most of the runners were your friends and family.
Times have certainly changed in the sport but one event, in particular, carries on that “old-school” tradition -- The Coyote Two Moon Ultras in the Los Padres National Forest uphill from Ojai, CA. For years this event was a four-day running party held in February called The Coyote Four Play. This year, Chris Scott and his happy band of revelers, evolved the event into a 100 Mile run with a companion 100 Kilometer Fun Run. The concept was to create a staggered start allowing most of the runners to finish within a four-hour window on Sunday morning. For the most part, the whole thing worked and an outstanding weekend was shared by all.
I was assigned to the final 100 Mile start group at 6AM on Saturday morning. Our group, made up of Karl Meltzer, Eric Clifton. Hiroki Ishikawa, Justin Angle and myself started the day leisurely with a 1500 foot climb up to The Ridge. Karl opened a small gap on this first climb that would eventually grow to a four and a half hour lead over Justin and me by the finish. Hiroki and Eric would both eventually drop after getting in solid 70-plus mile training runs.
The long and the short of it is that I made a new friend on this run and loved every minute of it. With the exception of an hour or so during the middle of the day when I pulled away slightly and several times during the last 20 miles when he pulled away slightly, Justin and I ran the run stride for stride for the entire race and swapped stories the whole way (well, almost the whole way!). From families and friends, to travel and work, to the joy of simply being on the trail for 24 hours we transcended the “race” and wallowed in the spirit of the Coyote Two Moon. In the end we were happy to finish under 24 hours but that was not the goal. The goal was fun in the sun and that was certainly achieved. If I could do it all again tomorrow I’d have it the exact same way.
The post-race festivities at The Ranch were truly outstanding with Chris Scott, Howard Cohen and their crew of Coyote 2 Mooners making this a truly first-class event. From the excellent awards (tubs of margerine, coyote skulls, etc..) to the delicious food, the conclusion of the event was perfect. And, since they had a staggered start, nobody had to wait around. Let me tell you this, if they let you in next year, be sure to sign up, it’ll be well worth it
And, as for Justin and me we parted ways with hugs and best wishes. We are both looking ahead to busy 100 mile seasons with Justin going to Bighorn and Angeles Crest looking for victory and me going to Western States, Vermont and Wasatch looking for, well, I’m not sure what I’m looking for yet but I hope to find it. Nonetheless, the C2M was an excellent way to get the ball rolling for the year and I am looking forward to the next ten weeks of training. Be well, friends!