By Ryan Greene
Last Saturday the Grand Finale of the SoCal Series stage was set stunningly with an entire week of record breaking heat wave temperatures, wild fires running rampant through various other parks to the south, and one of the tightest races in terms of the points in many age groups. The Malibu Creek “BullDog” course was set to deliver on May 17th.
After a slight, but very fortunate cooling, the sun rose quickly and both the runners and the temperatures began to ascend on the infamous “Bull Dog” trail - very aptly named. However, the only thing holding back some of the top performers was caution. The Malibu Creek State Park can get very warm very quickly, but a gutsy performance by Forrest Boughner (Flagstaff, AZ) proved even hotter. Boughner winning the Overall Men’s 22k with a blistering 1:36:45, was followed closely by local favorites Patrick Baldwin and Chris Gilbert to round out the Men’s podium.
On the Women’s side Jessica McAdam wasn’t bogged down either, taking top spot with a stellar 1:57:10, while Michaeline Nelson and Stacia Watson chased her down closely.
Needless to say, all of the amazing SoCal athletes that came out and took on the BullDog last weekend, were all champions in Race Director Brennan Lindner’s eyes. “It’s a gutsy course on a cool day, so today is no joke.”, Lindner was overheard remarking during the awards ceremony.
Even some of the 6k athletes were quick to point out that hydration was gonna be a factor for even the shorter distance. Men’s Short Course winner, 14 year old Joseph Biehl dismantled the 6k with ease but knew Aaron Hersh and Cole Brownlee weren’t too far back. Brownlee only 16 was part of a very thirsty looking threesome standing on the podium on the day. For the Women, the Calvache sisters (Gloria and Sylvia) were a force to be reckoned with again (2nd & 3rd), but had to contend with Caitlin Jacobsen up front for the win.
The Post-Race Festival at Malibu Creek which included a free standing rock-wall, live music by Stevie D. and the Boyz, and a very well attended beer garden lasted all morning long, and provided plenty of food and entertainment for the athletes. With Exhibitors and Sponsors helping make the final race a celebration, Lindner was happy to report that a lot of money was raised for the Parks. “It’s a win-win for everybody on days like today.”, stated Lindner.