Held once a year in the hills and terrain located off of San Francisquito Canyon Road, the 2019 Valencia Trail Race saw hundreds of competitors in one of the hardest distance courses in Santa Clarita.
Approximately 700 runners from around the world flocked to the starting line Saturday. Those who chose to compete in the 50K Ultra race, as opposed to the 10K or half-marathon heats, were off and running by 6:15 a.m.
“These are the trails we run locally, because we lived just down the road,” said Terry Majamaki, one of the race directors and co-founders. “The 50K has about 8,000 feet of elevation change, and even the 10K has a very challenging, beautiful ridgeline that gets very narrow.”
Competitors traveled great distances to say they’ve competed in one of the hardest cross-country trail courses in California, but also to say they saw the natural beauty of the Santa Clarita Valley hills and open space, said Majamaki.
“When you can get up there, it’s just amazing and breathtaking,” said Majamaki. “It’s spring, everything is green and wildflowers are popping up all over the place.”
Orange County resident Fabian Solorzano paid the $140 race entry fee and completed the 21-kilometer course made up of only dirt, single-track trails and fire service roads.
“This is my first time doing this race after having volunteered a couple times before,” said Solorzano, as he sat down with his half-marathon medal swinging from his neck. “I did it under three hours … but the hills were pretty gnarly.”
Solorzano said he trained extensively for the event, but, at the end of the day, he did it because he found these types of races, and the people who compete in them, fun.
“You know these races are just about the fun of it,” he said. “I was not trying to do this for a time, but for the fun of it. It’s one of the most beautiful races I’ve ever run, and me and my friends like to hang out at the aid stations (on the route), joke around for 10 to 15 minutes and then get going again.”
As the day moved into the afternoon, Kevin Green, a 50K Ultra runner from Houston, crossed the finish line breathlessly. He said he had chosen not to look at the course route before he flew out for the event because he would’ve convinced himself not to come.
“It was up and down the whole way,” Green said.