By Susan Roberts
Special to the Pilot
Once again, Ralph Hirt presented another outstanding run through the redwoods.The Redwood Wild River Run, a 15 km race or 5 km run and fun run/walk, took place last Saturday, March 29 in Crescent City.
Hirt has been associated with the annual run since about 1985, about five years after it was first held.
"For the first time ever we had a woman win the 15 km," Hirt said."This was Penny McDermott, 33, from Corvallis. She won in a new course record for women of 56 minutes and 7 seconds. She is going to the Olympic trials in Boston on April 20."
Starting at the covered bridge and heading west past Stout Grove toward Howland Hill, 200 runners and walkers completed either 5km (3.1 miles) or 15km (9.3 miles) on an out and back course.
Scenic old growth redwood trees and the fast rushing river greeted the runners, as they dodged potholes and puddles along the rolling, hilly gravel road.The finish was flat asphalt, along the river bank, heading back to the covered bridge, which remained in the distance for a long period, according to some runners.
"One of the current highlights is Steve and Debbie Berg who man our aid station at the bridge over Mill Creek," Hirt said. "They play live bluegrass music for the passing runners. We owe our good weather the past two years to Steve and Debbie!They got tired of getting wet each year and so bought a canopy-type tent two years ago.
"Along with Steve and Debbie, we count on a fantastic group of volunteers," Hirt said. "Many of the same people come out each year and volunteer their time. Without them the race wouldn't exist."
The fastest 5km male was Michael Pedrotti, 46, of Ferndale with a time of 20:17 and the fastest 5km female was Jenny Biberston, 38, of Crescent City, with a time of 24:01.
In the 15km race, the overall winner was Penny McDermott, 33, of Corvallis with an outstanding time of 56:07 and the first male winner was Matt Creason, 31, of Eureka, with a time of58:29.
Sarah Kingstrom, 28, of Brookings, took first place in her age group with a time of 25:41 in the 5km race.
Other local athletes to place in the top three in their age group in the 5 km were: Michael Worch, 17, of Smith River at 20:56; Cody Hawkins, 12, of Gold Beach at 26:38; Brad Ehlers, 51, of Gold Beach at 26:55; Dan Brattain, 50, of Brookings at 27:10; and Linda Schreiber, 45, of Brookings at 29:59.
In the 15K race, Scott Hedenskog, 35, of Brookings, finished fourth in a tough age group, but still placed in the top ten overall with a time of 1:05:26.
Local runners to place in the top three in their age group in the 15km run included: Lisa Martin, 31, of Brookings at 1:07:06; Lupe Ochoa, 25, of Smith River at 1:09:22; and Lynne Griffin, 47, of Gold Beach at 1:18:04.