Photo by Sarah Godlin
By Benjamin Fordham
The 48th annual Trinidad to Clam Beach Run was held on Saturday, and went off without a hitch despite warnings of sneaker waves. Over 1,100 runners participated in this year’s event, which features 8 3/4 mile, 5 3/4 mile, and 3 mile races. Finishers at Clam Beach were serenaded by the HSU Marching Lumberjacks.
The winner of the men’s 8 3/4 mile race was 27-year-old Alex Varner of San Francisco with a time of 44:54, and Eureka’s Cedar Smith was the top female finisher at 54:24. Varner, who seemed barely winded after the race, said this was his first Clam Beach Run. “I had a couple of friends who spoke highly of it,” he said. “It was awesome. It’s a beautiful, scenic course.”
For Smith, this course is extra special. “It runs right by where my husband and I got married,” she said. This was Smith’s third Clam Beach Run. The race starts two miles north of Trinidad and follows Patrick’s Point Drive south onto Scenic Drive before descending onto Clam Beach, with the last leg being run on the sand.
The 8 3/4 men’s Masters’ winner was Robert Julian of Medford with a time of 49:04, and the women ‘s Masters winner was Arcata’s Jennifer Heidmann, in at 59:24. In the 5 3/4: race, Basil Rathbone of Weaverville took first in the Master’s division and overall with a time of 34:13, and Morgin Coonfield of McKinleyville was the first female finisher at 35:21. The women’s Masters winner was Laura Chapman of Blue Lake with a time of 42:34.
15-year-olds swept the top spots in this year’s three-mile race, with John Milender of Trinidad in at 16:57 and Michaela Barros of Fortuna at 20:52. The three-mile men’s Masters winner was Brian Toroni of Hydesville with a time of 26:55, and the women’s Master’s winner was Eureka’s Jennifer Walts with 23:30.
This year’s race began at 8:00 a.m., earlier than in previous years, to coincide with the low tide. That’s because part of the race involves crossing the Little River at Moonstone Beach. “(The sneaker wave warning) was a concern because of the water crossing,” said race chair Midori Fulk. She said local surfers volunteered to assist racers cross the river if necessary, so good job surfers.
“It added a fun dynamic to it,” said Varner of the river crossing.
The race always attracts young and old, with the older runners testing their strength and determination, and the younger runners simply bounding along. “It’s really a family race,” said Fulk. “It attracts everyone from children to senior citizens.” There was also a lot of business participation this year. “It’s a great way for the community to show support,” she said.
According to Fulk, around 140 volunteers put in time to make this year’s race successful. The volunteers set up signs, registered runners, checked the river depth, and guarded equipment, among other things. There was also a chili feed put on after the race. “I would love a big shout-out for our incredible volunteers,” said race coordinator Katherine Wayne. “I have some wonderful people who (got up) at 4 a.m. to help out.”
The run is sponsored by the Greater Trinidad Chamber of Commerce, and all profits go to the Chamber’s scholarship fund. For more information and results go to www.trinidadtoclambeach.com.