Rumbling in the snow on Peterson Ridge

 

Last updated 4/18/2023 at 6:17pm

Photo by Charlie Kanzig

Runners took off in the snow in a weather-modified Peterson Ridge Rumble last weekend.

The 21st edition of the Peterson Ridge Rumble trail run turned out to be one for the record books, not only weather-wise, but in distance.

Thanks to a heavy dumping of snow at higher elevations overnight, which continued into the race day, the normal 40-mile ultra portion of the Rumble was scaled back to 36 miles, and minutes after the runners left the starting line it was pared down another 10 miles after reports of impassable conditions on the Windigo Trail.

As a result, two runners can claim course records for a first-ever Peterson Ridge Rumble "marathon," according to Race Director Sean Meissner.

"The distance was actually closer to 27 miles rather than the traditional marathon distance of 26.2, but I thought 'marathon' had a nice ring to it," he said.

Meissner remained unflustered throughout race day despite having to make adjustments for the event.

"Our number-one concern is always for the runners' well-being and it was just too sketchy out there to try the Windigo Trail section," he explained.

As it was, the upper loop of the Peterson Ridge system presented plenty of challenge as runners faced up to 18 inches of new snow on the trail.

Jeremiah McGregor of Bend started the long race with the early group at 7 a.m., and basically broke trail for all who followed. He ended up in ninth place overall.

"As the first person through, the snow was actually up to my thighs at times and I just needed to keep looking for those pink ribbons on the tree branches to know I was going the right way.

The overall winner of the "marathon," Todd Simpson, outpaced Evan Moreau of Sisters by just over two minutes to win in 3:32:13, an impressive time considering the conditions.

Ashley Nordell of Sisters finished sixth overall in 3:48:08 to claim the women's crown.

David Wilson of Sisters also completed the course placing 26th among 52 finishers with a time of 4:50:06.

In the 20-mile race Peter Allegre, a former University of Portland runner, captured first place in a very competitive men's battle, crossing the line in 2:18:44. Orin Schumacher (2:20:07), Jeff Toreson (2:20:46) and Ryan McLaughlin (2:23:04) all finished within five minutes of the leader.

Following the race Allegre couldn't commit to coming back again, but was reassured by Meissner that this was by far the snowiest weather in Rumble history. His victory earned him free admission to next year's race, so maybe he will come back after all.

Camelia Mayfield of Bend took top honors among women in 2:38:19 to place 11th overall.

Runners with local ties included former Outlaw standout Lucas Glick (2:30:48), Casey Pugh (2:35:29), Miga McCurdy (3:02:42), Jason Kosch (3:13:55), Sarah Gomez Cribben (3:20:59), Tara Morris (3:29:43), Mary Kosch (3:29:49), Alex Kretschmer (3:32:08), Ashlee Francis (3:34:53), Jeff Miller (3:40:18), Jesse Durham (4:06:23), Amy Margolis (4:11:37), Scott Miller (4:15:08), Eugene Trahern (4:31:47), Rick Retzman (5:49:03), and Kathy Ingelse (5:58:26).

Peter Idema of Corvallis, Ashley Nordell's father, was the most senior finisher at age 72 (4:18:24).

Meissner reported after the race that about 150 runners opted out of making the start, largely due to the weather.

"I'm happy with how many people came and gave it a try, to be honest," he said. "There were times that it was a complete whiteout, but these runners are tough."

Runners hailed from throughout Oregon and other parts of the Northwest, but Meissner has a goal for next year of attracting a larger contingent of local runners.

"Sisters has such a growing running community, I am hoping for at least 50 locals to take part next year," he said.

The race derives its name due to much of the course using the Peterson Ridge trail system. The course starts at Edgington Road and finishes on the track at Reed Stadium.

Meissner wanted to give kudos to Blazin Saddles bike shop for hosting packet pick-up on Saturday, along with Sisters Bakery, Sisters School District, Longboard Louie's, and all the volunteers.

"We couldn't do this without the volunteers from the high school and middle school cross-country teams, members of the Sisters Trails Alliance, RunSistersRun, and my other friends and family who indulge me year after year," said Meissner.

Meissner knows you can't predict Mother Nature, but he would be happy if the 2023 Rumble will always be remembered as the snowiest ever.

"I'm all for challenges, but I wouldn't mind next year being partly cloudy and highs in the low 60s," he said.

 

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