On a cool, foggy morning in August, the Mustang Summer Run Club crew met at Macedo Ranch, for the now 2nd Annual "Run to the Top" of Mt. Diablo. Thirtyfour brave athletes milled around while the final instructions and precautionary warnings were announced. Following a stirring, Lord of the Rings inspired speech by Coach Davis, the team charged towards the top.
Included in the group were several MVXC alumni, including Matt Bieniosek, Geoff and Peter Nunns, Josh Van Otterloo and Chris Tanoyue. Coach Mark and Coach Huntsman drove the needed supplies up to the first staging area and awaited the runners.
The first portion of the run is well known to all varsity runners. It is the long, steady climb up the BBQ Terrace trail. This 3.5 mile segment climbs over 1800 feet, and does not allow for any aid stops. It's all or nothing right from the start! After the team passed the 1500 foot mark, they broke through the clouds and into the bright sunlight. Conditions were kind, as the temperature was 10 to 15 degrees cooler than last years run. Looking back, on 'top' of the clouds, was an inspiring sight.
The first aid station came into sight, with Coach Mark yelling encouragement and Coach Huntsman snapping photos. After a brief break to rehydrate and get some food, the group headed up the second half of the climb. This portion is broken into 3 segments, and while steep in parts, no segment is longer than 1 mile. While the energy of the team started to fade with the ever pressing effort, they were encouraged by the sight of the observation tower, now clearly in view. Looking down, MVHS looked like a little speck.
Now the team was ready for the final assault. They were a good 1/2 hour ahead of last years team, with many more runners to account for. Soon the parking lot was reached. After a short rest to allow Coach Huntsman to get into camera position - the mad sprint to the summit was on. And "mad" was anyone who tried to sprint up the last part!
At last, the summit. 3,849 feet above sea level. Two and 1/2 hours. Many amazed tourists and bikers who could not believe the team had run up there. After a quick photo op... well, after a long photo op, and a look at Coach Davis' favorite stuffed Bobcat, the parent cars arrived and the team headed home.
Congrats to all MV runners, past and present, who made the climb. More will go next year!