Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The registration for the Gorge Waterfalls 50k will open on Thursday December 20th at 8am(PST) on ultrasignup. I expect the race will sell out of the 330 spots in less than 24 hours-- probably much less(last year it took 8 hours). 

All the race info, pictures, results, etc can be found at:

below is a short video taken by Gary Robbins at the start of 2011 race which shows less than half of the waterfalls in the race but is still a good showing of what to expect from the race.  
Gorge Waterfalls 50k
Gorge Waterfalls 50k

stay tuned for an announcement for the really cool pre and post race festivities we have planned!!!

and stay tuned for the opening of registrations for many more of the 2013 races...

Friday, October 12, 2012

More Media Love for Rainshadow!

Hey folks! It's been another amazing year in the Rainshadow with so many folks coming out and having a great time at our many races. With just one more race on the calendar for 2012(sorry folks Deception Pass is already sold out) it's almost time for one of my favorite things to do each year, the year in review highlight slideshow. But since I'm going to wait until sometime in December to put that together I thought I'd share a few other things with you first to keep you occupied while you wait.

First off I got news a few days ago from Glenn Tachiyama that another one of his great shots(see above) will feature me on the cover of a magazine. The photo is from our Gorge Waterfalls 50k Course Photo Shoot which already landed me on the cover of Running Times Magazine(see below) and inside the magazine on a separate issue for a story on myself and a few other folks from around the country who were designated by Running Times as the "local trail elite" for their respective regions. This latest cover will be on the upcoming Adventures NW Magazine. That'll run my total up to three times I've been on a cover of a magazine with the third one also being one of Glenn's handiwork from White River 50m a few years ago.  My races have also been on at least one other magazine cover and I've also been featured personally in a few articles over the years in magazine's like Trail Runner Methow Valley News and Outdoors NW.  Trust me it doesn't get old-- the positive attention is great!

And secondly just released tonight was my first ever podcast interview. Scotty Sandow and Erik Schranz of Ultrarunner Podcast raked me over the coals hard while getting out of me all kinds of juicy tidbits like the history of Rainshadow, advice for others on how to quit their real jobs like I did to follow their dreams of race directing and of course they end every show with the favorite beer question. I was nervous at first but they quickly got me chatting away and before I knew I was having a great time. You can listen to the interview either directly on their website or from itunes. And if you haven't listened before they've had some really great interviews over the years so be sure to check out their archives.

And lastly in an attempt to collect all the past slideshows and videos into one place making them easy to find and watch over and over again like I love to do I've dug through the archives and re-posted them all here below.

2009 Rainshadow Running Highlights from James Varner on Vimeo.

2011 25k Race Video by Will Thomas:

A very short time lapse video from Deception Pass by OTKateOTKate 

Another time lapse video from Deception Pass by OTKateOTKate 

some orcas island 50k ferry ride humor

The view from the top of Angels Staircase.

Matt Hart at the Yakima Skyline 50k. Photo by Glenn Tachiyama

Monday, August 27, 2012

2013 Race Dates

The 2013 Rainshadow Running Race Dates:

Note: Most of these dates are tentative until we finalize our permits with the local land managers. 
Sat Jan 26 --- Orcas Island 25k  
Sat Feb 2 --- Orcas Island 50k 
Sat Mar 30 --- Gorge Waterfalls 50k 
Sun Apr 21 --- Yakima Skyline Rim 50k/25k 
Sun May 19 --- Sun Mountain 50m/50k/25k/1k 
Sun Jun 16 --- Beacon Rock 50k/25k 
Sun Aug 11 --- Angels Staircase 60k/35k 
Sun Sept 8 --- TBD (maybe North Cascades PCT 100k or maybe something else)
***Sat Sept 21 --- Cle Elum 50k/25k ***now directed by Candice Burt/BTRC 
Sat Oct 5 --- Mt Spokane 50k/25k
Sat Dec 14 --- Deception Pass 50k/25k

Monday, August 20, 2012

Race Registrations Opening

2011 Mt Spokane 50k/25k

Mt Spokane 50k/25k(Oct 6 2012) and Deception Pass 50k/25k(Dec 8 2012) race registrations just opened today!

Click here to go to the Mt Spokane Registration Page
Click here to go to the Deception Pass Registration Page

2011 Deception Pass 50k/25k

Registration will open at 8am(pst) on Sept 1st for Orcas Island 25k(Jan 26 2013 and Orcas Island 50k(Feb 2 2013). These races will sell out very quickly possibly that day so be ready(and for those of you coming as a group have your whole group ready)!

2012 Orcas Island 50k

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Busy Summer!

Wow! I just realized that I haven't done a blog post since April! That's crazy. But it's understandable considering everything that's been going on this year... so here's a little photo filled trip down memory lane

But first a sneak peak into my next blog post... which will include dates for the opening of registration for our upcoming races Mt Spokane 50k/25k, Deception Pass 50k/25k, and probably Orcas 25k, Orcas 50k and Gorge Waterfalls 50k too! And it will also probably include our entire Rainshadow Running 2013 race calendar, reminder about our friend's races such as the Methow Valley Off-Road Duathalon(trail run and mountain bike ride), the Lake Padden Trail Half Marathon, and the Bellingham Trail Marathon, and other fun stuff!

Ok on with the Show...

 In early May at Little Mountain 10k/25k in Mt. Vernon, WA Joe Cappoccia, best known for his musical talents as a former band member of the Blackberry Bushes String Band and as of leader of the new band The Pine Hearts (both bands have played our races multiple times), runs his first trail race in almost a decade!

Later in May we headed East to the Methow Valley for the Sun Mountain 50m/50k/25k/1k. It was warm, sunny and the wildflowers were outstanding. I'm shown here on the 50m course carrying all the course signs in my backpack. With the help of Anthony Skierkowicz and Rasta Jason Vaughn we installed a half dozen brand new swinging trail gates so runners no longer needed to climb over, through or under the barbed wire fences out there on the DNR section of the course. 

A few weeks later we headed back to the Methow Valley to direct the Winthrop Road Marathon and Half Marathon. Here's first place woman(and 3rd overall) Stephanie Wilson showing off her unique first place finisher's medal. All finishers got similar medals that were upgraded this year to include a chrome finish to make them extra cool. Big thanks to Brad Nelson, who ran the full marathon, and his workplace Allied Medal Displays for the original idea to do the chrome and for being such great folks to work with to supply the runners with such cool medals!

Just a week later we were on the opposite end of the state, going from Winthrop where the Canadian Border is just a dozen miles north of the starting line of the marathon course to the Beacon Rock 50k/25k which is just a mile from Oregon on the other side of the Columbia River pictured above.  Summer had arrived as the weather was perfect for drinking beer, swimming, lounging on the group camp lawn while listening to live bluegrass music from The Pine Hearts at the start/finish area, and yeah perfect for running too!

After directing four races in about 6 weeks we went on vacation, which included running 4 races(2 for each of us) in 5 weeks and driving about 3000 miles. Candice killed both of her races(Tahoe 100 and Silverton 12hr. I however DNF'd both of mine. I really should be training a lot more like her... Running in Boise, the San Juan Mountains and at Lake Tahoe sure was great! And so was hanging out with all the fun peeps!

As you can tell by late July we were back to work.  The Chuckanut 30k/12k was the last race in the Bellingham Trail Running Series that Candice created this year and so we had to throw a big party with lots of food, beer and laying around in the grass while listening to the Pine Hearts. There were awards handed out and such too...

And a week later we were back in the Methow Valley for the third time since late May-- I love that work takes me back there so often! Angels Staircase 60k/35k with it's high point of 8000ft, tons of elevation gain(10,000ft for the 60k and 6,000ft for the 35k), and remote and rugged trails make it one of the hardest ultras in the Northwest. But it's scenery, wildflowers, high alpine lakes, waterfalls, jagged peaks make it one of the best trail races in the country! "Trail Angels" Lexi Painter and Michael McNeil were just two of many incredible volunteers who hiked miles to carry in the supplies to the remote aid stations!

 Last but not least Candice is back to training for another 100 miler(yes already). She's doing Plain 100 which was my first 100 back in 2004.  In the past week or so she's ran most of the course in two big training runs(one 53 mile day with Dan Probst and one 40 mile day with me). The day before the 2nd Plain training run we did the 18 mile Enchantments run which I hadn't ran in years and Candice had never ran. It was a super fun day filled with lots of stops for swimming including our first stop at Inspiration Lake which is show in the video above.

Stay tuned for next post with all the upcoming announcements!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bellingham Trail Running Series Updates

Series Scoring for the Bellingham Trail Running Series has been updated through Stewart Mountain 5k/15k.  Next race in the series is Little Mountain 10k/25k on May 6, 2012 in Mount Vernon.  This race has really cool views, lots of climbing, and fun single track trails!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Upcoming Fun and Tough Trail Races in the Bellingham Area

Hey folks just a quick note about two of the upcoming trail races in and around our new home base of operations(Bellingham):

Alger Alp 5m/25k/50k on April 15th and Lost Lake 50k on May 12th

Next weekend's races at Alger Alp are part of our brand new Bellingham Trail Running Series. The race course is a 5 mile route that goes up to a great view of Mt Baker on one side of the mountain and one the other side it's a view down into the vast the Skagit River Valley "Flats".  On the way up and back down the 1300ft climb you also go past the picturesque Squires Lake. Those looking for more than just a 5 mile run have the option to do the course 3 or 6 times for either a 25k with 3900ft of elevation gain or a 50k with 7800ft of elevation gain.

Another great local trail race is Lost Lake 50k which is directed by one our most dedicated Rainshadow Running volunteers Kevin Douglas and is one of the many well organized races put on by the nearby running club Skagit Runners.  This race has a reputation as being one of the hardest 50ks in the northwest thanks in large part to the 8000+ feet of elevation gain--and after living here for the past 6 months and training on those the trails of this race course I would vouch that this race is tough.  Lost Lake takes place in the Chuckanut Mountains and shares some of the same trails as that "track meet" of a trail race the Chuckanut 50k but don't expect a bunch of sub four hour times at Lost Lake and it also takes you on some of the really cool trails that you don't get to see in the Chuckanut 50k.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Super Thursday!

Registrations will open this Thursday March 22 at 11am for Sun Mountain 50m/50k/25k/kids1k, Winthrop Marathon and Half Marathon and Beacon Rock 50k/25k. Go to to sign up!

And in case you didn't notice Candice added a 25k and a 50k option to the Alger Alp Trail Race(Sunday April 15th) which is part of the brand new Bellingham Trail Running Series.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Washington State Parks Need Your Help Now!

As many of you know these are tough times for state budgets. Here in Washington our Parks have suffered budget cut after budget cut--just a few years ago the parks were getting about 50 million dollars a year(98 per bienium) from the general fund. This year they are only getting 8.9 million and only 8.3 million. This lack of funding has led the Park Commissioners to decision to start laying off employees at a startling rate. In my opinion these job cuts are going to severely effect our state parks and the trails and facilities we all cherish. I've already seen first hand negative effects from the years of budget cuts. Some workers have already been laid off and more are getting pink slips this week and even more after those are on their way. Many of the current park rangers will be faced with losing their jobs altogether or take a 5 month season position. This is no way to treat these fine people who I have found to be hardworking, dependable, capable, and friendly in my years of working with them. And it is no way to manage our public lands and infrastructure.

Do your part to help save our parks:

#1 Buy a Discover Pass 

If you already have one by one for a friend.

#2 Email or call your state represtentatives  

Ask them to support Senate Bill 5977 and Senate Bill 6387. While you're at it ask them to introduce and/or support a bill to increase the funding for the parks. If you don't live in Washington you can use my address(3305 Allen Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225) to contact my reps and tell them even though you don't live here you come here to use our parks and you don't want to see them deteriorate.

Contact Form for State Reps:

Writing to all Members of the Senate Energy, Natural Resources, and Marine Waters and the House Environment Committees will help too. 

#3 Email the Parks Commissioners

Ask them to discontinue the layoffs and re-instate those who were recently laid off due to the budget cut. Tell them you are contacting your state reps and asking them to increase funding for the parks in order to save jobs and to protect the parks.


#4 share this with your friends!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Have you heard? We have come up with a cute little series of cute little trail races in and around our new home Bellingham, WA. Candice and I were only willing to relocate to Bellingham because we knew that there are lots of fun, scenic and tough trails right in the city limits and close by on county and state lands. One such network of trails is just a couple hundred feet from our door. Another network of trails is less than a mile away. And within a couple miles from our house, in every direction, there are even more trails to choose from.

Of course we gravitated towards those trails that are steep and surrounded by dense old forest and often have vistas of the city, Mt Baker/North Cascades and or the Puget Sound/San Juan Islands. Living here we quickly realized there is a very strong community of runners and a great history of well organized races to choose from. But one thing that seemed lacking was tough, scenic, short, trail races. Other than the 10 year old Padden Mud Fest and the brand new Lake Padden Trail Classic there didn't seem to be any cute little trail races that had all the characteristics that we love about our longer races that we direct all over the Northwest-- steep climbs/descents, technical yet fun single track trail, good views, and inspiring scenery.

So being the kind of folks we are here at Rainshadow Running we decided to just create exactly the kind of races that we wished existed using these great trails that surround our home. It makes it hard(read darn near impossible) for us to actually run the races ourselves but it does fill a need we think exists in our community. So with out further ado please let me introduce to you the brand spanking new Bellingham Trail Race Series (aka B.T.R.S.) and it's five races:

Feb 12 Fragrance Lake 10km/20km (Registration Now Open)
Mar 11 Stewart Mountain 4mi/8mi
Apr 15 Alger Alp 2mi/5mi
May 12 Sehome Hill 5km/10km
Jun 9 Raptor Ridge ~20km

DISCLAIMER: Each of these races are at different stages in the permitting/birthing process so there may be changes to little things like date of the race, location of the race, distance of the race, etc.

DISCLAIMER TO THE DISCLAIMER: Even though I just said there might be changes we do feel like we've got things pretty well figured out and the permit process is moving forward on all of these and we don't anticipate at problems arising. And hopefully any changes that are made to the current plans are to make things even better! Also so far we only have opened registration for the first race which seems to be all set to go and there should no significant changes to that one. We'll open the registration for the other races only once we feel 100% confident that there will be no significant changes made to that race. All this said we're pretty confident in all the details otherwise we wouldn't have posted anything yet so please puts these dates on your calendar now and please start getting excited about them!