Miguel Lara, the Tarahumara runner from Copper Canyon, Mexico, returns to defend his course record in the Kodiak 100. Lara is one of several top ultra marathoners who are scheduled to race in the seventh annual Kodiak Ultra Marathons in Big Bear Friday and Saturday, Aug. 16 and 17.
Runners circumnavigate the entire Big Bear Valley including a visit to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain, a trip through the rarely-visited Siberia Creek Canyon and along the ridgeline on the North Shore. It is a true mountain race with technical footing and plenty of running above 7,000 feet in elevation.
The start takes place at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at Christmas Tree Corner at the corner of Pine Knot Avenue and Village Drive in the Village area of Big Bear Lake.
The course travels west past Aspen Glen Picnic Area, to Grandview Point and past the Champion Lodgepole Pine. Next is the difficult trek through Siberia Creek Canyon to Green Valley Lake and turning east to Hanna Flats and Van Dusen Canyon. From there, the course turns southward, traveling past Cushenberry Grade, through Burns Canyon before heading west again for the climb to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. Runners travel into Sugarloaf Wilderness Area to Balky Horse, along Radford Trail to Sky Fern, Grandview Point and back to the finish line.
Fifty-mile runners join the trek Saturday, Aug. 17, on the course west of Cushenberry Grade at 4 a.m. Runners in the 50K race follow the final miles of the course starting from the base of Sugarloaf Mountain at
6 a.m. Saturday.
Lara has competed in several Kodiak races, setting the 100-mile course record in 2016 with a time of 19 hours, 58 minutes.
The women’s record-holder in the Kodiak 100 is Rachel Ragona, who completed the 100-mile course in 23:53 in 2017. Fifty-mile course records have held up since 2014 when Marc Wilson turned in the men’s fastest time in 8:44, and Stephanie Weigel ran the course in 9:58.
Record-holders in the 50K race include Pedro Guardado, who finished in 5:07 in 2017, and Weigel, who ran 6:36 in 2015.
The finish line festival and beer garden opens Saturday from 11 a.m. to
8 p.m. The 50K finish line cutoff time is 7 p.m. Saturday while the 50-mile cutoff time is 8 p.m. Saturday. Runners in the 100-mile race face a cutoff time of 6 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 18.
Spectators can watch the start of the 100-mile race and the finish for all racers at Christmas Tree Corner in the Village throughout the weekend. Stop by and cheer on these ultra runners as they face the Kodiak challenge.
For more information about the Kodiak Ultra Marathons, visit
www.kodiak100.com or visit the event’s Facebook page.