U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
California

News.bytes News.bytes Extra, issue 253

More than 500 runners in third annual Bizz Johnson Marathon

A glorious fall day -- bracing morning temperatures, a warm afternoon and the colors of the season -- greeted more than 500 runners Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7 and 8, as they converged on the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail near Susanville for the third annual Bizz Johnson Marathon and associated half-marathon and 5K and 10K runs.

At the 9 a.m. start near the Mason Station Trailhead at the trail's west end, runners were all smiles at the beginning of the race:
runners were all smiles at the beginning of the race

Promoted by Redwood Trails, a California-based outdoor adventure company, the 26.2-mile trail race covered the entire length of the trail which stretches between the Lassen County communities of Westwood and Susanville. The race promoter used the scenic beauty and well-maintained conditions of the trail, jointly managed by the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office and the Lassen National Forest, to entice runners:

"What could be sweeter?" the promoter's website asked rhetorically. "A super-fast scenic trail that's groomed to perfection and easy on your knees, winds mile after mile through California's most gorgeous landscapes...Arguably the country's most scenic marathon, it's particularly lovely in the fall, when gorgeous seasonal yellows, browns and greens are on display."

This year, 353 marathoners, seasoned veterans and first-timers, took the opportunity to discover for themselves the beauty of northeast California. Many also took advantage of the trail's overall downhill profile to set times that would qualify them for the prestigious Boston Marathon.

Despite a start time an hour later than past events, the morning was still chilly at the starting line, elevation 5,400 feet. Below, two runners used clear plastic to make their own "greenhouses" capturing the warmth provided by a shaft of sunlight in the forest.
Two runners use clear plastic to make greenhouses to capture a shaft of sunlight and warm up before the race

Marathon competitors were running through a course filled with history as they traversed the trail, built on the path of the Fernley and Lassen Rail Line,dating to 1914. Below, there was no time to stop and read the interpretive information as the runners passed the signpost for Lasco, site of a logging camp and rail line where huge logs were once loaded onto trains for the trip to the Westwood pine mill.

Runners pass the signpost for Lasco, site of a logging camp and rail line where huge logs were once loaded onto trains for the trip to the Westwood pine mill

Five miles from the starting line, the normally tranquil trail was clogged with runners as they made their way toward Susanville (below).
Five miles from the starting line, the trail is clogged with runners headed toward Susanville

While runners came from across the United States for the event, there were locals competing as well. Below, BLM Eagle Lake Field Manager Dayne Barron, left, pulls into an aid station along the forested west end of the trail. Competing in his first marathon, Dayne finished in 4 hours, 22 minutes.
BLM Eagle Lake Field Manager Dayne Barron pulls into an aid station on his way to finishing the marathon

While competitors might have felt as through they were running through the wilderness, they found cheering fans and individual rooters, below, at various points along the trail.
A boy claps as a runner passes by

The trail scenery lived up to the promoter's promises. Below, a runner glides past one of the trail's most popular photo points, Bridge no. 1 at he Hobo Camp area on the western outskirts of Susanville.
A runner passes one of the trail's most popular photo points, with trees along the river framing a bridge

Families, friends and local spectators were treated to spirited finishes as they gathered at the Hobo Camp finish line (below).
Two runners finish the race near a group of spectators

In addition to being the largest recreation event permitted by the Eagle Lake Field Office, the marathon provides a major economic boost to Lassen County. Runners, families and friends fill area motels to capacity and support local businesses, factors deeply appreciated by local government and the county's Chamber of Commerce.

JFontana 10/06


BLM California News.bytes, Issue 253