Monday, August 4, 2014

Vertigo Night Runs 31K Race Report

The vertigo night runs are part of Aravaipa Running's Insomniac Night Trail Running and Relays Series. Vertigo is held on the competitive track at the White Tank Regional Park starting at 7p.m. You would think that as the sun sets in Phoenix it would cool down, but on July 26th that wasn't really the case.
I didn't run this race particularly fast. Not because I didn't want to, I did and I tried, but it was so damn hot that my 8 minute pace felt like a 6:15 pace! Not to mention the technical terrain, sandy washes and the course being illuminated by only my headlamp. It was 105 degrees when we started racing which made me want to drop on my first loop. The metallic taste in my throat and my seemingly unquenchable thirst didn't help. The main reason I didn't stop running is because almost every runner I passed on the course (the 10K, 31K, and 63K were all running their races on the same loop) offered words of encouragement. Just another reason I love this sport. Thank you all for the positive vibes!
All of the eyeball-baking-energy-sucking-heat aside, it was a really great experience. The first 3-4 miles of the 6.5 loop were fairly flat, but rock strewn with abrupt rollers through various sandy washes. Around mile 4, my favorite part of the race, there was a small climb. At the top I would look back down on the Sonoran Competitive Track to see all of the headlamps scampering below me. It was an awesome sight. From there it was a fun and fast, short but technical descent to an aid station followed by a fast and mostly flat 2 mile section back to the start/finish aid before I'd head out for another loop.
On my last lap a storm started rolling in shooting bursts of electricity through the night sky which illuminated silhouettes of saguaros and revealed ominous clouds in the distance. The 63K runners eventually had to be pulled from the course due to dust, wind and lightning, but my friend and training partner Sion Lupowitz came through the 32 mile mark in 1st place well ahead of the runner up, so he took the win on the shortened course. 
Aravaipa Running put on a class act event. I've run a hand full of their events and they only seem to get better. My favorite new Aravaipa Running perk at this race was the free finisher photo at the end (Plus a finishers mug and a gym bag). Their live result system is awesome, their aid stations are always stocked and the course is always well marked. If you find yourself in Arizona, do yourself a favor and run an Aravaipa event. It's well worth it!
Thanks to Nick and Jamil for having me up there and putting on a stellar run. Thanks to all of the volunteers for being out in the heat all night to help all of us crazy Insomniacs. And thank you to Pearl Izumi and ClifBar for the continued support.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @koreykonga

See you on the trails!

Sion and I were sporting the same kicks: the Pearl Izumi Trail N1. Photo: Aravaipa Running

Kickin' it before the race. Photo: Aravaipa Running

Sun setting before the 31K start
31K start. Photo: Aravaipa Running

Coming through the second loop. Photo: Aravaip Running

Finisher photo. Photo: Aravaipa Running

Female winner Suzie Kramer and myself at the finish . Photo Aravaipa Running.

Lightning popping off!


Sion demanding something delicious before his final lap. Photo: Michelle Sager via Twiinkly App.


  1. Nice! Short and sweet. It's been fun training with you and it's great that we push each other beyond our comfort zone. Looking forward to more, my friend!

  2. Sounds like a great race. I love the way you write, Korey! You really paint a beautiful picture of what your experiences are like. Keep up the running and keep writing about it so I can feel like I experienced a small part of it with you :)

    1. Thanks Beth :) and thanks for always reading. Hope all is well back on the home front!