‘Fat Ass’ run tests runners’ stamina

Some of the runners pounded the muddy, mountainous trails of Moran State Park for almost 10 hours.

Athletes from across Washington, Oregon, Canada, Idaho, and even Arizona came to Orcas on Feb. 6 for the “Fat Ass Run.” They tested their speed against formidable Mt. Constitution.

“The race is quickly becoming a significant Northwest event in the booming ‘trail running’ business,” runner and Orcas resident Pete Moe said.

The quickest feet, belonging to Shane Ruljancich, spent one hour and 55 minutes scaling the mountain and looping the lake for the 25k version. Alex Henry of Seattle won the grueling 50k race, with a time of 4:13. More than 300 runners shoed up for the race, all of them from off-island except for six Orcas participants.

Runners for the 25k dashed from the Moran Environmental Learning Center up to Cascade falls, past Mountain Lake to the summit of Constitution, decended to Cold Spring, circled the mountain on the Cold Spring trail, then decended the switchbacks to circumnavigate Cascade Lake and return to the learning center.

The 50k racers finished the same circuit – and then started all over again for another lap. The reward was dazzling: incredible weather and beautiful views of Mt. Baker from the summit of Mt. Constitution, reports runner Pete Moe. And 50k-ers got to take in that fantastic view twice.

Race organizer James Varner said the event is “as big as we want it.”

“I think we might cut it back to 250 (runners) next year. The logistics are getting too difficult,” he said.

By logistics, he means the task of shuttling people to and from the ferry, and inadequate parking at Moran State park for such numbers. The runners were able to place drop bags loaded with weather gear and other supplies at pre-designated stations, like Camp Moran and certain mileposts on Mt. Constitution.