When the Defiance 50K wraps up at Point Defiance Park on Oct. 10, it will be just the second time in the race’s six-year history that Tacoma’s Mike Lynes hasn’t finished in the top two. It will also be just the second time he hasn’t raced in the event.
On Aug. 10, the two-time and reigning champion tore his hamstring racing in the World Masters Athletics Championships in France. Lynes, 49, sustained the injury 200 meters into the 10,000-meter race, but still managed to limp his way to 23rd place in his age group, less than 6 1/2 minutes behind the winner.
Lynes still plans to be at the Defiance 50K. He’s grown quite fond of the event.
“It’s one of the cooler events I’ve done in Tacoma,” he said. “There aren’t that many trail races around. Especially that length. And it’s well organized.”
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Lynes plans to work as a race volunteer and lend support to his Tacoma City Running Club teammates. Lynes, a physical therapist, expects he’ll need until December to recover from his injury.
In the meantime, Lynes, winner of the first six Tacoma City Marathons, took a few minutes to discuss the Defiance 50K:
Q: It seems like more and more runners are talking about doing this race. Why do you think that is?
A: It is really tame as far as ultras go. It’s not a super technical course. They are very runnable trails. ... One section has a rope. It is slippery. If you try to run down it you’ll fall on your butt. But if you take short steps you can get down it pretty good. ... I try to short hop it down and grab the rope if I need it. But the rope is there for people who aren’t sure of their footing.
Q: Is it easy to make a wrong turn if you don’t know the course?
A: It’s pretty straightforward if the course doesn’t get sabotaged. The bummer is, there is always somebody out there, every year, who sabotages the course. Somebody who doesn’t want running in the park, I guess. I usually go out and mark the course the day before. Then somebody moves the course. One year, somebody re-marked the course in another area. It’s sad that there are people out there doing something like that.
Q: It seems like a very scenic course. Where are the best views?
A: The backside near the dog park gets a view of the (Tacoma) Narrows and the Olympics. There is a hill called the Achilles Hill that’s very steep. Look back over your shoulder and you get a great view of the Olympics and you can see the bridge. It’s really nice. And then, near Owen Beach, you get that stretch where you are looking at (Mount) Rainier and the ships going by. For an in-town race, the scenery is pretty nice.
Q: So, if you can’t run, who’s the favorite?
A: Andy Henshaw, probably. (Henshaw won the 2010 and ’11 races). He has the course record (3 hours, 36 minutes, 41 seconds in 2011) and he finished third in the world in the 100K (2011). He says he’s not in great shape, but you never know. That guy is world class.
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Where: Point Defiance Park, 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma.
When: 8 a.m. Oct. 10.
Distances: 15, 30 and 50 kilometers.
Registration: $55-$75 through Wednesday. Then $65-$85.