Road Race in Trinidad

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The 52nd Annual Clam Beach Run

By | Erin Chessin

The fog cleared just in time for hundreds of runners to take their marks at the 52nd annual Clam Beach Run in Trinidad, Calif. An event hosted by the Greater Trinidad Chamber of Commerce. Friends, families, and locals united on a sunny Saturday afternoon and ran one of California’s most scenic road races.

HSU alumni, Paul Matli, was amongst this crowd of runners on the start line.

“I wasn’t nervous for this race because I knew it was going to be fun,” said Matli. “Clam Beach is one of the more exciting races I do every year. It’s a combination of rolling hills and flat ground, and the fact the last 2 miles are on the beach makes it more fun.”

Runners could either register for the half marathon, 8 and three quarter mile, 5 and three quarter mile, or the 3 mile race. Each race started at the same time and place but runners had to turn off at a specific point in the town of Trinidad and take their designated path depending on the distance they signed up for. The half marathon began at 11:30 a.m. while the 8 and three quarter mile, 5 and three quarter mile, and the 3 mile races took off in the afternoon. The weather conditions were exceptionally good, with temperatures hitting just above 50 degrees.

This was no ordinary road race. From the trails to the sand, runners made their way through thick forest and ascended down a rocky path to the beach. The scenery is impeccable and many runners found themselves distracted by the North Coast’s beauty. Kenneth Pocasangre, HSU alumni and a teacher at Fieldbrook Elementary, couldn’t help but enjoy the sights and sounds of the beach.

“The scenery is what distracted me from the pain,” said Pocasangre, “I could see the ocean hitting the rocks, the fog drifting through the trees, the beautiful colors reflected by the sunlight, it was exhilarating.”

Once the runners made their way through the forest, the road race ascended down to the beach. In the 8 and three quarter mile race, the last two miles ended on a long stretch of Clam Beach. Matli said this was the toughest part of the race as he struggled to get past the famous Little River that all runners must cross in order to reach the finish.

“I fell in,” said Matli. “I tried to swim through the river but I ended up being carried down the stream and had to pull myself back onto the course.”

The Little River isn’t forgiving, many runners found themselves struggling to get past the river since the tide was abnormally high as observed by Jocelyn Barber, a student at HSU studying environmental resources and engineering.

“I noticed everyone was using the rope to get across the Little River since the current was so high,” Barber said. “ I decided to walk upstream and avoid the rope, running through the cold stream. There were people I could see being carried away by the water.”

Pocasangre said his shins were problematic throughout the race.

“I knew I had to keep pushing through in order to get to the finish line, as painful as it was,” said Pocasangre, who finished first place overall in the half marathon race with a time of one hour and 29 minutes.

The Marching Lumberjacks, who perform at HSU’s football games and numerous other events, showed up at the finish line with enthusiasm and high spirits.

“I picked up the pace, as much as I could,” said Pocasangre. “I could hear the music about a half mile away from the finish line. It was gratifying hearing the band playing from afar, helping you get through the final excruciating stretch of the race.”

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