Register for the Gulch Countdown race 1/4/20.

This will be an individual race.

Imagine a race that is open to all ability levels, designed to allow a pace conducive to socializing, yet also designed to challenge even the strongest of runners until there is only one runner left standing. Whether you are looking for a fun trail race to run with your friends or a race to push your limit and discover what you’re made of, this race is for you.

What is the Gulch Countdown?

The Gulch Countdown is a simple 2.18 mile loop in the forests of Japanese Gulch. Surrounded by lush ferns, knobby trees dripping with moss, and giant cedars, the rolling hills of the Gulch give you the feel of the mountains without leaving the backyard of Mukilteo. The Gulch Countdown is a timed race, but not in the traditional sense.

How does it work?

The Gulch Countdown is run as a series of 2.18 mile loops, with the first loop having a 32 minute cut-off. Those who finish ahead of the cutoff can use the remaining time for aid. All finishers within the cut-off then start the next loop together, running the opposite direction within 31 minutes. With each additional loop the cutoff is reduced by 1 min. After 12 loops – a marathon distance – loop times decrease by 30 seconds until only one runner remains – the Last Person Standing.

The trails of Japanese Gulch – photo by Rose Freeman

“The inverse proportionate race format is a brilliant and much more interesting twist on the Big Backyard style of racing. It allows for the perfect blend of endurance and speed and I hope that Abram has started a new trend!”

– Zach Szablewski (1st at Gulch Countdown, 19th at Western States 100)

Gulch Countdown – January 2019

Race Details

— Gulch Countdown: Last Person Standing —

Location: Adam and Josie Braddock’s Home: Mukilteo, WA. Please carpool if possible and park in neighborhood streets nearby. There is also backup parking at the 19th St. Trailhead, connected by a half-mile trail. 

Schedule: Register 7:30-8:00 am, Race Briefing 8:15, Race Start 8:30, Race End ??

Aid Station: We will have an aid station at the start/finish area with food and drinks (water, gatorade, soda, bagels, bananas, potato chips, granola bars, etc). We will also have homemade chili, and pizza arriving at 12pm. To be fair to all racers, no aid is allowed on the course. We will have one porta potty available; please give preference to the people currently racing. We will have an area for runners to place drop bags near the start line. Please bring a camp chair if you want a place to sit!

Course: The single-track trail is 2.18 miles with about 250’ of elevation gain. The hills are on the north end of the course. (See map below.) We will start counter-clockwise, and each lap we will switch direction. The first half of the course will be marked with orange flagging, and the second half with yellow flagging. There are two locations where the course intersects, so be sure to follow the correct color flagging. Tip: Always choose the outer path at the junctions. In addition to the halfway point, the ¼ and ¾ points will be marked. We will have a short out and back on the road before each lap to assist with passing before entering the single-track trail. Once on the single-track, please allow faster runners to pass you. Please be courteous to other trail users (e.g. hikers and mountain bikers) as we are sharing the trails.

Full course video:

Time Cutoffs: The first lap has a 32 minute cutoff. Those who finish ahead of the cutoff can use the remaining time at the start/finish area for aid. All finishers within the cutoff then start the next lap together, this time with a 31 min cutoff. With each additional lap, the cutoff is reduced by one minute. After 12 laps, a marathon distance, lap times decrease by 30 seconds until only one runner remains. (See table above)

Timing: The end of each lap is the same time as the start of the next lap. There will be whistle warnings for 3, 2, and 1 minute to go, then a verbal countdown to the start. After each lap completed within the cutoff, the person timing will mark off each runner on a poster board. It is the responsibility of each runner to make sure they are marked on the board. We will have a countdown timer at the finish line so everyone will be able to see the time remaining when they finish. We will also mark the winner of each lap.

Elimination: If you finish a lap after the cutoff (or decide not to start the next lap) you are eliminated from the race. You only get credit for laps completed within the cutoff. Please let the person timing know when you are eliminated and we will mark your bib with the number of completed laps. If all racers are eliminated in the last lap, the first racer to complete the lap is the winner. In the case where they are two runners starting a lap, the one with the most lap wins gets to choose their direction, and the other runs the opposite.

Prizes: The Last Woman Standing and Last Man Standing will receive handmade medals. There will also be “medals” and prizes for each racer. 

Shirts: We will have race shirts for the people who ordered them. At the race, we will also have JGR club shirts, hats, and free stickers!

Volunteers: For those who are helping out, thank you so much! We’ll need help with timing, running the aid station, snapping a few photos of the runners, and taking down the course afterwards. Please contact me if you or someone you know can help!

Walkers: Anyone is welcome to stop by and run or walk a lap! You don’t need to be part of the race. To minimize disruption, please start at a start time after the racers.

What’s your limit?

– Abram Elwell and Adam Braddock