If You Go to San Francisco … - Page 3
Photo by Galen Burrell
San Francisco, Trail Town
That the race is held in bustling, sunny San Francisco at a time of year when much of the U.S. is falling below freezing certainly helps draw competitors as well.
“I think it’s the perfect place for a race this time of year,” says Brett Rivers, owner of San Francisco Running Company, a new running specialty store that sits just off the TNF course in Mill Valley. “Plus it’s a major metro area, and yet you have all this preserved space, which is pretty incredible.”
“It makes San Francisco, in our minds, one of the best trail-running towns in America,” he continues, noting that the city’s robust economy and proximity to major outdoor recreation opportunities has helped draw a slew of talented runners—people like Dylan Bowman, who placed fifth at the race Saturday, and Rickey Gates, who was 26th—to the Bay Area.
Actually, Gates just followed his girlfriend out here, he explained to me the Tuesday after the race as he led me on a meandering run through San Francisco’s hilly streets and hidden strings of singletrack. “That’s about the only reason for a trail runner to live in a city,” he said. “But if I had to pick a city, this is a pretty good one.”
Trail running is a tradition in the area, says Rivers, laying claim to the nation’s oldest trail race, the Dipsea. “But,” he explains, “having exposure to a race like TNF has gotten a lot more people in the community into trail running.”
“It’s great to be a part of this community,” adds Jorge Maravilla, San Francisco Running Company’s General Manager, who finished seventh Saturday. “We have one of the best trail systems in the country. It’s great that the TNF race has evolved to become so big, that we get to host all these runners from all over who want to challenge themselves on our hills.”