TE23 Cancelled

Us vs The Forest Service

I’m bummed. I’d thought, hey, sure Los Padres is closed but a few runners? Who’s going to care?

Turns out the US Forest Service might. Cyclists have gotten $180 tickets for riding on E Camion Cielo, where the paved road is unimpeded and completely safe. So along with the threat of runners being ticketed (‘Ma’am, do you know how fast you were going!?’) there’s the invalid-insurance problem.

With great regret, there will be no Tough Enough this year. Refunds will go out shortly.

Not Fast, Just Furious
Panic Training
Ventura Running Club
Hills to the No (Inside Track RC)
Valerie and the Tyerless

Cooper Atkinson

Cold Spring

The road is closed between the west side of the bridge to just up from the Montecito-side turn that brings the road parallel to the stream. (‘Boulders placed to block’ closed.) One of the lanes is, for a modest distance, gone. It is unlikely the road will reopen to motor vehicles by race day, but foot traffic will (one hopes) be OK.

Mountain Drive Sunday 15 January. Runnable!

2023 Entry form

Over on the Registration page, or right here. April Fool’s day in ’23. Apt. Starts at Toro Canyon Park entrance, 7 am.

You can pay via Venmo or Zelle this year, though checks are easier (for me). I keep a separate account for TE to keep the monies segregated. But I can handle it. I’m tough enough. Email me for info.

I need the signed forms but getting all the team signatures on a single page can be tricky. As long as the team name is clear, multiple forms are fine.

Swag will be reflective gloves this year. You are more invisible in the twilight than you probably think. These are pretty awes.

Fun activity: next time you run, tune to the plane of your hips.

A wonderful Christmas to all.

Tough Enough 22 results

The return after pandemic years on a near-perfect running day (if a little difficult for driving). Tough Enough in novel form:

Noir. The Bull Canyon coyotes could barely make out the human forms moving in the pre-dawn dark, their muttering, and but for the occasional flare of a headlamp invisible.

Romance. Mauricio raised his chiseled jaw, gazing across the expanse ahead, his chest burning with hard-won confidence.

Early-90’s erotic thriller. The dense fog nestled its soft cheek close to the rough stubble of chaparral.

Literary. Michaela d’C. leaned back, looking cooly at her mother across the 52nd floor Manhattan café tabletop, wondering idly when she should text her driver, whether she should have rented a private jet—she wanted to be fresh, she had Legs 6 and 9—and too, when that Ursus americanus californiensis had replaced the maitre ‘d.

Natural history. Coreopsis, a non-native, has colonized the lower reaches of California’s Sierra Madre, and is easily seen when the west fork of Cold Spring trail ascends from the main watercourse.

Self-help memoir (including tragic backstory overcome by grit and pluckiness): I lay face-down on the trail in California’s remote Sierra Madre, bruised victim of my own too-loose shoelace. I overcame that travail, and you can too.

Fantasy/adventure: They appeared above the clouds, then descended again, running, endlessly running.

Plus some actual results:

7:17 Against Coach’s Orders (Chris F.)
8:52 Los Aztecas (Ana C.)
9:09 Trail Queens (Michaela C.)
9:28 We Run for the Hill of It (Lisa E.)
9:45 Hills, What Hills? (Jim C.)
9:55 Born to Squirrel (Karen P.)
10:50 Start Slow, Taper Fast (Valerie T.)

8:58 Hill +/- One (Kim R.): One injured runner on a bike
10:35 Cougars on the Rum (Holly B.): A little loose on handoffs after a couple of adventurous runners got lost decided to explore some exciting alternate routes on West Cold Spring trail (Leg 2).

Everybody finished in the top ten!

In the ultra:
8:44 Ex’s and O’s: Ian Seabury & Rachel Entrekin, a CR for a two-person team
13:46 Alway Looking for Adventure: Mauricio P. & Laura B.
13:46 Nopaleros: Carlos R. & Maria N.
13:54 Jon Z., who utterly dominated the solo category!

Los Aztecas and the Trail Queens

Where has the money gone?

Park fee


Direct Relief donation




Candidate changes for next year
—Adding Venmo, maybe Skrill, for payment for those who wish
—Electronic forms
—Massive advertising campaign, like maybe letters to a few local companies, posting on calendars, &c, though with a limit on entries I think and preference given to those who’ve done it before

Hats are the leading candidate for next year’s swag, based on a pretty informal survey at the finish. Suggestions open, though.

Thanks to Los Aztecas for introducing me to nopales, cactus pads that are easily prepared and delicious.

And wholehearted appreciation for Kim R., recently moved to Kauai, long-time trail boss for Ventura’s Inside Track Running Club, ever-supportive consultant and advisor on things TE, friend, a woman of integrity and honor.


We are deeply fortunate to be able to this.

Ultra: Ian Seabury was first full ultra finisher in 11:12; Scott Young ran 12:57 for second. Billy and Karla, running alternating legs, ran 9:38. That means each ran 32-33 miles in under 4:50, on what few would describe as a fast course.

The relay fell out as:

  1. Just Here for the Views, 8:45
  2. Not Medical Doctors, 9:01
  3. Rapid Thigh Movement, 9:03
  4. What’s My Leg Again?, 9:16
  5. Our Moms Think So, 9:35
  6. Competitive Bipedal Locomotion Enthusiasts, 9:48
  7. Old Souls plus One, 10:07
  8. Four Lasses and a Lad, 10:10
  9. Beer Run (or Beerrun), 10:17
  10. The Machines and the Sexy Boy, 10:22
  11. It’s OK to Walk, 10:45
  12. The Return of the Pink Ladies, 10:46
  13. Delusions of Toughness, 11:22
  14. We’re On Our Last Legs, 11:23
  15. Sub-24, 12:36

Will Tough Enough be back next year? Yes.

Addenda: The course has roughly 9345′ total climb, 9140′ total drop, for 18,485′ of elevation change. Numbers based on USGS data, via OnTheGoMap.

Tough Enough 2017

This is why California is known world-wide for its natural beauty. Within California, Santa Barbara is particularly dramatic. What fortune to be able to run, to immerse unreservedly!

Ian S.led the ultrarunners, finishing in about eleven and a half hours, then looking fresh and filled wiht energy after the run. Scott Y. was at 13 1/2, remarkable for his training, Steve VanD at 14:38, and Mauricio and Luis, wearing brilliant headlamps, were epic in 16:32. Ian, by the way, got the course at 64.7 miles.

The teams were led by Nasty Women and Bad Hombres (7:58). Conejo Valley made a claim that they were the slowest team ever, finishing around 14 1/2 hours. Could be they’re the new number 1-inverse. In between, the She-Ra’s were first women-only team (3d overall), and in some order, Team Leaky Cheek, Operation Ivy,Take Warning, Dude Dillon Panthers, Lady Dillon Panthers, Pink Panthers, Greg’s Groms, Woody’s Wabbits, Always Bet on Black, Breaking Wind, Nightlife, I’m with Stupid, Pimp My Stride, and RIP Fun Bus.

Alert readers may note some vagueness regarding finish times. Somnolent readers might note it, too. The race director wrote the final ultra runners’ times on the results sheet, put the clipboard on top of the car, talked with Luis and Mauricio for a few minutes, and drove home. On arrival, the clipboard was no longer on top of the car.

We’re sending $1,245 to Direct Relief this year.

Three more notes:
o Many thanks to the redoubtable Kim Reale who organized the six teams from Inside Track.
o Do not judge the entry fees of other races based on TE. Most races have far more in expenses than we do (port-a-johns, Highway Patrol, big municipal fees, and so on). If you’re curious about the breakout of income and expenses, write me, happy to share.
o A sincere thank-you to everyone who had a good time!

2016 Donation to Direct Relief

The Tough Enough community — that’s you — donated $2,440 to  Direct Relief this year. Particular thanks to Mauricio and Leif for extra donations.

Please write to me or post comments with improvements or tuning you’d like next year. For example, one runner suggested having a 4WD patrol long, hot Leg 6 with water and snacks.

From the Race Director, thanks to Kimberly Burnell and Toad&Co.

On behalf of all of you, thanks to all of you.

2015 Race report

Tough Enough 2015: Finishers and random awards

1. 7:19 Super Friends
2. 8:27 Cacahuates
3. 8:35 Average Joes
4. 8:47 Chains for Brains
5. 8:53 Segway Pelotron
6. 8:55 C.A.R.E.4Paws
7. 9:32 Young Dr. Fronken’s Team
8. 9:33 DNR
9. 9:38 Jay Kays
10. 9:55 Inside Trackers 2
11. 9:56 Controlled Bypass
12. 10:08 SB Training 1
13. 10:13 SB Training 2
14. 10:14 Between a Walk and a Hard Pace
15. 10:30 Inside Trackers 2
16. 10:34 People who know… things…
17. 10:39 SB Training 3
18. 10:43 Triple threat
19. 10:46 Team Three Generations
20. 10:48 “That’s What” She Said
21. 10:50 Team Nine Trails
22. 11:09 Delusions of Toughness
23. 11:26 Inside Trackers 3
24. 11:45 Four Legs, One Dream (two-person team)

1. 13:41 Jon Zaid
2. 13:44 Luis Escobar
3. – 5. 16:47 Kim Bengelsdorf, Manley Klassen, Mauricio Puerto
6. – 7. 18:13 Rob DeCou, Alissa Sears

Good day, warm but not hot, light breezes but no wind. As a group we ran a little over two thousand miles yesterday, enough to get us from Santa Barbara to Minneapolis with a little to spare.

Thanks to the ultrarunners who dropped. A small event with self-support on the course relies on the good judgement of the participants. Appreciated. Pacer of the day to Alissa Sears, not intending to run the whole event, did. She gets this year’s Chris Clemens Award for “As long as I’m this far, hey, it’s only another 30 miles.”

A few awards:

  • Style and sophistication. The Jay Kays with their tastefully decorated team car, colors chosen to match their shirts.
  • Teammates. A seemingly serious discussion at the finish line about a teammate getting lost on leg 10. (For those who didn’t run that leg, there are no turns or side roads.) “We love her, but she might have.”
  • Urine samples. Young Dr Fronken’s Team, looking sleek in lab coats, raising their golden-liquid-filled urine sample cups in a toast at the end. (Suspiciously carbonated.)