Jun 18, 2022 at 8:00 AM
Entry Fee $22
(Lowest or Early Registration)
Prize Money: no
Percent of the course on un-paved trails: 95%
First Year of the Event: 1978
It’s been described as “gloriously brutal” among the more printable things that can be said about it. The Topanga 10K course is rugged, steep and breath-takingly beautiful. Winding up out of Trippett Ranch through meadows of wild flowers, runners leave the shade of the Coastal Live Oaks and head for the pitted face of Eagle Rock, which might seem like the highest part of the course but it’s not. Just past the Hub and the Turnaround the course plunges downhill through Eagle Springs on trails lined with wild Ceanothus, then rises again to rejoin Fire Road # 30 which continues uphill then drops down for the last mile to Trippett Ranch and the Finish Line.
As David Totheroh, legendary barefoot mountain runner, fastest Topangan and one of the original Race Directors tells it, the Topanga 10k was always tough but not always a 10K. When David first came across the award known as The Fastest Son Of A Gun it was presented at Topanga Days to the winner of an unruly moving melee that encircled the Community House. “In those days, there were only two rules: #1 Stay on the course, #2 No weapons. Other than that, anything else went,” David remembers. The course involved narrow hillside switchbacks, precarious downhill scrambles and a lot of pushing your opponents off the cliff. “Why not? There was no rule against it.”
The following year, in 1978 David and fellow Topangans, Michael Nesmore and Tom Byrnes surveyed a 10K course through the fire roads of Trippett Ranch. This became the basis for the present-day course and it remains arguably the toughest 10K in California. It is still the opening event of Topanga Days and takes place on the Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend every year. In the late 80s the race fell into hiatus. Then, in 1990 The Topanga Canyon Women’s Club asked Topangan Jacqueline Hansen to restore the 10K and Jane Galvin suggested that the race be named after her. TCWC member and long-time Topanga resident Lee Kelly suggested adding the word “tough” to the title, whether in the interests of accuracy or as a compassionate warning for flat-landers, no one can be sure.
Jacqueline Hansen recruited local artist Petra Beerman to create a new t-shirt for the race and the tradition of the running animals was born. Petra’s drawing of the coyote became the unofficial logo of the race and the shirts have become a collector’s item. As Race Director Jacqueline Hansen set a high standard. The Olympic marathoner not only organized the revised race but at its re-opening won overall first (female,) first masters, first female Topangan and first in her age group. This grand slam is unique in the history of the race… so far.
No photos available.