Van der Groen and Van Ornum Win 50 Mile races at SLO Ultra presented by

Press release by ATRA corporate member Race SLO.

Second edition hosted by HomeFed and PG&E drew more than 1,000 runners and featured four challenging trail run courses – 50 mile ultra, marathon, half-marathon and 5 mile – at pristine, private Wild Cherry Canyon in Avila Beach; post-event Race SLO Dirt Festival celebrated with live bluegrass music, beverages, food & fun; event beneficiary The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County

50 Mile Ultra participants toe the line at the start of their race; the first of the day.

AVILA BEACH, Calif. – (September 9, 2017) – On Saturday under cool, overcast morning weather and later sunny, warm conditions at private, pristine Wild Cherry Canyon, Franz van der Groen, 33, San Rafael, CA, 7:12:04 and Michele Van Ornum, 48, Fresno, CA won the 2nd SLO Ultra 50 Mile in 7 hours, 12 minutes, 4 seconds and 9:27:22, respectively. For Van Ornum, the victory was also her debut for the distance. The Race SLO-produced event presented by featured four challenging trail run courses – 50 mile ultra, marathon, half-marathon and 5 mile. Hosted by HomeFed and PG&E, the community event served as a benefit for The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, and this year, the 50 Mile, with 10,600 feet of elevation change, was also a Trail Runner Trophy Series event.

“The second SLO Ultra provided an epic, off-road experience for 1,000-plus ultra and trail runners to meet the terrain challenges and to enjoy the unspoiled beauty of Wild Cherry Canyon as well,” said Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder & CEO. “We thank all the participants, event partners & sponsors, vendors, festival musicians, support teams, volunteers and staff for producing another signature Endurance Town USA experience on the beautiful Central Coast.”

The Marathon was won by Orion Galioni, 34, Monterey, CA, and defending champion Kelsey Lakowske, 24, Davis, CA who covered the 26.2 mile trail course in 3:32:13 and 3:50:26, respectively. Overall, Lakowske, the 2017 SLO Marathon champion, also placed third overall.

In the Half-Marathon, Robert Mead, 29, of Templeton, CA and Dani Moreno, 25, of Santa Barbara, CA were the race champions, crossing the finish line in 1:39:29 and 1:40:20, respectively, and overall, Moreno, who recently represented silver medal winning Team USA at the World Mountain Running Championships, finished third. The 13.1 mile race was the event’s largest with 461 entrants.

The 5 Mile, the shortest event distance, was won by Pepe Gonzalez, 25, of Paso Robles, CA and Jessica Dahlberg, 37, of Santa Barbara, CA recording 32:34 and 46:06, respectively.

In addition at the SLO Ultra, the finishers earned collectible wooden, leather-strapped Wild Cherry Canyon-inspired medals, and the top three athletes overall in all races & age groups received medals and event swag. The 50 Mile participants also took home commemorative SLO Ultra jackets.

Also at the event, Race SLO ambassadors – ultra running star Krissy Moehl and mountain bike ace Rebecca Rusch – held an engaging Q&A session and also signed posters & their respective books as well as cheering on the runners and awarding medals to the proud finishers.

The second edition drew runners from 18 states. The youngest entrants were 7-year-olds Benny Easton-Carr (San Luis Obispo, CA) and Josi Hwang (Pismo Beach, CA) and the oldest entrant was Patricia DeVita, 83, from Granada Hills, CA.

The Race SLO Dirt Festival, held at the SLO Ultra finish line, featured bluegrass music from Snap Jackson & The Knock on Wood Players during the afternoon. Delicious, hot, fresh Rib Line BBQ also was served along with cold Lagunitas beer and non-alcoholic beverages. The weekend of events began with a special screening of pro athlete Rebecca Rusch’s film “Blood Road” on Friday evening and will conclude on Sunday with the inaugural SLO MTB featuring 28 Mile and 13 Mile bike courses also in Wild Cherry Canyon.

2017 US Mountain Running Team member Dani Moreno en route to winning the 13.1 Mile Half Marathon race.

Results from the 2nd annual SLO Ultra presented by
Wild Cherry Canyon, Avila Beach, CA, Saturday, September 9, 2017

50 Mile
1) Franz van der Groen, 33, San Rafael, CA, 7:12:04
2) Jadd Martinez, 35, San Luis Obispo, CA, 8:23:46
3) Daniel List, 37, Orcutt, CA, 8:35:00

1) Michele Van Ornum, 48, Fresno, CA, 9:27:22
2) Linda Sereno, 57, Salinas, CA, 9:53:49
3) Hailey Chiasson, 27, Morro Bay, CA, 10:38:20

1) Orion Galioni, 34, Monterey, CA, 3:32:13
2) Tyler Hill, 30, Paso Robles, CA, 3:36:25
3) Tyler Davis, 25, San Francisco, CA, 4:02:23

1) Kelsey Lakowske, 24, Davis, CA, 3:50:26
2) Aly Gleason, 25, Santa Maria, CA, 3:58:50
3) Michelle Hamilton, 36, San Luis Obispo, CA, 4:05:40

1) Robert Mead, 29, Templeton, CA, 1:39:29
2) Samuel Williams, 36, Los Osos, CA, 1:40:08
3) Gavin Smith, 26, Thousand Oaks, CA, 1:42:06

1) Dani Moreno, 25, Santa Barbara, CA, 1:40:20
2) Amy Harper, 38, Arroyo Grande, CA, 1:51:51
3) Karla Jones, 53, Ventura, CA, 1:52:07

5 Mile
1) Pepe Gonzalez, 25, Paso Robles, CA, 32:34
2) Tyler Cooper, 18, Pebble Beach, CA, 40:58
3) Ben Hawkins, 35, San Luis Obispo, CA, 44:56

1) Jessica Dahlberg, 37, Santa Barbara, CA, 46:06
2) Karen Eubank, 49, Morro Bay, CA, 46:11
3) Rachel Banton, 27, Templeton, CA, 46:53

For complete race results, go to:

Visit for more event information including race photos when available and 2018 event registration.

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO event line-up includes the upcoming SLO Ultra trail races & NEW Mountain Bike Race at Wild Cherry Canyon (Fall 2017) and VIP Ride & Wine with Bob Roll (Fall 2017) as well as the inaugural Warrior Trail Run Adventure (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half and 5K (Spring 2018) and Healthy Running Sports Medicine Conference (Spring 2018).

The Race SLO Team organizes and produces both fun & competitive running and cycling events that create a positive impact on both our participants and local communities.

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