McDonald Forest
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Race History

The origins of the McDonald Forest 50KM and 15KM
In the spring of 1995, Sander Nelson had this idea of a 50 mile adventure run from Peavy Arboretum in the McDonald Forest to Mary’s Peak in the Siuslaw National Forest. Sander figured a route and on Saturday April 29th, Dave Bard and Chuck Cammack joined Sander and I for the run. It was raining buckets that morning. The weather did get better as the day wore on. Dave bailed out before McCulloch Peak and Chuck and I quit after about 29 miles of running in the little town of Wren, Oregon. We had invited many of our local running friends to join us later in the run and several of them joined Sander as he finished the run to Mary’s Peak.

After that run, Sander and I started brainstorming an ultramarathon. I had organized marathons and other races in Bend, Oregon as a member of the Central Oregon Running Klub and convinced Sander that we needed to keep the race just in the McDonald Forest for logistical purposes, such as; staging area, aid stations, permission, etc. 50KM would be long enough, considering we had no running club to help us organize the ultra. At the time, my son and daughter were in high school and were on the cross country team. I was aware that the team needed some support and thought that this run could be a fund raiser.

Sander and I in the fall of 1995 started figuring out the first McDonald Forest 50KM course. I wasn’t sure how many runners would run this race, maybe 35-40. I knew we could not earn much of a donation for the teams with an ultra of that size, so we decided to add a 15KM race. The 15KM race would take place while the 50KM was in progress. This was the format for the first two years. After two years, both races were too large to organize on the same day. The 50KM is a spring race, on the last Saturday in April that fits in nicely with the Northwest schedule of ultras. The 15KM race is now a fall race during the high school cross country season, the weekend before the state of Oregon high school cross country meet.

It has been a lot of work and a real pleasure. With the help and generosity of lots of the local trailrunning friends and the high school cross country runners, the races have earned some funds for the high school cross country teams, OSU Research Forest, and Corvallis Mountain Rescue. The McDonald races have helped recruit an enthusiastic gang of long distance trailrunners in the Corvallis area, who now run ultramarathons, throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Clem LaCava
Race Director Emeritus



50K Race Directors

Anne Miller and Mike Rosling, co-RDs
McDonald Forest 50K