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Dry Max

 August 1, 2013

Under Fire
Ultrarunning and coaching legend Jim O'Brien fired as XC coach; students and supporters rally

The year was 1989, and the fourth running of the Angeles Crest 100-Mile Endurance Run would take place in late summer in the rugged San Gabriel Mountains near Wrightwood, California. (Back then, there were six total 100-milers in North America; now? … 110 plus!) After surviving a rigorous training regimen that topped out at 200 miles per week, a budding ultrarunner Jim O’Brien, then 36, would set a course record of 17:35:48. (O’Brien would go on to win the Leadville 100 in 1990 and the Wasatch 100 in 1991.)

Now, nearly 25 years later, his Angeles Crest course record still stands, even though the course was shortened by about two miles in 1992. O’Brien was, no doubt, a trail ultrarunning pioneer.

O’Brien, however, has left an even stronger mark in the realm of coaching, which he began at the college level at University of San Diego from 1982 to 1984 then Cal Tech in the mid-1980s through mid-’90s. In the SoCal area, he has mentored everyone from speedy road 10Kers to trail 100-milers, started a private coaching gig with an assortment of clients known as Team Blarney and for the past 17 years, has coached the Arcadia High School boys’ cross-country team, taking them to a phenomenal two state and two national titles (2010 and 2012). Indeed, the Arcadia program is one of the most successful in the country, and the charismatic O’Brien is credited with getting the most out of his athletes.

Read on … 

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08/01 Renegade Summer Trail Run Series - #3 at Peters Canyon 5M; Tustin, CA
08/03 Angel Island 12K, 25K; Tiburon, CA
08/03 Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run 100M; Wrightwood, CA
08/03 Balboa Park Races 3M, 8M; San Diego, CA
08/03 Beast of Big Creek Trail Race 10K, 20K; Hoodsport, WA
08/03 Grand Ridge Trail Run #2 5M, 13.1M, 26.2M, 50K; Issaquah, WA
08/03 Matanuska Peak Challenge 14M; Palmer, AK
08/03 Round Valley 5.4M; Greenville, CA
08/03 San Francisco Endurance Runs 50M, 100M; Sausalito, CA
08/03 Santa Cruz Trail Run 10K, 13.1M, 30K, 50K; Felton, CA
08/03 Summer Breeze 5K, 10K, 13.1M; San Leandro, CA
08/05 Tuesday Trails & Tacos 3M, 5M; Trabuco Canyon, CA
08/08 Into The Wild Rockin Summer Run #1 8K; Orange, CA
08/10 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff 5K, 13.1M; Flagstaff, AZ
08/10 CCC Trail Runs 10M, 25K; Umatilla, OR
08/10 Crystal Springs Trail Run #2 5M, 11M, 22M, 26.2M, 50K; Woodside, CA
08/10 Echo Summit Trail Challenge 5K, 10K, 13.1M, 20M, 50K, 50M; Twin Bridges, CA
08/10 Genoa Peak Completely Madathon and Only Half Madathon 13.1M, 26.2M; Genoa, NV
08/10 Hypnosis Night Runs 15K, 31K, 62K; Avondale, AZ
08/10 Mount Ashland Hill Climb 13.3M; Ashland, OR
08/10 Rock the Green 5K, 10K; Auburn, WA
08/10 Scott Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series #4 13M, 20M, 50K; Newcastle, WA
08/11 Angels Staircase 25K, 50K, 50M; Carlton, WA
08/11 Dirt Devils Stairway to Heaven 15K; San Diego, CA
08/11 Haulin' Aspen Trail Runs 13.1M, 26.2M; Bend, OR
08/11 Mud & Chocolate Trail Runs #2 4.5M, 13.1M; Sammamish, WA; www.mudandchocolate.com

08/11 XTERRA Hagg Lake 10K; Portland, OR
08/11 XTERRA Trail Run Oregon Series Championship 13.1M; Portland, OR
08/15 Into The Wild Rockin Summer Run #2 8K; Orange, CA
08/17 Alyeska Mountain Run 2K; Girdwood, AK
08/17 Bear Creek 5K, 10K, 13.1M; Martinez, CA
08/17 Hamster Endurance Runs 12H, 24H; Bellingham, WA
08/17 Ponderosa Hustle 5K, 10K; Flagstaff, AZ
08/17 Waldo 100K 100K; Oakridge, OR
08/17 Zoom Castle Rock 5K, 10K, 13.1M; Walnut Creek, CA
08/18 Cinderella Trail Run #2 10K, 13.1M, 30K, 26.2M, 50K; Oakland, CA
08/18 Run On The Sly 12K, 13.1M, 20M, 50K; Pollock Pines, CA
08/22 Into The Wild Rockin Summer Run #3 5M; Orange, CA
08/24 Bill Flodberg Mount Madonna Challenge 6K, 12K, 18K, 30K; Gilroy, CA; www.svrchome.org/mtmadonnachallenge.htm

08/24 Bulldog Ultra Trail Runs 25K, 50K; Calabasas, CA
08/24 Cutthroat Classic 11.1M; Winthrop, WA
08/24 Dwight Dash 5K, 10K; Spokane, WA
08/24 Headwaters Ultra 10K, 50K; Mt Shasta, CA
08/24 Lagoon Valley Trail Run 2.0 5K, 10K; Vacaville, CA
08/24 Redmond Watershed Preserve Trail Run - August 5M, 10M, 13.1M, 26.2M; Redmond, WA
08/25 Crazy Eights 8K; Stockton, CA
08/25 Dirt Inspires Trail Run 4M, 8M, 13.1M; Santa Cruz, CA; www.ditrailruns.com

08/28 Burning Man Ultramarathon 50K; Black Rock City, NV
08/31 Balboa 4 Miler 4M; San Diego, CA
08/31 Skirt 'n' Dirt Trail Run 10K, 25K, 50K; Oakland, CA
08/31 Skirt Chaser 25K; Oakland, CA
09/02 Zoom Vasona Lake 5M, 13.1M; Los Gatos, CA

08/03 Glacier Fest Hill Climb 5K St Mary’s, CO
08/03 HURL Elkhorn Endurance Runs 13.1M, 50K, 50M; Montana City, MT; www.vigilanterunning.org

08/03 Jupiter Peak Steeplechase 16M; Park City, UT
08/03 Mt Werner Classic 50K; Steamboat Springs, CO; www.runningseries.com
08/03 Taos Ski Valley 10K Up And Over Trail Run 10K; Taos Ski Valley, NM; www.taosskivalley.com
08/03 Top Ten Mile 10M; Colorado Springs, CO; www.csgrandprix.com

08/03 Wild Idaho 50 Mile/KM Endurance Runs 50K, 50M; Crouch, ID
08/04 La Luz Trail Run 9M; Albuquerque, NM
08/04 La Sportiva Vail Berry Picker Trail Runs 3.2M; Vail, CO
08/04 Power of Four Trail 50K 50K; Aspen, CO
08/10 Beaver Creek Half Marathon 10K, 13.1M; Avon, CO
08/10 Bridger Ridge Run 20M; Bozeman, MT
08/10 El Vaquero Loco 25K, 50K; Afton, WY
08/10 Hunky Dory Half Marathon 13.1M; Breckenridge, CO
08/10 Kat'cina Mosa 100K Mountain Callenge Run 100K; Springville, UT
08/10 Kennebec Mountain Challenge 14M; Durango, CO
08/10 Park City Mini Trail Series 15K 15K; Park City, UT
08/11 Goat Pursiut 6.6M; Helena, MT
08/11 Leadville Trail 10K 10K; Leadville, CO
08/13 TransRockies 3-Day or 6-Day Run 58M, 120M; Buena Vista, CO
08/14 Summit Trail Running Series - #5 5K, 10K; Breckenridge, CO
08/17 Don't be a Turkey FUNdraiser Rogaine 3H, 6H; Pagosa Springs, CO
08/17 Leadville Trail 100 Run 100M; Leadville, CO
08/17 Pikes Peak Ascent 13.32M; Manitou Springs, CO
08/17 Shop To The Top Run 5M, 6M; Ketchum, ID
08/17 Skyline Mountain Marathon 14.1M, 26.2M; Liberty, UT
08/18 Pikes Peak Marathon 26.21M; Manitou Springs, CO
08/23 Ghosts of Yellowstone 100M 100M; Pony, MT
08/23 SHATS Trail Series Race #3 3.2M; Helena, MT
08/24 Bergen Peak Trail Race 13.1M; Evergreen, CO
08/24 Continental Divide Trail Run 15M; Steamboat Springs, CO; www.runningseries.com

08/24 Fool's Gold 50M 50M; Pony, MT
08/24 Mountain Chili Cha Cha 5K, 10K, 13.1M; Pagosa Springs, CO; www.joingecko.org/events

08/24 Silverton Alpine Marathon & 50K 26.2M, 50K; Silverton, CO
08/25 La Sportiva Vail 10K at 10,000 Ft 5K, 10K; Vail, CO
08/25 Teton Pass Kicker 13.1M, 26.2M; Wilson, WY
08/31 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon 13.1M; Fort Collins, CO
08/31 Creede Mountain Run 2M, 12M, 22M; Creede, CO
08/31 Meeteetse Absaroka Challenge 5K, 10K, 15K; Meeteetse, WY; www.meetrec.org

09/01 10K @ 10,000 Feet 5K, 10K; Steamboat Springs, CO
09/01 Breck Crest 10K, 13.1M, 23M; Breckenridge, CO
09/01 Glenwood Springs Half Marathon 10K, 13.1M; Glenwood Springs, CO

08/02 Psych Night Trail Run 10K, 5K; Kansas City, KS
08/03 Eagle Creek Trail Marathon 6.55M, 13.1M, 26.2M; Indianapolis, IN; www.planetadventurerace.com

08/03 Planet Adventure Eagle Creek Trail Marathon 6.55M, 13.1M, 26.2M; Indianapolis, IN
08/03 The Legend 5M, 10M, 13.1M; Laingsburg, MI; www.runlegend.com

08/08 A Midsummer Nights Trail Run 5M; Cincinnati, OH
08/10 Howl at the Moon 8H; Danville, IL
08/10 Tahqua Trail Run 10K, 25K; Paradise, MI
08/10 Veggie Run 5K, 13.1M; Rush City, MN
08/10 Veggie Run 1M, 5K; Rush City, MN
08/10 Victoria Secret Dirty Half 13.1M; Rapid City, SD; www.bhrctrails.com

08/10 Zombie Dash- Kalamazoo 5K; Kalamazoo, MI
08/17 Angry Cow 10M Rock Creek State Rec Area, NE
08/17 Chippewa Creek Trail Challenge 10M; Brecksville, OH
08/17 Dirty FarmHand Mud Run #2 5K; Rush City, MN
08/17 The River Run 10M; West Lafayette, IN
08/18 Charleston Falls Preserve Run 5K; Tipp City, OH
08/18 Dirty FarmHand Mud Run #4 5K; Rush City, MN
08/18 Hell Creek on Heels 5K/10K 5K, 10K; Wilson State Park, KS
08/21 Miles For Missions 5K 5K, 10K; Maumee, OH
08/24 DINO Trail Run Series- SouthWestway 5K, 15K; Indianapolis, IN; www.DINOseries.com
08/24 Lean Horse Ultra 50K, 50M, 100M; Hot Springs, SD; www.Leanhorse100.com

08/24 St Paul Urban Trail Marathon 10K, 13.1M, 26.2M; St Paul, MN
08/31 Dirty #12 - Leave No Trace 13.1M; Peninsula, OH
08/31 Frontier Fanatic Gunn Park Trail Run 4.1M; Fort Scott, KS
08/31 Mud & Muck 5K Fun Run 5K, 1M; Lee’s Summit, MO
08/31 River Bottoms Run 5K, 10M; Mendota, MN
09/04 Autumn Trail Series #1 5.8K; Bloomington, MN

08/03 Blue Crab Bolt 10K Trail Running Series - #2 10K; Germantown, MD
08/03 MD HEAT Race 25K; Baltimore, MD; www.mdheatrace.com

08/03 Moosalamoo Trail Races 14M, 36M; Goshen, VT
08/04 Grings Mill Run 5K, 10K; Reading, PA
08/06 Summer Sunset 5k at Pine Hill Park 5K; Rutland, VT
08/08 Forge The Gorgeous 7M; Moravia, NY
08/11 Half-Wit Half Marathon 13.1M; Reading, PA
08/17 Blue Crab Bolt 10K Trail Running Series - #3 10K; Clarksburg, MD
08/17 Fab 5K 5K; Salem, VA
08/17 River Valley Run 10K Trail Run 10K; Manchester, MD; www.rivervalleyranch.com/rivervalleyrun
08/17 Run For Hunger Trail Challenge 2M, 8K, 13.1M; Freeport, PA; www.runrace.net

08/17 TARC Summer Classic 50K, 1250M; Medfield, MA
08/18 Catharine Valley Half 13.1M; Watkins Glen, NY
08/18 Hampshire 100 Ultra Trail Run 100K; Greenfield, NH
08/21 Fleet Feet Sports Dirt Cheap Trail Race Series #5 6M; Rochester, NY
08/24 Dam Scramble Trail Event 10M, 20M; Curnwensville, PA; www.clfdccd.com

08/24 Great Grape Race at Elk Run 5K; Mt Airy, MD
08/24 Mount Cuckoo 15K & 30K 15K, 30K; Adamstown, PA
08/24 Nescopeck State Park Trail Runs 5K, 10K; Drums, PA
08/24 She Rocks the Trails - Boston 25K, 50K; Milton, MA
08/25 Dam Good Trail Race 14M; Mt Morris, NY
08/25 The North Face Race To The Top of Vermont 4.3M; Stowe, VT
08/31 Iron Mountain Trail Run 16M, 30M, 50M; Damascus, VA
08/31 Jay Peak Trail Running Family Festival 5K, 25K, 50K; Jay, VT
09/01 Labor Pain Endurance Trail Run 12H; Reading, PA

08/01 Badlands 200 Ultra 182M; Medora, SC
08/03 Capt'n Karl's: Colorado Bend 10K, 30K, 60K; Lampasas, TX
08/03 Dirty Spokes - Red Top Roaster 9.9M, 3.1M; Cartersville, GA
08/03 Gulf Winds Summer Trail Series - Redbug Trail 4.5M; Tallahassee, FL
08/03 Hot to Trot 8 Hour Race 8H; Lithia Springs, GA
08/10 Annihilator 50K 50K; Connelly Springs, NC
08/10 Still Hollow Trail Runs 10K, 13.1M; Chattanooga, TN; www.rockcreek.com/greenway/

08/17 Bernheim Seven Miler 7M; Louisville, KY
08/17 Forge Trail Series - Furtive 5K, 10K, 13.1M; Lafayette, LA
08/17 Springmaid Summer Splash Trail Races 5K, 10K; Spruce Pine, NC
08/17 XTERRA Table Rock 15K 6K, 15K; Pickens, SC
08/18 XTERRA Puerto Rico Series Cerro Gordo 5K, 10K; Vega Alta, FL
08/24 Capt'n Karl's: Reveille Peak Ranch 10K, 30K, 60K; Burnett, TX
08/24 Homestead 10 x 5k 50K; Ridgeland, SC
08/31 Southcliff Black & Blue Classic 2.6M, 6.5M; Fairview, NC
08/31 XTERRA North Carolina Fisher Farm 5M, 10M; Davidson, NC

08/01 Elbrus Ultra Trail 105K; Azau, Russia
08/03 Classic Inca Trail To Machu Picchu #2 30K; Cusco, Peru
08/03 Elbrus Mountain Marathon 42K; Verkhnii Baksan, Russia
08/03 Elbrus Trail 30K; Verhnii Baksan, Russia
08/03 Inca Trail Marathon To Machu Picchu #2 26.2M; Cusco, Peru
08/04 Devilbend fun run 5K, 10K, 21.1K; Devilbend Reservoir, Australia
08/04 Yukon River Trail Marathon 13.1M, 26.2M, R; Whitehorse, YT
08/07 Mongolia Sunrise To Sunset 42K, 100K; Lake Hovsgol, Mongolia
08/09 Dirty Girls Run 12H, 24H, 48H; Mansfield, ON; www.dirtyrunnerproductions.com

08/09 Rompe Piernas Barrio Jesus 21K; Atenas, Costa Rica
08/09 Swiss Irontrail 46K, 80K, 136K, 201K; Pontresina, Switzerland
08/10 ArcÆteryx Squamish 50 23K, 50K, 50M; Squamish, BC; www.Squamish50.com

08/10 TrailCross Edmonton 2K; Edmonton, AB
08/10 Try A Trail 14K 14K; Winnipeg, MB
08/11 Gutbuster Mt Washington 9K; Courtenay, BC
08/15 Official 26.2 Mile Inca Trail Marathon 26.2M; Cusco, Peru
08/15 Trail de Porticcio 12K, 21K; Porticcio, France
08/16 Fat Dog 100 20M, 30M, 50M, 70M, 120M, 120R; Manning Park, BC; www.mountainmadness.ca

08/16 TransScania 246K, 60H; Lund, Sweden
08/16 XC Of The Valley 10K, 21K, 35K; St Raymond, QC
08/17 5 Peaks Trail Run - Camp Fortune 5K, 15K; Chelsea, ON
08/17 5 Peaks Trail Run - Delta Kananaskis 5K, 15K; Kananaskis Country, AB
08/17 Iron Legs 50 Mile 50M; Calgary, AB
08/17 Mountainman21.1K, 42.2K, 80K; Engelberg, Switzerland
08/24 5 Peaks Trail Run - Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area 5K, 15K; Parkland County, AB
08/24 5 Peaks Trail Run - Parc D'environnement Naturel De Sutton 5K, 15K; Sutton, QC
08/24 5 Peaks Trail Run - Whistler Blackcomb 5K, 15K; Vancouver, BC
08/24 Capilano Canyon Night Run 12K, 18K; North Vancouver, BC
08/25 Trail De Thabor 30K; Bardonecchia, Italy
08/26 The North Face« Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc La Petite Trotte α LΘon 300K; Chamonix-mont-blanc, France
08/29 The North Face« Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc« Sur Les Traces Des Ducs De Savoie 119K; Chamonix-mont-blanc, France
08/30 The North Face« Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc« CCC« 100K; Chamonix-mont-blanc, France
08/30 The North Face« Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc« UTMB« 168K; Chamonix-mont-blanc, France
08/31 Go Home Via The Hanes Valley 14K, 18K, 30K; North Vancouver, BC
08/31 Ring O Fire-Anglesey 131M; Holyhead, United Kingdom
09/01 La Chute du Diable 50K; St Mathieu du Parc, QC
09/01 Meet Your Maker 50M Whistler, BC

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