I am saddened and a bit stunned to hear of the loss of a trail runner during Sunday's PCTR Diablo Trail run.
The news said Rene Brunet, male age 63, went missing, and was later found, dead, down an embankment near the 2000ft mark. He had been running back down to Mitchell Canyon from the summit. Hits a bit close to home. If that is correct, he would have been just below Deer Flat - I took this picture last Monday -
The weather on Sunday was in the mid 80's on the Mt. 80's on the MT can easily feel like mid 90's. There is not much shade on the descent. There's a few trees here and there, but you'd be mostly exposed. PCTR's Diablo course is about the hardest there is on the mt. You go up Back Creek Trail, then connect in at Deer Flat and head to the summit. Twice. Our friend "100 Mile Ryan" did the 50k and struggled with hydration. Talking with him on Saturday, he had said something like "it's only going to be in the 80's, I'm only carrying one water bottle, there's plenty of aid stations", he ended up dehydrated and resting at the summit. He's been logging some amazing training runs in prep for Leadville 50, both in miles and elevation, and has been running parts of the course on a regular basis. He's a solid runner. That said, you summit twice on PCTR's 50k course, and that'll take it's toll on even the best trail runner.
I'm assuming with Mr. Brunet's extensive experience as a trail runner, maybe there was a health issue of some sort?? Doesn't seem logical that he'd fall down an embankment and not be able to get back up unless there was another issue or if he was dehydrated and disoriented and became injured......It really doesn't matter. It's a tragic loss however it happened. Looking at his list of previous races, one thing is clear, he must have loved spending time out on the trails. He must have loved being outdoors, and surely appreciated nature. To get to where he went missing, he would have had already done (at least once, twice if he was on his second loop) an epic, beautiful climb up Back Creek Trail, and made it to the summit. The view on Sunday would have been amazing! It was sunny and clear up there. He would have enjoyed at least a few fun miles of the descent back down to Mitchell Canyon, where he knew either a)he had another aid station, or if his second lap...b)the finish line was waiting for him.
This is a great reminder to all of us to soak it all in. "Enjoy the journey". Appreciate that we can get out there, and we choose to do so. We choose to go out and have these great adventures, not knowing how each one will end, but enjoying every second.
Our thoughts go out to his family and the PCTR family.
Update - looking at Mr. Brunet's race results, he had finished previous 50k's on Diablo. The Mt was not new to him, and it looks like he had run this course before.
PCTR added an aid station to the course this year. It does not usually have aid at the summit, however they added an aid station at the top this year. Juniper is usually the highest aid station, since you then only have1.5 - 3 miles left to the top, depending on the route.
Also, there are not any pictures out yet in the news, but if you are wondering if you have shared the trail with Mr. Brunet or crossed paths with him at a run, you can see his San Fran Marathon pictures from 2012 here.
That link is hit and miss, but you can go here and just enter Mr. Brunet's last name.