FKT: Patrick Martin - South Bay Dumbarton Loop (CA) - 2019-02-27

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
6h 0m 19s

I had to stop my first Strava recording to load the map, thus why there are two. Even though there is an extra mile from my house to get to where the loop started, I just added the full 19:19 minutes to the total time. 

Trip report:

I only recently started following FKT’s. So when I saw there was one I wouldn’t even have to drive to start and had no previous male attempts, I was jazzed to give it a try. I’m running the Marin 50 Mile on March 9th and am afraid I’m not tapering enough for it—which is funny because all I used to do IS taper for weeks and months before a race—I thought about waiting till after that. But then again, someone might beat me to it and I’d likely have no chance of beating an established time so I thought GO GO! And go I did! 

I prepped the night before but waivered in the morning because it was raining. But then the rain let up and it was only 11 AM so I repeated GO GO! and went. 
I’m going to try and be positive after I get this out of the way; the route was not my favorite and I wouldn’t recommend it. I’m not trying to protect my FKT (I know most real runners could beat it on a training run) but it’s cool because you are going around the bay and that’s about it. There are so many amazing trails in every direction but the one you are on. Going through Freemont on Cherry St/Freemont is especially brutal. It did not help I was going into a headwind but the sidewalks go in and out of existence, forcing you to cross the street constantly or run in the bike lane with big trucks whizzing past. And at least for me, it’s hard to look past the ridiculous amount of trash on the Dumbarton Bridge. 

Ok, that is enough complaining. I was probably just tired/hungry at that point and others could have appreciated the beauty better than me. 
Onto the run. I only live a mile from the Bay Trail so I started the loop at the Oregon expressway ped. Overpass. The first couple miles go through East Palo Alto until you get to Dumbarton Bridge which offers great views of San Francisco and the whole surrounding area. I could barely see the other side of the bay, where I was supposed to run to, and that was cool. Countless birds were hanging in the wetlands. Some egrets and lots of Kuntz. 

There is a small hill as you come into Freemont and interesting reserves on both sides that I would like to come back and check out. Once in Freemont, I switched from podcasts to loud music to block the sound of the traffic and tried to appreciate some of the nice landscaping in peoples yards. 

After what seemed like a long time, I made it Coyote Creek Trail where I was happy to be back on a trail. I switched back to Podcasts and actually listened to the FKT podcast with Paddy O’Leary where he talked about bay area FKT’s and thought for a second you might mention the Dumbarton Bay Loop. But just the East Bay Skyline Trail, which I’m now excited to try and happily saw had no male attempts yet on the out and back so watch out!

I took a small detour from Marcy’s route because it seemed she went under hwy 237, which was completely flooded and there was a good bike path that went up to Zanker Road. I stopped in Target to refill water. I was getting very excited to get back on the Bay Trail as I had run up to here on previous training runs and knew I could make it back. 

I made it back to the bridge 6 hours and 19 seconds after starting and promptly collapsed. Maybe it’s a good sign that I can mentally hold it together because I felt pretty darn good even for the last couple of miles but once I hit my ‘finish’ I died and my legs started cramping and I got very hungry. I had 5 Gu’s and a bagel throughout, which seemed OK and I never got close to bonking but once I got to the bridge I instantly felt bonkers. So I sat at the bridge and chomped my bag of nuts very happily and tried to stretch. But I had a mile and a half to get back to my house and it was a long and painful walk back. I literally groaned out loud a lot and had to sit down 3 times on the sidewalk and was very close to calling an Uber despite being so close. The 1.5 mile walk back was the hardest part of the whole day. But it’s all worth it to be able to do cool things without having to drive. 


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Nice run, Patrick!  I agree, it would be great if the Bay Trail existed in Fremont to avoid the road run (more Bay Trail please!).  Also note that the San Francisquito Trail is finally open again so there's a better option through Palo Alto (and eventually they're planning another cutover trail to remove even more street running there).  See the current track for this FKT.  Re: going under 237, I stayed on the north side bike trail like you did, for sure the best way to go.

Thanks Marcy!  And thanks for putting up this route.  I should have waited another day or two to send in my trip report and it would not have been so complainee.  I have only fond memories of the run now and would recommend others to go give it a shot!  It's a great run for being in our backyard.  And now the wildflowers are blooming so it's extra beautiful.