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Runners Look to Tackle Mount Diablo Next Month

Three miles up Mount Diablo? How about 30? Runners to test their endurance in the Diablo Trails Challenge next month.

You think running 30 miles is tough?

Try running 30 miles up and down the trails that criss-cross Mount Diablo.

That's what dozens of runners will do next month when they compete in the Diablo Trails Challenge on April 21.

On that Saturday morning, runners will compete in 5-kilometer (3.1 miles), 10-kilometer (6.2 miles), half marathon (13.1 miles) and 50-kilometer (31 miles) races along the trails of Mount Diablo.

The event raises money for Save Mount Diablo's land preservation and restoration projects on the mountain.

The half-marathon, 5k and 10k races start and end at Castle Rock Park in Walnut Creek.

The 50k run starts at Round Valley Regional Preserve and ends at Castle Rock Park. It travels up and down the lower half of the mountain through Morgan Territory Preserve, Mount Diablo State Park and Shell Ridge Open Space.

One of the persons competing in the 31-mile challenge will be David Husted, an Alamo native who now lives with his wife and two elementary school age children in Danville near the entrance to the mountain.

Husted, 42, played football at before graduating in 1987.

He got interested in trail running in 1999 when he owned Outside Interests, an outdoors supply store. He used to lead hikes on the mountain trails and fell in love with the area.

"The mountain is magical," said Husted. "There is a great sense of adventure here."

Husted has seen coyotes, boars, deer and bobcats on the mountain. He has seen the cougar tracks but has never seen one of those animals.

Over the past decade, Husted has run more and more on the mountain. He graduated to ultramarathons, having run 100-kilometer (62 miles) races as well as the famous 100-mile race in Leadville, Colorado. That one took him more than 28 hours to complete.

"These races are about the challenge," said Husted. "They're a big part of me."

Husted trains three to five days a week, running seven to eight miles on the mountain on each jaunt.

He is co-owner of a business brokerage firm in San Ramon. The other owners are also athletes, so they set their schedules to accommodate each other's workouts.

Husted's wife, Allyson, also exercises, so they schedule their workouts around their child-care duties.

"It's a nice balance of life," said Husted.

Husted is also a board member on Save Mount Diablo, so he doesn't hesitate to extol the virtues of the mountain.

He said one of the reasons for the Trails Challenge is to show off the mountain to people who may not know much about it.

"It's an incredible place," Husted said. "You get up here and there's nothing to hear but the birds and the trees. People don't know how great it is until they get up here."

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