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Rough Trail 50K 2019: A View from the Water Cooler

With 6,500 feet of vertical gain and loss over 31 miles through the rugged and technical terrain of the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, it is understandable why race director Michael Whisman of Next Opportunity Events (NOE) cautions against making the Rough Trail 50K your first ultra.

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Keep Your Head Up at the Stone Mill 50

Well-stocked and friendly aid stations, serene trails and a low price point make Stone Mill 50 a great event to race, run your first 50-miler, or simply take a scenic tour of the best trails and volunteers that Montgomery County, Maryland has to offer.

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A Peacock of a Tale

Many people know about the HURT 100 – the Peacock 55 is put on by the HURT 100 family (Ohana). I was not ready for 100 miles, but thought 55 was attainable. Little did I know that while some people are able to complete the HURT 100, some have not been able to finish the Peacock 55.

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The Inaugural IRONBULL Ultra Trail 50K

Forested rock scrambles, 7,000 feet of elevation gain, and guided bushwhacks aren’t what you might expect for a 50k in Central Wisconsin, but that’s exactly what runners were challenged with in the inaugural IRONBULL Ultra Trail event, which has a unique mix of trail and urban running, finishing in the heart of downtown Wausau.

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The Inaugural Tor des Glaciers

For the 10th anniversary of Tor des Géants, the Italian race organization created an even longer event, the inaugural Tor des Glaciers. By the numbers, it was 450k completed in a single push with approximately 105,000 feet of climbing—around 120k longer with 30,000 more feet of climb and descent than the traditional Tor des Géants.

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The Warriors UltraRun

Held in the middle of the night, this neon-drenched, 28-mile ultra took runners from the Bronx to Coney Island – through two subway stations – recreating the escape route featured in the iconic 1979 cult film, Walter Hill’s “The Warriors.”

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Hungerford Trail Race 50

The diverse terrain and trails at Hungerford – weaving through the Huron-Manistee National Forest and West Michigan countryside – continue to provide a beautiful backdrop for runners who come to achieve their goals.

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10th Anniversary of the Burning Man 50K

Burning Man is about creating a community that’s about sharing. It’s about an experiment in being who you are, who you really want to be, who you can be, in an environment of complete freedom. It’s a place of participation and a place of no spectators. So of course, I had to create an ultramarathon.

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Digging Deep at Leadville

The crux of the race, aside from the sustained altitude, is going over Hope Pass at 12,600 feet, twice — once at mile 43.5, and again at mile 56.5. Several finishers that I had spoken with imparted the wisdom that if I could make it over Hope Pass the second time, I’d finish.

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The Inaugural Tuscazoar 100/50

It turns out this course has one of the steepest climbs in Ohio. Great. It also turns out that 95% of the 5,500 feet of elevation gain comes in the last 1/3 of each 25-mile loop. Fantastic. You see, I’m a flat and fast runner.

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First Look: Topo Athletic Phantom Running Shoe

Last year, Topo Athletic filled out the max-cushioned end of their trail shoe lineup with the Ultraventure. This fall, they fill the same slot in their road lineup with the Phantom, a new maximum-cushion shoe that has the same stack heights and geometry as the Ultraventure, with a lighter and more breathable upper that is well-suited for road running.

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Putting it Together at Afton

Set against the twin backdrops of the Saint Croix River and Afton State Park, the 25K course (repeated for the 50K) winds through a virtual guidebook of picturesque Minnesota trail running, from twisty single track to long, rock-covered climbs to wide prairies.

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My Friend, El Campeón Ruperto Romero

Ruperto Romero had won the AC100 again, this time at 55 years old, long past the age ultrarunners are expected to remain competitive. As I looked at Ruperto, wrapped in the Mexican flag and swarmed by cameras and adoring fans, I smiled to myself. After everything I’d seen him accomplish outside the spotlight, he was finally receiving the recognition he deserved.

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Cruel Conditions at Catoctin 50K

Carnage. That is the only word to describe the effects of the heatwave which enveloped the east coast. Dreams were destroyed. Months of training, unless they included sauna work, were essentially for naught. Hell, organizers cancelled the New York City Triathlon due to extreme heat advisories that same weekend.

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Dawn to Dusk to Dawn Track Ultras: Big Miles at D3

Several of the fifty 24-Hour runners hoped to put up a performance worthy of garnering a spot on a National 24-Hour team. Competition for a spot on the US Men’s 24-Hour team was intense, as a handful of runners vied for the honor of representing their country in Albi, France this coming October.

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PCT 50: The Horsemen of the Apocalypse

After picking up our fabulous medals at the raucous finish line, we were treated to a great spread of beer, pizza, rice, beans, pork and assorted goodies. The course was difficult but accessible and the volunteers were plentiful and enthusiastic, which adds up to one hell of a great event.

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Keeping Pace with the World

Community, sharing, giving back, paying forward, welcoming, acceptance – all the traits that make our sport more about being an ultrarunner rather than doing ultrarunning are embodied in the selfless act of pacing.

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The Inaugural Big Chief 50K

The views from nearly every trail in the Lake Tahoe region are nothing short of breathtaking. This marked the inaugural year of the Big Chief 50K where for the first time, runners would be able to link a number of trails on one single 50k loop while experiencing every type of terrain with unparalleled views of Lake Tahoe along the way.

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Double Chubb 50K: Quadruple Bypass

We had a very snowy, wet winter in St. Louis. Couple that with epic amounts of snow up north, and you end up with the perfect storm. So, for the first time in six years (and the first time since I’ve been RD), we had to invoke the beloved “Quadruple Bypass” route.

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Manitou’s Revenge

Manitou’s Revenge is run through some sections of the Catskills designated as wilderness areas. By the time runners reach their drop bags, they’ve already run a 50k. What follows is an unholy mess – the Devil’s Path – featuring steep and technical climbs and descents over four of its peaks, some of them more than a bit sketchy.

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Umstead 100: Racing to Remission

“Sorry for the long wait, but I can now offer you an entry spot into our race.” These magical words confirmed I had secured a “competitive entrant” slot, just eight weeks prior to the 25th edition of the Umstead 100.

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