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The big news for Surf the Murph, now in its 11th year, was co-mingling with the Savage 100 this time around for a plethora of racing options. The Savage 100 had been held five years prior and was making another appearance for runners who wanted 100k or even better, 100 miles of autumn bliss at Murphy-Hanrehan Park in Savage, Minnesota.
The morning of August 3, 2019, I set off to encircle Mt. St. Helens – the mountain that provided me with the most important event of my life. Its cataclysm forged a bond between boy and father so deep that decades of estrangement, alcohol, shame, failure, fear and disease could not destroy it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We tested UltrAspire’s new Lumen 650 Oculus Headlamp along with an update to a popular favorite, the Lumen 600 Waist Light, which has been streamlined with an improved fit.
As race week approached, I evaluated my year-long goal of running TRT in less than 24 hours, flip-flopping on whether or not it should be my goal. I had earned a silver buckle the year before for finishing the course in under 30 hours and now, I wanted that sub-24 gold.
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.
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.
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.
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.