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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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.
Runners love Pinhoti. It seemed like everybody I talked to at packet pickup was either returning to run this race in Alabama because they couldn’t get enough of it or they were out to avenge a DNF. Pinhoti is like a flame in the night – drawing in moths, but also, ready to burn them into oblivion.
The Aussie spirit looms large at the Blackall 100 and for an outsider, it was all very captivating and magical. Would I ever return? Heck yes! Would I do anything differently? Yeah, I’d bring a bigger backpack. A person could live like a King off that checkpoint food.
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.
IMTUF stands for Idaho Mountain Trail Ultra Festival. The “TUF” is synonymous for the race’s difficulty and challenging mountainous terrain, the runners who tackle the race, and more accurately, the volunteers, like Vicki Trees, who unselfishly dedicate their time and energy, regardless of conditions or circumstances, to help others achieve their goals.
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.
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.
Burning River has always been a race with a heart of irony. The race celebrates health, strength, vitality, natural beauty and of course, the Cuyahoga River. Yet 50 years ago, the actual events that led to the Cuyahoga earning the name “burning river” were tragic and ugly.
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.
The format at Forbidden Forest is not the usual 100-mile race with a 30-hour cutoff. It’s a no-one-DNFs 30-hour run with the win going to whomever runs the farthest, and special buckles for everyone that manages 45 laps of the 2.23 mile loop, or 100.35 miles. Consequently, the race was a mix of runners with widely varying goals and dreams.
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.
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.
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.