Browsing: Race Reports
The pace was hot from the beginning! With Zach Miller leading the way in his usual fashion we blew through the first mile at 5:56 a.m. and didn’t slow from there. Either I thought this pace was sustainable and forgot it was a 50-mile race, or I just felt like running fast and didn’t care what would happen.
It’s 4:00 a.m. The coffee is hot. The boys are ready to rock. For some of us, The North Face Endurance Challenge California 50 mile marks their first exploration into the ultramarathon world. For others, this is an opportunity for progression at the 50-mile distance.
In a typical year, the Hungerford Trail Races offer uniquely challenging terrain. You won’t find ten thousand feet of climb. You won’t find rocks, or roots – at least not too many. What you will find is long stretches of punishing sand, especially along the iconic Powerlines.
Plain is an unmarked, no aid-station race that provides runners the additional challenge of having to be totally self-sufficient. The event is held on established, well-marked trails in the Okanagan National Forest so route finding isn’t really an issue, it’s just reading the map and following directions.
This October, this area of Montana broke most known records for monthly precipitation. For the runners of this year’s Le Grizz 50 Mile Ultramarathon, it felt like a good majority of that water fell on race day.
As the sun rose over the Moab Desert, Dead Horse Ultra runners were already well into their race. Mother Nature had left a light dusting of snow atop the mountains in the days leading up to the race; the stark contrast to the red rock formations of the desert was a special treat.
My dropping from Brazos Bend 100 resulted in a silver lining I could never have imagined: on November 30 I was asked to crew Caroline Boller during her 50 Mile American record attempt.
The wooded hills of Connecticut offer many miles of gorgeous trail systems – some easy, some tough single-track with plenty of rocks, roots and climbs.
As the dust begins to settle from the the massive earthquake that struck near my New Zealand home and the tragic loss of a running friend in a motor vehicle accident, I have the space to pause and reflect on a bright spot of the last week: the 71km Queen Charlotte Ultramarathon.
The inaugural Silverton Double Dirty 30 on September 24 in the San Juan Mountains challenged runners with over 11,000 feet of climbing, but the reward was always grand – high alpine trails, golden foliage and over 50 miles of single-track trails were just a few of the highlights that made this race special.
A self-supported stage race is like a long, epic movie without interruption. Miles on the desert trail move you dramatically out of the ordinary, and the simple camaraderie of the shared campsite at night doesn’t yank you back. The next day on the trail, you just go deeper and farther in. It’s an experience few people have, or even want, but to those with a wildness in their souls, it’s a grace.
At the Run Woodstock festival, you can get mellow, chill out, get your flower power on and thrill to Lemon James, “the female Jimi Hendrix,” doing a credible rendition of Hendrix’s national anthem from Woodstock. But you can also run a legit 100 miles or opt for a 100k, 50-mile, 50k, marathon, half-marathon or three versions of a 5k, including one option where you run part of the course au naturel.
The Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line unfolds like a good story. Like any addictive page-turner, the event establishes its characters, puts them through hell but ultimately leaves each participant with a newfound sense of introspection and grasp on what they can truly accomplish.
The rain had finally cleared for the start of the 5th Annual Mark Twain Endurance Runs. The 28 athletes attempting the 100-mile trek, and the 44 gearing up for the 50-mile run, knew, as race director Gary Fuerst cautioned at the pre-race briefing on Friday night, that “taking care of your feet” would be paramount for a safe and successful run.
A week of heavy rain leading up to the Hawk Hundred had left the carefully groomed single-track trails muddy and unsuitable for foot traffic. Less than 24 hours before the race start, the trail steward made the call to switch the 25-mile single-track course to a mostly paved 25-mile loop.
I had just made the first hard cutoff at Fat Dog 120 with barely 30 minutes to spare. I had been extremely conservative all day…sticking to the Day 1 plan. If I were going to make it on Day 2, Day 1 would have to be flawless. It was anything but flawless. In a perfect world I would have a cushion of at least five hours at the finish. Thus began the mad chase to dodge the cutoffs for next 83 miles, on razor thin margins.
Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd started with a hectic week – teaching, meetings, then a rush to the airport, delayed flights, and landing in Tulsa, Oklahoma at 1:00 a.m. on Friday, checking into an airport hotel, desperate for a few hours of rest before the endeavor ahead. The story is not new; rather, it’s a depiction of the typical pre-race scenario of the last few years of my life.