By Jeremy Day
North Texans looking for a 100 mile adventure used to have to go north to Tahlequah, Oklahoma for the Pumpkin Holler, south to Bandera, Huntsville, or Needville, Texas, for the Cactus Rose 100, Rocky Raccoon 100, or Brazos Bend 100 respectively, or east to Williams Junction, Arkansas for the Arkansas Traveller. Fortunately the days of traveling for a 100 miler are coming to an end in November 2014 with the inaugural running of the Big Cedar Endurance Run. With 50k, 50 mile, and 100 mile options, there are enough rugged trails to satisfy any ultrarunning appetite.
Located at the highest point in Dallas, Prayer Mountain, the Big Cedar Wilderness offers runners a 100% single track running experience. 100 milers will run four 25 mile loops, 50 milers run two loops, and 50k runners run one 25 mile loop and a shorter 6 mile loop. Some rocky and rooty sections add variety to the mostly smooth, largely wooded course, and the rolling hills add up to more elevation gain than any race in Texas.
Runners can expect to be pampered at Big Cedar. Aid stations are between 2.5 and 7 miles apart and will be staffed with a bevy of 100 mile veterans. Hot food will be offered through the night and aid station volunteers will shower weary runners with classic Texas hospitality. Qualified medical personnel will be on hand for any serious problems, while experienced ultrarunners will be prepared for anything else, including fixing blistered feet, helping runners get hydrated, and helping them keep food down when nausea threatens. In addition to expert care at the frequent aid stations, expect the swag to be top notch. The Active Joe, the company putting on Big Cedar Endurance Run, is known for high quality race shirts and medals, and expect them to pull out all the stops for Dallas’s first 100 mile race.
Community is an important aspect of the Big Cedar Endurance Run. The good hosts at Mountain Creek Church, the owners of the Big Cedar Wilderness Trail, will be offering concessions on Saturday for runners, crew, volunteers, or spectators. The races are all timed around the 9:00 AM Friday start of the 100 miler so all cutoffs are 5:30 PM on Saturday. This ensures even the slowest 100 mile finishers will have cheerleaders waiting at the finish line, and 50 mile and 50k runners coming in to the finish at the same time will give the finish line a distinctly party-like atmosphere.
Travel to the Big Cedar Endurance Run will be extremely easy. Located in south Dallas, runners from out of town can fly into either Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport or Dallas Love Field, and from either airport the race is a (relatively) short drive. A car will be required, though, because the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is a pretty big place. Fortunately, being in Dallas means there are hundreds of hotels for runners to choose from.
Runners are encouraged to stick around town for a few days after the race to take in the many sights and sounds of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Visit the grassy knoll or book depository in Dallas. Get a taste of the Wild West at the Fort Worth Stockyards. If you enjoy art, Fort Worth is home to the world-famous Kimbell Art Museum and Dallas has the popular Dallas Museum of Art. Swing by nearby Arlington to see the enormous stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play. If football isn’t your game, walk a couple of blocks down the street to see Texas Stadium where the Texas Rangers play baseball.
On the whole, if you’re looking for a challenging, fun race staffed by experienced volunteers who want nothing more than to see you finish and will cheer you on the entire way, look no further than Big Cedar Endurance Run.
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