The penultimate racing weekend of 2021 is finally here, and even without any marquee events, it’s still a grand one. As winter storms start rolling in in earnest and temperatures start to dip sub-zero, we have two dozen races scattered across the country on our UltraRunning Calendar.
We want to kick off the weekend with some warmth, so we’re heading to the south Atlantic and the 37th Annual Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic (TUDC). Taking place at the Wakulla Springs State Park, a 6,000-acre wildlife sanctuary situated just 15 miles south of Florida’s capital, the TUDC offers both a 50k and 50-mile race on a USATF-certified, paved, 10k loop course. This event is ideal for sneaking in a last-minute PR, or if you’re just looking for some holiday sunshine.
In Albion, Indiana, The Huff 50k Trail Run & Relay is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The 10.8-mile multiple loop course can be split among three runners for a fun relay race or solo for three times the fun. Bring your cold weather gear as we’re not in Florida anymore; race day highs will hover around freezing.
The Seashore Nature Trail 50k race in Virginia Beach, Virginia, takes place in First Landing State Park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and runs along Cape Henry adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. The two-loop course is mostly flat and follows some rooted dirt trails, weaving through a variety of ecosystems, and features less than a half-mile of paved roads.
Making an interesting twist on the last person standing events, we have the Trail of Fears in Jackson, Tennessee. Like last person standing ultras, athletes have one hour to complete the 4.3-mile trail loop and if they don’t finish in time, they are eliminated. However, after 5-6 loops of the course, the required hour finish time will be reduced by one minute per subsequent loop. This slight format tweak should keep the event from rolling into the next day and make for some swift laps, even as the runners start to fatigue.
In Woodside, California, a stone’s throw south of San Francisco, is the 10th edition of the Woodside Ramble 50k. Run among groves of Redwoods inside Huddart and Wunderlich Parks, this race is a true forested paradise. The course is the hilliest of the week, coming in at just under 6,000 feet of elevation gain.
Other highlights this weekend include the Wood Splitter Winter Solstice 9-hour in Mount Vernon, Ohio, the Cave Creek Thriller 50k in Cave Creek, Arizona, the Bootlegger 50k in Boulder City, Nevada, the Paramount Ranch Trail Runs 50k in Calabasas, California, all on Saturday, December 18. The Naked Nick lollipop-style 50k in Leesport, Pennsylvania, is the only ultra we have on Sunday, December 19.
There are an abundance of other events happening this weekend – check out our UltraRunning Calendar to find one near you, but also, please let us know What’s Up in Ultra in your community this weekend that we should follow. Drop a note in the comments below, let us know what we missed, and what’s lighting your end-of-the-year ultra fire.