As we enter the last month of 2021, there is no shortage of options to close out your own UltraRunning Calendar for the year.
Taking the lead this week is the 2021 USATF 100-Mile Trail National Championships at the Brazos Bend 100 in Needles, Texas. The multiple-loop course features one ten-foot hill and other than that is 99.9% flat and 100% beautiful. It features a stout lineup of potential mammal, reptile, amphibian and bird sightings in the enormous 4,897-acre state park along the Brazos River.
Expected to battle up front in the women’s field are three-time National Champion Liza Howard, recent Paris Pair 100k overall champion Shanda Moore, sixth-place finisher at the High Lonesome 100 this summer, Megan Eckert, and Tatiana Rypinski, 2021 Rocky Raccoon 100 runner-up.
On the men’s side, the favorite has to be Mark Hammond, 2020 USATF 100-Mile Road National Champion, followed by 2021 Cruel Jewel 100 third-place finisher Jonathan Ibach, Mohican 100 third-place finisher Nicholas Mamrak and 2019 Tunnel Hill 100 runner-up Jim Sweeney.
In Fountain Hills, Arizona, the McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50k/50m features a few more hills than Brazos Bend. Running through the McDowell Mountain Regional Park and Sonoran Preserve, it has plenty of wildlife viewing options as well. This is a great time of the year to be running in the southwest.
The Capstone 50k is a 10km loop course through Moe’s Valley with panoramic views of the desert around St. George, Utah, and has a very pedestrian start time of 12 p.m. MST on Saturday, December 4.
If you’re looking for a cold-weather ultra, get yourself to the Arctic Frog 50k/50m in Mayville, Wisconsin, on Saturday. The forecast is calling for a high of 35 degrees and a chance of snow flurries.
At Howard Buford Park/Mt. Pisgah in Eugene, Oregon, is another chilly test with the Frozen Trail Run Fest 50k. Wet and muddy conditions can be expected with this hilly, three-loop course in the Pacific Northwest.
Our extensive calendar also features, but is not limited to, the Devil Dog Ultras in Triangle, Virginia, the Jackson County 50-50 in Brownstown, Indiana, and the Ray Miller 50/50 in Malibu, California, all on Saturday, December 4. On Sunday, December 5, is the Pine Mountain Trail Run 40-miler, which is celebrating more than 40 years and purportedly the oldest ultramarathon in the state of Georgia.
Not to be missed in the Sierra Foothills of California on Saturday is the Western States Endurance Run lottery, beginning at 8 a.m. PST at Placer High School. Follow our Instagram stories for on-the-ground live interview coverage of athletes and attendees. The Hardrock 100 lottery is also taking place on Saturday.
We know there’s a lot more happening this weekend, so keep us in the loop with What’s Up in Ultra in your local community by dropping a comment below.