Even with storms continuing to hammer the West Coast this week, we’ve nearly made it to the first day of spring. This weekend includes the last official races of winter and what better way to celebrate than with a collection of historic events in various locations on our UltraRunning Calendar? From the Pacific Northwest to Texas, Arkansas, and beyond, we’ve got you covered in What’s up in Ultra.
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Bellingham, Washington, is hosting the most competitive race on our North American calendar this weekend, with the 29th edition of the Chuckanut 50k on Saturday, March 18. Featuring a lollipop-shaped course of sorts, the first and last 10k repeat on the interurban trail with smooth, relatively flat running. The middle 30k is what this race is known for, featuring a 5,000-foot traverse and descent of the Chuckanut Mountain ridge on technical terrain surrounded by beautiful PNW forest.
The women’s competition is loaded with the #6 2022 UltraRunner of the Year Devon Yanko from Howard, Colorado, expected to lead the charge. She won the 2022 Javelina Jundred in October. The #8 2022 UltraRunner of the Year and UltraRunning Magazine columnist Clare Gallagher of Boulder, Colorado, should also be up front. Last year, Gallagher kicked off her season by winning the 2022 Black Canyon 100k. Taylor Nowlin out of Spokane, Washington, was ninth at CCC in France last August and like Yanko, is gearing up for Western States in June. Kathryn Drew from North Vancouver, British Columbia, was sixth at the 2022 Javelina Jundred and has run Chuckanut six times, winning the race in 2019. Bellingham local Katelyn Steen finished eighth last year and hopes to find her way onto the podium. Portland’s Michelle Buncke who won the Run the Rock 50-miler last November is also slated to start.
Last year, Adam Peterman established a new course record at Chuckanut, and it will be hard to beat. Five men entered in the 2023 race may be up to the task, though. Former UR Podcast guest Adam Merry of Golden, Colorado, set a new CR at the Mckenzie River Trail Run 50k last summer, Eric LiPuma from Richmond, Vermont, finished seventh at the 2022 Trail World Championships 80k in Thailand in November, Kris Brown from Missoula, Montana, won last year’s Santa Barbara Nine Trails, Seth Ruhling out of Longmont, Colorado, most recently won the very competitive Quad Rock 25-miler last May, and Mario Mendoza Jr. of Bend, Oregon, second at the Canyons 50k in 2022. Live race day tracking here.
The Grasslands Trail Run 50-miler in Decatur, Texas, is on Saturday and will be celebrating its 25th year. The race is held in the Lyndon B. Johnson National Grasslands area which encompasses more than 20,000 acres just north of Fort Worth. The trails loop among rolling hills and through a mixture of pine and oak grove forests. There are just 14 spots left in the race.
Outside Blanchard Springs, Arkansas, is 3 Days of Syllamo. Entering its 19th year, this three-day stage race covers nearly 100 miles in the Ozark Mountains. Beginning on Friday, March 17 at 9 a.m. with a 50k, Syllamo is also known for changing the course every single year. Day two is a 50-mile race and day three is a the 20-mile race. Race registration is full.
More races going down on Saturday include the Badwater Cape Fear 50k/51.4-miler in Bald Head Island, North Carolina, Terrapin Mountain 50k in Big Island, Virginia, and The Pistol Ultra Run 50k/50-mile/100k/100-mile in Alcoa, Tennessee. Beginning on Thursday, check out the Pulse Endurance Runs 6/12/24/48/100-mile races in Eagle, Idaho, and on Friday, make your way to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for the Howard Aslinger Memorial Endurance Run 12/24-hour races.
Let us know What’s up in Ultra for you to close out winter by leaving a comment below and come back on Sunday for the Ultra Weekend Recap.