We’ve just about made it to the first official day of spring: Sunday, March 20 at 11:33 a.m. EDT for us Northern Hemisphere ultrarunning folk. What better way to celebrate than with a collection of historic races in different places on our UltraRunning Calendar this weekend?
Near and dear to my heart, in my former hometown of Santa Barbara, California, and a race I’ve finished twice, is the 21st edition of the Nine Trails 35 Mile Endurance Run. Veterans will tell you this runs more like a hard 50-miler due to the rugged and steep terrain collecting over 10,000 feet of ascent/descent while hitting nearly every trail in the Los Padres National Forest front country; a true trail tour of the American Riviera. The race starts on Saturday, March 19, at 6 a.m.
Up the coast in Bellingham, Washington, is likely the most competitive race on our calendar this weekend, the 28th edition of the Chuckanut 50k. Featuring a lollipop-shaped course, 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 surrounded by beautiful PNW terrain.
The women’s side is absolutely stacked with the 2017 champion Ladia Albertson-Junkans of Snoqualmie, Washington, 2021 Coyote Wall Trail Races 55k overall winner Rachel Drake of Portland, Oregon, third place finisher at last month’s Moab Red Hot 55k Erin Clark of Missoula, Montana, last month’s Black Canyon 100k champion Clare Gallagher of Boulder, Colorado, fourth place finisher at the 2021 JFK 50 Kimber Mattox of Bend, Oregon, and the 2022 Bandera 100k runner-up Ellie Pell (this month’s cover shot) of Brockport, New York, to name just a handful.
On the men’s side, the list includes 2021 #2 UltraRunner of the Year Tyler Green of Portland, Oregon, our 2021 #6 UltraRunner of the Year Anthony Costales of Salt Lake City, Utah, the 2021 #8 UltraRunner of the year Adam Peterman of Missoula, Montana, most recently 11th at the Black Canyon 100k Preston Cates of Boulder, Colorado, the 2021 Hardrock 100 third-place finisher Ryan Smith also of Boulder, Colorado, and the 2021 Run Rabbit Run 100 champion Dave Stevens of Nelson, British Columbia, to list only a few of the main contenders.
Entering its 31st year of racing, the infamous, three-day stage race covering nearly 100 miles in the Ozark Mountains outside Blanchard Springs, Arkansas, is 3 Days of Syllamo. Beginning Friday, March 18 at 9 a.m. with a 50k, Syllamo is also known for changing the course every single year. Our 2021 #10 UltraRunner of the Year Jeff Browning of Flagstaff, Arizona, is registered for the event—giddy up!
The other race pushing over 20 years old this weekend is the 32nd Annual HAT Trail Run 50k in Havre de Grace, Maryland, an East Coast classic based at Susquehanna State Park. The course is a multiple loop, mostly single-track trail with a mix of open fields, dirt road and some paved road, boasting a beastly 5,000 feet of climbing.
Let us know What’s up in Ultra to kick off spring for you by leaving a comment below and happy trails.