Labor Day weekend signifies the proverbial end of summer, but that doesn’t mean the number of races on our North American UltraRunning Calendar is diminishing. We have an exciting mountain ultra in Montana, an age-handicapped race in Tennessee, a last person standing event in Maine and much more.
In Big Sky, Montana, on Sunday, September 4, is the extremely steep and technical Rut Mountain Runs 50k. Runners will find themselves racing over all types of terrain including fire roads, single track, exposed alpine ridge lines and the summit of the 11,167-foot Lone Peak. This single loop 50k is a true mountain course, collecting 10,500 feet of elevation gain and, in typical fashion, is sold out for 2022.
Handicapped races in ultrarunning are rare at best, so it’s exciting to include A Race for the Ages (ARFTA) in Manchester, Tennessee, beginning on Thursday, September 1. Race director and UltraRunning columnist Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell delivers this unique age-handicapped race where all runners age 41 and over will be allotted the number of hours equal to their age in which to accumulate as many miles as possible. All participants 40 years and younger will compete over the final 40 hours of the race. The winner will be the runner with the most miles accumulated by the finish. Read: An Ode to ARFTA by Cantrell from the November 2019 issue.
On Saturday, make your way to the Massanutten Mountains in Virginia for The Ring, a clockwise tour of the 71-mile Massanutten Trail surrounding Fort Valley in the 1.8 million acre George Washington National Forest. The “trail” is the epitome of hard, relentlessly rocky and beyond slow: the winning time is often closer to 20 hours than 15. Portions of the trail have been around for centuries, but the entire trail was not completed until 2002, the first year of the race.
Heading north to Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine, is a Last Man Standing UltraMarathon on Saturday, September 3. The course is a 4.2-mile loop with doubletrack trail and some moderate elevation gain. Racing starts at noon and runners must finish their first loop in less than one hour. Those that complete the course in under an hour will earn the right to continue onto the next loop. Each of the loops begin in one-hour increments. The race continues in this format until there is only one athlete remaining.
Our UltraRunning Calendar has quite a few more races to choose from this holiday weekend including the Iron Mountain 30/40/50-milers in Damascus, Virginia, the Hotfoot Hampster 6/12/24-hour in Buckeye, Arizona, the Weymouth Woods 50k in Southern Pines, North Carolina, the Global Organization of Multi-Day Ultramarathoners (GOMU) 48-Hour World Championships all on Saturday and the Bizz Johnson 50k in Susanville, California, on Sunday.
What’s Up in Ultra for you this weekend and what are you looking forward to later in September? If you’re in need of a race and this collection doesn’t strike your fancy, be sure to check out the other races on our calendar where there’s something for everyone, no matter where you live in North America.