This Week In Running (Week of 9/27 + 9/28)

Welcome back to yet another edition of This Week In Running, brought to you in part by iRunFar.com, your source for mud, mountains, miles and so much more. Today’s installment of TWIR previews a few of the races on tap for the weekend of September 27 and 28, 2008. Before we head out on the trail to next weekend, let’s take a quick look at last weekend’s freshman running of the Iroquois Trail 100 Mile Race.

Iroquois Trails Ultras Adam BatlinerYes, Pop-Tarts were available at just about every aid station at the Iroquois Trails 100 this weekend in honor of the great Greg Loomis, but it wasn’t the Pop-Tarts that grabbed the spotlight. Instead, 30 year old Yassine Diboun and his entourage of supporters from Ithaca, New York stole the show. Running in his first 100-mile race, Diboun took the lead in the first 5.9 miles and never looked back, cruising to a 2-hour plus victory with a time of 21:35. iRunFar.com’s Bryon Powell kept things fairly tight for the first 50 miles, before injury forced him to withdraw from the race. Jason Rita (23:39) finished in second place. Kelly Wilson (24:38) crushed the women’s field, finishing over 3 hours ahead of second place Margie Hughes (27:44).

TWIR was at IT100 this weekend to witness the action first-hand and was impressed by this race. Sure, there are a few kinks that need to be worked out (as there would be with any first-run event), but overall IT100 is a well run, challenging, bone-jarring 100-miler.

Pros:

  • Excellent RD, willing to go the extra mile for all runners (including willing to pace runners if need be);
  • Fantastic volunteers;
  • Challenging course; and
  • Live updates.

Cons:

  • Not all aid stations were well stocked with a variety of items;
  • Course marking was reported to be good, but posed difficulty for night-time running; and
  • Live updates were spotty.

And now, let’s take a quick look at just a few of the races on tap for the weekend of September 27 + 28…..

The Bear 100 (Fri., Sept. 26-27 from Logan, Utah to Fish Haven, Idaho) – With 22,518 feet of climbing and an average elevation at 7,350 feet, The Bear 100 is a “run through Napoleon Dynamite Country.” 36 hour cut-off. Course record is 18:50:45 set by Karl Meltzer in 2007.

Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Endurance Run (Sat., Sept 27-28 in Granite Bay, California) – 9th Annual. Out and back for 67 miles (running East) along the American River Equstrian Trails, followed by an out and back for 33 miles (running West). Fifty three miles will be run on the Sierra Nevada Run course. Approximately 18,000 feet of elevation change. 98% of the course is on well groomed trails and dirt roads.

Great Eastern Endurance Run (Sat., Sept. 27 in Charlottesville, Virginia) – 100k, 50k and half marathon trail races. Check out some of the runner’s comments from past year’s races. The course will be run in the scenic George Washington National Forest “Blue Ridge Mountains” on predominately single track trails and forest roads. This is a challenging course with 15,062 feet of climb in the 100K and 8,808 feet of climb in the 50K. Course records in the 100k and 50k are held by some of the best ultra runners out there:

100K Male-Eric Grossman, VA 9:38:29 (06)
100K Female-Annette Bednosky, NC 9:52:38 (05)
50K Male-Eric Grossman, VA 4:45:08 (05)
50K Female-Anne Lundblad, NC 5:22:04 (05)

Vermont 50 Mile (Sun., Sept. 28 in Brownsville, Vermont) – The 19th annual Vermont 50 Mountain Bike or Ultra Run takes place on Sunday on beautiful, but challenging, Vermont back roads and trails. The mountain bikers love the technical single-track and challenging climbs. The runners love the back trails and open vistas. The course starts at Ascutney Mountain Resort in Brownsville, Vermont. For the first three miles racers will traverse a gentle downhill on gravel roads. After an easy road climb the course turns onto snowmobile – ATV trails, which it follows through gentle rolling terrain for the next 3 miles. Shortly after leaving the ATV trails, the real climbing and descending starts. The course will follow ATV and jeep trails, single track and roads through the top of the highest hill in Hartland, where racers will get an incredible view of Vermont and New Hampshire. From about mile 40 to mile 46.5, racers will have a nice snowmobile trail over rolling, mostly downhill terrain, before hooking onto the cross country ski trail system at Mt. Ascutney for the last 4 miles. 21.6 miles of the course are on dirt roads, while 28.4 miles are on single and double track trails.

Flat Rock 50k (Sat., Sept. 27 in Independence, Kansas) – “If You Look Up…You’re Goin’ Down!” Out and back course run on the Elk River Hiking Trail. While it is hard to imagine a trail run in Kansas being difficult, this race will definitely challenge your running ability and put your skills of mental concentration to the test. Only six runners since the inception of this event in 1995 have broken five hours on this course, which is only 1.7 percent of all 345 finishers since the first running in 1995. Extreme concentration is required when running Flat Rock, as you will take very few steps where there will not be some potential obstacle, mostly in the form of rocks. You will very quickly learn why the race motto here at “the Rock” is “If you look up…you are going down!” While the trail does not have any long hills, there is an estimated total elevation gain and loss of approximately 3,000 feet for the 50K. Most of these hills are very steep and rocky and are not runable, unless you can run trails like a mountain goat, due to the treacherous footing

Tahoe Midnight Express Ultra 72
(Sun., Sept. 28 in South Lake Tahoe, California) – This is ultra is different that you might expect in the Tahoe area. It’s a 72 mile road run around the lake. Even more odd is the fact that it’s a road ultra that’s unsupported for the first 46 miles – you can, however, have a crew to support you through those miles. Oh, and as the race name suggests, the ra
ce starts at 12:01 a.m. Best wishes to friend of iRunFar, Sean Meissner, at the Midnight Express Ultra.

The Midnight Express Ultra is part of a larger group of races. For instance, the organizers offer the Triple, three marathons on three consecutive days (Fri., Sat., Sun.) with the a prize for the overall winner, and the Super Triple in which a runner completes the marathons on Friday and Saturday and then the 72 mile ultra on Sunday. And noted below, saner folks can stick to a single marathon.

There are plenty of marathons to choose from this weekend, including the following :

Akron Marathon (Sat., Sept. 27 in Akron, Ohio)
Flagstaff Marathon (Sat., Sept. 27 in Flagstaff, Arizona)
Bellingham Bay Marathon (Sun., Sept. 28 in Bellingham, Washington)
Clarence Demar Marathon (Sun., Sept. 28 in Keene, New Hampshre)
Lake Tahoe Marathon (Sun., Sept. 28 in Lake Tahoe, California)
Omaha Marathon (Sun., Sept. 28 in Omaha, Nebraska)
Quad Cities Marathon (Sun., Sept. 28 in Moline, Illinois)

That will wrap things up for this week’s edition of TWIR. Make sure to tune in next Wednesday for yet another exciting edition!

There are 10 comments

  1. Bedrock

    I am running GEER this wekeend and will report back next week. I think the Bear course changed and now has a bit more elevation (@ 26K I think). Either way, it looks like a beast.

  2. Trail Goat

    Bedrock,Thanks for the update re The Bear. I look forward to hearing more about GEER – looks like a beast (more of a wolverine than a bear, though).

  3. Trail Goat

    I sure am glad I caught the Tahoe races! Best of luck out there, Peter. May the weather be as nice as it was up at the IT 100 last weekend!

  4. Trail Goat

    Hard to say whether GEER is tougher than the Bear or not. Both have about the same climb per mile of course. In some ways more climb makes a 100 easier …. means more walking and more downhill running. more climb in a shorter race just makes things more painful cause ya gotta push those climbs (be it running or walking), while you can/must set a more even pace on the climbs in a 100. Did I mention I like playing devil's advocate? ;-)

  5. Bedrock

    I'll go out on a limb and say that GEER is NOT as hard as Bear. Climb per mile may be similar, but Bear also has an average elevation of 7,350 with a max of just over 9,000. I agree with your point about pacing in the races (pushing climbs vs. more even pace).

  6. Trail Goat

    Bedrock,I'd forgotten about that whole 7,000' thing… though that's not a huge deal. The main thing that makes the Bear harder than GEER – those last 38 miles.

  7. Andy

    I finished GEER last year in just under 15 hours, and DNF'd the Bear this weekend. The Bear course was definitely tougher than GEER- astoundingly beautiful, however. The thinner air at 9000 feet did not go unnoticed by a flatlander from Virginia. There seemed to be less ridgetop running at Bear than at GEER- you went up, and then you went down- this meant that GEER was more runnable (for me) than the Bear, and that frustrated me- I like to run- I hate walking.In addition, the climbs, while not as steep as those at GEER, went on longer- again, I like running, not walking.My DNF was primarily result of my Iliotibial injury- it just hurt too much to move down the course. I could have hobbled onward to the 62 mile marker, but those last 38 would have been murder. All-in-all, though, it was a nice day in beautiful mountains (my first trip out west), and I highly recommend this low-key run.Andy A.C'Ville, VA

  8. Trail Goat

    Andy,Thanks for the comparison on GEER and the new Bear course. From what you said and what I've ready the Bear course is, indeed, brutal.

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