This Week In Running (Week of 10/25 & 10/26)

Welcome back to another edition of This Week In Running, brought to you in part by iRunFar.com. Today’s installment of TWIR previews a few of the races on tap for the weekend of October 25 and 26, 2008. Let’s get right to it…….

4 Deserts Sahara RaceWe begin with our featured race, the 4 Deserts Sahara Race, which will take place in Egypt on October 26. The Sahara Race is part of the 4 Deserts race series (which also includes the Atacama Crossing in Chile, Gobi March in China, and the Last Desert in Antarctica), which divides the desert crossings into four categories: subtropical, cool coastal, cold winter and polar. Each of the 4 Deserts races is located in the largest desert of each category which also represents the driest, hottest, coldest and windiest places on Earth.

The Sahara Race is a seven-day, six-stage (with stages ranging from 10-50 miles), 155-mile footrace across the Sahara Desert of Egypt. Each runner must carry his or her own gear, food and clothing in a backpack. The only assistance provided is water (plenty), tents and medical assistance.

Cairo, the host city of the Sahara Race, is located on the banks and islands of the Nile River in the north of Egypt, immediately south of the point where the river leaves its desert-bound valley and breaks into two branches into the low-lying Nile Delta region. The oldest part of the city is somewhat east of the river. There, the city gradually spreads west, engulfing the agricultural lands next to the Nile. These western areas, built on the model of Paris by Ismail the Magnificent in the mid-19th century, are marked by wide boulevards, public gardens, and open spaces. The older eastern section of the city is very different: having grown up haphazardly over the centuries it is filled with small lanes and crowded tenements. While western Cairo is dominated by the government buildings and modern architecture, the eastern half is filled with hundreds of ancient mosques that act as landmarks. Extensive water systems have also allowed the city to expand east into the desert. Bridges link the Nile islands of Gezira and Roda, where many government buildings are located and government officials live. Bridges also cross the Nile attaching the city to the suburbs of Giza and Imbabah (part of the Cairo conurbation). West of Giza, in the desert, is part of the ancient necropolis of Memphis on the Giza plateau, with its three large pyramids, including the Great Pyramid of Giza. Approximately 11 miles (18 km) to the south of modern Cairo is the site of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis and adjoining necropolis of Saqqara. These cities were Cairo’s ancient predecessors, when Cairo was still in this approximate geographical location.

Men’s Journal dubbed this race as one of the 3 “Great Races”, stating that “starting October 26, a seven-day, 155-mile race through hell begins with a single step into the world’s most punishing desert. About 150 runners, from 21 to 75 years old, are taking on the Sahara, where temperatures can rise to 120 during the day and fall to around 50 at night”.

There are several other ultra running events taking place this weekend, including the following :

PTCR San Fransisco One DayPCTR San Fransisco One Day (Sat., Oct. 25 in San Francisco, CA) – This “sold out” event features a 12 and 24 hour loop course option. Each lap is 1.067 miles around the lagoon at Crissy Field with spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, Alcatraz and the San Francisco Bay. The course is flat with 60% dirt and 40% asphalt path.

World of Hurt 34 Mile runWorld of Hurt 34 Mile (Sat., Oct. 25 in Boulder City, Nevada) – Is this a race a good race for your first ultra? Yes and no. Yes, if you have prepared yourself for tough challenges. Yes, if you are willing to do what it take to finish an ultra. No, if you are a whining cry baby! You must be well trained, ready for the trail and environment and willing to have fun doing it! Oh yeah, this is the desert. There may be snakes, coyotes, wolves, spiders, scorpions and all kinds of other dastardly things. Be prepared and remember, you have signed a waiver.

2008 Frankenstein Marathon and Spirit of the Osage 50K (Sun., Oct. 26 in Frankenstein, MO) – This ghoulish race is a hilly loop course. It goes through the towns of Frankenstein, Bonnots Mill and Linn. There is an out and back for the 50K.

Blue Springs 50 (Sun., Oct. 26 in Blue Springs, MO) – 50 mile, 50k, marathon, 1/2 marathon and relay options.

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

Saturday, October 25

Columbia River Power Marathon (Sat., Oct. 25 in Umatilla, OR)
Enviro-Sports Napa Valley Wine Country Trail Marathon (Sat., Oct. 25 in Calistoga, CA)
BMRC Ridge to Bridge Marathon (Sat., Oct. 25 in Morganton, NC)
Spinx Run Fest (Sat., Oct. 25 in Greenville, SC)

Sunday, October 26

Cape Cod Marathon (Sun., Oct. 26 in Falmouth, MA)
Marine Corps Marathon (Sun., Oct. 26 in Washington, DC)
Waco Professional Firefighters Association Miracle Match Marathon (Sun., Oct. 26 in Waco, TX)
Rio Grande Marathon (Sun., Oct. 26 in Las Cruces, NM)
Silicon Valley Marathon (Sun., Oct. 26 in San Jose, CA)

Check out each race’s website for more information.

That will wrap things up for this week. Be sure to stop by iRunFar.com next week for another edition of This Week In Running !

[Trail Goat’s Note: Best of luck to Tony Portera, the mastermind behind TWIR, at this weekend’s Marine Corps Marathon!]

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