This Week In Running (Week of 11/1 & 11/2)

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 November 1 and 2, 2008, including the Cactus Rose 100, the Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50 miler, and the inaugural New England Ultras.

Cactus Rose 100As always, we kick things off this week with our featured race, this time the Cactus Rose 100 Mile Trail Run, taking place on November 1st and 2nd at the Hill Country State Natural Area in Bandera, Texas. Whenever race director Joe Prusaitis puts on a trail race, you are sure to be in for a top notch experience. With CR100, Prusaitis has attempted to “create an event that requires the least amount of volunteers as possible… a sort of self-serve setup of aid stations and support systems.” Described as “a nasty, rugged trail run” with “no Whiners, Wimps, or Wusses” allowed, CR100 will even give “bonus points for blood, cuts, scrapes, & puke.” What does Prusaitis mean by a “self-serve setup?” Well, simple. Aid stations (there are 4 of them) consisting of a large tent enclosed via tarps will be set up prior to the race. Runners can place their own necessities at each aid station, all of which will be a short drive from the start location. The only items that will be paced at the aid stations by race officials will be water, a table, and a lantern. If you are worried about where the aid stations are, Prusaitis offers to escort runners to each aid station before the race. Time will be kept on the honor system. A pad and pen will be left at each aid station for runners to write down their name, bib number, and time.

For the course, it is a 25 mile round-a-bout loop. Every effort has been made to avoid what is flat and to find what is nasty. This course is basically the Bandera 50k route minus the flat sections. Here is a peak at the course elevation profile (clockwise direction).

Cactus Rose 100 elevation profile

TWIR spent some time chatting it up with Prusaitis on the course at this year’s Grand Tetons 100 Mile Race, and we are certain that you’d be hard pressed to find a more genuine and down-to-earth guy. Despite the fact that CR100 is a fully self-supported 100-miler, you are certain to get the same top-notch attention from Prusaitis that he has become well-know for at other events he directs, such as Bandera, Rocky Raccoon, and Rocky Hill Ranch.

Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50 milerThe Mountain Masochist 50 Mile Trail Run, event #5 in the so-called “Beast Series” kicks off on Saturday, November 1st in Lynchburg, Virginia. Started in 1983 the MMTR has earned its reputation for being one of the “best trail races in the east.” With a 12 hour time limit and 9,200 feet of elevation gain, the course is a challenging combination of roads, jeep trails, and single track that can cause even the most experienced runner to breathe a sigh of relief at the finish line in Montebello, Virginia. For more information on MMTR you can check out Trail Goat’s 2007 MMTR race report or Karl Meltzer’s odd’s for this year’s showdown.

The New England Ultras, featuring a 200 mile endurance run, a 100 mile “fun run” and a 50 mile run, will occupy the trails of Pittsfield, Vermont this weekend, and is TWIR’s second featured race of the week. The 50 mile (12 hour time limit) and 100 mile (36 hour time limit) events are run on a 12.5 mile mountain trail loop, with the 50-milers completing 4 loops and the 100-milers completing 8. The total elevation gain for the 50-mile event is a whopping 16,000 feet, making the total elevation gain for the 100-mile event a bone jarring 32,000 feet. If 50 or 100 miles is too short for you, take a stab at the 200 mile event (72 hour time limit). The first 100 miles of the 200-miler is run on mountain trail. The second 100 miles moves over to a 10 mile loop on road. Total elevation gain for the 200-miler…..a sickening 40,000 feet !! Race director John Lacroix describes the trails as “a bit muddy…and they had snow just the other day.”

These events are designed to challenge you, make you cry, make you dirty, and in some cases, make you bleed a little. The race organizers have a sincere desire to help you succeed. They also have a sincere desire to challenge you beyond your limits, and to provide you with a race experience that you are seldom to find anywhere else in the East. The course is tough and the weather can be unpredictable. This race makes a great training run for any of the more difficult 100 mile races (e.g., HURT, Hardrock, Massanutten, Grand Teton, Bear).

Also taking place on Saturday, November 1st is the Chicago Lakefront 50/50, starting and finishing on Chicago’s lakefront, at the 63rd Street Beach House. The race course is one of the flattest 50k and 50 mile courses around, and follows the lakefront running path (consisting of mostly asphalt with some concrete sections). In fact, the current 50-mile world record was set on this course in 1984.

Last on our list of events to mention this week is the 13th Annual Helen Klein Ultra Classic, the last race in the 2008 Ultrarunner.net Race Series. Taking place in Sacramento, California, the Classic offers 50 mile, 50k and 30k options. The race is along a scenic 25 mile section of the bike trail adjacent to the American River, and has a total elevation change of 350 feet for the 50-mile race.

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

Saturday, November 1

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (Indianapolis, IN)
Midsouth Marathon (Wynne, AR)
Stinson Beach Marathon (Stinson Bea
ch,CA)

Sunday, November 2

Bass Pro Shops Marathon (Springfield, MO)
City of Oaks Marathon (Raleigh, NC)
Mystery Mountain Marathon (Chatsworth, GA)
New York City Marathon (New York City, NY)
Rails to Trails Marathon (Norwalk, WI)

You can, of course, click on any of the marathons listed above and peruse its 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 !

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