This Week In Running (Week of 1/31 and 2/1)

This week’s edition of This Week In Running will preview a few of the races on tap for the weekend of January 31 and February 1, 2009. Before we begin, a quick side-note. We are looking to periodically resurrect iRunFar.com‘s “My Places” feature, an opportunity for you, the reader, to share information (pictures, commentary, etc…) with other readers about some of your favorite places to run. So, if you have one of those special places that you might be interested in sharing in a future TWIR post, let us know ! Now go read up on this week’s Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival, Coastal Challenge, and Arrowhead 135.

Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe FestivalWinter. From the winter solstice to the vernal equinox, winter brings the shortest of days, the coldest of temperatures, and the harshest of weather. For many animals it is a time to adapt in order to survive, and in some instances to hibernate into a state of reduced metabolic activity. As we adjust to the colder weather, and as many of us reduce our amount of outdoor physical activity to compensate for the harsher conditions, the world of running also takes a break. Fewer and fewer runners are seen on the snow covered trails. Races and events are significantly reduced. Yet, the arrival of winter gives birth to another form of activity, and that activity provides the perfect segway into our featured event, the Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival, taking place on Saturday, January 31 in Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway, Utah.

Held the week after the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market calls Salt Lake City home, this event offers a 50k, marathon, 25k, 10k and 5k. (see iRF’s ORWM 09 highlights post) The 50k course consists of a series of loops using a 10k “golf course” loop and a 5k “mountain course” loop in the following order – golf, mountain, golf, golf, mountain, golf. The marathon course is very similar. Each “golf course” loop has about 880 feet of elevation gain and loss, and each “mountain course” loop has about 1,100 feet of elevation gain and loss.

Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival 10k Loop elevation profile
10k Golf Course Loop Elevation Profile

The 5k course is one loop on the “golf course” with about 250 feet of elevation gain and loss. The 10k course utilizes the same 10k loop used for the marathon and 50k event. The 25k course will be a 10k loop, followed by a 5k loop, followed by another 10k loop. Significant entry fee discounts were offered for early registration (up to 30-35% discounts on all events). Kahtoola, will be demoing and allowing everyone and anyone to try out their new innovative snowshoe FLIGHTdeck TS system at this event. According to Kahtoola, the FLIGHTdeck TS system “opens the door to a more versatile, lightweight and adaptable way to run, hike, and walk in snow.”

Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival 5k Loop elevation profile
5k Mountain Loop Elevation Profile

The Coastal Challenge Rain Forest Expedition RunThe 5th edition of the Coastal Challenge, where you can “expect anything”, will take place from February 1 to February. During the Rain Forest route of the Coast Challenge, competitors spend six days and 225-250 kilometers along Costa Rica’s tropical Pacific coastline, weaving at times into the Talamancas, a coastal mountain range in the Southwest corner of the country. The finish is near the border of Panama in a serene fishing village that, until recently, was only accessible by boat. The course consists of jungle and rain forest trails, mountain trail and single track across ridge lines, highlands and coastal ranges, beaches, rocky outcroppings and reefs, river and estuary crossings.

There is an element of danger to this event. Costa Rica does have venomous snakes, exotic insects and small, gnarly dogs. The routes take participants through rugged, uneven terrain, deep rivers and jagged coastlines. Costa Rica does have animals living in the Jungle that may choose to give chase. During the each stage competitors will cover varying distances (24k to 45k in the Expedition category, shorter in the Adventure category). After each stage, runners will have time to “refuel, reflect and connect with the land and people from coastal villages” before toeing the line again the next morning. There are some serious competitors registered for this year’s event – check out all the profiles here. One notable entrant not listed among the racer profiles: Scott Jurek.

Arrowhead 135 mile ultramarathonLast on our agenda today is the Arrowhead 135 Mile Winter Ultra, taking place on Monday, February 2 on the Arrowhead Trail near International Falls, MN. Only the toughest dare apply ! Completing the course is no small feat as winter temperatures in this area of Minnesota have been known to reach an astonishing -60 F. No wonder the locals have dubbed their town the “Icebox of the Nation” and “Frostbite Falls”. At Arrowhead, each racer is required to carry mandatory food, water and gear. The Arrowhead Winter Ultra is a
non-profit human powered ultramarathon on bike, foot or skis, covering 135 miles across the Arrowhead Region of Northern Minnesota from International Falls near the Canadian border to Tower, MN. The course follows a scenic, hilly, State multi-purpose trail under extreme winter conditions.

There are also a few marathons to choose from this weekend, including the following:

Saturday, January 31

Desert Classic Marathon (Phoenix, Arizona)

Sunday, February 1

New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Ocala Marathon (Ocala, Florida)
Surf City Marathon (Huntington Beach, California)
Tallahassee Marathon (Tallahassee, Florida)

As always, you can 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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