This Week In Running (Week of 3/21 & 3/22)

Back we are again for another edition of This Week In Running, all set to give you a sneak peak at some of the races/events scheduled to take place on the weekend of March 21 & March 22. Forty-six years ago this Saturday (March 21, 1963), the federal penitentiary known as Alcatraz, a/k/a “The Rock”, closed its doors. The facility was far more expensive to operate than other prisons (about $10 per day per prisoner compared to $3 per day elsewhere), its buildings were severely eroded from salt water saturation, and its operation caused terrible sewage pollution in the San Francisco Bay. So, we begin our look at the upcoming weekend in California with the PCTR Pirates Cove Trail Run in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, where Alcatraz is now operated as an historic site.

PCTR Pirates Cove Trail Run 50kPirates Cove Trail Run 50k by PCTROn the 46th anniversary of the closing of Alcatraz, Rodeo Beach in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area will host the PCTR Pirates Cove Trail Run (8k, 20k, 30k & 50k). The course provides runners with beautiful views of the Pacific Coast as they climb the Coastal Trail to Wolf Ridge. The 8k course will return to Rodeo Beach via the Miwok Trail. The 20k, 30k and 50k head to the spectacular Marin Headlands, giving runners views of Tiburon, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. 50k runners will complete both the 30k and 20k courses, with 5,980 feet of total elevation gain. As with just about every PCTR event, you can expect top-notch, fully-stocked aid stations offering fresh fruit, salty snacks, assorted candy, boiled potatoes & salt, water, and Clif Shot electrolyte sports drink.

HAT Run 50kSusquehanna State Park, Maryland hosts the highly popular, and full, HAT Run (50k). The mostly single track trail (with a mix of open fields, dirt road and some paved road) comes complete with nearly 4,900 feet of climbing. The course consists of a 3.6 mile starting loop, followed by two 13.7 mile loops. There are four stream crossings that can be challenging depending on the water level. iRunFar.com editor-in-chief Trail Goat finished in 15th place (out of 392 starters) in last year’s event with a time of 4:42:47. (Read Goat’s 2008 HAT Run race report) Here is a look at the course elevation profile :

Hat Run 50k elevation profile

The 17th annual Chuckanut Mountain 50k Trail Run, directed by ultra sensation Krissy Moehl, takes place in Fairhaven, WA this weekend. The course is an out-and-back loop, with the first and last 6 miles mostly on easy packed gravel trail. The rest of the course is “quite interesting”, with plenty of hills and mud. There are five minimally stocked aid stations. Runners are required to carry at least one water bottle.

Not to be confused with the aforementioned “Chuckanut” Mountain 50k Trail Run, the Rucky Chucky Roundabout 50k Run/50k Relay in Foresthill, CA offers runners the opportunity to follow the Western States 100 course from Foresthill to Rucky Chucky, and back again. Scott Dunlap’s 2008 race report will provide you with plenty of information about this event.

Last on this week’s list of events to preview is the Diablo Trail 50k in Mount Diablo, California. The point-to-point course starts at Round Valley Regional Preserve and follows the Diablo Trail to Castle Rock Park in Walnut Creek. The trail winds through Round Valley, Morgan Territory, Mount Diablo State Park and Shell Ridge Open Space. This course is challenging, complete with steep climbs and creek crossings. All proceeds benefit Save Mount Diablo’s land conservation efforts.

Yes, yes….if 26.2 is the distance for you this weekend, there are plenty of marathons to choose from, including the following :

Saturday, March 21
SunTrust National Marathon (Washington, DC)

Sunday, March 22
Big Island International Marathon (Hilo, HI)
Yuengling Shamrock Sportsfest Marathon (Virginia Beach, VA)

Feel free to click on any of the marathons listed above and peruse its website for more information.

That will do it for this week. Be sure to stop by iRunFar.com next Wednesday for another edition of This Week In Running !

[Trail Goat Note: Be sure to stop by TWIR author, Tony Potera’s I Run Ultras blog.]

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