This Week In Running (Week of 10/10 & 10/11)

With names like Dan Rose, Debra Horn, Connie Gardner, Jill Perry, Annette Bednosky, Serge Arbona, Phil McCarthy, Akos Konya, Scott Jurek, Dave James and Mark Godale participating, there was a tremendous amount of buzz circling the North Coast 24 Hour Endurance run in Cleveland, Ohio, the 2009 US 24 Hour National Championships, and it certainly did not disappoint. We begin this week’s edition of This Week in Running with a quick look at how things turned out in Cleveland :

Men
1. Phillip McCarthy (41, New York, NY) 151.51520 miles
2. John Geesler (50, St. Johnsville, NY) 139.40850
3. Dan Rose (32, Washington, DC) 139.28270

Women
1. Jill Perry (38, Manilus, NY) 136.32855 miles
2. Anna Piskorska (37, Blandon, PA) 132.26550
3. Debra Horn (50, Shaker Heights, OH) 128.93335

Also taking place last weekend was the Grindstone 100 in Swoope, Virginia. Adding to his list of 2009 accomplishments, Karl Meltzer took top honors by nearly 3 hours, and Donna Utakis won by a similar margin in taking first for the women.

Men
1. Karl Meltzer (18:46:26)
2. Chris Reed (21:26:34)
T-3. Todd Walker (22:09:54)
T-3. Mike Mason (22:09:54)

Women
1. Donna Utakis (23:34:59)
2. Elizabeth Carrion (26:20:02)
3. Kim Gimenez (26:44:53)

Congratulations to the winners and all of the participants !

Moving on to what lies ahead, let’s take a look at some of the events scheduled to take place the weekend of Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11, 2009.

We begin a bit out of the ordinary, with an event that drew our attention to it simply by its liquor-like name. The Bourbon Chase 200-Mile Relay, starting near Bardstown, Kentucky (the Bourbon Capital of the World) and finishing in downtown Lexington (the Horse Capital of the World), is run on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a trail that links the state’s legendary distilleries.

The first relay team sets off near the Jim Beam American Outpost & Homestead at 8:00 AM. For the next 12 hours, a new set of teams are sent on their way every 15 minutes. Teams are comprised of anywhere from 6 to 12 runners, each covering three legs of distances varying from 3 to 7 miles. Just in case you are wondering, no, shots of bourbon will NOT be given out at every distillery passed along the route – “first, safety is our number one concern out on the course….second, we promise there will be plenty of bourbon on hand before and after the race….third, good Kentucky bourbon is best savored slowly.”

Oil Creek 100 mileUnforgiving. Historic. Gnarly. Those are the words used to describe the inaugural Oil Creek 100 Trail Run at Oil Creek State Park in Oil City, Pennsylvania (50k and 50 mile also). With a total of 17,785 feet of elevation gain and a 32 hour time limit, the 100-miler is run on about 87 miles of single-track trail, a short amount of dirt road, and 13 miles of asphalt. Historic…it sure is.

One example – Runners will pass the historic site of the Boughton Acid Works on the “headed home” loop and use the suspension bridge over Oil Creek that the citizens of Boughton used in the 1860’s to return home from the acid works. Across the bridge runners can view the ruins where workers used sulfuric acid to refine oil from the wells (it looks like a scene of a fire, but it is actually the result of sulfuric acid from the old refineries leached into the soil, leaving the area barren.

Heartland 100 mileThe Heartland 100 Mile (and 50 Mile) kicks off on October 10 in Cassoday, Kansas. The course takes runners through some of the last remaining tallgrass prairie in the United States. Tallgrass prairie once covered over 400,000 square miles of North America, stretching from Ohio to the Rocky Mountains and from Texas to Canada. Today less than one percent of this ecosystem remains, and most of it is in an area of Kansas known as Flint Hills. Much of the Heartland 100 course meanders through open range and offers views of the vast expanse of the tallgrass prairie.

Greenbush, Wisconsin hosts the 23rd annual Glacial Trail Run (50 mile and 50k) on Sunday, October 11. Both race courses follow the Ice Age Trail in the northern unit of the Wisconsin Kettle Moraine State Forest. The trails consist of rolling hills with some rocks and other “normal” trail obstacles. The course is an out-and-back with a short section of road at the start to get to the trail. The 50-mile has a 12-hour cutoff, and the 50k a 10-hour cutoff.

There are plenty of other events taking place this weekend, including the John Holmes 50k Trial Run (Brooksville, FL), the Dick Collins Firetrails 50 Mile (Castro Valley, CA), the Can Lake 50 (Canandaigua, NY), the Le Grizz 50 Mile (Spotted Bear/Hungry Horse, MT), and the Andiamo W&OD 45 Mile Run (Purcellville, VA). You can, of course, click on any of the above events to visit its web-site for more information.

That will wrap things up for this week. Make sure to stop by next Wednesday for another edition of TWIR. Until then, Happy Running !

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