This Week In Running (Week of 2/13 and 2/14)

This Week In RunningHere we are, mid-way through the month of February, two US 100-milers under our belt, and two more coming your way on the weekend of February 13 and February 14, 2010. We begin with a quick look back at last weekend’s 100-miler, the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile in Huntsville, Texas, where Greg Crowther’s first 100-mile finish was a smash. Crowther took the top spot in 14:58:32, and held first position for each and every lap of the 5-lap course. Just as exciting was Elizabeth Howard’s performance. On pace for a women’s course record for much of the event, Howard not only stretched her lead over second place finisher Jamie Donaldson, but also systematically moved passed all of the men (save Crowther) for a 2nd place overall finish in 15:45:03. The top 10 finishers….

  1. Greg Crowther (14:58:32)
  2. Elizabeth Howard (15:45:03)
  3. Tony Clark (16:28:06)
  4. Eric Deshaies (16:37:13)
  5. Paul Hopwood (16:47:47)
  6. Jamie Donaldson (16:54:14)
  7. Jonathan Gunderson (17:08:04)
  8. Jamil Coury (17:09:02)
  9. Nick Coury (17:09:03)
  10. Nathan Echols (17:21:22)

Iron Horse 100 milerIf you have the 100-mile itch, this weekend provides two possible sources of satisfaction. The Iron Horse Endurance Runs (100 mile, 100k and 50 mile) kick off in Florahome, Florida on Saturday, February  13 at 7:00 AM. With a mere 26 hour time limit for the 100-miler, this event is run on the Old Norfolk and Southern Rail Trail, paralleling Highway 100. It is a 25-mile out-and-back on an unimproved rail trail – flat with grassy and gravel surfaces, no hills and shaded. Aid stations are located 5.5 miles apart. Entry fees are $120.00 for the 100, $75.00 for the 100k, and $65 for the 50-mile.

Susitna 100 50 mile runsHaven’t had enough cold weather this winter? Take a stab at the Susitna 100 Mile and 50k winter races on marked trails in frozen Alaska. Remote forests as well as frozen rivers and lakes are the norm for this event. The Susitna 100 is a ski, foot, or bike race held on packed snow-machine trails in the Susitna River valley, north of Anchorage, Alaska. The remoteness of the trail, distance between checkpoints, and the winter conditions during the race make it necessary for all racers to carry mandated survival equipment, including a sleeping bag certified to minus 20 degrees, a closed cell foam sleeping pad, a bivy sack or tent, a headlamp or flashlight, two quart insulated water container, one day of food (3,000 calories), and 15 pounds of gear at all times. “February offers the most brutal environment an Alaskan winter can summon. Fortunately, near-death experiences in the race are rare” (oh gee, thanks), “but competitors have and will continue to suffer frostbite and hypothermia.”

Dances with Dirt - Green SwampLet’s go to the dark side of running and go dancing with the Dances With Dirt Green Swamp in Dade City, Florida. “Weak, wimpy, treadmill running pansies who are afraid to get some dirt in their shorts need not apply. Expect to be scratched, muddied and bruised. Expect a day that leaves you knowing you are fully alive, awake and crankin’ on all cylinders. Expect insanity, stupidity and nirvana.” DWD is famous for finding very challenging, memorable, “stupid sections” – no one escapes the “insane terrain”.  The Green Swamp is flat. The footing is generally good, but cypress  swamps have stalagmite kind of roots to keep you on your toes or on your face. All individual trail runs (13.1 miles, 26.2 miles, 50k and 50 mile) are loops. Spiders are a major issue – the webs are huge and so are the spiders. Also watch out for snakes, wild turkeys, turkey buzzards and every kind of bird of prey – they seem to follow the runners. Gators, yes gators – “look both ways, right, left, up, back – before crossing water, steer clear, then dash!”

The site if the Javelina Jundred will play host to the Pemberton Trail 50k on Saturday at 7:00 AM. This fast 50k is run completely on trails in McDowell Mountain Regional Park (Fountain Hills, Arizona) on gently rolling hills. The weather is often unpredictable in Arizona in February (anywhere from 35 to 90 degrees), so come prepared. Aid stations are located about 5 miles apart (total of 5).

Moab’s Red Hot 50k+ (just over 34 miles) takes place on February 13 at 8:00 AM. Multiple trail systems are utilized for this event, including the Gemini Bridges Trail, Little Canyon Rim road/Metalmasher Trail, Gold Bar Rim, Golden Spike, and Poison Spider Trail. Top ultrarunners often heat up the competition at Red Hot. This year is no exception with Helen Cospolich, Anita Ortiz, Mandy Hosford, Kevin Shilling, Karl Meltzer, and Ty Draney all signed up for the 50k+.

Also make sure to check out the Psycho WyCo “Run Toto, Run” 50K (Kansas City, Kansas), the Cool Trail Runs (Cool, California), and the Holiday Lake 50k (Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest, Virginia).

Ok, so, we made it the entire post (and we are darn proud of it) without mentioning the words love, affection, intimacy, flowers, or anything else remotely associated with Valentine’s Day. Yet, we just wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t wrap this week’s edition of TWIR up with a resounding HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

[Trail Goat Note: Yes, TWIR is a day early this week. I, Bryon, spent the weekend up at the Orcas Island races and arrived home at day break this morning after driving through the night. As I’m feeling a bit run down and under slept, I hijacked TWIR and bumped it up a day. Look for an Orcas Island report on <strike>Wednesday</strike> Friday and for TWIR to return to its regular spot on Wednesday next week.]

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