The Answer to the $100K Question? The Run, Rabbit, Run 100 Mile!

Run Rabbit Run 100Steamboat Springs, Colorado’s Run, Rabbit, Run 50 Mile Run has added a 100-mile race to be held on Friday, September 14, 2012 (the day before the Run, Rabbit, Run 50 miler).  What will be unique about the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 is that it aims to provide prize money an order of magnitude above the largest current purse for a 100 miler.

Those who have run the Run, Rabbit, Run 50 or who have read the race reports about it, know that it is one the most beautiful, best run, and most fun ultramarathons in the country and it’s put on by and for runners.  The 50 is an old school ultra, where the goal is to put on a first-class, well-organized race and give money in excess of expenses to local charities.  The race’s popularity led to a long waitlist for the 50 miler this year.  Past winners of the RRR50 include Geoff Roes, Joelle Vaught, and Ryan Burch.  This year, Nick Clark finished second to Zeke Tiernan, who also won the race’s inaugural running in 2007.

The objective of the new Run, Rabbit, Run 100 is to attract the best field of ultrarunners in the world to Steamboat Springs.  How?  By offering real prize money.  The goal is to offer $100,000.  Run, Rabbit, Run has the ability to do that, and still put on a first class event, and still donate to charity, because of the incredible support of the Steamboat community, and because the organizers are willing to donate an awful lot of their time to give something back to the sport they love.

The idea is to have two classes of runners – Rabbits and Turtles.  Rabbits will run for 90% of the purse, with the Turtles, who are the rest of us, going for the remainder, through age group awards, fun lotteries for cash, or whatnot.  Rabbits will be running for money only and will be subject to strict rules – no pacers, no trekking poles, and strictly limited crew access.  They won’t receive buckles or win anything at the massive pre-race swag drawing.  This will direct more non-prize purse resources into making the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 a top-notch race for the vast majority of runners who opt out of running for the big prize money.  Says RD Fred Abramowitz, “We will do our darndest to make it the RRR100 a first class race for everyone, better than any other 100 at a comparable entry fee.  And just like anyone who has run the 50 knows, we put on a fun event.”

The prize money is contingent upon entrants and sponsors.  The website will feature a “Bunny Money Meter” showing where the prize money stands.  The race organizers are putting up $10,000 to start the meter running and are shooting for $100,000. [April ’12 Update: The prize purse now sits at $30,000.] The depth of the prize money will depend on the total size of the prize purse.

The Turtles will get a 4 or so hour head start and, with a few out-and-backs of the course, they will be in a unique position to see how the race unfolds among the Rabbits.  The Turtles will start around midday with the Rabbits starting in the afternoon.

The course has largely been determined, although some tweaking may happen.  The route has been designed to be at once challenging – with about 18,000’ of climbing, much of it at 10,000’ – and to be accessible to increase its attractiveness to spectators, the press, the running world at-large, and, as a result, to potential sponsors.

Steamboat Rabbit Ears

The race's namesake Rabbit Ears.

The ultrarunning world is constantly evolving.  (What isn’t?)  In the context of the sport’s current state and its recent growth trajectory, it appears to be akin to road racing three decades ago and triathlons a bit more recently.  Runners and races are going to make money.  There’s nothing wrong with that… so long as two things don’t significantly change.

First, for the spirit of the sport to continue without radical alteration, the sport’s top runners must continue to race for the love of running and competition with prize purses being a way to support their running lives.  If you’d seen the top dogs throw down at the TNF 50 last weekend, this very much remains the case.

Second, organizers must continue to put on races that cater to the main body of the sport while meeting or exceeding those runners’ expectations. That’s not all, those race organizations must continue to be based on passion for that is the source of the je ne sais quoi that you see at Hardrock and Wasatch and Massanutten and Stone Cat and Speedgoat and Chuckanut and all of the many other events that stir emotion in those who’ve experienced such a race, be it as racer, crew, volunteer, or spectator.  From all I’ve heard, the Run, Rabbit, Run folks put on exactly this type of race.

The website is now live. (Updated website status) Registration for the Run, Rabbit, Run 50 mile and 100 mile opens on December 15. The 100-mile entry fee will be $275.

Call for Comments

  • With significant prize money already available at for 50 mile and 100k events, are you excited to see what might happen at a 100 miler with a big purse?
  • Do you think a big prize money 100 miler will draw a competitive field akin to Western States and UTMB? Can it do so in its first year?
  • Top men and women who’re reading this… are you interested in racing the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 next year? Why or why not?
  • The elites will have to choose between the competitive fields and cash purses of the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 and the UROC 100k. Is this likely divide the field based on skill sets? UROC’s been working on next year’s field for a while with some great runners already lining up. Are elites more likely to flock toward the strong field already assembling for UROC (and guaranteed $20k purse) or set out for what could be a much larger payday?
  • How should the prize money be divvied up if the total purse is $20k? $50k? $100k?
  • If you wouldn’t be in the hunt for prize money, would you be excited to see elites battling while you were racing on the same course?

There are 232 comments

  1. Lives Under A Bridge

    If the RRR100 website is any indication of how things are going to go … well … my advice … skim some of that prize money and get a professional to do the site.

    (This ought to be good for at least a 'troll' comment beat down and the love meter closer to 2-0-0).

    1. Bryon Powell

      The website seems to work fine to me. You are, however, correct that this is in the realm of trolling. Next time, please consider making specific constructive suggestions. The website just went live and I'm sure the race organization would welcome constructive criticism. There are plenty of high budget, firmly established races with websites that are less use friendly that this one.

    2. Tim

      @ Lives Under a Bridge, I did a race this spring, no website, you email someone and showed up on that date. What's the big deal with the RRR100 site? I looked at it today, has course descriptions, basic information, rules etc etc. What do you want it to do? Why does it matter what the website looks like, if you do the race in September 2012 does the website has any baring on how you run or your experience?

    3. Fred Abramowitz

      I'm all ears (pardon the pun). Tell me what you don't like about it? And, yes, we'd rather spend our money on things other than the website. Like putting on a great race.

      We hit 200 and I will say my farewell. Contact me through our website…

    4. StephenJ

      If your comment is any indication as to how would do in the race, you better stay home and type stupid comments instead. Seriously, if you can't figure out that website, there is no way you could follow a marked course during the day, let alone the night.

      The website is fine. The highlighting of the mouse-over highlighting of the menu items on the left-hand side could be better, since some very computer challenged people might not be able to figure out that "Course Description" is also a menu item.

      You want a bad website, try http://squawpeak50.com The website is horrible, but race is awesome.

    5. Speedgoatkarl

      Ill be the first to admit the Speedgoat 50k site is fair at best, but it's not about that, it's about a great course, a well run race, well marked, and fun at the finish. If you have these things, which Seamboat will have, you'll forget about the marketing aspect of the website. It's created by runners, not web geniuses.

      Is that 200?

      1. StephenJ

        Karl, here are the only problems with your Speedgoat 50K website:

        1. Colors. Dark blue on black is hard to read.

        2. At the bottom of the page, it should be "copyright" not "copywrite" and "2007-2011"

        3. There is no link to the Speedgoat 100. ;-)

  2. StephenJ

    Here's an idea to make the race more exciting for the tortoises. Let each tortoise pick a rabbit that they want their time added to, and use that final time for splitting up the tortoise prize money. It would add the excitement that gambling adds to watching any sport.

  3. Jon Allen

    I want to hear people's thoughts on the timing of UROC vs RRR100. Any opinions? Also, will the RRR money be just 3 deep (i.e. 50k, 30k, 20k), or will it get deeper the more the prize money increases?

    I'll admit that my fall schedule is very much under development, and RRR definitely interests me, as does a return to UROC. Plus, I just wanted to add another comment to this growing post (is this a record yet?)

    1. Bryon Powell

      Jon,
      (1) Hopefully Fred retracts his statement that he's done with commenting after the 200th comment, but in case he sticks to it, I'm pretty sure the cash will get deeper as the "Bunny Money Meter" (i.e., the total cash purse) grows.

      (2) This article has most definitely received the most comments… for an article that had no giveaway associated with it. One of those went over 900 comments. So keep commenting! ;-)

    2. Fred Abramowitz

      Ok, Bryon, I'm retracting. We're starting 3 deep and then, we'll go deeper. As for do we go deeper or more top heavy first, we'll play it by ear, depending on how many Hares enter. I'd like to see it go deep to encourage having a world class, quality field.

      As for UROC, well, for reasons too complex to get into, we really had no choice with the date. And you're always competing against something. We actually started planning this before the first UROC but I applaud them for doing it, and I personally feel the more prize money available for more of these guys, the better. There's plenty of top notch runners to go around, east coast, west coast, and in between.

      And since I've decided not to shut up, maybe we'll just do paramutuel wagering and take a rake. Doesn't Karl do that? Roes, Mackey, Callahan, Meltzer and Clark have already said they're entering. Anyone venture a morning line on those guys? Looks wide open on the distaff side.

      1. Gunter

        Since these guys have all basically said they do it for the love of the sport, and the race is for charity, wouldn't it be great if in turn the winners donated their prize money to the war heros coming home without legs.

  4. Don

    You say more than 200 comments, but it seems to me in reality it was more. Why? Because I sent you a comment, which I note wasn't shown, and I seem to have subsequently been taken off your newsletter emailing list as well. How many other comments did you not accept? What's all that about? At least I didn't write my name as "anonymous".

    1. Fred Abramowitz

      I'm going to do that. And you're giving your age away knowing about Harvey. I get nothing but blank stares when I make the Harvey jokes at our pre race meeting.

      1. Moogy

        When I ran Massanutten, I was hallucinating that I was seeing 'Frank' on the side of the trail, waving and smiling at me every so often. That was whack. I think his name was Frank.

        1. Randy

          My 3rd loop around Barkley years ago,was sure those capstone rocks around the course were actually bunkers you see in the war movies,was pretty nervous around them,no more Platoon or Full Metal Jacket movies for me!

          Another way to add to the Bunny Fund Fred,at the pre-race site,have the top gals(all),and guys(guess a few),wear skimpy clothes,(just come as you are Anton),and wash cars for us turtles.And don't DNF cleaning my RAV-4s front bumper Karl,get it right the first time,and having us turtles start 5 hours before hoppers,pfft,guess i'll be watching the leaders from the finish line.

  5. Dima

    Turtles are tough on the outside, soft on the inside. While rabbits are simply hairy. Those analogies are way too rich for me.

    Either way, staggered start sounds like fun.

  6. Ryan Kircher

    The Western State website has always amused me in its 1990's look. Let's hope the website isn't any indication on how that race will be ran.

    1. Fred Abramowitz

      Not to worry. There are entrants. But in deference to a few folks who offered entry as a Christmas gift to their spouses (what are they thinking?) I made the list not available to public view, until after the holidays.

  7. james varner

    sorry for the lame question…

    how much prize money is there? i followed this thread back in the old days but then hopped on the spreading of competition and salomom shoes threads and lost track of this one. are we still talking about $10,000 or has more dough trickled in?

    as a race director considering putting up money at some or all of my races i'm curious to see how high the purse gets

    1. Bryon Powell

      James, I'll take a guess and say that it'll take some time before the bunny money meter moves (i.e., the prize purse goes up). Whether that increase is based on sponsorship or entries, it'll take time.

  8. Oh My!

    Anyone watching Boston today would have heard this little tidbit:

    93 Kenyans have achieved the the OG "A" standard (2:15) and another 6,569 have the" B" standard (2:18).

    I'm gonna bet that some of those 6,000+ would be willing to train for and compete for this money if they had the chance.

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