Montrail Ultra Cup and Other Race Series Ideas

AJWs TaproomThis weekend’s Bandera 100k race marks the midway point in the nine-race 2011-12 Montrail Ultra Cup series. Originating in 2001, the Montrail Ultra Cup has come a long way from its humble, four-race, West Coast-centric roots and now includes races across the country and throughout the year. Beginning in Oregon with the Waldo 100k and culminating with the Western States 100, the Montrail Ultra Cup is now the largest and most prestigious ultra race series in the country. In addition, the Cup features the bonus incentive (in addition to ever-increasing prize money) of those coveted Western States spots for the top-2 male and female runners in each race (and top-3 if one of the top-2 spots is nabbed by someone already in the Big Dance).

So, in short, these races have basically become filled with red-hot runners solely because so many fast runners are seeking places at the Big Dance. The Cup has evolved in positive ways over the past few years as they have now eliminated 50k’s as potential Western States qualifiers. They have also expanded geographically. In addition to several races on the West Coast (Waldo 100k, Sonoma 50, Leona Divide 50), there are events in Colorado (Run Rabbit Run), Texas (Bandera), Wisconsin (Ice Age), Maryland (JFK), and Vermont (VT 50).  As of now, at least, it can truly be said that the Montrail Ultra Cup is a national caliber race series.

But, with all of that said (and acknowledging that the ads in the back of Trail Runner offer at least 12 more race series to sign up for this year), I believe there is room for a few more series. So, knowing that many of our readers are working on their 2012 race plans, indulge me in a few, new race series ideas:

  • The Roch Horton 100 Mile Series: San Diego 100, Hardrock 100, Plain 100, Ozark 100
  • The Clark Zealand Races that Start at Oddball Times Series: Bighorn 100, Bear 100, Cascade Crest 100, Grindstone 100
  • The Hal Winton Old School Race Director Series: Avalon 50, Angeles Crest 100, Waldo 100k, Wasatch Front 100
  • The Joe Prusaitis Flat and Fast Series: Rocky Raccoon 100, Umstead 100, Philadelphia 100, Javelina Jundred
  • The Karl Meltzer Gnarliest Trails Series: Zane Grey 50, San Juan Solstice 50, Devil’s Backbone 50, Speedgoat 50k
  • The Most Logos on Runners’ Shirts Series: Way Too Cool 50k, American River 50, Miwok 100k, Western States 100
  • The Pure Point-to-Point 100’s Series: Western States 100, Angeles Crest 100, Burning River 100, Wasatch Front 100
  • The Most Expensive Entry Fee Series: Western States 100, TransRockies Run, UTMB, UROC 100k
  • The Pure Start and Finish at the Same Place Loop Course Series:  Hardrock 100, Vermont 100, San Juan Solstice 50, Headlands 50k
  • The Most Likely Place to Get Chicked Series: Badwater 135, Waldo 100k, Hardrock 100, Across the Years 24 Hour
  • The Most Likely Place to Make a Buck if You’re Fast Series: Bandera 100k, Western States 100, UROC 100k, The North Face 50

and, my own personal favorite…

  • The 2012 AJW Race Series:  Bull Run 50, Western States 100, Hardrock 100, Cal International Marathon.

Here’s to a great year of running!

Bottoms up!

AJW Taproom’s Beer of the Week
Blue Star BreweryThis week’s beer comes from Blue Star Brewing in San Antonio, TX. Last year, when I was down there visiting family, I tasted several of their brews and, surprisingly, at least for me, enjoyed the Wheathead Wit the best. This crisp, smooth-drinking wheat beer had a bit more body than your typical Americanized Wit and went down easy on a hot summer night. While it’s winter now, I am guessing this is a big favorite among the San Antonio running crowd come summertime.

Call for Comments (from Bryon)

  • What “out there” race series would you add to AJW’s list?

There are 23 comments

  1. Sniffer

    There is the Midwest Grand Slam of Ultrarunning also

    • Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Endurance Run

    • Mohican Trail 100 Mile Run

    • Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run

    • Hallucination 100 Mile Run

  2. Rob Youngren

    The Most Difficult Races To Get Into Series (Lottery or Invitational): Western States 100, Badwater 135, *Hardrock 100, Wasatch Front 100.

    *I don't think anybody has accomplished the Badwater-Hardrock double since Badwater was moved to the Monday AFTER Hardrock. One would have to finish Hardrock (preferably FAST) then fly as quickly as possible to Death Valley for the mandatory Sunday check-in. In fact the only reasonable option would be if the athlete could afford a private jet flight from Durango straight into Furnace Creek AND have is crew already waiting from them there (besides their Hardrock crew that is). Now that feat would be bad ass and legendary!

  3. Speedgoatkarl

    Soon we will have somewhat of a "Speedgoat series" The Speedgoat 50k has now been elected as the choice race in the ISF "skyrunning ultra world series". All races between 2000m and 4000m, so in terms of "tough", this series takes the cake, however, it'll also qualify as the most expensive cuz' going to Europe to race a series ain't cheap.

    Who's winning money at WS? curious on that one?

    You might want to include the Steamboat 100 as a money race too, although it's in the first year, it'll be bigger than most. And of course the Speedgoat 50k is working on prize purse to increase as well. Then the Speedgoat 100…..coming in 2013….well, maybe.

  4. AJW

    Karl, I thought someone might catch that. Obviously, nobody is getting any prize money for winning WS. However, over the past few years, winners of WS (male and female) have been able to leverage those wins into cash (sponsorship or otherwise) and exposure.

  5. Speedgoatkarl

    leveraging money doesn't count. :-) Maybe a few guys have said to sponsors, "hey I won WS, can you pay me more?" but I doubt it. At the same time, it does help. The Pearl Izumi money, that counts though.

  6. Nattu

    Extreme weather Grand Slam (that burns a big hole in the wallet too!): Badwater, Arrowhead, Susitna/ITI, MdS/Namibia UM/RTP series

  7. Virginia

    The Beast Series (Clark Zealand and David Horton as co-director- can combine with Hortons LUS series)is pretty amazing and bad ass, especially with Grindstone and Hellgate. Plus you will run in some the prettiest places in the east.

  8. ScottD

    I thought for sure you would have a Beer Lovers Series for all the ultras that have their own microbrew labels (Miwok, etc.).

    Or how about the Never-Get-Tired-Of-The-Headlands Slam of Headlands Hundred, Miwok, Quad Dipsea, Rodeo Beach, and Pirate Cove?

    I'm personally going for the Woodside Series of Woodside 50k (winter), Woodside 50k (summer), Crystal Springs (winter), Crystal Springs (fall), Purisima, and Huddart Park. Six races, all the exact same course.

  9. Anonymous

    we've also considered having the Speedgoat 50 mile.This 50 mile would have 18k of climb. Maybe in my "retirement" phase….

  10. stack

    How about a 'road series' (keys 100?), east of mississippi series (lots to choose from), 'within 6hrs of AJW series', 'most climb under X,xxx max elevation' like maybe 1,000 or 2,000'.

    would be interested to see what AJW/others would come up with for these categories.

  11. stack

    another one… 'Trail, Road Championship series' (even mixed surface if applicable) … ones runners thing are the true championships per distance and not necessarily what USATF deems them to be. Trail 100m, Road 100m, trail 100k, road 100k, etc.

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