Welcome back to another edition of This Week In Running, brought to you in part by iRunFar.com, your source for mud, mountains, miles and so much more. Today’s installment of TWIR previews a few of the races on tap for the weekend of October 11 and 12, 2008.
Before we put on our packs and head down the trail, let’s quickly take a look at what happened at the first annual Grindstone 100 Mile Race. On the men’s side of things, an early battle between 4 runners (Harland Peelle, Chris Reed, Keith Knipling and Don Padfield) continued for must of the race, before Peelle finally pulled away for good at Falls Hollow (95.0 miles) in route to a 20:38:57 victory. That left a 3-way fight for second place, with Knipling holding a 1 minute lead at Falls Hollow. Yet, Reed (21:21:38) would end up prevailing and edging Knipling (21:23:48) for second position. The women’s race was no less exciting. Sabrina Moran led Krissy Moehl through Lookout Mountain (31.2 miles). But Moehl took over the lead at North River Gap (36.7 miles) by a slim 2 minutes, an stretched it out to a good 35 minutes by Lookout Mountain (72.1 miles). Moran would not go away, closing the gap to a mere 2 minutes at Dry Branch Gap (86.1 miles). Moehl would turn up the heat, and by the time she and Moran reached Falls Hollow (95.0 miles), Moehl’s lead grew to an insurmountable 1 hour 11 minutes, as she cruised to a win in 21:54:09 (Moran would finish in 22:58:15).
The Heartland 100 Spirit of the Prairie Cross Country Run will take place on Saturday, October 11 in Cassoday, Kansas. Both the 100-mile and 50-mile events that are offered are filled to capacity. This year will mark the 9th running of the 100-miler, which takes runners through some of the last remaining tallgrass prairie in the United States. Tallgrass prairie at one time covered over 400,000 square miles of North America, but today less than 1% of this ecosystem remains, most being in an area in Kansas known as the Flint Hills. Much of the Heartland 100 course meanders through open range, offering stunning views of the tallgrass prairie. The name “Spirit of the Prairie” was chosen as a theme for the race as a tribute to the early explorers who crossed the land, the Native Americans who hunted on the land, and the early settlers and ranchers who lived in the Flint Hills area. Much of the Heartland 100 race is run through Chase County, which is home to many more head of cattle (66,000) than people (2,886). That is just how remote this race is.
There are several other ultra running events taking place this weekend, including the following :
John Holmes 50k Trail Run (Sat., Oct. 11 in Brooksville, FL) – Wait a second. No way. John Holmes (a/k/a Johnny Wadd), the inspiration for the films Boogie Nights and Wonderland, on of the most famous male adult film stars of all time has a raced dedicated to him ? Well, not exactly. Actually, the race is named after one of the original founders of the Croom Trail Runners, and RD of this race until 2003, who died in 2006 of mesothelioma. This challenging course consists of 4 loops on the Croom Hiking Trail through Central Florida’s long leaf pines and scrub oak covered hills, past creek bottoms and cypress ponds.
Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK 50 Mile (Sat., Oct. 11 in Boalsburg, PA) – The USA Track & Field 50 Mile National Championship Race, is a single-loop course through central Pennsylvania’s striking Rothrock State Forest during peak foliage season. The race takes place on fire roads (74% dirt, 26% paved) in Rothrock State Forest. Terrain includes uphill, level and downhill grades, with shaded and open segments and some overlook vistas. The total Elevation gain is 5,035 feet (see the Course Maps link or the Elevation Profile link for a more detailed description and an elevation profile).
New River Trail 50k (Sat., Oct. 11 in New River Trail State Park, VA) – This first annual event is directed by ultra runner extrordinaire Annette Bednosky. The course is 100% dirt, flat and entirely along the New River and Chestnut Creek in the New River Trail State Park. The best thing about this rookie event is that it is a “green race.” Annette says,
We will use local, recyclable items and products from companies with “green” practices as much as possible. We will use minimal disposable materials and those that must be disposable we will choose recycled or recyclable in our area as much as possible. To this end we encourage use of hand held water bottles/waist packs whenever possible! When choosing materials, foods and supplies for aid stations and runner “giveaways” we are striving to have 75% of our goods come from either local manufacturers and/or growers (within 100 miles of course start) or from companies that have a demonstrated commitment to reducing their impact on the Earth. To our knowledge this is the first ultra/endurance event in the Southeast /Mid-Atlantic region that will be an intentional “green event.”
Le Grizz Ultramarathon (50 miles – Sat., Oct. 11 in Hungry Hourse Reservoir, MT) – Point to point on rolling forest roads.
Lake of the Sky Trail Run (Sat., Oct. 11 in Tahoe City, CA) – 50K and 2-person relay out and back run on the Tahoe Rim Trail between Tahoe City and Brockway Summit. The majority of the trail is a narrow 2 foot wide path with up to a 10% grade, although there are some steeper and rockier sections, especially near Mt.
Mammoth Ultra Marathon (Sat., Oct. 11 in Mammoth Lakes, CA) – Another first-year ultra, which features 50k and 25k options.
Canandaigua Lake 50 Mile (Sat., Oct. 11 in Canandaigua, NY) – One loop around the most beautiful Finger Lake in Western New York (according to the race director). Scenic roads, wineries and peak fall foliage. Mostly flat to rolling with several major climbs including locally famous Bopple Hill. 3,500 feet of elevation gain.
FATS 40/50 (Sun., Oct. 12 near North Augusta, SC) – A 40 mile or 50k trail run on the FATS (Forks Area Trail System). The course is a series of 6 loops of well-groomed, rolling terrain, forested trails with 2.4 miles on road, some hills, some roots, some rocks, but overall, very runnable.
Glacial Trail 50 Mile (Sun., Oct. 12 in Greenbush, WI) – The Glacial Trail Run takes place 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 out and back for both races. There will be a short section of road at the start to get to the trail.
Marathon season continues to be in full swing, offering runners both Saturday and Sunday options. Some of this weekend’s marathons include :
Saturday, October 11
Sunday, October 12
Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon (Susanville CA)
Chicago Marathon (Chicago, IL)
Halloween Marathon (Elma, WA)
Long Beach Marathon (Long Beach, CA)
Mohawk-Hudson River Marathon (Albany, NY)
Spokane Marathon (Spokane, WA)
Steamtown Marathon (Scranton, PA)
Check out each race’s web-site for more information.
That will wrap things up for this week. Be sure to stop by iRunFar.com next week for another edition of This Week In Running !