Welcome back to 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 4 and 5, 2008.
Let’s simply get right down to business and take a look at this week’s featured race, the first annual Grindstone 100 Mile Race in Swoope, Virginia. Grit, endurance, temporary loss of sanity… you might need all of these if you want to attempt Grindstone. According to the race web-site, if you want to finish, well, just keep in mind this is, without a doubt, the hardest 100 miler east of the 100th meridian. The race actually starts on Friday, October 3rd at 6:00 PM and has a 38 hour cut-off. You are going to need the generous cut-off to deal with the 23,200 feet of elevation gain and loss (want to see for yourself – take a look at the elevation profile). TWIR scoured the web for posts regarding this freshman race, and came across some quotes that included “Holy mother of God. We saw the elevation profile for that sucker unveiled at Mountain Masochist and I wondered who would possibly be interested in beating themselves up against a course like that” and “Wow – some killer views and quite an elevation gain!!”
We suppose you should expect this race to be tough, considering that the race director is Clark Zealand, a Horton disciple and mountain ultra standout. Grindstone is race #4 in the Beast Series (which includes the Holiday Lake 50K++, the Terrapin Mountain Run, Promise Land 50k, Hellgate 100K, and Mountain Masochist Trail Run). There are several familiar ultra running faces registered for Grindstone, including Sean Andrish, Keith Knipling, and Krissy Moehl.
Also taking place this weekend is the 18th annual Arkansas Traveller 100 Mile race in the Ouachita National Forest. With approximately 12,000 feet of elevation gain, AT100 consists of a 17-mile loop followed by an 83-mile out-and-back on forest service roads, jeep trails, and eight miles of the Ouachita Trail, which stretches 223 miles through the beautiful Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma. The full trail runs from Talimena State Park in Oklahoma to Pinnacle Mountain State Park, near Little Rock, Arkansas. It is a premier trail asset for hikers, backpackers, and mountain bikers.
There are plenty of other ultra running events to choose from this weekend, including ………
PCTR Angel Island Fall Trail Run (Sat., Oct. 4 in Angel Island Sate Park, CA) – 50k, 25k, 16k and 8k options. The 50k features 4,200 feet of elevation gain.
Rock/Creek Stump Jump 50k (Sat., Oct. 4 in Chattanooga, TN) – 50k and 11-mile options. The first and last 4 miles of the 50k course are on a jeep/dirt road, with everything else run on technical single track. The trail is packed dirt with your usual Tennessee mountain stone thrown in. This just makes things exciting, especially around mile 17. The elevation gain is 2200 ft. The course is shaped like a lollipop. You leave the stick of the lollipop at mile 10.3, then run a 10.2 mile loop and rejoin the stick at mile 20.5. This means that you will run the first 10 or so miles 2 times. That’s the best part of the whole trail! You get double the pleasure. The 11-mile race is an out-and-back. The turnaround is at the second aid station (Suck Creek Road) 5.4 miles.
Iron Mountain 50 Mile Trail Run (Sat., Oct. 4 in Damascus, VA) – The footing varies from open easy running along the Virginia creeper trail to technical single track. The majority of the run follows the
Man Against Horse 50 Mile (Sat., Oct. 4 in Prescott, AZ) – 50, 25 and 12 mile options. Loop course with runners and horses running concurrently. The 25 and 50 mile courses are moderately difficult. The 12 mile is a rolling course. The 25 and 50 mile distances should not be undertaken without significant preparation. Runners should be in shape for travel over rough country, including steep and rocky terrain. Most of the course is on mountainous trails and back roads through the tall pines of Mingus Mountain. Elevation at base camp is approx. 5000 feet with 50 mile course climbing to an approx. elevation of 7,600 feet. Weather conditions are highly unpredictable – snow and hail are as possible as sunshine and clear skies.
If you prefer marathons, there are plenty, as the arrival of October begins the fall marathon season. The following marathons are scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 4 :
That will wrap things up for this week’s edition of TWIR. Make sure to tune in next Wednesday for yet another exciting edition!