Brrrrr…..It sure is cold here in the Northeast. All the more reason to head to warmer climates for a few of the races that are scheduled to take place on the weekend of February 6 and February 7, 2010. How about a quick stop in Texas to kick things off.
Huntsville State Park will play host to the 18th annual Rocky Raccoon 100 (and 50) Mile Trail Run this weekend. Built for speed and comfort, the course consists of single track and jeep roads with minimal elevation gain. A vast majority of the course rides on a bed of pine needles and dirt. Most of the single track is covered with roots (so, watch your step). Both the 50 and 100 mile events are run on a loop course, with the 100-miler being five (5) 20-mile loops, and the 50-miler being three (3) 16.67 mile loops. The 100 and 50 mile courses are virtually the same, with the exception of a shortcut taken by the 50-milers from Dam Road back to Dam Road.
If you are looking for a 100-mile race in which to finish sub-24 hours, this could be it. Since its inception, approximately 70% of starters have finished, and of those finishing, nearly half have done so in less than 24 hours, earning the coveted “Sub-24 Hour” belt buckle. The 100-mile cutoff is 30 hours. The course record in the 100-mile event has held up since 1996 (Eric Clifton in 13:16:02), despite Jorge Pacheco’s run at it in 2006 (13:16:56). Jenn Shelton holds the women’s course record (14:57:18 in 2007). This year’s event certainly does not fall short on talented entrants. Jamie Donaldson, Connie Gardner, Jenny Chow and Anita Ortiz highlight the women’s side of things. On the men’s side, Greg Crowther, brothers Nick & Jamil Coury, and Jimmy Dean Freeman are just a few potential champs.
California should provide a little warmth for those suffering in the cold. How about a Pacific Coast Trail Runs event, the Woodside Trail Run (50k, 35k, 17k and 10k) in Huddart County Park, Woodside, California. The 50k has 4,530 feet of elevation gain/loss. Runners can expect to “experience the towering redwoods, lush ferns, and beautiful trails through Huddart Park, King’s Mountain, Bear Gulch, and Wunderlich Park.” Or maybe the Jed Smith Ultra Classic (30k, 50k & 50M), a very fast, flat loop course (half dirt trails, half paved roads0 that has seen some of the fastest 50K and 50 mile times in recent history.
There are plenty of other options to choose from this weekend, including the John Dick Memorial 50k, the Orcas Island 50k [iRunFar’s Bryon Powell will be running the Orcas Island 25], the Uwharrie Mountain Run, and the White Rock Classic 50k. Take your pick, but make sure to stay warm and cozy.