Closer and closer we creep to perhaps the most anticipated 100 miler of 2010, the Western States Endurance Run (June 26-27). iRunFar.com and TWIR are sure to have a pre-WS 100 posts filled with all sorts of information on the big event (iRF Western States coverage), but for now we preview three events taking place on the weekend of Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20.
The 2010 Merrell Bighorn Trail 100 Mile Run, an arduous trail run in the Little Bighorn-Tongue River areas of the Bighorn National Forest, kicks off at 11:00 AM on Friday, June 18. Runners must be prepared for potential extreme temperature variation and weather conditions with possible temps exceeding 100 degrees during the day in the canyons, and below freezing at night in the mountains. This wild and scenic course traverses territory inhabited by elk, deer, moose, bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes. The course is an out-and-back consisting of 76 miles of single-track trail, 16 miles of rugged double-track jeep trail, and 8 miles of gravel road with approximately 17,500 feet of climbing and 18,000 feet of descent. (Runners continue a bit further downhill past the start to the finish.)
The 2009 edition of this event was won by Karl Meltzer (19:15:26, a good 2+ hours ahead of 2nd place finisher Nick Clark) and Ashley Nordell (24:51:36, ahead of 2nd place finisher Gwen Scott in 26:16:04). Course records (traditional course) are held by Meltzer (19:15:26; 2009) and Darcy Africa (23:22:21; 2007). Meltzer is not returning to Bighorn in 2010, while Nordell is.
Pacific Coast Trail Runs is back at it again with the Angel Island Trail Run (50k, 25k, 16k and 8k) on Saturday, June 19 in Ayala Cove, Angel Island State Park, California. Angel Island is a hilly, grass-and-forest-covered island that provides spectacular views of Marin County, San Francisco, and the Golden Gate. Trails and roads circle the entire island and climb Mount Livermore. The 50k race is stocked with 4,070 feet of elevation gain. David Welsh (3:51:24 in 2005) and Jessica Tranchina (4:32:21 in 2004) hold the 50k course records.
To wrap things up we have the Sun Mountain 50 Mile Trail Race (Sunday, June 20 on the Sun Mountain Trail System in Winthrop, Washington). Options also include a 50k, 25k and free kids 1k race. All of the courses are on the trails on Sun Mountain, but the 50-miler also runs on the Twisp River Trail, some dirt forest service roads and about 3 miles of pavement. For the most part, the trails are well-maintained, not too technical and fast (most of the climbs are gradual). The 50-miler has about 6,000 feet of elevation gain.
That will do it for this week. Of course, feel free to let us know what events you may be at this weekend by leaving a comment, and, of course, check back during the next two weeks for some exciting posts about the 2010 Western States Endurance Run!