The Answer to the $100K Question? The Run, Rabbit, Run 100 Mile!

Run Rabbit Run 100Steamboat Springs, Colorado’s Run, Rabbit, Run 50 Mile Run has added a 100-mile race to be held on Friday, September 14, 2012 (the day before the Run, Rabbit, Run 50 miler).  What will be unique about the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 is that it aims to provide prize money an order of magnitude above the largest current purse for a 100 miler.

Those who have run the Run, Rabbit, Run 50 or who have read the race reports about it, know that it is one the most beautiful, best run, and most fun ultramarathons in the country and it’s put on by and for runners.  The 50 is an old school ultra, where the goal is to put on a first-class, well-organized race and give money in excess of expenses to local charities.  The race’s popularity led to a long waitlist for the 50 miler this year.  Past winners of the RRR50 include Geoff Roes, Joelle Vaught, and Ryan Burch.  This year, Nick Clark finished second to Zeke Tiernan, who also won the race’s inaugural running in 2007.

The objective of the new Run, Rabbit, Run 100 is to attract the best field of ultrarunners in the world to Steamboat Springs.  How?  By offering real prize money.  The goal is to offer $100,000.  Run, Rabbit, Run has the ability to do that, and still put on a first class event, and still donate to charity, because of the incredible support of the Steamboat community, and because the organizers are willing to donate an awful lot of their time to give something back to the sport they love.

The idea is to have two classes of runners – Rabbits and Turtles.  Rabbits will run for 90% of the purse, with the Turtles, who are the rest of us, going for the remainder, through age group awards, fun lotteries for cash, or whatnot.  Rabbits will be running for money only and will be subject to strict rules – no pacers, no trekking poles, and strictly limited crew access.  They won’t receive buckles or win anything at the massive pre-race swag drawing.  This will direct more non-prize purse resources into making the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 a top-notch race for the vast majority of runners who opt out of running for the big prize money.  Says RD Fred Abramowitz, “We will do our darndest to make it the RRR100 a first class race for everyone, better than any other 100 at a comparable entry fee.  And just like anyone who has run the 50 knows, we put on a fun event.”

The prize money is contingent upon entrants and sponsors.  The website will feature a “Bunny Money Meter” showing where the prize money stands.  The race organizers are putting up $10,000 to start the meter running and are shooting for $100,000. [April ’12 Update: The prize purse now sits at $30,000.] The depth of the prize money will depend on the total size of the prize purse.

The Turtles will get a 4 or so hour head start and, with a few out-and-backs of the course, they will be in a unique position to see how the race unfolds among the Rabbits.  The Turtles will start around midday with the Rabbits starting in the afternoon.

The course has largely been determined, although some tweaking may happen.  The route has been designed to be at once challenging – with about 18,000’ of climbing, much of it at 10,000’ – and to be accessible to increase its attractiveness to spectators, the press, the running world at-large, and, as a result, to potential sponsors.

Steamboat Rabbit Ears

The race's namesake Rabbit Ears.

The ultrarunning world is constantly evolving.  (What isn’t?)  In the context of the sport’s current state and its recent growth trajectory, it appears to be akin to road racing three decades ago and triathlons a bit more recently.  Runners and races are going to make money.  There’s nothing wrong with that… so long as two things don’t significantly change.

First, for the spirit of the sport to continue without radical alteration, the sport’s top runners must continue to race for the love of running and competition with prize purses being a way to support their running lives.  If you’d seen the top dogs throw down at the TNF 50 last weekend, this very much remains the case.

Second, organizers must continue to put on races that cater to the main body of the sport while meeting or exceeding those runners’ expectations. That’s not all, those race organizations must continue to be based on passion for that is the source of the je ne sais quoi that you see at Hardrock and Wasatch and Massanutten and Stone Cat and Speedgoat and Chuckanut and all of the many other events that stir emotion in those who’ve experienced such a race, be it as racer, crew, volunteer, or spectator.  From all I’ve heard, the Run, Rabbit, Run folks put on exactly this type of race.

The website is now live. (Updated website status) Registration for the Run, Rabbit, Run 50 mile and 100 mile opens on December 15. The 100-mile entry fee will be $275.

Call for Comments

  • With significant prize money already available at for 50 mile and 100k events, are you excited to see what might happen at a 100 miler with a big purse?
  • Do you think a big prize money 100 miler will draw a competitive field akin to Western States and UTMB? Can it do so in its first year?
  • Top men and women who’re reading this… are you interested in racing the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 next year? Why or why not?
  • The elites will have to choose between the competitive fields and cash purses of the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 and the UROC 100k. Is this likely divide the field based on skill sets? UROC’s been working on next year’s field for a while with some great runners already lining up. Are elites more likely to flock toward the strong field already assembling for UROC (and guaranteed $20k purse) or set out for what could be a much larger payday?
  • How should the prize money be divvied up if the total purse is $20k? $50k? $100k?
  • If you wouldn’t be in the hunt for prize money, would you be excited to see elites battling while you were racing on the same course?

There are 232 comments

  1. Patrick Garcia

    Wow. The 50 is my all time favorite race, and I'm stoked that Steamboat will host a 100. I must say that the separate start time (especially that the fast runners will start later) could pose a major issue. While there are some areas where passing will be easy, there will be large areas where the passing will be difficult and obtrusive to both the slower and faster runner. I know it would get old to continually ask for space or give way for space to pass.

    1. Fred Abramowitz

      Patrick, thanks for the nice comments about our 50. But the 100 is not all on the same course and passing won't be a problem.

  2. Marilyn Oberhardt

    As a mid- to often way-back-of-the-pack ultra runner, LOVE the je ne sais quoi of ultras and the shout-out to the AWESOME Stone Cat ultra.

  3. Jacob Rydman

    Might entice Kilian to come and use PPM as a warm-up. Still so far out to commit to anything, but if it works out, I would like to be there for the 100. Sounds pretty legit and the terrain looks gorgeous.

    1. Fred Abramowitz

      Funny. I told Geoff Roes that if we get that kind of money he might have to run agains some Kenyans. His answer was "Bring em on!"

  4. Jeremy Bradford

    I've run the 50 for the last 3 years and I absolutely love it. It was my first ultra and it set the hook deep. Now I'll feel compelled to run the 100 (because more is always better), but I'll miss the predictable measure of my training that the 50 has been. I agree with Patrick that the later start time for the faster runners sounds problematic. Can't say I understand the reasoning behind it. I always enjoy seeing lead runners returning on out-and-backs, but I wouldn't enjoy being an obstacle between them and a big cash purse as they try to make their way out. Seems like it would hinder everyone from having their best race. Hope race management reconsiders the start times.

  5. Sherpa John

    Unfortunately you're all being fooled. Sure… a large cash prize is being offered at The RRR 100… but at the end of the day, this is all about the RD making money off of the talents of the fast guys. SO.. I WON'T be heading to Steamboat to run in the 100K 100.

    1. Bryon Powell

      What's your basis for this position? It's a pretty big assumption to make … especially given that the two primary organizers both have professions that likely provide them with adequate non-race income. It seems to me that it's quite possible to put on a race with a cash purse without trying to cash in.

    2. George Zack

      Yeah – I am also interested in why the take Sherpa John.

      I know this drum has been pounded before but if the racers are happy, the community is happy, the product is bought and all are satisfied – I am fine with an RD making money. Why is it a problem in a capitalistic society if they do?


    3. Iain

      Yes you are absolutely correct! Of course as an RD you organise an event that takes up time and requires a lot of effort, that eats in to any other social life you might have, writing to other organisers, preparing all the logistics, securing permits and insurance (or organising others to), just to get rich…

    4. Blake Wood

      Knowing Fred A., I don't think he's in this for the money. I think he's interested in pulling ultrarunning into the big leagues. Whether this will be good for ultrarunning or not is an open question.

      1. Fred Abramowitz

        I don't know for sure if it's good for the sport or not, Blake, but I'm pretty sure it is. But I'm absolutely certain it's inevitable. And if it's inevitable, it seemed to us we should set the template – a race by and for runners, designed to maximize benefits to the community and to charity. It seemed to us this was the right time, in the right community, with the right people.

    5. Tim

      SJ – Fred is the nicest guy in the world he does not care about making money the money from the 50 goes back to the community because that is what he cares about the most. I was there for the 50 this year, and Fred talked to everyone including myself he is a great person and dedicated to the sport.

    6. Fred Abramowitz

      I'm surprised at you, John. Really. You and I have communicated about this before, and you know darn well (since you ran the RRR50 this past year) that we are a charity race.

        1. Sherpa John

          Original… I'm pretty open about admitting my pace. I have no issue with it. Never have.. never will. I enjoy the mid to back of the pack. :) Thanks though.. Didn't know this needed to turn into multiple people throwing insults.

      1. Sherpa John


        With all do respect…I'm going to quote you in the e-mail you wrote me:

        "but my personal view is these guys and gals train hard, make significant personal sacrifices to excel, improve our understanding of the limits of human performance, add a nice profile to the sport, are almost uniformly good self-effacing people, and are vehicles for quite a few folks to make money."

        I know as much as anyone that you're a great guy. But I think, personally, that the lines are blurred in regards to if you're in this for charity, or the money. I chop this statement you made to me back in October.. into two parts. 1.) Where the folks here are correct. You're a great guy and you want to see the sport excel. You want to give these top runners a place to play and run their asses off against each other. I say.. Kudos to you on this front. But then comes the second part. 2.) "..and are vehicles for quite a few folks to make money." This is where I take issue. When I read this the first time.. and numerous times since.. it sounds to me like you're looking to make a buck off of these guys.

        1. Sherpa John

          I'll also add that I ran the 50 back in September and had an awesome time. Fred was an incredibly hospitable person. He gave every single person a friendly hello who asked him for his time.. no matter how long or short.

          Fred also took some time to explain to me why he felt there was a need for this 100 mile race.. actually… I never ONCE stated, at any place and/or time that I felt a 100 in Steamboat was a bad idea. I think it's a great idea. But for some reason, Fred felt the need to send me a very long drawn out e-mail trying to convince me of the need for this race. I DO take issue with prize monies in our sport.. and I don't think there is a need to charge $300 or more for folks to enter one of these races.

          I'm entitled to my opinion as are the rest of you. One thing that is truly starting to surprise me about our sport is the number of folks willing to jump on the back and beat the crap out of a guy with an opinion different then there own.

          1. Jenn

            Yeah, and you know, if you'd just said you had problems with prize money in ultrarunning, I suspect no one would have grumped at you at all. I'm of two minds about it, myself. What you're getting jumped on about is your implication that this is some scam to make the Race Director money. Since the RD you're insulting is both liked and respected … yeah, you're getting shut down. Not to mention the fact that you were basically calling us dupes, which is fairly insulting to the rest of us. And frankly, not having the rest of the email for context, your excerpt doesn't mean a whole lot. There are at least 3 readings that I can make from that excerpt – one is the reading that you're giving it, another is that he's referring (somewhat awkwardly) to being able to reward the winning ultrarunners that he's praising so effusively in the clause before, a third is that, since these races are for charity, he's referring to the amount of funds that can go to those charities. From what I know of Fred, albeit secondhand, your reading is definitely the least likely.

  6. Ryan Kircher

    Anybody know if Hardrock or Western are willing to call this a qualifier in it's first year? I'm seriously doubting it. I'd love to run it, but will probably have to go elsewhere.

    1. Fred Abramowitz

      I will beg, borrow, grovel and do whatever is necessary to get Blake, Dale and the rest of our good friends over at Hardrock to make us a qualifier. As for Western, the Run, Rabbit, Run 50 miler is part of the Montrail Ultra Cup – top two finishers get automatic entry. Can't imagine they'll have a problem with the 100 serving as a qualifier.

      1. David T.

        Thanks Fred. I am way stoked for this. I think it is great and even though I have no chance of winning any $$ I will do my best to make it to the starting line. At the same time, it would mean a great deal to me to have it as a qualifier for Hardrock. If it is I will likely show up this year. If not I may need to wait for a later year.

  7. Vlad

    Ok, so after UROC, there will be another race which will try to draw a lot of fast guys and separate them from the rest of the field. How can you not call this a "radical alteration" of the sport ? Whether it is good or bad for ultra as a whole is a different story, but we should call it what it is. Elites are becoming more elite and less and less "guys just like us". You can't just go and shake hands will Paul Tergat or Haile Gebrselassie in the finish of a race, and in a couple of years it may be equally difficult to bump into and chit chat with next generation Geoffs, Dakotas, Nicks … anyway, I will keep running my Jemez, Zane Gray and Deadman and keep dreaming of Hardrock.

  8. Blake Wood

    This brings up the question of whether it's time to start drug-testing at money ultra events. This has never been an issue in ultrarunning before, because there was little more than bragging rights on the line, and thus there was little incentive to either cheat or for RDs to go to the expense and effort to have the testing done. I think that will change quickly, once there is substantial money on the line.

    However, ultrarunning lacks a strong national rule-making body like road racing and T&F has in the USATF. Sure, I realize that the USATF has an ultrarunning committee, but very few ultras seek USATF sanction, so they have little pull. The problem is that, even with big money on the line, there is little incentive for private companies (like TNF) or individual RDs to impose a drug-testing regime, because it could scare away top athletes who ARE doping (not to imply that any of today's top athletes are doping, but big money WILL attract doping athletes to the sport.)

    Without a bit of foresight, it is easy for me to imagine that ultrarunning could go the way professional bike racing initially did, where to be competitive you HAD to be doping. Ultrarunning would be poorer for this.

    1. Scott G

      The point about professional bike racing is an interesting one, but in my opinion it's not likely to happen. The popularity of bike racing in Europe is on par with the popularity of baseball, basketball and football in the US. Top cyclists can make millions of dollars. It's hard to imagine that top ultrarunners are ever going to be pulling down hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money, much less millions. And as another poster mentioned, there just aren't many guys who are going to risk their health for $20K. I think cases like Eddy Hellebuyck are few and far between.

      1. Sherpa John

        Scott… I understand your point of view and agree… The only thing that I'm really starting to wonder about is when folks say "it’s not likely to happen." Did anyone ever think Western States would have nearly 2000+ entrants into it's lottery? Or that Hardrock over 700 or Leadville would have 800 entries in a single year? I don't think so.. when I joined this sport, the guy who got me into it said, "So few people are doing this kind of thing." Not anymore. :)

  9. Nick P

    To echo some of the previous comments, Fred (and the others involved) put on a top notch event. It is well-run in a great area. Plus it ends with plenty of pizza and beer!

    Interesting that they are going with no pacers, limited crew, etc. Personally, I think this is great but I wonder if a lot of people will not like this?

    1. Fred Abramowitz

      The no pacers rule is only for the Rabbits, only for the guys going for the bulk of the purse! It's mano-a-mano and we want to avoid the temptation of rendering assistance! Everyone else can have pacers.

      1. David T.

        I think the rules for the Rabbits section are awesome. It sets up this interesting dichotomy of a very old school approach (no pacers, limited/no crew, no poles, etc.) with a very new world purse. I like it!

  10. lisa

    So Great! I was a volunteer for the inaugural RRR 50 and seeing it and the tight ultra community was one of my main motivators to join the ultra running world.

    Fred is an amazing ambassador for the sport and I'm super excited to see how a 100 pans out in my favorite running town. I will definitely take part! (Well, as a volunteer :)

  11. Darthrunner

    To kick a dead horse, it doesn't much matter if you agree with the direction that trail ultrarunning is going or not. There are obviously enough runners/fans interested in prize races that it really does seem inevitable at this point. UROC100k, TNF50m, RRR100m or WTFever, its just a matter of time before big money races are here to stay as long as the interest and $ is there to support them.

    I don't think that should frighten anyone into thinking the sport will change all that drastically. There just aren't many people out there willing to put in 20-40 hours a week into training, start doping to earn a few bucks ($90k divided by gender, podium, possible age category, etc. and the top guy gets what? maybe 20k tops? Ive never met another runner willing to wreck their health for a slim chance at what still amounts to poverty wage)or run 100 miles in general.

    Ultrarunning by its very nature will always be a fairly fringe sport, most people are just too lazy to care. Seriously, how many times have you heard "100 miles? I get tired just driving that far."

  12. grae

    Darthrunner. Exactly. You hit the nail on the head with that reply. Now maybe this tread will address the questions posed by Bryon, as they seem directed at the elites, or those that feel they are. As for the last question, which is aimed at the non-elite. Speaking for myself, I would care little about the elite race while I'm running my own race. I would have other things on my mind, I would imagine.Besides, it sounds like I could have aleady won something in the pre-race raffel, so I'm good to go.

  13. Michael Owen

    Wow, only two weeks before UROC who has a mission to bring in the top ultra runners on the same day. This could divide the talent from UROC to RRR100 – it might end up dividing competitors on a regional basis. Elite runners who train and live in the West might be more inclined to run RRR100, elite runners who train and love in the East might be more inclined to run UROC. Or some might do both.

    I think another question could be raised about the frequency of races offering a substantial prize purse and what it does to popular, historical, prestigious races like WS100, HR100, etc. that do not offer prize money. Does is pressure them to offer prize money? Do less runners want to participate in them if they do not offer prize money? Or does the prestige of them outweigh no prize money (I mean, nearly 2,000 people entered the WS lottery this year.)

    Someone should put together a list of the top races that offer prize money ( I predict many more in the near future) and the top races that do not.

    1. Ben Nephew

      I think there is room for both elite 50's and 100's, but the number competitive runners is certainly not huge right now. How many western guys were at UROC this year? I think UROC could still thrive even if the field only consisted non-western ultra runners.

      Looking at the elevation profile for the RRR 50 mile, unless you live at elevation, have a hypoxic tent, or head out to the race for 2-3 weeks to acclimate, you have little chance of earning any money.

      1. Sherpa John

        Ben.. BINGO!

        There is definitely still a rift between West and East in our sport. Remember when Leigh Schmitt was tearing up the record books back East.. and no one noticed or cared because he wasn't from, the west? It's the same way for Jack Pilla.. tearing up his age group and no one pays a notice because he's not part of the "main-stream" western ultra- culture.

        Having moved from the East to Colorado.. I see the difference now more then ever! It's a completely different culture.. and you're right. No east coaster will have a chance at that prize money unless they live at Elevation for 9-12 weeks prior to the race.

  14. Mike

    What drew me to the sport and continues to draw me and many others is the usually low key, challenging, and humility of these events. Even though people were running these "crazy" distances you wouldn't know it if you attended the event. What is wrong with having a day job and running? That in itself is appealing: Someone who can balance their lives but also maximize their running potential. Does it have to be their full time job? The low key lives of ultra runners where their passion and pride drive them will be put to the test. Will they forgo other events because of the lack of cash prizes after they've had a taste of this? How often do see Ryan Hall running marathons per year? I can count them on my one hand and I'm missing fingers. And why these large sums? Do runners really need grandiose sums of $100,000? Can runners just run for its own sake? In my opinion, the prestige and honor of running 100 miles in nature with others will be tarnished. If my points make no sense and this is the way ultra running is going then drug testing and its dark world will need to be examined.

    1. Randy Matters

      Yep, it seems like a whole lot of publicity based on the pipe dream of 100 k of prize money (Rumplestiltskin 50 k offers*** 15 MILLION in prize money!!!!!!! ***if and when we get it).

      Let me know when they have the cash in escrow, then I'm going all Floyd Landis and a touch o' Lance and get me some.

    2. Shad M.

      I'm surprised it took over 40 comments for this to come up. Sure the sport is growing but ultrarunning is still a pretty fringe sport. For example, there is far more money in darts, backgammon, and race walking.

      I applaud the race directors for thinking big, putting up $10k, and seriously doubt they are trying to get rich like that one [commenter] suggested. However, I think this is a little bait and switch by promoting prize money that doesn't exist. If the money does come I think many elites will jump at the chance as most any of us would in their shoes. It is pretty easy to be idealistic about something you have no chance of attaining.

          1. Anonymous

            it is not about money nor negativism. it is just about being honest and calling spade a spade. Can't you just see how hypocritical part of the elite ultra-running community became ? On one hand they claim (or enjoyed being claimed) as the ambassadors of the sport, which is open to anybody and is based on equality, who don't care about the cash purse, who are down to earth guys, who toe the line with the others … yet half of the ultra-blogosphere talks nothing but money and cash prizes, new events with unprecedented rules are being setup – different for "rabbits" and "turtles", early start time for "elites", cash purse eligibility only for the "invited ones" – it is just popping around like mushrooms. I certainly can see the arguments for professionalization of the sport, maybe I am not a big fan of it, but OK, it's inevitable, it may be fun to watch from a sideline, it can bring more exposure, perhaps richer sponsors and the community as a whole can benefit from it. But this pretending to "not care about money" yet obviously being drawn to events with big cash purse is pretty ridiculous. I am not really a big fan of Karl M., but he at least has balls to say it out loud, that big dogs deserve big bugs and special treatment.

            1. Bryon Powell

              Anonymous, thanks for contributing to the conversation. Please know that using one's name is much preferred in such discussions. I aim to keep iRunFar open for discussion with input of all view points. However, discussions and communities function best when points of view are attributable to individuals. If the community on iRunFar cannot provide this attribution willingly, I'll have to consider either (1) providing attribution or (2) requiring it through an authentication system. I assure you that I'd prefer the voluntary route. Thanks.


            2. Anonymous

              Bryon, I am not sure how to directly reply to your post … it seems the system does not allow to go 7 levels deep. I have deliberately chosen to remain anonymous. I have my reasons, which you may or may not accept nor understand. I think that possibility to stay anonymous is a great feature of the internet. it of course comes with risks, but in my opinion it brings great benefits as well since it allows many sincere people to be more open than they could afford – should they reveal their identity. Your system allows to remain anonymous, and I took advantage of it. If you don't like it, please change your site. I hope that the fact that my contributions (as harsh as they may sound) lack any profanities separates me from the group of "internet trolls" who use their anonymity only to abuse the others. In my opinion, every idea has its own intrinsic value regardless of who's its author. Anyway, i really wish you keep the possibility and respect the choice to remain anonymous. I think most of us are adults and can elevate ourselves above the trolling of the few. On the other hand, mitigating critical and often unpopular voices by requiring authentication will just make your (ever more influential) site intellectually poorer.

              regards A.

            3. Sherpa John

              What about the other folks above… like one's named "Scout"? That's not anonymous? Let's face it.. anonymity allows the trolls to speak their peace without a care in the world for feelings or relevance. :)

      1. Sherpa John

        Shad M.. thanks for ensuring that you included the insult in there in calling me a [derogatory name]. It is incredibly relevant to this conversation and I'm so glad to see that you're capable of accepting the opinions of others without the need for insults. :)

        1. Anonymous +2

          Sherpa.. thanks as always for your honest opinions. It is indeed sad that some of the sport is polarized to the point that insults need to accompany opinions. Whether Fred is a nice guy or not, looking to get rich or not.. your willingness and ability to share the "other opinion" on things is refreshing. Thank you

      2. Jenn

        As long as the promotional materials are up front about how the prizes work, it doesn't sound like a bait and switch to me. They just need to be honest, which I don't think is going to be a problem. And

    3. Sherpa John

      THIS… is why I won't be signing up for the race. THIS RIGHT HERE.. and thank you George for bringing it up. It is inevitable that SOME of the entry fees will go to pitch in for the prize money. Personally.. I'd rather my entry fee go to these charities the race supports rather then the fast guy. I all ready know who's faster then me.. why don't I just give them my $1 share instead?

      Fred will need to be careful that this $100K is actually available.. and presentable the day OF the race. He doesn't want to have the same tarnished reputation as Ultra-Centric who claims big prizes but never pays out.

  15. Mike Hinterberg

    Sounds like it's going to be a fun race. I don't understand the rationale behind separate start times, and am even more perplexed by the late start times (mid-day/mid-afternoon) — such a beautiful area, why not run in as much daylight as possible?

  16. Jim Blanchard

    It's only recently that Bike racers made large sums of money. Initially racers could make a modest "living" if succesful, yet cheating and drug use have been part of the sport since the beginnig. I'm afraid if/when it starts in our sport things will get ugly. Also nowadays athletes dope with doctors and believe they can do so without health issues.

  17. Jenn

    Huh, I evidently hit submit by accident – to finish my thought – I'm not sure that finding sponsors is going to be as difficult as you appear to think, given the number of folks (including non-runners) who've contacted me all excited about the promos for Unbreakable!

  18. Stéphane (pro

    Hi Blake, drugtesting is already done at UTMB (for past years at least, not sure for 2011) without money at finish line (hum ok, no direct cash sounds better because there's big sponsors gain for the top-finishers). But doping starts -for me- very low, ie Ibuprofene and all these 'comfort' medics which often drop to kidneys' failures. From this side, doping is already there and not only for top-level runners.

    1. Shenandoahgoat

      Great points, Blake. And I would bet the farm that there are top athletes doping today. It's as much about ego as it is about cash.

  19. Brett

    John, do you not think Fred was referring to all the sponsors of shoes, clothes, etc.? I mean, THINK before you post something so slanderous. Or maybe hit REPLY back to Fred and ask him first. This post of yours does not put you in a good light.

    Also, there is math. If 500 people register for the RRR100, thats total revenue of $137,500. Take away the prize money and you're at $37,500. Take away all the other costs to cover the race and you're not talking about a massive pile of money. And then of course to top it all off, there are CHARITIES that will be given money.

    For some reason, I think you completely misread what he meant in the email and its a shame you didn't check your assumptions with him before you posted here.

  20. Brett

    If you read the details, it pretty clearly says they will have a dial that increases over time. I am making assumptions here, but I assume that a portion of the registration fees will be going to the prize money pot. So as more people register, they get closer to their goal of being able to offer $100,000 in prize money. They also stated a goal of continuing to give money to charity.

    I am not sure why you are opposed to part of your race entry fee going towards prize money. Why wouldn't you be opposed to it going to charity? Why wouldn't you be opposed to it paying off duty police and rescue when they might could find more volunteers? What about the race shirts – they might have tried harder to get those donated or choose a cheaper fabric? Why not just make it a free fatass event?

    This kind of nitpicking is interesting to read. You know, when you do a local 10k that costs $30 and has $500 in prize money also takes some of your fees to pay them out and also gives to charity.

    I wonder if there is a tinge of jealousy out there in the interwebs or something.

    I commend Fred and crew for at least stirring the pot. :)

    1. Sherpa John

      No Jealousy here Brett. To comment.. I DO direct a series of Fat Ass events every winter. I don't run local 5 and 10K's because of the price. I'm not opposed to my money going to charity because I believe in charitable causes such as the ones RRR supports (I've raised over $40,000 myself through my efforts)… I'm not opposed to the money going to off duty police and rescue officials, they deserve it more then the front runners imo. I don't need a race shirt but typically those are donated by a sponsor.

      I've directed a race before. I stayed awake for 78+ hours in doing it. I charged a very low entry fee for 50/100/150 and 200 Miles. I personally made zero money. The goal of my race all along was to break even. We came in ahead about $1,000.. I donated that money to a local non-profit. Would I ever consider giving that money to a front runner? Honestly no.. and I would NEVER direct a race where part of the runners entry fees went to the front runners. These are all just my personal preferences. I choose to not run a race where a portion of my entry fee goes to who-ever wins it… I don't think that is what my entry fee is for. I am all for my money going towards: Police and Rescue, Insurance, Permits, Shirts, The standard finishers awards, aid stations, communications, etc.

      To take it a step further. My employer wants to put on an ultra here in Colorado. I've requested that I NOT be a part of the event, with risk to losing my job, because I'm not interested in helping direct his for profit event. It's just personal preference and morals.

  21. Brett

    I think someone called you a douche bag, because you read something in an email and rather than ask questions back to the writer instead went out and made slanderous accusations about it.

  22. Blake Wood

    On the other hand, there have already been three suspensions handed out in T&F since the USATF started testing in Masters competition last summer, and there is little or no money in that.

    Also, the choice of distance runners is generally something like EPO, which unlike anabolic steroids, does not appear to "wreck their health".

    I think there are plenty of people who would dope, even with the dangerous stuff, if it allowed them to train 200 mpw without injury and gave them an edge in races with even modest money at stake.

  23. Sara

    SJ and Anonymous,

    Do you donate all of your 'profit' (ie discretionary income) to charity? Before you buy something from, say, a bookstore, do you insist on them donating their profits to charity? If not, then why do you hold races to a different level of obligatory charity giving?

  24. Anonymous

    Sherpa John ripping on someone else for working hard, making a positive impact in our sport and maybe making a few bucks in the process? Not the first time we've heard that line. Yet, John puts himself out there as some sort of Dean K wannabe with paid speaking engagements and an upcoming book. Hmmm… Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

    1. Anonymouse

      Here donate to my charity, so I can use your charity money to fund my races…oh…but I'm raising money for charity too so it's OK!

      It's a good scam. I see Sherpa John is also Sponsored. what a scam…whatever happened to grassroots running without sponsors…boy I hate capitalism!!!

  25. George Zack

    We, as racers, are shoppers of the race. We can choose where to spend our registration dollars.

    I choose to spend my dollars at races that are well organized, well marked, and treat the runners well. I will admit it is a subjective measure, based on the services I get – race experience, schwag bag, race couse, competition, aid stations, etc – against the amount I have to spend for a race. It has changed over time for me.

    Races can also have money going to charities, category winners and race staff. I will admit – these are not my primary considerations for me when I pick a race for me, but they are secondary.

    Maybe for some of you, these are the primary considerations. And so maybe you decide to take your race registration dollars elsewhere. I am totally cool that. Go ahead. There are folks that will race primarily on the charitable donations that a race makes. That is great. There are some folks that will race primarily based on the prize money. That is great too.

    In either case, if the RD does a good job at selling whatever that race is – and executing on it – I am completely cool with them getting some of the take. If they fail on that – the only way they are going to know is if their patrons take their business elsewhere.

    For what it is worth, most runners don't do that. They instead bitch about some race and still go to it. I hear people gripe about lottery systems to get in, and the cost of such and such race – but they DO THOSE RACES ANYWAY. Why would the RD or race committee change if they have hundreds or thousands of people lining up at the door with loads of money?

    It is like saying, "this restaurant sucks." But you wait in the foyer to pay for crappy food that is over priced, and you say "well, it is because of the experience." Okay … your choice, but don't expect that business owner to change.

    SherpaJohn – don't do the 100. Sounds good to me.

    I am considering doing it.

  26. Speedgoatkarl

    Think about this, as far as altitude is concerned. We live where we want to, that's our choice. If a guy that lives at 8000' goes to UROC or any other east coast event, does he have an advantage. Yah, cuz' he's dropping to sea level, there is simply more oxygen You don't need 9-12 weeks to acclimate, you need about 12 days,and , 7k is not that high, it's not like we're gonna run at 12k like Hardrock, that would be different. I"ve been on both sides of that spectrum.

    It's gonna be a kick arse race, and I'm gonna have a chance to pay my mortgage thru running, it's my profession and how I earn a living. Nothing wrong with that.

  27. Fred Abramowitz

    I'm not going to engage you further on this, John, but the sentence was referring to shoe companies and the like.

    If you don't want to run our race, don't. If you want to run it, we'd love to have you.

    1. Sherpa John

      Bryon, I'll openly admit to having an East Coast friend staying with me this week. It was his post and he wishes to remain anonymous. He posted because he sees my frustrations in not being able to articulate my points of view in a clear and respectful manner quite often.. something I'm working on. We're all human.

  28. Fred Abramowitz

    Wow! Go easy on us! First we're accused of being in it for the money, and now of running a little bait and switch! No, we're not sure we can provide a $100,000 purse, but that's the goal. We've thought this through and we think it's an attainable one, but it depends on the ultra community, both the runners, and the fans and the businesses who benefit from the sport. Bottom line is, we're just doing the best we can to promote the sport we care about in a community we love.

  29. Fred Abramowitz

    We are still working on the start times, and there's lots of ways to look at it and we're certainly interested in people's thoughts. But the idea was to have as many runners finish as possible before it gets too dark, and to have the them finish together, Rabbits and Turtles. I personally don't like finishing in the middle of the night, or first thing in the am, and neither does my crew. No matter how you cut it, most Turtles will be running through the night anyway. A 32 hour time limit means an 8 pm finish if we start at noon. But none of this is written in stone.

    1. Mike Hinterberg

      Thanks for the response, Fred, and your involvement on the board. I've heard great things about RRR from FoCo runners, just hadn't been able to make it out yet.

      My initial response is/was that the later start times were odd mostly because it felt like wasting some Perfectly Good Daylight: many of us are accustomed to early morning starts. Now that you mention it, I guess it would be kind of cool though to be a bit fresher and have a bunch of people out in the woods at night, rather than being all strung out.

      1. Fred Abramowitz

        A number of people we scoped this out with asked for the later start time for that very reason – to be fresher (and a bit less clumsy) at night. And the potential Rabbits we've talked to basically said they couldn't care less. Quite a few, in fact liked it.

  30. Buck N.

    Will they have a CEO challenge? I'm not elite but I would pay extra to have a separate sign in area, valet parking and maybe special access to the elites for a private pre-race dinner or maybe a warm-up run with Mackey or something.

    1. Fred Abramowitz

      Thanks, George. We knew there would be some blowback and controversy and questions, and trust me – we have them too. Anyone who has certainty about any of this is kidding themselves – there's lots of different points of view about all sorts of aspects of the race. But in the big picture, we think it's the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, with the right folks. And I think we've just got to be willing to say why. Not sure how long I can keep answering the questions on this site, but we'll do our best on our website.

  31. olga

    The horse that got beat to death so many times, and still alive…My take,since it's Friday and I don't want to work yet. I think it's a beautiful area I'd like to visit, so a 100 is a good thing to have there (or a 50, as well). I think if Fred and others find money to donate to top runners, it's their choice, or if they choose to profit personally, or give to charity (what if I don't like a charity some race donates to, do I fret over it?). I think I'd be concerned as an RD of new 100 along with RD of UROC that races are so close – if they (RD's) are trying to cater to top runners in the sport and bring more names together and a spotlight into the sport, it'd be nice to spread things around (and in my humble opinion, Steamboat weather would dictate the outcome more than VA). I think I'd love to start together with those top runners so we can feel as part of one. Besides, what if all top runners drop out and I get to be in the pool? (it's a joke, chill out). I think in general, if the price for entry is fair and the service offered is good (no specific requirements, just in line with majority of other races around country), then to me it doesn't matter where the money goes to. I choose, as each of us, if that price and that race fit my own definition of what I am looking for. I think I would be concerned about doping in general, money or title, as the time moves on – ego is a huge thing as someone mentioned, and ultrarunning is not a small community sport anymore. I think I may not like the direction of bringing big purses into this community ("big" is a key word), but since it's inevitable, it needs to be discussed (as here and everywhere else lately) and named properly and honestly. I think we all have opinions, but as with lotteries and entry fees, I don't like it – I don't enter. I think being ex-Soviet, there are things I still, after 18 years, disagree on, but I appreciate the variety and ability of making choices (and speaking of those, if, again, I choose so). I think (again, personally), saying "when I came to this" and setting it as a golden standard is not very right (even though "when I came to it", it was different, to an extent, but then again, some day I did come to it, and there it was, this sport before me, different yet again…). Neither one of us owns ultrarunning or knows how it has to be done. We make choices to participate for personal reasons (or not), and those reasons, by the way, may change as well with time.

    Peace out.

    1. Sara

      I agree, one big field makes more sense. There will be a lot of blowing up over 100M with that purse, and anything could happen.

      Am I the only one who thinks 'Turtles' is a bit offensive (and to my point above, arbitrary – where is the line?)? (Then again I think 'chicked' is totally offensive too, and nobody else ever seems to.)

      1. Shenandoahgoat

        "Chicked" is just dumb guy humor. We only use it to get your goats. No audience, no show…

        On a separate note: It would be hilarious to see a turtle win the overall race.

      2. Fred Abramowitz

        Maybe we should call it, Hares and Tortoises? And the line is whereever you want it to be – you can enter as either. Your choice.

        The separate start is intended to help the slower runners watch the race develop, and to have the bulk of runners finish closer together. We have a great party at the finish, and its nice to have everyone mingle, slower and faster runners.

            1. Steve Pero

              It's called Karma ;-)

              But in reality, I've only gotten in one other time directly and I gave that spot up to Deb at the last minute, all others have been off the wait list. One year I was "last" on the wait list and got in, but that was a long time ago! Can't wait until July!

      3. Mike Hinterberg

        Sara, I've always agreed on 'chicked' — well, honestly, I might have thought something like that in 2nd grade.

        Also I'm not a fan of 'Turtles' or the split start, either — at least as a group, as I don't see a benefit — but I'd be happy to start earlier in the day. This looks like a great race!

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