A Lot Of Steps Into The Unknown

A lot of steps into the unknown.

Fifty more miles of them actually. This will be the furthest I have ever run.

It all began in 2012 when I went to the little hick town of Silverton, Colorado to crew Joe Grant on a race called the Hardrock 100. I knew next to nothing about it, except that it was nearly impossible to get an entry and there were a lot of big mountains included.

Anna Frost - Bear 100 1

All photos courtesy of Anna Frost.

“Follow the little silver/orange tags, which you won’t really be able to see, and there is no real trail… but just get up the hill,” flowed the voice of TK as I got dropped on the way up Handies–my first 14er ever. I panted my way to the top, trying to follow the pin-sized humans I was chasing for dear life. “I thought we were going to run on the course?!” I puffed. “This is the course!” replied the rested voice of Dbo who had both been waiting for me forever.

Then in 2013, again I was challenged. In the rugged, isolated, lonely, inaccessible, striking, picturesque, and challenging trails from Gosainkund to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. The Everest Sky Race. Fifteen days; nine kilograms on my back; six to 12 hours per day; dry heat and dust; torrential rainfalls and mud; insatiable hunger and thirst; exotic bites; deep cuts; red infections; swollen muscles; and torn, twisted, and broken bones and ligaments. The beauty of this absurdity pushed us all on. These were all ‘normal’ people, doing what I felt was the impossible. Until I did it. I found new levels of agony, sense of achievement, my own ability, the power of mankind.

I was sold.

Anna Frost Bear 100 5

Hardrock was in my blood. The calm, the brutality, the climate, the massifs, the times challenging yourself to somewhere you haven’t been before. I wanted an entry.

So the task, get an entry: I need to do a specific qualifier, which is usually a 100 miler! And it needs to be done before November 1. I check the list and the Bear 100 takes my eye. Because of the potential to see one of these mystery bears that everyone is always talking about? Maybe. That it is in prime fall-colour time? Perhaps. That is wasn’t too flat and fast so I could do some powerhiking? Probably. Or just that I was intrigued? Yes.

Anna Frost Bear 100 4

It is two days out. I am entered. I am fit. I am healthy. I was scared and excited, now I am just calm. I have no idea about a lot of things that will or will not happen. I am intrigued to find out. I have an experienced crew that gives me confidence and will take all sorts of shoes, clothes, and food for me to try. I have loving and giving pacers, who will be my sanity and force when I loose my will. I have the support of all of you, who have given me the inspiration to go. Patience, pace, discomforts. All to be respected and followed. To find out something new. To take the step. To take a lot of steps into the unknown.

To follow along on a lot of these unknown steps you can go to Twiinkly for live photo updates.

“Chase that bear like you’re riding a buffalo.” –Brandon Stapanowich

[Editor’s Note: We chatted with Anna about her impending go at 100 mile in our post-The Rut 50k video interview with Anna.]




Anna Frost Bear 100 6

Anna Frost - Bear 100 2

Anna Frost - The Bear 100



There are 17 comments

  1. beyondtheranges

    Excited to see how Anna's race goes, and hope she gets in HR. She's generally a great ambassador for the sport, but I definitely cringed at her characterization of Silverton as a "little hick town" — trail running, almost exclusively affluent pastime that it is, has enough potential class issues already without disparaging the residents of the beautiful towns we come and play in while mostly making our money elsewhere.

    Queue rant about urban / rural divide, damaging stereotypes, etc. I'd be curious to hear the editor's thoughts.

    1. dirtdogduvall

      Sry I can't help myself but this post is some low hanging fruit:

      I bet the good folks of Silverton don't have near as thin of skin as you do. Are you even familiar our sport? "Exclusively affluent pastime that it is" Are you kidding me!? What is this Golf? (Love golf Btw) Running may be one of the most financially accessible sports on the planet. "Potential Class issues" Huh? Everyones enjoying nature and the competitive spirit, not hanging out at the Kentucky Derby sipping on Mint Juleps! (Love horses, and the good people of the South ;)) Have you ever even been to Silverton? A small mountain town thats economy depends greatly on tourism dollars; considering an extremely marginal amount of people even populate the town during the winter months. I can't speak for them but I'm sure they understand that the majority of those coming to enjoy their BEAUTIFUL town DO make their money elsewhere.
      "I'd be curious to hear the editors thoughts" Ha! Your too funny!!

      1. andymxyz

        Sure, "running" may be financially accessible. Running ultras like Hardrock is not. Just ask the average entrant how much they spend on travel to races, equipment, etc., over the course of a year. (And yes, there are exceptions; I said "average" for a reason).

        And while I'm sure the good folks of Silverton appreciate the tourism dollars, it doesn't mean they like being called hicks (even if they swallow their pride and deal with it).

        Yeesh, talk about low-hanging fruit!

      2. beyondtheranges

        It's not "thin skin" to think an outsider calling a bunch of people hicks is worth a second's pause, particularly as it has an impact on how we present ourselves as community, and how we interact with the places we visit.

        Simply running may be financially accessible, sure. But trail / ultra running is by and large made up of mostly urban people who are incredibly well educated and in the highest income brackets. Having a little sensitivity about that when we visit rural places of less means and opportunity can only help our cause.

    2. CharlieDalziell

      There may be a translation problem rather than a deliberate attempt to be disparaging. New Zealand's South Island is made up of predominately "hick towns" which is more often used as a description of the size of the town rather than a description of the people who live in it.

  2. te_korimako

    Preparing to run my first 50km soon, I can't imagine what it must be like to be facing up to 100miles! (although I guess most of you lot on here have already done that…!)

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