This Week In Running (8/2 – 8/3)

Welcome back to another edition of This Week In Running! Before we get into what is to come, let’s take […]

By on July 30, 2008 | 3 comments

Welcome back to another edition of This Week In Running!

Before we get into what is to come, let’s take a look at a few races in the weekend that was July 26 and 27. The headline race in the ultra running world was the White River 50 Mile Endurance Run in Crystal Mountain, Washington, the 2008 USATF 50 Mile Trail Run Championships, and boy did it live up to expectations. Both the men’s and women’s races were tightly contested. Michael Wardian (6:52:50) took top honors in the men’s division, and was followed closely by Adam Lint (6:59:39) and Jasper Halekas (7:04:25). None of the top three men participated in this event last year. On the women’s side of things, Susannah Beck (7:32:12) not only won the event, but also bested the course record set by Nikki Kimball last year by a bit over 7 minutes. Kami Semick (7:42:54) finished just 10 minuted behind Beck to take second. For a quick summary of the Speedgoat 50k, head on over to Scott Mason’s blog. For a look at the results of the first annual Rebel Summer Scorcher 12-Hour Run, check out their results page (2009 date for this event already set for July 31, 2009).

And now, let’s see what’s on tap for the weekend of August 2nd and 3rd, 2008……

After a quiet week on the 100 mile race front, that distance returns on Saturday, August 2 with this weekend’s featured race, the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run. In its sophomore year, Burning River is billed as an “exciting 100 mile run held in Northeast Ohio that travels through several of the region’s most scenic areas, including the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Cleveland Metroparks and the Metro Parks, serving Summit County.” A point-to-point course (75% trail and 25% towpath/road), the race starts in the North Chagrin Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks and uses the Buckeye Trail and several other trails and roads to connect to the South Chagrin Reservation and Bedford Reservation. The course then joins the Towpath Trail in Valley View, which it follows to Station Road Bridge in Brecksville. Again utilizing various trails (including the Buckeye Trail, Hike-and-Bike Trail, Bridal Valley Trail, and Towpath Trail), the course moves through Brecksville Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The last 1/3 of the course includes trails in various southern areas of the region, including the Virginia Kendall Park, Oak Hill and O’Neil Woods, prior to its finish at Falls River Square in downtown Cuyahoga Falls. The race Course Guide provides a more detailed aid station to aid station overview of the course, sectional descriptions, route profiles, and elevation information.

A few interesting facts about the race course – Part of the course uses the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, which has existed for over 165 years. Part of the course is run on portions of the Buckeye Trail. For approximately 1,444 miles, this trail winds around Ohio, reaching every corner of the state. It was first envisioned in the late 1950’s as a trail from the Ohio River to Lake Erie, but evolved into a large loop, branching both north and east from Cincinnati. Along portions of the trail, parts of the original canal, including locks and bridges, are still visible.

Race day packet pick-up is available from 3:00 – 3:45 A.M. Shuttle buses will take runners (registration for the shuttle required) from the finish line to the start line for a 4:30 A.M. check in. The race starts promptly at 5:00 A.M. 30 hour cut-off. If you want to follow your runner on-line, this event offers a Live Webcast with a finish line web-cam. Looking at the latest list of registered runners, it appears as if both Mark Godale (16:07:10) and Dawn Malone (22:04:13) will be returning to defend their 2007 titles.

In addition to Burning River, there are a few other ultra events to note….

Kat’cina Mosa 100k Mountain Challenge Run (Sat., Aug. 2 in Springville, Utah) – “Kat’cina Mosa” is the Hopi spelling for the Cat Kachina, also sometimes referred to as a Black Cat Kachina. Within Hopi mythology, the spiritual being Kachinas are said to live on the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona. Kachina dolls are used to acquaint children with some of the many Kachinas. In Hopi the word Kachina is often used to represent the spiritual beings themselves, the dolls, and the people who dress as Kachinas for ceremonial dances. Hopi history aside, this course is touted as a “very, very challenging, difficult and scenic loop course through the Wasatch Mountains above Provo, Utah”. Approximately 42% of the course follows portions of the Squaw Peak 50 course (Mile 2.1, Pole Heaven to mile 16.27, Rock Canyon; and mile 24, just past Big Springs to mile 38.5, Little Valley). The course is 48% dirt trails, 44% dirt roads and 8% paved. 17,404 feet of elevation gain and loss, 13,000 feet of which is covered prior to mile 28.5 in 3 separate climbs. The remainder of the course covers the final 4,000 feet or so of climb.

Wild West 100k, Grin and Bear It 50k and Relay (Sat., Aug. 2 in Lowell, MI) – This is the Michigan Trail State Championships for the 100k, 50k and 25k distances. “What an opportunity to prove your man-hood or woman-hood! Come on out to West Michigan and see if you can tame our trails out in the Wild Country Side. Hence the name the WILD (RUN ON TRAILS) and WEST (WEST MICHIGAN).” According to the race web-site, this is true ultra trail race course that comes complete with hazards such as shallow water crossings and rolling trails, and states “don’t let the last things on your mind become the first things on your mind during your race! – cover all the little details…bring extra shoes, socks, flash light, gel packs, extra clothes, food, etc. if you don’t have a crew coming with you to crew your race then let the race directors know so that they can keep an extra eye on you.”

HURL Elkhorn 50 Mile Endurance Run (Sat., Aug. 2 in Montana) – Started in 1989, this event was originally a 100k, ranked by Ultrarunning Magazine as one of the toughest 100k trail races in the United States as well as being one of the largest. The 100k run was changed to a 50 mile event in 2005, and a 50k option was added in 2006. The 50 mile course consists of approximately 38 miles of single track trail, 2 miles of unimproved jeep road and 10 miles of dirt forest service roads. There are 8 well stocked aid stations (the farthest a runner will have to run without an aid station is about 10 miles). The course runs through many of the areas covered by the initial 100k race.

Skyline 50k (Sun., Aug. 3 in Castro Valley, CA) – This is the 27th annual running of this moderately hilly, predominately single track trail event. 8 hour time limit, with a 3.5 hour cut-off at mile 14.4. Numerous maps, elevation profiles, course description, etc… can be found on the race web-site.

12 Hours at Cool Night Run (Sat., Aug. 2 in Cool, CA) – The 6th Race in the 2008 Race Series, this 12-hour trail run is a night run, starting at 7:00 P.M. The course is a 9-
mile loop of single-track and fire roads, with about 900 feet of total elevation gain/loss.

Bartlett Park Ultras (Sat., Aug. 2 in Bartlett, TN) – Counter-clockwise loops utilizing 8 miles of heavily shaded trails in Bartlett Park. 50 mile, 40 miles, and 50K options. The trail is fairly flat with few rocks, BUT plenty of roots. The course is said to be “very runable for the entire loop except for the creek crossing at about mile 6.2 of the loop and one short steep hill at mile 7.1 of the loop.”

Hot To Trot 8 Hour (Sat., Aug. 2 in Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve, Decatur, GA) – The race is run on a 1.12 mile basically flat trail loop that is “potentially muddy” and contains some wooden boardwalk and a bit of pavement. What is interesting about this event – due to temperatures “easily in the 90s” with humidity “off the scale,” the race only accepts veteran ultra runners, with the RD stating, “if I do not know you, proof of worthiness is required…this is NOT a good first ultra due to the potentially extreme heat.”

Joe Kleinerman 12 Hour Run (Sat., Aug. 2 in Bayside, NY) – Part of the New York Ultrarunning Grand Prix Series, the course is a mainly flat (with one significant rise) certified 1709 yard loop on macadam footpaths.

If ultra events don’t whet your appetite this weekend, marathons are sure to leave you starving, as there are really only two to note. Want to run across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco, you can still register for the San Francisco Marathon (Sun., Aug. 3 in San Francisco, CA). What’s that? You don’t want to run on pavement this weekend. No problem. For $55 you can still register for the Yukon River Trail Marathon (Sun., Aug. 3 in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada).

That will do it for this week.

Anthony Portera
a contributing author to