This Week In Running (Double Edition – Weeks of 8/30 + 8/31 and 9/6 + 9/7)

Good morning, and welcome back to another edition of This Week In Running (“TWIR”), brought to you in part by […]

By on August 27, 2008 | 3 comments

Good morning, and welcome back to another edition of This Week In Running (“TWIR”), brought to you in part by, your source for mud, mountains, miles and so much more. TWIR is off to the Grand Tetons for the Grand Teton 100 Mile Race and the Labor Day holiday. Thus, today’s edition of TWIR is a special double edition, and takes a look at a few of the races on tap for the weekends of August 30 and 31, 2008, as well as September 6 and 7, 2008.

Of course, before we get to the fun stuff to come, let’s take a quick look at the results of last week’s Cascasde Crest 100. Tom Ederer took first place honors, finishing in 20:49:40. Phil Shaw (21:15:24), Keith Knipling (21:40:00) and Jesse Berwald (21:47:42) followed closely behind. Suzanna Bon (23:06:13) won the women’s race, besting Devin Corcoran (23:48:11) by just under 42 minutes. Click HERE for the full results.

And now, let’s see what’s on tap for the next two weeks as we move on with the show…..

100s here….100s here….get ’em while they’re hot. Almost half of the year’s 100-mile races will take place between Labor Day Weekend and the end of November, and the next two weeks offers four spectacular events to choose from. We start with the featured race, the Grand Teton 100 Mile race in Alta, Wyoming. In its fourth year, the Grand Teton Races offer a 100 mile, 50 mile and trail marathon event, and are put on by race directors Lisa and Jay Batchen.

A family and crew friendly race, GTR100’s course is a 25 mile clover-leaf loop (4 times for the 100-milers, twice for the 50-milers, and once plus an additional 1.2 mile section of trail for the marathoners), with roughly 4,975 feet of climbing per loop. The terrain includes single-track trails, service roads, bike trails and a short (but scenic) 3.2 mile stretch of pavement (per loop) with beautiful meadows, valley vistas and several dead-on views of the Grand Teton, the highest mountain in Grand Teton National Park, and the second highest mountain in the State of Wyoming. Runners should expect rolling hills, steep climbs and loose rock. The 100-mile race has a 36-hour cut-off.

The course has 9 aid stations per 25-mile loop, with the longest distance between aid station being approximately 3.9 miles. As previously mentioned, it is a clover-leaf loop. Section A (Fred’s Mountain) is the steepest, most difficult section of the course. Runners must climb 1,840 feet over 2.8 miles to the top of the mountain, which includes a few technical, rocky sections as they get closer to the top. After summiting Fred’s Mountain (9,840 feet), runners face a quad-jarring descent back to the main aid station. Section B (Mill Creek Trail) is a 14.4 mile loop that takes runners on cat-track/dirt roads, single-track trails, dirt/gravel roads, and about 3.2 miles of pavement. The pavement section (a climb up Ski Hill Road) includes some very sharp, blind curves which are quite dangerous, although runners will experience some amazing views of the Tetons in this portion of the course. This section includes several challenging climbs. Section C (Rick’s Basin) comprises the final 5 miles of each 25-mile loop. This section is the least difficult of the three sections, and features service roads and trails. When entering the top of the basin in the evening, runners will be able to see the head lamps of other runners winding their way through other parts of the basin. There is only one aid station in this section, and it is unmanned with water only.

In 2007, Andy Jones-Wilkins set the 100-mile course record (19:35:20), outlasting Matt Hart (20:53:39) to take the overall title. Laurie Andrews won the women’s title (27:45:22). Jones-Wilkins would comment on the course, stating that “the climbing and descending on this course are brutal and keeping focused when night falls makes this a race that tests you physically and mentally“.

In addition to the Grand Tetons 100 Mile Race, The Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run, “the toughest footrace you’ll ever love”, will take place on September 6, 2008 in Layton, Utah. WF100 is one of the most uniquely challenging ultra running events around. The race features contrasting terrain and weather – peaks and valleys; trail and scree; heat and cold; wet and dry. “The primitive and isolated nature of the course is both its beauty and its challenge, for it requires the individual runner to rely primarily on himself or herself rather than the race’s support systems. Wasatch is not just distance and speed; it is adversity, adaptation and perseverance.”

WF100 is a point-to-point race (including 26,000+ feet of climbing) that traverses the heart of the central Wasatch Mountains, one of the most beautiful ranges of the Rocky Mountains. The course begins in Kaysville, Utah, at East Mountain Wilderness Park running north to the Bonnevile Shoreline Trail to Fernwood Picnic Grounds, and ascends nearly 5,000 feet in 5 miles to the ridge line. The trail then turns south and follows the crest of the Wasatch along Francis Peak Ridge, through Farmington Flats and Arthur’s Fork, along Sessions Ridge, over City Creek Pass, Big Mountain Pass and Bald Mountain, through Parley’s, Lamb’s, and Millcreek Canyons, by Desolation Lake and along the Wasatch Crest trail, through Big Cottonwood and American Fork Canyons, and up to Pole Line Pass. After traversing along Mill Canyon Peak on the western side, the trail turns back north on its eastern side, down Pot Hollow Canyon, up to the Crest Road in Wasatch Mountain State Park, then drops down Lime Canyon slipping over to a snowshoe trail just before coming out on the Snake Creek road and the run to the finish at The Homestead in Midway, Utah. The course follows footpaths, game trails and dirt roads, with a few short stretches of pavement, at altitudes from 5,000 to 10,480 feet. While much of the course follows well defined trails, there are stretches of sagebrush, scree, waist-high grass, and fist-sized cobblestones as well. Runners have encountered deer, elk, moose, porcupines, rattlesnakes, bear, mountain lions, sheep and sheepherders.

WF100 comes with, of course, its own very special warning: “Be Prepared: This event is extremely demanding, and should only be undertaken by athletes in excellent physical condition. All entrants should be familiar with basic first-aid, and know the symptoms and treatment for heat exhaustion, hypothermia, frostbite, and altitude sickness. Some course sections between aid stations exceed nine miles. Runners should be well-equipped to care for themselves and effect self-rescue if necessary. Only runners who can demonstrate successful ultra running experience or its equivalent will be considered for entry.”

The course record at WF100 is held by Kyle Skaggs (19:35:14 in 2007) and Ann Trason (22:27:10 in 1998). Several race reports from past year’s runnings can be found HERE.

Still want more 100 mile races, how about the Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile Race, running from Gooseberry Falls State Park to Lutsen, Minnesota. Starting on Friday, September 5th, this point-to-point trail run provides fourteen aid stations, with no more than 10 miles between any two aid stations. More than 99% of the course is run on the Superior Hiking Trail. Detailed trail maps with descriptions of each section can be found HERE. In the 2007 edition, Wynn Davis ran away from the rest of the field to win in 23:17:26. The next closes competitor finished over 3 hours later (Scott Meyers in 26:59:08). The race has a 38-hour cutoff, features 20,200 feet of climbing, and has had a higher than 69% finish rate only twice (1993 – the race’s inception – and 1997). Ian Torrence hold the pre-2001 course record (18:59:58). In 2001, the course changed from 93% trail to 100% trail. The post-2001 course record is held by Sean Andrish (21:42:11).

That’s it for the 100s, right? Nope. The 15th annual Haliburton Forest 100 Mile Race will take place on Saturday, September 6 in Haliburton Forest, West Guilford, Canada. With aid stations every 5 miles, the course is a double out-and-back, with 75% of it trails and 25% of it on forest roads. 50 mile, 50k and 25k options as well. Total climb and descent of approximately 6,782 feet. The course record of 15:40:35 was set in 2002 by Victor Hickey. Sue Johnston holds the women’s course record (18:47:20 in 2001). (iRF reader Derrick informs us that these records are likely on an older, faster Haliburton course.)

There are several other events taking place over the course of the next two weeks. Here are just a few of them :

Flatlanders 6 and 12 Hour Runs (Sun., Aug. 31 in Fenton, Missouri) – Flat 1.4 mile asphalt loop around Fenton City Park. These races are held to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Last year the race raised over $3700 between race proceeds and individual pledges.

Run on the Sly 50k (Sun., Aug. 31 in El Dorado County, California) – 50k, 20 mile and 8 mile races taking place in the Sierra Nevada oothills on private and forest roads and trails. The race benefits the El Dorado Search and Rescue teams that risk their lives to save those that get lost in the wilderness.

The McKenzie River Trail Run (Sat., Sept. 6 in Oregon) – “150 runners. 31 miles. 20 years. 1 river.” The final event in the Oregon Trail Ultra Series, this 50k runs along the beautiful McKenzie River Trail and offers a technically challenging course with breathtaking scenery. Check out the course map for more details on the route.

Uncle Joe 50k (Sat., Sept. 6 near Newport, WA) – This race follows an exceptionally scenic course composed of a loop plus two out-and-back sections. Runners will enjoy views of the Pend Oreille River and mountains of the Colville National Forest of Northeastern Washington and the Selkirk Mountain Range in Idaho All but one mile (asphalt) of the course is on trail or dirt road. This is a challenging course with numerous rigorous climbs. The area is filled with a variety of interesting animals that you might see on the course: white-tail deer, elk, moose, raccoon, bobcat, coyote, cougar, wolverine, black bear, turkey, red squirrel, chipmunk, rabbit, skunk, lizard, turtle, tree frog, garter snake, mourning dove, snow goose, osprey, bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, ruffed grouse, red-shafted flicker, pileated woodpecker, red-naped sapsucker,
house wren, great blue heron, merganser, mallard duck, loon, and turkey vulture.

There are also a few marathons happening in the next two weeks, including :

Mesa Falls Marathon (Sat., Aug. 23 in Ashton, Idaho) – Point to point course that begins in the Targhee National Forest near the headwaters of the Warm River and ends in the Ashton, Idaho (9.8 miles of gravel roads, 2.8 miles of packed trails and 13.6 miles of pavement) . One of our favorite statements from the race web-site “Due to our geographic location and proximity to Yellowstone National Park, a wide variety of wildlife reside in the area including elk, deer, moose, bison, cougars, wolves, and bears. The race committee makes every attempt to clear the race course of unofficial entries prior to the race. However, recognizing that wildlife may not always follow our course rules, there may be four-legged “bandits” on the course at any point. Runners are reminded to use caution if and when encountering wild animals. Please give elk, deer, moose, and bison the right of way—they are bigger than you! If a bear or cougar are spotted, just remember that you don’t want to be the first runner—nor the last!”

Park City Marathon (Sat., Aug. 23 in Park City, Utah) – Features and 8-mile downhill finish. The race guarantees a negative split time.

New Mexico Marathon (Sun., Aug. 31 in Albuquerque, New Mexico) -Point to point, downhill marathon that starts in the shadows of the Sandia Mountains at 5,800 feet. After winding down to the bosque trail in Albuquerque’s North Valley, the course concludes along a tranquil stretch through the scenic North Valley area to finish at 4,800 feet near the historic Old Town Plaza.

Crazy Jim’s Tupelo Marathon (Sun., Aug. 31 in Tupelo, Mississippi) – Ok, we admit that when the web-site loaded to reveal burning letters, a skull and crossbones, and the slogan “trample the weak, hurdle the dead”, we were a little worried. The course is an out-and-back and consists of gently rolling country roads. 5:00 AM pitch black start. We suppose it is the heat that makes this marathon what it is – temperatures can get well into the 90s in Mississippi in late August.

Stumpy’s Marathon (Sun., Sept. 7 in Newark, Delaware) – The race’s motto is : “It’s not a trail race if nobody gets lost.You enter this race at your own risk, and are solely responsible for your own welfare and safety at ALL times. Don’t blame any race volunteer or organizer if you wander off trail, can’t find a porta-potty in time, run into trees, trip over rocks or roots, fall down, get bitten by God knows what, get run over crossing a road, drown in the creek, or otherwise injure your body or self esteem. The race course may include: dirt, bugs, water, dirty bugs, dirty water, mud, rocks, roots, fallen trees, muddy squirrels, dirty snakes, the toothless guys from Deliverance suggesting you make a noise like a piggie, and other low-down nasty stuff. The “course”…..(if you want to call it that) is an interesting jaunt that is guaranteed to be at least 26.2 miles, and will not exceed 28 or maybe 35 miles. It will be vaguely the same as last year’s, spanning 3 parks and 2 states, including gently undulating hills, at least one creek crossing, educational historic markers, single track trail, dirt/gravel roads, and a few level stretches where you can open up that dawgie stride. In the past a few runners have mentioned minor inconveniences such as losing their shoes in the sucking mud; getting stung by swarms of insane hornets, wasps and/or yellowjackets; getting chased by staggering froth-at-the-mouth rodents; and finding fully-engorged ticks on their private parts at the end of the day. We were hoping the state parks people would address these inconveniences, but of course the General Assembly couldn’t allocate the money for it because hell, they didn’t want to increase cigarette or liquor taxes to pay for it. So the best we can suggest is that you picture yourself in a happy place with bright, breezy meadows and groomed gravel pathways with pretty wood bridges, and we’ll explain how to rid yourself of the chiggers, ticks and other appended fauna if, uh when you finish.

Also check out the Mid Mountain Marathon (Sat., Sept. 6 in Park City, Utah) and the Provo Marathon (Sat., Sept. 6 in Provo, Utah).

That will do it for this week’s show. TWIR will return with new editions on Wednesday, September 10th. Until then……
Anthony Portera
Anthony Portera is a contributing author to