This Week In Running (Week of 11/22 & 11/23)

Welcome back to another edition of This Week In Running, brought to you in part by, your source for […]

By on November 19, 2008 | Comments

Welcome back to another edition of This Week In Running, brought to you in part by, your source for mud, mountains, miles and so much more. As the 2008 racing season begins to wind down, we today preview a few of the races on tap for the weekend of November 22 and 23, 2008, including our featured race, the JFK 50 Mile .

JFK 50 mile runThere is no better way to describe and discuss the 46th annual running of the John F. Kennedy 50 Mile Race (JFK 50) than to direct your attention to an article featured in the September 2008 issue of Running Times Magazine. Written by‘s Bryon Powell, the article (“Presidential Race: JFK 50, The Legacy of the JFK 50 Lives On“) will give you an in depth view of the history of the race, as well as a look at the race course.

In its simplest form, the course consists of the following : The first 2.5 miles are on a well-paved road that climbs up 500 feet to meet the Appalachian Trail. The next 13.0 miles basically (except for two miles of paved road between 3.5 and 5.5 miles) follow this rolling and sometimes very rocky section of the famous North-South footpath. At approximately 14.5 miles the course goes down a series of steep “switchbacks” that then crosses under Rt. 340 and connects with the C&O Canal towpath. The “Canal” section of the JFK 50 Mile is 26.3 miles (from 15.5-41.8 miles) of almost totally flat unpaved dirt surface that is free of all automotive traffic. The JFK 50 Mile route leaves the C&O Canal towpath at Dam #4 and proceeds to follow gently rolling paved country roads the last 8.4 miles to the finish.

Also taking place this weekend are the Dizzy Fifties Trail Runs. This 50k trail run, with 40 and 50 mile options, takes place in Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville, Alabama. The course is a 9.59 mile “two loop” course, consisting of a northern loop on the Blue Trail with extensions on the Mountain Mist Trail and the Sinks Trail (approximately 4.00 miles), and a southern loop on the White Trail and various single-track bike trails between the Hiker’s Parking Lot and Shaughnessy Point (approximately 5.59 miles). The northern loop is the hillier of the two, with one long downhill section, and one long uphill section. The total elevation gain for the 9.59 mile loop is approximately 700 feet. The southern loop is extremely flat, following the White Trail and a number of the new bike trails that have been cut in the area inside the White Trail loop. The southern loop has 0.3 miles of paved road, 0.75 miles of fine gravel / dirt road, and the rest is dirt trails with a lot of it being single-track trails. The northern loop has two sections of paved road totaling 0.2 miles, 0.1 miles of small gravel footpath, and the rest is dirt trails, with the majority being single-track trails. A little loop, run before the first big loop only, is 2.3 miles long, with the first 0.1 miles on pavement, the last 0.1 miles on gravel, and the remainder on dirt trails.

The Santa Monica Mountain Trail Run (9k, 18k, 30k, & 50k options) will take place on Sunday in La Jolla Canyon, Point Mugu State Park, Malibu, California. The course provides spectacular vistas of the coast, inland grasslands, tranquil ponds, and rugged mountain peaks as runners travel through the western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains.

There are a few marathons to choose from this weekend, including the following:

Saturday, November 22

Valley of Fire Marathon (Valley of Fire State Park, Overton, NV)

Sunday, November 23
Flying Monkey Marathon (Nashville, TN)
Philadelphia Marathon (Philadelphia, PA)

You can, of course, click on any of the marathons listed above and peruse its website for more information.

That will wrap things up for this week. Be sure to stop by next week for the final 2008 edition of This Week In Running !

Anthony Portera
Anthony Portera is a contributing author to