This Week In Running (Week of 11/29 & 11/30)

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

By on November 25, 2008 | 5 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. With the last 100-mile race of the 2008 racing season in the books, today we focus on a few shorter distance ultras on tap for the weekend of November 29 and 30, 2008, including our featured race, the Quad Dipsea.

[Trail Goat Note: But first, as Thanksgiving is tomorrow, let me express my thanks for Tony Portera of for all the hard work he puts into preparing This Week in Running for iRunFar and all of you each week! I hope that those of you who regularly read Tony’s TWIR will leave a note of appreciation in the comments. Thanks again, Tony!]

And first second, let’s take a quick look back at last weekend’s Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Trail Race. We mentioned in last week’s edition of TWIR that this event historically sees no more than 65% of starters finish, and that in 2007, only 65 of the 132 starters crossed the finish line (49%), and only 20 of those finishers made it in under 24 hours. JJ100 in 2008 was no exception. Only 72 of the 147 starters finished (48.9%), and of those finishers only 26 finished sub-24 hours. Jeff Riley took top honors with a time of 16:48:32, surviving early battles with Andrew Heard (17:38:36 – 2nd overall) and Brian Krogmann (18:25:35 – 3rd overall). On the women’s side of the trail, Jamie Donaldson once again ran away from the field, taking top honors (and finishing 4th overall) with a time of 18:43:57. Deborah Livingston finished 2nd (20:17:57), and 2006 JJ100 women’s champion Michelle Barton came in 5th (23:42:01).

With Donaldson’s victory at JJ100, TWIR has to make mention of Ultra Runner of the Year honors. (iRunFar interview) Is there a more deserving female ultra runner out there ? Is there another female ultra runner with a 2008 racing resume as stacked ? With first place finishes in the H.U.R.T. 100k, Pemberton 50k, Umstead 100 (new course record), Cornbelt 24-hour, Rocky Mountain Double Marathon (new course record), Badwater (3rd overall and new course record), Salomon Equinox 6 Hour (2nd overall), and Javelina Jundred 100, as well as a 5th overall performance (and 1st American) in the 24 Hour World Championships, Donaldson is TWIR’s favorite to win !

Quad Dipsea logoWe begin this week with the The Quad Dipsea, a 28.4-mile trail ultra. Starting and finishing in Mill Valley, the course follows the Dipsea Trail westward to Stinson Beach (out-and-back twice over the same course as the Dipsea Race and the Double Dipsea). The race has 9,276 feet of both climb and decent, and features much stair climbing – 671 stairs….4 times. First held in 1983 with only 8 runners, the race is now limited to about 250 runners. Since the course follows that of the Dipsea race, we might as well fill you in on it.

The Dipsea Race is well known for its scenic course and challenging trails. After traversing a few blocks in Mill Valley’s downtown, runners climb 671 stairs leading up the side of Mount Tamalpais, and then pass through Muir Woods National Monument, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Bouncy Castle For Sale and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The start is at the intersection of Throckmorton and Cascade Drive in Mill Valley, which drew its name from having the first saw mill in Marin County. The Dipsea Trail is the most direct route connecting the town of Mill Valley, located near the northwestern shores of Richardson Bay, with the village of Stinson Beach, situated along the Pacific coast. Stinson Beach is a popular tourist destination, located about a 30-minute drive north of San Francisco on Highway 1, via the Golden Gate Bridge. The ascent over the southern shoulder of Mount Tam reaches its apex around the top of Cardiac Hill, 4.1 miles into the race. Among the challenges facing participants are the Dipsea Trail’s uneven footing, single-track footpaths, and almost invariably steep terrain.

The Derby 50k Ultra Run takes place this Saturday in Derby, North Carolina. 31.6 miles on 3 loops of rolling hills in a beautiful country setting on asphalt and dirt. It’s a great event for those wanting to do their first ultra run. There is no cut off. This is a 31.6-mile fun run with no bells and whistles. The course is not closed to traffic. Derby Road is in the middle of nowhere but travelers use it to get somewhere. PLEASE RUN CAREFULLY!

The Bartram Forest 50k (and marathon) kicks off its 4th year on Saturday in Milledgeville, Georgia. This is a 5.25 mile loop course in the shape of a skewed figure-8 and features some minor hills and sand, some gravel, and many roots or obstacles.

Also taking place this weekend is the Santa Barbara 9 Trails Endurance Run. Information about this event, including a course map and trail descriptions, can be found at the race web-site.

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

Thursday, November 27

Atlanta Marathon (Atlanta, Georgia) – The oldest marathon in the Southeast, and one of the 10 oldest in the country.

Sunday, November 30

Seattle Marathon (Seattle, Washington)
Space Coast Marathon (Cocoa Village, Florida) – Florida’s oldest marathon.

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