This Week In Running (Week of 1/17 & 1/18)

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. This week’s edition of TWIR will preview a few of the races on tap for the weekend of January 17 and 18, 2009, including our featured race, the first 100-miler of the 2009 ultra running season, the H.U.R.T. 100 Mile Endurance Run.

HURT 100 mile trail raceThe H.U.R.T. 100 Mile Endurance Run kicks off at 6:00 AM on Saturday, January 17 on the Honolulu Mauka Trail System in Oahu, and let us assure you, this is one tough race. Consisting almost entirely of single track tropical rain forest trails, the 5-loop course throws nearly 25,000 feet of elevation gain and descent at its runners (capped at 100 entrants), with little to no flat land to be found. The trails are “technical and relentless”. H.U.R.T. 100 is a “tough, root hopping, mud skidding, don’t look over that edge kinda race that makes a trail runner tingle all over in excitement at the beginning, and then ache all over at the end” run on a “root infested, slippery rock trail that is one of the most technical and roughest with no flat areas whatsoever”. Top ultra endurance athlete David Goggins stated in a recent post on his blog that H.U.R.T. 100 “brings nothing but pain”. Goggins has completed H.U.R.T. 100 twice in his running career (2006 & 2007), and that “it put me in a wheelchair both times I completed it”. Goggins is making a return appearance in 2009. The cut-off for this event is 36-hours.

HURT 100 elevation profile
H.U.R.T. 100 elevation profile

One needs to look no farther then the percent of starters finishing H.U.R.T. 100 over the years to get a clear perspective on its difficulty. Only once in the history of this race (run first in 2001) has more then 29% of the field crossed the finish line (39% finished in 2007), and the average finishing rate is only 26.48%. Even more daunting a stat is the number of sub-24 hour finishes that this event has seen in its 8 year history – 2. No, that is not a misprint. Only twice has a runner crossed the H.U.R.T. 100 finish line in under 24 hours (Matt Estes in 2007 – 20:43; and Karl Meltzer in 2006 – 22:16). Krissy Moehl holds the women’s course record with a 26:15 finish in 2007.

Run with the Buffalos 50 mile“Run with the Buffalos” at the Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Run on Saturday, January 17 on Catalina Island off the California coast. Described as “one of the country’s most challenging and scenic 50-milers – no cars, no smog, just great terrain, incredible views, fascinating historical sites, a well-organized race, nice people, great food . . . and even an occasional buffalo sighting.” All, that’s right, ALL proceeds from entry fees go to charity – a variety of island charities, including the Avalon Hospital, Avalon High School scholarships, the Catalina Island Conservancy, the Bill Putnam Health Care Fund and other local organizations. The course is an out-and-back on scenic fire roads from Avalon to the Isthmus, taking runners through Catalina Island’s generally closed interior. Seven (7) aid stations with water, Gatorade, defizzed cola, bananas, oranges, pretzels, M&Ms and Gummi Bears.

Pacifica Trail Run by PCTRPacific Coast Trail Runs (PCTR) consistently offers events with “spectacular courses, unsurpassed aid stations, well-marked trails, accurately measured distances, distinctive shirt designs, and friendly atmosphere – all at a reasonable price”. Well, the 2009 PCTR race series in in fully swing, and its second event, the Pacifica Trail Run, featuring 50k, 30k, 21k and 9k options, takes place on Saturday in Pacifica, California. The 50k course, complete with 7,000+ feet of elevation gain, travels through eucalyptus trees and past Brooks Falls, on its way to North Peak overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Frozen Otter Ultra Trek“For the Love of Misery”. You’ve got to love that motto ! Well, those are the words that Team Fat Otter lives by, and this weekend they host the Frozen Otter Ultra Trek in Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit. The Ice Age Trail spans the entire length of the Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit and is host to some beautiful wildlife and scenery. The Frozen Otter is an opportunity to see it ALL! The goal of the race is to travel the entire length of the forest on the Ice Age Trail and then return. There are approximately 32 miles each way making a total distance of 64 miles. Several locations along the trail will be manned and have a fire, water, and Hammer HEED for the duration of the event. Water will be available at various locations along the course as well. A half distance option is available.

Also taking place this weekend in the ultra world are the Swamp Stomper 50k in Millington, Tennessee, and the Ghost Town 38.5 Mile Race in Sierra County, New Mexico. Head on over to the race web-site for more details and information !

There are a few marathons to choose from this weekend, including the following:< br />
Saturday, January 17

Museum of Aviation Foundation Marathon (Warner, Georgia)

Sunday, January 18

Chevron Houston Marathon (Houston, Texas)
Redding Marathon (Redding, California)
Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon (Phoenix, Scottsdale & Tempe, Arizona)

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 another edition of This Week In Running !