This Week In Running (Week of 3/28 & 3/29)

…..But I would run 100 miles and I would run 100 more, just to be the man who runs 100 miles to fall down at your door….Ok, ok, it was walking 500 miles, and 500 more to get to some door 1,000 miles away in The Proclaimers hit song of 1988 “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, which hit #3 in the US Billboard Hot 100, and was the theme song for the 1993 film “Benny & June”. It also served as the theme song for several charity events, including the Terry Fox Run. So, with the semi-theme of 100 miles and charity, with bring you this week’s edition of This Week In Running !

Palm 100 mile runWe begin in the State of Florida with the inaugural Palm 100, a prostate cancer benefit race. In 2008, the estimated number of new cases of prostate cancer was 186,320, and the estimated number of deaths from the affliction was over 28,000. Prostate cancer affects 1 out of every 6 men in the US and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men. The Palm 100 raises money and provides funding for educational outreach and free prostate cancer screenings in South Florida, and supports prostate cancer research to find a cure. A six-runner relay race, this event is a roundtrip jaunt from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach. There is also a creative side to this event – create your own team name, decorate your team vehicle, and insult the competition ! One team (team “ONE in 100”) will feature 100 runners each running one mile, with a goals of extending participation in the race and raising awareness of the mission to combat prostate cancer and raise funds for the cause. Anyone (up to 100 folks) can reserve a place on team “One in 100” – check out the race web-site for more information.
Over half of the Palm 100 course is run along Highway A1A in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, on the barrier island between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. The race begins with a short segment through downtown Fort Lauderdale, has several scenic side road segments, and also a few intracoastal bridge crossings. The vast majority of the route is run on sidewalks (the rest is run on road shoulder). There are segments of road where the shoulder is vary narrow to non-existent, so be wary. In an effort to get more intimate with the race course, race director Bob Becker recently ran the entire 100 miles with a little help from his friends. One runner assisting Bob in his trial run, Bob Gentile, provides a short recap of his time with Mr. Becker HERE.

Staying with the 100 mile theme, Moab, Utah hosts the Moab 100 Endurance Running Race this weekend. Runners can “experience the beautiful desert landscape” while testing their personal limits. “From the immense canyons with 1,000 foot walls to the beautiful La Sal mountains, the town of Moab lies in the midst of it all.” Dubbed as “one of the most family friendly 100 mile races around”, the race is run on the Monitor and Merrimac trail, located just 16 miles north of Moab. 7,000 feet of climbing awaits runners on this 6-mile loop course. There is a 30-hour time limit, and if you don’t finish within that time you will be automatically entered into the 24 Hours of Utah “run solo” category, and will be given an official distance.

Let’s talk about yet another 100-miler, The Barkley Marathons – 100 Mile Run in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee. Considered one of the toughest 100 milers in the world, its 52,900 feet of climb is more than any other 100 miler. Since the races inception in 1986, only 7 runners out of about 650 have finished within the 60-hour cutoff ! In 2001, Blake Wood and David Horton finished in 58:21, but were disqualified for leaving the course. How difficult is this course ? The race web-site points out that Wood won the 2001 Rocky Raccoon 100 in 16:13, and the 1999 Hardrock 100 in 30:11, and that Horton won the 1993 Hardrock 100 in 29:35. Yet, it took these boys nearly 60 hours to complete Barkley ! The race consists of five 20-mile loops with no aid (except for water at 2 spots). For the 100-mile race, you must finish each loop in less than 12 hours. There is a 60 mile “fun run” that has a 40 hour cut-off (13:20 per loop). Runners must find 9 to 11 books located at various points along the course and return a page from each book as proof of completion of each loop. At last year’s event, Brian Robinson set a new course record with a time of 55:42. Take a look at the Barkley flyover :

Moving down to the 50-mile distance, the Lake Sonoma 50 takes place this weekend in Lake Sonoma, Geyserville, California. With a 14-hour cut-off, this event, an out-and-back circumnavigation of the Warm Springs arm of Lake Sonoma, features 10,500 feet of climb and is run on single-track trails (82%) and dirt roads (18%). In its first year (2008), 78% of those starting the race finished (75 of 96).

Want some more climbing ? The Old Goat’s 50 Mile Trail Race is a “relatively benign twenty mile loop followed by a not so benign thirty” mile loop. 12,000 feet of “UP” is highlighted by a continuous 4,000 foot climb from Holy Jim Canyon to the summit of Santiago Peak. This race “ranks among the toughest fifty milers in the country”.

The 5th annual Bel Monte Endurance Run (50 mile, 50k & 25k options) also takes place this weekend (Sherando Lake Recreation Area – George Washington National Forest, Charlottesville, Virginia). Expect some serious climbing in this one, as well – 11,009 feet in the 50 mile race ! The course consists of 90% single-track trail and 10% fire and gravel road. This race serves as the USA Track & Field Virginia 50 Mile Trail Championship.

Cutting back the distance a bit, but not the elevation, check out the #2 event in The Beast Series, the Terrapin Mountain 50k in Sedalia, Virginia. Runners are given 9 hours to deal with the 7,560 feet of elevation gain on this multiple loop course.

There are, of course, a number marathons to choose from this weekend, inc
luding the following :

Saturday, March 28
Ellerbe Springs Marathon (Ellerbe, NC)
Napa Valley Trail Marathon (Calistoga, CA)
Olathe Marathon (Olathe, KS)

Sunday, March 29
ING Georgia Marathon (Atlanta, GA)
Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon (Knoxville, TN)
Virginia Creeper Marathon (Abingdon, VA)
Whidbey Island Marathon (Oak Harbor, WA)

Feel free to click on any of the marathons listed above and peruse its website for more information.

That will do it for this week. Be sure to stop by next Wednesday for another edition of This Week In Running !