This Week In Running (Week of 4/18 & 4/19)

Welcome to today’s edition of This Week In Running, and a look at some of the races/events that are scheduled […]

By on April 15, 2009 | 3 comments

Welcome to today’s edition of This Week In Running, and a look at some of the races/events that are scheduled for the weekend of April 18 and April 19, 2009, a weekend in which we celebrate the birthday of the great Haile Gebrselassie (April 18), the current marathon world record holder. Born in Asella, Arsi Province, Ethiopia, Gebrselassie, one of 10 children, has broken over 25 world records and is widely considered one of the greatest distance runners in history. He won the Berlin Marathon at age 35, becoming the first person to run a sub-2:04 marathon, and setting the current marathon world record at 2:03:59. So, happy birthday Haile….how about we throw out some possible ultras for you to set world records in !

Mount Diablo 50 mile and marathonWe begin with one of TWIR’s favorite running groups, Pacific Coast Trail Runs (PCTR), and the Diablo Marathon & 50 Mile Endurance Run (Sunday, April 19 at 7:00 AM). The Marathon is sold out (but you can still join the Wait List), and the 50-miler has only 10 spots remaining. The event starts at the Mitchell Canyon Trailhead, in Mount Diablo State Park (Clayton, California). Mount Diablo is the perfect place for spectacular San Francisco Bay Area views, including a view of the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the West on a clear day. The course takes runners on a thorough tour of Mount Diablo, including Eagle Peak, Castle Rock, Rock City, Balancing Rock, North Peak, and Mt. Olympia. The marathon comes complete with a whopping 7,950 feet of elevation gain. The 50-miler weighs in with 13,340 feet of elevation gain. Fully stocked aid stations are located every 4 to 9 miles, where runners can find fresh fruit, salty snacks, assorted candy, boiled potatoes and sports drink. Due to the long distances between aid stations, it is recommended that runners carry at least 20 oz. of water.

Leona Divide 50 mileThe 18th annual, and sold out, Leona Divide 50 Miler takes place this weekend (Saturday, April 18, 2009 at 6:00 AM) in Lake Hughes, California. The course consists of 33.7 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail and 16.3 miles of dirt road. This event features 10 aid stations, a 13-hour cut-off, and a 28.4 mile option for runners 60 and over. Jorge Pacheco won the 2008 edition (he also won in 2003, 2006 and 2007), setting a new course record of 6:29:15. Devon Crosby-Helms took top honors on the women’s side with a time of 7:44:18. Scott Jurek has won this even 4 times (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004). RUNNER ALERT – Certain roads that are part of the course have been closed by the United States Forest Service, resulting in changes to the first half of the LD course. Make sure to check out the race web-site for more details.

Forget the PR Mohican 50kWant to set a 50k PR ? Don’t enter the “Forget the PR” Mohican 50k (Sunday, April 19 at 8:00 AM in Mohican State park, Loudonville, Ohio). This event is a “challenging, hill infested, technical running, lakeside, riverside, covered bridge and resort style packed race….basically, this race is going to work you.” But hey, if you finish you do get a Forget the PR Mohican 50k custom belt buckle.

How about a Tejas Trails Ultra race this weekend ? Sure, why not ? Rocky Hill Ranch near Smithville, Texas will host the Rocky Hill Ranch 50 this weekend (Saturday, April 18), giving runners 50 mile, 50k and 25k options. The course is on tough and twisted single-track trail and jeep road, with aid stations located about every 5 miles.

Ouachita Trail 50 Mile and 50KThe 19th Ouachita Trail 50 Mile and 50K will take place in Maumelle Park, Little Rock, Arkansas on Saturday. The 50-mile course is an out-and-back with 44 miles of trail and 6 miles of asphalt. The 50k course consists of 25 miles of trail and 6 miles of asphalt. There are several highway crossings with no traffic control, so, brush up on your Frogger skills.

There are plenty of other ultra events taking place this weekend, including the following : Ruth Anderson 50k/50m/100k (San Francisco, California), Desert R.A.T.S. Trail Running Festival (Fruita, Colorado), Bull Run Run 50 Mile (Clifton, Virginia) [Bryon Powell from will be working the Do Loop aid station], and the Mt. Si Relay & Ultra Runs (Snoqualmie, Washington). Make sure to check out each event’s web-site for more details.

Do not forget about the marathons this weekend. There are several, highlighted by the 113th running of the Boston Marathon (Monday, April 20 in Boston, Mass.).

Saturday, April 18
Jackson Marathon (Jackson, TN)
Charlottesville Marathon (Charlottesville, VA)
Ocean City, MD Marathon (Ocean City, MD)
Salt Lake City Marathon (Salt Lake City, UT)
Wenatchee Marathon (Wenatchee, WA)

Sunday, April 19
Earth Day Challenge Marathon (Gambier, OH)
River City Marathon (Sacramento, CA)
Go! St. Louis Marathon (St. Louis, MO)

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

That will put the wraps on things for this week.
Be sure to stop by next week for another edition of This Week In Running !

Anthony Portera
a contributing author to