This Week In Running (Week of 8/1 & 8/2)

The dates of August 1st and 2nd are rich in history – Colorado become the 38th state (August 1, 1876), NORAD was created by the United States and Canada (August 1, 1957), “Wild Bill” Hickok was killed while playing poker in Deadwood, SD (August 2, 1876), and yes, John McEnroe and Tatum O’Neal were married (August 1, 1986). Oh, and This Week In Running, somewhat recovered from its Badwater experience, returns to its full-time gig.

First, let’s go back two weeks and look at the results of two 100-milers, the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run and the Vermont 100. At TRT, Erik Skaden took top honors (20:27.0), topping Robert Evans (20:46.5) and Brett Rivers (20:50.4), all three finishing within 23 minutes of each other. Bree Lambert (23:42.2) outlasted Michelle Jensen (24:14.3) and Roxanne Woodhouse (24:14.4) to take the women’s title. On a muggy day in Vermont (TWIR was there to watch most of the action), 51-year old Jack Pilla (16:36:21) finished a comfortable 40 minutes plus ahead of 28-year olds Jason Lantz (17:19:44) and Jim Sweeney (17:55:56) to take top honors. New Yorkers finished 1 and 2 in the women’s race, with Stephanie Case (18:38:42) outlasting Jill Perry (19:30:38).

August 1st offers events covering a variety of distances and locations across the US. We begin, as we always do, with the 100-milers, and head straight for Willoughby Hills, Ohio for the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run. There is not a tremendous amount of detail about the race on the Burning River 100 website, although there is a course guide, links to runner descriptions, and links to videos of certain course sections. Overall, the run follows the scenic Cuyahoga River Valley Corridor and finishes in Cuyahoga Falls, taking runners through several of the region’s most scenic areas, including the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Cleveland Metroparks, and the Metro Parks serving summit County. The race organizers have done a nice job of putting together videos of certain course sections, and below you will find one that details the modified Start to Aid Station A section.

The defending men’s (Tim Clement) and women’s (Connie Gardner) champions are slated to return to defend their titles. Clement and Gardner actually battled for much of the race, before Clement pulled away to victory in 17:40. Garnder followed closely behind in 18:21.

The sold-out Catocin 50k Trail Run takes place on Saturday in Gambrill State Park, Frederick, Maryland. The course is an out-and-back on rocky, slow, difficult and demanding, but run-able, trail. Despite its difficulty, the course does offer a tremendous amount of shade (it is almost entirely covered with luscious tree foliage) and streams (several crossings where you can twinkle your toes in cool beer-commercial type mountain water). Race-day conditions are typically hot, and while the race director does not discourage anyone from entering, the slow and demanding course is “not necessarily the best venue to run your first ultra,” as it has “been known to make grown men weep and women to curse the day race management was born.” The entry fee for this event is a mere $25.00, a bargain for any ultra event (although do not expect any race swag).

The 12 Hours of Cool Night Run kicks off on Saturday at 7:00 PM in Auburn State Recreation Area in Cool, California. This single-track and fire road course contains a meager 900 feet of elevation gain and loss. The $60 entry fee will get your 12 hours on the 9-mile loop course (that’s $5/hr). Aid stations will offer a variety of food, including pancakes, bacon, pizza, home baked goodies, fruit, coffee, coke, soup and other great surprises.


Want a six-hour fun run in the sun ? There are 50 runners signed up for the Sun Burn Six in the Six near Bartlett, Illinois. This is not an official event – there is no official registration or waiver, and it is a totally self-supported fun run. There is no tree coverage on the trail, so be prepared to for some sun. Gaiters are recommended as the trail is loose crushed limestone. Also, bring the bug spray – the area is fairly marshy.


Going to be in the Montana City, Montana area this weekend? Check out the HURL Elkhorn 50 Mile Endurance Run. No, “HURL” has nothing to do with any acts of excretion – it is short for the Helena Ultra Runners League – although the challenging course may be enough to induce some HURLing. This event was first run in 1989 and included a 100k trail race through the Elkhorn Mountains, a 5k and a 10k. In 1997 the event expanded to include a 50k and a 1 mile run/walk. The 100k event was once ranked in Ultrarunning Magazine as one of the toughest 100k trail races in the US, as well as being one of the largest. However, the 1-mile, 5k and 10k were eventually dropped, and the 50/100k formats were changed to a single 50-mile event on a course consisting of mostly all trail, with some dirt forest service roads. 2006 saw a return of the 50k on challenging but scenic trails (the same trails as the 50-mile event). Confused yet? Just head to Montana to see for yourself.

The Rock Run, “50 miles of fun”, is a team or solo event taking place in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The course changes every year as a result of tides and erosion, but runners can expect sand and sun on every leg of the course. A general course description can be found on the event’s web-site. This appears to be a self-supported event.

The 8th annual Kat’cina Mosa 100k Mountain Challenge Run also takes place this weekend in Springville, Utah. “Kat’cina Mosa” is the Hopi spelling for the Cat Kachina, also sometimes referred to as a Black Cat Kachina. Within Hopi mythology, the spiritual being Kachinas are said to live on the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona. Kachina dolls are used to acquaint children with some of the many Kachinas. In Hopi, the word Kachina is often used to represent the spiritual beings themselves, the do
lls, and the people who dress as Kachinas for ceremonial dances. Hopi history aside, the course is a very, very challenging, difficult and scenic loop though the Wasatch Mountains above Provo, Utah. About 42 percent of the course will follow the Squaw Peak 50k course, and consists of 48 percent dirt trails, 44 percent dirt roads, and 8 percent paved roads. Elevation gain is about 17,404 feet, 13,000 feet of which is gained within the first 28.5 miles of the race on 3 separate climbs. Once you knock out those climbs, the back-half of the event only has about 4,000 feet of climbing.

Kat’china Mosa 100k elevation profile

Breathtaking views, challenging terrain and captivating wilderness highlight the Krista Griesacker Memorial 12 Hour Adventure Race in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. The race honors adventure racer and search and rescue instructor Krisa Griesacker, who died while training a few years ago. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Civil Air Patrol’s Search and Rescue School, a place where Krista spent many years training and instructing. Teams of 2 to 3 racers will experience the challenges of Hawk Mountain, including rugged terrain, plenty of elevation changes, and amazing scenery. This is an “adventure race”, thus, plan for approximately 20 miles of trekking and orienteering, 5 miles of paved biking, 14 miles of mountain biking and 7 miles of canoe paddling.

If you didn’t get enough action on Saturday and are looking for a Sunday run, the 28th running of the Skyline 50k in Castro Valley, California offers a scenic and moderately hilly loop course (about 4,750 feet of elevation gain) on dirt trails through East Bay Regional Parks from Lake Chabot Marina to Skyline Gate, returning along much of the Skyline National Recreation Trail. The course was changed in 2003 to include more single-track trails and ridge running, and less of a quad-buster finish. Seven well-stocked aid stations are located along the course. This is a championship event in the 2009 PA/USATF Ultra Grand Prix Series.


Skyline 50k elevation profile

That will wrap things up for this week. Come back next week for a look at some events scheduled for the weekend of August 8th and 9th, and let us know if there are any events happening that you would like featured in an edition of TWIR. Happy running !