This Week In Running (Week of 8/23 + 8/24)

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

By on August 20, 2008 | 6 comments

Welcome back to yet another edition of This Week In Running, brought to you in part by, your source for mud, mountains, miles and so much more. Today’s installment of TWIR takes a look at a few of the races on tap for the weekend of August 23 and 24, 2008.

But, before we move into the week ahead, let’s take a look back at some of the week that was. We start with the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, one of two featured events in last week’s edition of TWIR. The 13 mile Pikes Peak Ascent got off to a wet start on Saturday, August 16. Light rain and temperatures in the 50s greeted those of the 1,927 registered entrants that came to the starting line. Simon Gutierrez of Alamosa, Colorado and Tim Parr of Gunnison, Colorado put on a show, with Gutierrez (2:18:09) edging Parr (2:19:33) by only a minute and 24 seconds. 759 runners completed the event and endured miserable weather at the summit, described as in the 30s with fog, sleet, grapple, wind and cold. In the Pikes Peak Marathon on Sunday, Matt Carpenter (3:36:54) successfully defended his 2007 title by topping Dave Mackey (3:51:57) for his 8th Pikes Peak Marathon title. In the 2007 event, Carpenter also bested Mackey by less than 2 minutes.

In the Where’s Waldo 100k Ultramarathon, the 2008 USA 100km Trail Championship, a slew of ultra running elites and legends participated and were highlighted in last week’s edition of TWIR. But, it was one of those not mentioned that took first place honors in this event that certainly lived up to its billing. Neil Olsen (1st), Nate McDowell (2nd) and Joe Grant (3rd) all finished within 5 minutes of each other, with Olsen recording the win in 10:06:54. On the women’s side, Prudence L’Heureux (11:12:36) held off Krissy Moehl (11:24:50) to capture the title.

Lastly, the Leadville Trail 100 took place on Saturday and Sunday, with Duncan Callahan taking first place honors in a time of 18:02:39, edging out Andrew Skurka (18:17:25). Helen Cospolish easily won the women’s division finishing in 23:21:53, over an hour ahead of Stephanie Ehret (24:43:28). [Trail Goat note: At times the weather at the Leadville 100 was a crappy as that at the Pike’s Peak Ascent. The finishing rate was very low and for good reason – 35F with a mix of rain, grapple, and hail along with winds and lightning made the race not so fun at times. It was, however, a great time to try out my Rab Drillium jacket with eVent fabric. It performed beautifully dryfully.]

With the past behind us, let’s look to the future as we move on with the show…..

There are two 100 mile races this weekend to keep an eye on, but, today’s featured race is a stage race (taking place from August 25 to August 30), one that a certain ultra running periodical (not to be named) refuses to consider an ultra running event (as none of the 6 stages are longer then 26.2 miles), despite its 110 miles in length, nearly 25,000 feet of elevation gain, and altitudes reaching over 12,500 feet. The 6-day stage race, the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run, will feature up to 150 teams of two runners each competing for $20,000 in prize money while taking on 110 miles of the spectacular scenery of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

The TransRockies course, running from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek, passing through the White River and San Isabel National Forests, consists primarily of a mix of single track and forest roads. Racers are housed in a tent city. Each morning, the racers will leave the race village en masse and tackle the day’s course before arriving at the particular stage finish where the race village has been rebuilt from the night before. The particular stages of this event are detailed on the Route and Stages page of the race web-site, but, route and stages listed are merely “offered as inspiration and a guide of what to expect,” as the final route remains top secret until just before start of the race. Although subject to change, the running elevations and surface types look like this:
Percent of distance at various elevations:
  • 7,000′ to 8,000′ – 3%
  • 8,000′ to 9,000′ – 31%
  • 9,000′ to 10,000′ – 28%
  • 10,000′ to 11,000′ – 27%
  • 11,000′ to 12,000′ – 10%
  • 12,000′ to 13,000′ – 1%
Percent of distance on various running surfaces:
  • Dirt and Gravel Roads – 37%
  • Non-Motorized Single and Double Trails – 33%
  • 4-Wheel Drive and Motorized Trails – 18%
  • Paved Roads and Pathways – 12%

Among the TransRockies Run participants are’s very own Bryon Powell (teaming up with Martin Gaffuri as team “Wings of Glory”), and team “Montrail,” featuring fellow Dreamchaser Matt Hart and Sean Meissner.

In addition to the TransRockies Run, there are some other ultra events happening this week, including the following:
Cheat Mountain Moonshine Madness (Fri., Aug. 22 in West Virginia) – At 9 p.m. this Friday the inaugural edition of the Cheat Mountain Moonshine Madness kicks off. The race starts at 4,000′ with participants logging 6,300′ of elevation gain by the end of the 50 mile loop, which runs almost entirely through Monongahela National Forest. This night time race is hosted by the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners and directed by ultra standout, Adam Casseday. Check out the course map and course description for the details of the kind of fun folks can expect out there. If anyone still wants to enter CMMM, you can do so on Wednesday or Thursday for $70.

The Wildest Run in the West (Sat., Aug. 23 in California) – Feeling empty about this year’s cancellation of the Western States Endurance Run? Upset that you couldn’t run all or a portion of the Western States course? Never fear, as this a new 100k event follows a large portion of the Western States course. Nearly 60 miles of the course runs through remote wilderness areas. The race begins at the McGuire Boat Ramp at French Meadows Reservoir and ends at Memorial Park in Foresthill. There are eleven well-stocked aid stations on this “demanding course.” To qualify to run this event, runners must have completed at least one trail 50 mile or longer race within the last two years within the cutoff time established by the race.”This is an extremely hard mountain ultra.

Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run (Sat., Aug. 23-24 in Seattle, Washington) – Entry for this event is closed. In its 10th year, CC100 (with a 32-hour time limit) features 20,470 feet of elevation gain and is run on trails (75%) and dirt roads (25%). 8-time finisher Jaime Gifford returns to defend his 2007 championship (he has won the event twice). In ’07, Gifford finished in 20:52, just 23 minutes ahead of the women’s champion Darcy Africa (21:15). Todd Walker holds the men’s course record of 19:52, and Darcy Africa’s 2007 finish set the women’s course record. Pictures (like the great trail view to the left) and past race reports can be found on the CC100 web-site (HERE). The CC100 2008 Runner’s Manual offers, among other things, a complete course description. 72% of the 93 starters finished the 2007 edition of CC100, the highest percentage in its history. In 2006, hot conditions with temperatures in the mid-90s resulted in only a 64% finish rate, its lowest percentage since the 2001 running (63%).

Lean Horse Hundred and Half Hundred (Sat., Aug. 23-24 in Hot Springs, South Dakota) – Out-and-back course with minimal elevation change and a 30-hour time limit. Akos Konya was the 2007 winner in a time of 15:24. Rumor has it that Badwater women’s champion Jamie Donaldson will participate this year. (Read TWIR’s interview with Jamie Donaldson)

Green Lakes Endurance Runs (Sun., Aug. 24 in Fayetteville, New York) – 100k and 50k options. 12.5 km loop course on a variety of trail surfaces. Two ascents and one long descent traverse the upland forest. These steep shaded trails have some roots, ruts, and stones. The trails in the upper meadows are mostly grassy, rolling, and unshaded. The lakeside trails are shaded, have a few roots and are generally flat. Overall, the course lends itself to quick running without technical hikes.

Silver Lake 50-50 (Sat., Aug. 23 in Pinckney, Michigan) – First year of this event features 50 mile and 50k options on a 12.5 mile loop course. Dirt trail (75% shaded) with some roots, rocks and sand, with approximately 1/4 mile of pavement per loop. The hills are all runnable with the largest/longest involving 20 to 40 feet of climbing. The course is measured by a Garmin GPS, so, be wary of the actual distance (may be more or less then 50m/50k).

Headlands 50k (Sat., Aug. 23 in California) – Billed as “a singularly beautiful, spectacularly scenic and brutally hilly 50k trail run in the coastal headlands of the Golden Gate National Recreation area and the Mt. Tamalpais California State Park… this course is exceptionally demanding for a first time 50k and there are 7 major hills in the race with a cumulative climb of over 7,000 feet”.

Salt Point Trail Run (Sun., Aug. 24 in Jenner, California) – 11k, 26k and 50k options (hikers welcome). Run on trails that travel through forested hills, open grasslands, pristine prairies, and pygmy forests with panoramic views of rocky coves and the Pacific Ocean. There are 4,960 feet of elevation gain for the 50k.

There are a few marathons scheduled for this weekend, including the Mesa Falls Marathon (Sat., Aug. 23 in Ashton, ID), the Park City Marathon (Sat., Aug. 23 in Park City, UT), and the Green River Run With the Horses Marathon (Sat., Aug. 23 in Green River, WY).

That will wrap it up for this week. Be sure to check back next week for a brand new edition of This Week In Running!

[Trail Goat note: If you like TWIR, be sure to check out the author, Tony Portera’s I Run Ultras website.]

Anthony Portera
a contributing author to