All Quiet on the Western Front….or is it ? Well, we certainly are not talking about the novel first published in November and December 1928 in the German newspaper Vossische Zeitung, and in book form in late January 2009 (or the subsequent 1930 and 1979 films of the same title). That book and its sequel, The Road Back, were among the books banned and burned in Nazi Germany. What we are referring to is how quiet it appears to be this weekend in the world of ultrarunning. Then again, it won’t be so quiet out West in Rodeo Beach, Golden Gate National Recreation, California, where this weekend our favorite West Coast running group, PCTR, hosts the Headlands Hundred 50 & 100 Mile Endurance Runs.
In its 3rd year, Headlands offers vistas of the Pacific Coast as runners embark on a scenic tour of the Marin Headlands with views of Tiburon, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. The course is a 25-mile loop run “washing-machine” style. The usual Headlands course has been modified for 2009 “due to the current California State budget cuts” causing Mt. Tamalpais State Park to place a temporary hold on special events. Thus, the usual 19,620 feet of elevation gain for the 100-miler (9,110 feet for the 50-miler) is increased to 20,020 feet (10,010 feet for the 50-miler). Aid stations are located every 4 to 5 miles, but it is highly recommended that runners carry at least 20 oz. of water between aid stations. Headlands is not for the faint of heart. The 100-mile course record is 20:23:52 (set by Matt Aro in 2008). The women’s 100-mile course record is 27:11:04 (set by Leslie Antonis in 2007). The 100-miler has a 33 hour time limit, and the 50-miler a 14.5 hour time limit.
Elevation Profile of 25-Mile Loop (one-way)
Headlands isn’t the only 100-miler taking place this weekend. The free-of-charge Viaduct Trail 100 Mile Run
is also a self-supported 100-miler. The course begins at the Starrucca Viaduct in Lanesboro, Pennsylvania and consists of a series of four 25-mile out-and-back laps on a section of mostly flat, stony rail trail. The elevation changes are gradual, although there are two dips where trestles used to be. As previously mentioned, runners are expected to be self-sufficient and arrive with their own food, drinks and gear. Water is, however, available at the end points and midway points of each out-and-back. Cutoff times are not strictly enforced, but runners should make every effort to finish in 30 hours. 100-mile finishers get a railroad spike (first place male and female earn a silver-painted one).
Straight out of a science fiction movie, the E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon, 1/2, 10k and 51k
is sure to please the UFO enthusiast. Taking place on Extraterrestrial Highway in Rachel, Nevada, runners will run along the fringe of the mysterious Area 51 (hence, the 51k course), a stretch of highway that has an overwhelming number of reported UFO sightings, so much so that the Federal Government named Highway 375 the “Extraterrestrial Highway” in 1996. The ET Highway has become a gathering place for UFO enthusiasts. With elevations ranging from about 4,000 to 5,600 feet, “the high desert will enchant you with gorgeous vegetation, surrounding mountains, and stunning vistas.”
Want to experience some of the finest trails and canyons of the San Gabriel Mountains at the Mt. Disappointment Endurance Run (50k & 50 mile) ? Forget it, unless you are already registered for this sold-out event. The course is incredibly scenic, yet strenuous and challenging. The final climb takes runners to the summit of Mt. Wilson up the Kenyon Devore Trail, testing each runner with terrain and surroundings that are truly unique to the canyons. The 50k has a cut-off of 11 hours, with the 50-mile cutoff at 15 hours. Haven’t registered and still want to enjoy the event ? Volunteer ! The race is still looking for some, so if you are in the area this weekend, head out and lend a hand.
[Trail Goat Note: If you are looking for something a bit shorter this weekend, stop by the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase in Park City, Utah this weekend. This 16 mile race bring runners from 7,000 at the Park City Mountain Resort to over 10,000′ at Jupiter Peak before plunging them back down to PCMR. As its part of the La Sportiva Mountain Cup, this race is sure to bring out some stiff competition. For instance, to win the ladies will have to beat mountain running sensation Caitlin Smith and the men will have to out climb or descend Jason Bryant. iRunFar will also be there running and watching the top runners… at least until they run out of sight.]
Short and sweet, that will do it for this week. Happy running !