This Week In Running (Week of 9/13 + 9/14)

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. After taking a week off to participate in the Grand Tetons 100 Mile Race (and for a little Labor Day R&R), TWIR is back to take a look at a few of the races scheduled to take place on the weekend of September 13 and 14, 2008, as well as look at the results of the Grand Teton and Wasatch 100s.

In case you are a little rusty due to TWIR’s two week absence, let’s take a look at some race results from the past two weeks before we dive into the rest of the program. We begin with GTR100, a race won in 2007 by Andy Jones-Wilkins (setting a course record). In a race that saw hail, sleet, heavy rains and winds, and even a moose encounter, pacer and crew-less Josh Brimhall (19:59:07) lead from the get-go en route to a comfortable victory over second place finisher Damian Stoy (22:51:10). Of the 40 starters, only 22 would cross the finish line, with Brimhall and Stoy as the only sub-24 hour finishers. At the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run, Geoff Roes (20:01:07) took the overall title, besting Andy Jones-Wilkins (21:31:51) by an hour and a half. A pair of 50 year olds took 3rd and 4th place honors – Jack Pilla finished 3rd in 21:47:43, with Leland Barker close behind in 21:58:17. On the women’s side, Betsy Nye took top honors in 25:36:54, outlasting Susan Brozik (26:23:54).

And now, on with the show….

There are a few 100 mile races to talk about this week, including the Plain 100 Mile Endurance Run in Plain, Washington. Plain 100 is a true adventure test, as there are no aid stations (runners must get water from streams, so bring your filters) and no pacers allowed. There is also no flagging…that’s right, no flagging. Not to worry, Green Trails Map #146 will be provided to all runners.

Angeles Crest 100Another 100 mile race on the schedule is our featured race this week, the Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run (“AC100”) in Wrightwood, California. Finishing in Pasadena, the course includes 90 miles of trails and 8 miles of dirt road in the Angeles National Forest (including portions of the Pacific Crest Trail), and 2 miles of paved road. This beast of a course features 21,610 feet of elevation gain, and 26,700 feet of elevation loss, resulting in 48,310 feet of total elevation change. You can find several AC100 race reports dating back to 1996 HERE. Buckling (and finishing) at AC100 has been historically difficult, with the typical finisher rate being somewhere in the 60% range. There is an AC100 Live Site for race-day runner tracking. Runners at AC100 may get the opportunity to experience a variety of wildlife, including poison oak, rattlesnakes, black bears, mountain lions and bighorn sheep. Jim O’Brien’s 1989 17:35:48 performance is still the course record here. There has been no other sub-18 hour finish in the history of this event!

Here are just a few of the other ultra running events taking place this week :

Run Rabbit Run, Steamboat 50 Mile (Sat., Sept. 13 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado) – The course is a spectacular 50 mile run through the beautiful mountains and fall colors of the Routt National Forest of northern Colorado. The race starts at the Steamboat Springs ski area (elevation, 6,900 feet) and proceeds up to Mount Werner (elevation, 10,568 feet) then goes up and down and up and down some more and then across the Continental Divide to Rabbit Ears Mountain (elevation, 11,000 feet) before heading back and way down to the ski area. The course will have nearly 9,000 feet of climbing. “This course is very much like life, in that there are many, many little and not so little ups and downs in between the obvious highs and lows…be prepared…any resemblance between the course profile and rabbit ears is purely coincidental.” With a 15-hour time limit, this race does come with its own warning to runners –

Runners Beware – A word of warning: This is not a beginner’s run. You might find the uphills and downhills fairly steep. You will spend a lot of time at an altitude of nearly two miles. There may be snow. There may be rain. It may be wet, or windy, or then again, it may be hot. There may be wild animals out there, some of them a lot bigger and scarier than a rabbit.

Turkey and Taturs Trail Race (Sun., Sept. 14 in Tulsa, Oklahoma) – 50k, 25k and 10k trail races. Turkey Mountain is an “Urban Wilderness Area”. You will find beautiful lush surroundings that run alongside the Arkansas River. As you approach from the north, you will be able to see its peak that juts 300 feet above the Arkansas River. Elevation is between 600-900 ft. above sea level. Ninety-nine percent of the course is on narrow single-track trails. Most of the trails are under a canopy of deciduous tress and amidst a thick layer of vegetation The trails have the sand /gravel /rock surface common to this area and can easily be run on after hard rains. The course has varying degrees of difficulty. There are easy-going non-technical areas, mostly flat and thoroughly negotiable, and there are intense, highly difficult technical areas with short, hard and very rocky climbs.

We are approaching the time of year for marathons to come out in full force, and this week is no exception.

Lake City Marathon (Sat., Sept. 13 in Winona Lake, IN) – Hey, wait a minute. There is a 50k option in addition to the half and full marathons!

Little Grand Canyon Marathon (Sat., Sept. 13 in Price, Utah) – This is the only marathon and half marathon where you get to run through the Little Grand Canyon in Eastern Utah and see some of the most pristine scenery in the world. This area is also known as the San Rafael Swell or Buckhorn Wash. These towering Red Rocks are not only majestic but they tell the geological timetable as you run through the Jurassic, Triassic and Cretaceous Era’s. There are actual dinosaur footprints on the side of the road and you run in front of one of the largest Native American pictograph panels in the state – the Buckhorn Panel. The marathon
course begins at 5,650 feet and only has about 235 feet of elevation gain in the first four miles. The remaining course is fairly flat with a slight decline until you hit the mouth of Buckhorn Wash (about 16 miles from the start). The remaining course descends about 547 feet over the next 10 miles.

Salmon Marathon (Sat., Sept. 13 in Salmon, ID) – The race is a fast, scenic, point-to-point course that starts in Tendoy, Idaho. Tendoy, for history buffs, is the birthplace of Sacajawea, the Agaidika Shoshone woman, who with her infant child accompanied Lewis and Clark on their historic journey to the Pacific and back. Approximately 21 miles of the course is dirt or gravel and dirt surface. The last five miles are on pavement. There are three short stretches along the dirt road that are paved. There are two short hills on the course, the first hill after mile 7 and the second hill after the half marathon point. The remainder of the course is gently rolling, but generally downhill. This is billed as a fast course.

Timberline Marathon (Sat., Sept. 13 in Mt. Hood, OR) – This is dubbed Oregon’s signature Trail running event (and a race included in the Trail Runner Trophy Series). The beautiful course follows a stunning segment of the Pacific Crest Trail from historic Timberline Lodge high on Mt. Hood to shimmering Timothy Lake nestled in the high Cascades. There is a 3,000 feet net elevation loss. The Timberline Marathon is much more than a running event. It is an amazing sensory journey from the jagged vistas of majestic Mt. Hood through the fern carpeted forests of centuries old Douglas fir to the sapphire blue waters of pristine Timothy Lake. Dramatic scenery changes draw runners to new discoveries around each corner.

Erie Marathon (Sun., Sept. 14 in Erie, PA) – This marathon is quite possibly the flattest course in the country. World records were recently set on this course in 2003 and 2005.

Lewis & Clark Marathon (Sun., Sept. 14 in St. Charles, MO) – The start of Dean Karnazes Endurance 50 Challenge (50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days), this race allows runners to explore the Missouri River Valley as they travel back in history – cross the Missouri river, travel through historic St. Charles and navigate the abandoned railway that is now the Katy Trail. Runners return to the very campsite where Lewis and Clark started their epic journey.

Maui Marathon (Sun., Sept. 14 in Maui, HI) – Called one of the worlds “most scenic marathons” with over 17 miles of oceanfront running.

That will do it for this week’s edition of This Week In Running. Be sure to tune in again next week!