Thursday, May 8, 2008

This Weekend In Running (5/10 - 5/11)

Of all the ultra running events this coming weekend, one stands out in particular. The Wapack Trail Races takes place in Ashburnham, MA. There is already a Kickrunners thread discussing 50-mile winner predictions. This race is often described as "real trail running", with about 14,000 feet of elevation gain over the 50 miles (more than most 100-mile events). There are also 21 and 42 mile options here.

The Wapack Trail (opened in 1923) is one of the oldest public, interstate hiking trails in the US, and follows the Wapack Range north-south for 21 miles, between Mount Watatic in Ashburnham, MA and North Pack MonadnockMountain in Greenfield, NH. The trail is designed primarily for day use by hikers, with minimal camping facilities. The trail was born in a conversation in the summer of 1922 at the Shattuck Inn in Jaffrey, NH between Allen Chamberlain, who later became president of the Appalachian Mountain Club, and Jaffrey farmer Albert Annett while overlooking the Wapack Range (then known as the Boundary Mountains). The two talked about the possibility of a skyline trail along the ridge of the Boundary Mountains from Mt. Watatic to North Pack Monadnock. Later, Albert brought the idea to fellow farmers Frank Robbins and Marion Buck and the three started cutting the trail near the end of the summer using hand tools. Buck named the trail by joining the Wa from Mt. Watatic and Pack from North Pack Monadnock, and soon the Boundary Mountains became known as the Wapack Range.

Here are some of the other ultras that highlight this weekend's events :

Lake Merritt Half Day (Oakland, CA) - 6 & 12 hour events on a 3.1 mile loop course around Lake Merritt, the nation's largest urban saltwater lake (155 acres) and oldest wildlife preserve. Flat course with 70% on dirt path and 30% on asphalt path.

McDonald Forest 50k Trail Run (Corvallis, OR) - Difficult trail run on muddy trails and logging roads with significant elevation gain.

Capon Valley 50k (Yellow Spring, WV) - Hilly but runnable course with a number of stream crossings.

Long Island Greenbelt Trail 50k & 25k (Plainview, NY) - See Race Preview posted yesterday. Annette Bednosky returns to defend her 2007 title.

PCT 50 Mile (San Diego, CA) - This event is sold out. The race web-site describes the course as an out-and-back course mostly on single track trail along the Pacific Crest Trail in east San Diego County. The trail features numerous climbs, particularly on the “out” portion, as well as some rocky sections. It begins at an elevation of approximately 3,000 feet, reaching 6,000 feet in the Laguna Mountains.

North Face Endurance Challenge (Bellingham, WA) - Second North Face Endurance Challenge event of this year's challenge. From the race web-site : Technical course that meanders its way through rock-climbing areas and bat caves, punctuated by what the course designer describes as "insane views of Mt. Baker" and the North Cascades to the east. Elevations bounce between 200 and 2,500 feet, but do not include any huge, sustained climbs. Traverses of broken ridge line require nimble feet while highly technical sections demand mountain goat skills (there will be two roped sections to aid in a climb). Overall, an impressive trail-running test that delivers a balance of fire roads, single track, and double track.

Ice Age Trail 50 (La Grange, WI) - 50 Mile and 50k options. From the race web-site : The race is held within the boundaries of the 18,000 acre, Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine Forest. When the Wisconsin glacier receded about 13,000 years ago, its glacial ice and melt waters shaped the Kettle Moraine landscape. The race course you run is a living museum of the imprints of the last glacial advance, with its glacial boulders, steep ridges, knobby hills and kettle depressions. Land forms known as drumlins, eskers, kames and kettles predominant the landscape. The irregular distribution of materials gathered by the advancing glacier and the myriad ways in which the sun strikes the ever changing topography created a multitude of interesting habitats for plants and animals. For a temperate climate, the Kettle Moraine boasts an amazing variety of species. Your running journey will take you through pine and hardwood forest, wet and dry prairies, along high ridges overlooking wetlands and lakes, down to the lowlands only to charge up another hill. There are literally hundreds of hills, small and large that you will traverse on your running adventure.

There are also a few marathons this weekend, including :

Brookings Marathon (Brookings, SD)
Journeys Marathon (Eagle River, WI)
Lake Geneva Marathon (Lake Geneva, WI)


  1. It will be interesting to see how this week's North Face race goes, compared to Bear Mtn!

    Good luck at your 50K.

  2. 14,000 feet of elevation gain over the 50 miles
    That's SICK!!, make sure we add it to our list though :-)

    Have a great 50K!!

  3. Tony,
    I love skimming your TWIR post at the end of every week. Just wanted to let you know I was reading, since I don't normally comment on it. Thanks for putting it together - I'm sure it takes more time to put together than people think!

  4. Meri - I'm interested to see how NF goes this week as well.

    Bob - Thanks...keep up the good work training for Kettle.

    Bryon - Thanks. It does take quite a bit of time to put together, but I learn a lot about these races in doing so.

  5. That's a lot of great info! Where do you get it all? Good luck this weekend!

  6. Good luck with your 50K this weekend! All of the previewed races are way outta my league!

  7. Header looks great---LOLOL so great I can't SEE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Put it up!!

  8. Hi Anthony...hope all is well, I'm just getting back into the blog groove.. need to catch up with ya'll