Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This Weekend In Running (Memorial Day Weekend)

[ Updated 5/21/08 @ 6:40 PM to add Forst Park Trail Runs to the ultra race list. ]

Before getting into what this Memorial Day Weekend has to offer to the running scene, a quick note about last weekend's Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run - Todd Walker of Amherst, MA (20:58:53) bested Keith Knipling by a mere 8 minutes (and change) to take the overall title. Amy Sproston (26:08:57) took the women's crown, nearly 3 hours ahead of the second place women's finisher. Congratulations to everyone who competed, and in particular to our friend Joe Galioto, who made it just in time for the cut-off (35:43:13), Brennen Wysong on an amazing performance (26:56:38), and "Sherpa" John Lacroix (32:09:13). Full results, splits, pictures, reports, etc... can be found by clicking HERE.

This year's Old Dominion Memorial 100 Mile Race was cancelled, leaving the Sulphur Springs 100 Mile Trail Run as the only 100-mile event taking place on Memorial Day Weekend. The Sulphur Springs races also offer a 50-mile, 50k, 25k and 10k event. Starting at the Lions Club Pool Centre in Ancaster, Ontario, these races are run on a 20k loop (25k & 50k runners will do 5k and 10k spur and then complete one and two loops respectively, while 10 k runners complete the distance on the Headwaters Trail). The course, located in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area, is 97% trail and 3% asphalt. There is a 30 hour time limit for the 100-mile event, and all events are timed using ChampionChip timing.

In addition to Sulphur Springs, the following ultra events are taking place on Memorial Day Weekend :

Blackfoot Ultras (Edmonton, Ontario) - 100k, 50 mile, 50k and 25k options. All races are run on a 25k loop course (with a little out-and-back for the 50 miler). All events are sold out.

Red Mountain 50k (Southern Utah) - Inaugural running features twelve miles of rocky/rugged trail and nineteen miles of road. The course is dotted with rocky mountain juniper trees and basalt lava rocks and some of the most spectacular vistas you'll find in Southern Utah. 9 hour time limit and 250 runner cap.

Wickham Park Races (Melbourne, FL) - Marathon, 50 mile, 100 mile and 200 mile events. The 200 mile event consists of 4 stages of 50 miles with a 12:30 cutoff each day. Runners are told to expect soft sand, bushwhacking, bad footing, snakes, and gators...yes, gators. No aid except water and no pacers or crew are allowed. Historical finish rate: 10% for stage 1, 2% for stage 2, 1% for all 4 stages.

Pineland Farms Trail Challenge (New Gloucester, ME) - Described as an "off-road roller coaster", this event features 50 mile, 50k and 25k options. The course consists of wide, non-technical, but very hilly trails that traverse forests pastoral farmland. There are no major climbs, however, the rolling terrain has been labeled as unrelenting. 50k participants will complete two laps of this loop course, 50 milers will do a 3.5 mile loop then 3 laps of the 25k course.

Rocky Mountain Double Marathon (Laramie, WY) - There is also a 5k walk/run, half marathon and marathon. Hilly out and back on mostly dirt and gravel roads (100% for the Half and 77% for the Marathon) in Medicine Bow National Forest. Begins at 8,700 feet and drops to 8,000 feet at the turn around. Weather is variable. Temperature is 40-60 degrees. In its 31st year, this event claims to be the oldest continuous marathon in the state of Wyoming and the the oldest ultra in the Rocky Mountain Region.

Forest Park Trail Runs (Portland, OR) - 10k, 20k, 30k and 50k options. Aid stations located every 10k.

There are also plenty of marathons to work into your Memorial Day travels, including the following :

Andy Payne Marathon (Oklahoma City, OK) - Sponsored by the United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc., this year marks the 31st annual running honors Andy Payne (a Cherokee) who in 1927 won the Great Trans-Atlantic Race from California to NYC. Events include the Andy Payne Marathon, the Willie Nelson 10k and the Allie Reynolds 5k. Our blogging friend GandaMan is slated to run the marathon according to his blog, Distorted Veracity.

Traverse City State Bank Bayshore Marathon (Traverse City, MI) - Also features a half marathon and 10k race. Flat, fast, out and back course run along the shores of Grand Traverse Bay, this course was certified for the marathon in May of 2006. The course is not closed to traffic.

Prince of Wales Island International Marathon (Craig, Alaska) - Located in Southern Alaska, Prince of Wales Island is the third largest island in the United States. Known by the locals as POW, the island is roughly 2,600 square miles. Runners may get the opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife including eagles, deer, bears, and many other species.

Buffalo Marathon (Buffalo, NY) - Boasts a new course this year that is fast, flat, and scenic, showcasing the beauty of Western New York’s waterfront.

Mad City Marathon (Madison, WI) - The website states (even this late in the game) that the course is "tentative" and not yet certified.

Med-City Marathon (Rochester, MN) - Not to be confused with the Mad City Marathon in Madison, WI, this race starts in Byron, MN and consists of 8 miles of rolling hills followed by a mostly flat remainder of the course.

Saskatchewan Marathon (Saskatoon, SK, Canada) - This event celebrates its 30th anniversary. BEWARE - "The Saskatchewan Marathon requires over 100 Course Safety Marshals in order to put on a safe and exciting event for our participants. Course Safety Marshals help ensure the safety of participants by being placed in high traffic areas in order to direct participants and vehicles along the course." Those who cannot finish within the 6-hour time limit must run on the sidewalk and without the support of aid stations and course marshals.

Key Bank Vermont City Marathon (Burlington, VT) - The marathon, included int he top 20 marathon events in 2002, is sold out. The marathon starts at Battery Park, overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains.

Until next week, keep your feet on the ground and be careful not to tumble down the trail.


  1. I am still mourning no Old Dominion Memorial this year, my yearly tradition it had seemed :( Hoping Pinelands 50M will fill the void. Looking forward to seeing you this weekend, we will have fun, and i have never been to Maine!!!

  2. So wait . . . are you going to Maine? From Meredith's comment I assume . .yes?

  3. I didn't know Wyoming had any kind of marathon event. Interesting. I may actually store that in the back of my mind, thanks.

  4. Marcy - Yep. It will be a quick trip up. Drive Saturday night and arrive around 9:00/10:00 PM. Run the race on Sunday (6:00 AM start). Drive back after the race to make sure I get all day Monday with the family.

    Jess - Wyoming also sports the Teton Races in August (over Labor Day Weekend). They have a 100 Mile, 50 Mile and Marathon. Check out the site :

  5. Forest Park 50k in Portland, OR, put on by PCTR, is on Sunday.

  6. The last sentence of that entry was pretty amusing. Who in their right mind would tumble down a trail?

  7. my plan is to be on a boat with friends drinking some beers, is that bad? :)

  8. Thanks for the special mention. MMT is tough, but I was tougher.

  9. is the VT City marathon really sold out?? After 5 years of it, looking forward to the different challenge of Pinelands. Met 2 runners last week who are going to Wyoming for that marathon.

  10. Have a great race this weekend! Sounds like a good one! My sister lives close--in Lee, NH if you need a crew :)! HAve fun!

  11. I'm not at all surprised the VT marathon sold out -- it's my favorite long distance race. So are you going to Maine with the family's blessing?

  12. Jamie - I just might take you up on offering your sister as a crew ! :)

    Anne - Yep...blessings and all. It turns out my fishing trip to Canada for a week starting May 31 may be cancelled, so, they may get some time back with me.

  13. have a great 50 miler on Sunday!!!