Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This Weekend in Running (7/12 - 7/13)

[ Updated 7/11/08 @ 6:45 A.M. to include link to Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run Kickrunners thread ]

With the Badwater Ultramarathon set to begin at 6:00 A.M. Monday, the eyes of the ultra marathon world will be focused this weekend on the 15th running of the Hardrock 100 Endurance Run ("Hardrock") in Silverton, Colorado. The course is a 100 mile loop through the back country of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado, taking runners near the old mining towns of Silverton, Lake City, Ouray, Telluride and Ophir. The total elevation gain is daunting at approximately 33,000 feet, with its highest point at over 14,000 feet on Handles Peak, one of Colorado’s Fourteeners.

Assuming a runner meets certain entry requirements, entry into Hardrock is via a weighted lottery. As of July 7, 2008, the field was full with 140 accepted runners, with a weight list consisting of 172 runners. Notably missing from the list of accepted runners are both the men's and women's defending champions (each setting course records in 2007), Scott Jurek (26:08:34) and Krissy Moehl (29:24:45 and 2nd overall). Also missing from this year's event is Karl Meltzer whose 5 finishes account for 4 of the 5 best ever time performances at Hardrock. Hardrock has a 55.9% finisher rate and an average finishing time of 40:22:54. You can check out a complete history of the race and lots of additional information (course description, training and preparation, etc...) can be found in the Hardrock 2008 Runners Manual. There are also tons of photos and race reports from prior years at the Hardrock Hundred Photos and Reports link.

Also this weekend in the ultra marathon world.....

Rattlesnake Trail 50k (July 12 - Charleston, WV) - 1 loop with 10 climbs (5,000 feet total elevation gain) in the Kanawha State Forest. The course is 80% rocky trails, 15% dirt road and 5% asphalt.

Grey Rock 50k Trail Run (July 12 - Yakima, WA) - Described as the "toughest, most technical 50k in the Northwest", the course is an out-and-back with 6,000 feet of elevation gain/loss and views of Mt. Rainer and Mt. Adams.

Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run (July 12 - Vancouver, BC) - The course essentially follows the Baden Powell trail which traverses Vancouver's North Shore Mountains from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove. The race as a whole has some 16,000 feet of vertical climb and descent. The Baden Powell trail is a scenic and very technical trail through a Pacific Northwest rain forest. Most of the trail is within the forest, although there are some absolutely spectacular vistas at a number of points along the trail. The course is 30 miles long and the field is limited to about 200 starters. Check out THIS KICKRUNNERS THREAD which includes Mudrunner's pics of the trail from last year's event.

Psycho Psummer Trail Runs (July 12 - Kansas City, KS) - 50k on rocky, rooty, and hilly bridle trails, single-track trails, and dirt roads. According to the race website, this is "THIS IS NOT A SISSY PAVED EVENT". There is also a Psychopathic 5k that claims to be the toughest 5k trail run in the Midwest, and states in its course description that "these trails aren't "sissy" groomed or paved trails; they're the real thing."

Devil's Backbone 50 Mile (July 12 - Bozeman, Montana) - From its website.....This is a graduate level run (yes, like Hardrock). It is almost unsupported and unmarked. This CANNOT be your first 50 miler. This course is much, much harder than you expect. There are many cairns and you primarily stay on the ridge but with no ribbon it is still possible to get well off course. The "graduate" part is due to the requirement to carry what you need for 5 - 9 hours of running and once out on the course there is no easy way out until the turnaround. You are almost always above 9500 feet on a rocky (but beautiful) trail. Course starts and finishes at the Hyalite Creek Trailhead and is out and back on 100% trails with one significant climb to 10,300 feet and multiple short steep climbs totaling 11,400 feet. Though the climb is not huge, it is deceptively hard due to elevation and sometimes rocky trails. Please, experienced ultrarunners only! The course will not be marked except by FS blazes and cairns . It is generally well-worn except in meadows. Hand drawn and Topo maps available at the website. There will be nice streams multiple times in the first (and last) 7 miles. There is a murky lake at 11 miles (and 39 miles), and a very small spring a quarter mile later and lots of snow to put in your water carrier. There is a nice creek at the 25 mile turnaround point. Water has certainly been frequented by wildlife, especially the lake, so a filter is recommended. Cutoff is 9 hours at the turn-around cabin. Exposure is extreme in case of a thunderstorm. Possibility of elk, goats, mountain lions and bears (all seen in past few yrs) and the most beautiful views imaginable of Paradise Valley and the Absaroka and Spanish Peaks mountain ranges.

Also this weekend is the 41st running of "one of America's toughest marathons", the Grandfather Mountain Marathon in Boone, North Carolina. The race starts on the campus of Appalachian State University at Kidd Brewer Stadium at an elevation of 3,333 feet and climbs to an elevation of 4,279 feet where it ends on Grandfather Mountain in Linville, NC. The course is mountainous and very scenic as it winds through the Blue Ridge Mountains. The course is run predominately on asphalt (3 miles of the course is on gravel).

On Sunday the 2nd annual Missoula Marathon and Half Marathon takes place in Missoula, MT.


  1. Hmmmmm, Psycho Psummer Trail Runs. Yummm yeah, I'd be kicked out immediately :P

  2. A lot of mountain locations this time of year, huh?