Thursday, July 12, 2012


       I was involved in a discussion recently about what would comprise a major or grand slam event in the trail ultrarunning calendar and if so how many would there be and which ones. Firstly you would have to set up a criteria which would obviously be a minimum of 100 miles and in one day (for the elite). My initial approach was which ones were obvious. Western States is a given as is the UTMB......but what else? I think Badwater is out because its too desert specific and more than 100 miles on roads, as is Marathon des Sables which is over several days. Comrades is out because its a double marathon road race even though from a historical perspective it should be in. The Barkley marathons are out because its nuts! Then we could bring in Leadville, Wasatch, Angeles Crest and a host of other events but I personally feel they don't have that dominant theme that seperates them enough from all the others..... which leaves us with Hardrock. This I feel has to be in because its different , has cache, has the height gain of Everest and is just bloody hard. So thats it 3 'majors'.......WS, UTMB and Hardrock. Anybody disagree or have another opinion then please chip in.
         So remaining topical, on Friday its Hardrock. Only 140 runners will qualify for the 'luxury' of taking part in what is arguably the toughest endurance run in the world. Nearly 34,000 feet in elevation gain and run in the high San Juan mountains of Colorado at an average height of 11000 feet. Last year out of 140 starters only 80 finished and these are tough ombre's who have already run and completed other 100 mile events just to qualify. How do they do this? The stories of hardship and suffering are legendary...grown men crying their eyes out whilst lying in the snow, at night, on top of a 14,000 foot mountain, in a lightning storm. I read the other day of one runner who watched an American Bald headed Eagle drop a baby deer from its clutches just near an aid station 12,000 feet up......this is 'wild' country. It sounds fantastic, my heighest elevation gain was close to 10,000 feet and 60 kilometres distance......this is 3 times higher and 3 times further!! This is serious stuff. Dakota Jones, one of this years favourites, said when he fell down a rocky slope last year that he decided to 'stay there for the rest of my life' he was so exhausted....... and he went on to finish second! They have a runners manual which is in its own endurance category being 60 pages long......and a very scary read it is.
     I'm sure most of my readers know this but big congrats to Tim Olsen and Ellie Greenwood who won Western States two weeks ago in new record times for male and female runners. Who will light up the Hardrock course this weekend ?....(as usual check out the  coverage of the event), my money is on Dakota.......
       And finally........when is my next ultra? At present I am doing 100% body conditioning with the accent on lean muscle and low body fat. I am never going to be a small, skinny runner so to be in the best shape I can for my frame is now my goal. With running 3/4 times per week and workout sessions 5 times a week I've got my hands full exercise wise and so my next ultra will have to fit in with this schedule. I'm looking at various races as once I set the goal then it will be all out training for that so I need to plan I'm still waiting for the cardiac results to see if its still beating ???.


No comments:

Post a Comment