Sunday, March 3, 2013

Grand Challenge of Running

I've been thinking about this year's running schedule and it has a lot of "grand" plans in it. Running a 100 mile trail race. Running across the Grand Canyon (and back). Pacing my brother at the Redwoods Marathon. Setting a couple of personal records at ultra distances (specifically 50 miles and 100 miles). All grand challenges I suppose...but not really that grand. I need to do more. So I began thinking about what 2014 could look like and what grand challenge I might dream up for next year. It'll need to be inspirational, motivational, and doable. I'd like the costs to be contained too. Something local, maybe?  Something made up, definitely. After a long weekend hike through snow, and breakfast with friends, here are a few ideas that may make 2014 a grand year.

So, from the same deranged mind that brought you the Buffalo Trace 7-Day Stage Race (that would be me), 2014 now has a new ultra challenge...the Grand Challenge of Ultra Running!

I started to count up the number of ultramarathon races within a 90-minute drive of my hometown. There are a lot...

Jan: Riddle Run Fat Ass 28 miler
Feb: Kennekuk Fat Ass 28 miler
Mar: Clinton Lake 30 miler
Apr: Potawatomi 50-100-150 miler
May: CRUD 8-Hour
June: ? (7-Day or 24-Hour)
July: ? ("Last Runner Standing")
Aug: Howl at the Moon 8-Hour
Sept: Evergreen Lake 50K
Oct: Farmdale 32 miler or Forest Glen 50K
Nov: McNotAgain 30 miler
Dec: ? (Tie-Break 8-Hour Midnight Full Moon Run)

That's 10 ultramarathons in one year within a 1.5 hour drive. Certainly, you could run them all. Unfortunately, that's not enough for a GRAND CHALLENGE. I don't like those blank months (June, July, December). I believe it's time to bring back the 7-day stage race in June! If 7 days of consecutive trail running is too much for you, the last day will have an affiliated 24-hour event. That 24-hour event can substitute for the 7-day race.

Now, what about that month of July? I think a "Last Runner Standing Race" is in order! (This came from the crazed mind of Dan while we ran the night portion of the Riddle Run 50 miler.) All competitors start at the same time, run a fixed distance loop, then wait for the next loop starting time. Repeat until only one competitor is left standing. For example, start on the hour, run 5 miles, wait for the next hour and repeat. Again and again. Slowly, people will either fail to finish within the 60 minutes (and thus miss the next wave start) or they will finish, but call it a day. Keep starting the 5-mile loop until only one person is left...when they solo finish the 5-mile loop, they are the winner. With my local friends, I guarantee it'll be more than 25 miles before the last person is declared the winner. There we have it, another innovative ultramarathon that could be staged at our local trails (where there is an easy 5-mile trail loop).

What about December? Well, after 11 months of racing ultras, maybe we deserve a break. No need to race in December....unless there is a tie among "Grand Challenge" competitors, then the "race committee" will need to devise a tie-breaker December race. Maybe an 8-hour moon run that starts at midnight?

Anyone have thoughts on this devilish plan for a "Grand Challenge of Ultra Running"? Who's going to join me? All events are within driving distance--no hotel rooms needed, no flights, just a quick drive, race, and return home. You can even carpool with me! Big prize(s) for all the finishers...and a super special prize for the winner.

How many ultra races do you have within 90 minutes of your home?


ed said...

10! I have ONE within 90 min.

GRAND indeed. You sure sound confident & full of run these days.

I'd be very interested in a last man standing event (like the Laz' Backyard Ultra). Sign me up - although I would have to rule out the summer months though . . .

Be seeing you soon.

Chris said...

See you at lbl.

Brad Williams said...

Hmm.. I really like the "Last Runner Standing" idea. Like you said, something new but it makes sense too. Could be a lot of fun.

Chris said...


Indeed! The last runner standing needs to be implemented soon! Even if the other stuff doesn't happen, this is too good to pass least we need to try.