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Extreme Races

2603 Views 65 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  CT Marathoner
It seems that every time you turn around these days you find out about another extreme race that is more extreme than the last. The Europeans seem to have it all over US for organizing insane events- case in point:<br><br><a href="" target="_blank"></a><br><br>
Has anyone here actually participated in the Marathon des Sables?<br><br>
That's insane. After doing the Grand Canyon double crossing a couple of years ago I decided that marathons were enough. <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="">
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I don't think The Europeans are any more nuts then we are. We have the 3,100 mile Sri Sninmoy in NY, Badwater(Mohave) and the Barkley(a dinky 100 that only a few have ever finished) We also have people constantly setting new records spending the summer running the length of the Appalachian or John Muir trail. How about the run part of the iditarod in Alaska in the winter.<br><br>
I will admit that the Europeans were doing fell running before it caught on in the states. We got us our share of 'extremists' too. <img alt="biggrin.gif" src=""><br><br>
You went back to marathons after GC double? Most people never go back to roads after such experiences and use treks like GCx2 for a training run. <img alt="blush.gif" src="">
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An I get to tear of your number at the finish line and see your happy smile, or is that a 200 mile stare? <img alt="banana.gif" src="">
Let me suggest that doing the Escarpment the week after VT100 is only for hardy folks. John and I train together and I know he is industrial strength. Unless you really have rock solid recovery which implies oodles of hill training prior, I would not do both.<br><br>
As a side bar, I get really get pissed when I have leave the finish line to find a quasi warm body who has over-extended. Translation, I notify next of kin and drink beer while you slowly succumb.
You're hooked!! If you got a picture of you at the finish line in the mail, it was probably mine. I have the evidence. Should I post it here?? <img alt="banana.gif" src="">
Show up and have a brew with me while others finish. While my comment on finding bodies was tongue in cheek with a hint of truth, it's one tough MF race and the undertrained, overzealous, are eaten to speak.<br><br>
I could go on for a while about injuries, including someone air lifted to the hospital. I have 10 finishes but gave it up after I started doing the VT100 which is usually the week before. I bow to my younger cohorts that can do both but I was never that daring or crazy. <img alt="biggrin.gif" src=""> In addition the RD was my original mentor along with his wife and I really got to enjoy doing the finish line.<br><br>
No to belabor this but the finish line is very hairy. First, all bodies have to be accounted for. There is no, we two short and assume they went home on a side trail. We have an agreement with the state that we will not litter the trail with bodies. Each aid station dooes a body count and phones me of those that call it a day.<br><br>
Second, we often see blood, scrapes, and sometime worse while others are outwardly ok but have the 200 mile stare from being dehydrated or just beat to hell. Since the race is the last week in July and bloody hot AND humid, an IV or two has been started.<br><br>
What may appear to be a flippant comment has some depth to the reply.<br><br>
Let me also say the race has a certain attraction for those people that like rough sex, er, running. Enjoy the challange while being respecful. The web page goes through great pains to warm people of the difficulty but we always get people that think the RD is exaggerating or smoking and not sharing. Those are the ones that get injured, DNF, or finish long after the 6 hour limit and make our day very long.
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Trust him, Nipmuck is like an interstate compared to the Escarpment. On a wet day the escarpment is really nasty. The trail is all roots and rocks and when wet you have to be very careful with both. The rocks have likens(sp) and when wet, are like ice. The rule, on wet day aim for the dirt between the rocks and roots. On a dry day stay on the rocks. The tricky part, some areas are always wet from tree cover etc.<br><br>
The adage "if you look up, you go down" is very revelent. <img alt="icon_salut.gif" src="">
Me too and I've done a few 100's. It's got 33,000 feet of climb, most it is at 11,000 feet(tree line) and has 48 hour cutoff where most are 30. Avg finish is 41 hours.<br><br>
If you do this bring your A-game and some O2.
All the photographers were male. Besides she is cute as hell. <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="">
> gee, thanks PithyDoug<img alt="smile.gif" src=""> --at age 49 (normally wouldn't delulge my age<br>
> but all runners know ages anyway) haven't been called cute in awhile<img alt="smile.gif" src=""><br><br>
It's all relative, I'm 62 so 49 is a voluptuous hunk of burning love. We can talk about having kids. <img alt="banana.gif" src=""><br><br><br>
> but you are pretty good looking for a 'miler'.<br>
> (I see you are no longer a trainee --yippee! Now you are a cut above<br>
> having to ask 'would you like fries with that burger??"<img alt="wink.gif" src="">..<br><br>
That's a real picture andI guess the running has helped me from turning into a complete prune. I'm really climbing the Social running calendar. A miler? I always hated sprints and still do. I may do one 5k every 2 years<br><br><br><br><br>
> scarpment was my first trail run (ran it with RD -and had raced the Mets Shea stadium run-to-home plate the day before -not the smartest thing to do)and was entered last year but decided to do Wakefield 24 hour...this year want to do VT...><br><br>
I have yet to sign up but I planning to do VT100 this year again. Number 7.<br><br><br><br><br>
> After Escarpment, everything -Soapstone, Nipmuck, Greenbelt -does<br>
> seem like an interstate -like you said, the wet spots on the stones and<br>
> the murderous downhills and those people race it is<br>
> beyond me.<br><br>
Amen! The first ten that cross the line look like they just did a stroll in the park.<br><br><br><br>
> I am happy to power-hike it --RunDangerously wants to go back and run > it faster but not moi. That's great that you volunteer at the finish but<br>
> you must see alot of injuries.<br><br>
A soon at anyone crosses the line you look for blood. Some years the finish area looks like a MASH triage. At times I'll hold up my Heineken can and ask what color? If they pause I know they are in deep doodoo.<br><br>
The RD is a close friend and I love the race. For many of my working years I did not have a chance to put much back into the running community. Now I do and it feels great. I also do the newsletter and membership for my running club.<br><br>
All this means means I deserve a hug the next time we meet. A dirty old man in disguise. <img alt="notworthy.gif" src="">
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Easy only 6 completions, number 7 this year and not to jinx myself but all under 24 hours albeit last year was close.<br><br>
The reason I started doing the Escarpment finish line was the VT100 being the week before. Once in while it's two. If nothing else I use it for my 'FORCED volunteer Requirement"(FVR) for the Vermont 100.<br><br>
As for VT 100 filling up, I sincerely doubt it. Since they instilled the FVR they have not come close to filing up unless adding the 100k fills the 50 or so slots that are usually empty. Some day they will pull their heads out of the dark region and pull it.
> This year it will INCLUDE BOTH 100M and 100K runners.<br><br>
Yes and according to the web page there are only three for the 100k so far.<br><br><br>
> The FVR is just ONE of them and I assure you, the installation of the<br>
> FVR's effect on race attendance is minimal. The VT100 isn't the first or >ONLY race in the US that requires Volunteer Service and the many that do have no problem filling up.<br><br>
And Ill strongly but nicely disagree. This race wants you VOLUNTEER 8 hours at ultra race 50k or longer but do take exceptions. This is not as other races have done which is for you do some numbers of accrued trail work and in you back yard.<br><br>
First and foremost, it is forcing someone to volunteer, a slight oxymoron and in a big chunk.<br><br>
The are many people that live too far away from a ultra, have tight finances or can't get the time off work. When this first came to light some years ago, many people wanted to do VT but lived a full days drive or flight away. If you don't have the spare time and cash vt100 minus one.<br><br>
In case you think it just coincidence, before the FVR they filled every year. After the FVR they have yet to fill. I'll place a bet that if they don't fill this year with the audition of the 100k the FVR will either go away or change to something reasonable.<br><br>
> Putting on a race is hard work for anybody. The FVR is a GREAT way to<br>
> get runners to give back and in my humble opinion, NOT something to<br>
> complain about.<br><br>
It gives and it taketh away. I agree completely that runners should give back and races are hard work. But you know what, the FVR has not solved anything. All we know is whoever signs up has met it. Did they get more people volunteering at the 100 or 50?<br><br>
How about those that do volunteer. Ask some of the smaller ultra race directors about how their break even race is now finishing in the red because people that used to run the race now volunteer ever though they don't need any more bodies. I just finished a race that needed three people at best ( a 5k loop that needed people put a x on sheet for each lap) had 7. They stood around like a bump on log doing close to nothing but they got their time in.<br><br><br><br>
> I think more runners should take the time themselves, REGARDLESS of an > FVR to volunteer anyway, yet.. so few actually do.<br><br>
I'll agree that more should and can but there are many that can't and won't! Not everyone that runs ultra races has the time and money. Sometimes family, kids and finances get in the way.<br><br>
Understand, I should have put this at the beginning, I an an avid fan of the VT races. I've done the 100 6 times and the 50/50k 13 contiguous times. This asinine requirements is screwing the VASS which is what these races are about and why I continue to support these races. For those that don't know the VASS supports handicapped athletes.<br><br>
I know the VT100 is a longer race but also note thAT 50K/50 mile race is growing beautifly. They rightfully froze the number of bikes but the addition of the 50k and overall love of the terrain(Green Mountain in Vermont) AND no FVR and it continues to grow. They think adding the 100k will do the same but as I said in my post that started this, I have my doubts.<br><br>
In essence I'm bitching because the FVT is slighting the VASS and not doing much to help with volunteering in general.<br><br>
Also understand that races have momentum. Look at the HAT or Bull Run they are both sold out and the BR had a lottery. The VT100 has negative momentum.<br><br>
I asked the 50 RD, tongue in cheek, why he didn't have the FVR. I won't tell tales out of school but let's just say he was not fan.<br><br><br><br>
> The problems plaguing the VT100 are:<br>
> An RD with poor communication skills<br><br>
I have know Jim for years and thinks is does very well. Maybe you know something I don't. Jim and I disagree on the FVR but other than that I think he does a great job<br><br>
> The yearly altering of the course<br><br>
Do yo really think they have control over that? Other than the public roads section of the course they traverse private property. If a land owner begs off, you can not just put up cones to go around, you have to alter a entire section. If you think the 100 moves a lot, you ain't seen nuttin with the 50. That course has not been the same for my 13 years. The 50 is all single track and very inch is private lands with owners coming and going.<br><br>
If you want the same course every year neither of these races is for your. For humorous anecdote, how about the Barkley, as soon as someone finished the race , they changed to make it even harder.<br><br><br>
> The Uncertainty of the course's length<br><br>
I take it you never do any or Horton's races? It's not easy when land owner beg off. They try as best they can but you expect them to remeasure each year. Frankly I don't care if it's 98 or 102. If it gets too long then that may be a problem. Other than those races that run in stare measured parks do you really think that every 100 is 100 and every 50 is a 50? I'm sure you don't believe that.<br><br>
> The July Heat and Humidity many can't (or don't want to) Handle.<br><br>
What can I say, they picked the heat, it is the race. Ever notice that the 50k/50 milers are in the fall and the 100's are in the warmer weather? Why is Badwater in the heat? Why is the Barkley in cold spring. Ultra running is about stretching ones limits and it's not just miles.<br><br><br>
> he Races somewhat remote location and lack of adequate, CHEAP,<br>
> places to stay<br><br>
The remoteness, or the beauty of the Green Mountains is the draw for this race. Finding places to stay and reasonable places is just like running in heat or elevation, it is what it is. It's kind of interesting that you concerned with price. How about those people to meet the FVR that have to drive/fly and maybe stay at hotel/motel just to get to do it again and this time run. Talk about a poor bang for the buck.<br><br>
So to reiterate, I don't mind encouraging volunteerism be it trail maintenance or bodies at a race but don't tell me I have to do an 8 hour block at an ultra race. Let me do either in my back yard as long as I get the required number of hours. We'll agree to disagree! <img alt="notworthy.gif" src="">
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> Holy S dude... thats some reply.<br><br>
And I hate to type a lot. <img alt="biggrin.gif" src=""><br><br>
> I'm just trying to view it from the OTHER perspective.<br><br>
I'm all for that but while some races like yours may get some help, tell me how it helps the Vt100 get more volunteers for its race? They could probably get by with not having aid stations three miles apart and use less people race day.<br><br>
It does not solve volunteerism across the circuit. It's fact of life whether we want to admit it, 20% do 100% of the work. Call it a busy life or total selfishness but that's the way it is. Even the local 5k/10k's have the same problems. Every alleged good cause put on race to raise money. In my area the volunteer pool is being ambushed every weekend and both days.<br><br><br>
> Doug, I'm directing a 200 and 100 miler in November in VERMONT. Why<br>
> don't you consider coming?<br><br>
if I don't do the vt100 I think about it. <img alt="notworthy.gif" src=""> Since Moses and I went to School together I find about 5-6 races a years is all these old bones can handle and live for another day.<br><br><br><br><br>
> myself have written e-mails and spoken face to face with another<br>
< member of the VT100 committee. Actually.. it was the VERY person who<br>
> suggested they add the volunteer requirement. In speaking with her<br><br>
I have done battle with her a few times. She is headstrong and the board listens to her. She is like Bush claiming there were WMD in Iraq.<br><br><br>
> I'm just saying.. while the race population is in decline..<br><br>
It is? I think you find the numbers are in fact on the increase from the local 5k to the ultra and why so many races are going to lotteries while others fill in a week or two rather than a month. We are in a growing phase which is good but not a free lunch.
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