I just finished reading Scott Jurek’s memoir/cookbook Eat and Run. Its surprisingly good. It reminded me that, while Jurek is pretty far out there on the spiritual end of the running, eh is thoughtful and articulate on the interplay between the science of running and the sports more spiritual dimensions.
So, in honor of the Jurker, here’s a great clip of him with Kilian Jornet. Check out the scene where Jurker hips Jornet to the Bone Games, by Rob Schultheis, an old book on the spiritual aspects of ultra-endurance sports oh and make sure to turn on the subtitles!
I haven’t run an ultra-marathon (yet!) but I’m fascinated by the sport. Through the years that I’ve followed it, the coverage and interest has become more focused on races in the big mountains of the American West and Europe with east coast races getting very little attention. Races like Hardrock and UTMB are incredible in their difficulty and natural beauty, but there’s something special about the urban race too. Especially the ones that take place in your own back yard — like the Great New York 100 Mile Exposition Run — organized by Phil McCarthy and others from the local ultra running scene.
Here’s a great video about last year’s race. Someday I hope to toe that starting line.
The Hardrock 100 is widely considered one of, if not the, hardest 100 mile race in the United States. It is surely the most beautiful and also wonderfully eccentric. Organized by a bunch of rocket scientists (seriously) and mountain weirdos, entry is determined through a complex lottery that rewards those who have finished the race numerous time, or haven’t finished it at all. The only people guaranteed an entry are the man and woman who won it the previous year. Everyone else, no matter how fast or famous they are, has to try their luck
With 66000 (yes, sixty six thousand) feet of elevation change, all of which happens way way high in the San Juan mountains, Hardrock is a challenge for even the best mountain runner to finish. It is, as the motto proclaims “Wild and Tough”. Only a select few people in the world can possibly compete for the win. This year, for perhaps the only time in a decades, many of the best ultra runners in the world happened to have gotten in to Hardrock turning it into one of the most competitive races of the year. Also, there are flash flood warnings. And it snowed yesterday. And its just fucking crazy and beautiful and totally captivating. If you want to see the best performances in ultra-running this year, you need to have your eyes trained on Hardrock over the next 24 hours.
Irunfar is doing comprehensive coverage of the race. It is definitely the best place to follow what’s happening. You can follow their live coverage with comments from ultra running obsessives here, or their more manageable twitter feed here.
For some background into this special race, its worth reading this article and perhaps watching some of the dozens and dozens of videos available on youtube about Hardrock.
Here’s a pretty awesome one about last year’s female winner Darcy Piceu (formerly Africa):
Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner
The book that spawned a thousand of ultra-runners, Dean Karnazes’s chronicle of his life from depressed businessman to Ultra running superstar is the ur-text of the modern ultra endurance memoir trade. When it came out, it was a deeply controversial book in the ultra-running world. Karnezes bills himself as among the best ultra-runners, but many did not agree, and the sheer commercialism of the project turned many off.
Still, and all, I liked the book very much. Indeed, reading it inspired me to take my running more serious which has led to thousands of miles, better health, and this silly website. It covers Karnazes’ story of couch potatoes to runner in many of the sports most iconic races, including Badwater and Western States. It is, at base, just a well-executed memoir of a moderately talented, extremely driven ultra-runner. If you’re interested in running, or even if you’re just interested in inspirational (and at times wacky) tales of a man trying to do the almost impossible is you cup of tea, then I recommend checking this one out.
Recommended for the enthusiast.