This weekend, there are two very different ultramarathons taking place over 3,000 miles apart. In fact, one of them is just about to get started today (but will continue into the weekend)!
Rocky Raccoon 100
Rocky Raccoon 100 starts Saturday morning in Huntsville, Texas. This year, it will be the USATF 100-mile Trail Championship. Rocky Raccoon is fast! In 2011, Ian Sharman ran 12:44:33 – the fastest ever 100-mile trail run in the United States (7:38/mile). I expect Ian to take the win this weekend, but his record is likely safe. With that being said, you just never know in a hundred miler!
In 2007, at Rocky Raccoon, Jenn Shelton ran 14:57:18 – the women’s U.S. 100-mile trail record (8:58/mile). I believe that record will fall this weekend. Pam Smith and Michele Yates are both running and either one of them could take it.
The conditions at Rocky won’t be ideal – it’s going to be a little on the warm side and there’s a chance of rain:
Be sure to check out www.irunfar.com for raceday coverage.
Yukon Arctic Ultra
Meanwhile, over 3,000 miles away, the Yukon Arctic Ultra is just about underway. The race starts just north of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory – where exactly is that?
The race includes a 100-mile option and a 300-mile option (every other year, there is also a 430-mile option). You may compete in this ultra on foot, using a bike or using cross country skis. There is no prize money and checkpoints are anywhere from 26 to 44 miles apart. Last year, the 100-mile (running) race was won by a pair of Italians – they both ran 24:35!! The 300-mile (running) race was won by a Swiss gentleman named Otmar Flepp – his time was 6 days, 2 hours, 22 minutes. Nicole Dörr, a German, was the only other finisher – her time was 7 days, 7 hours, 40 minutes.
While Rocky Raccoon is a very fast course, I’m pretty sure the Yukon Arctic Ultra wins on scenery:
Interestingly, this race is cold – but not that cold! In fact, the starting line this year had to be moved nearly twenty miles to the north because of problems caused by melt. Last week, the temperature in Whitehorse hit a record high of nearly 44 degrees. However, the next few days, it will be a little on the “cooler” side.