To see how the popularity of 100 mile races is growing, one needs to look no further than the 2008 races that are currently selling out at Led Zeppelin Reunion speed.
Thanks to quick keyboard fingers I was able to gain entry into both of the two 100 Milers I was hoping to run in the spring. The Umstead 100 (North Carolina) sold out all of its 250 slots in two days (and has maxed out its waiting list too). The Massanutten Mountain 100 sold out in LESS THAN 2 HOURS, and currently has a waiting list of 88 people as well. I owe all the credit for getting into this race to Elizabeth who manned the computer while I was stuck in transit the morning registration opened. It's amazing to me that so many people want to get into a race that looks like THIS.
Some of the more popular races out west like Western States and Hardrock 100 have been forced to hold lotteries each year in order to make the entry process fair for the growing number of hopeful entrants. Western States, for example, just held its lottery and had 1,350 people apply for the 357 spots in the race. World-Class ultra runners such as Karl Meltzer and Tony Krupicka (two guys who would have easily finished Top 3 if not won the race) were among the unlucky ones who the Race Directors couldn't let into the race. When you have to turn away elite runners like this, you know you've got a popular race on your hands!
Given all of the above, I feel great about getting into my two spring 100s as they'll serve as crucial "training" runs for the 'Run 192' adventure in July. Speaking of the big run, I have confirmed the dates that I will be running the 192 mile PMC course: July 30-August 1. That's the Wednesday-Friday right before the PMC bike event which kicks off that weekend. I originally wanted to start running the day before the bikes so that I would finish at the roughly the same time as the riders that Sunday, but the PMC folks made it clear they don't want me on the course that weekend. C'est la vie. I certainly don't want to mess with a charity event that raised $33 Million this year, so I will gladly serve as the warm-up act a few days before the bikes hit the streets.
A few people have been asking about details of the run such as "Can I run a few miles with you?", and the answer to that is a resounding 'YES!'. I know running during the week might make that a little tougher for some people, but I will kindly remind anyone interested in running that I will be out there for about 55 consecutive hours, so there's plenty of time to catch up to me before/after the work day. As we get closer to the event, I'll come up with a semi-accurate timeline of where I anticipate I'll be on the course at any given time. Weather will be the biggest factor and my pace being slower/faster than I anticipate, so I'll do my best to check the weather before my final update the day before the run.
In the meantime, it's back to focusing on those two 100 milers in the spring. Umstead is up first on April 5...I'm hoping for a fast Top 5 finish in this one. More updates on this race and everything else I do to prep for 'Run 192' will keep coming all winter long...neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor crazy terrain will keep me from my appointed rounds next July!