The Race Directors for the Umstead 100 miler have posted the final roster for the April 5 race in North Carolina. While there are always a couple "unknowns" who come out of the pack and run like the stole something, I see two notable "elites" in the field - both returning champions from last year. I look forward to meeting them before the race and doing my best to steal some of their DNA....though I'll be honest, I still haven't entirely worked out the details on that plan yet.
On the men's side, ultra legend Serge Arbona will be back to defend his 2007 title on the Umstead course. He's actually won the race 3 times (in the process clocking 3 of the 6 all-time fastest times), and in 2002 he finished in a completely insane time of 14:42. If that's not enough to earn your respect, he also set the 24-hour treadmill world record (since broken by a couple miles)in 2004 by running 154 miles in one day on the good ol' hamster wheel. Crazy? Yes, but....actually I have nothing else to add. That really only qualifies as crazy.
For the ladies, defending champ and course record-holder Jamie Donaldson of Colorado will return to defend her 2007 title as well. Jamie is a member of the newly pared-down Montrail Racing Team, so you know she's the real deal. I look forward to running with her at some point over the 100 miles as I plan to run roughly the same pace she ran last year. Among her other achievements, she's a Badwater veteran who will be returning to run the notorious 135 mile race across Death Valley again this summer. I'll be sure to wish her the best of luck in that march across the desert.
Sure, there are still 3+ weeks to go before the race, but I'm already chomping at the bit to toe the line with these stars of the sport.