Friday, December 4, 2009

Exciting Saturday

Who says December is the "off-season" for ultra running? Tomorrow is quite the big day for many 50 mile speedsters and Western States hopefulls (not to mention the day Nebraska and Texas play for the Big 12 Championship - Go Big Red!!).  Even though the NorthFace 50 Mile Championship is 6 months apart and half the distance of the Western States 100 miler, they're two of the closest-linked ultra races in my mind.

The common bond between these two races, as I see it, is the Almighty $Dollar. Not a whole lot of prize money exists in the ultra world, so the NorthFace 50 miler series (now finishing up its 3rd year) really stands out as a big attraction for speedsters of that distance ($10,000 goes to the winner of the Championship held tomorrow in San Fransisco). As always there will be a deep and insanely talented field lining up tomorrow, and the race for the cash can be followed here.

Western States might not have any prize money, but considering it has the highest entry fee of any 100 miler (and tons of sponsorship connections), I consider it a big $$ race too. With it being the oldest (and most popular) 100 miler in the country, the desire to line up in Squaw Valley every year is shared by WAY more folks than can actually be accepted into the race. The big excitement tomorrow will be the live lottery to see which of the 1,500+ applicants get selected (about 1 in 5 will get in). Since I'm a guy who prefers to spend my money on things other than huge race fees, I've never had much interest in running Western States, but I figured what the hell this year and threw my name into the lottery for fun (at least that part is free!). The big reason for me throwing my name in the hat is that while I don't like all the fees, I do have a tremendous respect for Tradition. Having run Boston a couple times, I know first-hand what it feels like to run in the steps of so many legends, and I know doing the same at Western States one time will feel just as cool. Anyway, the lottery kicks off tomorrow at Noon EST and can be followed here.  I know I won't be the only one following along!

As for my personal running news, I very much enjoyed taking 10 days off following the Horse-Shoe Trail adventure and am back in the swing of things as I ramp up for an exciting first few months of 2010. I'll join up w/ about 200 fellow VHTRC-ers next Saturday for the annual holiday-themed 50K on the Bull Run course known as the Magnus Gluteus Maximus run. You don't have to be a Latin scholar to know this is a Big Fat Ass run! I'm looking forward to hanging back in the pack and enjoying an easy run w/ friends to help ring in the Holidays!


Chris Roman said...

Got my hat in WS ring as well but as you know hoping to be in Death Valley a few weeks the Iron Horse ticker, keep me updated (would love to help pace you if I do not run and casa Roman is still open. Running my Jax Double in 2 weeks on my 5yo CAF buddies Bday - looking forward to it!!

Anonymous said...

WS fee though high in your opinion. Does support so much more than just the race itself, medical research, trail maintenance, etc..I don't see many other races which are part of a foundation doing so much with the fees and dollars generated from the does have sponsors but you might be amazed at what these amounts actually are to be a sponsor...I would think that your travel costs to this event are much more than the entry fee. Are your travel costs more than the entry fee...lodging, airfare, etc..I would think so....why not write about..something like..I live too far from races I want to be in and I can't afford to travel..

Dan Rose said...

Hey Chris - Good luck in your Jax double! I know you'll do great and raise lots of good press and awareness for CAF. I'll keep you posted on my Iron Horse plans. I prefer to run w/out pacers, so I think you should just plan to run the full 100 again and break 19 hours!

As for the Anonymous comment: I forgot to mention to everyone that a few issues w/ Western States (and similarly w/ the JFK 50) are tremendously incendiary topics in the ultra world. I have nothing against WS (heck, I am entering the lottery after all), I just mentioned that it costs a lot of money to run. As for all these similar hot-button debates, if nothing else, I'm proud that so many ultra-runners have such passion for their sport. Without that passion, I guess we'd all just be regular old runners.

nmp said...

Even at $295 I don't think the fee is unreasonable. There are plenty of other 100's that charge almost as much and provide less (one in CO comes to mind). Compared to road marathons ultras are still significantly cheaper per mile or per hour. I think Boston or NYC are about $130 which would be $500+ for 100 miles and you get a lot less for these races.

Anyway, good luck in the lottery. Hopefully I get lucky tomorrow or the stock market is in my favor on Tuesday :)

Dan Rose said...

Hey Nick,

I'm not saying the "per mile" cost of WS is horribly out of whack compared to races like Boston (which I've paid for twice), I'm just saying the total dollar amount is too high for what I'll personally get out of it.

I'm more of a dude who enjoys running 142 mile trails by myself for free. I run for personal satisfaction, and I feel just as good about a solid effort at a 100 miler that no one cares about as I do at races with spotlights on them.

I really didn't mean to offend anyone, I was just trying to say the only reason I haven't been interested in WS is because I know I can run a couple Massanuttens, Mohicans, or Wasatches for the same cost. I'm cheap that way, I guess.

All of this crap aside, good luck to you and everyone else tomorrow. I hope we all have a reason to be $300 lighter in the pocket by tomorrow night!

nmp said...

Dan - I should clarify that I was in no way offended by your comment. If anything, I agree with you that the $295 is on the high side and there are plenty of races that charge less and offer more. My point was more that even though the fee is the highest there are races that I think are worse in terms of what you get for what you pay.

The price may be a little high but we are part of the 1500+ entered in the lottery so I guess neither of us think that it is outrageously high.

Staci said...

I don't want to run anything that involves a Gluteus Maximus. You know what I'm sayin'. Good luck in the lottery.