Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

I like to Run Insanely Long & Crazy Distances                                                                                                             Pony Express Trail 100

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The Javelina Jundred was run on Jalloween this year.  This desert 100-mile race is run in McDowell Mountain Park near Fountain Hills, Arizona, at the base of the McDowell Mountains. The course is a loop format that runs on the 15.3-mile single-track Pemberton Trail.   We would have to run six loops in alternating directions and then run a shorter loop to bring the distance up to about 101 miles.

I have a love/hate relationship with this race.  I ran it for the first time in 2009, finishing pretty good with a time of 23:47.  However, in 2012, I returned and my race fell apart because of the heat and I quit after 100K with a slow time of 19:37, more than three hours slower at that point than my first year.  After the poor experience that year, I vowed to never return again. continue reading…

Kodiak 100

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I ran Kodiak 100 which is in the San Bernardino Mountains at Big Bear Lake, California.  This was the third year for the race that by name makes you think it is run in Alaska.  I don’t know why this race is called Kodiak, perhaps because grizzly bear cousins of the Kodiak bear were once found in these mountains.   With all the 100-milers I have run, this would be my very first time running a 100-miler in California.

Two weeks earlier, I had a poor race at Wasatch 100 and dropped out at about mile 75.  The unusual heat affected me poorly and I was sick for the next few days from heat induced difficulties.  I realized that pulling the plug on that race was the right thing for me, but I was anxious to make amends and get my next finish soon, so I signed up for Kodiak 100 just a few days before the race.

I would classify this 100-mile course as one of the easier mountain 100-milers.  It has about 16,000 feet of climbing along the way and is run most of the way above 7,000 feet.  It has two steep climbs of about 3,000 feet and one of 2,000 feet.  What keeps its difficulty down are the miles of dirt roads and quite a few miles of pavement thrown in.  The finishing rate was only about 62%, pretty low, but fairly typical for newer races that attract newer ultrarunners.  Tahoe Rim Trail 100 to the north has a similar difficulty level to this 100. continue reading…


I ran the very challenging Capitol Reef 100.  This 100-mile course runs on the Aquarius Plateau which rises about 6,000 feet above Capitol Reef National Park which is off to the east. The Aquarius Plateau is the highest plateau in North America and covers more than 900 square miles.  Little did I know how tough this race would be for me.  I had hoped for a 27-hour finish, but I tossed away that hope about 25 miles into the race.  What makes this race so tough is the altitude (all but 12 miles above 9,000 feet), boulder-ridden trails, and constant route-finding (even with good markings).

I’ve run many adventures in nearby Capitol Reef National Park so I have a great fondness for the region.  I have driven the highway below the Aquarius Plateau, have seen the trailhead signs for the Great Western Trail, and have always wanted to experience the trail in this section of Utah.This was my chance. My experience was unforgettable. continue reading…







Squaw Peak 50 is a classic and tough 50-mile race held in the mountains above Provo, UT.  During the early miles, the course climbs the slopes of Squaw Mountain (aka Squaw Peak) a prominent peak that rises above Rock Canyon, frequented by day hikers and rock climbers.  It received its name back in the 1800s for “Big Elk’s squaw” who died in the canyon following a battle with pioneer settlers.

This year was the 19th running of Squaw Peak 50, one of the longest running ultras in the country.  Before this year, I had run it seven times, and my personal best time is 10:56. It is a tough 50-miler because of the climbs, about 11,000 feet (according to Garmin).  The most difficult climb starts at mile 39.5 on a rough trail and climbs about 1,400 feet to the high point of the course in just 1.6 miles without the aid of helpful switchbacks.

Over the past several years I had wondered if running a double Squaw Peak 50 would be possible and how tough that might be.  I put it on my “bucket list” to try some day.   I knew it would be rough, requiring 50-miles of solo running and about 22,000 feet of climbing along the way. continue reading…

logoThe Grand Canyon certainly needs no introduction. It is one of my favorite places to run.  I’ve run more than 1,000 miles in and along the canyon and I jumped at the chance to run an official 100-mile race along the North Rim.  As tourists visit the North Rim, it is common to feel some disappointment at the views as compared to the South Rim.  From the South Rim you can view the canyon from many points but from the North Rim, in the National Park, you really just have one view from paved roads.  But the Grand Canyon 100 took us to spectacular viewpoints outside the park, that tourists miss and opened my eyes to a section of the canyon I had never seen before. continue reading…

Salt Flats 100

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For the fourth time I went to run the Salt Flats 100 near Wendover, UT/NV.  I really like the course which combines speed with some serious challenges.  The Salt Flats 100 (and 50) starts on the historic Bonneville Salt Flats Speedway.  The actual salt flats are 12 miles long and 5 miles wide covering just over 46 square miles.  Near the center, the crust is 5 feet thick in places.  That is 147 million tons of mostly table salt!  It is the site of some astounding land speed records of more than 600 mph.  continue reading…

Pickled Feet 100

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Pickled Feet 48/24/12/6 hour run is held at Eagle Island State Park, near Boise, Idaho.  This event is in its 4th year. They also provide a 100-mile option.  I was interested to finish my 4th 100-miler in the first three months of the year, so I signed up.  Last year I ran the 48-hour version and did pretty well, finishing in 3rd with 161 miles. The course runs on a mostly flat, smooth dirt road/trail on a 2.5-mile loop.  The scenery during the loop is great – rural farm land, by a small lake, and along Boise River.

I arrived at the park as the 48-hour runners were getting ready to start at 6 p.m. on Thursday evening.  I chatted with Israel Archuletta for a while.  He would go on to finish in 4th place with 120.280 miles.  I was happy to not be running for two days this time.  64 loops last year was tough and I knew that 40 loops for 100 miles would be plenty.

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logoMonument Valley is a region in southern Utah/northern Arizona that features a cluster of enormous sandstone buttes that tower as much as 1,000 feet above the valley floor.  Much of the area is included in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park with its impressive views that rival any national park.  This year, for the first time, the Monument Valley 100-mile race was held in this spectacular park.  You have seen many westerns filmed there, Marlboro Man commercials, and even a Forest Gump highway scene.

After coming up short (90 miles) at Antelope Canyon 100, three weeks earlier, I was anxious to get back on the desert trails and complete Monument Valley 100.   I recovered very fast and was even able to train 118 miles during the week between the two races.  I felt strong and ready. continue reading…