Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

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

Antelope Canyon 100

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Antelope Canyon 100 is run in and around the spectacular and unusual city of Page, Arizona.  Page was founded in 1957 as a housing community for those building Glen Canyon Dam across the Colorado River.  The city is perched on top of Manson Mesa above beautiful Lake Powell.  If you like running through slot canyons, on slickrock next to cliffs, across miles of open desert, this one is probably for you.  The name for the race, Antelope Canyon, comes from a famous slot canyon that we would run through, normally only accessed by private tour companies permitted by the Navajo Nation.

This was the first year for the 100-mile distance at this race and a handful of daring runners including myself decided to sign up.  Concurrently with this race are also distances of 50-miles, 55K, and 25K.  With some quick research on the race, I quickly knew that the most important word about this race was a four-letter word: SAND.  I knew that I must prepare myself for the sand and even sought out sandy areas near my home to practice and mentally prepare.  The race director, Matt Gunn, estimated that the 50-mile and 100-mile runners would be running through about 30-miles of sand. continue reading…

Coldwater Rumble 100

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I ran Coldwater Rumble 100 in Goodyear Arizona, near Phoenix.  This is one of the many events put on by Aravaipa Running, the same group that puts on Across the Years, Javalina Jundred (100), and others.  They always do a great job on their races.

Coldwater Rumble provides races of various lengths: 4 miles, 20K, 20 miles, 52K, 52 miles, and 100 miles.  They all start on the same day with staggered start times.  About 400 runners would be on the course that is laid out on various desert trails in Estrella Mountain Regional Park.  You could clearly tell which race a runner was in by the color and number on their race bib. continue reading…

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I traveled to the Seattle area to run a lesser-known ultra, mostly run by locals, called Pigtails Challenge.  There are three distances, 100 miles, 150 miles, and 200 miles.  I decided to enter the 150-mile race “the middle child,” fully understanding the difficulty and toll it would take on my body.  If successful, this would be the fourth time I had reached at least 150 miles in a single race.

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