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ultras: more bang for your buck

here are the races on my near future schedule, their distance, and the entry fee:

high desert 50k, dec. 3
50k – $50.00 –> registered!

avalon benefit 50, jan. 13
50m – $80.00 –> registered!

twin peaks ultra 50/50, feb. 4

50m – $55.00 –> registered!

long beach marathon, oct. 15
26.2m – $95.00 –> i don’t think so…

i removed the long beach marathon from my schedule. 95 bucks to run 26 miles? on roads? i don’t think so. i think my days of running marathons are over (not that i’ve run that many, anyway). i just can’t seem to rationalize paying almost $100 to run a marathon. actually, my two favorite marathons, palos verdes and mystic places, were the cheapest i’ve ever run, at $40 and $50, respectively.

i understand there are expensive ultras, too. especially if you’re into multiday events abroad… but your ordinary ultra is usually pretty affordable, and well worth the price. (plus, how else do you get to binge while you run?). race directors of ultras do not usually put on races looking to make a profit. (at least most of them don’t). it is not rare for race directors to end up having to cover some of the race expenses out of their own pockets, either. it’s all about giving back to a sport they love. so i went out in the cyberworld and did some research on prices of 100 milers. (they’re in my future, anyway). i found that they range from $100 to $250 (here in the usa), but i only researched the “most famous” ones, and the skewed criteria for that was whether i had ever heard about them or not… 🙂 those were the two extremes:

rocky raccoon
100m – $100.00

western states
100m – $250.00

the rocky raccoon is held in february, in huntsville, texas. it is rated “1.0” in difficulty by a step beyond: a definitive guide to ultrarunning, the ultrarunning “bible” published by the ultrarunning “authority” ultrarunning.com. no wonder it is a very common choice for a first 100 miler. the course consists of five 20.2-mile loops with four aid stations.

the western states — or “the boston of ultrarunning”, as some call it — is rated a “7.0” in difficulty by the same book. it is held in june, in squaw valley, california. the course is a downhill point-to-point from squaw valley to auburn, through one of the most beautiful terrain in northern california. there are several steep climbs and descents, and extreme temperature differences. i know of two great movies with footage from this race: a race for the soul, filmed in 2001, and running madness, filmed in 2002. they are very inspirational and will have you out the door running before the end. be sure to come back, shower, and watch the rest.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Darrell September 24, 2006, 11:51 pm

    That looks like a great schedule. Have you run Catalina? (that ones gonna cost you that whole Franklin, though). It looks like it would fit nicely into this schedule.

    Now, I’ve got to go in search of these movies.

  • Darrell September 24, 2006, 11:54 pm

    Never mind, if I paid better attention I have notice the Avalon race. I guess a mere marathon after that at more money doesn’t quite cut it. The Catatlina Marathon is on my list someday.

  • ~nattie~ September 25, 2006, 12:42 am

    hey darrell!
    i took a look at the catalina marathon website and realized… the course for the 50 miler is about the same, but out and back… so… even if i drop at the halfway point, i’ll still be saving money on the 50 over the marathon! now that’s quite a deal!
    hey, st. george is approaching fast! i’ll think of you during my nami 5k on the 7th. 😉

  • GuruParkash September 27, 2006, 6:49 pm

    This looks a lot like my projected Schedule, I have been talking about these events with running friends who will also be there, Avalon 50 will be my first 50 miler, I am sure to be at 3/4 of these! Thanks for reminding me to start signing up & for the links..

  • ~nattie~ October 1, 2006, 2:10 am

    hey chris, don’t you wanna find out what the analogous to falling toenails is in cycling? good job on that century though!

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