The course map for the Western States 100 mile endurance run, the most renowned of the trail ultras. Image from the Western States website.
I don't have the desire to run 100 miles. At least not yet. The JFK 50 will do just fine. That doesn't mean I am not captivated and intrigued by the big trail 100s--Western States, Hardrock, Leadville, etc.
The last couple days has been the running of the Western States 100, the most notable of them all, and I have been checking in every couple hours to their live webcast to see how it was shaping up. Hal Koerner chalked up the win in 16:12 (that's hours and minutes), which is one of the faster times in the history of the race, though not a course record. The webcast site has video on youtube.com of some of the early finishers. Truly inspirational stuff.
Something to mull over: last year's leader for the majority of the race, came onto the track at where you run a lap at the VERY END of the race, meaning you are more than 99 miles in. He collapsed on the track twice and couldn't finish under his own powers, so his crew and pacers carried him across the line. It was a DNF. Talk about brutal.
Koerner, this year's winner, has been cranking it out of late. Trail Runner magazine just did a feature on the last running of the Angeles Crest 100, which he also won. He recently opened his own running store out in Oregon, and has a blog, which you can check out at Rogue Valley Runners. I would guess he will have a post about the race once he recovers.
The next webcast I am looking forward to is the Badwater ultra--a 135-mile road race run on a road that gets so hot you have to run on the painted stripe to keep the soles of your shoes from melting.
For me, the JFK is going to be a stretch, one that I am going to have to suffer working towards and finishing. One step at a time. Who knows, if all goes well there, I might get dumb enough to want to try the Vermont 100. I didn't just write that. I don't know what you are talking about.