Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Borg vs. McEnroe at Hardrock

Superhuman ultra runner Scott Jurek just after setting the course record at the Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run--considered to be the most difficult 100 mile trail run. Photo from the Hardrock 100 website.

It isn't frequent that you end up with a showdown for the ages in ultra running--many of the great runners are pursuing particular races.

For seven of the last eight years, Scott Jurek won the Western States 100, ultimately deciding that he had finished his work at WS, and winning the Badwater Endurance Run (135-mile grueling road race) the last two.

Karl Meltzer wins almost every 100 mile race he has entered in the last two years. He has won the Hardrock 100 miler four times, including setting the course record. So when Jurek and Meltzer both signed up for Hardrock this year, it was on.

From my computer screen perch in Ocean City on vacation, then home in Easton, I constantly checked back in with Hardrock's live webcast to see what was going on. I had a blast. I don't remember looking forward to a showdown of individuals like this since the Wimbledon tennis grudge matches between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.

Long race to short story, Jurek won the race in course record time, despite spraining his ankle in a pick-up, community soccer game earlier in the week. If you go to his blog, you can get good stories from a couple Colorado newspapers. Meltzer finished second, despite bonking, taking a 2-hour nap, and then continuing. And Krissy Moehl, who has quickly become a 100-mile force of nature, finished 3rd overall, 1st woman, setting the women's course record as well. You can check her blog as well.

If you want to see some inspirational videos, go to the Hardrock site and watch the footage of Jurek and Moehl finishing. To give you an idea about the differences in trail courses of the same distance, Jurek set the Western States course record in over 15 hours. He set the record for Hardrock in over 26 hours. I suppose 33,000 total feet of climbing vs. Western States' 18,000 will do that to you. I wonder how many times you'd have to run around Tuckahoe State Park to get 33,000 feet of climbing?

Apologies for the lack of updates--beach vacation, and now I am having a hard time accessing any sites from my Mac at home. Hope to get that figured out soon. Next post will be a return to Tuckahoe for a great, but buggy, summer run, with some photos from a 10-mile trail run out there this past Sunday. This weekend we are off to western Pennsylvania, where I hope to hit the great, hilly state park next door to my brother-in-law in Butler.

In related news - Mike Keene and I are officially registered to participate in the JFK 50-miler in November.

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