UTMB in 2011… we have a “World Championship”!

January 19 2011, 10:56 am

Yah, there’s a few missing from around the world, but look here and see how many fast americans are making the jump over the pond!  UTMB is surely gonna be the race of the year.  WS has lots of fast guys and gals too, but lacks many European runners, and a few fast US runners that can’t seem to survive the lottery, including myself. 

Killian Jornet certainly represents the fastest Euro, but many other European runners have a slim chance to get in WS and Hardrock, or don’t want to spend the cake to get here….I don’t blame them.  It’s expensive to travel 5000 or so miles.

The list of runners in the lottery for Hardrock is far deeper than it’s ever been.  #1, #2, #4, and #7 in the US are all on the list for HR, but what’s the chance of them all getting in?  We’ll just say it’s pretty slim.  They’ll all race at WS if they don’t make the cut at HR, which is cool too, but HR is where the race should be amongst these folks.  The biggest, baddest 100 in the US should be the venue….In Europe UTMB is the venue and every fast american that wants to run there……got in…..hmmmmm.  How cool is that?  All the fast European runners got in too…how cool is that too?

It’s different on the other side of the pond, elite runners get a chance to race each other because they are elite.  2300 runners get to challenge themselves on Europe’s grand stage.  Why can’t races here in the US figure out a way to allow many more runners to take to the trail?  We all know it’s because of restrictions from the Forest Service or BLM.  We very much respect the BLM and FS for their points of view.  At WS we can’t run through a Wilderness area with more than they accept now, at HR it’s a BLM, and FS thing and a Wilderness area over Handies Peak.  What I really don’t understand is Hardrock claims to have some fragile areas where we go cross country.  There are fragile areas, and if we trampled them it would cause damage.  This is true, but now-a-days, the Hardrock course is a full trail, all the way.  I am sitting here thinking of where it’s cross country?  Maybe over Grant Swamp in the boulders, and Virginius in the boulders?  That’s about it, everywhere else there is a beaten path.  It’s not wide like at Mt. Blanc, but it’s there.  Having 2300 runners or even 500 runners at Hardrock would not damage the trail, it would beat it down and make one route… European trails. 

The key would be to eliminate “pacers”, and not let crew to fragile areas such as Grouse Gulch.  This would leave more room for runners only, on their own power…..the way it works in Europe. 

As Geoff Roes posted a few weeks ago on his blog:  We need a UTMB here in the US where towns get involved and the FS lets us have it.  We are stewards to the trail, not ones that damage them.  Unfortunately, we’ll never have it, so we’ll make the jump over the pond and race with the best in the world there.  Chamonix is pretty cool too!

I can’t wait to stand on that start line…..

And for the hell of it, register for a beating at the Speedgoat 50k, the toughest 50k in America…..and with some prize money!