Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Build-up to Rocky Raccoon 100 and TNF sponsorship
The last couple of weeks have been eventful and I'm now honored (already it creeps in) to be the latest addition to The North Face's athlete team. I'm hoping I can live up to their standards since they have a top class roster of ultrarunners around the world (http://www.thenorthface.com/en_US/brand/running), several of whom I've had the pleasure to meet at races.
Two of their athletes who I haven't met yet (except for a couple of words exchanged during Western States) will be racing at Rocky Raccoon at the weekend in an unusually competitive line-up. That's Hal Koerner (double WS winner) and Mike Wolfe (2nd at the UTMB restart in 2010 and Big Horn 100 CR holder). All I need to fit in now is for the kit to arrive in the post...oh, and to run really fast.
The men's race has enough talent to put the 13:16 CR at risk on the easy five loops of trails, with these guys still supposedly all running (I don't know of any DNS issues yet and have probably missed some other fast guys in the list):
Anton Krupicka (loads of CRs and the craziest training schedule around)
Zach Gingerich (13:23 in a 100 miler last year plus winner of the Badwater 135 and Arrowhead 135 in 2010)
Scott Jurek (has won just about everything major in ultra trail running...lots of times)
Hal Koerner (already mentioned)
Karl Meltzer (seems to run a 100-miler before breakfast and has won a lot of them)
Mike Wolfe (already mentioned)
Michael Arnstein (a 2:28 marathoner and 2nd in the JFK 50 a couple of years ago in a fast time)
So it should be a great contest and I expect them to go out hard. It'll be cool to meet so many guys who I regularly read about in running magazines and to, hopefully, give them a run for their money.
The current winter storm across the middle and eastern States seems to have frozen up Huntsville, TX, too, so I'm not sure what the course will be like. The latest forecast shows it going above freezing for race day and may even be pleasant, but the ground may be frozen, muddy or both. Still no idea what I'll need to wear on my shoes or in general.
But at least I'm turning up to the start line completely uninjured, fairly well rested and with some decent speed from recent training and racing. The only problem with all that is that I've been training for marathons and was using this race as a kick-start to my ultra training. However, with such a great field it'd be a shame to not race them. I'm pretty sure I'll be fine for the first 26 miles, anyway.
I think there'll be live updates online, either via the website (http://www.tejastrails.com/Rocky.html) or maybe on Facebook or elsewhere. We all have timing chips, so I'd guess that positions and times will be available as we go through at the end of each 20-mile lap. Kick-off is 6am, Texas time (Central Time Zone, i.e. two hours ahead of the west coast and six behind the UK).