|Courtesy Rick Gaston|
This weekend I'll stand on the starting line of my 15th Official 100-Mile Ultramarathon. I'll be going for my 11th 100-Mile finish at the Big Horn 100 Mile Endurance run in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. This will be my 39th Official Ultra.
I've been running ultra marathons for quite awhile now. My first ultra was held in July of 2005, my first 100 in April of 2007. I've really run quite a gauntlet of races in these short seven years, and in the last 5, I've managed to stretch myself beyond limits I ever thought conceivable when I ran my first miles back in 2004. Which brings me to the other milestone I'll achieve this weekend. During the Big Horn 100, I'll run my 10,000th mile since I first started running back in the fall of 2004.
The Big Horn 100 is one of the tougher hundred miles in the world. It serves as a qualifier for the rugged Hardrock 100 held every summer in Silverton, CO. And that is what brings me to the starting line in Dayton, WY this weekend. I've qualified for Hardrock every year since I first started running 100s. From Grand Teton to Massanutten, Western States to Leadville. I'm excited to take on the arduous task of taking on the wilderness of Wyoming.
Below is a graphic I took off of realendurance.com. This chart compares all 100 mile races to all other 100 mile races (and more) based on finisher times and finisher percentages. The red dots signify races I've completed. I even took a stab at the Barkley in 2010 (1 Lap finisher). The Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 serves as the toughest race I've run to date. Big Horn is just one notch below.
I'll never forget the physical and mental fortitude that was needed to finish Massanutten the two years I competed in it. I still marvel at that race and it is certainly one of my utmost favorites. Perfectly tough, perfectly challenging.. perfectly organized. I expect nothing less from the Big Horn 100 and expect nothing short of the same efforts required to complete Massanutten. Therefore, I'm assuring myself that I'll be out there this weekend for over 30-32 hours.
The Big Horn brings me back to my roots. Mountain ultras are why I joined this sport. Picking my way through high mountain meadows, over rocky crag and through hallowed forest. I can't wait. So.. off to Wyoming I go for one incredible test. I wonder if I've still got what it takes to finish these tough ones so that my journey towards Hardrock can continue.
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