After all, on the prime of many runners’ lists are the massive three occasions of the Western States 100, Hardrock 100, and UTMB. With these occasions all having qualifying requirements and lotteries, many of us are ready eagerly to find their destiny someday within the subsequent month or two.
With that in thoughts and realizing how troublesome it’s to get into the “large three,” runners are additionally making early plans to run the Western States 100, Hardrock 100, or UTMB qualifiers in 2024 as a hedge in opposition to not being chosen this 12 months.
In my position as each a working coach and somebody who has been within the sport for a very long time, I spend fairly a little bit of time throughout this a part of the 12 months speaking with athletes about their plans and serving to them strategize for the approaching 12 months. This 12 months, I’ve noticed three traits which might be price noting:
1. The 200-Mile Increase Is Actual
Increasingly, I see athletes gravitating towards the 200-plus-mile distance. What was just some years in the past a fringe area of interest in a fringe sport has now turn out to be mainstream.
The expansion in curiosity for the 200-mile distance originated with Italy’s Tor des Géants, which began in 2010 and which stays the globe’s hottest 200 miler. Along with of us in search of to run a number of of the Vacation spot Path 200 milers, which introduced 200-mile racing in earnest to North America, curiosity in newer occasions just like the Cocodona 250 Mile in Arizona and the brand new Southern States 200 Mile in Alabama continues to extend.
Alongside the way in which, we’re studying extra about what works greatest in these sorts of occasions, because the experiences of extra individuals train us concerning the keys to success, and the paths to failure, in these huge multi-day races.
2. Runners Need Experiences
As the game has grown and occasion choices have elevated, the alternatives runners face may be dizzying. Over the previous two years particularly, I’ve noticed runners shifting towards occasions that not solely present a race setting, but additionally an expertise. From pre- and post-race festivities to distinctive locations, the expertise issue continues to affect runner alternative.
Maybe the best instance of that is the Javelina 100 Mile in Arizona. Consisting of three distances unfold out over Halloween weekend in late October, Javelina has one thing for everybody — even for many who don’t run.
Additional afield, I’ve been impressed with the variety of on a regular basis runners flocking to the Madiera Island Extremely-Path and Transvulcania Ultramarathon as these historic occasions present alternatives for athletes to work together with distinctive cultures and landscapes they merely wouldn’t expertise had been it not for these vacation spot occasions.
I believe we’ll see extra experience-driven occasions popping up across the sport within the years to return.
3. Mother and Pop Occasions
Together with the unimaginable recognition of the “large three” and all of the occasions which give qualifiers for the Western States 100, Hardrock 100, and UTMB — I’ve seen a paradoxical pattern, as nicely. Extra runners I communicate with are in search of to run the small, old-fashioned mother and pop kind races that for therefore a few years have been the spine of our sport. From small fats ass runs over the vacations to easy occasions hosted by regional working golf equipment, I’m seeing a resurgence in these sorts of occasions as runners lengthy for the homegrown expertise that introduced them to the game within the first place.
I, for one, am excited and inspired by these traits and hope that as runners proceed to dream and scheme concerning the 2024 season and past, they search to search out methods to stretch their bodily and psychological limits, discover experiences which might be participating and enjoyable, and by no means lose sight of the roots of the game which might be so vital to so many people.
AJW’s Beer of the Week
This week’s beer of the week comes from Deep Ellum Brewing Firm in Dallas, Texas. Their flagship beer, Dallas Blonde, was first launched in 2012 and has turn out to be a legendary beer within the Lone Star State. With a citrusy end and a easy, nearly flowery aroma, Dallas Blonde is without doubt one of the greatest blonde ales I’ve ever tasted.
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