What to do this weekend: 7/5/13

Loon Mountain Race sign

The Loon Mountain Race: where all signs point to pain. Photo by aussiegtl/flickr.

There are some great races taking place this weekend, with the Finger Lakes Fifties trail races in upstate New York and the Loon Mountain Race in the White Mountains. The Finger Lakes Fifties offer 16.5-mile, 32.9-mile, and 50-mile options. The longer races cover multiple loops of a 16.5-mile course. For a taste of what runners at this race are in for, check out this report from the 2011 race that has a nice description of the course.

As always, the Loon Mountain Race will offer the chance to spend an hour or two of your weekend experiencing extreme discomfort. The 5.5-mile race includes a stretch of about a kilometer at a 40 percent incline. So if you ran Mount Washington and sighed when you saw “the wall” at the very end, just picture doubling that grade and then extending it for about another half mile. The race starts at 9:00 on Sunday at the Loon Mountain Ski Area, and race-day registration is available.

For those not already signed up for the Finger Lakes Fifties or not quite up for Loon Mountain, here are a couple of other options.

Saturday

Wicked Wildcat Wander, Charleston, N.H.
Part of the Western New Hampshire Trail Series
Distance: 5.8 miles
Start time: 9:00
Race-day registration: yes

Richford’s First Annual Old Home Days Home Run, Richford, Vt.
You can’t get much farther north in Vermont than this.
Distance: 6.9 miles
Start time: 8:30
Race-day registration: yes

Sunday

Blue Hills Skyline Trail Run, Milton, Mass.
A trail run in the beautiful Blue Hills Reservation
Distance: 12k
Start time: 8:00
Race-day registration: yes, but total registration is limited to 100 runners

Map of the Mount Marathon course

A map of the Mount Marathon course, including all the places you might get hurt.

What to read

→At the other end of the U.S., there’s a mountain race that might be even crazier than Loon: Mount Marathon, in Seward, Alaska, a 3.1-mile race with more than 3,000 feet of elevation gain and a significant chance of failure and/or injury. Rickey Gates is among the non-Alaskans tempting fate at this year’s race.

→Here’s a round-up of post-race coverage from last weekend’s Western States 100 from iRunFar, including interviews with many of the top finishers.

→This isn’t new, but it’s a fun read: Graham Averill writes about the benefits of being in a committed relationship with a trail system: “I guess in the classic sense, you could call this trail system my mistress. But not the sort of cheap mistress that Americans have. She’s more like the mistress of a French politician. The kind you buy villas for and take to state dinners.” Read more…

→While Americans focused on Western States, over in Europe, the Mont Blanc Marathon and Vertical K were held last weekend. Here’s a recap of the race from Ian Corless and a race report from Californian Scott Dunlap, who made the trip to Europe as part of the inov-8 team to get his first taste of skyrunning.

→Finally, here’s a short video of the Mont Blanc Vertical K, which, true to its name, gained 1,000 meters of elevation (or about 3,280 feet) over the course of about 2.4 miles.