Ultra Runners

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Iditarod Trail Invitational 2013 (Read 46 times)

    Not sure how many of you have been following the ITI this year, but it's been an incredible race - weather has been relatively good so haven't gotten bogged down in blizzards as they have in the past. This is the race that goes from Knik to McGrath (350mi) or on to Nome (1000mi) hauling your gear in a sled on the Iditarod Trail. It starts a week before the sled dog race so many of the Nome-bound folks can take off behind the groomers for the sled dog race so there's a trail to follow.

    http://www.alaskaultrasport.com/latest_news.html

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Iditarod-Trail-Invitational/169964759708637

     

    New records were set for men and women bike and for women foot to McGrath, and the men's winner came within about 4-5 hrs of the men's foot record, which had been thought untouchable. He averaged over 70 mi per day pulling a sled. (#2 was 1.5 days behind him)

     

    For the long race (1000mi to Nome), Tim Hewitt won the foot division unsupported and was 3rd overall (behind 2 bikers). That's hauling a sled over 100lb for about 1000miles. He hauled everything that he needed and did not go inside any buildings during that time.

     

    The woman's winner in the long race finished this morning in just under 31 days, knocking 11 days off the previous record. She did the last 77 miles in under 24 hours and ran the last 4 miles - that's still with a sled and temperatures had dropped to -15F or so. Something about smelling the barn and being able to get out of the cold.

     

    There's one guy in the foot division with less than 77mi to go so should finish late today or tomorrow.

     

    March Madness, Alaskan style.

    "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

      I thought the people doing it on the dogsleds were tough.  I had no idea this was also done on foot.

       

      When they say on foot, do they mean walking or is this like cross county skiing?

        I thought the people doing it on the dogsleds were tough.  I had no idea this was also done on foot.

         

        When they say on foot, do they mean walking or is this like cross county skiing?

         

        This race has been in existence for about 10 yrs with some earlier human-powered races (with different names) going back another 10 yrs or so, iirc. I think it started as Iditaski, then Iditabike, then Iditasport. Back then, the fat-tired bikes were still being invented.

         

        Like most winter ultras, you have a choice of foot, bike, or ski - chose your method on race day. Ironically, skiers account for the fewest racers in these events that start in southcentral AK (I see more skiers in the ones in interior AK), and no skiers were present in either the 350 or 1000mile races this year. Many bikers push many, many miles (sometimes hundreds in the longer race)

         

        The "foot" category includes walking, running, and snowshoeing. The best of the racers will run at least part of the way. How much they can run will depend on snow conditions. Deep snow, and they'll be breaking trail with their snowshoes. Minimal snow or hardpacked trail, they'll be running. The fact that the women's finisher today finished the last 77 miles in under 24 hours has that close to the pace that the top men's finisher did in the 350mi (under 5 days). I know both of them, and that's just incredible. Even when the weather was warmer, and there's wind, there's still the constant white landscape, which can be, ah, boring on the Yukon River.

        "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
        jamezilla


        Follower of Forrest

          Do you get any TV coverage in AK?  I'd rather watch that than college basketball.

          6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 54mi

           

          A man may never run the same trail twice for it is not the same trail and he is not the same man


           

            The sled dog race and the Iron Dog (snowmachines) have some tv coverage, but the human-powered gets covered mostly by online techniques - the race's website, FB, and AlaskaDispatch online newspaper.

            http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/iditarod-trail-invitational-endurance-race-away-civilization

            http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20130327/forget-lance-alaskan-badass-perfect-beer-commercial

            and many other articles - just poke around. Craig Medred heads out on his snowmachine and follows the human-powered to McGrath, then comes back and covers the sled dog race. Because he's out there on the trail, he can cover the race like no other reporter - print or tv can.

             

            It used to be a bit awkward when everything was on the race website, but now with FB, everyone can interact easily with pictures. Racers from past years may provide some additional insight to weather and trail conditions and provide pictures from their journeys.

             

            What's amazing this year is that all 48 starters made it to McGrath and 7 of the 9 who started for Nome made it in official time. One person with some foot problems turned back to McGrath shortly after starting, and the last runner will come in after the cutoff time - finish, but not official finish. That's saying a lot about the weather this year - good for fast times. In contrast to last year where there was a lot of snow. Many bailed early when they had to bivy before the first major river (frozen) crossing - couldn't find the trail. There's no sag wagon to pick you up, and it might be some distance (100+ miles) between places where you could be picked up by regular airplane. IOW, it's both hard and expensive to drop.

             

            What's so incredible about this race is the bonding that forms with the villagers, and the mutual help / respect between human-powered and dog-powered racers. At first the mushers and the sled dog officials were a little leary of things, but now some of the human-powered may help at sled dog checkpoints while waiting for the trail to be put in. Breaking trail can be a senseless use of energy if you know a snowmachine groomer will be coming through. Mushers and runners may share stories and food.

             

            Many up here will be going through some serious race withdrawal when the last runner gets in, probably tomorrow.  Since Feb 24, we've been following this race - plus the sled dog for part of that time and assorted other shorter human-powered races. It's been interesting on FB how quickly the "likes" show up after a post.

             

            I think this race is just so far out that it doesn't even get the coverage by ultra media.

             

            MTA: Do look at their FB page for lots of great photos.

            "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
            DoppleBock


              Thanks for the post - Interesting stuff.  I know we have 2 qualifying races around here.  The Tuscobia 150 mile and the Arrowhead 135.

               

              Not my cup of tea to pull a sled (Polk) and be self sufficient ~ I am needy

              http://a-big-horse.blogspot.com/ 

              2013 Goals ~ Mar < 3:00, 5M < 29, 10k < 35  

               

              srlopez


                .

                xor


                  This is what you look like when you are tugging a sled to Nome.  (this is your female winner and new record holder... my friend Shawn)

                   

                   

                    This is perhaps the biggest smile:

                     

                    Shawn at finish

                     

                    Yep, Shawn and I have been in a couple of the same races - much shorter than this and she being much faster. Wink  Can't find her picture at the start, but do have the men's and women's 350 winners (foot).

                    "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


                    I'm back!

                       (this is your female winner and new record holder... )

                       

                      Well yeah, but only by 11 days.

                         

                        Well yeah, but only by 11 days.

                         

                        That's cuz she had some bonus mileage on a scenic side trip in the first 350mi. (Not sure how much, but not insignificant)

                        "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                          She just turned in her application for next year - in person.

                          "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog