Ultra Runners

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Safety and Trail Running (Read 89 times)

    Mount Marathon is one of the oldest trail foot races in US - 2nd only to Dipsea, I think. It's almost 100 yr old - not a new thrill seeking, artificial race. The features are what mother nature provides. It starts with about 1/2 mi flat road to the base of the mountain, the 3000ft up in about 1 mile, turn around the rock and back down - basically a long 5k with some attitude in terms of vertical and rocks.

     

    Injuries of various sorts aren't unusual, but usually the kind that people can shrug off. Until 2012. One experienced runner hit his head and is recovering from TBI. There's been a number of fund faisers for him. One rookie was caught by a firefighter (same place as the guy with TBI) but still had some major injuries. She's a helicopter national guard helicopter pilot in Utah, iirc, and wants to return to the race. Another rookie, who did not follow the advice of previewing the trail, disappeared on race day and hasn't been found 10 months later. (this is truly bizarre and I think The Last Man Up article captures that bizarreness)

     

    However, none of the competitors want the risk factor removed from the race. That is what Mount Marathon is. If you don't like it, don't do the race. I should note, this race has become somewhat of a cash cow for the city of Seward - with auctions of race entries reaching $800 or more (for a 5k).

     

    The Last Man Up Read the last page in particular. (this article in RW is fairly decent in capturing the Alaskan attitude)

     

    Big Changes to Mount Marathon Some rule changes without altering the nature of the event. The lead picture has become somewhat iconic for what happened in 2012.

     

    Opinion from one of local newspapers

     

    Mount Marathon pictures These are mostly just below the cliffs.

    You might also look at others on Alaska Mountain Runners FB page, esp. Mount Marathon.

     

    Everybody up here knows about the various races and their hazards. Some have qualifiers and time limits (much reach a certain point within a certain time).

     

    But what happens when you get an inexperienced road racer that somehow gets into one of those. Some mountain races are more hazardous than others.

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

      To be honest ~ it's not the severly rocky sections that get me ... I tend to stay extra alert in these sections.  It is the smooth sections that lull me into being lazy about paying attention and then a rock or root will sneak up and grab my shoe

       

       

      Which is EXACTLY how I dislocated my finger last year. Roll eyes

       

      My friends and I say you've obtained the trifecta if you puke, bleed, and poop (and not your normal poop) during a trail run or race.

      Leslie
      Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain
      -------------

      2014: May - MDW 70-Miles (w/Trail Factor 50k) - Cascade Crest, WA/Astoria, OR/Portland, OR

      June 7 - Grasshopper Peak Redwoods Run 30k - Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA

      July 12 - Mt. Hood 50 - Mt. Hood, OR

      Oct 11 - Firetrails 50 - Lake Chabot, CA


      "The farther you go outside, the farther you go inside." (Unknown)
      Ultrarunnerpodcast

      Trail Runner Nation

      Fatozzi


      Le professeur de trail

        Yes trail running is all about falling! As many times and as hard as you can.

         

        The comments about signs on the course to make newbies beware - no offense but that is ridiculous.  Most trail technical trail races have descriptions and disclaimers and waivers.  But if you run trails in (insert wherever there are well groomed trails) and then travel to (Central PA or similar) - forget it.  See AT's picture.  That is what we got.  Ok not all trails are quite like that but there are rocks, more rocks and roots and hills.

         

        I don't think RDs are too worried about lawsuits about trail runners falling.  Probably more issues with runners getting lost, being stuck out on the course, littering, course markers being mysteriously moved, and so on.

         

        I would say if you think that video of the guy falling is crazy, then you definitely are new to the trail running scene.  It's normal.  Not to say you don't try to avoid said falling.

         

        Sorry just ramblings....

        DoppleBock


          My comment was in jest

           

           

          The comments about signs on the course to make newbies beware - no offense but that is ridiculous. 

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

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

           


          Imminent Catastrophe

            The comment about warning signs isn't that far off the mark. In Hawaii I've seen signs that say, more or less, that the ocean and waves can be dangerous so watch out. Duh.

            "Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"

             "To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain

            "The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.

             

            √ Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 20/21 July 2013

            Boston Marathon 21 April 2014

            Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 19/20 July 2014

            masterslckr


              Mount Marathon is one of the oldest trail foot races in US - 2nd only to Dipsea, I think. It's almost 100 yr old - not a new thrill seeking, artificial race. The features are what mother nature provides. It starts with about 1/2 mi flat road to the base of the mountain, the 3000ft up in about 1 mile, turn around the rock and back down - basically a long 5k with some attitude in terms of vertical and rocks.

               

              Injuries of various sorts aren't unusual, but usually the kind that people can shrug off. Until 2012. One experienced runner hit his head and is recovering from TBI. There's been a number of fund faisers for him. One rookie was caught by a firefighter (same place as the guy with TBI) but still had some major injuries. She's a helicopter national guard helicopter pilot in Utah, iirc, and wants to return to the race. Another rookie, who did not follow the advice of previewing the trail, disappeared on race day and hasn't been found 10 months later. (this is truly bizarre and I think The Last Man Up article captures that bizarreness)

               

              However, none of the competitors want the risk factor removed from the race. That is what Mount Marathon is. If you don't like it, don't do the race. I should note, this race has become somewhat of a cash cow for the city of Seward - with auctions of race entries reaching $800 or more (for a 5k).

               

              The Last Man Up Read the last page in particular. (this article in RW is fairly decent in capturing the Alaskan attitude)

               

              Big Changes to Mount Marathon Some rule changes without altering the nature of the event. The lead picture has become somewhat iconic for what happened in 2012.

               

              Opinion from one of local newspapers

               

              Mount Marathon pictures These are mostly just below the cliffs.

              You might also look at others on Alaska Mountain Runners FB page, esp. Mount Marathon.

               

              Everybody up here knows about the various races and their hazards. Some have qualifiers and time limits (much reach a certain point within a certain time).

               

              But what happens when you get an inexperienced road racer that somehow gets into one of those. Some mountain races are more hazardous than others.

               

              Wow...that's serious stuff and is a worst case scenario for an event and their RD. It looks like the RD is trying to address the hazards and such with the changes and I'm sure anyone interested in the event gets a full idea of how challenging it is so hopefully they are prepared.

               

              Personally, It seems with any race it's all about having an idea not only about the distance but the terrain before signing up.  If someone feels, it's too technical they don't signup and opt for an "easier" ultra.  The problem for me being a newbie to this is trying to understand the difference between my thought of technical and someone who runs in Central PA's thought of technical.  It's a learning experience.

                 

                 

                Personally, It seems with any race it's all about having an idea not only about the distance but the terrain before signing up.  If someone feels, it's too technical they don't signup and opt for an "easier" ultra.  The problem for me being a newbie to this is trying to understand the difference between my thought of technical and someone who runs in Central PA's thought of technical.  It's a learning experience.

                 

                It seems like I say this once a week:  if you are close, train on the course.  It doesn't matter if you are a noob or very experienced.  If a local race looks interesting on paper, go do a loop or a few sections of the trail.  And, believe it or not, the gnarly technical stuff isn't for everyone.  If you prefer rail trails and bridle paths to rocky ping-pong, that's totally fine.  Regardless, if it's not fun or rewarding in some way, don't do it.

                2013 H1:  7 hours/week base.  Q3: Train for goal race.  Q4:  Goal Race.

                DoppleBock


                  I would agree ... although my best trail race ever was my 1st time on trails - Glacial Trail 50M.  I was pretty scared as I was watching the heals of the 2 people I was following and their ankles were constantly half rolling.  I was a flatlander that was just training for flat marathons.  But, I had a big aerobic engine and was stubborn as a mule.

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

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

                   

                     

                    Mount Marathon pictures These are mostly just below the cliffs.

                    You might also look at others on Alaska Mountain Runners FB page, esp. Mount Marathon.

                     

                     

                    Nice.

                       

                      Wow...that's serious stuff and is a worst case scenario for an event and their RD. It looks like the RD is trying to address the hazards and such with the changes and I'm sure anyone interested in the event gets a full idea of how challenging it is so hopefully they are prepared.

                       

                      Personally, It seems with any race it's all about having an idea not only about the distance but the terrain before signing up.  If someone feels, it's too technical they don't signup and opt for an "easier" ultra.  The problem for me being a newbie to this is trying to understand the difference between my thought of technical and someone who runs in Central PA's thought of technical.  It's a learning experience.

                       

                      It's more than the distance, topography, and footing, but also includes aid, course marking, escape methods, and many other aspects. It seems like many ultras have buffet tables every few miles, road intersections occasionally, well-marked courses, etc.  but many races are more remote without all those features. The people that don't want to carry their food and water  select races with lots of support. Esp. If undertrained and might need to be rescued. (Cell phones rarely work in mountain valleys, and extraction can be expensive.). Many races have websites with the basic information that someone considering the race would want to know. They try to provide enough information that a person who isn't familiar with the area or the race operation can make a reasonable decision as to whether that's the race experience they're looking for.

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


                      Faster Than Your Couch!

                        I'm from Central PA, and rocky trails are plenty here (or rather, the pretty much only kind of trail in this area). I've had my share of falls, and I've even gone downhill head first twice on very steep, rocky sections, both times without suffering disabling injuries. Usually, you see it coming and try to minimize the severity of the fall by going down on your knees and using your arms for support. Still, you'll get bruised and scraped, it's just part of the sport. And of course, there's a potential for serious injury, although I personally don't know anyone who got injured so badly that they needed hospital care, or a prolonged visit to the dentist.

                         

                        In the video linked by seilerts, you can see how the runners master the steep descent over the rocks, and it is also obvious that the stronger your legs and the better your balance, the "easier" and faster it is to run such downhills. It gets dangerous mostly when your legs are already tired or cramping up, or if you lose your balance, but most of the time, you'll land on your behind, not on your face.

                         

                        Getting better on technical trails, especially downhills, requires many skills and a lot of practice. Sometimes, you'll end up doing trails that are "too difficult" for your skills, but this is also part of the experience and makes you better in the end. Just take it slow if you feel it is "too difficult", until you feel you can master it faster.

                         

                        In PA, the waiver in races usually holds up, unless there's some gross negligence on part of the RD's. Pictures of the course on the website, a description of the race course, and warnings on the race's information page are considered sufficient to make runners aware of the dangers, and it is assumed that there's an inherent danger to trail running, and the runner knows that.Bad weather does not count as negligence.

                        I am personally against extra warnings along the race course. If you sign up, I assume you've informed yourself and that you have trained properly to get through the course. I wouldn't sign up for a competition when I don't have some experience in the sport and know pretty much what to expect. And despite all warnings, there will always be people who just don't listen, often on purpose, in order to get a "thrill" out of it. Let life teach them the lesson.

                        Run for fun.


                        Trail Monster

                          As a PA runner I agree with the others. Rarely does anyone warn runners about their course. Most just assume that if it says trail then it will be gnarly. If I remember correctly, Oil Creek 100 did have a warning sign at the top of Wolfkiel though. My friend twisted his knee really good at OC and I busted my knee wide open at Baker 50. Never blamed anyone but myself for it though.

                          2013 races:

                          3/17 Shamrock Marathon

                          4/20 North Coast 24 Hour

                          7/27 Burning RIver 100M

                          8/24 Baker 50M

                          10/5 Oil Creek (distance to be determined)

                           

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                          Altra Zero Drop

                            Unless I've already run an entire trail course (training or race), I go into every single run assuming it will be more technical than I'm used to.  I just pay better attention that way.

                             

                            Also, I really try to get close and pay attention when the RD gives his/her talk before a race starts.  If they give warnings or special instructions for a particular part of the trail, I take them seriously.

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