Press

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PODCASTS
Ultra Runner Podcast (URP)Candice Burt Interview on 2nd at HURT 100 and the Tahoe 200 mile Endurance Run.

Talk Ultra Episode 104: Candice Burt (HURT 100 & Appeal of 200s)

Trail Runner Nation (TRN): I'm a regular guest and co-host on this informative and entertaining podcast
A list of all podcasts with TRN
Audio Magazine Featuring Covergirl Candice Burt
Pros and Cons of Dating an Ultrarunner with Candice Burt
How to be Tough as Nails
Avoid the Race Freakout with Greg McMillan
Leg Sucking Mud: About my win at UltraFiord and More
Tahoe 200: What if I Can? With Victor Ballesteros
When Ultra Runners Go Too Far Candice Burt joins us to discuss a recent lighthearted blog post she wrote on how ultra runners take things to excess.
A Surprise Announcement
Candice Burt- The Every Person's Guide to Trail Running Lingo
Running for Your Life with Dr. Green
Help Save the Pacific Crest Trail for Trail Running

An Overview of my Training and Race Directing Oct '15: DFL UltraRunning episode #55

Adventure Race World PodcastInterview with Candice Burt

Ten Junk Miles Interview: Candice Burt

IN PRINT
Dirtbag Runners Interview: Dirtbag of the Week Candice Burt
Trail Runner Magazine: Trail Runners and Their Tattoos
Tahoe Tribune (Sept '14): Inaugural Tahoe 200 Goes off without a hitch One of the races I direct.
Reno Journal-Gazette (Aug '14): Tahoe Race Tests Will Endure
Outside Magazine (March '14): Ultra Running Gets Serious
Trail and UltraRunning.com InterviewTahoe 200: Race Preview with RD Candice Burt
Tahoe Sierra Sun Newspaper (June '13): Tahoe Rim Trail 165 mile Fastest Know Time AttemptMy interview with the Sierra Sun
Trail Runner Magazine (Sept '12): Read about my Wonderland Trail FKT and trail series races that I'm race directing.

VIDEO
JourneyFilm Video Interview: HURT 100 Preview and the Emergence of 200 Mile Races

 

From Trail Runner Magazine, Run Around Rainier (2012)
by Mike Benge

While there may be more well-known (and longer) “long trails” where runners push Fastest Known Times (FKTs), e.g. Vermont’s Long Trail, California’s John Muir and Pacific Crest trails, etc., one of the most aesthetic, toughest and logical (it runs around a mountain!) trails is Washington’s Wonderland Trail. A 93-mile circumnavigation of the Northwest’s iconic and tallest peak, Mount Rainier (14,411 feet), the trail involves 27,000 feet of elevation gain (and loss), route-finding challenges and potential predatory wildlife encounters.

Inspired by other recent FKT activity on the Wonderland and spurred by a recent DNF, Candice Burt, 30, of Bellingham, Washington, set out on a solo mission this September 19 to break the current unsupported (no caches or outside help, i.e. carrying everything you need on your person) FKT on the Wonderland.

Just the week before, that record had been broken by John Reese of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, who completed the circumnavigation in 28 hours 50 minutes over September 14-15 (in August 2011, Adam Lint of Seattle, Washington, had set the previous record of 30 hours 30 minutes). (As a side note, over September 6-10, Washington’s Jason Vaughn accomplished a double run of the Wonderland in 80 hours 35 minutes.)

During her adventure, Burt, the race director of the Bellingham Trail Running Series (BTRS, www.Bellinghamtrail.com), Bellingham Trail Marathon (www.Bellinghamtrailmarathon.com) and Cle Elum 25K/50K (www.Cleelum50k.com), however, was slowed by several scary wildlife encounters, hallucinations and route-finding difficulties, and completed the trail in 31 hours 11 minutes 57 seconds, setting the women’s unsupported mark for the Wonderland.
“Knowing Candice and other runners that have gone beyond the boundaries of normal civilization has allowed me to sign up for events that common sense would have prevented,” says Chad Calhoun, 40, of Bellingham, a local ultrarunner. “The great thing is that nobody yet knows the limit to Candice's energy. Her BTRS has been a boost for the community, bringing fellow trail runners from Canada, Seattle and beyond.”

Q&A
What is your athletic and running background?
I grew up on a small farm on Whidbey Island. As a kid, I was very active, playing outside, climbing trees and riding horses. I got into running in high school when I joined the cross-country and track teams.
But I fell in love with running when I began running on trails in the mountains. Before trail running, I ran for the exercise. Now I run for the solace, the connection with nature and to feel my body move.
How did you get interested in the Wonderland Trail?
I needed an epic run after DNFing at Plain 100 [in the Cascade Mountains]. I had had a great race at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 in July, placing 2nd woman and 7th overall, and thought I could jump right back into training for Plain [September 8], but my body needed a break. I went into the race over trained and called it quits after 62 miles.
That inspired me to pick a route that would be tougher and more scenic than Plain. The Wonderland Trail has been getting a lot of attention from people going for FKTs, and I noticed that there wasn't a women's FKT. That seemed silly, and I knew then that I would go for it.
How did you prepare for the run?
The Plain 100 is a mostly self-supported run with just one aid station at mile 62. I had trained for that race by running with a heavy pack throughout August, so I was ready for the challenges of running the Wonderland Trail.
Why did you decide to do it alone?
It's not that easy to find someone to run 93 miles with you on three days’ notice! Besides that, running solo was the simplest way for me to do the route on short notice.
Had you been on the trail before?
No, and that definitely presented me with the unique dual challenge of navigating and trying to run fast. I got lost several times. Of particular note was when I couldn't find the trail at night on the glacier section. I wandered around for 30 to 45 minutes following footsteps that kept leading nowhere. I eventually found the trail, but at night it was very difficult to know where to go.
Tell us about your wildlife encounters?
I had a pretty frightening encounter with what I thought was a giant mountain lion around midnight. It was dark and the glowing eyes looked huge! But when the animal moved I realized it was too large to be a mountain lion. It was a bear. I backed slowly away and up a hill and grabbed the biggest stick I could find to make myself look taller and more intimidating. The bear didn't seem to care either way.
Just 30 minutes up the trail I actually did see a mountain lion. It was terrifying because I was completely alone with no way to defend myself. I yelled and made obnoxious noises, hoping to scare it away. I used up a lot of energy on the next climb. Then, I encountered another lion, it could've been the same one, a few miles up the trail, and again yelled loudly to make myself seem unappealing.
My last large animal encounter was a sleepy bear, as the sun was rising. I disturbed the bear by shining my light in its eyes and then by making loud noises. The bear huffed at me and I decided to quiet down and slowly continue down the trail. As soon as I was around a corner, I hightailed it out of there!
What were the toughest parts about the run?
The trail gains somewhere around 27,000 feet. That really took a toll on my body. The mountain lion and bear encounters were also stressful. Running solo and carrying so much gear for almost 100 miles is tough enough without those additional challenges.
Tell us about your hallucinations and how they affected you?
By the second morning, I was really beginning to hallucinate. Tree stumps turned into cowboys; leaves on the trail transformed into hopping frogs. The hallucinations lasted throughout day two. I think because I was so tired they were more intense than I had ever experienced. I was falling asleep while trying to run. I knew I either needed a nap or a change of pace. I downed another gel, turned my music up and picked up my pace. That kept me from falling asleep, but my mind was creating an outward wonderland from my inner emotional journey.
Have you attempted any other long trails?
Yes, quite a few. I was running about 50K most weekends last fall and winter in the Cascades and last November I ran Utah’s 48-mile Zion Traverse [Burt set the women's unsupported FKT]. A few days later I ran the R2R2R [40 miles] at the Grand Canyon. I also ran around Mount Hood on the 40-mile Timberline Trail solo, a week after the Wonderland FKT. September is a great time to run in the mountains!
Tell us about the Bellingham trail-running scene.
There are so many great trails in town and the mountains around the city, and we have two great running stores that support the trail-running scene. Fairhaven Runners and Walkers has been a key sponsor for the BTRS.
There are a lot of groups run trails, almost every day of the week. It is really an inspiring town to live in. In the summer, it is fun to run around the trails at Mount Baker, just an hour to the east.
Did you start the Bellingham Trail Running Series?
Yes. I began the BTRS in December 2011 after a year of assistant race directing ultra-distance trail races in Washington for Rainshadow Running and after competing in the Washington Ultra Running Series. I was inspired to create a similar series of short- to mid-distance trail races that could bring the trail-running community together in Bellingham.
I wanted to offer competitive, scenic, hilly, singletrack running. There are a number of road and urban trail races in Bellingham, but only a few races that are on mostly singletrack mountain trails.
How did you get interested in race directing?
I wanted to be a integral part of the trail-running community, and felt like I could offer community-centered, scenic trail races. It has been a fun and rewarding way to give back to this amazing community.
What else do  you do to pay the bills?
I also practice massage in Bellingham and teach sports massage at the Port Townsend School of Massage.
What are your future goals in trail running?
I'd like to continue to race direct fun and inspiring trail races in Washington. I am also working with a coach to improve my speed and focus my training on my key events for 2013. I'm a little obsessed with the 100-mile distance and anticipate more solo endeavors in my future. I like the self sufficiency and the inherent danger of a solo adventure.
What's on tap for 2013?
My next goal race is HURT 100 in January. I will put in my ticket for the Hardrock and Western States lotteries and will run one if I get in.
Any FKT attempts?
Yes! The Tahoe Rim Trail [170 miles]. I'm not sure if I will do it unsupported or supported yet. There are more volcanoes to circumnavigate as well, like Mount Saint Helens.

You can read more about Burt’s adventures on her blog: www.wilddefined.com.

Sierra Sun, Ultra Runner to Attempt Record on Tahoe Rim Trail
by Becky Regan

The 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail can chew hikers up and spit them out.
The trail serves up more than 21,000 feet of elevation gain. Hiking the full trail is one of those bucket-list challenges for most.

Candice Burt, however, is about to take the traditional Rim Trail trek to the next level.
The ultrarunner will attempt to run a new fastest known women’s time on July 19. The 31-year-old is hoping her effort will inspire people to donate to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. All donations will go to trail maintenance, building and education. 

The Tahoe Daily Tribune recently caught up with Burt for a Q-and-A about the attempt.

You live in Washington, so why did you choose the Tahoe Rim Trail for your next challenge?
 
While in college, I spent a summer working at a natural food store and camping in Blackwood Canyon on the west side of the lake. I’d never been to the area and I fell in love with it. There was this freedom that came from having very few possessions and living in the mountains. Since then, I have felt a special connection to the area. Lake Tahoe has always meant summer, sunshine, sweet single-track trails, and good food. I have been wanting to do the entire Tahoe Rim Trail since I learned about it a few years ago. The last two years, I led a running tour on about 80 miles of the trail, and last year I ran the Tahoe Rim (Trail) 100-Mile Endurance Run. In the lead up to the 100th mile, I kept thinking how I really wanted to run the entire TRT. This summer seemed like the right time. 

What is the fastest known women’s time on the TRT? 
 
It appears that Betsy Nye may have run the trail in 55 hours and 22 minutes, but I have not confirmed that. I have tried to contact her, but I have not heard anything back. 

How long do you expect it to take you to run the 165 miles?
 
I’d like to think that I can run it in less than 50 hours, but the mountains and my body will dictate my final time. I ran the Tahoe Rim 100-Miler in 22 hours and 50 minutes. I will be going slower to conserve energy and endurance, but how much slower? I don’t know.

What is the longest distance you have ever run? 
 
The longest distance I’ve run is 100 miles. I have completed three 100-mile races, plus one solo 93-mile route in the past two years. I have done seven 50-mile races and countless training runs from 50K to 50 miles. 

What are some of the obstacles you anticipate the TRT presenting?
 
The sheer distance is going to be the most challenging aspect. It is going to be vital that I fuel and hydrate properly. For a run this long, not eating or drinking enough will really catch up with you. There are a few 20- to 30-mile sections that I will need to run without support. Those will be tougher as I will have to carry more.  Lack of sleep will also be a challenge. It often means hallucinations and more intense fatigue in the legs. I will try to make it the entire way without sleep.  Another challenge for me is my fear of mountain lions. It is incredibly unlikely that a person would actually be attacked by one, but I have some lingering trauma from seeing two mountain lions while running the Wonderland Trail solo.  I was about 4 miles from a campground when I saw the first one. It was around midnight and I had no choice but to continue up the mountain and hope that I wouldn’t be stalked by the mountain lion. I’ve never felt so vulnerable.

Ultrarunning doesn’t sound fun to the average person. What do you get out of long-distance running?
 
Yes, it can be very painful, but pain is temporary. In the beginning of a run, there is endless possibility. As the adventure proceeds and my body begins to respond to the environment and the immense strains put on it by the heat, cold, exertion, lack of food and water combined with the mental stress of competing, a magical thing begins to happen. It’s a shift. These physical experiences and stresses begin to wear away a layer, then another layer. I become raw in emotion and experience. The world looks new and even the little things are experienced as great joys or devastating lows. Life is simple and the goal is survival. My legs begin to grow out of the trail, my arms swinging in the clouds. Taking in food makes me stronger. I can feel the food fueling my body, the surge of energy. The taste of water to my thirsty body is joyous. The external world begins to mirror my internal world.

What was the most memorable moment you have experienced while running?
 
Sunrise on Mount Rainier after running all day and then all night on the Wonderland Trail. I was about 75 miles into the 93-mile route. I had been running for almost 24 hours and it felt like I would never finish. The sunrise painted the mountain all colors, framed by a cloudless sky. There were elk singing in the meadows below me. If you’ve never heard them, they sound like a combination of whispering, whistling and alien ship noises. It is one of the strangest sounds I have ever heard. The night shadows were being brushed away by a red glowing sunset and I could see Mount Rainier in its full glory. The side of Rainier that is on postcards. The beauty was overwhelming and yet, I was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of run I sill had left. I sat down, put my head in my hands and sobbed under the sunrise and the most incredible view of Mount Rainier I may ever experience. My despair was as real as the beauty of the surroundings. Still, my only choice was to continue on. 

How can we follow your adventures, including your TRT attempt?
 
You can visit my website at www.WildDefined.com. I also have an athlete page on facebook.
“Just three years ago I never could have dreamed that I would run 100 miles, let alone attempt a 165-mile route.”
Candice Burt, ultrarunner
Trail and Ultra Running.com: Tahoe 200: Race Preview with RD Candice Burt 
by Jerry Armstrong

Imagine running and hiking over 200 miles of the most scenic and challenging mountain trails in the United States. You will not finish in one day. You will likely not finish in two days.  Running point-to-point along the historic Tahoe Rim Trail for several days and nights, your quest goes beyond the physical. With several days to navigate the course, you rely on your body, your mind, and your heart. This is the Tahoe 200.
I hope you enjoy my chat with Tahoe 200 Race Director Candice Burt.
Run long and prosper,
EnduranceJer

Q1: Hi Candice! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us about the Tahoe 200. Can you give us a brief history of your experience in the sport and/or with race directing?

A1: Hi Jerry!  Sure thing.  I have been a runner for most of my life. I’ve always liked the longer distance events.  I ran the 2 mile in track and the 300 meter hurdles. The longer and tougher the better. My favorite was cross country running.  The team was like a family. That’s what I love about ultra running. It’s a family.  I began running ultras 3 years ago. Coming from road running and shorter distance racing on the trails, ultra running was the ultimate adventure. It wasn’t just about finishing times and placing. It’s about life and experiences. Ultra trail running to me is true living. I feel more alive when I’m in the mountains running.  I had an amazing opportunity this year to run with the Salomon team at a number of races, including the Tarawera Ultra in New Zealand. I’ve come along way since I wore a borrowed pair of running shoes and a cotton t-shirt running a 50k. Now, I specialize in racing the 100 mile distance.

I began volunteering at races during my first year running ultras. It was a way of getting closer to my boyfriend who organizes an entire series of destination trail ultra races in Washington and Oregon. Turns out, I’m pretty good at race directing! Two years ago I started a trail running series in Bellingham, WA and organized a trail marathon and took over the second oldest 50k in Washington, the Cle Elum Ridge 50k.  I made race directing a full time job this year, quitting my massage practice. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing. I currently organize 9 trail running events and I am an assistant race director for another 8 races at Rainshadow Running. It is a true passion of mine to put on a top notch event, interact with runners, and then throw a great after party.

Q2: Wow! That’s awesome…It sounds like you’re bringing plenty of experience into this event. So, tell us about the birth of this race…how did it come about?

A2:  Being a race organizer, I think a little differently than most people when I’m running on cool trails. I’ve run the entire Tahoe Rim Trail (albeit in parts) and I’ve been dreaming up a 200 miler ever since I knew there was a 170 mile trail that circumnavigates the lake. I have a blooming romance with the Lake Tahoe area. I spent a summer there when I was in college and I find myself returning every summer to run and/or race.  Last year I ran 108 miles on the TRT from Big Meadows to Mt. Rose in one go with a small support crew in 32 hours. I plan to return and complete the entire thing in one go, most likely in 2014 or 2015. Of course I’ll also be scouting out the race course and taking notes.

Q3: Oh man. I love Tahoe too! I ran the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 this past summer. The trails were incredibly groomed and soft. I even came across a bear at night. It was spectacular for me, even though I train in Colorado all year long. No doubt, it’s an epic venue to host the race.  So, this 2014 race will be the inaugural year of the Tahoe 200. In lieu of so many ‘first year flops’ in recent past, what can you share about the preparation and planning going into this event? What effort is being made to avoid common pitfalls of first year races?

A3: I’m a detail oriented race director and it’s very important to me to have a team of people that help me organize the event. I have a number of people who are very experienced taking on leadership roles in the event. I will be one of probably about 20 people who are capable of making key decisions and helping the race go smoothly. It’s all about your team. I have an amazing team, including James Varner, who has been race directing for more than 10 years. William Worrell is an experienced volunteer organizer, and he will be a key player as well.  Of course, there are always unexpected things that come up before, during, and after any event. Lucky for me, my team and I have a lot of experience race directing.  It also helps that I’ve made mistakes in the past and learned from them. Putting on a 200 mile point to point event will be a learning experience, as it would be for any race director in the US!  I take my responsibility to the runners and community very seriously and will be spending all year leading up to the race, planning and preparing. It’s a pretty full time job.  This race is incredibly important to me, and the world will be watching.

Q4: That’s for sure! There is a buzz about the event already. In part, it’s the distance but the also the historic Tahoe area as well. Tell us about the differences between the Tahoe 200 and comparable 100 mile trail races…What new challenges will face athletes who want to complete this course?  What obstacles will athletes face in this race that will be new to the ultra experience?

A4:  A 200 mile race is long enough that it requires sleep stations, which is the biggest difference between a 100 and 200 mile race. A few other key things are: higher overhead, longer cut off times (slower pace generally speaking), more volunteers needed, more safety measures in place, and a lot more course marking!  Many of these differences are intensified by the fact that the race is point to point. That means we have 200 miles of trail to mark as opposed to a 200 mile loop course where they might just have 20 miles to mark and staff with volunteers. This race will be a massive effort!

The major challenges I see runners facing will be their own minds. Finishing is going to be about believing in oneself and a strong desire for completion. A race like this exposes one to a very raw, beautiful mental state, but we aren’t used to being peeled down to our essential self. There’s no ego in this experience, it dies off around 100 miles. What’s left is very special. Physically, runners will deal with a lot more fatigue than they would with a 100 miler. In addition, fueling, hydration, and caring for feet and other injuries will be of even greater importance. With this greater risk comes much greater reward. Completing a full circumnavigation of the lake will be life changing for every runner. I do not doubt this for a second.

I think every race brings unique obstacles, whether you are experienced or not. For the Tahoe 200, the sheer distance will be new for most experienced runners. That and the fact that very few runners who run the Tahoe 200 will have completed a mountain 200 miler. There are two 200 mile loop races in the US, but no mountain 200 milers. Until now. There may be some folks who have done Tor des Geants, in which case this will be easier!

Q5: Ha! There are always easier events…and harder. But, this 200 miles will be an incredible adventure for sure! Tell me, registration for the 2014 Tahoe 200 is scheduled for January 4th, 2014 at Ultrasignup.com What is the estimated entry fee and what does funding provide athletes?

A5: The entry fee will be $850.  Initial cost analysis have the race being very high overhead, especially for the first year and just 200 participants. If you consider it, the Tahoe 200 has a cutoff time equal to not two, but THREE hundred milers!  It’s 100 hours. Time equals cost.  The race entry fee will include a marked course, 13 aid stations, 5 sleep stations (with cots and blankets), a 100 hour cut off time, a post race meal, post race awards and dinner, a race t-shirt, and for finishers: a finisher’s print and belt buckle. There will also likely be swag from sponsors and some cool bumper stickers and pint glasses.  

Q6: Love it. I personally don’t think the entry fee is outrageous, considering the totality of this undertaking.  With regard to support for the runners, what will be provided by the race staff and what is expected from support crews? Can you shed some light on the subject of support in this event?

A6: A runner will be able to complete the race without a support crew. Support crews will not be necessary, but having family and friends involved in the race is just more fun! Aid stations will be fully equipped with a large variety of foods, including what you would normally see at a 100 mile race plus plenty of real food and hot food. Runners will need more food than they would for a 100 miler. Due to the logistics of the course, we have a full aid station every 18 miles or so. Between full aid stations we will have water only stations, so there will be something roughly every 10 miles. This is not a race for beginners.  18 miles can be a long way when you are moving slow.   We also have 5 sleep stations. Sleep stations will have cots and blankets for sleeping as well as a full aid station of hot food and snacks.  


Q7:  What other exciting factoids can you share about the Tahoe 200 or the area where athletes will be running? Tell us about the area…

A7: Lake Tahoe and its surrounding forests are some of the most pristine and scenic in the United States. Mountains rise from the edge of the lake on all sides. One of the unique features of the area are its many trails, including the Tahoe Rim Trail that does a complete circle around the lake. The Lake is the largest alpine lake in the United States and is known for its brilliantly clear, blue waters and being the second deepest lake in the U.S. The Tahoe 200 uses mostly the Tahoe Rim Trail, known for its stunning ridge views, alpine forests, and meadows of flowers. The trail itself is almost sandy in quality with rocks of all sizes and shapes decorating the landscape, some as big as a house. Glittering lakes are also a common site, and they are so blue and clear that one almost has to blink to believe they are real. If you’re lucky you may see some of the wildlife in the area including black bears, mountain lions, mule deer, martens, and a variety of birds.

Q8: Lastly, tell us what athletes can expect from this incredibly unique event? What is the goal of you and your race staff?

A8:  Our vision is create a iconic run that supports athletes on their journey of a lifetime.  In the long term, our goal is to set a precedent for other longer ultra runs in the United States. It’s the beginning of something very exciting and special in ultrarunning in North America!

Thanks Candice! There is definitely some excited chatter about the Tahoe 200. We look forward to seeing how this event plays out in 2014 and years to come. Run long and prosper!


Outside Magazine: Ultra Running Gets Serious
By Heidi Mills

While most Americans probably can’t even imagine running 200 miles, a contingency of runners is eager to go the extra distance. So what will it take to make the endurance craze stick?

Back when race director Candice Burt first dreamed up a 200-mile trail run around Lake Tahoe, she figured it would take time to build an audience for such an over-the-top concept. Its culmination, the Tahoe 200, will be held in early September. At a price tag of $850, the run gives hopefuls a full 100 hours to complete its rugged course.

Burt needn’t have worried about instant success: after the event had been open to applicants for only a week, 187 runners entered the lottery for one of just 75 available spots. And if the U.S. Forest Service renews its permit going forward, Burt thinks she can easily attract 200 racers yearly.

While most Americans probably can’t even imagine running 200 miles, a small contingency of runners seems eager to go the distance. In Europe, the five-year-old Tor des Geants, a 330-kilometer (that's 205 miles, for the metric-averse) point-to-point race in the Italian Alps, fills all 660 slots immediately. If registration for the Tor des Geants and the Tahoe 200 is a reliable indicator, there’s an unmet demand for point-to-point 200’s.
“There are lots of runners who are ready to move beyond 100’s,” Burt explains, referring to the increasingly popular 100-mile ultradistance races. “People want the adventure of being outdoors for four days.” And, she observes, the runners who tackle 200-milers feel that that distance plays to their strengths. Instead of focusing on leg speed, they must pace themselves conservatively and rely heavily on mental fortitude. A multi-day race requires methodical planning, including strategies for sleep breaks. “The 200-mile distance levels the playing field,” she speculates.

Racers attempting 200’s will also have to endure considerable physical discomfort—for days. Deby Kumasaka, who signed up for the 2014 Tahoe 200, says she’s expecting to suffer blisters on her feet from the sandy terrain. She knows she must prepare herself to muscle through fatigue that’ll be compounded by lack of sleep, the hot midday sun, and thin mountain air. But these extreme challenges appeal to her. “In the end,” Kumasaka asserts, "those with the strongest minds will do well.”
The interest in 200-mile races follows a period of rapid growth for ultramarathons, which are defined as any distance over 26.2 miles. According to UltraRunning magazine, the number of finishers for these courses shot from 15,500 in 1998 to 69,573 last year. “Marathons are a popular form of accomplishment, but running an ultra has the extreme factor, making it the next frontier,” says Tia Bodington, who just left her position as editor of UltraRunning.

So far, growth for 200-mile races has been far more modest than for their shorter-distance counterparts. After all, runners have to invest both money and training time to compete in such events. Participants must also devote more time to recovering from their exertions—a reality that may not appeal to some of the most avid runners. Bryon Powell, the editor of ultrarunning website iRunFar.com, says he believes 200-mile races will grow, but perhaps only to a few thousand runners a year worldwide. “That’s a pretty small niche, even within the already small one of ultrarunning,” he says.

Growth for 200-milers has thus far also been limited by a scarcity of events. Just a handful of 200’s take place in the U.S. And, with the exception of the Tahoe 200, those have all been loop courses—like the Pigtails Challenge in Renton, Washington, or the Peak Ultra’s 100-, 200-, or 500-mile races that take place on a 10-mile loop in Vermont.

Even if runners show interest in 200-milers, race directors may be reluctant to tackle the massive logistics of creating new events. Burt and her volunteers will need to mark a daunting 200 miles of trail. They’ll have to provide full-service hot-food aid stations every 20 miles, smaller stations with water and energy gels every 10, and five sleep stations with cots, blankets, and sheets.
If more venues are game enough to offer point-to-point 200-mile races, they should be able to draw an impressive range of runners in the future, though. The upcoming Tahoe 200’s entrants come from 9 countries and 27 U.S. states, with the majority of them aged thirty and forty—but quite a few in their fifties and sixties as well.

Burt was also pleasantly surprised to find that a quarter of her participants were women; she’d assumed a race as long as hers would have an even higher proportion of men than 75 percent. And she believes future iterations of the event will continue to attract a diverse, international crowd. “There really haven’t been any other races like this in the U.S.,” Burt says.


Reno Gazette-Journal: Tahoe Race Tests Will Endure August 2014
by Benjamin Spillman

Candice Burt vividly recalls the time she stared down a mountain lion on the Wonderland Trail in Washington. It was her second-toughest challenge that day.
The toughest was finishing what she set out to do, complete the 93-mile trail in the fastest known time for a female athlete.
She wasn't going to let a mountain lion stand in the way. After the standoff with the big cat in the middle of the night Burt continued and finished the trail in a little more than 31 hours.
Now Burt, 32, is on to an even greater challenge. She's organizing the inaugural Tahoe 200 Endurance Run which promises to be among the toughest extreme races in North America.
She says the mountain lion had a lot to do with it.
"I don't think I would be putting on a 200-miler without that experience," Burt said. "You have to have a lot of confidence to put on an event like this."
While it certainly takes confidence, stamina and toughness to organize what is thought to be the first single-loop, 200-mile footrace in the United States. It takes that and then some to compete in it.
Imagine running roughly the distance from Reno to San Francisco. Then throw in nearly 40,000 feet of elevation gain. And to finish under the 100 hour cutoff runners will need to cover at least 50 miles per day. The fastest will likely be done within about 60 hours of starting. No easy feat on the steep, rocky terrain of the Tahoe Basin.
Even Burt, an accomplished endurance athlete, failed to complete a fastest known time attempt on the approximately 175-mile Tahoe Rim Trail, which aligns with the Tahoe 200 course. She completed 108 miles before breaking down.
"I couldn't keep going mentally," she said. "Once you have your training done everything else is mental."
Todd Nardi, medical director for the event, said once the racing starts on Sept. 5 runners will be fighting not only the terrain but their own bodies.
Depending on conditions they could be battling extreme heat, extreme cold, or both. No matter what they'll be coping with high elevation running, the threat of dehydration or over-hydration, lack of sleep and extreme demand on their muscles and ligaments.
"Any kind of activity you get into where you are pushing your body to the extreme is going to be dangerous," said Nardi, an emergency medical technician with an advanced certificate in wilderness medicine. "Recovery time is important -- that's what they're not getting in this race."
The course starts and finishes at Homewood Mountain Ski Resort and takes runners counter-clockwise around the lake. The lowest elevation of about 5,500 feet occurs about 50 miles into the race at Highway 50. The highest point on the course is above 9,700 feet around mile 90.












The route has 170 miles of single-track, 11 miles of paved road and 21 miles of 4x4 road, which includes the iconic Rubicon Trail.
Although the race is limited to competitors who have completed at least one mountain 100-miler or two non-mountain 100-milers the demands of the course are such that even accomplished competitors could have trouble. That's part of the fun of ultra-running, Burt said.
"I think people are looking for a bigger challenge than a 100-miler," she said," she said. "They want to challenge themselves somewhere where they don't know if they can finish."
That doesn't mean ultra-running is is limited to people who look and act like superheroes, though. Many competitive runners are in their 30s, 40s, 50s and even their 60s.
Nardi said older runners who have trained adequately gain from experience because they learn how to understand their bodies and set a pace that's appropriate for extreme distance.
"It is an incredible thing to watch when you see a 60-year-old lady pushing through checkpoint after checkpoint when 26 and 27 year-olds just can't make it through," he said.
JB Benna, 35, of Reno, intends to be one of the runners who pushes through.
Benna has never run a 200-mile race but last year he completed the 170-mile Tahoe Rim Trail with a fastest known time of about 58 hours. He battled nausea, vomiting and even hallucinations along the way.
Benna thinks the experience will help him in the Tahoe 200.
"I've already run 174 miles so what's an extra 26," Benna said. "For me it is really about adventure, both on a physical level, also just exploring my own limits and seeing how far and hard I can push."
Benna hopes to finish the 200-miler in roughly the same amount of time it took to go 170 on the rim trail. That's because the rim trail adventure was unsupported, which meant he had to carry more food and supplies. The Tahoe 200 has aid stations with food, water, medical experts and other support.
Still, any long distance mountain run can be grueling.
"When you go that many miles the small alignment issues will turn into major swelling," he said. "Your weaknesses get pointed out."
Northern Nevada and California entrants in the Tahoe 200 Endurance Run
Francesca Stone South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Jon Arlien, Incline Village
Brandon Dey, Reno
Jennifer Dicus, Sparks
Jill Anderson, Reno
JB Benna Reno
John Appert, Reno
Sean Ranney, Sacramento, Calif.


Tahoe Tribune: Inaugural Tahoe 200 Goes Off Without a Hitch September 2014
by Sylas Wright
In 49 hours, Kings Beach resident Mike Tebbutt ran and hiked 137.7 miles of high terrain above Lake Tahoe, starting Friday at 10 a.m. and ending Sunday at 11 a.m.
And yet, he still had more than 60 miles to go to reach the finish line of the inaugural Tahoe 200-Mile Endurance Run.
“I was really starting to have dreams of finishing. But then out of nowhere my body told me not to,” said Tebbutt, who dropped out of the nation’s first 200-mile, single-loop race at Tunnel Creek after his foot and ankle began to swell — and the pain set in.
As it turned out, mile 137 was a convenient spot to end. About a 10-minute ride from his house, Tebbutt took a much-needed shower, drank a much-deserved beer and drove up to the Martis Peak aid station, where he joined his Donner Party Mountain Runners club for 24 hours of volunteer work.
Despite the sheer distance he covered, Tebbutt said his foot felt better in a matter of days, and his body was hardly sore at all.
“Overall I feel like it was a pretty darn cool race. With rest and the slow pace, I didn’t end up nearly as sore I have in other, shorter races,” he said, explaining how the slower pace resulted in less impact.
Tebbutt slept on two occasions — 60 miles in at Sierra-at-Tahoe and 103 miles in at Heavenly. After each nap, he said he felt “fantastic.” Next year, he added, his strategy is to sleep even more during the first half of the race.
“I think hitting the reset button early is the thing to do,” he said.
Perhaps due to the slower pace, a surprisingly high total of 60 of the 90 runners who started the race finished within the 100-hour cutoff.
“That did surprise me,” said race director Candice Burt, an ultrarunner herself from Washington. “I thought it would be closer to 30 percent. But our time cutoff ended up being spot-on.”
Burt said while 30 people dropped, only one runner had to be pulled off the course for medical reasons — a woman who was severely hallucinating.
The race started at Homewood and followed the majority of the Tahoe Rim Trail in a giant, counterclockwise loop around Lake Tahoe, skirting the western edge of Desolation Wilderness.
In the end, 36-year-old Ewan Horsburgh of Australia claimed victory, as he passed race leader John Burton, 41, of San Jose in the final hours before crossing the line in 61 hours, 32 minutes. Victor Ballesteros, 44, of San Rafael was second in 63:43, and Burton was third in 65:02:33.
Gia Madole, 33, of Harrah, Okla., was the top woman and 10th overall with a time of 75:56. She was followed by Michelle Halsne of Mukilteo, Wash., who was 12th overall in 77:47, and Claire Perks of Alberta, Canada, who was 22nd overall in 81:16.
Jill Anderson of Reno, who works in Incline Village, Tebbutt said, finished 17th among women and 54th overall in 97:49:04.
The most entertaining finish, however, went to Koichi Takeishi of Japan, as the 51-year-old crossed the line with four seconds to spare, in 99:59:56.
Burt said the large crowd that had gathered at the finish line formed a human arch as Takeishi neared. As he ran through, he performed his best Pete Rose belly slide across the line. The elated runner, who knew little English, Burt said, uttered the words “crazy” and “beer” before he chugged a cold one.
“I’ve never seen anything that incredible,” Burt said. “It’s the most energy I’ve ever seen at a finish line.”
Find complete results at www.tahoe200.com.





 

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