The time has come for the Centurions to throw in the sweaty 2018 towel as this weekend sees their last race of the year and as per tradition they are wrapping things up with a loop!
WENDOVER WOODS 50 miles / 3050 m
The runners looking to finish their Centurion Grand Slam 50 series in Wendower this weekend will be faced by a course consisting of five laps of a 10 mile loop on forest trails. It's not the toughest of routes on paper but it does have some punchy hills and ascending them on repeat can be a bit of a mental mine field, add to that multiple sightings of Gruffalos and cover it all in an increasing layer of mud and all of a sudden you have a recipe for what will probably not result in a 50 mile PB!
With these conditions in mind my pre-race favourite has to be this years 3rd lady at Lakeland 50; Amy Sarkies. She will have to battle off the multiple centurion champion Jess Gray in order to win though and that is not an easy feat. Other possible podium contenders are Kit-Yi Greene who finished 3rd at TP100 this year and the current 50 mile slam leader Maria Russell. I'm also keeping a fore seeing eye on Melanie McKay who should have the quads to churn up the mud for a place in the top 3!
THE NORTH FACE 50
On less local trails it is time for the always competitive 50 mile North Face Endurance Challenge in California. It is not certain wether this race actually will take place though as at the moment of writing the Bay Area is still being tormented by devastating wildfires but if the race directors decides to give it a go ahead there will be some serious podium contenders on the start line.
Two time TNF champion Ida Nilsson has been out in the US for a couple of weeks to prepare and she should be hungry for revenge after a less successful Golden Trail Race finale at the Otter Trail last month.
Also seeking a last minute improvement of her 2018 season resume is Clare Gallagher. She will be joined and chased by her fellow Colorado-ite and running buddy Abby Levene who if she has a good day could be a challenger for the podium. Yet another gal with hunger for late season redemption is Yiou Wang who injured herself early the summer and had to DNS most of her races following that. Camille Herron's name could also be added to the list of runners who did not get the 2018 they hoped for but I am hoping that the reason why she did not start New York Marathon a couple of weeks ago was that she wanted to put all her focus on TNF 50 to finish her year with a win.
Brittany Peterson has had an amazing season on the Skyrunning series and unless she has over raced it on the european summer trails i am feeling confident that she will land at least on the top 5! Anna Mae Flynn is another contender for the high rankings, as is Keely Henninger. It feels a bit weird to wish for this race to get underway with everything going on but heres to hoping for the devastation of the fires to come to an end, for a competitive race to unfold and for it to inspire us (and that climate change denying air head in the white house) to look after our wild land whilst we still have some left.
IN OTHER NEWS
Someone who has been inspired to do something in order to turn things for the better is the Team GB ultra runner Dan Lawson. Together with his wife Charlotte he has started a Community Interest Company aiming to prolong the life cycle of running clothes and equipment. After finding out how much of the UK's textile that end up as landfill and being educated on the carbon footprint of clothes consumption the couple started ReRun as a way both to educate others and to try to reduce the waste we all as runners contribute to.
On their site they sell Pre-Loved clothing and Equipment as well as upcycled goods and all profits once the costs of running the shop are taken out goes back into the running community. You can shop or donate and also learn all about the numbers of our unsustainable consuming patterns over at;
Womens round up favourite Sophie Grant wrote a brilliant piece for RUN247 on the subject of low female participation in long distance trail races. You can read it by clicking the link below:
It was published just a couple of days before Lavaredo Ultra Trail released some sad pie charts stating that a mere 12 % of the runners registered to run the race in 2019 were female.
With that in mind; it is time to stop procrastinating, call your girlfriend and schedule a long run for next weekend! Remember that nothing is too steep, too far or too muddy as long as we keep on inspiring and supporting each other we will get there! And opt out of that race shirt and medal next time you sign up for a race, there's no better race bling than the glimmering of sweat on your nose!
TNF announced this morning that due to the continued and forecasted unhealthy air quality levels they've decided to cancel all their events for this weekend. They also stated that they will be donating the entire event prize to Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund to support the relief efforts. All food and snacks from the event will be donated to Sierra Nevada Brewing company who are currently providing meals for the first responders and fire victims.