Sunday, January 13, 2008

The HURT Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run

On Saturday morning, January 19th, in Honolulu, Hawaii, 100 runners will set out into the mountainous jungle for one of the world's most difficult foot races - The HURT 100. Comprising 5 20-mile loops on what were originally wild pig trails through the forest, the 100 mile race has an elevation gain of almost 25,000 feet, with a similar amount of descent. Since it's run in January, there is more darkness in a jungle day than light. To give you a feel for just how difficult this race is, in the six years the race has been run, only 27 percent of starters have finished the 100 miles. Only two have finished under 24 hours. To throw a handful of salt on probable mental anguish, it is run in what can only be described as an island paradise.
This year I am one of the runners. It's difficult to prepare to run in a tropical forest when you don't have a tropical forest to run in. With roots and rocks and slippery mud, steep climbs as well as precipitous drop-offs, the course is as much a mental challenge as a physical one. When exhausted the long January night takes its toll. Many runners get to the end of the third lap, call it quits, and take the option of a short two-mile loop to get credit for the 100k. But I won't.

Over the upcoming week before the race, I'll discuss here my training and strategy for the run. I'll also outline how I'll take care of my feet, a key component to finishing what is essentially a wet, muddy, ankle-twisting feat of endurance. With the help of crew and friends we'll also experiment in live-blogging the race. We'll have one correspondent, Sarah, at the race, and another, Pete, checking in through the HURT 100 live race feed.

Running 100 miles is difficult in the best of conditions. The HURT 100 is a special blend of a beautiful course, nearly impossible running, and the best hospitality (Aloha) imaginable. Together they assure a memorable adventure.


Jasper said...

Just remember, Sam, you don't get to wear the sweet Patagonia shirt if you don't finish the whole deal. That's what convinced me to eschew the 100k option - no mention of that on the shirt. You're going to have a blast out there. I'm looking forward to following along online.


darkcloud said...

Hey Sam,
Good luck at HURT. I think you will have a great race. Enjoy the roots and the mud. Looking forward to hearing all about it.

Anonymous said...

Go Sam!

You can bet we'll follow along at home.

Thanks for the run Saturday morning. In between my hacking coughs, I enjoyed the conversation. When you return from Hawai'i, Blackberry Bistro awaits.

- Garett