OK, so all this talk on the blogs about some kind of championship race for the elites has gotten me thinking about what would make a good championship race. If you put aside history and tradition which is clearly something all the Big Boys have and should have then I would say the following criteria would be best (in no particular order):
1. A Good Course, one that is a fair test for a wide range of runners (flatlanders, mountain goats, speed demons and patient folks) and allows for competitive racing.
2. An Attractive and Accessible Location, Whether the race pays for you to be there or not it would be great if this championship venue was in a "destination location." By that, I mean a place where perhaps people could enjoy more than just the race when they travel there. Also, it would help if there was a major airport nearby that accessed many areas of the country.
3. Solid Organization. Some of the Johnny-come-lately championship races have been lacking in such things as course markings and aid stations. This championship race would need to have those things dialed.
4. Incentives, This is, of course, totally up to the organizers but incentives will get people to the race and keep them coming back.
5. A Good Spot on the Calendar, With some months completely taken with some of the big races and acknowledging the fact that people will continue going to those races until they can't anymore (for example, I will not stop going to Western States until I drop out of the top-10, which could be this year!) it would be best if this championship race took place during a time that did not interfere with these other races.
And, given these criteria, (and I admit, I created the criteria) I declare the Javelina Jundred the perfect Championship Race.
1. The 15.3 mile Pemberton lTrail oop is all pristine desert single-track with moderate climbs and descents, some areas of sketchy footing, and fair distances between aid stations. Furthermore, the "washing machine" format allows a runner to size up his competition regularly.
2. The desert is beautiful (especially in November!), Phoenix has many attractive places to visit, and the airport is accessible from all corners of the country. Also, camping is cheap, convenient, and fun right on the race course.
3. The race organization is second to none. Just ask Dave Combs (Mr. UltraList)
4. If the incentive to spend a weekend in the desert in November is not incentive enough, consider the awards (I have two on my mantle in my house and let's just say they are truly conversation pieces.) The court's still out on Prize Money.
5. With the exception of the San Diego 100 Miler ,the month of November is light on 100 Milers. Even if guys have done a 100 miler in June, July and September (like I did in 2007) they could probably get focused for one more.
So, there's my idea. Let it be noted that I have no financial interest in the Javelina Jundred nor do I know if this is something that the race organizers are even interested in. All I can say is that I will be there in November, 2008 and if a bunch of fast guys were there vying for prize money or funny things to put on their mantles I'd be psyched.