Friday, December 7, 2007

100 Mile Trail Championship? How about Javelina?

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.

To wit:

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.


Cougarbait said...

I think that's a great idea about Javelina, the loop course will give it a championship feel like cycling and the timing of the race won't be in conflict with other events for elite runners.

The problem is Ultrarunning has become a little like golf in some regards, but in other ways we can learn from golfers. The U.S. Open is the men's championship in golf, but let's face it, a golfer wants to win The Masters and get the friggen green jacket. Most ultrarunners when asked if they could only win one ultra in their lifetime, most (not all) would say "Western".

At least in golf, you have the best playing the best. And those who like to play too and might even be a zero handicapper can sit on the sidelines and watch. Maybe play the Augusta course some other time, but they don't play The Masters. You don't see some guy that shoots a solid 92 bumping someone that shoots a 68 out of The Masters?

Have the Western folks ever looked to see if there is a loop hole in their permit? They may be limited to 350 people for "The Event"...what about two events? What about an elite field event and a citizens race, two events. The Citizen's race begins at 11:59 on the Friday with the 24 hour plus runners and the regular event starting the following Saturday morning at 0400.

The events are on two differnt days, two different permits, the elite runners will still make their way through the field by the finish, the citizen runners hit the canyons at a cooler time in the day. Aide station workers won't be out there any longer than they already are.

I can't imagine watching the Masters and seeing some guy stink it up, maybe only complete 3 rounds of golf because they really aren't in shape enough to play 4 rounds, while Tiger Woods had to sit on the sidelines because he wasn't selected out of the hat....but that's Western.

No, I am not giving up my spot to one of you fast dudes, you'll have to fight me for it....but at least I'll train hard and run my butt off at the race and be determined not to drop because I took someone's spot and better run well rather than stink it up! I'll be dominating the back half of field for sure!


Olga said...

How about Teton race?

Bedrock said...

Good thoughts here Andy. Although, I am not familiar with the JJ course, it seems like it is a fantastic venue for this. Have you given any thought to how folks qualify for the champ race? As a mid pack runner, I would not be in the running but it seems like this could be a controversial element.

Congrats on your 2007 season and good luck in 2008.


speedgoat said...

Too flat

Rod Bien said...

way too flat....


Jeff Browning said...

not to sound like an echo...but, have to agree with Karl and Rod... flat.

jeff b

Paul DeWitt said...

Jeff, Rob, and Karl - you guys need to look at the big picture; Any race is going to be less than ideal for some folks, but if we want to get more organized there is going to have to be buy-in from the athletes. People are pissed that WS isn't letting everybody in, so if a race offers to do just that, we have to take what we can get.
- Paul

Anton said...

I agree with Paul. If an RD is willing (and JJ's seems to be) it looks hypocritical for us to not work with long as there isn't TOO much asphalt on a course, I'm in.


AJW said...

Hey guys,

I hear you on the flatness of Javelina and you are tight. It's flat. However, the organizers are willing to support a championship event with prize money etc...and it is in a soft spot on the calendar. Lisa and Jay at Teton have alos expressed interest and willingness but their date is Labor Day and that creates, in my view, a conflict with LT, WF and AC. That said, if everybody gets on board and is willing to not do those three races so we can have a go at Teton I'd be in as well. It's got 20,000 ft of vert and a soft course record of 19:35.