Our son is a former collegiate long distance runner and has always had an interest in trail running, especially “Ultra Running” which is usually described as 50KM (31 miles) or longer. Not too long ago there were very few of these races but they have grown in popularity and today there are hundreds that can be found across the US.
Most ultrarunners generally agree that the title of hardest ultrarunning race belongs to the Badwater Ultramarathon, where participants climb 19,000 feet through 135 miles of desert. Winding through Death Valley, considered to be the hottest place on Earth, competitors try to run on the white line in the middle of the road to keep their shoes from melting in the 120-degree heat!
The Bandera run is not quite that extreme as the Texas Hill Country may not rise more than 2,000 feet in elevation so at least the runners won’t be oxygen deprived. What they will face, however, is difficult footing and constantly changing surface conditions that go from sand, rocks, to boulders along with cactus, yucca, trees and who knows what else. Fortunately it is held in the winter time and the rattlesnakes should be in hibernation.
But I am doing this sport a disservice by making this sound easier than it is. Have you run a 5K on a flat paved surface? Or perhaps stretched that out to a half-marathon (13.1 miles)? That is no easy feat. I’ve completed the full marathon and it just about killed me and I was running on pavement or well groomed flat trails.
Imagine running more than 2 marathons back to back. And then throw in this rugged terrain. I just can’t imagine how you could run 100KM (62 miles). Mind boggling.
Our son is a great athlete but he is young and has not run anywhere near this far so we will see. He is pretty tough mentally so perhaps he can grind through the inevitable aches and pains.
Its all about the experience and the challenge that’s important, right?