>You know that feeling you get when you’re hanging out with a friend who has a surprise birthday party that night and you can’t tell them, instead you have to pretend like you’re just going to boring old TGI Friday’s again? I have felt like that for months now, and FINALLY I can tell you! SURPRISE! It’s even better than a birthday party!
Today the press release came out for the Trail Runner Ultra Race of Champions (or UROC). This will take place in the Blue Ridge Mountains on September 24th, 2011. You can read all about it here on the Trail Runner website, but let me give you my own perspective.
As you know, I have been involved with the Bad to the Bone races since 2006 when I ran the Great Eastern Endurance Run 50K (oh, how far I’ve come…). GEER weekend is literally my favorite of the year. After winning the 100k in 2008, I became a different runner. It was that race and those trails that taught me the importance of training hard. Of having a plan. Of getting the work done. And of not being afraid to go big. Since then, I have been committed to helping grow that race and support it in any way I can. Usually that just means long hours in the mountains…and I’ll never complain about that. Year after year, we have met to brainstorm ideas for changes to the race. I’ll be the first to admit, I was nervous. I loved GEER. I didn’t want to see it change. I’m also quick to say though, I am 110% on board with these changes and I think that this will help GEER be here to stay.
So here it is, the Ultra Race of Champions. It will be a 100K championship race that attracts the top US (and hopefully international!) ultrarunners to compete for money. Wait…what? Yes folks, there will be a generous prize purse. Elite runners will be invited based on the recommendations of a Trail Runner UROC advisory panel (I am on that panel!!) and their performances at events such as: Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, the four Grand Slam 100-mile events (Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, Vermont 100-Mile Endurance Run, Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run and Wasatch Front 100-Mile Endurance Run) and other select ultra races around the world.
But, my favorite part is this – while it is aimed at attracting top talent, anyone can enter. Anyone can win the money. There’s no lottery, and right now there’s no cap on entry numbers. By allowing everyone to compete, I have no doubt that this race will retain the “family” and “homegrown” feeling that we all love….but there is a pay off. Because we are competitors. And because it is fun and interesting to compete for money.
And, GEER is not lost. The Great Eastern Endurance Races will be the 50K and half-marathon options on the same day. Truly, anyone can be involved in this event. I hope to see many of you out on the trails!