UltraRunning Magazine

Amanda Asher runs to a 100k finish at Rocky Raccoon. Photo: Jesse Ellis | Let’s Wander Photography

What’s Up in Ultra This Weekend — February 3

Drew Dinan

Coming up this weekend, the Ultrarunning Magazine race calendar includes races from coast to coast including a brutal endurance event in Canada, a gnarly ultra in North Carolina, a legendary race in California and a classic 100-miler in Texas. The UR race calendar also lists nearly every ultramarathon in the US and is a great tool for planning your next event. Now, onto this weekend’s ultras!

Everything is Faster in Texas

We start in Huntsville, Texas, at one of the fastest 100-mile trail races in the country, the Rocky Raccoon 100. Consisting of five 20-mile loops, the flat and fast course draws 100-mile rookies trying to cover the distance for the first time, as well as ultra speedsters looking to answer the burning question, “Just how fast can I run 100 miles?” Whether you’re trying to set a PR or earn your first buckle, the RR 100 is the perfect test to see how far you can push your limits. Rocky Raccoon now also offers a 100k distance.

The Need for Speed

Sticking with flat and fast, the Jed Smith Ultra Classic is back for its 46th edition. Taking place on approximately 5-mile loops of bike paths and dirt roads in Sacramento, CA, the USATF-certified courses routinely see some of the fastest 50k and 50-mile times in the country, including several US and Canadian age group records.

Treacherous Terrain

For 33 years, runners have gathered in North Carolina’s Uwharrie National Forest to tackle the Uwharrie Mountain Run and 40 miles of rocks, roots, creeks, steep climbs and slick descents. Nothing new for tenacious Beast Coast runners, but a true test, nonetheless. The race website even states: “Expect to trip and fall at least once during the day. If you turn an ankle, keep moving.” Great advice, because all finishers are rewarded with custom handmade pottery awards that embody the rich history of the area.

Wild Card

There are so many amazing races on the UR calendar that it’s challenging to narrow down which races to feature. However, each week we’ll try and cover a new race or a unique event our readers may not be familiar with.

This week, we head to White Horse, Canada, for the “World’s Coldest and Toughest Ultra,” the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra, where the most adventurous endurance athletes (nighttime temperatures drop well into the negatives) attempt to cover distances of 100, 300 and 430 miles in some of the harshest winter conditions imaginable. This video gives you an idea of just how intense this race is. There’s extreme, and then there’s the Yukon Arctic Ultra!

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!