UltraRunning Magazine

Sarah Biehl won and set a new course record at the 60th JFK 50 in 2022. Photo: Geoffrey Baker

What’s Up in Ultra This Weekend — November 18

Jeffrey Stern

The weekend before Thanksgiving on our UltraRunning Calendar offers up some great opportunities to earn your feast next Thursday. There are boatloads of options around the continent, but we’re highlighting the historic JFK 50 in Maryland, a 50/50 in Utah and the 15th edition of a 50/50 on a ranch in Texas.

The 61st JFK 50-miler, America’s oldest ultra, starts in Boonsboro, Maryland, on Saturday, November 18. This point-to-point classic enjoys a road start, a dirt section along the Appalachian Trail, a crushed gravel marathon that makes up most of the course and a speedy road finish. The race always boasts one of the largest fields in North America and this year is no different, with an expected field of more than 1,000 runners representing 47 states and seven countries.

The women’s field includes newcomers Jennifer Lichter from Missoula, Montana, Sarah Keyes of Saranac Lake, New York, and Anna Mae Flynn from Salida, Colorado—just a few of the frontrunners. For the men, 2019 champion Seth Ruhling of Boulder, Colorado, is purportedly going after the course record this year. Two other Colorado runners, Geoffrey Burns and Rajpaul Pannu, will also be competing for the win. Andy Mason of The Herald-Mail will be tweeting live race day updates as he has in years past and wrote a nice preview piece ahead of Saturday’s contest. You can still register for the race on RunSignup here.

Out west in Moab, Utah, are the Dead Horse Ultra 50/50 races also on Saturday. Featuring the Magnificent 7 single-track trails off Gemini Bridges, both of these courses feature Moab’s signature and challenging slick rock, with stunning views of Arches National Park and the snow-capped peaks of the La Sal Mountains towards the east. More than 700 athletes are registered for this completely sold-out event.

Down south in Warda, Texas, is where we find the 15th Wild Hare 50/50 on Saturday, part of the popular Tejas Trails event series. Participants will run 7.8-mile loops on a Texas ranch and adventure park. The terrain constantly changes over the course of the loop, but has a bunch of mountain bike-style rollercoaster hills, a few 180-degree turns, open fields that are flat and fast, as well as a few quick climbs with speedy bluff descents. You can still sign up for this Texas-style trail party here.

Additional races on our calendar include the Dizzy Fifties 50k in Huntsville, Alabama, the Swamp Fox Ultra 50k/50-miler/100k/105-miler in McClellanville, South Carolina, the Fire Fest Ultra 50k/50-miler/100k/100-miler in Logandale, Nevada, the Stuffed Turkey Endurance Races 30/50/100-milers in Granger, Iowa, the Fat Ox (with eight distances to choose from) in Buckeye, Arizona, the Tierra Redonda Mountain Trail Run 24/48-hour events in Bradley, California, and the Colt 45 Trail Run 45k/45-miler in Lakeland, Florida.  

What’s Up in Ultra in your town this weekend? Be sure to keep us in the loop so we don’t miss out on any of the fun. Read our Ultra Weekend Recap from Sunday if you missed it and subscribe to our Thursday newsletter for even more ultra news.