Even though winter will still last at least six weeks according to our favorite groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, ultrarunning is heating up in 2022. On our first weekend in February, the UltraRunning calendar features an amazing three dozen races to choose from.
Although not a traditional trail race, the Jed Smith 50k/50m race is still one of the true classics of ultrarunning. The 44th edition will take place on Saturday, February 5 in Sacramento, Calif., on a flat and fast 4.85 mile loop along the beautiful American River Parkway. Legendary Beverley Anderson-Abbs, last year’s 50-mile winner and previous guest on the URM podcast, is set to defend her title and deliver another stellar performance in her age group.
In Huntsville, Texas we have the Rocky Racoon 100k/100m races. A fun atmosphere for family, friends and crew members, with five 20-mile loops around Raven Lake, over wooden bridges and through tall pines, this race was once the 100-mile National Championships of the USATF. To date, there are 23 places left in the 100 miles and only four in the 100 km race.
A former Western States Golden Ticket race, the Sean O’Brien 100k (and accompanying 50m) races are held in Malibu, Calif., on Saturday. Both courses offer over 10,000 feet of elevation and descent in the Santa Monica Mountains and parts of the infamous Backbone Trail. Although no longer a Golden Ticket race, the 100k is still a qualifier for Western States 2023, and two big names are set to go head-to-head: Jesse Haynes and No. 10 UltraRunner of the year in 2021, Jeff Browning.
On Sunday, February 6, across the country in Florahome, Florida will be the 13th Annual Iron Horse 100 Mile Endurance Race. Again, this race is a flat, fast course with 4.25 mile loops on about 50% paved railroad tracks and the other half on forest service dirt roads. There are also 100k and 50m options for runners to chase early season personal bests.
Finally, in Cass, Arkansas, is the no-frills, free 50k: the White Rock Classic. Held at Shores Lake Recreation Area in the Ozark National Forest, just pay $3 to park your car and show up at the start line for the pedestrian start at 9 a.m. CST on Saturday. This seems to be the 27th edition of the race.
Additional races on the schedule include Uwharrie Mountain Run 40m in Ophir, NC, John Dick Memorial 50k in Dousman, Wisconsin, Elephant Mountain 50k/50m in Cave Creek, Arizona, and MadAss 50k in Madras, Oregon, all Saturday, February 5.
Are you going to one of these races or another on our UltraRunning calendar? If so, tell us what you expect the most. Going to another event that we haven’t covered? Let us know What’s new in Ultra in your neighborhood.