New ultramarathon races are popping up everywhere. Some are offering incredible venues. Some incredible competition. Others still are offering prize money. And some are offering all of the above. With everything that is going on in the US ultra scene I can't help but think of one thing, at least for 2012. And that is all eyes will be on Colorado this summer. Starting with Hardrock in July. We all know who is on the entrants list, who is on the waiting list and how many gazillions of other runners wish they were on either one. Then there is Leadville in August: Lifetime Fitness raised the entry field to 850 and- boom- the race still sold out. Third year in a row. What other state has at least two 100 mile mountain ultras that sell out each year? Answer: None. Leadville also happens to host the largest field (partly, because it can) out of any US 100 miler. Then there is the Pikes Peak marathon, also in August. The Spanish Conqueror, Kilian Jornet, is reportedly running. Kilian vs. Matt Carpenter? Can you say Pay-Per-View?! Lastly, there is this business of the Power Ball race in Steamboat in September, otherwise known as the Run Rabbit Run 100. Whatever your feelings are about the bunny race, or similar type races, there is an obvious demand for such events and it is obvious to me that a race like the Run Rabbit Run 100 would first take hold in Colorado. That is, with its big mountains, endless trails, voracious community embrace for outdoor and endurance sports and continuously burgeoning ultra running scene. Seems to me Bryon Powell ought to book a Colorado timeshare for this summer as his reporting services from the Centennial State will be in high demand.
Currently my name is #49 on the Hardrock waitlist. A little birdie told me recently that he believes Hardrock waitlisters will be picked off into the 50s. I'll believe it when I see it but on that tip alone I reserved a hotel room in Silverton. If good fortune comes my way and somehow I am able to run Hardrock I'll do it, no questions asked. And still run WS and UTMB (if selected on the 20th). Who wouldn't? Prior to this weekend I wasn't even thinking Hardrock as I was convinced that #49 may as well be #999; however, I had been thinking a lot about what I wrote above- about Colorado and the ultra running scene there in general. For all of the break out performances by athletes at various events within the past few years I believe that 2012 is going to be Colorado's breakout year as the capital of US ultra running and racing. Colorado may not necessarily be where all of the best runners live and train year round but at the least it is a place where a majority of them go to race. Or where they hope to race. Hopefully I'll be in Colorado- in Silverton- in July. Ready for a big push in the San Juans. 2010 and 2011 were lucky years for me in that I could experience a Colorado summer. Here is to hoping for more of the same for at least a few weeks this summer!