What’s an ultramarathon? Any race that exceeds approximately 42.2k, which is the traditional length for a marathon. A 100k race is an extreme example of an ultramarathon. The Donner Party Mountain Runners signature event, the Castle Peak 100, takes place this year on Saturday, August 27, 2016. Make no mistake, this point-to-point 100k is as billed: an “endurance run”. Following are a few more details for the interested runner, spectator, or reader.
You know the date. The race takes place between Truckee and Donner Memorial State Park. It begins at 5 a.m. and the official cutoff completion time is 1 a.m. the following morning. We couldn’t do more justice in describing this than the organizers themselves, who said in part about the new course for 2016:
“The Castle Peak 100k trail race starts near the Emigrant Trail in Truckee, California, where runners will climb (and descend) over 14,000 feet at an average elevation of 7,300 feet. The course tours the Tahoe National Forest, Tahoe Donner, Donner Lake Rim Trail, Basin and Castle Peaks, Royal Gorge and Sugar Bowl before descending Cold Stream Canyon to the finish at Donner Memorial State Park.
Dramatic scenery, demanding trails and genuine support on this point-to-point mountain course.”
In addition, for any runners who have a fear of heights, they have specifically point out that there’s a 1 ¼-mile section that’s “very technical, exposed scrambling”. OK then. And did we mention that one of the selling points of this race for ultra-marathoners is that it includes “over 14,000 feet of climbing”? Now we did. During this amazing run, involving climbs and descents, runners will experience:
- Tahoe National Forest
- The Tahoe Donner Lake Rim Trail
- Basin and Castle Peaks
- Royal Gorge and Sugar Bowl
- Cold Stream Canyon
- And Donner Memorial State Park, as mentioned
What’s required in terms of training to get ready for this kind of ultramarathon? One of several sites dedicated to just this, Ultramarathon Training, has a lengthy Web page of links that breaks things down nicely for athletes by categories. Here are the five main categories:
Medical – Due to the extreme demands on the body, would-be ultra-marathoners will want to know about proper hydration, Hyperthermia, Altitude sickness, and even the medical mechanics of ultrarunning.
Nutrition and Health – This category includes links to sites offering dietary advice, nutrition facts (and demands on the ultra-marathoner), “ultra” foods, and more.
Foot Care – It’s not hard to imagine the pounding, stresses and strains one’s feet go through in this kind of running. This category’s links deal mainly with how to avoid blisters.
Help, Tips, and Advice – The largest selection of topics can be found in this section of the page. Here you can learn about training, including various exercises you would do, lessons learned from former ultra-marathoners, and even tips for first-time ultrarunners.
Training Plans / Programs / Schedules – This category tends to break the training down into distances run, ‘how to’ topics, and full-fledged plans to help runners prepare for such races.
For those interested in learning more about the organizers visit the Donner Party Mountain Runners website. To keep abreast of the latest news, you may want to point your web browser to the organizers’ update page, or even their Facebook page.
This list was accurate at the time of publication; please check directly with the venue(s) to ensure dates, times, and locations remain the same.