Any idiot can run a marathon. It takes a special kind of idiot to run an ultramarathon.
…and it takes a really, really special kind of idiot to do four in a single year.
The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning comprises four of the oldest 100-mile footraces in the United States: The Western States 100 in California, the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run in Utah, and Colorado’s Leadville Trail 100. Just finishing any one of these races under the cutoff time is an incredible accomplishment, but doing all four in a single year is just plain nuts. Still, in 2011 there were 11 people to do so.
The author of this blog is, however, a cheapskate. In 2011 there were four 100-milers in Washington State, so it seemed possible to achieve a “Grand Slam” locally, so that became my goal for 2012. Having finished one of the four (Cascade Crest) in 2011, it seemed like a massively difficult, but not-quite-impossible task.
But then my friend beat me to the punch. Van Phan (usually known by her pseudonym, Pigtails) finished Badger, Lumberjack, Cascade Crest and Plain, thereby becoming the first to complete the “Washington Slam.”
But thanks to my nemesis there’s a new option. 2012 will be the first year of the Pigtails Challenge 100/150/200 mile races. So this year both Van and I will be running the Grand Slam (With Ham!)
And I’ll be writing about it here.
Addendum (10/30/2012): The rate of inflation for 100-milers in Washington appears somewhat constant, as yet another race has popped up. The Halloween Haunted Hundred had a trial run this year, and it should be no surprise that Van Phan finished that one as well. If they hold it next year we’ll add it to our list.