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 or five 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.”
Not content with this, our malcontent added her own race, The Pigtails Challenge 100/150/200 mile runs, affording ultra runners of the Pacific NW the opportunity to run a series of races arguably harder then the original Grand Slam, with minimal travel time.
In 2012 Van Phan completed this Grand Slam With Ham, with yours truly close behind. In 2013 we had one Grand Slam winner (Jason Vaughan), but no Grand Slam with Ham winners. The interest in the series for 2014 however is high, so it looks like this might be a going concern…