Saturday, October 01, 2005

The HUFF - How runnable is it?

Today, "Kimba" posted a message on the Coolrunning Message Board saying that she had just signed up for The HUFF and that it was going to be her first 50K.

She had questions about the runnability of the course and whether she would need trail shoes.

Two veterans responded with advice on everything from trail shoes (road shoes are fine) to the chicken soup (very good).

Her question was appropriate for an earlier reply I had made.

[You]reminded me of something said by The HUFF's first time winner Brandon Sybrowsky (then of Utah, now husband of Krissy of Montrail fame, and brother of Travis - a Michigander who has been at every one of The HUFFs).

At the post-race celebration following the first year's HUFF I apologized to Brandon if he had come all the way from Utah and found the course less challenging than the ones he ran -and won - in Utah and the rest of the West. Brandon looked at me directly and said not to sell The HUFF course short. Much like you indicated, he said it was easy enough to attract first-timers but technical enough that it really required some trail-running experience to win.

I asked him to explain. He said that road marathoners, say, in Chicago, might look at the top times in a trail 50K and think, "Why, I could go down and win that given my marathon finishing times." He smiled and said the terrain was just tough enough that a top experienced trail ultrarunner could take any marathoner running a trail run for the first time.

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