Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The HUFF 50K in the news

Thanks to Phil Bloom of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette for today's story on The HUFF 50K Trail Run. An excerpt:

Past HUFF races read like a geography lesson. A year ago,the field drew runners from 20 states as well as Ontario, Canada. Over the history of the race, 34 states have been represented, and the winners have come from as far away as Perry, Utah (Brandon Sybrowsky in 1997) and Fairbanks, Alaska (two-time women’s winner Michelle Mitchell).

One thing that makes the HUFF unique is unpredictable weather.

Six years ago, Mark Godale of Akron, Ohio, won the HUFF in record time – 3 hours, 26 minutes, 27 seconds. A year later in the snow, he ran it in 5:04.53 … and won again, giving him the fastest and slowest winning times in HUFF history.

“That was the snow year,” Harper said. “One of our young runners posted on a Web site that the HUFF is not a race but an epic struggle of man vs. nature.

“I always thought we ought to appropriate that as our slogan. It’s a challenge against time and distance, which generally is what running events are. And it’s a challenge against Mother Nature.”

One omission and one correction -Phil wrote:
The challenge of running long distances and the chance to meet interesting people captivated Harper, who in short order learned that someone was trying to organize a series of ultramarathon races in the Midwest. One more race was needed, preferably in Michigan or northern Indiana. Thus was born the Huntington Ultra Frigid Fifty, or HUFF, a three-lap circuit of Roush Lake in Huntington County.
The "someone" was Jay Hodde, biomedical researcher, UltraRunning columnist, GrandSlammer +, and promoter of the sadly missed Great Lakes Ultra Grand Prix Series. (That's GLUGP - an acronym pronounced "Glug-puh" by those of us who think its pronounceable). Jay is the guy who set The HUFF in motion.

Something that Phil and I didn't cover in the brief interview was the number of ultras in Indiana. Phil wrote:
...[The HUFF] is the only ultramarathon in Indiana and one of 111 on UltraRunning magazine’s Internet calendar.
Indiana has, of course, the OPSF 50/50 (Owen-Putnam State Forest 50 Mile/50K - pronounced "Op-Siff"). I mentioned the Owen-Putnam 50/50 to Phil; it was my first 50K. It is also always my example of a classic ultra.

Photo credit: Journal-Gazette file photo

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