I’ll be heading back to Little Pine State Park this weekend for my sixth running of Eastern States 100 mile. This will break my current three-way tie of races that I’ve done five times before.
- Phunt 50K – 2016-2019, 2022
- Naked Bavarian 40M – 2015-2019
- Eastern States 100M – 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2022
Phunt and Naked Bavarian were races I kept going back to because they were cheap (both) and/or a perfect tune up race for my spring 100M (Bavarian). They’re both great races and I’ve gone back and volunteered at each in subsequent years, however they’re not races I would necessarily plan my schedule around. I’m not spoiled for ultras that are within an hour driving distance of where I live so I’ve run these more than others just because they’re really convenient.
Eastern States is a completely different beast. It’s theoretically possible that I’ll eventually get bored by running it, however if anything I’m more drawn to the race now than before my first trip around Pine Creek. At first, it was to relive my “successful” first attempt. Then it was to go back and enjoy the scenery more. Now it’s almost just something I do when the second weekend of August rolls around.
One reason I haven’t gotten bored with the race is that every year the course is slightly different. They’ve changed up several of the middle aid stations this year. Slate Run has moved up a mile and been rebranded Tomb Flats with a river crossing to reach it. Algerines and Long Branch have been removed and replaced by Cedar Run that’s about halfway between them. This will create a 9.8 mile section between Tomb Flats and Cedar Run that runners will hit in the dead of night at the hardest part of a hundred mile race (miles 60-70). The change is being done to improve access for emergency vehicles, however this will definitely reduce the finish rate. Slate Run used to have the most drops and this will be magnified with runner staring at a 10 mile section.
The other big change this year is they’ll have runner tracking along the course (link). I’m very interested in how well this will work considering the remoteness of this course. In years past, cell service has been very spotty. I’m of mixed emotions on whether I really want people to see how well I’m moving (or not moving) around the course.
Here’s how my recent training cycle compares to my prior hundred mile races.
My mileage is in line with where I’ve been the past couple years. It’s not listed up there, but I’ve probably set a personal vertical gain record over the past 2 months at a little over 60,000 feet. I had a bit of an injury scare a couple weeks back. I randomly strained something in my left hamstring that was new for me and caused me to cut short three runs over the course of a week, which is something I never have to do. I took three days almost completely off (just daily 1 milers to keep my run streak going) and it cleared up. I haven’t had any issues over the past week so feel good heading into this weekend. Fingers crossed it’s good enough for another ES100 finish.