It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally settled on my 2024 schedule. For the longest time, I had been planning on doing what I was calling the Pennsylvania 500 which consisted of the five PA hundred mile races. I thought it would be cool to do them all in the same year. Two of them would be new races. While I’ve never done five hundreds in a calendar year the big challenge entails doing four races in consecutive months. For whatever reason though I just wasn’t feeling repeats of Pine Creek and Oil Creek next year. I did some looking around and have settled on Wild Goose as an alternative leaving me with this list of events:

  • DUK 100K (Volunteer) – February 2024
  • Rabid Racoon 100M – March 2024
  • Sri Chinmoy 24 Hour – June 2024
  • Viaduct 100M – July 2024
  • Eastern States 100M – August 2024
  • Wild Goose 100M – September 2024
  • MDT FKT Attempt IV: A New Hope

Several years ago I started adding in a volunteer event into my schedule. It’s something I should have done right from the beginning, but never really got around to for one reason or another. Volunteering is actually a really fun thing to do besides the whole giving back aspect. I’m heading back to DUC next year to help out as it’s such an incredible event I’d like to do my little bit to keep it going.

I’m adding four new races to my schedule: Rabid Racoon, Sri Chinmoy, Viaduct, and Wild Goose. They’re all a little different from a format/vibe standpoint. Variety is the spice of life after all. I’m probably looking forward to the 24 hour race more than the others though as I’ll be running it with my son. He’s graduating high school next year and was looking for a 24 hour race to attempt to run a hundred miles. This looks like a scenic three mile loop, which should be fun for us run. It’ll be a nice challenge to see who wins: the fitness of a 4:35 miler or the experience of a grizzled veteran.

And I will obviously be heading back for another Eastern States. When a race has imprinted itself on your soul, it’s there for life. Next year I’ll be gunning for finish #7.

A New Hope

The capstone to my year will be another attempt at the self supported FKT of the Mason-Dixon Trail (MDT). After my third attempt last year, I decided I wasn’t going to try again unless I was all in. I wasn’t going to try and shoehorn it into my always busy race schedule. If I was going to do it, I needed to plan my year around it. It would be my one and only A race. Ideally, I’d want to do this in May with more sunlight. While that would fit my schedule, in reality I’d be thinking about all my other races still to come. My first attempt was 3 weeks before a bucket list race (Laurel Highlands) and I still think I may have been able to gut that one out if I didn’t have a full race schedule staring me in the face. So I’m not making that mistake again. I’m going to sit here for the next 11 months and savor the anticipation.

Words have power. Love – Fail – Win – Cheesecake. How we frame things goes a long way to determining whether we will be successful or not. Thinking about this as my fourth attempt, I’m immediately focusing on the three prior failures. I’m also highlighting that this is an attempt, which implies that I may not be successful. This is not a productive frame of mind to be in. That’s why I’m flipping the script and calling this “IV: A New Hope”. First off, an allusion to Star Wars makes this fun. And ultrarunning is supposed to be fun. Also, this was the first movie in the series so I can make believe this is my first attempt time running the MDT. The death star MDT doesn’t stand a chance this time.

2024 will be the start of my second decade of ultras (wait, already?). While there are several things that have contributed to my longevity in the sport, choosing events that excite me is at the top of the list. I’m able to consistently get my miles in because I’m always looking forward to one or more incredible races. It’s true that I’m no stranger to hitting the snooze button, however this is a sporadic occurrence and will dwindle the closer I get to a race. Choosing new races is one way to keep things fresh and I’m excited to experience the four new races on my schedule. Hopefully, you’ve got an equally awesome lineup of events on your 2024 calendar. Now we just have to wait for them to arrive.