Dec 11, 2009

The Dean K 50K!

So, check this action out:

* There's a rock and roll marathon in arizona. The r&r marathons are pretty famous, they usually have people at marathon expos around the country, registering people into the various r&r races they run (there's over a dozen of 'em.) I personally have never run one, but all accounts indicate that they're a lot of fun.

* The arizona marathon, which is sponsored by PF Changs, last year had Josh Cox, a top US marathon runner, attempt (and succeed) in breaking the 50K USA record by running the marathon and tagging 5 miles on the end of it.

* This year, the arizona marathon is making the 50K an official race (calling it "The Ultimate Endurance Challenge"), putting Dean Karnazes' name on it, and opening the registration to all (who qualify, see below.)

* Here's where it goes from weird to downright bizarre. Unlike last year, they're adding the extra 5 miles to the beginning of the race, not the end. I'll just quote folks from the ultra list (you just know there's a conversation about this on the ultra list):

Tara Tulley points out the requirements
  • You must be in good health and physically prepared to take on the challenge of the 50k distance.
  • You must be able to complete the first 4.8 miles of the 50k in 48 minutes or less (10-minute per mile pace).
  • You must be able to complete the Marathon portion of the 50k within 7 hours and 15 minutes of the Official Marathon Start.
Huh? That's strange.. but wait, there's more!

Rick comes in and figures out that

- Ultra/50k participants will run the first 4.8 miles on an out-and-back
course along Washington Street prior to the official marathon start, and
then complete the remaining 26.2 miles along the marathon course.
- After the first 4.8 miles of the Ultra/50k are completed, ultra
participants will join marathon participants in the start line corrals,
specifically in corral #1 (behind the elite field and the preferred corral

Which also means that you are going to go for a 4.8 mile run then you go
stand in a corral and wait for the elites to go off and the other hoopla
before the regular marathon start, THEN you get to keep running and finish
your 50K.
Like I said, bizarre. Really bizarre.

Common sense, by Ray K
Now if we could just get DK to come to the National Championship 50K in March, and bring his press machine the sport and its accomplishments can be recognized by mainstream media.
That's right. The Caumsett 50K, held on Long Island every March, is the recognized by USA Track and Field as the 50K National Championship. I was there running it last year. Great race. Michael Wardian came and impressed all of us as he pwn3d the field, to the delight of zero spectators. Literally, zero. Just volunteers and friends/family of competitors.

The North Face gets its share of criticism for the way it runs its endurance challenges, trying to monetize the popularity boom of ultrarunning. But at least TNF tries to do it right. This PF Changs Dean Karnazes thing R&R thing is just embarrassing.

PS - The site is helpfully defines "ultra" for us. "“ULTRA” means “beyond” in Latin. The 50k distance is 4.8 miles beyond the 26.2 mile marathon."

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