Sunday, February 27, 2011

Trail Runner Magazine and Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports Announce First Annual Trail Runner Ultra Race of Champions

Trail Runner Magazine and Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports Announce
First Annual Trail Runner Ultra Race of Champions

February 25, 2011, Carbondale, CO, and Charlottesville, VA
- Trail Runner magazine and Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports have joined forces for the first-ever ultrarunning championship race. On September 24th, 2011, the world's best ultrarunners will race for 100 kilometers and compete for a slice of the $10,000 prize purse in the Trail Runner Ultra Race of Champions (UROC).  
"Until now, there has been no definitive ultra championship race," says current Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run record holder, Geoff Roes, also the Trail Runner UROC Elite Athlete Liaison. "Most elite runners want a race that will guarantee them a chance to run against other top runners, and those I've spoken with say they are willing to change their racing schedule for the opportunity to run the inaugural Trail Runner UROC."  
Directed by Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports, UROC is the creation of J. Russell Gill and Francesca Conte, founders of Charlottesville Running Company and Bad to the Bone. "We want this to be the event," says Gill. "We've been developing the concept for several years, and are doing everything possible to bring the best of the best together for one day, while keeping Trail Runner UROC open to all runners."
The 2011 race will take place just outside of Charlottesville, within Virginia's scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. And while the world's best ultrarunners will contend for a cash purse, UROC encourages runners of all abilities to come out and share the course. Trail Runner UROC strives to support the intimate "family" culture of trail and ultrarunning.  
The out-and-back 100K course features 12,948 feet of elevation gain and loss, 32 miles of singletrack, 25 miles of mountain gravel roads and five miles on the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway. And for runners looking for a shorter challenge, the Great Eastern Endurance Run 50K and Half Marathon Trail Races will take place the same day and share sections of the Trail Runner UROC course.
The goal of UROC is to gather as many elite ultra runners as possible. Elite runners will be invited based on the recommendations of a Trail Runner UROC advisory panel and their performances at events such as: Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, the four Grand Slam 100-mile events (Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, Vermont 100-Mile Endurance Run, Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run and Wasatch Front 100-Mile Endurance Run) and other select ultra races around the world.
"We're excited to partner with such experienced and respected trail runners and race directors as Gill and Francesca to promote and grow this unprecedented event," says Michael Benge, Editor of Trail Runner magazine, the official media sponsor of UROC. "The Trail Runner UROC constitutes the first-ever formal ultrarunning championship, the veritable Superbowl of Ultrarunning."  
Registration opens March 14th, 2011, at If you are an elite runner, email J. Russell Gill at or Geoff Roes at for more information. Visit for race updates.  
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the Trail Runner UROC, please email J. Russell Gill at or Cynthia Bruggeman at

About Trail Runner magazine

As the leading publication for one of North America's fastest growing sports, Trail Runner features in-depth editorial and compelling photography that informs, entertains and inspires readers of all ages and abilities to enjoy the outdoors and improve their health and fitness through trail running.
About Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports

Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports strives to motivate runners of all backgrounds to challenge themselves by directing premiere trail- and road-running events in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia. For almost 10 years, Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports events have reflected owners Gill and Francesca's decades-long knowledge and passion for running. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Royal orchards

After more than 10 years of running trails in the Shenandoah National Park, Gill and I know every nook and cranny. We know every trail in the park, every gavel roads on the eastern and western portion of the park, and every fire road out there.
This is why I was incredibly surprised to find a whole bunch of jeep roads right off Rockfish Gap, which I never knew were there. The gravel roads are partially on the property of Scott's Castle, also called the Scott residence, and huge Scottish castle on the eastern flank of the mountain. I have always tried to respect the Scott's family property, and I have often seen them on their horses. The jeep roads Gill and I found this weekend come up from the valley floor toward the Appalachian trail, and are not, I believe, on private property. At least, we did not see any signs.
All these gravel roads allow us to add a whole bunch of distance to our usual route from Rockfisn Gap to Beagle's Gap on the Appalachian trail.
All of them are ATV roads, more than jeep roads, but are wide and in pretty good shape. Nevertheless, they are about as steep as it gets, for any jeep road or trail. By the end, my quads were done!
I loved the run because it always changes, and it can be made as short or as long as needed, without getting boring. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Trail running as a contact sport

Who said trail running is not a contact sport?

Gill and I recently came in contact with dirt (in Gill's case) and a wet shirt (in my case). Apparently, a wet shirt can do quite a bit of damage, if you give it enough time. Chafing is one of my nemesis, since it always seems to find the only little spot not slathered in Body Glide. Last weekend I ran the Icy-8 Hour run, on a wet and soggy day: within the first 3 hours, I had horrible and very painful chafing. Fortunately, I had a rain jacket to change into, which was baggy enough not to touch the skin.
On this weekend's long run, there was still quite a bit of ice left on the Appalachian trail (above 2500 ft). But ice is not what Gill manages to slide on: mud is what he made contact with. With the snow melt, the dirt becomes soft and often muddy. He put his foot on an angle, and slid onto his knee. The rocks did the rest.

Even though some of these minor scrapes look gruesome, they are way better than injuries. The road might not lead to a bloody knee quite as often, but it leads to more serious injuries from the repetitive motion. Running on trails is definitely healthier for the knees and other joints. So, put your knee pads and helmets on, and hit the trails!