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Sunday, July 14, 2024

A Day on the Cocodona 250 – iRunFar

AJW's TaproomFor the previous a number of years I’ve been observing from a distance the sluggish and regular improve in curiosity and participation in 200+ mile path races. These lengthy, epic races — usually lasting so long as 5 – 6 days — have captured the creativeness of an ever more and more massive nook of the path and ultrarunning world so I figured it was about time I realized what all of the fuss was about. And so, yesterday morning I drove as much as the distant previous mining city of Crown King, Arizona, to volunteer at an assist station on the Cocodona 250 Mile.

Crown King is “solely” at Mile 37.4, so I anticipated a lot of the runners to look contemporary. Nevertheless, the 37.4 miles from the begin to Crown King is arguably essentially the most troublesome part of the race, and I used to be shocked to see how labored over a few of the runners regarded. It was an excellent look beneath the hood at this distinctive extremely subculture.

Robert Pardy at the 2021 Cocodona 250 Mile

Robert Pardy operating the 2021 Cocodona 250 Mile, aged 61. Photograph courtesy of Robert Pardy.

The very first thing that struck me was how heavy the runners’ packs had been. Between the obligatory gear for the quickly altering temperatures and the big hydration bladders mandatory for traversing lengthy stretches between assist stations, many runners’ packs I carried had been a minimum of 15 kilos. I’m guessing that coaching with a heavy pack is a must-do in preparation for an enormous race just like the Cocodona 250.

Subsequent, essentially the most vital illness impacting the runners, even lower than 40 miles into the race, was foot points. By the point the mid-pack converged on Crown King at about 6 p.m., 13 hours into the race, the medical employees was treating a seemingly nonstop circulate of blisters and macerated ft. The mixture of moist ft and heat temperatures appeared to take an early toll.

After all, in an occasion that may final so long as 125 hours for some folks, I used to be not all that shocked at how lengthy most runners spent within the assist station. It was a far cry from the pit-stop-style gear modifications at quick races like Western States 100. Right here at Cocodona, with a lot time on the clock, the shortage of urgency was refreshing and made for a pleasing social expertise for runners, crews, and volunteers. It was merely enjoyable!

And, talking of enjoyable, these 200-mile runners can eat! The Crown King assist station, arrange within the yard of the historic Crown King Saloon, affords made-to-order black bean burgers and pulled pork sandwiches, full with all of the trimmings and sides of macaroni salad and potato salad. At occasions I felt extra like a server at a sports activities bar than a volunteer at an assist station.

Lastly, via the day it turned clear to me how necessary drop baggage are in these multi-day races. In reality, some runners spared no expense in packing their drop baggage with sufficient stuff to provide a small military. Along with the standard issues like footwear, socks, layers, headlamps, batteries, and many others., runners packed a few of their very own meals like pizza and tater tots of their drop baggage. Additionally they stashed altering gadgets for his or her telephones and watches, and some good luck charms like small teddy bears to be pinned onto their packs.

As I drove house and mirrored on the expertise, one thought saved going via my thoughts. Whereas all these 200+ runners had been struggling mightily, even simply 37.4 miles into the race, they had been all 100% dedicated to the expertise and discovering pleasure within the course of. Positive, this occurs at shorter distances too, however at Cocodona there simply gave the impression to be extra pleasure and optimism than I’ve seen in lots of different ultras and that’s one thing the world actually wants.

Bottoms up!

Sedona trails

Sedona trails, close to the route of the Cocodona 250 Mile. Photograph: Bryon Powell/iRunFar

AJW’s Beer of the Week

This week’s beer of the week comes from Prescott, Arizona, which is positioned at concerning the 100-mile mark of the Cocodona 250. The LazyG Brewhouse is a incredible brewery in historic Prescott, recognized for historic beer recipes. Their Kentucky Frequent ale, which is analogous to what we now name a cream ale, is a wealthy, sturdy and clean ingesting ale with a contact of smoky malt and hops. In the event you’re on the town for Cocodona, you’ll want to cease by the LazyG!

Name for Feedback

Have you ever run a 200+ mile race? If that’s the case, how did the expertise differ from operating an ordinary extremely? And the identical questions when you attended one!

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