Tuesday, February 03 2009 @ 05:14 AM PST
Contributed by: mday
As recently as 2004, if you wanted to run a 24-hour ultra in this part of the country, your choices were slim or none. Things changed pretty quickly. The first such event I participated in was the inaugural 24-hour ultra and relay for life, based in Hampton Roads, VA. This was an oustanding event and is still going strong today. Also in Virginia in the springtime is the 24-hour Adventure Trail Run (pdf runners guide)". This event started in 2006, I believe. I haven't participated in it but have read good reports.
For 2007 and 2008 we enjoyed the Black Mountain 24-hour Run for Africa. This run was started by Will Harlan and then transfered to the Blue Planet foundation. Unfortunately we won't have this event for 2009.
2008-2009 saw the first staging of the Freedom Park New Years Ultra, based in Morganton, NC, and directed by David Lee. This event received universally positive reviews as well as Some outstanding performances. Annette Bednosky showed everyone she has fully recovered from a series of injuries by finishing second overall with 121.9 miles. NC won the state challenge with performances by Fred Dummar, Richard Lilly, and Scott Hayward.
Since 2006 we have been very lucky to have the Hinson Lake 24-hour Classic, based in Rockingham, NC and directed by Tom Gabell. This event has become an annual favorite for many area ultrarunners.
While I am disappointed that we won't be able to enjoy the Run for Africa this spring, I can't help but be impressed with all the nearby options we have to experience the 24-hour ultra format. There are four excellent events that I know of within just a few hour's drive. That's hard to beat, especially since we had none of these events until very recently.