20 Mar Continental Divide 100k
- Date: Jul 12, 2014
- Distance: approx. 62.1 miles (100k)
- Direction: South to North along the Continental Divide (Idaho/Montana) in the U.S.
- Ascent/Decent: 12,700 ft/15,100 ft
- Max, Min, Ave Elevation: 10,049 ft, 5,500 ft, 8,500 ft
- Running Surface: 59% single track, 35% ATV double track, 6% boulder/skree
- Finishing time: 16:31:49
- Gear: Hydration backpack, Sunglasses, Hat, Brooks running shoes, Clean shirt (at drop), phone (for emergency).
- Food: Full jar of Olives, Pita Bread, Oatmeal bars, Granola bars, Gel Packs, Water, Pedialite.
- Highlights: Continental Divide, ‘China Wall’ (ID), Salmon Idaho, Big Hole Montana (ha-ha), Beaverhead National Forest, wild animals.
- Terrain: Soft ground in Idaho along the early parts of the Continental Divide with a undulating inclines. Lots of tree coverage in the beginning of the course with not too much direct sun. Terrain drastically changes with the increased altitude, lots of uneven and loose jagged rocks. High terrain had some snow cover only passable by glissading. Incredibly steep descent into finish.
The race began at sunrise.
My personal advice for those looking to do this:
This was the inaugural Beaverhead 100k race organized by a group of local runners from Idaho who successfully created a homestyle ultra-marathon through the Continental Divide. The Continental Divide is a significant geological feature on Earth which spans from Northern Canada to Southern Mexico and separates the watershed of Atlantic and the Pacific. To run along this natural feature feels like you’re running up the spine of North America. Other than the geological highlights of this race, Salmon is also historically recognized as the birthplace of Sacagawea who I would argue is one of the key figures in history for human endurance. There are plenty of cool reasons to experience this location even if you choose not to run.
This event was extremely well organized and had great information leading up to the race available via the race website. This info is really important for proper training but there is really nothing that will fully prepare you for this race other than running the race. With that in mind, I would say the most important mental training exercise you can do is allowing yourself to accept the unknown. Practice patience. If you are looking for an incredible blog to follow for nutrition, physical training and mental training I would recommend Alex Hutchinson’s ‘Sweat Science‘. It’s a great source for the most current running information translated from scientific journals into digestible, casual language.
Other than running the 100k distance from point A to B which is generally the main focus for running races, it’s also important to consider the ascent and descent of this race. The terrain demanded a lot of spacial awareness and alertness since the incline at some spots was around 17-20+% grade. If you add loose rocks and altitude sickness in with than then the risk of a sprained ankle rises significantly. Take the hazardous parts with extreme caution and focus on making smart decisions to avoid injury if this is your first 100k.
I would avoid this race if you are looking to do this just for a trophy or a t-shirt. It was definitely more challenging than I assumed it was going to be. The rewards of this race were more internal than anything else. My real sense of accomplishment came after not dying during the most treacherous section of the race (China Wall-mile 55) not just by finishing the race itself. I met some great people during the race who were more concerned with other peoples safety which is what I believe a good ultra-marathon is all about.