Sunday, while taking advantage of the waning hours of REI's Labor Day $.83 sale, I ran into Joe Lugiano, assistant race director of the Umstead 100 Endurance Run and his wife, Hannah, one of the 30-hour-long foot race's most devout volunteers. Marcy and I were shopping for a GPS, Joe was pushing a rapidly filling grocery cart. After chatting for a moment, Joe stopped. "Hey," he said, "registration for next year's race opens Wednesday."
Looks like fun, huh?
He was telling me this not so much because he wanted help getting the word out — registration for this 100-mile run that begins on a Saturday morning at 6 and can go until noon the next day, fills in two or three days. He was telling me because he remembered an off-the-cuff (I was wearing a fleece pullover at the time) remark I'd made while covering this year's race in April: "This kinda looks like fun," I said. It was about 5 in the morning, I hadn't had coffee yet, and I was referring more to the incredible spread available to runners in the race HQ.
Anyway, I guess I've got two or three days to think about that ill-advised, sleepy-eyed, caffeine-deprived comment. In the meantime, here's what you need to know if you're thinking about doing the race (and don't make any decisions until you've had a cup of coffee).
This year's race starts at 6 a.m. April 4. You have 30 hours to cover the course, which consists of a 12.5-mile loop run eight times. There's a total elevation gain of 8,000 feet. Registration fee is $140 by March 1, 2009, $160 thereafter. If you have never run a 100-mile race, you must prove your mettle by running the Umstead 100's 50-mile option. (Which would be the case with me should I be unable to find a face-saving way to weasel out of this. Hey, anyone have a wedding or bar mitzvah they'd like to invite me to on April 4?
Again, registration is capped at 250 and historically it has filled fast. If you like to go long, don't delay.