Toward the end of 2012, I overheard a colleague mention that his family members were registering for the Utah Grand Slam, a running competition that challenges runners to compete for the shortest combined finishing times from four Utah marathons. Learning about that competition was a tipping point that has led to my participation in endurance sports. The challenge seemed daunting to me, someone who at that point had never completed a long-distance race. I was hooked by the challenge, registered for the competition and the first of four marathons within a week, then immediately began training for the first marathon the following spring. By the end of the final marathon, I had logged close to 2,000 miles of training, racing, and enduring. It was a source of inspiration to me to see so the 160+ Grand Slam competitors work toward their goals.
These audacious competitions give a lot a people the drive to train and push their limits. I felt a similar sense of urgency in training for my Ironman race I did in 2014. Having completed a 140.6 mile triathlon, I've been at a loss for some time on what type of event I want to participate in in the future. There is, however, one competition that I have discovered that has caught my eye (an event that will certainly require participants to push their endurance limits) The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning™.
The grand slam of grand slams
Runners who want to compete in "The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning™" must register for, run in, and complete four of the nation's oldest 100-mile ultras which include:
- Western States® 100-Mile Endurance Run | June 27-28, 2015
- Vermont 100 Endurance Run | July 18-19, 2015
- Leadville Trail 100 Run | August 22-23, 2015
- Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run | September 11-12, 2015
Those who complete the challenge get a finishers trophy; more important, finishers get the positive feeling of finishing something challenging which will have required them to travel thousands of miles on foot in the mountains.
What scares me the most about this challenge is the short recovery time between these extremely taxing races. It looks and sounds hard. Before I jump in, I plan to try a few shorter ultras in 2015 – maybe a 50K or 100K – before making such a big commitment.