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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exlcusive

Events Worth Training For

Want to set a big goal to give your training more focus and direction? Sign up for one of these mettle-testing trail events.

by: Ryan Pinkard

TransRockies runners enjoy backcountry scenes like this. (Photo by Kelvin Trautman)
Photo by TransRockies runners enjoy backcountry scenes like this. (Photo by Kelvin Trautman)
TransRockies runners enjoy backcountry scenes like this. (Photo by Kelvin Trautman)

Grand to Grand Ultra
This weeklong, self-supported foot race starts at the North Rim of Grand Canyon and finishes on top of the Pink Cliffs of Grand Staircase. Along the way participants rack up 167 miles over six stages as they trek past mesas, buttes and cliffs, across rivers and pink sand dunes, and through a series of unique canyons and valleys that few have ever seen. Late September;

Gore-Tex TransRockies Run
In mid August teams and solo runners take on this six-day, 120 mile stage race through the heart or Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Participants gain a cumulative 20,000 vertical feet as they move from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek, with a $20,000 cash prize to be split between the winners of each category. August;

Seek the Peak
This annual hike-a-thon to the top of Mount Washington goes to fund the famous weather station on its summit. Held in mid to late July, the event also includes parties, music, tours of the weather station, and tons of prize giveaways.

Rachel Carson Trail Challenge 
Held on the closest Saturday to the summer solstice (the longest day of the year), this 34-mile, sunrise to sunset endurance hike follows nearly the entirety of the Rachel Carson Trail in western Pennsylvania. The object is less to win and more to find your way to the finish before the sun goes down. Shorter 7- and 17-mile events also held;

Allegheny 100 Backpacking Challenge 
This June endurance event challenges participants to hike 100 miles through Allegheny National Forest in under 50 hours. Following the North Country National Scenic Trail, the Allegheny 100 is a test of stamina more than it is a race.

Devil’s Backbone
This 50-mile ultra is held in mid-July and boasts over 10,000 feet of elevation gain on an unmarked and unsupported course. There is no registration fee and there's a shorter 25-mile two-person relay as well.

Antelope Island Buffalo Run
Taking place on the largest island of Salt Lake City’s Antelope Island State Park, this is your chance to run where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play. 25K, 50K, 50-mile, and 100-mile events are included, with 500 resident buffalo for you to dodge on your way to the finish.

San Juan Solstice
This rugged, high-altitude 50-miler occurs in Southern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. Held in late June, runners encounter river crossings and plentiful alpine snowfields as they cross the continental divide.

Vermont 100
This hilly classic ultrarun is one of nation’s original 100-milers and part of the Grand Slam Series of Ultrarunning. With a 30-hour cutoff, a select few finish in less than 24 hours. Late July;

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Star Star Star Star Star
Jan 03, 2014

You missed the Bataan Memorial Death March, a one day 26.2 mile trek through the White Sands Missile Range in NM.


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