Hillheader - Spine certainly is "fun" - do it!! Several of us from last year entered next year's race ASAP, which says a lot I think.
15-20% sounds pretty good to me
Not done that many myself either but the two that stand out are: Comrades (14,000 people running 90km with support along every step along route...unbelievable atmosphere); and, Wasatch Front 100 (27,000ft of climibng in the stunning Wasatch mountains and with only 300 runners has the feel of a local race...being the only Brits in it last year we had huge support and my wife even managed to get 4 different locals to crew and pace her, who have now become good friends...dont you love the Ultra community!)
Out of curiosity, how does Wasatch compare to other 100s that you have done?
Is it doable/realistic to get into?
Ben, the only other one I have done is Leadville and so not much to compare it against. Compared to Leadville it is almost double the amount of climbing (27.000 feet) and does not scale the altitude heights (only gets up to 10,500 feet)...out of interest UTMB is c. 31,000 feet of climing but only gets up to an altitude of 8,500 feet.
I was c. 3.5 hours quicker at Leadville (and that was with severe altitude sickness which slowed me down at Leadville) and found it much easier than Wasatch. Wasatch has a 36 hour cut-off compared to Leadville's 30 hour which also tells you something abotu the course.
Wasatch is brutal underfoot conditions and so is hard going but is absolutely stunning and I would do it again in a heartbeat. It does have a lottery but both me and the wife got in and I think there are less international runners applying which might help. I would thoroughly recommend it!!!
Another vote for UTMB, or the 60m I managed at least, the French/Italians don't seem so bothered about the health regs we have so you get bits of sausage, salami, cheese at the CP amongst other things you might expect. Crowd support and big event feel. The route is just amazing, the climbs massive, having a go at the TDS this year, which looks to be equally promising.
It's a tough call in blighty, I've never said "never again" to any event over marathon distance. Lakeland 50/100 is good for similar reasons to UTMB, route and CP nearly as good as UTMB. The Calderdale Hike of 2009-11 is another favourite. Support, CP, friendly feel were as good this year, but slightly prefer previous route. But the Fellsman is probably my favourite UK event, great challenging often off-trail route peak-bagging in the Yorks dales and you get a menu in the event info booklet of the great variety of CP food!
Hmmm... food on offer seems to play a large part in my favourite events
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