This year’s race has the potential to be a real battle between some of the big east coast names in ultrarunning. Leigh Schmitt, course record holder at Stone Cat 50 (6:30) and VT 100 (14:53) is the man to beat in my opinion. He his nearly unbeatable at the 50 mile distance but has his work cut out for him this year. Kevin Sullivan, 5th at the 2009 Western States in 16:36, finished ahead of Leigh (17:49) by 50 minutes. He also ran a 6:05 in winning the Rocky Raccoon 50 this year so he has the speed to stay with Leigh in the shorter distance. Don’t rule out 51 years young Jack Pilla who won the VT 100 this year in 16:36.
I admit I know less about the woman’s race but it looks like Aliza Lapierre has the advantage over the rest of the field. She should get strong challenges from Jenny Chow, Amy Lane and Kelly Willson. If I wasn’t running the race I would come out just to see how the race unfolds.
My goals for the race, I’m sure, are less ambitions than of those mentioned about. Since this is my attempt first at 50 miles I hope to just finish alive. Hopefully before sunset since running in the dark will dramatically slow my pace and add many extra minutes to my finishing time. Beyond just finishing I want to run under 11 hours. Running 50 miles under 11 hours qualifies you for the Western States 100. I certainly don’t think I’m ready for such a serious challenge but it would be cool to say I qualified.
My stretch goal for the race is to finish under 10 hours. I think this is a tough but realistic goal based on my 5:41 finish at the Green Lakes 50K in August. Trailgrrl stated that a sub-10 is her goal as well so if I can stay with her I may have a chance. In the end though, I have to race my own race and accept my own fate, good or bad.