Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pictures of the HURT 100

The HURT 100 stands for Hawaii Ultra Running Team, but no one who races the course thinks of the name that way. HURT hurts. By running five laps on a 20-mile course, HURT 100 racers have to cover 100 miles and 25,000 feet of climbing on a course that is 99 percent slick, rooty, technical and steep singletrack, in temperatures in the 80s under 92-percent humidity. The HURT 100 is only in Hawaii by literal location; the bulk of the race takes place in a dank, dark place of pain and fatigue. But it is a beautiful place yet - as green as the most brilliant moments of early spring, punctuated by the chatter of birds and waterfalls, and embraced by a community of truly enjoyable people.

I had the opportunity to participate in a larger spectrum of the experience this year, as a crew-person for Beat, traveling between the checkpoints, then as his overnight pacer, where I ran 27 miles of this brutal course with him between 1 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday. I'll write more about the experience later, but for now I have a bit of time to post pictures. Beat logged his fifth HURT 100 finish and earned his coveted 500-mile jacket in a tougher-than-usual year for this tough race. The finishing rate was only 28 percent. Beat finished 13th out of 120 or so starters.

After a hellishly slick descent over rock jumbles and steep, root-clogged trail, you end up in this place called Paradise.

Mile 40. "I don't really have to go back out there, do I?"

The unwelcome sign at Jackass Ginger aid station.

Beat makes his way up to the aid station as volunteers hang the HURT mascot above the trail.

Stream crossing that must be made a total of 10 times.

Mid-race foot care.

A party at Paradise. Aid stations quickly become a tight-knit community.

Beat and his Mile 40-60 pacer - a 16-year-old aspiring ultrarunner and high school student in Honolulu - approach Paradise after sunset.

Morning finally comes after a long, long night on the trail.

Waikiki from a distance.

The bamboo dungeon of Manoa Flats.

At 33 hours and 31 minutes, Beat finished in 13th place after 100 miles on slick, technical singletrack with 25,000 feet of climbing. His first words: "It ain't no thang."