Running season is gearing up, and to celebrate, we’re highlighting two races: one that’s long and full of blisters and cactus thorns, and another that’s short and lined with cheering fans and music.
If you like to run through the desert for days at a time, check out the brand-new Trans-Pecos Ultra. The multistage foot race will wind 160 miles through rugged Big Bend Ranch State Park in West Texas over seven days. The race begins Oct. 18.
No technical skills are needed, but the list of required equipment includes a backpack, sleeping bag, compass, signal mirror, knife, whistle, headlamp, pain killers and 14,000 calories worth of food. As the website notes, this part of Texas is not flat and participants should be “prepared for continuous hills and plenty of rocky single track.”
Sleep and nutrition researcher Chris Herrera of Austin created the event after falling in love with the Chihuahuan Desert while running the Big Bend Ultra 50-mile race. (That’s another terrific event — if you like to run a long way through prickly environments.
He couldn’t forget the image of runners heading out at the race start, headlamps bobbing through the pre-dawn darkness, or the mental challenge he faced at mile 41, when he hit what he calls a wall of negativity. “I just enjoyed the environment, the challenge and getting past the 26-mile mark for the first time in my life,” he says of the experience.