Rugged Individualist. Certified USA Triathlon Coach & NASM Personal Trainer, Men's Self Improvement Coach. President of Go Farther Sports. National Ranked Triathlete & 100 Mile Grand Slam Ultrarunner, only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

2019 Season - UTMB Possibility...Again?

I've posted on the right of this blog my three races that I'll be aiming for in 2019 (NJ Marathon, Ironman Ireland, and USA Triathlon Nationals). Now for the stranger things...
Yes, I did swear off 100 mile ultras. I do want to take a good break from them while I concentrate on honing my talents for triathlon. But there's a catch...

Yeah, my nemesis race is rearing its ugly head again, and the desire to finish this race is high. I would love to try it again in a few years, but the process of getting into this race is very difficult.

Let me lay out the entire process for everyone to understand.

The very first thing that one must do to get into UTMB is to gain 15 points over three prerequisite races. These points are determined by an international body called the International Trail Running Association (ITRA). They determine how many points a race gets by looking at a combination of distance and how mountainous it is.

So a long, difficult course like Vermont 100 would get 6 points, which is the max for any race. A flatter 100 mile course like Rocky Raccoon would get 5 points. Some 100k and 50 mile races would get 4 points, etc.

These points last for two years. Once they expire, one needs to accumulate the points again in order to maintain the 15 points needed.

After the runner gets the 15 points, he or she can now enter the UTMB lottery and hope for the best. Unlike Western States or Hardrock, a first-year entrant has a pretty good shot at getting in. If he/she doesn't, the organizers give out a second ballot for the next year's lottery. This is provided that he maintains the 15 points. Most second year entrants get in. If the runner is really unlucky and not get in, the third year is automatically entered into the race...again provided they maintain the 15 points!

To start accumulating points from scratch is a daunting task. I would have to run in three really tough races just to get the 15 points needed to try my luck in the lottery. Knowing how I am with this, I don't think I would even try. I hate committing entire years in getting into a race; I scoff at running the races in the NYRR 9+1 program just to get into the NYC Marathon.

My status now is an interesting one. I ALREADY have 11 points. I have 6 points from the Zion 100 last year and 5 points from the Rocky Raccoon early this year. All I need is 4 points to get into the lottery.

And I've already been rejected once this year by UTMB, so I would be a second year entrant and more likely to get in!

So why not just get the 4 points now, throw my name in the lottery, and get that race done and over with next year?

Enter in the McDowell Mountain Frenzy this weekend. It's only 50 miles in the desert near Phoenix, with just one mountain to climb. And it provides the 4 points I need to get in.


I just need one more shot at UTMB. After that I can put it into my rear view mirror and not worry about it anymore. And if I am unlucky in the lottery next year, I can always register for the Vermont 100 in July to get the 15 points I need to automatically get in in 2020.

Anyway, that's the situation behind my trip to Phoenix. I just need one more shot at redemption, and then I'm done!

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