Friday, February 25, 2011

UROC


It's now official. If you haven't already heard: Ultra Race of Champions coming this September.

First to clear up any confusion: I am not involved in this race from a planning or directing standpoint. I'm working with this race as their "Elite Athlete Liaison." That is to say that I am working to try to help bring as many top level runners as possible to the starting line on September 24th. I am not in any position to gain anything from the potential success of this race. My interest and involvement starts and finishes with my hope to help put together as competitive of a race as possible. Many folks have presumed (understandably so), based on some of my blog posts in the past several months, that I have been involved in this race all along, but the truth is that I didn't even know about this race until last month. Me coming to be involved in this event in any way was a result of my thoughts and interests being very similar to those of the race director's, not the other way around. Not that any of this really matters, but I just thought I'd set that straight.

This race has been received very well so far and many top runners have already expressed interest in running. Keep an eye on the website in the coming weeks as they will be likely be listing the runners who have committed soon.

I think this race has great potential to draw a very deep field of top competition this year, and good potential to grow even more in the years to come. I think it's cool that there is finally a race that is advertising itself as a race focused on the competition at the front of the pack. Even the North Face races with their large prize money don't really make an effort (beyond throwing down the big bucks) to get top level competition into their race. UROC is, on the other hand, going to make every effort within their means to get as many top runners as possible on the starting line in September. This from the race website: "the goal of the Trail Runner Ultra Race of Champions is to bring together the best ultra runners in the world on one course on one day"...

The race will also be open to any level runner that wants to run on this day. Sign up will begin on March 14th.

Do I feel like this race is the exact answer to the demand for a "championship race(s)" that I've talked about recently? No, not yet. Not entirely. I do however feel like this race wants to work more and more toward becoming this, and I do feel like it's the closest thing we now have. Either this race, another race, or a combination of a few will emerge (in my opinion) to be huge (in terms of top level competition, and thus large amounts of attention around the world) in the next few years. I think the NF 50 got things rolling with their large prize purse that they introduced a few years ago now, and this race is speeding things up by introducing a race focused on going out and getting as many top runners as possible to join their race. It'll be interesting to see where it all goes from here. One thing I'd bet my life on though: it certainly doesn't stop here...

11 comments:

Brian D. Purcell said...

So I guess with UTMB a month before UROC, you feel confident you can still do both in top condition?

jacob said...

I absolutely love it Geoff! I figured from all your posts that you couldn't just be writing random thought. I assumed that if you were thinking of it that much you must actually be doing something also. I wish I could race it this year. Next year I will be out of the Army and I will be there without a doubt.

Stuart said...

This is awesome news Geoff! Nice one :-)

Geoff said...

brian,
yeah, no serious worries about UTMB. I've pretty much been racing once every month for 2 years now. that's basically my preferred amount of time between races. and then every 8 or 10 months i need a bit longer break.

Vicky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Schlarb said...

It will be going on my calendar. Awesome.

Collin said...

So, are they just converting GEER 100K into this new Race of Champions? Sounds pretty cool.

BrotherRunner said...

Could not have picked better people to put this thing on. Fran and Gill are good peeps. Awesome you picked the east coast! I think a lot of people will be surprised how beautiful the blue ridge mountains are!
Awesome work!

Brad said...

Sounds very cool. Do you see the UROC selling out really quickly? (for the non elite runner) Will it be a lottery or just first come first serve as far as sign up goes. Sounds like you're putting together an awesome race.

Jacob Rydman said...

if the opportunity presents itself, i can't imagine not doing everything i can to line up with/against the great folks and the fierce competitors this event will draw. exciting to see your vision come to life and the potential of future events.

Jason Jones said...

Great idea. I'm not super fast but usually finish in the top 5 to 20 depending on the amount of talent in the field. But, I attribute that to a certain lack of true and fierce competition at most races. I wish that Western States could be that key race that the world's fastest and most fit runner's gather to compete. Instead it is 20 of last year's fastest combined with 400 other runners that got lucky in a lottery. Many may disagree but I just don't get it. Good luck with UROC and I hope it turns into the "Super Bowl" of ultras.