Sunrise was just beginning to reveal itself as we headed northbound on Route 3 toward New Hampshire on Saturday morning, Nov. 5, bound for the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds in New Boston to run the Hamsterwheel. I had an unusual race morning feeling, something I’ve never experienced in my 10+ years of running trail ultramarathons: high hopes and no expectations.
I had good reason to feel that way. Nothing went according to plan in preparation for this race … not that there was a real plan to follow. I began the year itching to run a 100-miler, but never really settled on one. Virgil Crest in New York captured my interest, but it was the same weekend as my dad’s 80th birthday back in Kansas. Another was the Hawk 100, put on by my old trail club in Lawrence, Kansas, but it was the same weekend. Midstate Massive here in New England tempted me, too, but I dragged my feet too long to properly prepare to make a worthwhile effort on that brutal course. Then there was Mountaineer Rumble in South Carolina, but the idea of flying to a race when airlines have been canceling flights left and right left me disheartened to put my hopes in the hands of an unreliable airline.
All of that is to say, the Hamsterwheel was the last drivable option of the year where I could take a crack at that goal. I signed up for the 30-hour race with the hopes of going the full time and/or running 100 miles. Just a 90-minute drive from home, getting there wouldn’t be a problem. Plus, the four-mile out-and-back course would make a lot of the race-day logistics simple.Continue Reading