Thursday, December 10, 2015

It's Gnarly Out There!

Two years ago, I tried to run a race series called the Gnarly Bandit despite having never run in a 100 mile race before.  I failed.  I did not complete a single race out of the three that I entered.

The Gnarly Bandit consists of four 100 mile races, followed by a 100k:

  • Zumbro 100
  • Kettle Moraine 100
  • Black Hills 100
  • Superior 100
  • Wild Duluth 100k

There are three cruxes to the series: 1. Zumbro is early in the year, and quite often the snow isn't even off the ground yet.  Very few people are trained up for it yet.  2. There is only three weeks between Kettle Moraine and Black Hills.  3. Superior.

Last year, I entered two of the races in the Gnarly Bandit series (Kettle Moraine and Superior) and finished them in respectable fashion.  I conquered the third crux.  And after running Kettle Moraine, I'm certain I can handle the second crux if I take Kettle extra easy.

I am formally throwing my hat into the ring to complete the Gnarly Bandit in 2016.  I have learned a lot since the last time I tried it.  I have the training, the knowledge, and the willpower to push through it.  I have been on all of the race courses, except for Wild Duluth 100k.  Fortunately, it shares some of the course with Voyageur 50 which I have raced before.  So I have no excuse this time that I don't know what I'm getting myself into.

Only 4 months until Zumbro.


  1. As somebody who can barely run 1 mile without getting winded, it seems like if you can run 4 100 mile races then a 100 km race after that should be relatively easy, right?

  2. I'm not going to look past any race. The 100k race at the end hasn't stopped anybody from completing the Gnarly Bandit (yet), but it is hardly a walk in the park. Fortunately, it has a fairly generous time cutoff, so in the worse case scenario somebody could run the first 50k and then walk it in.

    For comparison, I ran the first 100k at Kettle Moraine last year in 14:52. That was a much easier course, but I was also saving a lot of energy for the last 60k.

    On the other hand, I ran the first 100k at Superior last year in 19:19. The course is comparable, so I'd have to go out a bit faster.

    Being the last race of the series, I would have a "just get it done" mentality.