Rising Up, Dropping Down

Eyes on the prize.
Drop-downs are a logical response of RDs not wanting to have people dropping at remote aid stations, putting a load onto a tight evacuation scenario. This is recent, and yes, I've used it. I'd rather walk my way out of a race-day gone bad than be stuck somewhere.

RD's really don't want to haul you out. If you do, you'll be riding on a pile of gear. They also don't want an expensive, bad publicity evacuation if things go really bad. This is another good reason not to have themed costume aid stations.

There's a widening talent spectrum in ultras. Its a logical outcome of the boom in the last 10 years. 

More people getting into it, and here are some indicators.
  • the widening gap between the super-talented and the mid to back of pack runners
  • the rise of the drop-down option in races
  • social media plays a role here. Its a fact, not a blame. People get all jizzed up, and then race day reality kicks in.
The talent bell curve gets larger. More people in, and a wider participant spread. At the top end there's Jim Walmsley setting a new course PR at Western States 100, and Kilian Jornet shredded Hardrock several years ago. 

Women are coming up as well—Rory Bosio won, overall, the Tahoe Rim Trail 50 in 2017, 8 hrs and change. True fact: She passed me as if I was a fencepost drifting backwards on my 55k age-group podium-humping effort [COUGH COUGH]. 

Dammit, I gotta quit those Pall Mall 100s

And drifting to the bottom, like protein snow, are folks like me. 

All this is possible when there are multi-race distances under a marquee banner. It's become common to see a 100/50mi/50k/30k or variants thereof in an event. Again, costs of hosting an event in the form of permits, insurance, prizes/swag figure into this. 


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