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A century in the backroads


There are running events and there are RUNNING events. Booneville Backroads Ultra one is the latter. Not every geek off the street is going to be able to compete in the event this weekend, but those who do are likely to be borderline superheroes.

Booneville Backroads Ultra will take place on Saturday, May 23, beginning at 6 a.m.

Booneville Backroads Ultra will take place on Saturday, May 23, beginning at 6 a.m.

“We wanted to put on a Ultra Distance running event here in Iowa beyond the 50K distance,” said Steven Cannon, organizer of the event and founder of One Run Events. “The race is Iowa’s only 100K and 100-miler. Booneville and the surrounding area provide a beautiful and tough running test.”

But the Booneville Backroads Ultra isn’t limited to just extreme runners. Also taking place on race day are the 100K, 50K, and 10K solo races, a 50K relay race and the daunting 100-mile solo race.

The way most folks seem to get into this sort of long-distance running is by accident, said Cannon. “Few start out with the idea they will run 30, 60 or 100 miles, but distance running has a way of sucking you in.”

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There are so many factors involved in successfully running 100 miles that it is easy to overlook something, especially for someone who has never attempted the distance before. Those who focus entirely on physical training for the event may tend to overlook the mental side of it. It takes a lot of confidence, which many first-timers lack. But if you find enjoyment in running, you’re more likely to make it through the rough spells.

But Cannon insists there really isn’t a typical ultra runner.

“You will see the Ultra Fit type A to the hippy-looking, T-shirt wearing runner,” said Cannon. “In Ultras, my money is always on the hippy.”

With the weather anywhere from the low 40s to tornado warnings to gorgeous clear skies, the weather can shift at any time, no matter the projections. But aside from the extremes of lightning and tornados, Cannon says the race is on.

“I’d love it if it was a soaking wet muddy mess,” he admits.

Along with being physically fit, what runners put into their bodies is just as important as the workout regiment. Cannon advises runners to learn what food appeal to them most during the long training runs and go for them during the race. Don’t gamble and eat something your stomach isn’t used to.

“My coach used to say, ‘If it ain’t nailed down, eat it.’ That’s good advice,” said Cannon. “Everyone is different. Ultras are as much about eating and drinking as they are running.”

Whether you’re looking to push yourself further than ever before or simply want to compete in a 10K and get out of the city, the Booneville Backroads Ultra should be your destination this weekend.

“Everyone who finishes an Ultra takes a special journey,” Cannon said. “Hanging out at the finish line is must-see TV.” CV


Booneville Backroads Ultra

Saturday, May 23

6 a.m. — 100-mile solo race start ($120)

6 a.m. — 100K solo race start ($80)

7 a.m. — 50K solo race start ($70)

8 a.m. — 50K relay race start ($200 for five-person team)

8:30 a.m. — 10K solo race start ($25)

For course route and additional information, go to http://boonevillebackroadsultra.com/


David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

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