(Note: This post is to make tribute to an ultrarunner who sponsored and hosted two of my Team Bald Runner’s Elite Athletes’ participation in this year’s Hongkong 100K Ultra Trail Run)
While we were having lunch in one of the hotels in Hongkong a day after the HK 100 Run last January of this year, Andre told me that his goal for this year is to participate and finish the 2013 Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in the United States. When I asked why he was going to aim for such feat where an ultrarunner has a limited time to recover in between races, he answered, “I am not getting any younger and I will try to focus my training to finish all the races”. I just replied to him that how I wished I was still young and be the same with his age. Andre is 43 years old.
The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in the United States consists of four (4) of the oldest 100-Mile Trail Runs which one has to finish within a span of 10 weeks from the last week of June to the 1st week of September (a week after the US Labor Day). Basically, it covers the whole summer season in the United States. One has to finish the following races in the following order: First, Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in California; Second, Vermont 100-Mile Endurance Run in Vermont; Third, Leadville Trail 100-Mile Endurance Run in Colorado; and Fourth & Last, Wasatch Front 100-Mile Endurance Run in Utah.
This Grand Slam of Ultrarunning started in 1986 and after 28 editions, there are only 254 ultra runners who finished the said series. Andre Blumberg placed Hongkong as one of the few countries represented among the list of finishers in this series. He is the first Hongkong resident to have done it!
Congratulations, Andre! Good job, my friend!
Here is the result in this year’s Grand Slam Series of Ultrarunning: http://www.run100s.com/gs13.htm
For more details on the statistics and how to join the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in the United States, you can visit these links: http://www.run100s.com/slamstats.txt and http://www.run100s.com/gs.htm
If you want to read about the more popular “drama” in this year’s Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, please find time to read this: http://sharmanian.blogspot.com/2013/09/wasatch-front-100-finale-of-grand-slam.html
After browsing the pictures taken by Paper, wife of Andre, on Andre’s Facebook Wall, I saw this picture of a 73-year old finisher of the Wasatch Front 100-Mile Endurance Run. The guy is Hans-Dieter Weisshaar, a German ultra legend with about 150 finishes of the 100 miles distance, also a Grand Slam Finisher in the years 2000, 2003, and 2005, at his age, I feel inspired to be able to reach this age and still running ultra marathon races! (Note: The runner beside him is Chihping Fu of California who is one of this year’s Grand Slam Finishers!)
After all, Andre was right. We, the ultra runners, are not getting any younger and we try to challenge our limits of physical endurance and spirit in our training and races. This defines our endurance sports which we dearly love and respect.
Keep on running!