The Pinhoti 100 — a 100-mile race from the top of Cheaha Mountain — will be added as part of the 2012-13 Montrail Ultra Cup series, said Laura Schaffer, the series’ public relations director. The official announcement is set for today.
The Montrail Ultra Cup is comprised of ultra-distance races from Oregon to Maryland and attracts elite runners from United States and Canada to India.
Brooke Nelson, the multiraces director for the Anniston Runners Club, has seen a concerted effort by the group to provide plenty of outdoor events for those in the Anniston area. With the recent opening of the Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail, it’s become yet another feather in the area’s ecotourism cap.
“It is very exciting not only for our club but also for our area to have a race of this caliber,” Nelson said.
With so the potential for so many runners uneducated to Alabama’s diverse topography, Henderson said most runners from outside the region expect the trails to be flat.
“They’re very surprised at the beauty we have and the mountains we have,” he said.
The Pinhoti 100 is an unmolested single-track trail that goes to the highest point in the state of Alabama and takes place within the Talladega National Forest, and Henderson works closely with the U.S. Forest Service to put on the event.
While the race begins in Heflin, most of the course is in Sylacauga.
“It’s unique in that it’s point-to-point and we offer transportation to the runners,” Henderson said.
Henderson explains that most ultramarathons follow loop-type courses where runners encounter the same spot multiple times, but in point-to-point races, runners obviously never encounter the same point twice.
Last year, the finish rate was lower because of lack of training. Running more than 50 miles is a serious commitment and there are no hidden secrets other than training.
The Pinhoti 100 spans more than 100 miles, so training is critical.
“It’s all about the time you put in on the trail,” Henderson said, “not trying to do too much, just building up.”