When Jorge Maravilla crossed the line in first place at the first Montrail Ultra Cup race of 2014, he knew he had punched his ticket to Western States. He had travelled from the Marin Headlands with Squaw on his mind. The Ultra Cup has been affording top runners every year a way to get into Western States 100 despite its Forest Service mandated runner cap. This weekend alone, with both the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile and the Sean O’Brien 50 mile events, there could be up to 12 entries added to the list of runners headed to Squaw.
The Bandera 100k was the first event in the Ultra Cup and has been in the series for several years now. They’re close to reaching capacity at 1,000 total runners and Race Director Joe Prusaitis notes that Montrail has had a great influence on the increase in participants.
The second race in the series takes place in Texas as well. It also shares the same stellar Race Director. The Rocky Raccoon 100 miler takes place in Huntsville, Texas on February 1, 2014 and will host almost 600 runners! The race this year will also be the USA 100mi Trail Championship for 2014.
The third race of the 2014 Montrail Ultra Cup is a new race in Southern California called the Sean O’Brien 50 Miler. It will also start on February 1, 2014, but in the deceptively rugged Santa Monica Mountains. Over 200 runners will toe the line of the 50 mile event. Race Director Keira Henninger is not new to the racing scene; she previously hosted an Ultra Cup event at her Leona Divide Trail race near Lake Hughes, California. This picturesque yet difficult course in Malibu, California has over 11,000 total feet of elevation gain and is sure to challenge every runner out there!