Kino’s Top 5 Wish List for Ultramarathons

Marathoner/ultramarathoner Hideki ‘Kino’ Kinoshita has completed 112 marathons and ultramarathons to date.  He has completed them in 47 states and 4 continents.  23 of his 112 have been ultramarathons.

So Kino is well accomplished in having run races all over the globe. He has done all of his marathons since September 21, 2008. An amazing feat in such a short time.

His times for these races all show that he has an inner drive to not just finish them but to perform at a very high level, no matter the race or distance.

There are still races that Kino hasn’t run yet that he hopes to one day.

Here is a look at his ultramarathon wish list:

Kino’s Top 5 Wish List for Ultramarathons

1. Badwater 135 (Death Valley, CA to Mount Whitney, CA)
July, middle Mon to middle Wed
2013 = 36th year

This is undoubtedly the top goal race for most 100-miler ultramarathoners in the Western Hemisphere.  Not only is running 135 miles a challenge, but try doing it by “running on the sun” (title of a 1993 documentary on Badwater 135) in the hottest place on the planet (according to Wikipedia, Death Valley’s Furnace Creek holds the record for the highest recorded temperature ever, at 134 °F (56.7 °C) at the hottest time of year in July, and climbing 3 massive hills along the way, including the final 13 mile death march up to Mount Whitney Portal, the tallest mountain in the Lower 48 States.  All this adds to the mystique and challenge of attempting this grueling ultra.  Firstly, it is an unwritten highly suggested rule that you crew for a runner before attempting this race yourself, so that you can emerse yourself into hell before sanely determining if this race is right for you.  I have yet to crew, but if I had only one last race in me that I could complete, Badwater would be it.  Thank goodness it is no longer Badwater 146, with the final 11 miles up Mount Whitney eliminated as part of the course!  Anyone who has completed this race is a running legend in my eyes.  Such legends include friends like Ryoichi Sekiya, Brittany Klimowicz, Tony Portera, Phil McCarthy, Iris Cooper, Michael Wardian, Dave Ploskonka, Dave Carver, Ed Ettinghausen, & Mike Miller.  Hearing each of their adventures, along with those who have  has captivated my imagination.

2. Western States Endurance Run (Squaw Valley, CA to Auburn, CA)
June, last Sat
2013 = 40th year

Western States Endurance Run (aka “Western States 100″ or “WS100″) is a point to point 100-mile ultra from Squaw Valley to Auburn, CA that runs downhill through the Sierra Nevadas. It is a race that captured my imagination while reading Dean Karnazes’ “Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner” book.  This is a course that legends like Gordy Ainsleigh, Scott Jurek, Dean Karnazes, Geoff Roes, Anton Krupicka, Glen Redpath, & Kilian Jornet have traversed.  WS100 is the 100 that started it all when Gordy Ainsleigh’s horse came up lame in what was then a horse race (belt buckles were awarded for completing the race, and that tradition has carried over into the running version of the race with runners who finish within the 30 hour time limit receiving a bronze buckle and those who finish within 24 hours, a “sub 24″, receiving a silver buckle), and then decided to return the year after in 1974 to traverse the distance on foot.  He proved that it was possible to cover 100 miles within 24 hours when Ainsleigh finished in 23:42.  To learn more about the history of this race, read up on it on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_States_Endurance_Run .  Here’s a list of WS100 course records: http://www.ws100.com/recordholders.htm.

3. Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
Aug, last Fri
2013 = 11th year
Twitter Hash: #UTMB

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, also known as UTMB, is Europe’s premier trail ultramarathon that stats in the famous ski village of Chamonix, France and runs around Mont Blanc in the French, Italian, & Swiss Alps, along a hiking trail that normally takes 7 to 9 days to traverse.  The distance is roughly 166 km (~103 mi), and varies yearly due to safety reasons.  It also features significant elevation changes (+/- 9,400m to +/- 9,500m, ~ +/- 30,000 feet) and nasty weather.  The event began in 2003, with only 67 finishers out of 722 runners.  It has since grown to feature ~2,500 runners.  Spanish mountain goat, Kilian Jornet, who was raised in the Pyrenees Mountains is a 3-time champion (all by the age of 23) of this race (along with being a WS100 & Pikes Peak Marathon championship) that features the world’s best trail ultra runners.  Inclement weather forced race organizers to host abbreviated versions of the race in 2010 & 2012.  What made me realize the difficulty of this race was when American legends Geoff Roes and Scott Jurek both DNF’ed with Roes admitting that he felt “destroyed” by the race.

4. HURT 100 Mile Endurance Run
Jan, mid Sat
2013 = 15th year
Twitter Hash: #HURT100

H.U.R.T. stands for Hawaiian Ultra Running Team, and the name is as valid as advertised.  HURT 100 is notorious for a high DNF rate, even with a 36 hour time cutoff, due to its crazy elevation change and wet & humid conditions.  Those who log 62mi are credited with a 100K finish and earn a 100K buckle.  How’s this for a description?  “There is over 24,935 feet of elevation gain and loss over the course of 100 miles. The gain comes in short sections no more than 2.1 miles at a time. There are very few sections where you can run with consistent stridefor more than a few hundred yards at a time. This course requires that you pay close attention to your footing at all times! The down hills are much worse!  There are a total of 20 stream crossings, two per lap, prior to the Paradise Park aid station and prior to the Nuuanuaid station. If the river is high due to rain, we may forego the stream crossing. Expect wet feet every time you enter and leave the Jackass Ginger (Nuuanu) aid station.  The trail is composed of a moderately packed dirt surface with lots of roots and rocks, which are very slippery when wet. At night there will be dew, which makes this trail extremely slippery. If it rains (which it will), there will be plenty of mud.”  Hawaii holds a special place for me, so what could be more special than running 1.5 days in the forests of Oahu?  It sure beats running on roads, or does it?

5. Leadville Trail 100 Run
Aug, mid Sat
2013 = 31st year
Twitter Hash: #LT100

Leadville 100, also known as LT100 or The “Race Across The Sky”, was made famous thanks to Christopher McDougall’s 2009 best selling book, “Born To Run”, in which he chronicles the American debut of the mysterious Tarahumara Indian ultra runners of Mexico.  Leadville 100 was conceived by avid marathoner Kenneth Chlouber to bring back life to and revitalize Leadville, Colorado, an old mining town already steeped in economic decline.  LT100 first took place in 1983, with the Tarahumara first competing in the race in 1993 and 1994, winning both years.  In 1994, the Tarahumara took on famed American runner Ann Transon and defeated her, although she set a female course record of 18:06:24, which still stands.  The book also introduced to the world, the now deceased Micah True, better known as Caballo Blanco.  Legends such as Matt Carpenter (12-time Pikes Peak Marathon winner and LT100 course record holder, 15:42:59 in 2005) and Marshall Ulrich, who completed a Leadville 100 + Pikes Peak Marathon (PPM) “double” over the same weekend in 1992 & 1993, including a 120 mile drive from the LT100 finish to the PPM start in Manitou Springs, CO.  Although there are other high altitude 100’s in the Continental U.S. that many consider to be harder than Leadville, such as Hardrock 100 and Wasatch 100, this Race Across The Sky is more well-known and is still an extremely challenging race, featuring +/- 15,600 feet (+/- 4,800 m) in elevation change, with altitude ranging from 9,200 feet to 12,620 feet (~2.5 miles above sea level).  If that’s not enough, runners have to pass through the infamous Hope Pass, along the way, which is known to attract lightning strikes during the race.

Disclaimer: I don’t claim that I am capable of finishing any of these races, but if I were able to pick which 5 races I would love to finish, these would be it. Thanks for reading!(WHATEVER, Kino! We know better!)

Did Kino leave one off his list that you would include? If so tell us!

Follow Kino via Social Media:
Facebook: Run Kino on Facebook – RunKino
Twitter: Run Kino on Twitter @runkino
Blog: RunKino.com

Kino is member RIF #88 of Run It Fast – The Club. Join him in RIF-The Club HERE!

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This post was written by:

- who has written 1052 posts on Run It Fast®.

Joshua Holmes has completed 197 marathons/ultramarathons while running 100+ miles 43 including races such as the Badwater 135, Western States 100, The Last Annual Vol State 500K (3x). His favorite races to date are the Vol State 500K, Badwater 135, Barkley Fall Classic, Catalina Eco Marathon, Chimera 100, Across The Years, Savage Gulf Trail Marathon, Strolling Jim 40 Miler, Tunnel Hill 100, RUTS, EC100 and the Flying Monkey Marathon in his home state of Tennessee. Follow @bayou Follow @joshuaholmes on Instagram

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