For many ultra runners Patagonia is a distant iconic image propagated by vivid imaginations of unscathed wild terrain and sharp edged peaks. A mysterious mountain running promised land of sorts, that has constructed itself upon years of whimsical exploration. Given Patagonia’s mystical appeal, it is no wonder why 1,638 people from all over the world traveled to the Osorno Volcano this December to run one of the various distances in the 2015 Volcano Ultra Trail (VUT) race series.
During dinner at the Mammut sales meeting, Dave, the company’s hard goods manager, turned towards me and shouted, “That’s insane! The Grand Teton in under three hours?”
Last week, I traveled to north-central Sweden to compete in the second annual UltraVasan 90K on Saturday morning, August 22. What follows is an account of my race but also the race history, the course, and the three kings on everyone’s mind as the weekend unfolded.
We were an hour outside of Putaendo, when the yerba maté started to take effect. It was June and deep mid winter. All that afternoon we had driven north towards the sun, which now was on its low drawling descent into the Pacific Ocean.
Why is my first ultra story any different from the next newbie’s story? It was a double newbie scenario; I sweated through the inaugural race, which skirted through jungle hill tribes of northern Thailand, a region never before touched by any organized, international venue.
Last year, my friend Todd Jennings and I organized a race to celebrate the Shawangunk Ridge Trail (SRT), a magical footpath that traverses the entire 74-mile length of the Shawangunk Mountains in New York’s Hudson Valley.