|Beyond the Marathon: The Grand
Slam of Trail Ultrarunning (140 pg. perfect bound) ISBN
1-884778-15-1, $10.95 + $2.50 P&H. A first person account of running
the Grand Slam (four 100-mile races in fourteen weeks).
To purchase a copy, send your check or money order made out to Bob Boeder (not Hardrock Fever) PO Box 318, Silverton, CO, 81433 E-mail: email@example.com Also see Hardrock Fever: Running 100 Miles in Colorado's San Juan Mountains by Bob.
I can't stop sobbing. Every time I think I have a grip on myself my body is wracked by a new wave of uncontrollable blubbering. All the long lonely hours on the roads and trails, all the sweat and hard work of training, all the blisters, sore feet, aching legs, the expense of flying all over the country to these four races - it has all come down to this. My resolve to become one of the handful of ultrarunners to complete the Grand Slam is dissolving in a puddle of tears. My breakdown comes at Lambs Canyon aid station, the 50- mile point of the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run. I am 350 miles into my Grand Slam summer. All the stress of trying to finish four 100 mile trail races in the space of 14 weeks has come crashing down on me, like an avalanche in this rugged western sentinel of the Rocky Mountains. Lambs Canyon aid station is curiously located at an underpass of I-80, the main highway entering Salt Lake City from the east. Aid stations are usually stuck in the middle of nowhere. The interstate follows Parley's Canyon, and I have been running on a trail alongside Parley's Creek. At Lambs Canyon, huge double trailer rigs hurtle by overhead as I bury my face in my arms and howl. I've been running 14 hours, since 5:00 AM. The race course follows trails along the tops and sides of ridges above 8,000 feet. Every so often a canyon cuts into the mountainside. The canyons act like wind tunnels sucking air up from the valley of the Great Salt Lake far below. All day long I have been fighting 40-60 mile per hour winds on the ridge tops. The winds and the altitude are a double whammy, sucking fluids out of my body: I have lost 9 pounds, I'm severely dehydrated and I have stomach cramps and nausea. My dark green piss tells me I am in deep trouble: clear urine would mean I'm well hydrated and in good shape. It's 7 PM. Phantoms wing through the dusk. The moon rises. Thunder and lightning rattle from the high passes. I know what awaits me in the darkness of the next 50 miles: Bear-Ass Pass, elevation 8,140 ft; Desolation Lake, 9,200 ft.; Red Lover's Ridge, 9,900 ft.; Scott's Pass, 9,460 ft; Catherine Pass, 10,480 ft.; Poleline Pass, 8,920; Point of Contention, 9,500 ft. With all my experience why can't I do anything more productive than bawl my eyes out? I'm 52, I've been running for 20 years, and have competed in 250 races from 1 to 100 miles, including 8 triathlons, 34 marathons, and 31 ultras, 8 of them trail 100 milers. Perhaps my collapse is part of the quest, something I have to endure, like crossing a bridge of grief, in order to finish this race, complete the Grand Slam, and get on with the rest of my life. My mind flashes back to December 1993 when I decided to take up the challenge of finishing these four most difficult 100 mile trail races in a single summer.
"A well written, quick moving adventure tale which combines both the romance and the gritty realism of ultrarunning; filled with practical knowledge for anyone attempting a trail 100 and excellent for non- runners seeking a glimpse of the ultra world."
"Bob has written about the true essence of our sport, ‘Let your reach exceed your grasp.' The nature of an odyssey is wandering, adventure and leaps of faith. Bob has shared with us the obstacles he faced and how he overcame them during a summer of known and unknown challenges, proving without a doubt that not all who wander are lost."
In 1994, Robert Boeder completed the Grand Slam of trail ultrarunning finishing four 100 mile races in the space of 14 weeks. In this first person narrative, he describes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges of completing the Old Dominion 100 Miler, the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Leadville Trail 100, and the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run in a single summer. Boeder continues to be an avid runner and race organizer. He has a PhD in history. After teaching for a number of years in universities in Africa and the U.S., he now works for the U.S. Army at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.