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The Javelina Jundred was started by a Phoenix-based ultrarunner named Geri Kilgariff in 2003. The idea for Javelina allegedly started out as a joke, but ended up being quite popular, with 180 people registering the first year. Javelina is a loop course, the first loop 22.3 miles in length, and loops 2–5 19.45 miles. My first 100 miler (Fire Fest 100) was similar; a loop course in the desert. Loop courses are nice for crew, who can sit at the start/finish line, and nice for pacers, who can also simply pick up a runner at start/finish. From a runner’s perspective, loop courses are nice mentally, because you know exactly what lays in store. On the other hand, you know exactly what lays in store, and the format might make it easier to drop.
This year, there were 513 finishers, 269 who did not finish, and 4 unofficial finishers (those who took slightly longer than the 30 hour cutoff, but still finished the race). Most ultras are limited to a few hundred runners by permits, so Javelina felt huge. The start line was loud, crowded, and full of energy. For the first few miles, I was caught in a conga line because I started in the back half of the pack I did that purposely, because I didn’t want to be tempted into starting too fast. Because there were three different distances and a large field of racers on a loop course, I was never truly alone. I could see people the entire race, or I was being passed by people, or I was running past someone. Every time I passed a runner, we exchanged encouragement and my spirits were lifted.
Javelina is also a massive Halloween party, with people dressed in costume, music and dancing, an on-site tattoo artist, and generally good vibes. Part of its immense popularity is the atmosphere, and I was blown away by not only the overall positivity, but by how everyone I interacted with seemed genuinely joyful to be there.
But getting down to race day. I signed up for Javelina because so many people I know and love have done the raced, and loved the race. The only negative thing I’ve ever heard about Javelina came from a race director with a race on the same weekend, who was annoyed that people were flocking to Arizona instead of doing his race. “Javelina is easy,” he scoffed, and I thought “no 100 miler is ever that easy.” In terms of what’s…