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Monica’s 3000+ Mile Odyssey

Ultra runner extraordinaire, Monica Scholz is raising the bar.  In 2001 Monica set a World Record by completing twenty-three 100-mile races in one calendar year.  Oddly some critics and naysayers suggested that this accomplishment wasn’t that remarkable as they felt Monica wasn’t regarded as an elite runner.  Although Monica did not win any of the “big races” that year, she did amass six women’s wins and seven second place finishes along the way.  Oh yeah, she beat everyone, guys too, in four of those events.

Since this achievement, Monica has been taking it easy (by her lofty standards) completing on average “only” a half-dozen or so of these races each year.  In addition to a couple of Badwater 135 titles and two Death-Valley Cup records, she collected wins at H.U.R.T., Sulphur Springs, Ancient Oaks and Arkansas Traveler, to name a few.

Monica's wins Badwater

Monica's wins Badwater

Monica intends to shatter her own record in 2010 by completing more than thirty 100-milers!  You read that correctly:  30 X 100-miles in ONE year!  She will cover over three thousand miles, greater than the distance from Montréal to Vancouver (or Boston to Los Angeles for our U.S. followers) on foot, mostly on forested, rocky and often mountainous trails in a 12-month span.  In terms of total hours, this feat will take just over a month.

At a recent post-fun-run gathering at Monica’s home, not only did she share food, drinks and good cheer, Monica pulled out her 2010 race schedule and passed it around.  Those in attendance had already heard of Monica’s intentions, but seeing this impressive list on paper had us baffled and bewildered.  Monica was kind enough to make me a photocopy of this list and gave Monumental Effort the green light to post it on our blog.

Keep in mind that this schedule is tentative pending race lotteries, travel logistics and trail permits that some Race Directors are still awaiting.  Also, there are possibilities that some events get canceled due to natural disasters, like forest fires, as witnessed at the 2008 Western States Run.  It is my understanding that Monica has already registered for nearly twenty of these events.

Race # Date Race Name Place
1 January 16 HURT Honolulu, Hawaii
2 February 6 Rocky Racoon Huntsville,Texas
3 February 13 Iron Horse Florahome, Florida
4 February 27 LOST Florida
5 March 5 Coyote Two Moon Ojai, California
6 March 27 Paulinskill Sussex 100 Knowlton, New Jersey
7 April 10 McNaughton Pekin, Illinois
8 April 24 Jerseyville 100 Jerseyville, Ontario
9 May 1 Iron Horse St. Paul, Alberta
10 May 8 McNaughton Pittsfield, Vermont
11 May 15 Keys 100 Key West, Florida
12 May 29 Sulphur Springs Dundas, Ontario
13 June 5 Old Dominion Fort Valley, Virginia
14 June 12 San Diego San Diego, California
15 June 19 Mohican Trail Loudonville, Ohio
16 June 26 Laramie Laramie, Wyoming
17 July 12 Badwater Death Valley, California
18 July 17 Vermont South Woodstock, Vermont
19 July 24 Swan Crest Swan Lake, Montana
20 July 31 Burning River Willoughby Hills, Ohio
21 August 7 Viaduct Trail Lanesboro, Pennsylvania
22 August 21 Leadville Leadville, Colorado
23 August 28 Angeles Crest Wrightwood, California
24 September 4 Grand Teton Alta, Wyoming
25 September 11 Haliburton Haliburton, Ontario
26 September 18 Virgil Crest Virgil, New York
27 September 25 PCT 100 OR Bear To be determined
28 October 2 Arkansas Traveller Ouachita, Arkansas
29 October 9 Oil Creek Oil City, Pensylvannia
30 October 16 Boulder OR Ozark To be determined
31 October 23 Syllamo Blanchard Springs, Arkansas
32 October 30 Javalina Jundred Fountain Hills, Arizona
33 November 6 Pinhoti OR Mother Road To be determined
34 December 11 Ancient Oaks Titusville, Florida

As I studied this list over and over again, a few things jumped out at me.  Next year, not only will Monica run 100-milers on five consecutive weekends twice, but in the summer and fall she will potentially have a streak of TWELVE weekends in a row with a 100-mile race.  Another incredible fact is that Monica plans on running the Vermont 100 only five days following the grueling and punishing Badwater 135.

Some time in the spring, Monica will surpass 100-miler #100 for her career.  This is a milestone that not many ultra runners have reached (one or two other runners perhaps?) but most astonishing is the fact that her very first 100-mile finish, Umstead 100-mile Endurance Run, was a mere ten years ago.  That’s a lot of miles in one decade and quite the collection of belt buckles!

According to Monica, the very first run on her list is the toughest. Appropriately named, Monica will be starting her journey with her 10th anniversary of H.U.R.T.  Monica is the only runner to have completed all of this event’s first nine editions of the 100-miler.

In her previous record setting year, Monica told me that she felt stronger as the year went on.  Most people would think that after competing in so many races that the body would break down and get tired.  That is not the case with Monica.  So to the runners planning on competing in the Ancient Oaks 100 next December…beware of Monica Scholz.

Not to be totally outdone, Monica’s partner, Phil McColl, a relative newcomer to the world of 100-milers, will attempt to complete 9 of the events listed above.  Furthermore, Phil will selflessly crew or pace for Monica at countless other races.

What is the secret to Monica’s ability to run so many miles?  Who knows?  Could it be some freak metabolic and physiologic trait in her DNA?  Perhaps, but if you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Monica, especially on the trails, you will agree that her positive attitude must contribute immensely to her success.  Nevertheless, we could definitely say that Monica has “cracked the code” when it comes to running ultra marathons.

Monica's signature smile

Monica's signature smile

Are you planning on running any of the events on Monica’s list?  Maybe you will be volunteering at one or more of these races?  If so, please leave us a comment.  Perhaps you could serve as a trail correspondent for Monumental Effort.  We would love to hear your report of a Monica sighting.  By subscribing to Monumental Effort you can also be assured to receive regular updates of Monica’s 3000+ Mile Odyssey as we will be enthusiastically chronicling her story throughout 2010.

Gotta run,

Vince

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{ 53 comments… add one }

  • Derrick January 1, 2010, 1:23 pm

    Wow! Truly remarkable. Looking forward to following along and hopefully hitting a couple of the same races.

  • Scoot January 2, 2010, 6:17 pm

    As a mutual acquaintance once remarked “she’s cracked the code.”

    sm

    • vince January 2, 2010, 7:29 pm

      Yup Scooty…I had to borrow the line in the post itself!

  • BrianPhilpot January 3, 2010, 6:57 pm

    That’s a list! Best of luck! I will be at Mohican 100 & Burning River 100 so far!

    • vince January 4, 2010, 8:48 am

      Hey Brian,

      Unfortunately I won’t be at Mohican this year. I have been on 8 occasions over the past 10 years though! It’s one of my favorites. Check out : http://www.monumentaleffort.com/?p=300

      Perhaps you could send us a report from Mo and Burning River this summer!

      Take care,
      Vince

  • Gailanne January 5, 2010, 1:54 pm

    Hey Vince!

    Great post! Would it be ok if I posted the schedule on my blog? This site is already linked there.

    So far I plan to use a portion of the Jerseyville 100 for training. I then plan to be at Sulphur Springs 100, Mohican 100 (as a crew/pacer/volunteer), Burning River 100, Haliburton Forest 100 (pacing if I do not run), Oil Creek (running 100K or crewing/volunteering), and Ancient Oaks.

  • Brian Philpot January 6, 2010, 9:44 am

    Ya, i’ll catch up or check my blog at BrianPhilpot.blogspot.com/

  • Brian Philpot January 6, 2010, 9:47 am

    My bad i’m doing this from my phone my blog is brianphilpot.blogspot.com/

  • Marc Griffin January 25, 2010, 10:06 am

    What is the Jerseyville 100, i cant find any info on it. Is this just something for her or can anyone run?

    Thanks

    Marc

    • vince January 25, 2010, 10:27 am

      Hey Marc, thanks for the comment!

      Last year Monica hosted a 100K “fun run”. This year she is putting on a 100-miler in order to have another race of this distance for her to run close to home in April. It is my understanding that she will have it set up with Stan Jansen (www.run100s.com) so the results will be offical. The race will certainly have a limited field, minimal aid (her father Dieter will have a station and another station will be set up at the turnaround point), few if any prizes, and the course will be on a rail trail near Monica’s house…5Km out, 5km back, over and over and over again.

      I imagine once she has all the logistics set up, she will announce how to register via mass email. As soon as I get more information I will post it on M.E.

      Gotta run,
      Vince

  • Marc Griffin January 25, 2010, 2:40 pm

    Great thanks for the info, i am down in Virginia but my parents live up in Hamilton so i might come up and run it with them.

    Thanks

  • Davy Crockett January 26, 2010, 10:36 am

    For Monica’s Oct 16 TBD weekend, I’ll comp her an entry if she comes and runs Pony Express Trail 100.

    • vince January 26, 2010, 11:14 am

      Thanks for the comment. I will certainly pass that information on to Monica!

  • Phil Rosenstein January 26, 2010, 11:23 am

    Monica is amazing. I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff, but she’s on another level entirely.

    She probably doesn’t remember me, but she was very helpful when we met at Badwater – telling my crew about a great way too cool me down. It made my race much easier … THANKS!!

    For years now whenever someone tells me “You’re crazy” I just tell them about Monica or Marshall Ulrich.

    I’ll be joining her by running Iron Horse, LOST, Paulinskill, McNaughton (Ill.), McNaughton (Vt.) and Burning River amongst a few others. And I’ll be crewing at 2-3 others on the list.

    I hope to keep up with her for a few miles in person, and of course follow along remotely while she’s running all the others. Good Luck!!

    Phil Rosenstein

    • vince January 26, 2010, 12:42 pm

      Hey Phil, please feel free to send us a report of those racing you’ll be doing! That’s quite an impressive list too! Good luck! And yes, Monica is really in a league of her own!

  • Mike Smith January 26, 2010, 1:41 pm

    Vince,

    Have Monica check the date on Swan Crest. The website says July 29-31, the same weekend she has listed for Burning River.

    Wish her luck for me. It was great seeing her at HURT.

    Mike

    • vince January 26, 2010, 2:05 pm

      Thanks Mike! I might see her this weekend at the monthly fun-run she hosts. However, if there’s someone capable of running two 100-milers on the same weekend it would be Monica!! I wouldn’t bet against it!!

      Gotta run,
      Vince

  • Jakob Herrmann March 2, 2010, 6:09 pm

    I’ve met Monica at Badwater (I was crewing there) and she is a remarkable person. I’ll see her on 3 of her races which I’ll do myself: Coyote2Moon 100 miler, San Diego 100, and Angeles Crest 100.

    • vince March 2, 2010, 7:27 pm

      Hey Jakob,

      Thanks for your comment and good luck at Coyote2Moon this weekend! Please feel free to submit your race report following any of these events. I’m actually working on a post about California races. San Diego, Angeles Crest and Badwater reports would fit nicely…stay tuned!

      Gotta run,
      Vince

  • Iliana March 3, 2010, 8:04 am

    She is amazing. When she ran Iron Horse, the whole time she smiled and kept greeting the rest of us on the out-and-back. Never stopped smiling!

  • Manley Klassen March 8, 2010, 2:29 pm

    I had the pleasure of meeting Monica this weekend at C2M. She stayed at my home on Thursday and Saturday nights. What a wonderful person… my wife and I now have the privilege to count her as a friend. We also saw her at miles 18, 20, and 32 at the Topa A/S we were in charge of. I can provide more details as well as some pics of her during the race if you would like.

    • vince March 8, 2010, 2:44 pm

      Monica is a special person! We would love to hear more details of the race along with some pictures! Please, please, that would be great!

  • John Turner March 28, 2010, 5:46 pm

    Monica finished the NJ 100 just after 11 last night in a time of 19:10 and is already back home.
    Congratulations Monica

    johnt

    • Bill March 28, 2010, 7:54 pm

      Thanks John, I will update the sidebar results. Congrats to Monica. I think she was 2nd female and 4th place overall.

  • Rob April 16, 2010, 11:59 pm

    Vince,

    Looks like Monica completed McNaughton, Ill, Apr 10, in a time of 24:17:18.68 for 1st female and 3rd overall. Way to go, Monica!

  • Sunbeam April 23, 2010, 9:13 pm

    Correction: The Oil Creek 100 is on October 16, 2010 and not October 9 as posted on Monica’s race schedule. If she can handle the Oil Creek 100 in under 25 hours, it will be admirable. The Oil Creek 100 is one of the most difficult courses that she will ever tackle.

    • Bill April 24, 2010, 5:41 pm

      Thanks. I’ve updated the sidebar with the correct date. It would seem Monica has some conflicting races now. I’ll update the schedule once I find out which races she’s chosen.

  • Glara May 17, 2010, 4:40 pm

    Our relay group had the privilege of meeting Monica this weekend at the Keys100. I can’t agree with you more about her positive attitude and infectious smile. We had such a quick conversation at dinner the night before the race but she was memorable. A quick hello during the race and off she went!
    Great meeting Monica and her crew!
    Glara
    Team RMAO

  • Matthew Doellman May 24, 2010, 11:48 am

    Monica,
    It was so great to run with you out at the Keys 100! Great finish and strong work!!! I’ll see you out at the Burning River. Good luck this year!

    Matthew

    • vince May 24, 2010, 1:07 pm

      Thanks for the comment Matthew and good luck at Burning River. I will also be in Ohio in the coming months, but I will be crewing for Monica at the Mohican in June.

      Gotta run,
      Vince

  • Shannon Beasley May 31, 2010, 4:19 pm

    I am only just now hearing about Monica Scholz and am absolutely blown away. Wow, is all.

    Does anyone know if Monica does any coaching, and if so, how she can be contacted? Thank you.

    • vince May 31, 2010, 4:29 pm

      Hey Shannon,

      I don’t think Monica does any coaching. I ran with her this weekend and she informed me that she is working more hours than ever although she was planning on taking a step back from her law practise this year. However, if you ever have a chance to run with her at an event, you can pick her brain and I’m sure that she would gladly offer any advice.

      Gotta run,
      Vince

  • Ellen N6UWW & Wild Bill WB6BFG June 12, 2010, 1:56 pm

    Monica is wearing #329 in today’s San Diego 100

    Race Start RM 0.00 0700hrs
    Meadows RM 7.40 0828hrs

    For further split times go to http://sandiego100.com/10sd100splits.pdf
    and we’ll be posting updates as fast as we can throughout the day while we take times & deal with radio traffic here at Net Control

    • vince June 12, 2010, 2:49 pm

      Thanks Ellen! We will certainly be tracking her progress with interest!

      Gotta run,
      Vince

  • Paul Schmidt June 14, 2010, 10:53 am

    Hi All, I had the pleasure of pacing my good friend Monica yesterday at the San Diego 100 Mile Endurance Run for the last 49 miles of the run. I also had the good fortune to run with Monica in many of the runs in 2001 when she completed 23 one-hundred milers.
    Unfortunately, Monica sustained a mysterious injury to her left knee at about 20 miles into the run. Despite the acute pain and discomfort she continued successfully to the finish line in just past 28 hours. Monica’s courage, strength, determination, and cheerful acceptance of the challenges presented by either the course or her own physical state set her apart from the rest of us.
    ps Monica, sorry about that last forgotten one-mile hill climb between Peeny Pines and the Rat Hole. Thanks for taking it in stride…
    Friend and Pacer,
    Paul

  • Bill June 16, 2010, 9:54 am

    Thanks for the update, Paul. We had heard that Monica was injured and were amazed to hear she finished. I just hope she takes enough time off to recover.

    Bill

  • Vince June 16, 2010, 9:33 pm

    Alas, no Mohican for Monica. The swelling in her knee has gotten “progressively worse” all week and she has wisely decided not to run the MO! She will take the week off, get some rest and acupuncture, and hopefully be ready for Laramie next weekend (incidentally on her birthday). She said she usually heals quickly and is confident that she will be ready to go.

    Paul, it was nice hearing from you. I will never forget Mohican 2005 when I had decided to drop out you said: “No one said it was going to be easy”! To this day I wish I would have left the Fire Tower with you. I’m sure you would have helped me get over that funk…like you obviously did Monica in San Diego last weekend. And thanks again for cracking all the glow sticks at Sulphur the year you ran it! Man, I’m a knucklehead sometimes!

    Gotta run,
    Vince

  • Sarah June 21, 2010, 12:47 pm

    I will be crewing and pacing Monica at Laramie 100 this weekend. I will give you a full update after the race and will plan to have pictures posted on Facebook shortly after.

    • vince June 21, 2010, 12:48 pm

      Thanks Sarah! That would be great! I hope her knee has healed!

      Gotta run,
      Vince

      • Sarah June 23, 2010, 3:21 pm

        I don’t know if you have heard yet but Monica is not going to be running the Laramie 100. Her doctor has advised her to take 3 weeks off from running to let her knee heal. So, being the wise person that she is, she is following doctors orders so that she can complete on her epic effort.

        • Vince June 23, 2010, 3:53 pm

          Thanks Sarah! I did hear from Monica about the knee. Thankfully, no surgery is required…and it’s a “Monumental Effort”! ;)

          Gotta run,
          Vince

  • Greg July 2, 2010, 6:13 pm

    I will see her at Pinhoti in Alabama. Although it will only be at the starting line because she will be far ahead of me shortly after the gun goes off. My first 100.

  • Pete July 17, 2010, 11:18 am

    Body willing, I’m planning to race my first 100 at Pinhoti in November. It is a great honor to be running this race with such legendary and inspirational folks as Monica, who have both helped me to exceed my boundaries in my ultra career, and who help make the ultra community the special group that it is. Monica, best wishes to you on your injury and your quest, and I hope to glimpse at least your back for a few yards of Pinhoti :).

    Pete

  • danielle August 1, 2010, 6:41 pm

    I had the honor of pacing Monica for the final 15 miles of the burning river 100 last night. As an aid station runner looking for someone to pace I asked Monica if she needed a pacer and she said sure! little did I know who she was…needless to say i was well aware by the end of the race that I was running with a amazing runner and was learning at every step !! how inspiring she is.. never faltering and motoring non stop. It was an experience I wont soon forget. thank you Monica and good luck on this journey!

    • Bill August 3, 2010, 5:21 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Danielle. It’s nice to here a first hand account of someone who’s just run with Monica.

  • Vince August 8, 2010, 8:18 pm

    She’s back! After a Doctor-imposed five week break following the San Diego 100 on June 12th due to a tear in her meniscus, Monica has since completed 3 more 100-milers (totalling 15 for the year), including a win and course record at Viaduct Trail this weekend.

    Unfortunately she suffered a DNF at Fat Dog, but reports indicate that the course was significantly longer than 10o miles and had several organizational glitches. In insight, cutting the day short was probably a wise decision.

    Monica now has seven consecutive weekends of racing on her schedule. Good luck Monica!

    Gotta run,
    Vince

  • Geoff Linton August 22, 2010, 4:45 pm

    Keep that smile going Monica! You have the most efficient stride I have seen and your adventerous spirit always motivates me. All the best & “happy trails”!

    Geoff

    • Bill August 22, 2010, 4:50 pm

      Geoff, thanks for the comment. Monica finished Leadville this weekend in 27:46:59. Awesome!

  • Carl Albright August 23, 2010, 2:12 pm

    Congratulations on Leadville, and on all your accomplishments this year!

    Carl
    Co-RD, Viaduct Trail Ultra

  • Paula Kielty August 31, 2010, 5:24 pm

    I am completely in awe and inspired.Monica is not only an amazing athelete but one of the most likable, kind and interesting person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting..

  • Samantha November 29, 2010, 2:18 pm

    Monica is amazing. 10km is a feat for me (a brand new runner) and I’m totally impressed and in awe of her running. There was just an ad in the Hamilton Spectator about her last week. I have had the pleasure of meeting her (and her dogs) on various occasions. She is a lovely woman. Phil is a nice guy too. If she ever decides to settle down (ha) and learn to knit, I’d be willing to help her out with that …

  • patsy November 28, 2011, 4:15 pm

    I met Monica back in 2001, and she is SUCH a delightfully kind wonderful person. We stayed in touch across countries, and she even came to Alaska (where I live) to run an ultra marathon in the freezing winter! Monica — you are a lovely person, and when I am reminded of you, it brings a smile to my face. :)

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