Monica’s 3000+ Mile Odyssey

by vince on January 1, 2010 · 56 comments

in Faces,Monumental Efforts

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,


Be Sociable, Share!