Letter From The Editor

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 10.43.10 AMWhen I arrived at Paradise Park in Manoa last Saturday afternoon to watch runners come in for a pit stop in the middle of the HURT 100 race, I struck up a conversation with a woman who was standing next to me with her two young kids.

The woman was there to cheer on a friend. Her kids had asked her, if the race goes on all night, where was auntie going to sleep? Her answer was confusing to her kids: Their auntie wouldn’t be sleeping that night; she’d be running through the night instead.

“It’s crazy,” the woman and I said at the same time. We laughed.

“It’s almost hard to talk about,” she added, “because it’s just so crazy.”

For most people, the HURT 100 does indeed seem like a crazy prospect. Competitors run through the mountains starting at 6 a.m. Saturday. They have until 6 p.m. Sunday to finish, and a lot of the runners — save for the elite ones who can finish the course in less than 24 hours — spend nearly all of those 36 hours in constant motion.

Organized by PJ and John Salmonson, the founders of HURT (Hawaiian Ultra Running Team), the race has grown in its 17 years, attracting runners from all around the world. (This year, 450 applied, but there was only room for 125, chosen by lottery.)

Why in the hell would someone sign up for this?

After spending the weekend hanging out at the race (I basically drove from aid station to aid station and never felt lazier), I got some insight into that question. And, now even more, I stand by my initial impression: The whole thing is insane. I heard stories of cracked ribs, of being so tired you can’t think straight, of getting lost in the mountains.

And yet, nobody I talked to had any regrets. These athletes love the challenge — they love the insanity of it all.

For more of these crazy details, see the feature story here.