Endurance runners from around the world will converge on Rim Country to battle a monster on Saturday.
Saturday’s Second Annual Mogollon Monster 100 is Saturday. The 106-mile race starts at Pine Trailhead just south of Pine. Only the strongest of mind and body will wind up finishing the event in front of the Pine Community Center. Competitors have only 36 hours to complete the course.
“I created this race last year after years of planning for runners to come from all over the world to experience what Arizona has to offer in terms of natural beauty, diverse ecosystems and the Old West history that fills the canyons throughout Rim Country,” said race director Jeremy Dougherty.
“We have runners coming from all over the world as far as Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and everywhere in the U.S. to run our race this year.”
It’s not just the distance and time deadline that make the event such as challenge. It’s also the terrain.
“It’s a 106-mile course traversing up and down the Rim in four different directions and climbing more than 20,000 feet,” Dougherty said. “Runners will not sleep along the way. They will continue running, hiking, shuffling on foot until they make their final destination or quit.”
Only nine people finished last year’s race. All were men.
The winner crossed in 22 hours and 21 minutes. The runner-up was six hours behind. The other seven were down to the last few minutes before reaching the finish line with minutes to spare.
“This is one of the toughest races in the country,” Dougherty said. “We cover all the old historic trails including the original General Crook Trail, Highline Trail, all the Cabin Loop trails and everything in between.
“We have 55 racers, crews, amateur radio crews, EMTs and everyone there to see those men and, hopefully women, come across this finish line.
Participants must stay up all night, climb all those mountains, jump over all those rocks to reach the finish line. “It’s pure grit and determination and shows far greater what the human spirit and mind is capable of than anything I’ve seen before,” said Dougherty. “It’s outside the normal realm of what the vast majority of people have ever done or attempted and can really even understand. One hundred miles is a long way. It’s even longer when you are doing it on this land, on those trails, in this area, not knowing what that noise was.”
Dougherty said he and his brother started the race to promote this area.
“We are a family-run event organization, not a corporation,” he said. “We’re just two brothers and a group of friends that feel very passionately in the lure of the Mogollon Rim and want to share it with those that are up for the challenge.
“It’s something to see for those that have not ever been to one of these events. We’ll be cheering runners on all day Sunday and hope we have more people join us. You’d be surprised just how incredible it is to see those people finally finish.”