Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run
The Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run (Wasatch) is a 100-mile ultra marathon held annually on the first Friday after Labor Day in the U.S. state of Utah. The slogan of the Wasatch Run is "One Hundred Miles of Heaven and Hell."
Wasatch began in 1980 as a challenge for five local runners who were inspired by the Western States, the first of modern-day western 100s. The following year seven runners competed but no one finished. By 1990 the race began regularly hosting more than 100 runners and the number of runners increased to 321 in 2014.
Wasatch gains cumulatively 24,000 feet in elevation as it traverses the Wasatch Front, commanding vistas of basin and range country, the Great Salt Lake, steep canyons, broad plateaus, and craggy peaks. The course begins east of Kaysville and follows the top of the Wasatch Range before ending in Soldier Hollow. Altitude ranges from 4,700 to 10,460 feet, and temperatures range from 80s in the shade during the day to 20s on the high ridges at night. September weather in Utah can vary widely. Some years heat is a major factor, while in 2010 runners negotiated fresh snow for four miles in the early stages of the race. The fastest runners typically finish the race in 20 hours or so, while the field is given 36 hours to finish the race.
For many years Wasatch was regarded as the toughest 100-miler, but with the advent of the Hardrock 100 in Colorado, this has been thrown into some dispute. Some advocates for Wasatch note that Hardrock has a 48-hour cutoff, and therefore is in a different category of event (a quasi multi-day). Both races are undeniably very difficult and pose their own challenges.
Runners who complete Wasatch along with the Western States Endurance Run in Northern California, the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run in Vermont, and the Leadville Trail 100 in Colorado all in the same summer achieve the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning and are awarded with a sculpted eagle-head trophy. Wasatch is the final of the four races, and, as a result, the Grand Slam award is presented at the post-race Awards Banquet.
Wasatch is a part of the Western Slam (Wasatch, the Leadville 100, the Western States Endurance Run, and the Angeles Crest 100), and an optional part of the Rocky Mountain Slam (Hardrock 100, plus three of four of Wasatch, the Bighorn 100, the Bear 100 Mile Endurance Run, or Leadville).