Watching an ultra unfold is an interesting and entirely different experience than running one. Seeing the nervous looks on runner’s faces, the smiles on friends faces in the early stages then the strains of fatigue in the latter ones. It’s nothing short of a journey and an experience unlike many others.

124 Runners started the race in 2012 with 84 finishing the battle through some of the most technical single track in the country, at over 6,000 feet, while in 90 degrees for much of the day. There were some incredible performances by the winners but the most incredible performances were those that happened long after most have gone home, the incredible grit of those 15+ hour finishers that toughed it out to the very end, never giving up, never relenting. More happened in the latter hours that caught me by surprise and inspired me to new lengths than at any other time in the race.

So when you have a few minutes, take a look at what the Zane Grey 50M Endurance Race 2012 presented to runners this year. Undeniably difficult, challenging and unrelenting beauty and solitude out on the Highline Trail #31.

You can decide for yourself where it stands on the charts of the countries toughest/roughest/hardest 50 Milers in the country.

2012 by Jeremy Dougherty

2011 by Aravaipa Running