Mountaineer and ultra-runner Ben Clark is once again gearing up to face a challenge that has proved to be more difficult than summiting Everest. Today, Ben has launched another attempt to complete the Nolan’s 14 endurance challenge, an incredibly tough endeavor that has eluded him in the past, and has become one of the benchmarks for long distance ultra-running over the past couple of years.
To complete Nolan’s Challenge a runner must reach the summit of 14 different mountains in Colorado’s Sawatch Range between Mt. Massive and Mt. Shavano. The route they pick between those two mountains is entirely of their own choosing, and they can begin or end on either peak as well.
This versatility and freedom is part of what makes Nolan’s great, as it allows the runner to approach the challenge any way they like, but in order to get official credit for completing the challenge, they must finish in 60 hours. During that time, they’ll cover a distance of about 100 miles (160 km).
This isn’t the first time Ben has attempted Nolan’s, as we have followed several of his attempts in the past. Most of those attempts were ended by poor – sometimes potentially dangerous – weather, which only helps to underscore another one of the obstacles that must be overcome for an endurance athlete to have a chance and completing the route.
Nolan’s 14 gained wider exposure earlier this summer when Anna Frost and Missy Gosney were successful in their attempt back in August. But controversy soon followed when a debate broke out on where exactly the challenge ends – the summit of the final peek or the trailhead. The ladies apparently celebrated too long at the end of their run, and didn’t reach the trailhead until after the 60 hour time cut-off. I’m sure if Ben reaches that point, he’ll be sure to leave little room for questions on whether or not he was successful. (For the record, the rules on this unofficial Nolan’s 14 page say that it is 60 hours to the final summit.)
I want to with Ben good luck on this latest attempt. I hope he finally knocks of this challenge. It is one that he has been working on for some time, and has even made a film about. You can check out the trailer for the film below to get a better sense of what Nolan’s 14 is all about.
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