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The Grand Finale for Where’s Chris Scotch in 2010 – Arrowhead 270 January 12, 2011

Posted by whereschrisscotch in Races/Events Schedule, Uncategorized.

Arrowhead Ultra 135


Okay, I admit, the title of this post poses a few questions.

First of all, it is 2011, but like the 2010 NFL season, my campaign has spilled over into February.

Secondly, the event name,  “Arrowhead 270” doesn’t officially exist.   However, the Arrowhead 135 does, and since I am going to do it twice, it will be a total of 270 miles.

I will be competing in one of the most extreme ultra races in the world, hosted right here in our backyard , International Falls.  The Arrowhead Ultra  is 135 miles, starting January 31 and lasts for up to 60 hours.  I not only plan to finish the race on foot, but turn around and skijour (with Cooper) the entire length of the course back to the start in International Falls.  Runners have less than a 30% completion rate for this race, so the odds are stacked against me to even complete the first half of this event.

The Official Event:  Arrowhead 135 – Listed by National Geographic as one of “America’s Best Adventures” with this description: “The Arrowhead 135 race is long, difficult, and bitterly cold. . .  this 135-mile (217-kilometer) ultramarathon in International Falls, Minnesota, a town that routinely registers the coldest temperatures in the Lower 48 and is more commonly known as Frostbite Falls”

The Arrowhead 135 official website has this to say: “The Race: 135 Miles in deep winter across northern Minnesota, virtually all scenic, rugged Arrowhead State Snowmobile Trail from AMERICA’S ICEBOX: I-Falls to Fortune Bay Casino near Tower, MN.  Pick mode of transport at the start: foot, ski, or bicycle. . . . our 7th year promises great things with arguably some of the world’s best winter ultra-athletes . . . .  you may see moose or wolf tracks on the trail…..The typical winter weather in this part of Minnesota is frigid with subzero temperatures, even dipping to (minus) -60 degrees Fahrenheit in Tower . . .WAY COLDER HISTORICALLY THAN ANY OTHER RACE – WE HAVE THE FROSTBITE TO PROVE IT. . . .Do not expect to get rescued, except by yourself or maybe Your Mommy”

So I am sure you are getting the gist of this race – wicked cold and long, but at least you won’t be alone because there are wolves on the trail.  I will be moving on foot, rather than by bike or skis.  There is a mandatory gear list that all racers must carry, including a sleeping bag rated to -20, a stove, fuel  and pot to melt water, a bivy sack and sleeping pad, headlight,  and so on.  Anything a person will need when spending a night, or more likely two, outside in temps well be low 0 degrees.

I will be pulling a sled – the same one I used at the Tuscobia 150 race a few weeks ago, with some slight modifications.  The overall cutoff time is 60 hours, with cut-times also at the 3 checkpoints on the course.  The checkpoints are at miles 35, 70 and 110.   I was unable to find any official stats, but the drop-out race  for runners is north of 70%.  That means only 3 of 10 runners actually finish.

So I have described the first 135 miles of my Arrowhead 270.  What about the other 135 miles?    I plan to finish Arrowhead on Wednesday sometime around noon, approximately 53 hours after I start.  I will sleep that night at the finish line in Tower and then get up Thursday morning and skijour the 135 mile trail back to International Falls with my little rescue mutt, Cooper.  He is about 18 months old right now and might love winter more than me. He is part Husky and part something tall and lean. He loves running, especially in the snow and is one tough little guy, as demonstrated by his near immediate return to joviality after he fell through the ice in the boundary waters this past New Years.

I am ecstatic about the chance to include Cooper in my final event for St. Jude, after all, he has done most of my training with me over the past 6 months.

Over the past 6 months I challenged myself to the max,  having  run 9 Ultras, starting with a 50k at Afton and working my way up to 150 miles with the last event at Tuscobia 150Quite a lot of running for me, considering I had never run an ultra, or even on trails, before the race at Afton this July. The question that’s get asked more than any other is “WHY?”  My answer is always the same – To raise awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

If you are reading this, then I have been able to reach you.  Regardless of whether or not you think what I am doing is a worthy of a donation to St. Jude does not matter to me.

What matters to me is that you consider making a donation because helping to save the lives of children with catastrophic illness is a cause that all of us should find worthy. No patient, regardless of how sick they are, ever has to pay for treatment after their insurance coverage expires.  And it usually does.

Every type and size of donation helps make a direct positive impact on the future of these children.  You can make a donation at http://www.mystjudeheroes.org/cjscotch

Thanks and see you in February!


To Learn More about St. Jude and their mission, click here – http://www.stjude.org/mission


1. Deirdre - January 12, 2011

On what planet would Cooper be considered ‘little’?

2. whereschrisscotch - January 12, 2011

In our little world Coop is a little nugget!! He is eagerly awaiting your arrival in the States!


3. Adam Casseday - January 12, 2011

I just figured you canned the idea of doing this when I found out that you did Tuscobia. Looks like an amazing adventure! A buddy of mine from here is WV is doing Arrowhead as well (John Logar)-say hello if you meet him out on the snowy trails.

Good luck and I’m excited to hear about this journey.

All the best,


4. whereschrisscotch - January 12, 2011

Great to hear from you and I will look for John for sure! Feel free to pass my email on to him if he wants to touch base before the race. If he needs a place to crash in Minneapolis or a ride up to Arrowhead – I would be happy to help.

Yea, most people thought doing the 150 mile option (instead of the 75 mile) as training for Arrowhead was crazy and little overkill. But they didn’t know what I had percolating in my mad scientist brain! I figure a 150 mile race is as good of training as I could get for a 270 adventure!!

Take Care,

5. Jenni (ESA, Indiana) - January 27, 2011

As a fellow St. Jude Hero (though one who sticks to 5Ks – and walks them) I applaud all you do to bring awareness to St. Jude and to raise funds. I too, am inspired by our mutual friend Katelyn and I hope you feel empowered by her miraculous story, her strength and her endurance. Best wishes to you and safe travels.

whereschrisscotch - January 27, 2011


Thanks much for checking in and passing along your thoughts. Katelyn is quite an inspiration indeed! Kudos to you for your work in the Heroes program. All of us working together in our own ways makes for more awareness and support for St. Jude. 🙂

6. Day 19 Gets Us Closer To The Other Side « A Joyful Practice - January 29, 2011

[…] Corrigan Maguire resides in Ireland. Which begs the question: Where's Chris Scotch? Well, on Monday, January 31st, Chris will be in International Falls, Minnesota racing in the Arrowhead 270. Send him warm thoughts, big smiles, and, if you're so inclined, help him send some cold hard cash […]

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