Why cover King of the Hammers? Many of us like running trails at an accelerated pace, seeing how much ground we can cover in an afternoon. King of the Hammers takes that line of thinking and ramps it into the stratosphere.
Each Hammer trail is brutal all by itself, and there's no shortage of tales about the difficulty involved in running just one Hammer trail in a day. Often, that day runs into overtime as the sun sets and broken rigs must be repaired in order to complete the trail.
The 2010 iteration of King of the Hammers included every well-known Hammer trail plus a few new ones. Need some names? Boulderdash and Spooner's are two. We checked out both of them and while they're not as famous as Clawhammer and Sledgehammer, they're just as brutal.
It's not just a trail run through extreme rock-crawling trails. King of the Hammers includes the high-speed desert sections that connect the crawling trails. Successful KOH teams needed skills and machinery capable of both high- and low-speed terrain.
Add it all up, and you've got 100 miles of brutality. One competitor claimed KOH is tougher than the Baja 1000. True? Maybe. The two races present different types of challenges to their competitors, so it's hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison. Terrain-wise, KOH is peerless. Logistics and distance are tougher in Baja.
There are similarities between KOH and the Baja "mil." Just like Baja, King of the Hammers is a fickle beast. Polished driving skills and premium equipment don't guarantee a win. You'll need a bit of luck as well. This year, Loren Healey of Farmington, New Mexico, had the right combination required for the victory. Healey and his co-driver, Randy Rodd, completed the course in 6 hours, 57 minutes, and 53 seconds. Counting the time down to the second is significant here, because Healey's time was a mere 28 seconds faster than the second-place time of Brad Lovell. Congrats!