Jurek, Engle, and Karnazes Neck and Neck at Scotty's Castle

By Greg Minter

All within a mile of each other at mile 35, three early favorites, Scott Jurek, Charlie Engle and Dean Karnazes are slugging it out on the incline up to the Scotty's Castle turnoff.

Jurek, last year's champion, has already stopped to take his now well-known ice bath, lowering himself into a 100qt. cooler in order to cool his body temperature. "He's taking it easier through this part of the course than he did last year," said his wife Leah. "He's keeping his weight better and trying to keep cool."

While Jurek is resting in his tank, Engle passes by momentarily. His crew is upbeat, indicating that he's feeling very well, with about seven miles before station #2 at Stovepipe Wells. Temperatures on the staff autos were reading 123F.

Karnazes is perhaps half a mile behind, doing well. "He was working out what he wanted to wear," his crew chief lets us know. He's settled on a long sleeved white sun shirt, white socks and cutoff leggings, and some colorful shorts.

All three crews have quite a bit in common: multiple vehicles leap frogging, so the runners hit aid in as little as every half mile, experienced crew and pacers, and vans that have stayed clean a third of the way into the race.

Watch for a follow up on the women's leaders to come soon.