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Articles tagged #Comrades
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Golden girl Gerda eyes fifth Dubai Marathon 10km title

With four successive victories to her name in the annual 10km Road Race, golden girl Gerda Steyn will be red-hot favorite to make it five-in-a-row when the Dubai Marathon gets underway on Sunday.

Held under the auspices of the Dubai Sports Council, the Dubai Marathon’s 10km event is always the most popular race in terms of athlete number. But if any woman is to wrestle the crown from Steyn, they will need to be in the form of their lives.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have enjoyed a wonderful year in 2023 with the three most memorable days being when I won the Two Oceans Marathon and the Comrades Marathon in South Africa, followed by running a new marathon national record in Spain in December,” said the modest 33-year-old Dubai-based South African.

At the Valencia Marathon less than a month ago, Steyn finished 11th in a time of 2:24:03 to set a new South African national record at the distance. Although she will kick off the 2024 season with the shorter 10km distance in Dubai, it’s hardly a surprise considering her near ownership of the event.“I’ve run the Dubai 10km race every year since 2018 and have won it four times, so I can’t think of a better way to start the new year than to be a part of it once again,” she added.

“My aim is to win the 10km again in 2024 and even though I won’t be running the full marathon itself, I still get to be part of the iconic event.”

The Dubai Marathon launches what will be a busy year for the adidas runner.

As well as committing to the defense of her Comrades Marathon and Two Oceans Marathon titles in Durban and Cape Town respectively, South Africa’s fastest ever female marathon runner will also represent her country at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

It will be her second Olympics having finished 15th in the Marathon in Sapporo in 2021.But before all that, there is the small matter of the defence of her Dubai Marathon 10km title on Sunday. Last year, Steyn won in a time of 33:47 over an unfamiliar route at EXPO City Dubai.

But with the 23rd edition of the Dubai Marathon taking place over the fast and flat roads of Umm Suqeim, the quicksilver South African may well have her eyes on the personal best of 32:24 she set over the same surface the last time it was staged there in 2020.

Meanwhile, The Dubai Sports Council has discussed the latest preparations for organizing the 23rd edition of the Dubai Marathon, the oldest long-distance running race in the Middle East.

The latest preparations were discussed during a meeting held by Saeed Hareb, Secretary-General of the Dubai Sports Council, Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary-General, Peter Connerton, Event Director, and Alan Ewens, Media Director of the race.

Hareb expressed his confidence in the staging of the Dubai Marathon, especially since it features cooperation between a number of government agencies and the organizing committee to ensure its success and provide the best atmosphere for thousands of international participants coming to run a race they look forward to every year.

The 2024 Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Duty Free, EXEED by Al Ghurair, the Channel 4 Radio Network, the ITP Media Group, Bisleri Water, Biofreeze, Dubai RTA, Dubai Police, Al Ameen Service, Dubai Municipality and SIRO One Za’abeel, the first fully integrated Fitness + Recovery hotel in Dubai.

(01/04/2024) Views: 162 ⚡AMP
by Gulf Today
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Dubai Marathon

Dubai Marathon

In its relatively brief history (the race was first held in 2000), the Dubai Marathon has become one of the fastest, most respected and the most lucrative marathon in the world in terms of prize money. Each year thousands of runners take to the roads in this beautiful city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for this extraordinary race starting...

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British trail runner found dead after going missing on run

A 40-year-old British ultrarunner was found dead on Tuesday morning following a two-day search. Edward Catmur of London went missing on a run in Cumbria, U.K., on New Year’s Eve.

According to the BBC and Cumbria police, Catmur travelled to Cumbria intending to run through the North Pennines from Dufton, near Appleby, to Cross Fell and Hartside Cross. He was reported missing on New Year’s Day after not being heard from after 10 a.m. on Dec. 31.

The local police sent out a rescue team on Jan. 1, following Catmur’s planned route on Monday. A police helicopter found his body on a snow-covered trail on Monday night in the Cross Fell area, just north of Penrith. There was a large snowfall in the area, according to the police.

This was not Catmur’s first time visiting or running in the Lake District National Park area; he previously ran the Bob Graham Round with a few friends in 2021, completing the 110 km loop in just under 24 hours.

Catmur was a software engineer living in Chicago but was back in the U.K. for the holidays. He was an avid runner. On the day before he went missing (Dec. 30), he participated in Penrith parkrun, where he ran an 18-minute 5K. He also competed at the 2023 Comrades Marathon, where he finished 254th. He also won the challenger race at the Montane Spine Race in 2015.

Fell running is the sport of running and racing off-road, over upland country where the gradient climbed is a significant component of the difficulty. The name arises from the origins of the English sport on the fells of northern Britain, especially those in the Lake District.

(01/02/2024) Views: 183 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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British ultra runner Carla Molinaro wins world 50km title

British ultra runner strikes individual gold and leads to GB squad to team title at the IAU World 50km Championship in India

Great Britain’s Carla Molinaro took gold at the IAU World 50km Championship in Hyderabad early on Sunday morning (Nov 5) in a time of 3:18:22, Adrian Stott reports.

She finished just over 40 seconds ahead of Andrea Pomaranski of the United States, who recorded 3:19:05.

British 100km champion Sarah Webster took the bronze medal in 3:20:05.

With Anna Bracegirdle fourth in 3:20:37 and Rachel Hodgkinson fifth in 3:20:47, GB & NI were clear winners of the team medals ahead of the United States and Croatia.

For Molinaro, the 39-year-old Clapham Chaser who splits her time between London and South Africa, it capped a successful year, having placed third in the 56km Two Oceans Marathon and the 56-mile Comrades Marathon in South Africa.

Webster, who broke Carolyn Hunter-Rowe’s long-standing British 100km record when winning the GB title earlier in the year, was always in contention and her 100km strength paid dividends in the final kilometers.

Hodgkinson and Bracegirdle were both running their first 50km races, selected on the back of good marathon performances earlier in the year.

Clean sweep for Spain in men’s race

Spain dominated the men’s race, taking all three podium places as Chakib Lachgar claimed the gold medal in 2:48:18.

His compatriots Alejandro Vicente and Jesus-Angel Pascual took the silver and bronze medals, clocking 2:49:28 and 2:50:10 respectively.

Lachgar, 34, who boasts a marathon best of 2:11:11 and a half-marathon of 1:01:45, again confirmed at a global level that 50km is continuing to be the domain of competent marathon runners moving up in distance. His time, subject to confirmation, puts him fourth on the all-time European 50km rankings.

Will Mycroft was Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s first finisher in ninth with 2:55:58, leading the men’s team to the bronze medals. He was backed up by Andrew Davies in 13th. The bronze medalist from the 2022 European 50km championships recorded 2:57:14.

(11/06/2023) Views: 299 ⚡AMP
by Athletics Weekly
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IAU 50km world championships

IAU 50km world championships

The IAU 50km World Championship is a prestigious ultramarathon race organized by the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) first time in India.The 50km distance is a popular choice for ultrarunners, offering a unique challenge that falls between a marathon and longer ultramarathon distances. Participation in the IAU 50km World Championship is typically based on qualification standards established by each country's...

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81-year-old bricklayer becomes Comrades Marathon’s oldest finisher

An 81-year-old bricklayer has become the oldest person to complete South Africa’s storied Comrades Marathon, finishing this year’s 87.7-km run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in 9:26:10.

Sunday’s history-making run by Johannes Mosehla, who hails from the South African city of Polokwane, marked the 10th time the speedy senior has completed the Comrades Marathon, the world’s largest ultra-marathon. According to comments Mosehla made at Monday’s awards breakfast at Durban’s Elangeni Hotel on Monday, this year’s Comrades won’t be his last.

“I feel strong,” South Africa’s news24 reported Mosehla as saying. “I could run it again!” he added, confirming that he plans to return to Comrades in 2024.

He told those at the breakfast that there are no shortcuts to becoming Comrades’ oldest finisher: “My secret is to train. You can’t win without training,” said Mosehla, who has been running since 1963 and continues to train three times a week, covering distances from five to 32 km.

Comrades alternates between the “down” course, which was run this year and is so-named for its relative descent in elevation, and the “up” course, which begins in Durban and ends in Pietermaritzburg.

Noting he was proud to pull off his record-breaking effort “for the whole country,” Mosehla said he hopes his run sends the message that people “must not look for a number or age. I am 81, but I must not look at that number. I must be controlled by my body. When I am still strong, I must not look at my age.”

Mosehla’s run broke the decades-old record set by Comrades legend Wally Hayward, who at age 80 crossed the finish line of the 1989 Comrades Marathon less than two minutes before the 11-hour cutoff time.

Hawyard’s wasn’t the only record to fall at Sunday’s race. Last year’s winner, Tete Dijana of Rustenburg, South Africa, defended his Comrades crown in 5:13:58, shaving more than four minutes off the “down” record set by David Gatebe in 2016.

Gerda Steyn ran this year’s course in 5:44:56, breaking the women’s “down” record set by fellow South African runner Frith van der Merwe in 1989 by nearly 10 minutes.

(06/13/2023) Views: 491 ⚡AMP
by Paul Baswick
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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RECORD-BREAKING WINS FOR TETE DIJANA AND GERDA STEYN AT 2023 COMRADES MARATHON

Dijana stripped more than four minutes off David Gatebe’s best time of 5:18:19, in 2019, while Steyn broke a 1989 record which was held by Frith van der Merwe.

Tete Dijana won the Comrades Marathon for the second consecutive year, with a record-breaking time of 5 hours, 13 minutes, and 58 seconds.

Dijana, who hails from the North West stripped more than four minutes off David Gatebe’s best time of 5:18:19, in 2019.

Meanwhile, Gerda Steyn won the women’s race of the 96th edition of the marathon, in a time of 5:44:56.

The Two Oceans winner also broke the down-run record, which was previously held by Frith van der Merwe in 1989 at a time of 5:54:43.

This year’s race was a downhill run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, with about 17 000 runners taking part in the 87km race.

The Netherlands’ Piet Wiersma came in second, with Edward Mothibi taking the third spot in the men’s race, while Adele Broodryk came in second in the women’s race, with Carla Monilaro clinching the third.  Prize money was awarded to the first ten men and women totaling $160,141US. 

(06/11/2023) Views: 506 ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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Professional triathlete Sika Henry will compete at Comrades Marathon

The pro triathlete believes she may have found a new sweet spot with ultra distances.

Sika Henry has never shied away from new challenges. After spending several years working to qualify for her pro card and becoming the first Black American woman to do so in May 2021, she shifted toward a new focus of ultramarathons.

Henry’s first was the 2021 JFK 50 Mile in Maryland, where she finished as the second overall woman. Nearly a year later, after deciding to take a break from triathlon, she set a record of 8:34:20 with her win at the Dismal Swamp 100K in Chesapeake, Virginia.

It seems the endurance built from triathlons—with its back-to-back-to-back swim, cycle, and run—work better for Henry than a straight-up marathon.

“I think I’m more mentally strong and can endure a lot for a really long period of time, which I think I developed from triathlon,” Henry tells Runner’s World.

Henry’s success at Dismal Swamp set the stage for her next ultramarathon endeavor: the Comrades Marathon, a 90-kilometer race and the world’s oldest ultramarathon in South Africa, taking place on June 11. (The race course, which alternates between Durban and Pietermaritzburg each year, will be run “down” this year.) Henry will be racing as an elite with the Durban-based Phantane Athletics Club, a partnership that came after she met some athletes at last year’s Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. In addition to the fact that the club will provide her with bottle and fluid support at the race, Henry was also enthused about representing them after learning about how they work to identify talent and give back to underprivileged athletes in South Africa.

Henry’s buildup for Comrades included the Dismal Swamp 100K and an early 2023 marathon at Houston. Next up was the Boston Marathon, where she received a special invitation to race as part of a team along with Alisa Harvey, Ingrid Walters, and Shawanna White to represent Marilyn Bevans, who is known as a pioneer for women’s distance running as the first Black American woman to have broken 3 hours in the marathon.

“[Bevans] has been a bit of an idol of mine for quite some time—one of the reasons why I chased a sub-3-hour marathon was to be part of ‘The List’ [of Black American women who have hit the milestone],” Henry says. “So to come back years later and have all these other races and everything under my belt, it was an honor to get to represent her.”

Henry ended up finishing Boston in 3:08:30 after going in with the plan to use the race as a training run for Comrades by holding a 7:15 to 7:30 pace. Henry found that she was nailing it until she hit mile 21, where Pioneers Run Crew and TrailBlazHers Run Co. were stationed. Henry went on to run the last miles at 6:30- to 6:40 pace, negative-splitting the race by 3 minutes.

(06/08/2023) Views: 441 ⚡AMP
by Emilia Benton
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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Tete Dijana looks to defend his crown at Comrades Marathon

The 2023 Comrades Marathon is nearly upon us, with thousands preparing to take on the down route from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.

This year’s race has an official race distance of 87.7km, as competitors race for victory in a number of prize categories – the men and women’s winners earning over €20,000.

The men’s field this year features a number of past winners – as does the women’s – and promises to be an exciting race from start to finish.

Dijana aims to crown Nedbank again

Last year saw five of the top seven finishers all come from the Nedbank running club, but it was Tete Dijana who proved chief amongst them.

He won last year’s race in a time of 5:30:38, with clubmate and 2019 winner Edward Mothibi three minutes behind him and Dan Matshailwe, another Nedbank runner, a further three minutes behind Mothibi.

Expect all those names to feature near the top three, with Nedbank set to work together once more to assert dominance over South Africa’s most famous ultra.

Perhaps the chief non-Nedbank competitor will be 2018 winner Bongmusa Mthembu. Fourth last year, he was the fastest non-Nedbank runner and has set himself more preparation time for the race this year, competing in the Om Die Dam 50km, which he won in 2:56:33.

He is a three time-winner at the Comrades Marathon, his first in 2014 when he was registered with Nedbank, and his other two coming in back-to-back wins in 2017 and 2018 for his current team Arthur Ford.

International talent

The last non-South African to win the race was Stephen Muzhingi, the Zimbabwean taking three titles in a row between 2009 and 2011, and it seems a tall order to expect anyone other than local runners to take the title.

But regardless, there are those who will be competing. British runner Shane Cliffe has finishers in the Lakes in a Day and The Grand Tour of Skiddaw to his name.

There’s also Simon Brown, who has run the Marathon des Sables and qualified for the cancelled Western States 100 in 2020, and experienced runner and coach Ian Sharman.

(06/07/2023) Views: 449 ⚡AMP
by Olly Green
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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About 25 athletes disqualified from Comrades Marathon

At least 25 athletes have been disqualified from the upcoming Comrades Marathon for submitting false information.  

Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) director Rowyn James said the athletes would be suspended from entering the 2024 and 2025 races as a sanction. 

“They have been disqualified from this Sunday’s 96thComrades Marathon after it was found that they had supplied false qualifying information,” said James. 

James said the cheating runners are tarnishing the reputation of the sport. 

“Runners found to have been cheating in any way – be it via submitting false qualifying details or in the race itself – are tarnishing the reputation of the sport and the Comrades Marathon, as well as disrespecting fellow athletes,” he said. 

In this light  the CMA has announced the suspension of these 25 entrants who are members of various clubs, including Phuma KZN AC, Protea Striders, Save Orion AC, Sasolburg AC, Celtic Harriers, Chillie Running Club CG, Chiltern AC, Collegians Harriers, Diepkloof AC, Irene Athletics Club, Jozi X Training, Run Walk For Life NWN, Run Zone AC, SAPG AC, Sunward Striders AC, Team Vitality Club KZN, Thorn Tree Striders, Top Runner AC and Woodview AC.  

“These transgressors will not be permitted to participate in the 2023 Comrades Marathon and the CMA has also notified the respective athletes and their running clubs management of the disqualifications. 

“It is incumbent upon every athlete to honor the ethical code and ethos of the sport. We promote fair sport and to this end are continuing with investigations into other alleged transgressors, the outcome of which will be announced in due course,” he explained. 

(06/05/2023) Views: 464 ⚡AMP
by Koena Mashale
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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Unbelievable! Camille Herron Shatters 48-Hour World Record

She covered 270.5 miles in two days of running. 

She averaged 10:39 per mile pace, which included at least one 40-minute nap, according to her Instagram, so her actual moving pace was faster. 

She hit 148 miles for the first 24 hours, and 122.5 miles in the second day, as rain poured down on the runners. Only two men have ever run farther over 48 hours. She covered 1,088 laps of the track. 

Herron, 41, ran marathons in the early part of her career, recording a personal best of 2:37:14 in 2012 in Houston. She began running ultra distances in 2015 and found immediate success. She won the 2017 Comrades Marathon in South Africa, and she’s also the world record holder for 100 miles, 12 hours, and 24 hours. 

In a phone call with Runner’s World before she left for Australia, Herron said she planned to take 6- to 8-minute power naps a couple of times in the first 24 hours. “A lot of 24-hour runners don’t sleep at all for 24 hours, but I found when I did that little bit of lying down and closing my eyes and meditating, it really helped me,” she said. “I was able to extend my 24-hour record by 5 miles.

“You hear about hallucinations with ultra runners,” she continued. “When I start to feel that happening with my brain is when I lie down.” 

Earlier in her career she was sponsored by Nike and Hoka, but at the end of 2022 she left Hoka and signed a new deal with Lululemon. 

Other elite runners weighed in on the snippets of video posted to Herron’s instagram during the event. Colleen Quigley, Keira D’Amato, and Zach Bitter were among those expressing their admiration for Herron’s feat. 

Camille Herron destroyed the world record for 48 hours of running, covering 435.336 kilometers (270.5 miles) around a 400-meter track in Bruce, Australia. 

The previous record, 411.5 kilometers (255 miles), was set by Jo Zakrzewski of Great Britain in February. Herron exceeded that by 15.5 miles. She bested the previous record about 45 hours into the event—and kept running for almost another 3 hours after that. 

(03/26/2023) Views: 658 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Ultrarunner Camille Herron announces new sponsor: Lululemon

Hundred-mile and 12-hour world record holder Camille Herron of Oklahoma City, Okla. ended speculation about her new sponsor with Wednesday’s announcement that she has joined forces with the running and yoga brand Lululemon. The runner recently announced that she would be sponsored by a company that is new to the ultratrail space in 2023. “It feels like a dream come true,” Herron told us after a week spent at the brand’s Portland, Ore. facilities.

Herron is the first and only woman to achieve sub-13 hours for 100 miles, 150 km for 12 hours and 270 km over 24 hours, and she won the 90-km Comrades Marathon in South Africa in 2017. She reached 100,000 lifetime miles in 2022. She was formerly sponsored by Hoka.

Herron says she’s most excited for the support she’s received beyond her athletic ability: “It means a lot to me that they appreciate my human qualities beyond my athletic talents,” she says. “My professional background is in science and research, and they recognized how I can help the brand with my scientific knowledge. I’m a cerebral person–I’m more than an ultrarunner. It spoke to my heart that Lululemon recognized this. They seemed to know more about me than I knew about myself! I was blown away.”

The philosophy

Herron is excited to be partnering with Lululemon because of their track record as a brand that has women front and centre, and she joins a long list of other female Lululemon-sponsored runners, including Colleen Quigley, Mirna Valerio and Tara Davis, and others. “I feel a sense of women’s empowerment joining with them,” Herron says. “They believe in me and support me, and they care about the whole human. They’ve been asking me about my mental health and wellbeing, and I thought that was really cool–I’ve never been asked about that. I’ve connected with someone to help me with my mental and emotional health, and how I manage stress.”

“Last year at Western States, I started my period after the Forest Hill aid station, and I shared that, and it resonated with a lot of women. Sharing my journey, my athletic career in my 40s–that’s pretty much unheard of. It’s really cool for me to have Lululmeon’s support. I’m very grateful.”

The gear

Herron’s excited about Lululemon’s running clothing: “We’ve been having fun mixing and matching that top [the Invigorate Training Tank] with shorts. I really like old-school split shorts, and Lululemon has that. I imagine myself being a unicorn or a superhero, mixing and matching Wonder-Woman-type colours. We’re bringing back colour to the sport!”

She is also impressed with their socks, and their run bras: “Being an ultrarunner, I spend a lot of time on my feet,” says Herron. “To be able to take off my socks after a run, and my feet are dry and my toes are in good shape, is huge. “I also love how they put pockets in everything.”

She’s also impressed with the brand’s efforts to produce high-quality running shoes, even if shoes appropriate for very long days on the road, track or trail remain a work in progress. “Me being a science person, I can offer a lot of feedback on developing their shoes,” Herron says. “It’s such a great opportunity to collaborate. We’ve had lots of meetings–I’ve been to the company headquarters in Vancouver and met the shoe people; all the products are incredible, and I’m excited to bring them to the ultratrail community.”

Goals for 2023

Herron is excited for the future: “I feel so blessed to be 41 and still getting faster,” she says, adding that she’s grateful for the brand’s support. “This is a long-term commitment, not only for my athletic career but also helping them with product development. I’m going to be continuing my focus on world records, try to improve some of them, and also go further; I want to go for the 48-hour and 6-day records; I’m hoping I have the opportunity this year to go beyond 24 hours.”

This summer, however, she’ll be focused on trails, with Western States in June and Leadville (another 100-mile trail race) in August. “Every time I show up at Western States, I get a bit better,” she says.

On Feb. 18, Herron plans to challenge her own world records for 100 miles and 12 hours at The Raven in Mount Pleasant, S.C. She will also plan to qualify for the 24-hour world championship in Taiwan, which takes place in December 2023.

(02/18/2023) Views: 1,230 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Nine Comrades Marathon runners disqualified for cheating

Nine runners’ results have been disqualified from the 2022 Comrades Marathon following an investigation into alleged cheating during the race.

According to a statement by KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA), the provincial sport organization, the investigation found that nine athletes did not run the entire point-to-point 90 km course and allowed other athletes to run with their race bibs, while some provided incorrect qualification information.

To qualify for the Comrades Marathon, entrants must run a marathon in less than four hours and 50 minutes.

All nine runners are required to return their 2022 Comrades Marathon medal and will be reported to their provincial athletics organization club, which has the right to apply additional disciplinary measures. These runners are prohibited from entering the Comrades Marathon in years to come, according to the Comrades Marathon Association.

According to a statement, this decision is intended to send a clear message to athletes that cheating will not be tolerated: “These investigations are in line with us standing up for the rules of the sport and not condoning cheating in any form,” said KZNA president Steve Mkasi.

Comrades is the largest and oldest ultramarathon in the world, comprising a 90 km route between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, South Africa, and usually alternates directions each year. This year’s race took place on Aug. 28 and was won by a full-time security guard and part-time marathoner, Tete Dijana.

(11/24/2022) Views: 496 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Sarah Biehl delivers historic performance at 60th annual JFK 50

The 60th annual edition of America’s oldest ultramarathon deserved a special performance, and Sarah Biehl (first photo) more than delivered Saturday Nov 19 at the JFK 50 Mile.

Biehl, 28, of Columbus, Ohio, smashed the women’s race, running away with the victory in a course-record time of 6:05:42 while finishing 11th overall. The previous mark of 6:12:00 was set by ultrarunning legend Ellie Greenwood in 2012.

“Oh my gosh, she was a mile ahead of the record Ellie Greenwood set 10 years ago that nobody had come within five minutes of,” JFK 50 Mile director Mike Spinnler said. “You know, and I hate to do this, gender vs. gender, but it may be the greatest performance in JFK history. 

“Ellie Greenwood was the world champion, Ellie Greenwood won Comrades, Ellie Greenwood won Western States, and she beat Ellie Greenwood’s record by a mile. And we know how hard Ellie had to run that day to win because she was chased. It’s just remarkable and inspiring. She just missed the top 10 overall, and it was the best men’s field ever. Amazing.”

In his JFK debut, Garrett Corcoran, 26, of Salt Lake City, Utah, won the men’s title in 5:29:47 — the No. 5 performance in race history.

Overall, 966 runners reached the finish line within the 13-hour time limit.

For Biehl, this was her third straight JFK. She was the women’s runner-up last year in 6:22:03 after placing fifth in 2020 in 7:22:32 in her ultramarathon debut.

“At the end of the day, I wanted to win,” Biehl said. “Coming here last year and getting second, that was awesome. But after getting second, you have the goal of winning, so that was my main priority. But I also had the course record in mind, too, and the splits and where I needed to be.”

By the time she came off the rocky Appalachian Trail at 15.5 miles, her lead over second place was over 13 minutes. Over the next 26.3 miles on the C&O Canal towpath, the margin increased to more than 19 minutes, and she only continued to add to it over the final 8.4 miles of paved roads to Springfield Middle School.

“I’m ecstatic right now,” Biehl said. “I’m a little in shock, to be honest.”

Caitriona Jennings (third photo), 42, of Ireland, finished second in 6:28:53 — the JFK’s No. 8 all-time women’s performance and a masters (40-and-over) record.

Jennings competed in the marathon at the 2012 London Olympics and was fresh off two big-time ultramarathon efforts, placing first in the European 50K championships last month after taking third at the 100K World Championships in August.

She went into her JFK debut Saturday with the same goal as Biehl’s  — a course-record victory.

“I struggled from the start, pretty much. It just wasn’t my day,” Jennings said. “But fair play to Sarah, she had an absolute stormer. Wow, so impressive, amazing. 

“It’s a lovely course. I was hoping I’d enjoy it more,” she added. “For some reason, I just couldn’t settle. It was a harder race than I expected. I’ve had two tough races in the last (few months), but I’m not making excuses. I was beaten fair and square. Maybe I expected too much of myself today. But you win some, you lose some. That’s what sport is. It just makes the good days all the better.”

Shea Aquilano, 21, of Carmel, Ind., placed third in 6:40:40.

Sub-4:00 miler wins men’s title (second photo).

Corcoran, who used to live in Baltimore, retuned to his former home state with some flair — including running shorts with the Maryland flag design.

“Dude, I’m out here, I’ve got the shorts, I’ve got to rep, right?” he said. “I know where I’m at, and I know I’ll get a lot of love for this.”

Corcoran, who ran a 3:59 mile in college, showed that speed kills at any distance.

“It feels like another life when I ran sub-4:00. I was 19 years old,” he said. “It’s been a fun journey. When I graduated from college, I just about hung up the running shoes, and didn’t really know what I was going to do. 

“I moved to Baltimore for work, and kind of realized it was the best way to have a good social life, at least for me, so I joined a running club, the Falls Road Running Club, and I made a lot of good friends. And once the pandemic hit, all the races got canceled, and I started dragging a friend of mine in Baltimore on these really long runs. I had so much fun and really got into the ultra distance.

“The JFK was a good excuse to come back and see some friends.”

Corcoran took the lead on the towpath around Mile 31 and never relinquished it.

“There was an aid station at 30.5, and (Matthew Seidel), who ended up getting fourth, he was just ahead of me,” Corcoran said. “He turned around and saw me not far behind him and walked for a little bit and then started running with me. He was like, ‘Hey, let’s run together, man. Let’s work together.’ And then, like a quarter-mile later, I just kind of floated away from him. I was like, ‘I guess it’s me by myself now. Hope nobody catches me.’”

Makai Clemons, 26, of San Diego, closed hard to take second in 5:32:19, finishing less than 3 minutes behind Corcoran after trailing him by more than 9 minutes at the end of the towpath section at 41.8 miles.

“I’ve been watching his training on Strava, and he’s been throwing down some filthy workouts,” Corcoran said of Clemons. “I was telling him after the race that he was one of the guys that was on my radar.”

Preston Cates, 25, of Flagstaff, Ariz., placed third in 5:33.23. Overall, eight men finished under 6 hours, a JFK record.

“Back in my generation, we always wondered what would happen if a 28-minute 10,000-meter runner or a sub-4-minute miler started doing the trails,” said Spinnler, a two-time JFK champ who lowered the course record to 5:53:05 in 1982.

"And now they’re doing it. The prize money, the national teams, the international competitions, it’s all there — all the incentive that wasn’t there a generation ago is there. All of the sudden, the sub-4-minute milers are coming to the sport. We had two of them in the race today, and we also had two Olymians. It’s so exciting for the future of the sport.”

Canadian Reid Coolsaet, a two-time Olympic marathoner, ran near the front before dropping out on the towpath.

(11/20/2022) Views: 697 ⚡AMP
by Andy Mason
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Your Complete Guide to Running Vocabulary

Starting a running journey can be daunting. As with most things, there are a ton of new experiences and skills to learn, test out, and adjust to. Add in tricky running vocabulary on top of that and how do you even begin?

If you think a 5K means five miles and cadence means…well, what the heck does cadence actually mean?…you’re in good company. There are dozens of words and phrases tossed around the running community that leave us completely confused sometimes. It can be disheartening, especially for beginners.

So, to help you keep up with the best of them…in lingo, at least…we created this guide full of common terms you’ll hear along your running journey. From endurance to hypoxic, consider this your complete manual in running vocabulary.

The Basics

Form: The way you position and hold your body while running. This is essential to avoiding injuries and getting faster. Try keeping your gaze forward, shoulders relaxed, elbows at a 90-degree angle, and torso upright. Many coaches call the latter “running tall.”

Pace: This refers to the amount of time it takes to cover a mile (or kilometer). You’ll also likely hear this term linked with specific types of runs (“5K pace”, “marathon pace”, etc.).

Cadence: The number of steps a runner takes per minute while running. Several things can influence this, such as height, weight, stride, and experience. Frequent runners typically take around 160-170 steps a minute, while elite runners take it up to 180.

Stride: The steps you take forward mid-run. Alternatively, some runners will refer to strides as a series of short sprints.

Foot Strike: How your foot hits the ground. Aim to strike the ground with the middle of your foot, using light steps that fall directly under your hips. More comfort, less injuries.

Prep

Warm-Up: This is literally warming up the body pre-run. Warm-ups help prevent injuries and  runners should begin each workout with a good warm-up (try “Pre-Run Vibes”). Popular methods include 10 to 15 minutes of walking, jogging, and stretching.

Cool-Down: Just like warm-ups prep your body for a run, cool-downs aid in taking it back to its original state. Doing a post-run routine prompts a gradual recovery to your pre-run blood pressure and heart rate.

Static Stretching: This popular style of stretching involves holding major muscle groups in their most lengthened position. Hold each for 10 to 30 seconds before switching. The most common form of stretching, it can improve flexibility and act as the perfect cool-down.

Dynamic Stretching: These stretching routines add more movement and power to your typical warm-up while increasing range of motion. Think lunges, butt-kickers, and leg lifts.

Types of Training

Cross-Training: Runners will usually include other types of workouts in their routines to improve overall fitness (and prevent boredom). This is called cross-training. Try yoga, strength training, and cycling.

Strength Training: This literally means training for strength and usually involves dumbbells or body weight exercises. Strength training is insanely helpful for a runner. When done a couple times a week it can help prevent injury and improve performance, without adding bulk. More muscle = more force.

Rest Days: Otherwise known as days off, these days are key to a healthy and consistent workout schedule. Use rest days for active recovery, corrective exercises, stretching, walking, and leisure activities to keep your muscles active and moving.

Overtraining: What happens when you skip out on rest days. There is such a thing as running too much. Better to sit one out and avoid potential injuries and painful muscle strain.

Types of Runners

Streaker: Don’t worry, these runners do wear clothing. A streaker will run consistently every day for a certain amount of time. This type of running is usually only maintained for a certain length of time, such as a week. Think of them as running challenges.

Barefoot Runners: Is it still a run if you’re not lacing up beforehand? Said to improve form, the choice to ditch your sneaks and go barefoot is inspired by our ancestors. The theory is it will help avoid injury and improve performance.

Elite: These runners don’t just talk the talk, they run the run. No matter the distance, they’ll run it—and fast.

Triathlete: Not only do these runners run, they also swim and bike. All in one race.

Ultramarathoner: These extremely skilled runners take on races clocking in at 50 miles, 100 miles, 50K, or even 100K. The most popular ultramarathon ix the 56-mile Comrades Marathon.

Race Lengths

400 Meters: One lap around a track.

5K: 3.1 miles.

10K: 6.2 miles.

Half-Marathon: 13.1 miles.

Marathon: 26.2 (badass) miles.

Types of Runs

Trail Runs: A run done on a trail, rather than a treadmill or track. Particularly enjoyable in fall, these runs boast great weather and even greater scenery. Just remember to layer up if it’s cold where you are.

Road Race: Just as it sounds, these races are held in the road. Don’t worry about too much traffic. The courses are clearly marked on blocked off roads.

Easy Run: If you can’t hold a conversation while doing one of these, you’re going too fast.

Recovery Run: These are shorter and slower runs completed within the 24 hours after a big race. This is meant to get your body used to running in a fatigued state—something you’ll be thankful for towards the end of your next marathon.

Speedwork: Runs all about improving speed. Think hill sprints, intervals, and tempo runs.

Intervals: Alternating between high and low intensity (speeds) throughout a run.

Hill Sprints: Also known as hill repeats, these drills will have you going at a 5K pace up a hill and a recovery pace down a hill. Then up and down again…and again. These workouts improve strength and speed.

Pick-Ups: Segments of increased speed in an existing run. Same course, same deal, just an increase in speed every once in awhile.

Hitting the Wall: Not a type of run per se, but a term for what happens when a runner feels as if they can’t go on during a race. Usually indicates he or she didn’t see it coming.

Kick: The last push a runner gives at the end of a race, increasing their speed to the finish line.

Splits: When a race’s time is divided into smaller parts (typically miles). If a runner runs an entire race at the same pace, they should have an even split. If they have a negative split, they ran the second half faster than the first.

Acronyms

BPM: Beats per minute, or heart rate. This is the number of times your heart beats within a minute. Runners will often have a target BMP for a workout. Quick tip: To find your heart rate, place your pointer and middle finger along your pulse (neck or wrist). Count the amount of beats in six seconds, then multiply by ten.

BQ: Boston Qualifier. If someone is a BQ they’ve achieved a race time that grants them entry to the Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest marathon. Currently, the qualifying standards for men are between 3:05:00 and 4:55:00. For women, the times range from 3:35:00 to 5:25:00 (both depending on age).

CR: Course record, or a runner’s fastest time on a given course.

DNS/DNF: Did not start/did not finish. Either will appear in race results when a runner did not start or finish the race.

DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Also known as the reason you can’t make your way up the stairs the morning after an intense run. This can set in 24-72 hours post-run and is totally normal—just have your Epsom salts and foam rollers ready.

ITBS: Iliotibial Band Syndrome. This painful injury occurs when your connective tissue rubs against your thighbone. Need relief? Try stretching, massaging, foam rolling, and gentle strength training.

LSD: No, not that one. In this case, the acronym stands for long slow distance. Exactly like it sounds, it’s a long run at a steady pace.

MUT: Mountain/ultra/trail runner.

PB: Personal best (or, in some cases, peanut butter).

PR: Personal record, or one’s fastest time for a given distance.

Equipment

Dreadmill: A nickname for the treadmill, typically used by those forced to run inside due to weather or lack of time. But, there are actually a ton of perks to running on the belt, like less force on your joints and great speedwork training.

Minimalist Shoes: Generally very lightweight, these shoes have very little structure or support. Rather, they’re flexible and have far less cushion than your average sneaker.

Maximalist Shoes: Opposingly, these shoes have much more support and cushion. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re chunky, though.

Compression Sox: Used post-run, these tight knee-high socks help speed up recovery. Some runners also wear them during races in attempt to get oxygen to their leg muscles faster.

Running Tights: Live in a cold climate? Stock up on these. Runners who experience a dip in temperature and still want to run outdoors will wear these spandex leggings under their pants to keep them warm.

Moisture-Wicking Clothing: Non-cotton clothing that helps keep sweet away from the body and bring it to the fabric’s surface where it evaporates.

Foam Roller: A foam cylinder tool used pre- or post-workout to increase flexibility, speed up recovery, and increase circulation.

Fuelbelt: Sort of like a fanny pack, a fuelbelt can hold a runner’s water, snacks, phone, and wallet.

Physio

Endurance: The body’s ability to endure stress during an aerobic activity, like running. Endurance training takes place when a runner wants to increase their distance and speed.

Anaerobic Threshold: Also known as the lactate inflection point, this is the point in intensity where lactic acid begins to build up in your muscles and bloodstream. When you run at this speed it should be challenging, but not uncomfortable.

VO2 Max: Also known as aerobic capacity, this is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during intense exercise. As your aerobic capacity increases you will be able to run faster and further.

Hypoxic: This is when you just want to hit the ground running, but can’t breathe after two minutes of sprinting. Hypoxic is a condition in which you’re deprived of oxygen at the tissue level. In short, your lungs haven’t caught up with the rest of you yet. Scale it back a bit and build up your speed.

Chafing: To put it simply, chafing happens when sweat and fabric rub against the skin, causing painful rashes. Most runners suggest covering yourself in Vaseline or Bodyglide before getting dressed to avoid this.

Shin Splints: Pain on or around your shinbones. Treat with ice and rest ASAP, then consider buying some new running shoes.

Runner’s Knee: This is pain isolated on or around the kneecap. Also called Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), this usually feels like the knee is “giving out.”

Runner’s High: The feeling of euphoria a runner might get during or after a run. Added bonus: There’s usually also a decrease in discomfort, too!

 

(11/01/2022) Views: 1,091 ⚡AMP
by McCall Minnor
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Former boxing champ Sinyabi now targets Cape Town Marathon after he finished his debut Comrades Marathon

Retired two-weight SA champion Mabhuti “Mcman” Sinyabi is now targeting Sanlam Marathon which takes place in Cape Town next month.

This follows after he finished his debut Comrades Marathon inside nine hours.

Sinyabi – who recoded nine defenses of the SA junior-featherweight belt – was awarded with the Bill Rowan medal for his achievement in the 90km ultramarathon in KZN. Bill Rowan won the first Comrades Marathon in 1921, in 8 hours and 59 seconds. This sparked the idea for the medal in his honor, introduced 2000 to recognize runners who finish the Comrades between 7:30:00 and 8:59:59.

“I went there and executed my game plan well; everything just went well,” said Sinyabi.

By the time he retired from boxing in 2016, Sinyabi had added the national featherweight title in his collection in 2015. His pro career record is 29 wins and five losses.

“Mentally and physically I was fit,” said the knockout artist who left 20 of his 29 victims in boxing gasping for air.

“I have got four titles as a boxer; so if I can have five medals in the Comrades Marathon, consistently winning the Bill Rowan medal I will retire. My focus is now on the Cape Town Marathon which takes place next month.”

If Sinyabi does not get the Bill Rowan medal again, he can run to finish and claim the Vic Clapham medal at the Comrades.

Known as the cut-off medal for those who finish after 11 hours but ahead of the 12th hour cut-off, the medal was named after Clapham. It is  is said the Englishman who fought in World War I started the Comrades Marathon in 1921 by running between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. 

(09/06/2022) Views: 803 ⚡AMP
by Bongani Magasela
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Cape Town Marathon

Cape Town Marathon

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is a City Marathon held in Cape Town, South Africa, which is sponsored by Sanlam, the City of Cape Town and Vital Health Foods. The marathon is held on a fast and flat course, starting and finishing in Green Point, near the Cape Town Stadium. Prior to existing in its current format, the Cape Town...

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‘We Are Here Because of Him’: The Runner Who Defied Apartheid

In the dying days of South Africa’s apartheid regime, pioneering Black runners helped transform the Comrades Marathon into the race it is today, one that reflects the country around it.

On a balmy Sunday morning in late August, Kgadimonyane Hoseah Tjale stood below a stadium full of roaring fans on the finish line of the Comrades ultramarathon, clutching a small air horn.

He had been here before. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Tjale racked up four podium finishes at the Comrades, a 56-mile race between the South African cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban. Today, it is the largest ultramarathon in the world, attracting a field of up to 20,000 runners, throngs of spectators and millions of live television viewers.

The story of how the Comrades became the race it is today is bound up in the story of Tjale and other pioneering Black runners of his generation. In the dying days of South Africa’s apartheid regime, they helped transform the race from a poky, amateur affair into an enormous event that looks much like the country around it.

They did so from one of the most uneven playing fields in the modern world.

Back at the race for the first time in 29 years, Tjale marveled as the top finishers sprinted past him. In his days, nearly every top runner was white. Now, all the top men were Black, wearing the jerseys of big corporate running clubs that paid for them to attend training camps. The 2022 men’s race winner, a university security guard named Tete Dijana, earned around $42,000 in prize money and bonuses. It was equivalent to about a decade of his salary.

“There was none of that in our times,” said Tjale, a retired delivery driver who was living in a shack north of Johannesburg when he ran his final Comrades race in 1993, when the race did not offer a cash prize.

(First photo) The start of the Comrades Marathon at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall. Credit...Rogan Ward for The New York Times

Tjale had been invited back by the Comrades’ organizers to sound a horn marking the cutoff for a special medal given to runners who finish in less than six hours. In the car from the airport two days before, Tjale asked one of them why they had invited him. 

Tjale had been invited back by the Comrades’ organizers to sound a horn marking the cutoff for a special medal given to runners who finish in less than six hours. In the car from the airport two days before, Tjale asked one of them why they had invited him. He’d never won the race, after all.

But for Comrades runners, the reason was obvious.

“We are here because of him,” said Freddie Wilson, a runner from Johannesburg, as he waited to take a photograph with Tjale at the race expo. His voice shook with emotion.

Like many Black South Africans, Wilson grew up watching Tjale on TV. His family didn’t have a television, but on Comrades Sunday they would crowd with others in their neighborhood into the lounge of a family who did and spend the entire day watching the race.

Wearing a bucket hat and running with a distinctive, lopsided gait, Tjale was a revelation in the front pack. From inside a country whose government was purpose-built to stifle the ambitions of Black South Africans, here was a Black man doing something audaciously ambitious, for the whole country to see.

(Third photo) Spectators running with Tjale in a Comrades Marathon during the 1980s.Credit...The Comrades Marathon Association

“He was our great,” Sello Mokone, who has run the Comrades 18 times, said. “The moment we saw a Black guy doing this, we knew we could do it too.”

At his peak, Tjale could run 56 miles at a pace of just over six minutes a mile. He racked up dozens of wins at ultramarathons, including at South Africa’s other famous ultra, the 35-mile Two Oceans. Twice, he almost defeated the Comrades’ white folk hero, a floppy-haired blond man named Bruce Fordyce, who won the race nine times between 1981 and 1990.

Bob de la Motte, a white runner who finished second to Fordyce three times, said that Tjale “was the better athlete.”

But while Fordyce focused full-time on the Comrades, living off money from speaking gigs and corporate sponsorships, Tjale worked as a delivery driver, running 15 miles from the crowded workers’ hostel where he lived to his job. On weekends, he ran every local race he could find, from 10 kilometers to 100 kilometers (6.2 miles to 62.1 miles), for prize money to supplement his income.

“He was lucky,” Tjale said of their rivalry.

Tjale grew up in the 1960s in a rural area near the city of Polokwane, formerly known as Pietersburg. He dropped out of school after eighth grade. A few years later, he moved to Johannesburg to work as a live-in gardener for a white family. There, he clipped hedges during the day and washed the family’s dishes after dinner. In between, sometimes, he went for a jog.

In the late 1970s, his running caught the attention of his employer, who helped him buy a pair of sneakers and join a running club. He began entering races, and soon, winning.

It was an auspicious moment to take up distance running. At the time, South Africa was subject to widespread international sports boycotts, which kept the country out of most major events. The nation was desperate to get back in, and in the mid-1970s, the apartheid government announced it would desegregate a minor sport, running.

Amid a global boom in running, entries at races like the Comrades began to tick upward. And South Africa’s single state-run TV station began broadcasting the Comrades live in the early 1980s. Millions watched Black runners like Tjale and white competitors like Fordyce share bottles of water and sling their arms over one another at the finish line.

“In the Comrades, everyone needed help at some point, and people always gave it,” said Poobie Naidoo, another elite South African distance runner from the 1980s, who is of Indian heritage.

But the moment runners like Tjale and Naidoo stepped off the course, they returned to an apartheid reality. In 1979, not long after his first Comrades, Tjale was arrested on his way to work for not having documents showing he was allowed to be in a white part of the city. He spent a night in jail.

“On the road was the only place I sometimes felt like apartheid wasn’t there,” Tjale said.

In 1989, both Tjale and Fordyce participated in a 100-kilometer world championship. Because of the timing, Fordyce skipped the Comrades, and Tjale ran it on tired legs. Another runner, Sam Tshabalala, became the race’s first Black champion. Tjale, meanwhile, ran his final Comrades in 1993, quietly finishing 51st.

In 2016, Tjale, a reserved man with an easy laugh, retired to a 20-acre farm he bought near Polokwane. It was one of the first times since he married in the 1970s that he and his wife had been able to live together, and they spent quiet evenings on their couch cracking jokes and watching soap operas.

He didn’t think much more of the Comrades, besides occasionally turning down invites to events the race hosted. “I was done with that thing,” he said simply.

But this year, a Comrades Marathon Association board member named Isaac Ngwenya called with a plea. Would Tjale come and let himself be honored.  He agreed and last weekend boarded a plane for Durban.

Tjale arrived to a race radically transformed from the one he left. At the Comrades expo, thousands of runners — most of them Black — milled around, trading training stories. The night before the race, more than 300 people slept in the Pietermaritzburg Y.M.C.A., where race organizers put up entrants who could not afford accommodation.

“It’s something I can show my son, and myself — that I did this thing,” said Cynthia Smith, a security guard, as she stretched out on her foam mattress.

On the start line at Pietermaritzburg City Hall the next morning, more than 13,000 runners sang an old migrant laborers’ song called Shosholoza, whose title means “go forward.” The gun popped, and they surged into the winter morning.

“It’s like living your entire life in a single day,” Tommy Neitski, a 42-time finisher, said of the race’s mass appeal. It’s also like seeing all of South Africa in a day, on a course that winds its way past shacks and boutique hotels, sugar cane fields and gritty industrial towns.

Tjale arrived at the finish line at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium to sound the six-hour horn. Waiting in a V.I.P. lounge, he ran into Jetman Msuthu-Siyephu, winner of the 1992 race. They spent the morning trading memories.

As the day wore on, the two men watched the salt-streaked runners pour in by the thousands, dissolving in joy and exhaustion as they stumbled over the finish line. Tjale couldn’t stop smiling.

“When we go,” he said to Msuthu-Siyephu, “we will have left something for this world.”

(09/04/2022) Views: 818 ⚡AMP
by Ryan Lenora Brown (New York Times)
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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Second death confirmation rocks 2022 Comrades: 'Two deaths are two too many'

The Comrades Marathon has been rocked by another tragedy of a participant who died while participating in Sunday's down-run.

47-year-old Phakamile Ntshiza, who ran for the Pretoria-based Adventist Athletic Club, died suddenly while on the course to Durban. 

He collapsed shortly before reaching Drummond - the half-way point of the race - and was declared dead when the Netcare medical team arrived on the scene. 

This follows news earlier in the day that Mzamo Mthembu of the Hollywoodbets Athletics Club died in a Westville hospital on Sunday after collapsing just before Pinetown. 

Comrades race director Rowyn James confirmed both deaths to Sport24 on Monday.

"When our Netcare team had arrived at the scene, the athlete was declared dead," James said of Ntshiza's death.

"The chairperson of the Comrades Marathon Association has been in contact with both families.

"Comrades is a family. We have had over 400 000 people run the race since its inception over 100 years ago, and we are all family.

"Two deaths are two too many, and our thoughts and condolences are with the families of the runners who lost their lives."

James added that a total of 74 runners had been transported to hospital – 41 to St Augustine's and 33 to Netcare Umhlanga – after Comrades shut its medical facilities at 20:00 on Sunday night.

Of those, two remain in ICU presently. One is still on a ventilator.

"We’re wishing them both a speedy recovery," added James.

(09/04/2022) Views: 672 ⚡AMP
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Camille Herron’s breakfast of champions, Fuel up and go chase a world record (or maybe a PB)

I’ll try any running (or eating!) advice Camille Herron has to offer. The multiple world-record holder continuously levels up, finding new ways to improve her running and racing. Herron is in South Africa running the downhill course of the legendary Comrades Marathon this weekend, an 89K ultra that she won (on the uphill course) in 2017.

She shared with us the pre-run breakfast she swears by. If you haven’t heard of teff, you aren’t alone; while Westerners are still learning about the tiny, protein-rich grain, it’s been a staple in Ethiopian cooking for thousands of years. Teff has a mild, nutty flavor. Herron substitutes it for oatmeal, and says it’s been a “game-changer.”

Camille Herron’s breakfast of champions

Ingredients

4 Tbsp of teff

1 Tbsp ground flax seed

1 Tbsp chia seeds

Handful of cut walnuts

Handful of blueberries

1 tsp camu powder

1 tsp bee pollen

1 Tbsp non-fortified nutritional yeast

1 to 2 Tbsp honey

Pinch of salt

Directions

Add hot water, stir, and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Add or substitute any nuts or fruit that you enjoy. Herron says teff has been a pre-run fuel revelation for her: “it doesn’t retain as much water as oats, so it doesn’t feel heavy on the gut pre-run.” She adds, “it feels like it stabilizes blood sugar for a long time.”

1 Tbsp wheat germ

(09/01/2022) Views: 738 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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America’s Camille Herron finished sixth at the Comrades Marathon on August 27

"Oh Comrades Marathon you were magical!  Thank you everyone for making us feel like rockstars out there. I’m proud to finish 6th this time and another top 10 finish. It was an honor to be here again and share the road with you all.  Enjoy the moment for all your hard work," posted Camille Herron.  

Camille Herron is an American ultramarathon runner. She is the first and only athlete to win all three of the International Association of Ultrarunners' 50K, 100K, and 24 Hour World Championships.

She won the 2017 Comrades Marathon and holds several World Record times at ultramarathon distances, along with the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon in a superhero costume.

In November 2017, she broke Ann Trason's 100-mile Road World Record by over an hour in 12:42:40.  She broke her 12-Hour and 100 Mile World Records in February 2022 at the Jackpot 100/US Championship, winning the race outright and beating all of the men.

In April 2022, she became the youngest woman to reach 100,000 lifetime miles.  She is the first and only woman to run under 13 hours for 100 miles, exceed 150 km for 12-Hours, and to reach 270 km for 24Hrs.

(08/29/2022) Views: 819 ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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Russian Runner Alexandra Morozova Wins Women's 2022 Comrades Marathon Despite Controversy

Alexandra Morozova put a sideshow aside to emerge victorious in the 2022 Comrades Marathon today.

The Russian runner finished the grueling race in a time of 06:17:46. 

As was reported by ENCA, she had been barred from participating in the even by the organizers, who had been instructed to do so by Athletics South Africa acting on a recommendation by World Athletics. Russia is currently experiencing isolation from the world of sports following the fallout from the country's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

However, EWN reported that she launched an interdict with the Pietermaritzburg High Court to challenge her barring, which turned out to be a successful one for her.

Morozova said after the win:

"It was amazing. All of my dreams came true today. It was the most difficult marathon of my career. I'm happy to be here to achieve this win. It was my turn this year.

"Thank you so much to the citizens of South Africa for the warm greetings. It was so special to run into the stadium and feel this warmth from the crowd.

Thank you so much for the opportunity." 

EWN also added that she will have to return to the court in November to find out if she will receive her prize money or not.

(08/29/2022) Views: 697 ⚡AMP
by Keba Mothoagae
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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South Africa’s Tete Dijana Storms to Victory in the 2022 Edition of Comrades Marathon

Tete Dijana won the Comrades Marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban ahead of his teammate Former champion Bongamusa Mthembu took fourth place and broke the Nedbank Running Club's dominance Nedbank Running Club had five athletes in the top 10 of the Comrades Marathon, including the top three 

South Africa’s Tete Dijana has won the 2022 edition of the Comrades Marathon. The Nedbank runner stormed to victory, beating his teammate and defending champion, Edward Mothibi.

The duo were neck and neck with not too long to go before Dijana took control of the race and never looked back. Dijana, a security guard from the North West, finished the race in 5:30:38 while Mothibi finished in 5:33:46. 

(08/27/2022) Views: 634 ⚡AMP
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2022 Comrades entry process opens

Entries for the 95th Comrades Marathon to be held in August open today Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

This will be the first entry window period and runs until March 31, 2022. During this window period, only those entrants who had successfully entered the 2020 Comrades Marathon will be able to enter, be they South Africa, Rest of Africa or International.

The entry fee for South African athletes will be discounted from R1200 to R1000 in the first entry window period, as per the CMA’s commitment when the 2020 race was cancelled. Rest of Africa and International entrants in the 2020 Comrades Marathon had their entries deferred to either the 2022 or 2023 race; and will therefore not pay an entry fee.

During the second entry window period, from April 20 to  May 16, 2022, all other athletes will be allowed to enter. Entry is free to all runners who have completed the Comrades Marathon 25 times or more.

This second entry window period will not apply should the entry cap of 15,000 entries have been reached during the first entry window period.

CMA Race Director, Rowyn James says, “We have exciting plans in place for this year’s Down Run which will finish at the internationally acclaimed Moses Mabhida Stadium for the second time. Qualifying for the 2022 Comrades Marathon is applicable as of September 1, 2021 till July 12, 2022. The qualifying criteria for this year’s Comrades Marathon remains unchanged requiring completion of a standard 42.2km marathon in under 4 hours and 50 minutes, or a 56km ultra-marathon in under 6 hours and 45 minutes.”

The 95th Comrades Marathon will be the 47th Down Run on Sunday, August 28, 2022, starting at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05h30 and ending 12 hours later at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, covering a 90.2km distance.

(03/23/2022) Views: 851 ⚡AMP
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Mokoka breaks world 50km record with 2:40:13 in Gqeberha

South Africa’s Stephen Mokoka stepped up to 50km in style on Sunday (6), running 2:40:13* to break the men’s world record for the distance at the Nedbank #Runified 50km – a World Athletics Elite Label road race – in Gqeberha.

The three-time Olympian has been running marathons for more than a decade but made history in his very first 50km race, following the pacemaker through half way in 1:21:03 and then breaking away after 35km (1:52:53) with a 2:56 kilometre to put himself on world record schedule.

The 2019 world marathon fifth-placer finisher held that pace on the 10km loop course, running a negative split (1:19:10 for the second half) after a solo run to victory. He won by almost four minutes and improved the inaugural world 50km record of 2:42:07 that had been set by Ethiopia’s Ketema Negasa at the same event last year.

"I’m tired," Mokoka said with a smile in his post-race interview. "It’s a long way and I don’t know how I’m going to feel later, but I enjoyed it."

The performance further demonstrates Mokoka's impressive range. The 37-year-old has claimed numerous national titles in his career so far, from 1500m up to the marathon. His marathon best is 2:07:40 from Shanghai in 2015, while he set the South African half marathon record when running 59:36 to place seventh at the 2020 World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia.

Tete Dijana was runner-up to Mokoka in Gqeberha, clocking 2:44:08, with their compatriot Edward Mothibi – the 2019 Comrades Marathon winner – third in 2:45:27.

Given the increasing popularity of 50km road races, the decision to add the distance to the list of events for which world records are recognised was made at the World Athletics Council meeting in Tokyo in July. Negasa’s 2:42:07 was then ratified as the inaugural men’s world 50km record at the start of this year, while the 3:04:24 run by South Africa’s Irvette van Zyl in the same 2021 event was ratified as the world 50km record for a women-only race.

That time had been the target for athletes in Sunday’s Nedbank #Runified 50km and the women's field went off with intent, the leaders passing 10km in 35:51 and half way in 1:31:34.Ethiopia’s Amelework Fikadu Bosho later dropped her rivals and although she was not able to maintain that world record pace, she hung on for a dominant women’s race win in 3:04:58.

Kenya’s Shelmith Muriuki was second in 3:08:30, while Van Zyl was third in 3:13:23.

(03/06/2022) Views: 1,582 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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American Jim Walmsley will be taking another stab at UTMB

The 2022 edition of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) is seven months away, but the elite fields have been made official. Although he has never done better than fifth (and that was back in 2017), American Jim Walmsley will be gunning for a podium finish again on Aug. 28, along with seven of Canada’s top ultrarunners, including last year’s third-place finisher, Mathieu Blanchard. Check out the top athletes who will be racing this year.

UTMB — men

Blanchard, who is from France but lives and trains in Montreal, is among the top men who will be competing this year. Going into the race, Blanchard says his goal is to win the race, and he’ll have two main focuses for his training: “the first will be to prepare myself mentally, to visualize, to accept this possibility of a big goal because I still have trouble believing it today,” he says. “The second will be to build a logical race path to prepare for this race, choices of reason rather than choices of the heart.”

Last year’s second-place finisher, Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz of France will be returning, along with 2019 UTMB winner, Pau Capell of Spain. Walmsley, whose top finish was fifth in 2017 but who has won the Western States 100 for three consecutive years (2021, 2019, 2018) will also be challenging for a podium spot, as will France’s Xavier Thévenard, who has won UTMB three times (2018, 2015, 2013) and placed second in 2019. Nine other recent top-five finishers will also be joining them on the start line.

Notably absent from the start list is last year’s winner, François D’Haene and three-time UTMB champion, Kilian Jornet.

UTMB – women

Canadian ultrarunning fans will have plenty to cheer about in the women’s race in August. Three top Canadians will be on the start line, including Montreal’s Marianne Hogan, who won the 2022 Bandera 100K and placed second at the Ultra-Trail Cape Town 100k. Toronto’s Claire Heslop, Canada’s top finisher in 2021, will be joining Hogan, along with Alissa St. Laurent of Moutain View, Alta., who placed fifth in the 2018 UTMB TDS 145K in 2018 and sixth at UTMB in 2017.

“My dream result would be a top 10 at UTMB,” says Hogan, “so I will definitely shoot for that. A lot can happen come race day, so I will make sure to show up to the start line as ready as possible.”

Other top contenders on the women’s side include Camille Herron, who won the 2021 Javelina Jundred Mile (and broke the course record) in 2021 and set the 24-hour world record in 2019, Anna Troup, who won the 2021 Lakeland 100 Mile and the 2021 Spine Race Summer Edition 268 Mile, Sabrina Stanley, two-time winner of the Hardrock 100 and Beth Pascal, winner of last year’s Western States and two-time top-five finisher at UTMB.

There will be five other recent top-five finishers on the start line as well, but running fans will be disappointed to hear the two-time winner Courtney Dauwalter, 2019 third-place finisher Maite Maiora, among several other past winners, will not be in Chamonix on August 28.

CCC — women

There will be three elite Canadian women in the 100K CCC, including Victoria’s Catrin Jones, who placed in the top-10 at the 2019 Comrades Marathon 90k and holds the Canadian 50-mile and six-hour records. She will be joined by Ailsa MacDonald of St. Albert, Alta., who won the 2020 Tarawera 100 Mile and the Hoka One One Bandera 100K, and placed sixth in the CCC in 2019. Rounding out the Canadian squad will be Vancouver’s Kat Drew, who was third at the 2019 Bandera 100K, first at the Canyons 100K and eighth at Western States in 2019.

Other notable runners in the CCC include New Zealand’s Ruth Croft, who won the 2021 Grand Trail des Templiers 80k, placed second at the 2021 Western States 100 and won the UTMB 55K OCC in 2018 and 2019. France’s Blandine L’hirondel will also be looking to land on the podium after winning the OCC last year.

(01/28/2022) Views: 1,125 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

Mountain race, with numerous passages in high altitude (>2500m), in difficult weather conditions (night, wind, cold, rain or snow), that needs a very good training, adapted equipment and a real capacity of personal autonomy. It is 6:00pm and we are more or less 2300 people sharing the same dream carefully prepared over many months. Despite the incredible difficulty, we feel...

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Remembering Dos Pueblos High’s 24-Hour Relay Record

In 1972, 10 Distance Runners Completed 1,106 Laps, or 276 Miles 

Starting at 10 a.m. on June 9, 1972, Gil Rocha ran a mile, four laps around Dos Pueblos High’s 440-yard track, in five minutes and four seconds. He carried a baton that he handed to Tom Phillips, who also ran a mile, in 4:53. The baton was passed to eight more runners — Dale Nickel, Joe Szerwo, Joe Lambert, Tom Kelsey, Craig Bjorkman, Carl Udesen, Mark Pruner and Doug Hopwood, who finished his mile at 10:49 a.m.

Then it was Rocha’s turn to run again, starting another cycle of miles by the 10 DP distance runners. And so it went for the rest of the day and through the night — with Phillips and Lambert consistently cranking out sub-5:00 miles — until exactly 10 a.m. the next day, as Nickel was rounding the final turn of the team’s 1,106th lap.

The Chargers had run 276 miles, 769 yards — the distance from Goleta to San Jose — breaking the high school record in the Runner’s World 24-Hour Relay. The previous record was 271 miles, 1,217 yards — established in 1971 by a DP team that included nine of the boys who ran in 1972.

“It was the hardest thing we’d ever done,” Hopwood said, “and we did it again.”

Kelsey read about the 24-hour relay in Runner’s World magazine and convinced his teammates that they should go for the prep record at the end of the school year when all were in shape from the track season. They were well trained by their coach, Gordon McClenathen.  (The 24 Hour Relay was created by RW founder Bob Anderson.  Teams from around the world ran the relay.)

“He taught us all about commitment, hard work that pays off, and so much more,” Phillips said. “I know that I speak for all of us when I say that those life lessons we got from Gordon have gone with each and every one of us as we went our separate ways, and made us the men we are today.”

Assistant coach Bill Trimble arranged a reunion of the men with McClenathen, a runner himself for most of his 87 years, at Stow Grove Park last month. Phillips said the event “rekindled the comradeship we had 50 years ago.”

It also brought back memories of those long, sleepless days and nights of running in circles. “It seemed like my eyes were closed for five minutes before I had to go out again,” Rocha said. Bjorkman recalled that after the 1971 relay, which went from noon to noon, “I went to bed at 2 p.m. and woke up at 8 the next morning” — an 18-hour nap.

Parent shone headlights on the track at night. To Nickel, the uneven track was like a moonscape. “I saw the tops of asphalt bumps,” he said. McClenathen timed every mile while also massaging cramps out of the runners’ legs. June 10, 1972, was the last day of school, and that morning the track was lined by students and teachers who shouted encouragement to the tiring runners, most of whom put in 28 miles. “I’m sure that contributed to the adrenaline they needed to finish the relay,” Trimble said.

The Dos Pueblos record still stands, as far as anyone knows. The 24-hour relay proved too daunting to engender repeated attempts. It has gone the way of the Pony Express, a heroic endeavor from another time.

(Photos) THEN AND NOW: Ten runners from Dos Pueblos High posed after setting a national 24-hour relay record in 1971 (top photo). Standing: Dale Nickel, Craig Bjorkman, Joe Szerwo, Doug Hopwood, Terry Baker, and Gil Rocha. Kneeling: Tom Kelsey, Joe Lambert, Tom Phillips, and Carl Udesen. They set a new national record a year later. Seven of them got together recently for the 50th anniversary of their feat (left to right): Nickel, Kelsey, Szerwo, Lambert, Phillips, Hopwood, and Rocha. |Credit: Paul Shanklin

(The third photo was added to this story by MBR. "I put together the 24-Hour Relay Handback in August 1970," says Bob Andetson.  "0ur team ran the first one in 1970 at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills California.  My editor, Joe Henderson also was on our team.  It was such an amazing experience. One I will never forget."

The official rules are simple: 2-10 person teams.  Each person has to run one mile on track and pass the baton to the next person. Order must be maintained.  A person can drop out but not return. Distance of last runner after 24 hours is measured.  

(10/27/2021) Views: 1,424 ⚡AMP
by John Zant (Independent.com)
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The world's best finish lines

Whether you are running your first or 50th race, there is no better feeling than crossing the finish line. We appreciate all finish lines in life no matter your goals, but we take a look at some of our favourite finish lines in races across the running world.

Boston Marathon (U.S.)

It would be hard to leave the finish line of the prestigious Boston Marathon off the list. Right on Hereford, left on Bolyston and you can see the finish line, with 500m to go. It’s a memory Boston marathoners remember forever. To hear fans, family members and Bostonians screaming at you as you run toward the line certainly gives you a final push to the finish.

Ultra de Trail Mont-Blanc (France)

This UTMB finish line sits right in the heart of Chamonix, surrounded by picturesque views of the French Alps. Ultrarunners descend from the mountain into the village after 171 km of racing, and hear the roar of the crowd as they run through narrow cobblestone streets toward the finish.

Olympic Marathon (Various)

The Olympic marathons always take place on the final two days of athletic events at the Games. Although fans were not allowed in the stadium in Tokyo, there were people lining the marathon course in Sapporo, which was one of the advantages of it being moved to that city. The raw emotion of athletes celebrating as they complete the Olympic marathon is a moment like no other.

Around the Bay 30 km (Canada)

Canada’s Around the Bay 30 km road race has a unique finish line, in which runners finish go through the lower level of a hockey arena to finish at centre ice of Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre. Friends and families sit inside the arena to watch runners cross the line. Spectators will also sit inside to avoid the freezing temperatures of the March race.

Melbourne Marathon (Australia)

Similar to Canada’s Around the Bay race, the Melbourne Marathon finishes inside one of the world’s top 10 largest stadiums: the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The MCG has a seating capacity of 100,000 people and is home to the AFL Grand Final and Australia’s cricket team. Runners enter the MCG after completing 41 kilometres around the streets of Melbourne, to finish the marathon at midfield.

Great Wall Marathon (China)

The Great Wall of China Marathon starts and finishes inside the village of Huanyaguang’s Yin & Yang Square. Despite the steep climbs on the iconic Great Wall of China, runners are rewarded by the breathtaking views along the course. In the last two kilometres, as you reach the village from the wall, spectators will be cheering as they have a traditional festival for runners.

Comrades Ultra Marathon (South Africa)

The Comrades Marathon is a point-to-point 90 km ultramarathon in South Africa, starting at City Hall in Pietermaritzburg and finishing at the Sahara Kingsmead Cricket Stadium in Durban. Race spectators wait at the finish in Durban in front of a big screen, waiting for entrants to cross the line. The race has a challenging time limit, as runners must complete the distance in less than 12 hours.

(09/04/2021) Views: 776 ⚡AMP
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The Western States 100 Is Back and It’s Going to be HOT!

Western States is famously competitive - and this year is shaping up to be one of the toughest competitions yet with hot temps, and a stacked field.

Jim Walmsley and Magda Boulet will be back at the Western States Endurance Run this week.

And so will Clare Gallagher, Patrick Reagan, Max King and Brittany Peterson. And, so too is race pioneer Gordy Ainsleigh and 312 other inspired runners who have been training for more than a year and a half to get to the starting line. In fact, we’re all heading back to the Sierra Nevada range this weekend — even if vicariously — to what feels like a bit of normalcy returning.

After a year mostly away from the trail racing running scene, things are starting to feel like old times. With stacked men’s and women’s fields, scorching heat in the forecast and last year’s Covid-19 hiatus hopefully mostly behind us, it’s definitely the event the ultrarunning community has been looking forward to. The race begins at 5 a.m. PST on June 26 and it looks like it’s going to be an epic one. (Follow via live tracking or the live race-day broadcast.)

“Yeah, it will be good to be there and see people and actually be in the race,” says Walmsley, who won the race in 2018 and 2019 in course-record times. “It’s been an odd year.”

Odd for sure, but with deep men’s and women’s fields, hot weather, dusty trail conditions and the late June gathering of a few hundred runners on this hallowed ground feels somewhat normal. The mountains and canyons in and around Olympic Valley northwest of Lake Tahoe have been a sacred place for the native Washoe people for thousands of years before Gordon Ainsleigh’s first romp over the Western States Trail in 1974.

It’s been an especially odd year for Walmsley, who, for the second straight year, had planned to use the first half of his year training for the 90K Comrades Marathon in South Africa. But that was canceled last year (with just about every other big race, including the Western States 100) and this year, too.

So instead, after setting a new U.S. 100K road record in January, he took a sponsor’s entry into the Western States 100 from HOKA One One and will be once again lining up in America’s most celebrated trail running race. With notable first-timers Tim Tollefson and Hayden Hawks in the mix along with Walmsley, Reagan, King, Matt Daniels, Alex Nichols, Kyle Pietari, Mark Hammond, Stephen Kersh, Jeff Browning and Jared Hazen all returning with previous top-10 finishes, on paper anyway, the men’s race is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in recent memory or maybe ever, even though it’s comprised entirely of domestic runners.

The women’s race might be even more competitive with former champions Boulet, Gallagher (2019) and Kaci Lickteig (2016) leading the way, plus elite American runners Camille Herron, Addie Bracy, Camelia Mayfield and Keely Henninger and international stalwarts Ruth Croft (New Zealand), Audrey Tanguy (France), Beth Pascall (UK), Emily Hawgood (Zimbabwe), Kathryn Drew (Canada) and Ragna Debats (Spain) joining the fray.

Who are the favorites? It’s hard to tell. Most of those runners, including Walmsley and Boulet, have admitted to having dealt with some minor injuries, inconsistent training, a lack of motivation and other setbacks over the crazy year that was. Based on what runners have been reporting, it seems like most are just eager to get back and immerse in a competitive 100-miler and see what they can do.

However, one of the keys will certainly be who can survive the heat the best. The forecast is calling for high temperatures in the upper 80s to the high 90s on Saturday after and the canyons between Robinson Flat and Michigan Bluff could even reach over 100 degrees.

Walmsley has said he’s dealt with some IT band issues and has focused mostly on running with a lot of vert, focusing on getting optimal recovery, strength sessions and body work, as well as spending as much time running in extreme heat as possible. That includes running and hiking countless laps to the summit of 9,298-foot Mt. Elden in Flagstaff, averaging 20 to 25 hours per week on the trails and also spending a lot of time on a bike trainer.

But he’s also spent a lot of time in the infrared sauna in his home and spent time with family in the Phoenix area, where he ran in the afternoons amid 115- to 120-degree heat.

“The heat training is kind of lucky for me, because growing up in the heat in Arizona, I didn’t know any different,” Walmsley says. “I just thought everyone was roasting in the heat. It’s what I grew up with and I try to lean into those memories and embrace the heat.”

Boulet, who lives in Berkeley, Calif., has also gone out of her way to train in the heat. While she says her build-up has been inconsistent compared to previous years, she’s been doing a lot of climbing and descending in the heat, and also working on box jumps to strengthen her legs for the long descent into Auburn. She says a recent 40-mile run up 3,849-foot Mt. Diablo east of Berkeley, is a good indicator that she’s ready to roll.

“I’ve definitely been spending more time in the heat lately, which is something I personally don’t enjoy running in,” says Boulet, who won the race in 2015, DNF’ed in 2016 and placed second in 2017. “But I know the importance of preparing in the heat and falling in love with running in the heat by race day. You can be as physically as ready as possible in terms of your fitness, but if you don’t have the heat training and you’re trying to tackle some of the parts of the canyons that are in the middle of the race, It’s really tough.”

Given the extreme heat, it’s not likely that anyone will challenge Walmsley’s 14:09 course record set two years ago, when it was in the low-80s and cloudy on race day. But there’s also no snow on the course this year, so the early sections that have previously forced runners to hike and walk early on will likely be faster, and that will likely result in fatigue that will slow them down in later stages of the race.

“You’ve got to take what the course gives you,” Walmsley says. “I’ve learned that you don’t fight the course where you shouldn’t. I have some splits in mind that would get me there under 15 hours and maybe close to 14:30, but it’s going to be all about feeling out what the course is giving me, following those guidelines and not forcing it. Because anyone who forces it in that heat will be doomed.”

(06/25/2021) Views: 973 ⚡AMP
by Outside Online (Brian Metzler)
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Western States 100

Western States 100

The Western States ® 100-Mile Endurance Run is the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race. Starting in Squaw Valley, California near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and ending 100.2 miles later in Auburn, California, Western States, in the decades since its inception in 1974, has come to represent one of the ultimate endurance tests in the...

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Western States 100 preview: pre-race favourites

Women’s field - There are three former WSER champions entered in this year’s race: Gallagher, who won in 2019, 2016 winner (and 2019 third-place finisher) Kaci Lickteig and 2015 champ Magdalena Boulet. All three women are American, and they’ll be joined on the WSER start line by several of their high-profile compatriots. Brittany Peterson, the second-place finisher from 2019, will be in the race for just the second time in her career, along with Nicole Bitter, the seventh-place woman in 2019, which was also her WSER debut. 

Pascall and Drew headline the international entries in the women’s field. Pascall, who hails from Great Britain, finished fourth in 2019, and she is a serious threat to take the win this year. Earlier in 2021, she won the Canyons 100K in California, and in 2020, she broke the Bob Graham Round FKT in her home country. She has also recorded two top-five finishes at the past two editions of the famed Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. Pascall is in incredible form, and she’s a threat to run away with this year’s race, which would make her the first non-American woman to win the WSER title since Ellie Greenwood (who is British but lives in Canada) in 2012. 

This will be Drew’s second WSER appearance, and she, too, has what it takes to improve on her result from 2019. She has several big wins to her name, including top finishes at the Chuckanut 50K and Canyons 100K in 2019. She has also represented Canada at the IAU Trail World Championships. B.C.’s Sarah Seads will also race in California, making her first WSER appearance. 

When it comes to debut WSER runs, there are several big names to watch. New Zealand’s Ruth Croft is having a tremendous season, with a pair of big wins. Her first came at the Tarawera Ultra in Rotorua, New Zealand, where she won the overall title in the 102K race. A few months later, she was in action in Australia, where she won a 50K race in Katoomba, a town west of Sydney, at Ultra-Trail Australia. 

France’s Audrey Tanguy is also running WSER for the first time. Tanguy has had a great year so far, first winning the Hoka One One Project Carbon X 2 100K event in Arizona in January and then following it up with a third-place finish at the Canyons 100K in April. She is also a two-time UTMB TDS winner (2018 and 2019).

Finally, there’s American ultrarunning star Camille Herron. The owner of multiple American and world records, Herron is another threat for the win at WSER. She has won the Comrades Marathon, multiple world championships and many other races around the world, and it shouldn’t be a surprise if she adds a top WSER finish to her resume. 

Men’s field - The only WSER champion in the 2021 field is Walmsley, who has won the past two editions of the race. In 2018, he won in 14:30:04, and a year later, he set the course record with an incredible 14:09:28 run. This year, he has raced one ultramarathon, Hoka’s Project Carbon X 2, which he won in 6:09:26, coming extremely close to breaking the 100K world record of 6:09:14. That was several months ago, but if his fitness is anywhere close to where it was at that race, he should be able to lay down another historic WSER run. 

Walmsley’s fellow American Jared Hazen, the 2019 runner-up, is also set to race this year. In 2019, Hazen ran a remarkable time of 14:26:46, which would have easily won him the WSER title if Walmsley hadn’t been in the race. He’ll be looking to take that final step onto the top of the podium this year. 

A pair of Americans making their WSER debuts are Tollefson and Hayden Hawks. Tollefson has several big wins to his name in the past year alone, including titles at the 2020 Javelina Jundred 100 Miler and USATF 50-Mile Trail Championships. He has also recorded victories at the 120K Lavaredo Ultra-Trail race in Italy in 2019 and the 100K Ultra-Trail Australia in 2017, along with a pair of third-place finishes at UTMB in 2016 and 2017. 

Hawks has won many races throughout his career, including the JFK 50-Miler in 2020. He set the course record of 5:18:40 at that race, beating Walmsley’s mark of 5:21:28 from 2016. The WSER course is twice as long as the JFK 50, but Hawks has proven he can match or better Walmsley’s efforts, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in California. 

 

(06/20/2021) Views: 1,237 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Unusual chance for SA runners to qualify for Olympic marathon, ASA approves a 50km race to act as qualifier

Athletics SA (ASA) is planning to use the Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km ultra-marathon in Gqeberha on Sunday as part of the qualifiers for the 42.2km Olympic marathon.

The banking giants put together a race to allow the top ultra-marathon runners an opportunity to break the 50km world record. Also in the running are athletes from East Africa among other internationals.

Given lack of opportunities for standard marathon (42.2km) events in SA currently, due to Covid-19, ASA will allow the local athletes to use the race to qualify for the Olympics in an unprecedented development.

The men's qualifying time is 2:11:30, while the women's is 2:29:30. This means those who qualify will be timed for the first 42.2km they run in the 50km race. This development should come as good news to local Olympic hopefuls who had already given up on qualifying due to lack of races and opportunity to travel for races abroad.

The deadline for Olympic marathon qualification is at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the eagerly awaited 50km ultra-marathon record attempt on Sunday will start with the women's race at 7.15am, and followed by the men's race at 7.45am. Britain’s Aly Dixon is the women's 50km record holder with a time of 3:07:20, while the men's record is held by the late SA long-distance sensation Thompson Magawana.

Magawana clocked 2:43:38 when he won the Two Oceans 50km ultra-marathon race in 1988.

Comrades Marathon champion Gerda Steyn, three-time Soweto Marathon champion Irvette van Zyl and former Comrades champion Charne Bosman will spearhead the SA women's challenge against the foreign contingent of Bashanke Bilo (Ethiopia), Dominika Stelmach (Poland) and Russian Alexandra Marozova.

Philemon Mathiba of Nedbank Running Club, Lutendo Mapoto and Sithembiso Mqhele of the Murray & Roberts Running Club are some of the prominent male runners confirmed for the historic event in Gqeberha.

The winner in both men's and women's races will walk home with the prize money of R100,000.

“It is all systems go and we are happy and are behind this race. We see this as a chance for the men and women who have not qualified for the Olympics to try their luck [to qualify]. We will measure their time by 42.2km and if they go on to finish the 50km race that would be a bonus,” ASA president James Moloi told Sowetan yesterday.

(05/21/2021) Views: 1,018 ⚡AMP
by Charles Bayoli
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Gerda Steyn sets South African marathon record in Siena, Italy

Eighty runners lined up in Siena, Italy, on Sunday morning to race the Xiamen Marathon, an elite-only event that marked one of the final opportunities to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Kenyans Eric Kiptanui and Angela Tanui took the wins in PBs of 2:05:47 and 2:20:08, and South Africa’s Gerda Steyn set a national marathon record of 2:25:28. In his first race in more than a year, Canada’s Reid Coolsaet finished well off the Olympic standard of 2:11:30, crossing the line in 2:16:38.

Kiptanui won the race by 10 seconds, edging out Ethiopia’s Abdi Fufa for first place. He bettered his PB by 30 seconds, improving on a 2:06:17 showing from his marathon debut in Dubai in 2020. His result is the second-fastest ever run on Italian soil, a minute off the all-comers record set by his fellow Kenyan Titus Ekiru at a race in Milan in 2019, which he won in 2:04:46. 

While Kiptanui fell short of the Italian all-comers record, Tanui did not, and her 2:20:08 winning time lowered the mark of 2:22:25, which Kenya’s Vivian Kiplagat also set in Milan in 2019. Unlike in the men’s race, which was relatively close, the women’s race saw a big gap between first and second place, with Tanui crossing the line more than two and a half minutes ahead of the next-closest runner. On top of setting the Italian all-comers record, Tanui also lowered her own PB by a whopping five minutes. 

In recent years, Steyn has proven to be one of the best runners in South African history. She set the Comrades Marathon up-run course record in 2019, becoming the first woman to break six hours in the storied event with her 5:58:53 winning time. That same year, she ran to an 11th-place finish at the New York City Marathon (a race less than half the distance of the 87K Comrades Marathon), running 2:27:48.

In 2020, Steyn ran to a seventh-place finish at the elite-only London Marathon, where she posted a new PB of 2:26:51, which was the second-fastest marathon result in South African history. This year, she was set to run the NN Mission Marathon, but her plans changed when the event was pushed from April 11 to April 18 and moved from Germany to the Netherlands. 

Fortunately, the Xiamen Marathon accepted her on short notice, and she ran a new South African marathon record of 2:25:28. She looked to have great chances of being named to the South African team headed to the Tokyo Olympics before Sunday’s race, but with her result in Italy, she has likely officially booked her ticket to the Summer Games. 

(04/12/2021) Views: 1,165 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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2000 entries in for Comrades Centenary virtual event

Nearly 2000 participants have signed up for the Comrades Marathon Association’s (CMA) virtual event, the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge, since being launched two weeks ago.

With two consecutive editions of the traditional Comrades Marathon having been cancelled, owing to Covid-19, runners the world over will have the opportunity of joining in the celebratory spirit of the Comrades Marathon Centenary via its 2nd virtual event in the race’s 100-year long history.

Come Sunday, 13 June 2021, runners and their families will be able to participate from any time between 00:01am and 23:59pm on the actual challenge date, within their local time zone globally.

The Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge will comprise 5 distances, being a 5km, 10km, 21.1km, 45km and 90km which will all be run virtually, meaning that athletes get to run their own race, along their select route anywhere in the world.

For more information on the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge and to enter, please click through to www.comrades.com

The campaign slogan for the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge is ‘Ithemba – Hope Is’, which aims to contextualise each runner’s hopes, what the feeling means to them and to further inspire other athletes to dig deep and discover their own hopes and dreams for a better future and the new normal in a world ravaged by Covid-19.

(04/08/2021) Views: 904 ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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Entries for Comrades Marathon virtual race open

The world’s greatest ultramarathon is all set to stage the world’s greatest virtual event with runners from around the globe invited to participate on Sunday, 14 June 2020 with FREE entry to all South African runners who entered the 2020 Comrades Marathon.

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) last month launched its one and only officially sanctioned virtual race, ‘Race the Comrades Legends’ which promises to be The Ultimate Virtual Race.

GET A REAL MEDAL:

Participants who sign up for and complete the ‘Race The Comrades Legends’ are guaranteed a real finishers medal, together with the bragging rights of having completed the very first virtual event hosted by the CMA.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE:

It may seem new age to traditional Comrades Marathon runners but ‘Race the Comrades Legends’ is a great option for runners who for months have done training runs in isolation and no longer feel part of a close-knit running community.  The ‘Race the Comrades Legends’ will provide a platform to engage with other runners throughout South Africa and the rest of the world as well as opportunity for family members to participate in the action, all with the reassurance of safety and convenience, while here in South Africa doing so within the constraints of the government’s National Lockdown regulations.

RACE AGAINST THE LEGENDS:

The CMA’s ‘Race The Comrades Legends’ is a running concept based on the stories of the greatest Comrades Legends in history. The official Comrades Marathon website will include an online functionality where runners can virtually compete, run with and compare with each other and the likes of Bruce Fordyce, Frith van der Merwe, Samuel Tshabalala and many others; where each participant creates their own personal story and on completion is able to earn a real medal.

CHOOSE YOUR DISTANCE - 5, 10, 21, 45 OR 90KM:

By creating an international virtual event with great public focus, based on a series of distances that various running legends have defined in their time, from the 5km to the marathon as well as the usual Comrades Marathon ultra, the CMA has effectively created a virtual mass-participation event for everyone to be a part of.

All that runners need to do is go to the Comrades website; register for ‘Race The Comrades Legends’; select their distance of 5km, 10km, 21km, 45km or 90km.

ENTER ONLINE:

The cost is R150 for South African runners and $25 for foreign athletes. 

(03/26/2021) Views: 1,059 ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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Des Linden will be looking to break the 50K world record next month

Boston Marathon champ Des Linden is officially entering the world of ultramarathoning, as she has announced that she will attempt to break the 50K world record next month.

In mid-April at an undisclosed location (details are intentionally vague because of pandemic concerns), she will take a crack at U.K. runner Aly Dixon‘s record of 3:07:20, which she set in 2019.

In October, Linden invited runners to participate in a challenge she called Run Destober, in which each day, participants ran the number of kilometers (or miles) that corresponded to the date. For example, on October 1 participants ran one kilometer, and on October 31 they ran 31. In total, the challenge worked out to be either 496K or 496 miles.

While this was a great way to engage the running community, it was also an effective way for Linden to slowly ramp up her weekly mileage and see how her body responded to the increased volume.

Back in August, Linden also expressed interest in ultramarathoning when she said in an interview that the Comrades Marathon and UTMB were on her bucket list. It is unclear whether this run will take place on the road or the trails, but either way, her result next month will be a good indicator of how she’ll fare when she finally decides to tackle the trails.

The headphone company Jaybird is supporting Linden during her record-breaking attempt, and the official announcement was made on their Instagram page on Tuesday. In order to beat Dixon’s time, Linden will need to maintain a pace of 3:44 per kilometer.

Given that she ran approximately 3:22 per kilometer for her marathon personal best of 2:22:38, this pace doesn’t seem unattainable, but of course, in a 50K race, it’s hard to say what could happen in the last 8K. We will be waiting for her result in April, and if she accomplishes her goal we expect to see Linden attempt more ultras in the future.

(03/10/2021) Views: 895 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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UTMB announces stacked fields for 2021 races

The 2021 edition of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) is still months away, but the fields for the August race are officially set. After UTMB organizers cancelled their event in 2020 due to COVID-19, any race would have been exciting to watch this year, but fans will be treated to a pair of stacked lineups in the men’s and women’s fields. With six former UTMB champions and many other world-class runners set to race in Chamonix, France, later this year, the storied 170K ultramarathon looks like it will be can’t-miss action.

The women’s race

Former UTMB champs Courtney Dauwalter of the U.S. and Francesca Canepa of Italy headline the women’s race. Dauwalter is the reigning UTMB champion after her win in 2019, which was her first time running the race. She is widely recognized as one of the best ultrarunners on the planet, and she will be extremely tough to beat in Chamonix.

RELATED: UTMB adds to international race lineup with Thailand ultramarathon

Canepa won the women’s UTMB crown in 2018, and she also placed second in 2012. Other former top UTMB finishers on the start list for 2021 include Japan’s Kaori Niwa (fourth in 2017 and the winner of the 2019 Oman by UTMB 170K ultramarathon), Uxue Fraile Azpeitia of Spain (three-time UTMB podium finisher) and Beth Pascall of the U.K. (fourth- and fifth-place finishes in 2018 and 2019).

Multiple world record holder Camille Herron is also set to race in Chamonix. She has won ultramarathons around the world, including the Comrades Marathon in South Africa in 2017 and the Tarawera 100-miler in New Zealand in 2019, and she certainly has what it takes to win or place high in the overall UTMB standings.

Ailsa Macdonald is the lone Canadian in the elite UTMB women’s field. With big results like her wins at the Golden Ultra in B.C. in 2018 and the Tarawera 100 in 2020, Macdonald is another podium threat. She also has experience in Chamonix, having placed sixth in the UTMB’s CCC 101K ultra in 2019.

The men’s race

On the men’s side, there are four former UTMB winners: Pau Capell of Spain (winner in 2019) and French athletes François D’Haene (won in 2012, 2014 and 2017), Ludovic Pommeret (won in 2016) and Xavier Thévenard (won in 2013, 2015 and 2018). The past eight UTMB crowns belong to these four men, and they’re all capable of extending that streak to nine straight this year.

Jim Walmsley and Tim Tollefson are the top two American hopes on the men’s side. Tollefson made the UTMB podium in 2016 and 2017 with a pair of third-place finishes, while Walmsley has only raced in Chamonix once, running to fifth place. As Walmsley showed recently in a 100K world record attempt (he ran 6:09:26, missing the record by 12 seconds), he is in incredible shape this year, and while August is still months away, he has to be considered a favourite.

Also on the start list is the U.K.’s Damian Hall, who finished in fifth at the 2018 edition of UTMB. Hall is coming off a fantastic year of running that featured several prominent FKTs, and although he hasn’t raced in a while, he shouldn’t be counted out come August.

Finally, Canada will be represented by Mathieu Blanchard. Born in France, Blanchard now lives and trains in Montreal. He has raced in Chamonix before, running to a 13th-place finish in 2018, and in 2020 he ran onto the podium at the 102K Tarawera Ultra race.

UTMB is set to run from August 23 to 29, 2021.

(02/27/2021) Views: 1,017 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Six former UTMB champs are on the start lists for the famed ultramarathon's comeback in August

The 2021 edition of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) is still months away, but the fields for the August race are officially set. After UTMB organizers cancelled their event in 2020 due to COVID-19, any race would have been exciting to watch this year, but fans will be treated to a pair of stacked lineups in the men’s and women’s fields.

With six former UTMB champions and many other world-class runners set to race in Chamonix, France, later this year, the storied 170K ultramarathon looks like it will be can’t-miss action. 

The women´s race 

Former UTMB champs Courtney Dauwalter of the U.S. and Francesca Canepa of Italy headline the women’s race. Dauwalter is the reigning UTMB champion after her win in 2019, which was her first time running the race. She is widely recognized as one of the best ultrarunners on the planet, and she will be extremely tough to beat in Chamonix. 

Canepa won the women’s UTMB crown in 2018, and she also placed second in 2012. Other former top UTMB finishers on the start list for 2021 include Japan’s Kaori Niwa (fourth in 2017 and the winner of the 2019 Oman by UTMB 170K ultramarathon), Uxue Fraile Azpeitia of Spain (three-time UTMB podium finisher) and Beth Pascall of the U.K. (fourth- and fifth-place finishes in 2018 and 2019). 

Multiple world record holder Camille Herron is also set to race in Chamonix. She has won ultramarathons around the world, including the Comrades Marathon in South Africa in 2017 and the Tarawera 100-miler in New Zealand in 2019, and she certainly has what it takes to win or place high in the overall UTMB standings. 

Alisa McDonald 

Is the lone Canadian in the elite Camille Herron is also set to race in Chamonix. She has won ultramarathons around the world, including the Comrades Marathon in South Africa in 2017 and the Tarawera 100-miler in New Zealand in 2019, and she certainly has what it takes to win or place high in the overall UTMB standings. 

The men’s race 

On the men’s side, there are four former UTMB winners: Pau Capell of Spain (winner in 2019) and French athletes François D’Haene (won in 2012, 2014 and 2017), Ludovic Pommeret (won in 2016) and Xavier Thévenard (won in 2013, 2015 and 2018). The past eight UTMB crowns belong to these four men, and they’re all capable of extending that streak to nine straight this year. 

Jim Walmsley and Tim Tollefson are the top two American hopes on the men’s side. Tollefson made the UTMB podium in 2016 and 2017 with a pair of third-place finishes, while Walmsley has only raced in Chamonix once, running to fifth place.

As Walmsley showed recently in a 100K world record attempt (he ran 6:09:26, missing the record by 12 seconds), he is in incredible shape this year, and while August is still months away, he has to be considered a favorite. 

Also on the start list is the U.K.’s Damian Hall, who finished in fifth at the 2018 edition of UTMB. Hall is coming off a fantastic year of running that featured several prominent FKTs, and although he hasn’t raced in a while, he shouldn’t be counted out come August.

Finally, Canada will be represented by Mathieu Blanchard. Born in France, Blanchard now lives and trains in Montreal. He has raced in Chamonix before, running to a 13th-place finish in 2018, and in 2020 he ran onto the podium at the 102K Tarawera Ultra race. 

(02/24/2021) Views: 1,226 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

Mountain race, with numerous passages in high altitude (>2500m), in difficult weather conditions (night, wind, cold, rain or snow), that needs a very good training, adapted equipment and a real capacity of personal autonomy. It is 6:00pm and we are more or less 2300 people sharing the same dream carefully prepared over many months. Despite the incredible difficulty, we feel...

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Comrades Marathon created a Wall of Honor to commemorate the achievements of the Comrades runners

Organizers of the Comrades Marathon created a “Wall of Honor” back in 1993 as a permanent landmark to commemorate the achievements of the Comrades runners who covered the epic distance between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Building the Wall began in 1993 with plaques being available for purchase since 1994. It is constructed from interlocking blocks such as those commonly used for retaining walls. Runners who have successfully completed the Comrades Marathon can acquire their own building blocks to last forever. These are mounted on an attractive badge, which records the name, start number and personal status of the runner, which can be updated in later years.

The plaques are bought by runners, family members or friends on their behalf in order to give them away on special birthdays, anniversaries, Comrades milestones or other occasions. The Wall of Honor memorial pads cost ZAR 550 (EUR 30) per pad. This includes the block, the plaque and the engraving as well as the maintenance and care of the block and the site for posterity.

The wall is situated close to the halfway mark on the Comrades route, just outside Drummond. On a down run it would be on the left as you make your way through the valley of a Thousand Hills.

The stretch of road beside which the Wall of Honor is located is on the municipal boundary alongside PheZulu Game Private Park and has the potential to be extended for many years to come. It forms a retaining wall which now stretches over 200m long. Covered with green and yellow Comrades plaques there are now over 6000 of them, belonging runners who have successfully completed the Comrades at least once. They have placed their names on this wall to commemorate their race achievements. Runners who have earned their Permanent number (run Comrades more than 10 times) have a green plaque while those who have run less than 10 have a yellow plaque.

A runner who already has a plaque on the wall and has achieved their green number, double, triple or quadruple green number, can upgrade their plaque on the wall to reflect their prestigious status as a green number. The upgrade of the badge costs ZAR 275 (EUR 15). Only one block/badge per finisher is allowed. Plaques can be purchased retrospectively.

The first section of the wall is set aside and contains the plaques of former Comrades winners. The Comrades Marathon Association awards these to the winners starting from the first race winner, Bill Rowan, in 1921. On average about 500 runners a year are added to the Wall of Honor. Our virtual events don’t qualify for addition to the Wall.

(02/23/2021) Views: 1,207 ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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Comrades Marathon denies financial problem speculations

Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) Tried to distance itself from inaccurate media speculation that 100-year-old road vehicles are in a dangerous financial position.

This comes after this week’s announcement that the 2021 race was canceled due to the coronavirus, as it was in 2020.

“We want to correct recent media reports claiming that the Comrade Marathon Association is facing financial difficulties and the future of the race is at stake,” Cheryl Win said in a statement on Friday.

“On the contrary, despite the cancellation of the second consecutive edition of the Comrade Marathon due to Covid-19 and the resulting blockade and consequent restrictions on mass participation sporting events, it is actually in a healthy financial position. ..

“Last year, we hosted our first highly successful virtual comrade marathon event and planned another event on June 13th, and we’ve accumulated 28 million rants over the last two decades to sustain our future. We are in a privileged position to have more than a reserve fund for our world-famous event.

“In fact, the CMA is currently in a very healthy financial position, thanks to the careful financial management of the current board and the foresight of the previous administration to secure funding in anticipation of a future’rainy day’. It is in.

“The oldest, largest and most famous ultramarathon in the world, and one of South Africa’s most important sports treasures, is facing a tight financial future or is on the verge of closing. I want to stop speculation.

“The mention of potential staff reductions is premature and unfounded. To staff who have provided viable suggestions to survive the storm and continue to serve the organization diligently in the current harsh climate. Thank you.

“The CMA Board’s top priority is to protect the health, safety and well-being of runners, staff, volunteers, sponsors, stakeholders and South Africans, while its top priority is to be a symbolic state agency. Maintaining a volunteer marathon and is economically important for stakeholder sports in Kwazul Natal and South Africa for the next 100 years.

“What CMA is doing effectively and responsibly is to string the purse in case the next comrade marathon can be held safely, in line with the green light from the state and national athletics federations. Protecting all possible resources. With government regulations. “

(02/13/2021) Views: 975 ⚡AMP
by Richard Damato
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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2021 Centenary Comrades Marathon has been cancelled due to the pandemic

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) Board has cancelled the Comrades Marathon, scheduled for June 13.

After having late last year undertaken to make announcements in mid-February regarding requirements for qualification and the staging of the 2021 Comrades Marathon, the decision to cancel will come as a disappointment to tens of thousands of runners; and has also been a tough call for CMA organisers to make, in what is the world-renowned Race’s Centenary year.

This decision comes in the wake of engagements with KwaZulu-Natal Athletics, Athletics South Africa, the National Coronavirus Command Council, members of the medical fraternity and governmental departments; and was a moral and practical imperative given the ongoing uncertainty and unprecedented circumstances of the Ccoronavirus pandemic, the onset of a second wave and a significantly more infectious variant of Covid-19, as well as the ongoing National State of Disaster and its associated restrictions.

The CMA Board is determined the health, safety and welfare of Comrades runners, officials, volunteers and the general public remains paramount even after having held out hope the road running event would be hosted in June.

The impending third wave of Covid-19, widely anticipated around April to June has ended any such hopes and makes the hosting of any mass event in the near future highly unlikely.

However, the good news is the Comrades Centenary Celebrations are imminent.

With the first Comrades Marathon having been held on May 24,1921, the CMA will launch its Centenary Celebrations on May 24.

Other great news is that the CMA has confirmed its 2nd Comrades Marathon virtual event will take place on June 13, in which runners will be able to run in any location, outside in their garden, or neighbourhood, all at their own pace, in a similar fashion to last year’s successful inaugural Race the Comrades Legends which saw 43 788 participants from more than 100 nations uniting in a single virtual event.

CMA cairperson, Cheryl Winn urged runners to accept and respect the CMA’s decision which has been made in conjunction with KZNA, ASA and government restrictions, and most importantly, with the utmost regard for the health and welfare of our athletes, volunteers and all other stakeholders.

A secondary consideration was the risk of committing precious resources towards the staging of an event which might later be cancelled at short notice and the CMA Board’s obligation for the preservation of the 100-year-old event’s assets into the future.

(02/10/2021) Views: 1,056 ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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Jim Walmsley Shatters the 100K American Record, But Misses the World Record by 11 Seconds

The king of Western States came so close at the Project Carbon X 2 race.

After more than six hours of running, Jim Walmsley crossed the finish line 11 seconds short of his ultimate goal—the world record in the 100K. 

At the Hoka Project Carbon X 2 100K race on January 23, held in Chandler, Arizona, Walmsley ran 6:09:25, shattering the American record of 6:27:44, set by Max King in 2014. But the world record (6:09:14, set by Nao Kazami in 2018) continues to elude him.

“Definitely feels like one of the more special runs I’ve had,” Walmsley said, in his post-race interview. “Really felt like I got everything out of myself today, dug real deep, and fought all the way to the line. I don’t feel like I gave up, but it was tough to see the seconds tick by. It’s a little bittersweet, but definitely awarded with an American record today, and those don’t come very often. I don’t get to do things like this in my home state very often, so it’s extremely positive. A 45-minute PR. It was a pretty amazing day.”

Nineteen men and women were chasing national and world records in the 100K distance in Saturday’s race. Walsmley was the men’s favorite to set both the world record and the American record, while Camille Herron was favored for the women. Herron was forced to drop out of the women’s race with a hip injury.

Walmsley started the race in a pack with five other runners, running conservatively to keep his legs fresh. But the other four runners faded behind him, leaving Walmsley to chase the record alone. His pacing picked up over the final 30K, as he raced the clock with everything he had.

Around the 3:30 mark in the race, Walmsley clipped his left shoulder on a course sign, and he was visibly bleeding for the next two and a half hours. At water stops, he’d fuel and treat his wound as best he could while keeping his stride.

The race came down to the final 10K, as Walmsley needed to run 37:58 or faster over the final miles. Those watching the race on the live stream could see the fatigue and pain set in over that final stretch. He let out a loud “C’mon, Jim” scream with a little more than 5K to go, fighting the clock with everything he had.

As he entered the drag strip to the finish, he had just over a minute to cover the final hundreds of meters. He got on his toes, repeatedly checked his watch, and ran as hard as he could to beat the clock that was now in his sights. Ultimately, he watched the clock tick past 6:09:14, finishing 11 seconds later. 

“We’ll have to try it again,” Walmsley said in his post-race interview. “We’re in the right ballpark and on the right track and we have a shoe to compete with this and we’re knocking on the door. I don’t think I’m done with the 100K. Fortunately, unfortunately, there’s likely another one down the road.”

The remainder of Walmsley’s year is uncertain, because of the pandemic. He told Runner’s World before the race that he’s looking at first are the Comrades Marathon and the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. In the near future, he’s hoping to do the Black Canyon 100K three weeks from this weekend on February 13.

The Flagstaff, Arizona, native wasn’t the only runner with a notable day out on the course. Rajpaul Pannu took second in the men’s 100K in his first-ever attempt at the distance. Pannu is a math teacher in addition to being a pro runner who finished 63rd at the Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2020. 

In the women’s race, the United Kingdom’s Carla Molinaro and the United States’s Camille Herron led for the first half of the race before France’s Audrey Tanguy slowly made her way past both runners early in the second half of the race. After that, Herron was forced to drop out after six of nine laps due to a hip injury. 

Tanguy, the reigning and two-time champion of the Ultra-Trail Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS), captured the lead and ran away with the race for the win in 7:40:35, unofficially.

American Nicole Monette did move close to Tanguy late in the race and took second, finishing less than three minutes behind the winner. 

 

 

(01/24/2021) Views: 1,133 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Jim Walmsley, Hayden Hawks Going for 100-km World Record at Project Carbon X 2 in Arizona

A group of top ultra runners will gather in Chandler, Ariz., with hopes of breaking the World Athletics records for 100 kilometers on the road. The event, called Project Carbon X 2 and staged by Hoka One One for the benefit of their athletes, will start and finish at the Wild Horse Pass Motor Sports Park and will use some of the same roads as The Marathon Project which was held with great success last month.

“I’m incredibly excited,” said Hoke One One president Wendy Yang on a video conference today with reporters. “Also feel super fortunate that the team was able to bring this event together.”

The pandemic has meant dramatically fewer competitive opportunities for road running athletes, especially ultra runners who specialize in distances longer than the standard marathon distance of 42.195 km, or 26.2 miles. However, since most ultra runners train alone or in very small groups, the pandemic has given them a chance to put in long blocks of uninterrupted, COVID-safe training and improve their strength and fitness. Tomorrow’s race will offer them a chance to show off their work.

We wanted to give our athletes the chance to compete,” Yang continued. “We felt like our athletes really needed this chance.”

The top targets for tomorrow’s race are the ratified World Athletics 100-K records of 6:33:11 for women, set by Japan’s Tomoe Abe in 2000, and 6:09:14 for men, set by Japan’s Nao Kazami in 2018. Both records were set at the same event, the Lake Saroma 100-K in Hokkaido, Japan. The women’s record works out to a pace of 3:56 per kilometer, which means running two 2:46 marathons back-to-back plus another 15.6 kilometers at the same pace. The men’s record pace of 3:42 per kilometer translates to running back-to-back 2:36 marathons plus the extra distance.

“You never know what can happen in an ultramarathon,” said Hayden Hawks one of the top contenders in the men’s division. Hawks smashed the course record at the venerable JFK 50 Mile (80.5 km) in Maryland last November, clocking 5:18:40. His pace at that event, which included rugged trails and some steep climbs and descents, worked out to 3:58 per kilometer. He said he’s been practicing on flat, loop courses to simulate the conditions in Arizona, and that with his strength and mental toughness he has a chance at the record.

“My greatest strength is probably just my stubbornness,” Hawks said. He added: “I feel like I have this mental strength to push through a lot of pain.”

Hawks’s main rival tomorrow will be ultra star Jim Walmsley, the man whose record he broke at the JFK race. Walmsley is best known as a trail runner, and is the course record holder for the impossibly difficult Western States 100-Miler in Auburn, Calif., where he ran 14:09:28 in 2019 (he also won in 2018). Walmsley already holds the world best for 50 miles on the road of 4:50:08. Using the popular Riegel Formula, that’s equivalent to 6:05:51 for 100-K, comfortably under the 100-K world record by more than three minutes.

Note: Walmsley was on the LetsRun.com Track Talk Podcast this week where he talked about his 100-k world record attempt, his big plans for 2021 and his cancelled 2020. Highlights here.

“I’m really looking forward to improving on my past performances in the 100-K,” Walmsley said today, admitting that he hasn’t yet perfected his approach to that distance yet. He continued: “I think I’m bringing a more mature approach of being more patient.”

If they don’t eclipse the world record, both men could surpass Max King’s USA record of 6:27:44 set in 2014.

On the women’s side, Camille Herron is the top entrant, and she rated her fitness at “80 to 85 percent.” Like Hawks, the holder of the world best for 24 hours on both the road and the track recently won the JFK 50-Miler. She played down the possibility of getting the world record, but said she was in about the same shape as when she won the famed Comrades Marathon in South Africa in 2017 over a distance of 86.73 kilometers. She allowed that a personal best (sub-7:08:35) was possible, despite only doing a six-week build-up.

“I’m definitely confident in my fitness,” said Herron who recently switched sponsors from Nike to Hoka One One and who will be doing her first race in Hoka shoes. She added: “I’m getting fitter every week. I have a pretty good idea of what I’m capable of.”

Also competing in the women’s division is Irish Olympic marathoner Caitriona Jennings, 40, who will be making her 100-K debut. Jennings will be taking a cautious approach to the race because she is 12 weeks pregnant. She said that there will be plenty of ice and fluids available on the course so that she can keep her core temperature in check.

“It wasn’t a decision I took lightly,” she said emphasizing that she had consulted with her doctor before agreeing to compete. She added: “I think (the water and ice on the course) will help with hydration and keep my temperature down.”

The athletes will start and finish on the race track, and will run about nine laps of an 11-kilometer circuit (Walmsley estimated that each full lap would take him about 41 minutes). The course was measured by two World Athletics “A” measurers, Joe Galope and Jay Wright (an “A” measurer must be used in order for a course to be eligible for a World Athletics record). The event will have in-competition drug testing done by the USA Anti-Doping Agency, also a requirement for setting a world record.

All of the competitors will be wearing the new Hoka One One Carbon X 2 shoe. Colin Ingram, Hoka’s director of product, called the new shoe “one of our sharpest tools in the box.” He explained that the shoe had been improved over its predecessor by incorporating “swallow tail construction” to improve deceleration on the foot strike, and lowering the carbon plate to get it closer to the ground.

“It allows for a more natural gait,” Ingram said.

While Hoka One One has not disclosed the cost of the event, it is significant, especially making it as safe as possible from the coronavirus. Mike McManus, Hoka’s director of global marketing, said that every athlete had at least three antigen PCR tests in the last week, and that masks and social distancing were required at all times except when the athletes are on the course. An industry insider contacted by Race Results Weekly estimated the cost of COVID mitigation for the event was around $60,000.

“It’s been a huge challenge for us to make this event happen in a very safe way,” McManus said.

The race will be streamed live and free at hokaoneone.com beginning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

(01/23/2021) Views: 1,055 ⚡AMP
by Let’s Run
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Des Linden is considering a move to the trails

Linden says UTMB and Comrades are bucket-list races

The 2018 Boston Marathon champion and one of America’s most beloved distance runners is eyeing up some of the world’s most competitive trail races. While it’s far from a done deal, as she’s still got some unfinished business on the road, Des Linden wants to conquer both UTMB and the Comrades Marathon before her running days are over.

Linden told slowtwitch.com that ultra racing, specifically Comrades and UTMB are bucket list items for her. “I don’t spend too much time on the trails, to be honest, I think that’s why there’s so much intrigue. Exploring Chamonix and the Mont-Blanc region on foot and in a race atmosphere just looks pretty incredible.”

UTMB and the Comrades Marathon are two of the most competitive ultra races in the world. UTMB lasts several days and covers 171K, Comrades is a little shorter running either 87 and 90K depending on the year. Trail running is gaining popularity and as it does, more road runners will move from the marathon to even longer distances. (Side note: American distance legend Shalane Flanagan has also been seen doing some trail runs lately). It’ll be interesting to see, as more elite roadies make the move, if they can catch the best in the trail running business.

Jim Walmsley is a great example of a runner who has been successful at every running discipline – but his dominance lies on the trails. Walmsley made his road marathon debut at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trails. His run there was hyped as one of the most exciting storylines, with some going so far as to claim he had an outside shot at the Olympic team. Walmsley ran extremely well (a 2:15 on the insanely hilly Atlanta course is no small feat) to finish 22nd – a far cry from an Olympic berth, but an impressive debut nonetheless.

While Linden is looking to one day attempt a reverse-Walmsley, and it’ll be interested to watch her trajectory. She could help runners answer the age-old question of: do road results translate to the trails?

(08/16/2020) Views: 946 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Sara Hall Among Pros Who Will Take Shot at Treadmill World Records on June 6 in Chaski Challenge

Inspired by the success of last month’s Quarantine Backyard Ultra, a handful of elite runners will attempt to break treadmill world records across five distances next week. Sara Hall, the fastest American female marathoner of 2019, is the headliner, and will be shooting for the women’s treadmill half marathon record of 1:20:43 (Hall’s pb is 1:08:58).

The event, which will be held on Saturday, June 6, and is known as the Chaski Challenge, is the brainchild of Tyler Andrews, a 2:15 marathoner who ran a world best of 2:46:06 for 50,000 meters on the track in 2018 (LRC recorded a podcast with him shortly before that race). Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Andrews had planned to spend the spring training with Jim Walmsley in Flagstaff as the two men prepared to race the famed Comrades Marathon in South Africa. Instead, Andrews is now based at his parents’ house in Concord, Mass., but is still training hard and wanted to create an opportunity to allow himself and others to demonstrate their fitness.

“A lot of people are really fit out there right now and have nothing to do with it,” Andrews says. “So we wanted to do that. And then just create a really compelling, fun, conversation-provoking event that people can watch on a Saturday night and have fun with.”

Similar to the Quarantine Backyard Ultra, the Chaski Challenge will feature a free live online broadcast and tracking of the record attempts around the country with cameras aimed at each elite runner’s treadmill. 2016 Olympian Marielle Hall and ultrarunner Kris Brown (13th at 2019 Western States 100) will serve as commentators.

“Chaski Endurance Collective, which is my coaching collective, we have a bunch of different athletes from different areas on staff and we were kind of just bouncing around ideas and talking about what could we do that’s kind of building off what Quarantine Backyard Ultra did really well, because that event just absolutely crushed it,” Andrews says.

Andrews also felt the inclusive nature of the Quarantine Backyard Ultra — anyone could sign up and compete — was one of the keys to its success, and to that end, the Chaski Challenge will feature free-to-enter 5k and 50k races, which anyone can sign up for and complete during a 24-hour window beginning on June 5 at 4 p.m. ET (there is an optional donation to Feeding America’s COVID-19 relief efforts).

At 6 p.m. ET on June 6, the broadcast will begin with the men’s 50k, which features Andrews, 2014 world 100k champ Max King, and Quarantine Backyard Ultra champion Mike Wardian (2:54 50k pb). Midway through that race, the men’s half marathon (featuring 61:51 man John Raneri) and the women’s half marathon (featuring Hall and 2:27 marathoner Renee Metivier) will begin. Mario Mendoza will also be attempting to break the 50-mile record; that attempt will begin prior to the broadcast. The current treadmill world records for each event are as follows (the men will also try to break the marathon record en route to 50k):

Women’s half marathon: 1:20:43, Jenna Wrieden, USA, 2014

Men’s half marathon: 1:03:37, Tyler Andrews, USA, 2015

Men’s marathon: 2:20:45, Paul Zwama, Netherlands, 2018

Men’s 50k: 2:56:35, Matthias Kyburz, Switzerland, 2020

Men’s 50-mile: 4:57:45, Jacob Puzey, USA, 2016

Andrews chose those events because he believes each record is ripe for the taking. The 50k record has been broken three times already this year; both Wardian and Mendoza are former holders of the record.

“We are 100% sure that we are going to break these records in this race,” says Andrews. “There’s zero question. The women’s half marathon mark is 1:20. I’m pretty sure that women out there have done that in training before and not recorded it. We’re not just looking to break these; we want to make these legitimate. We want to have actual, really good athletes just totally destroy them and set them way out of reach.”

Andrews feels confident he is just as fit as when he ran 2:46 for 50,000 meters in 2018; on Sunday, he ran a workout of 7 x 5k (16:19, 16:20, 16:20, 16:16, 16:11, 16:07, 15:51) with 1k recovery for a total of 41k on the treadmill in 2:16. He will be making the attempt in a room that doubles as his office and a storage room for his dad’s clothes.

“There’s a TV inside the cabinet [in front of the treadmill],” Andrews says. “I don’t watch television when I’m running, but I actually kind of like it because it’s almost a black mirror, so I can see my upper running form, so I can see if I’m starting to list to one side or slouch a little bit.”

Hall bouncing back from Olympic Trials disappointment

Andrews has run into one issue with the Chaski Challenge: Hall will not be able to run her portion of the event live. Instead, she will record her attempt this week, and it will be played at the same time as the other attempts on the broadcast next week. Still, she is excited to give it a go.

“It’s a tough time for all sports, but especially with ours including the masses, people need things to stay motivated or to get a benchmark of fitness,” Hall says. “I wanted to support that and it will be nice to get a benchmark of fitness for myself in the process and hopefully provide some entertainment to people.”

Hall’s most recent race was the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta on February 29, where she dropped out after 22 miles. Hall says her recovery has been “a process.”

“I wanted that team more than any other race of my career, so I think I’m still somewhat getting over the disappointment and I think I’ll always look back on it with frustration,” Hall says.

After falling short in the Marathon Trials, Hall’s initial plan was to give the track trials a go in either the 5,000 or 10,000; even once they were postponed, her recent training has focused on those distances. She eventually plans to transition into a buildup for a fall 2020 marathon (if they happen) before returning to the track for the 2021 Olympic Trials.

For a woman who has run 1:08 for a half, 1:20 should be a piece of cake — theoretically. But Hall is not peaking for the Chaski Challenge. And since she rarely runs on treadmills, she doesn’t want to risk injury by giving a full race effort. In addition, she’ll likely be running at almost 7,000 feet in Flagstaff — which Hall says usually knocks 15 seconds per mile off her tempo pace. Still, record pace is just 6:10 per mile, which is very attainable for Hall, even with those caveats.

Hall won’t be able to make her attempt from the comfort of home as her treadmill is currently broken. Her plan is to head to a gym (which are now open in Arizona) and take her shot there. Unlike most half marathon record attempts, however, Hall will be able to have her four daughters cheer her on every step of the way — if they choose to.

“I’ll create a playlist to give me some entertainment and the girls will probably cheer me on, but will likely get bored after a few minutes and wander off,” Hall says.

(06/06/2020) Views: 966 ⚡AMP
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After cancelling the South African ultra, Comrades Marathon virtual event signups surpass 13,000 runners

One of the world’s most famous and coveted ultramarathons, the Comrades Marathon in South Africa, was cancelled due to COVID-19 in May. The race was set for June 14, and although no one will be physically running the course between the South African cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban on that day, organizers have scheduled a virtual event called Race the Comrades Legends for the same date.

The event is open to anyone worldwide, and with just over a week to go before race day, over 13,000 people have registered to run.

In a normal year, the Comrades Marathon is 87K or 90K (the course changes directions each year, hence the two distances). Runners looking to participate in the virtual event will have the option to complete a 90K run in classic Comrades style, but there are also 5K, 10K, 21K and 45K options for anyone who isn’t looking to tackle an ultramarathon.

The event is free to anyone who was already registered for the 2020 Comrades Marathon, and it’s just $25 for everyone else. In addition to the race fee, runners have the option of donating to six local South African charities.

All participants will have to record their runs and upload them to the Comrades site, where results will be compiled and ranked. Runners can upload their runs using whatever tracking apps or GPS programs they prefer.

After all the results are in, runners will be able to see where they sit among the rest of the participants, and according to the virtual race press release, they will also be able to see how they rank against Comrades Marathon legends from past events.

All finishers will receive a virtual medal and finishing certificate immediately after completing their race, and in the weeks after the event, they will receive a physical medal as well.

(06/05/2020) Views: 1,899 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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Sara Hall, will be shooting for the women’s treadmill half marathon record on June 6 in Chaski Challenge

Inspired by the success of last month’s Quarantine Backyard Ultra, a handful of elite runners will attempt to break treadmill world records across five distances next week. Sara Hall, the fastest American female marathoner of 2019, is the headliner, and will be shooting for the women’s treadmill half marathon record of 1:20:43 (Hall’s pb is 1:08:58).

The event, which will be held on Saturday, June 6, and is known as the Chaski Challenge, is the brainchild of Tyler Andrews, a 2:15 marathoner who ran a world best of 2:46:06 for 50,000 meters on the track in 2018 (LRC recorded a podcast with him shortly before that race).

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Andrews had planned to spend the spring training with Jim Walmsley in Flagstaff as the two men prepared to race the famed Comrades Marathon in South Africa. Instead, Andrews is now based at his parents’ house in Concord, Mass., but is still training hard and wanted to create an opportunity to allow himself and others to demonstrate their fitness.

“A lot of people are really fit out there right now and have nothing to do with it,” Andrews says. “So we wanted to do that. And then just create a really compelling, fun, conversation-provoking event that people can watch on a Saturday night and have fun with.”

Similar to the Quarantine Backyard Ultra, the Chaski Challenge will feature a free live online broadcast and tracking of the record attempts around the country with cameras aimed at each elite runner’s treadmill. 2016 Olympian Marielle Hall and ultrarunner Kris Brown (13th at 2019 Western States 100) will serve as commentators.

“Chaski Endurance Collective, which is my coaching collective, we have a bunch of different athletes from different areas on staff and we were kind of just bouncing around ideas and talking about what could we do that’s kind of building off what Quarantine Backyard Ultra did really well, because that event just absolutely crushed it,” Andrews says.

Andrews also felt the inclusive nature of the Quarantine Backyard Ultra — anyone could sign up and compete — was one of the keys to its success, and to that end, the Chaski Challenge will feature free-to-enter 5k and 50k races, which anyone can sign up for and complete during a 24-hour window beginning on June 5 at 4 p.m. ET (there is an optional donation to Feeding America’s COVID-19 relief efforts).

At 6 p.m. ET on June 6, the broadcast will begin with the men’s 50k, which features Andrews, 2014 world 100k champ Max King, and Quarantine Backyard Ultra champion Mike Wardian (2:54 50k pb). Midway through that race, the men’s half marathon (featuring 61:51 man John Raneri) and the women’s half marathon (featuring Hall and 2:27 marathoner Renee Metivier) will begin. Mario Mendoza will also be attempting to break the 50-mile record; that attempt will begin prior to the broadcast.

(05/29/2020) Views: 1,122 ⚡AMP
by Jonathan Gault
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The Comrades Marathon will be offering a virtual alternative

All is not lost for disappointed long distance runners who qualified for the recent cancelled Comrades Marathon.

The Comrades Marathon Association has announced the launch of a virtual event, ‘Race the Comrades Legends’, which will see all finishers receiving a medal.

The world’s greatest ultra marathon will now also stage the world’s biggest virtual event, with athletes from around the globe invited to participate on Sunday, 14 June.

Entry will be free for South African runners who have already entered the 2020 Comrades.

The website will include an virtual online functionality through which runners can compete, ‘run with’ and compare outcomes against Comrades greats such as Bruce Fordyce, Frith van der Merwe, Samuel Tshabalala and many others.

All that runners need to do is to visit the Comrades website, register for ‘Race The Comrades Legends’ and select their distance (5km, 10km, 21km, 45km or 90km).

The cost is R150 for South African runners and $25 for foreign athletes who have not already paid for and qualified for the 2020 Comrades.

Once registration is complete, runners will receive all the necessary race information and rules prior to the race date.

Athletes will then run their respective races, capture their times using a normal timing device and upload it. Their results will be calculated and updated automatically.

They will thereafter receive personalised race feedback by email.

The programme will include full integration of all popular fitness apps, including Strava and Endomondo for direct upload, as well as Garmin, Polar and Suunto.

Runners who do not have any of these devices or apps can upload a GPX, TCX or FIT file format from other devices and apps, or they can manually enter their time based on any watch.

Every entrant will receive a digital race number prior to the race, a virtual medal and certificate immediately after the race and personalised results comparisons.

All finishers will receive a real medal, which will be distributed as soon as possible, as opposed to the majority of virtual races which generally only award virtual medals.

It works pretty much the same way as any other type of running, the difference being that the runner can run at any location, especially in the comfort of your own home, on a treadmill, outside in the garden, or neighbourhood and all at one’s own pace.

(05/21/2020) Views: 1,386 ⚡AMP
by Richard Springorum
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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American ultra runner Zach Bitter breaks 100-mile treadmill world record clockin 12:09:15

American ultra runner Zach Bitter spent all day Saturday on the treadmill, starting at 6:30 a.m. PST and running until just after 6:30 p.m.

He ran for 100 miles (160.9K) and set the new treadmill world record for the distance with a time of 12:09:15. He bettered Canadian Dave Proctor‘s previous record (set at last year’s Calgary Marathon expo) of 12:32:26 by over 20 minutes. Bitter averaged an incredible 4:32 per kilometer over 12 hours and 100 miles of running.

Bitter’s average pace of 4:32 per kilometer would have given him a 3:11 marathon, which is a good time on its own, but he ran almost four marathons in a row on Saturday. The run was streamed live on YouTube, and different ultra runners and endurance athletes Zoomed in to chat as Bitter chipped away at his 100-mile trek.

Some of those big names included 2019 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc winner Courtney Dauwalter, Aravaipa Running’s Jamil Coury, Quarantine Backyard Ultra champion Mike Wardian and Proctor himself, who knows exactly what it takes to break the 100-mile treadmill record.

Bitter is already the world record-holder in the 100-mile run, which he set last August at an indoor track in Wisconsin in a time of 11:19:13. He is also the owner of the 100-mile trail record from the 2018 Tunnel Hill trail race in Illinois, where he ran 12:08:36.

Now, he has  officially added the treadmill record to his resume. With these three records to his name, it’s fair to say that Bitter is in the conversation for greatest 100-mile runner of all time, if not the outright winner of that title.

Bitter has been running ultra marathons for a decade now, and he’s got plenty of big race wins and results to his name.

He was 11th at the 2018 Western States 100, he took 32nd place at the 2016 Comrades Marathon and sixth at the International Association of Ultra runners 100K world championships in 2014. In 2019, he won three races, including the San Diego 100-miler in California.

(05/18/2020) Views: 1,158 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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After announcing the event would be postponed last month, organizers have now cancelled the Comrades Marathon altogether

Last month, Comrades Marathon race organizers announced that the event would be postponed, although no new dates were ever set. This morning, the Comrades Marathon Association and Athletics South Africa officially cancelled the event, once again extending the list of COVID-19 race casualties.

The 2020 event would have been the 95th running of the ultramarathon, but that milestone will have to wait until at least 2021.

The Comrades Marathon route switches direction every year, but it’s always run between the two same cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban. There are “up” years (Durban to Pietermaritzburg), which are 87K with about 2,000 metres of elevation gain, and “down” years (Pietermaritzburg to Durban), which are 90K. This year would have been a down year, but runners will have to wait to make the trek until next June.

Comrades is the biggest race in South Africa, and in 2020 they had a cap of 27,500 racers. The race is a big source of pride for South Africans, and it’s been won by South African runners on many occasions, including the last eight-straight years.

This year’s race would have been the 95th running of the Comrades Marathon, but 2021 will actually be the 100th anniversary of the event (it wasn’t run for five years during World War II). It’s a shame that the event had to be cancelled this year, but it will make next year’s run more meaningful with the race celebrating 100 years of existence and its 95th running.

The race was first run in 1921 by Vic Clapham, who fought in World War I. Upon returning home to South Africa, he ran between Pietermaritzburg and Durban as a tribute for his fellow soldiers (or comrades) who didn’t make it home, officially starting the Comrades Marathon.

(05/15/2020) Views: 1,211 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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Two Oceans pain for champ Mthembu

Two Oceans Marathon defending down-run champion, Bongmusa Mthembu, was keen to entrench his dominance in this year’s edition of the competition but the coronavirus stifled his advancement.

The Bulwer-born athlete was left dejected by the cancellation of the Two Oceans Marathon.

The marathon was set to take place last week where scores of local and international runners from were to come together with their sights set on supremacy in the Cape Town annual road running extravaganza but it wasn’t to be. Mthembu reigned supreme last year and was looking forward to dazzling once again.

“I was looking forward to the Two Oceans Marathon. I was disappointed when I heard that it had been cancelled. I worked very hard for that competition,” said the elite member of the Arthur Ford Running Club.

“I knew that many athletes were coming for me and I needed to do something special to step up. I even took a break from social media to focus on preparations for defending my crown. If I had my way, the race would have been postponed instead of cancelled. I know I speak for many runners who felt that the race should have been scheduled for another time this year.”

Mthembu is also the current holder of the Comrades Marathon down-run title after winning the ultra-marathon between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in 2018. He came close to winning the Comrades up-run last year but was pipped by Edward Mothibi. The Covid-19 outbreak has forced the organizers of this year’s Comrades to postpone the race.

“We respect the decision taken by South African government (placing the country on lockdown and suspending community gatherings). This is a natural disaster. The rest of the world is suffering from the same virus. Our preparations (for Comrades Marathon) have been distracted, we can’t hide that but we need to accept it. If we have to start afresh, let it be. The lives of South Africans are more important than the sport. This will pass and we will come back and compete again,” he added.

The decision about this year’s Comrades Marathon is yet to be taken. The SA biggest marathon was scheduled to take place on June 14. Mthembu will be eyeing his fourth title this year if the 2020 race happens. He has made the down-run his own but feels strongly that a race like the Two Oceans is a great precursor to the dash between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

“The focus was purely on the Two Oceans and then thereafter I was going switch my mind towards the Comrades Marathon. I’m also a defending champion for the down-run. We will wait and see what the future holds. But as I said, the most important for now is to comply with the rules and regulations of the country. We can’t be worried about Comrades while the rest of the world is trying to fight this virus. Let us fight the virus first and then we can focus on running races,” Mthembu explained.

The 36-year-old distance specialist was the winner of the world famous race in 2014, 2017 and 2018. He made his Comrades debut back in 2006.

“I always want to be consistent, my brother. That’s what always pushes me to do well.

(04/22/2020) Views: 1,388 ⚡AMP
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Two Oceans Marathon

Two Oceans Marathon

Cape Town’s most prestigious race, the 56km Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, takes athletes on a spectacular course around the Cape Peninsula. It is often voted the most breathtaking course in the world. The event is run under the auspices of the IAAF, Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Western Province Athletics (WPA). ...

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The Comrades Marathon 2020 has been officially postponed

The 2020 Comrades Marathon has been postponed indefinitely. The postponement of the most famous and historic ultramarathon in South Africa was announced on Friday morning by Athletics South Africa.

The Comrades Marathon route travels between two cities, Pietermaritzburg and Durban. The direction changes, however, between “up” and “down” years. “Up” years see racers run 87K with about 2,000 meters of elevation gain. “Down” years are a bit further, hitting 90K, but the run is a net downhill.

It was set to be a down year in 2020, so the race was scheduled to start in Pietermaritzburg and head to Durban, on South Africa’s east coast. The cut-off for the Comrades Marathon is 12 hours.

Both Jim Walmsley and Camille Herron, American ultra running legends, were set to compete at the 2020 event was originally scheduled for Sunday June 14.

The news follows the April 9 announcement that South Africa would be extending its lockdown by another 14 days, before re-evaluating the country’s public health needs. 

Aleck Skhosana, president of Athletics South Africa, told Sport24, “The Comrades Marathon is therefore postponed from 14 June to a suitable date that will be determined between ASA, KZN Athletics and the Comrades Marathon Association as soon as conditions around the management of the virus allow us to under the guidance of the Government.”

(04/17/2020) Views: 1,479 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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With South Africa entering its last week of official lockdown, Comrades Marathon unlikely to take place on June 14

With South Africa entering its last week of official lockdown, the 2020 Comrades Marathon Association has admitted that the iconic race is ‘unlikely to go ahead’ on 14 June. But organisers have not yet officially communicated their decision on the race’s future due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It takes an extraordinary amount of resilience to run the Comrades Marathon, the 90km race between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It takes an equal amount of motivation and organisation to host the race, with thousands of moving parts all needing to come together on one day to make the experience for the approximately 27,500 runners a bucket list dream-come-true. 

Of course, it also takes money and support to make it happen, which means sponsors, and broadcast rights. A cancelled marathon would result in a massive loss of revenue, which is why it is no surprise that the race has yet to be called off, or postponed because of Covid-19. 

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) appears to be taking every available minute to make a call. It is almost certainly a vain undertaking because the Covid-19 virus is going nowhere quickly – all the data leads to that conclusion. 

Despite the national lockdown that started on 27 March 2020, the CMA maintained its position that the race was still scheduled for 14 June 2020 even though participants would not easily be able to continue training under the strict State of National Disaster conditions. CMA quickly changed that stance after a backlash on social media. 

“We are living through unprecedented, unpredictable and unimaginably challenging times,” CMA chairperson Cheryl Winn wrote to participants recently. 

“On behalf of the Comrades Marathon Association, I thank you for your patience and apologise for the extent to which uncertainty as to the status of the 2020 Comrades Marathon may have added to your burden of anxiety, over matters far graver than any road race, over the past month. A reminder that we have promised to put an end to the uncertainty by 17 April. 

“Considering the ramifications of the 21-day national lockdown, and as Covid-19 numbers in South Africa and around the world continue to escalate, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that the 2020 Comrades Marathon will be staged on 14 June. 

“CMA’s main considerations at this stage are to encourage runners to abide by and respect all aspects and directives of Government in relation to the National Lockdown, in particular to stay at home and do not run outside of one’s own property, as well as regard for the eventual safety, welfare and potential un-preparedness of runners after having experienced a three-week interruption in training, during the critical build-up to such a gruelling endurance race. 

“With regard to possible postponement, which would require Athletics South Africa (ASA) sanction, the CMA Board is of the view that the race cannot be staged later than 4 October 2020 owing to climatic conditions.  Failing which the 2020 Comrades Marathon will have to be cancelled for the first and only time since World War 2 in the 99 year history of the race. 

We trust that runners will appreciate that within an extremely congested athletics calendar that is largely constructed around the Comrades Marathon, it is no easy task to identify an alternative date.

(04/11/2020) Views: 1,333 ⚡AMP
by Craig Ray
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...

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After over 50 hours ultrarunner Mike Wardian runs 63 laps for 422K to win the virtual race Quarantine Backyard Ultra

The Quarantine Backyard Ultra started Saturday morning, and over 2,400 runners from more than 50 countries joined the virtual race. Runners ran 6.706K every hour for as long as they could, and over 60 hours later, only two runners remained: American Mike Wardian and Radek Brunner of the Czech Republic. Brunner missed the start of the 63rd lap and was therefore disqualified, making Wardian the winner after 422K.

With every passing lap of the Quarantine Backyard Ultra, more and more of the world’s best ultrarunners dropped out and registered DNFs. Last year at the Big’s Backyard Ultra, Maggie Guterl ran 60 laps for 402K, but a nagging back injury forced her to pull out of the race this weekend after just nine laps.

After 15 laps and 100K, Jamil Coury called it a day. Three laps later, Canadian Cal Neff dropped out. At the 100-mile mark, Courtney Dauwalter threw in the towel, along with 72-year-old Gene Dykes. Later on, after 31 laps, Canadian Dave Proctor (who helped bring the event into fruition), had to end his race due to back pain.

“It was a bit of a tough day for sure,” Coury said. “I was hoping to go as long as I could— 24 or 30 hours—but you never know with these things.” Although he didn’t get as far as he would’ve liked, Coury cut himself some slack, seeing as he’d run a marathon around a 27-metre course just four days earlier. In fact, just making it in time to race at all was an accomplishment for Coury, who slept at his office the night before and woke up only minutes before the event began.

“I was working late on Friday night, and i fell asleep at my office,” he said. “I fortunately had a pair of shoes and socks in my truck. I threw it on, started my livestream and just ran out the door.” Coury ran the first seven hours around his office’s neighbourhood, returning to finish work between laps. He eventually drove home (he made it to his treadmill with three minutes to spare before the start of the next lap) and made it to 100K before bowing out.

Dauwalter said she got to the 100-mile mark and decided that was “a solid day.”

“When I signed up I didn’t have major plans,” she said. “I wanted to make it at through the night, because that’s always special and fun to see the sunrise.” She did make it through the night, got her sunrise and retired from the race soon after.

“I think this is a really fun format,” she said. “It’s great with the camaraderie. You come back from a lap and go on the Zoom chat with the other runners.” Proctor also noted how fun it was to chat on the Zoom and YouTube feeds.

“It’s so unique,” he said. “When all the runners go off and do their thing, I get extraordinarily busy talking to everybody on YouTube.” He said that he spent around half of his time on the treadmill answering questions viewers had posted on the YouTube live video.

“I found that it was really quite rewarding. It gets your mind off of what you’re doing and it gives you something [else] to do.” While they were both still in the race, Proctor and Coury teamed up and answered questions together, adding some fun banter to the mix as well.

The two finalists had very different setups for the final laps. Brunner ran solo in his house on a treadmill while Wardian took to the streets with a support crew and several cyclists riding alongside him as he ran. The winner of multiple U.S. national titles at ultra distances, Wardian is well known in the running community. He has run the Western States 100 and the Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc multiple times, and he finished 11th at the 2011 Comrades Marathon and third at the 2010 Marathon des Sables.

Brunner is more of an unknown, at least in the North American ultra community, but like Wardian, he has an impressive running resume. He has represented the Czech Republic on multiple occasions, competing at the 24-hour, 100K and trail world championships. At the 2017 24-hour worlds in Ireland, Brunner came 14th. He has also run to the podium four years in a row in the Spartathlon, a 246-kilometre ultramarathon in Greece. Although he didn’t win, after this run, Brunner’s name has become much more well known in the ultrarunning community.

(04/07/2020) Views: 1,358 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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