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Articles tagged #Jim Walmsley
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How Mike Foote and Rob Krar Set the R2R2R-alt FKT (Hint: Skinny-Dipping Was Involved)

To save time, the two pros went naked while crossing the Colorado River twice during the 42-mile run.

It all started with a text on December 15. Mike Foote had a hankering for an adventure after a year without races that left him mostly situated around his home in Missoula, Montana. Wanting to end the year on a high note, he sent a Hail Mary ask to his buddy Rob Krar.

“Are you healthy right now?” the text read. “Any interest in doing the Grand Canyon alternate R2R2R with me sometime in the next couple of weeks?”

Krar, based in Flagstaff, Arizona, responded quickly: “Oh gawd.”

A back and forth commenced. Krar was hesitant and decided to sleep on it. The next day, Krar politely declined the invitation, seemingly ending Foote’s dreams to complete the run. However, a seed was clearly planted.

Krar kept thinking about Foote’s offer, so much that he and his wife, Christina Bauer, decided to scout the south rim of the trail, which is about two hours from their home. No stranger to the Grand Canyon, Krar has run many routes throughout the park, but he had never done this one. They discovered a beautiful trail that led to the Colorado River, and they even set out to check out the north section after, but were forced to turn back 30 miles away from the trailhead due to snow.

Turns out, that was good enough. On December 27, Krar let Foote know he was all in. Four days later, they were camping out at the trailhead.

“I really was somewhat unprepared for what we did, but I was in the realm of possibility,” Krar told Runner’s World. “I like to say, I enjoy big, dumb ideas. Mike’s idea was a big, dumb idea, and it would be an immensely satisfying way to finish what really is a rough year.”

“Sometimes you plan for big objectives with months of preparation,” Foote told Runner’s World. “Sometimes you wing it.”

After a night sleeping in single-digit temperatures, they awoke slowly to prepare for the R2R2R-alt, the 42-mile out-and-back route with two crossings of the Colorado River. It took a bit of time to get rolling because the oatmeal, water, and coffee they brought was a frozen block.

Just before daylight, around 7 a.m. on December 31, they set out in their soon-to-be-released North Face Vectiv trail shoes, running the 18 miles from the south rim to the first river crossing.

Typically when runners cross the Colorado River, they utilize wetsuits and pack rafts. Foote favored that method, but Krar had other ideas.

“I have a tendency to get cold easy, so it was a well-thought-out, calculated decision that, in my mind, offered us to best way to stay warm,” Krar said. “It seemed counterintuitive, but we would spend more time getting in and out of wet suits, especially when it was wet, and the suits would give us minimal warmth for a two-minute swim. Why not just take the shock of the initial plunge and get to the other side with our clothes in dry bags.”

And that’s exactly what the duo did. When they arrived at the river’s edge, they stripped down quickly, and packed up their dry bags. Foote had brought along a pack raft, but instead, they fought that fear we all have of jumping into cold water, and leapt into the river buck naked.

“Once you’re in, you’re in,” Foote said. “You’re 100-percent focused on getting across.”

After about five seconds of shock, they made their way across in roughly two minutes, quickly getting on shore and throwing on the puffy jackets they had in their dry bags. The whole experience swimming from one side to the other took about five minutes.

Starting up the trail to the north rim of the canyon was tougher than the south side. It involved a much more technical trail, particularly on the climb out of the canyon, which required a slower approach.

“We didn’t have deep, philosophical discussions about life,” Krar said. “I’d like to call it comfortable silence and knowing we were doing something incredible.”

Foote agreed, and added that his mind was mostly focused on one thing the entire way.

“The wasn’t a few minutes where I wasn’t thinking about that river crossing,” he said.

After nearly 30 miles and 10 hours, they made it up to the north rim and back to the river. Again they quickly undressed and jumped in—but this time, they got caught by the current and ended up in an eddy. This slowed them down, costing them about a minute before getting to the other side in roughly three minutes.

It took a toll, mentally and physically. Krar said his feet were numb for 20 to 30 minutes, and he struggled to find his running legs again. They also were met with some fresh snow after a flurry while they were running the northern section left two to three inches on the south side trail.

With the river crossings behind him, Foote’s mind shifted to the finish, counting down the minutes as they made their way up the south rim.

“What do we have? 30 minutes? 10 minutes now?” Foote thought as he made the climb up. “The terrain was constantly switching from big steps, then runnable, and we settled into a hiking pace with our headlamps on just trying to get to the end.”

Finally, after 11 hours, 32 minutes, and 9 seconds, they reached the trailhead, officially setting the fastest known time (FKT). Their mark bested the popular 2018 FKT set by the trio of Jim Walmsley, Tim Freriks, and Eric Senseman.

They had thought about camping another night, but after the cold day, Bauer drove them both back to Flagstaff. They warmed up during the two hour drive, arriving home around 11:15 p.m. Bauer threw some pot stickers in the oven and before they knew it, it was 11:55 p.m.

To mark the new year and the successful FKT run, Krar broke out a special Trappist beer, made by monks in the Netherlands and Belgium. It was a birthday present for him from his wife the day before.

He poured three ounces for everyone, said cheers to the end of 2020, and went to bed.

“We went big,” Foote said.

(01/10/2021) Views: 39 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Hawks soars to JFK 50 victory in record time

With most major running events having been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunities were not to be wasted at the 58th annual JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon in Washington County.

No one seized the chance to showcase their fitness quite the way Hayden Hawks did Saturday.

In his debut at the race, Hawks, 29, of Cedar City, Utah, turned in a stunning performance, winning in a course-record time of 5 hours, 18 minutes and 40 seconds — an average of 6:21 per mile.

The women’s title was captured by pre-race favorite Camille Herron in 6:31:14.

“I just really wanted to come out here, have fun and see what I could do. It just all clicked today,” Hawks said. “I kept thinking the whole time during the race how grateful I was to be out here.

“You know, it’s been a hard year for a lot of people, including us as professional athletes. My whole schedule was changed this year. I had all these big plans, competing at all these big things. Of course, all that got canceled, so I just took advantage of the time I had and really dialed everything in — my nutrition, my strength training, my running training — coming into this.

“I was like, you know, I need to be grateful and have gratitude because, really, this might be the first and the last race for a while for me. I was just really fortunate and really happy out there.”

The previous course record was 5:21:29, set by Jim Walmsley in 2016. That was a momentous achievement, as before Saturday, no one else had ever run faster than 5:34:22 in the first 57 years of the event.

“I fully expected Walmsley’s record to stand well into 2040, maybe even 2050,” JFK 50 director Mike Spinnler said. “It was just such a big quantum leap.”

With some help from Walmsley, Hawks took it a step further.

“Jim and I are really good friends. We talk all the time,” Hawks said. “Jim actually gave me some advice coming into this. I was texting him back and forth, asking for shoe advice and what I should do. And he gave me advice.

“He’s a really class-act guy, a really great competitor, and I’m really fortunate to have him as a friend. That’s what we do as competitors. We’re always trying to push each other and reach that next goal. I’m sure Jim is happy for me today to take this course record to the next step, just like I’d be happy for him if he did that as well.”

Stephen Kersh, 29, of Flagstaff, Ariz., placed second in 5:27:07 — the No. 3 performance in race history — in his first JFK.

“I’m definitely pretty happy,” he said. “It was just about as good as it could have been.”

Kersh’s training partners in Flagstaff include Walmsley and two other recent JFK champions, Jared Hazen (2018) and Eric Sensmen (2017).

“I’ve been picking their brains for the last couple months, so I didn’t come into this as green as some people. I knew what to expect,” Kersh said. “Training with those guys, this isn’t as unexpected as maybe some people think, because I’m not really a big name in the sport.”

After the first 15.5-mile segment of the race, mostly comprised of the rocky Appalachian Trail, a lead pack of four — Hawks, Matt Daniels, Hazen and Kersh — took the title fight to the flat C&O Canal towpath for the next 26.3 miles.

“Once we hit the canal path, Matt and I took off,” Hawks said. “We actually train a lot together and are really good friends.

“We talked beforehand about working together on the canal path, and then it would be every man for himself at the end, so that’s what we did. We started clicking off sub-6-minute miles and were feeling very comfortable, having a conversation and feeling really good.

“At Mile 27, I kind of broke Matt a little bit. I think maybe he had a calf injury. He’s been dealing with a lot of injuries over the past few months. Matt on his ‘A’ game would have been hard to beat today.”

Daniels ended up dropping out, and Hazen fell back to a 13th-place finish (6:36:13).

Jonathan Aziz, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colo., finished third in his ultramarathon debut in 5:37:14 — the No. 6 performance in JFK history.

Anthony Kunkel, 28, of Durango, Colo., placed fourth in 5:45:31, and Geoffrey Burns, 30, of Ann Arbor, Mich., took fifth in 5:52:51.

Herron adds to her résumé

In the women’s competition, Herron, 38, of Alamosa, Colo., showed why she was the overwhelming pre-race favorite, leading from start to finish as she won by nearly a half-hour in her first JFK.

Although Herron’s personal record for 50 miles (5:38:41) is an all-time world best, she specializes in even longer events, also owning world-best performances for 100 miles (12:42:40) and 24 hours (167.842 miles).

“Because I was coming down in distance, I felt a little slow and rusty today,” she said.

She had her sights set on the JFK women’s record — 6:12:00, set by Ellie Greenwood in 2012.

Although Herron was off course-record pace on the Appalachian Trail, she had hoped to make up for it on the C&O Canal towpath.

“I was trying to chase time the whole way, and I just didn’t have it. This was the best that I could do today,” she said. “Buy hey, I won. I’m not disappointed for such a crazy year. It’s awesome to even have a race.

“I definitely want to come back,” she said. “I think I have it in me to go for the course record — just keep trying. It’s a stout course record, I can tell you that.”

Sarah Cummings, 31, of Park City, Utah, was the runner-up in 6:57:11, while Haley Moody Gilpin, 31, of Chattanooga, Tenn., placed third in 7:00:52, Alicia Hudelson, 36, of Roswell, Ga., took fourth in 7:14:02, and Sarah Biehl, 26, of Hilliard, Ohio, was fifth in 7:22:32.

(11/22/2020) Views: 94 ⚡AMP
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Jim Walmsley says he can take a 2:05 marathoner in a trail scenario

Walmsley on the road versus trail argument

Jim Walmsley ran a 1:04:00 in the Houston Half-Marathon on Sunday. Since his performance, many people have been critical of his race and returned to comparing the trail and road running scenes in a futile attempt to try and identify which discipline is more difficult.

Walmsley is an ultra and trail runner who’s the Western States 100 course record holder, and was formerly a high school and collegiate track runner (8:41.05 3,000m steeplechaser). Walmsley was ranked 23rd male on Sports Illustrated’s Fittest 50 athletes in 2018 (marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge ranked 21st) and is very well known for his accomplishments on the trails.

His 1:04:00 at Houston qualified him exactly for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials where he will run his marathon debut. As Walsmley straddles the boundary between ultra-trail runner and road runner, he’s become a focal point for the trail versus road argument.

Walmsley was a guest on the Citius Mag podcast the week following his half-marathon and was asked to address some of the comments. Here’s what he had to say regarding a 2:05 marathoner being thrown into the Western States Endurance Run. “The way that I attack the downhills, I will break your quads and you won’t be able to jog the flats after. Like, give me a 2:05 guy, you don’t need Western States, call me up, give me a 2:05 guy, give me a couple hours in the canyon and I’ll be the first one out.” This is a clip starting at minute 58 in the podcast.

Walmsley adds that of course a marathoner could learn to be good at ultra running, but it takes practice. He’s not denying that road runners wouldn’t be capable of becoming strong trail runners, what he’s saying is that like anything in sport, it takes practice.

(08/17/2020) Views: 164 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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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: 156 ⚡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: 206 ⚡AMP
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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: 180 ⚡AMP
by Jonathan Gault
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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: 477 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

2020 race has been officially cancelled. 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...

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Ultrarunner Jim Walmsley runs 2:15:05 marathon debut at U.S. Olympic Trials

Jim Walmsley, one of the world’s best ultrarunners, ran his marathon debut at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials. On Saturday, Walmsley finished in 22nd and crossed the line in 2:15:05.

A year ago, we looked at Walmsley’s training as the Houston Half-Marathon approached. At Houston he nailed a 1:04:00, exactly the time he needed (down to the second) to qualify for the marathon trials. Following his 2019 Houston race, he went on to win a 50-mile race in Hong Kong and take 43 seconds off the 50-mile world record before shattering his own course record at Western States.

There’s no doubt Walmsley is a tough racer, but this was his first time racing a road marathon, and he didn’t quite have the chops to make the 2020 Olympic team. With that said, he ran an extremely impressive debut, on a windy day and on a hilly course.

The runner sat in the chase group (which included Galen Rupp, the eventual winner) for the first half of the race. That group was on pace for a sub-2:10 marathon, am ambitious pace for most of the runners.

Walmsley would fade, but not too much, averaging 5:10 miles and closing in 5:17. He finished ahead of some very impressive names like Jared Ward and Connor McMillan.

On Saturday, Rupp has made his fourth Olympic team, winning the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:09:20. Second place went to first-time Olympic qualifier Jake Riley, and third to five-time Olympic qualifier, masters runner Abdi Abdirahman. At 43, Abdirahman is also the oldest American ever to qualify for the Olympic marathon.

(03/02/2020) Views: 394 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

The 2020 US Olympic Trials for both men and women took place in Atlanta, Ga on Sunday Feb 29. Runners had to qualify by running certain standards beforehand. The trials are hosted by the Atlanta Track club. The course runs through the heart of Atlanta and past monuments from the 1996 Olympic Games Most countries around the world use a...

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How Japanese-Style Training Inspired Jim Walmsley’s Olympic Trials Approach

The Western States 100 record holder has been putting in 175-mile weeks to prepare for Atlanta.

For Jim Walmsley, the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials will be less about outcome and more about process.

Walmsley, 30, is well-known for his success in ultrarunning as the Western States 100 record holder and four-time Ultrarunner of the Year honoree. On February 29 in Atlanta, he’ll carry that distinction into the championship with the goal of bridging the gap between ultra and marathon runners.

“In a lot of ways I feel like I’m bearing a torch for ultrarunners,” Walmsley told Runner’s World. “The stereotype of most trail or ultra races is that it’s all really slow and you can either take them on for fun or after you’re really done running. [Training for Trials] feels like a responsibility [to show] we work pretty hard and we can hold our own as well.”

By embracing an incredibly high-mileage approach, competing in a variety of races, and being transparent about the highs and lows of training on Strava, Walmsley hopes to shift the conversation.

“I think there’s a lot of mutual respect that can be gained,” Walmsley said. “Getting ultrarunners to watch the marathon and marathoners to watch ultrarunning, [we’re] making it about running rather than distance.”

The Flagstaff, Arizona, native started his running career on the track, where he honed his speed in the steeplechase at the U.S. Air Force Academy. As a senior, he finished 12th at the 2012 NCAA championships. In the NCAA semifinal, he ran a personal best of 8:41.05—nine seconds slower than the Olympic standard—and just missed qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Trials.

After graduation, Walmsley said he went through a difficult time in his life. He was charged with a DUI and later discharged from the military when his unit was caught in a cheating scandal. The events caused Walmsley to sink into a deep depression. Eventually, following the advice of his therapist, he began ultrarunning to feel like himself again.

“Ultrarunning doesn’t take special talent,” he told Runner’s World in 2017. “It takes motivation and the will to achieve something extraordinary. A lot of people are sparked to get into the sport when they are in a low spot.”

His breakout year came in 2016 when he shattered course records at the Bandera 100K and the Lake Sonoma 50 miler. After two missed attempts at winning the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, Walmsley finally accomplished his goal in 2018, when he broke the course record with a time of 14 hours and 30 minutes. That same year, he logged nearly 5,000 miles on Strava.

In the fall of 2018, Walmsley shared a surprising goal: He wanted to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. Rather than try to OTQ in the marathon—which seemed like a more natural fit for the ultrarunner—he decided to aim for the standard in the half marathon (1:04). Many admired Walmsley’s bold aspiration, especially given he had to average 4:53-mile pace to qualify.

At the 2019 Houston Marathon on January 20, Walmsley finished 27th overall in exactly 1:04:00. Afterward, he told Runner’s World that his performance gave him confidence to work toward his goals in the marathon.

“I have some plans up my sleeve to give myself a chance to do something exciting [in Atlanta]—to really push the envelope for myself and make things exciting for people to watch and cheer for an ultra guy,” he said in Houston.

Walmsley carried his momentum from Houston through the rest of 2019. He set the world best in the 50-mile distance (while averaging a 5:48-minute mile), shaved more than 20 minutes off his Western States 100 record, and won the World Mountain Running Championship 14K race.

“It’s probably been my most versatile year of different types of races I’ve tried to take on,” he said.

(02/15/2020) Views: 359 ⚡AMP
by Runners World
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Ultra runner Jared Hazen, is focused on winning the Vibram Hong Kong 100km ultramarathon

Jared Hazen is focused on winning the Vibram Hong Kong 100km ultramarathon, starting at 8am on Saturday, by leading the race as early as possible. The American speedster believes that although it is possible to podium by running conservatively, runners need to push from the start to come first.

“I’ve moved up, late in races, to a podium a spot. But trying to win is playing a whole other game, you have to be at the front of race the whole time,” Hazen, 25, said. “You're not going to luckily sneak your way into first place.”

The HK100 is the first race of the Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT). It is one of five UTWT races in Asia, including the Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji. It starts in Sai Kung and snakes across the New Territories to Tai Mo Shan.

Hazen said in any race, the reports you get in checkpoints about how far other runners are ahead of you can be inaccurate, making it hard to overtake them: “It's better to manage yourself while in the lead.”

However, pushing from the start is a risk as it is all or nothing, and you can blow up.

“I think it's OK for it to be nothing on some days,” he said. “But you have to hold yourself accountable to a certain extent. Sometimes it was stupid and you blew a chance. But you've got to give yourself a chance. Can you walk away with your head held high?”

Hazen added that although American runners have the reputation for going out hard, with an all or nothing attitude, it was only recently that the Europeans earned the same reputation: “I feel like it’s flip-flopped. But it’s because some faster American athletes have got into the sport recently.”

Owing to the HK100’s UTWT status, the start line is packed with talent. Foreigners, like Hazen, travel to Hong Kong and many unknown but equally talented mainland Chinese runners also attend. The past two editions have been won by mainland Chinese men and women.

Hazen said he knew the Chinese runners by name only. Usually, he is familiar with the field because he races the same events in the US so often. He knows his competitors’ styles, strengths and weaknesses.

“So this will be new. But that is what this year is about a little bit, stretching myself and racing new runners,” he said.

“I've been doing the same races for too long. There are some really cool races on the UTWT and I just want to participate in that more. I want to be more of an international runner and not a US runner,” he said. He is also targeting the Transvulcania in La Palma, Spain, in May and the CCC in Chamonix, France, in August.

Hazen is also returning to the Western States 100 mile (161) this summer, where last year he ran the second-fastest time ever. It would have been the course record had his training mate Jim Walmsley not beaten him that day and set the record.

(01/17/2020) Views: 458 ⚡AMP
by Mark Agnew
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Vibram Hong Kong 100 Ultra trail

Vibram Hong Kong 100 Ultra trail

The Vibram® Hong Kong 100 is an ultra endurance race that takes place in Hong Kong. The 103km course starts in Pak Tam Chung on the Sai Kung Peninsula and covers some of the most beautiful scenery in Hong Kong, including remote and unspoilt beaches, ancient forests, nature trails, reservoirs and steep hills. The course is based around Hong Kong's...

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Courtney Dauwalter and Jim Walmsley were named 2019 Ultra Runners of the Year

Two-time Western States winner and course record-holder Jim Walmsley, 29, of Flagstaff, Arizona and 2019 UTMB champion Courtney Dauwalter, 34, of Golden, Colorado are your 2019 Ultra Runners of the Year, as announced by UltraRunning Magazine.

It’s Walmsley’s fourth time in a row taking the honor and Dauwalter’s second.

In a year in which Walmsley scored four wins, including WSER (where he bettered his own course record), as well as capturing the 50-mile world record, the Ultra Runner honor was something of a foregone conclusion.

Similarly for Dauwalter, who not only scored three big wins in 2019 (including UTMB in her first appearance there), but she was on her way to winning Western States when forced to withdraw with a bad hip after 80 miles (129K).

 

(01/16/2020) Views: 428 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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15 Mind-Blowing Race Moments From 2019-From Kipchoge to Kosgei and all of the upsets, records, and victories in between, 2019 was a major year for running.

1-Kosgei Shocks Everyone in Chicago-On October 13, Brigid Kosgei made history when she won the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:04. The Kenyan ran almost perfectly even splits to achieve her goal in the Windy City, passing the halfway mark in 1:06:59 before clocking 1:07:05 for the second half.

2-Eliud Kipchoge Dips Under 2-Hour Marathon Barrier-In his second attempt at breaking the two-hour barrier in the marathon, Eliud Kipchogeof Kenya accomplished the feat with a stunning run of 1:59:40 on the streets of Vienna in October.

3-Joan Samuelson Crushes Her Goal 40 Years After Boston Victory-In 1979, Joan Benoit Samuelson set a national and course record when she won the Boston Marathon as a 21-year-old college student. Forty years after her historic victory, Samuelson, 61, set out to run within 40 minutes of her winning time at the 2019 Boston Marathon. On April 15, the 1984 Olympic champion wore a similar Bowdoin College singlet to honor her 1979 win and shattered her goal, crossing the finish line in 3:04. “To be here, 40 years later and being able to run, let alone being able to run a marathon, I feel blessed,” she said.

4-Jim Walmsley Obliterates His Own Western States Record-Ultrarunning star Jim Walmsley maintained his Western States winning streak when he obliterated his own course record in June. Navigating 100 miles from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California, Walmsley broke the tape in 14 hours and 9 minutes, which broke his own course record by more than 20 minutes

5-Donavan Brazier Breaks 34-Year-Old American Record-Donavan Brazier had the race of his life when he broke one of the oldest American records on his way to winning gold in the 800 meters at the IAAF World Championshipsin Doha, Qatar. With 250-meters to go, Brazier ran away from the field to secure the first 800-meter world championship gold medal for the United States in a time of 1:42.34. 

6-Dalilah Muhammad Sets World Record Twice-Dalilah Muhammad made history twice this season when she broke the 400-meter hurdles world record and lowered it once again on her way to winning the world championships.

7-Sifan Hassan Wins Unprecedented Double at Worlds-At the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Sifan Hassan won two gold medals that no man or woman has achieved in the history of the world championships or Olympic Games. The Dutch runner, 26, kicked off the competition by winning the 10,000-meter final in a national record time of 30:17:33. 

8-Maggie Guterl Becomes First Woman to Win Backyard Ultra-For 60 hours straight, Maggie Guterl ran the same 4.2-mile trail loop to become the last runner standing in the Big’s Backyard Ultra race. The Durango, Colorado, native ran 250 miles on her way to becoming the first woman to win the brutal race that rewards the person who can run for the longest amount of time.

9-Geoffrey Kamworor Breaks Half Marathon World Record-Holding a 4:25-mile pace, Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya shattered the world record at the Copenhagen Half Marathon in September, running 58:01. The performance, which was 17 seconds faster than the previous record, took place in the same city where the 26-year-old won his first of three half marathon world championship titles in 2014.

10-Joyciline Jepkosgei Debuts in NYC Marathon, Beats Mary Keitany-In her first marathon, Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya secured a title in a major upset. The half marathon world record-holder raced like a veteran in the New York City Marathonto beat four-time champion Mary Keitany in a winning time of 2:22:38, only seven seconds shy of the course record.

11-Kenenisa Bekele Wins Berlin Marathon 2 Seconds Shy of World Record-One year after Eliud Kipchoge set a world record that many believed would be untouchable for at least a few years, Kenenisa Bekele nearly surpassed it at the Berlin Marathon. The 37-year-old Ethiopian won the race in 2:01:41, just two seconds shy of Kipchoge’s record. 

12-Freshman Sha’Carri Richardson Shatters 100-meter Collegiate Record-In her first ever NCAA Outdoor Championship, Sha’Carri Richardson made history. In the 100-meter final, the LSU freshman sprinted to victory in a collegiate record of 10.75.

13-Drew Hunter, Athing Mu, and Colleen Quigley Win First Pro Titles-The USATF Indoor Championships brought out exciting breakthroughs for three young athletes. In the men’s 2-mile, 21-year-old Drew Hunter won the crown out of the “slower” heat by running a world-best time of 8:25.29. The women’s 600 meters was won by 16-year-old Athing Mu who defeated world silver medalist Raevyn Rogers in an American record time of 1:23.57.

14-BYU Snaps NAU’s Winning Streak at the NCAA Cross Country Championships-The Brigham Young team had a banner day at the NCAA Cross Country Championshipsin November. Battling muddy conditions, the BYU Cougars secured the team victory over three-time defending champions Northern Arizona in the men’s race. With a team total of 109 points, BYU beat NAU by 54 points to win the program’s first NCAA cross-country championship in history.

15-Joshua Cheptegei Sets 10K World Record After Winning Two World Titles-Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda capped off a banner year when he set a world record in the 10K on December 1, running 26:38 to win the 10K Valencia Trinidad Alfonso in Valencia, Spain. Earlier this year, he won the world cross-country championships and the world championship 10,000 meters in Doha, Qatar.

 

(12/15/2019) Views: 501 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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It may come as a surprise, but Nike's popularity is not growing as fast among Strava users as other brands

The running/cycling/social media platform Strava, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, has just published its much-anticipated Year in Sport. One of the most striking pieces of information in it, not surprisingly, concerns shoes. The fastest-growing shoe on Strava is not the Nike Vaporfly or NEXT%, as you might expect. In fact, it’s not even close.

That distinction belongs to the HOKA Carbon X, the brand’s carbon-plated racing shoe introduced last summer and worn by two-time Western States champion Jim Walmsley when he set the 50-mile world record in California in May 2019.

The second-fastest growing model is the Adidas Solar Glide, and the third is the Fresh Foam Beacon by New Balance, one of the shoes favored by American ultrarunner and multiple age-group record-holder Gene Dykes.

What the research did show, however, is that among Strava runners who ran the World Major Marathons and logged what shoe they were wearing, Nike NEXT% wearers posted the fastest times. Three guesses as to which shoe was next fastest: that’s right. The Vaporfly.

Some other interesting facts emerging from Strava’s research over the past year: we knew that running is hugely popular in Japan, but the Japanese are not stopping at the marathon–according to Strava in 2019, the island nation has more ultramarathoners per capita than any other country in the world.

Further, almost 24 per cent of runners in Japan have completed a marathon or ultra. That’s an increase of 23 per cent over last year, and more than double the percentage of marathoners and ultrarunners in the next most marathon-mad country, France (which had 10.4 per cent). The US was third, with 7.6 per cent.

(12/11/2019) Views: 576 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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'I puked, fouled myself and collapsed - it was great': Meet the record-breaking ultra marathon runner fuelled by beer and burritos

At the ultra running World Championship, competitors looped a 1,500 metres circuit continuously for 24 hours and, with time running out, American Camille Herron was suffering.

She had thrown up twice, stopped to lie down twice, and had such serious bowel issues the officials had forced her off the course to shower and change her clothes. By the finish Herron had run 168 miles, the equivalent of running 6½ consecutive marathons, each in an average time of 3 hr 44 min.​

She certainly means it when she says: “I want to change what people think is possible. Especially for women.”​

Herron’s feat was a world record, she finished sixth in the race overall (including the men) and moved to third best on the United States all-time list for both genders. To get there she had to endure multiple setbacks.​

“I was trying this new fuelling plan with this new product and it wasn’t going well,” Herron explains. “The race was in France, so most of the rest rooms were squat toilets. For 350 athletes, they only had three normal toilets.”​

On her third bathroom stop in quick succession, she found a queue of athletes so decided to carry on. “But on that lap my bowels sort of unleashed themselves,” she says, laughing about it now. “But this is ultra running. S--- happens. Literally!”​

She switched her food to cups of mashed potato, makeshift burritos and her secret weapon – beer. Her condition did not improve but then a switch flicked in her mind.​

“After puking the second time, with 2½ hours to go, I just said to myself, ‘Let’s drop the hammer, let’s go beast mode’.”​

Herron started to fly. “I like to think of myself as a boxer, throwing punches,” she says. “Those last few hours were awesome, the most fun I’ve ever had in a race.”​

Surely she doubted, during the low moments, that it would all come together so spectacularly?​

“No,” she says. “I had already accepted before the race that I would be challenged. So at no point did I feel defeated. It was like ultra chess, we had to brainstorm how to deal with the problems. In the night, that’s the hardest part, because the brain is shutting down, so you’re trying to keep the light on.”​

Herron discovered the benefits of beer by accident. “I was in a trail race, really struggling, sitting in a chair. I’d tried everything and it wasn’t working and my husband just said, ‘You want a beer?’ I popped out of my chair after that. It got my blood flowing again.”​

During her latest world record she downed three Belgian beers along the way. “It settles my gut and helps me focus,” she laughs.​

Herron’s achievements are all the more astonishing as she has had to overcome a lopsided body, re-teaching herself how to run after years of injuries. She was born with her right thigh bone twisted inwards and has an extra bone in her right foot. “There’s something developmentally quirky about how I’m built,” she says. To reduce the strain on her body she re-learnt to run lifting her legs from the ground rather than pushing off. It means she looks like she is roller skating rather than running. “It’s like I’m prancing,” she says. “But I’m light on my feet. As a marathon runner, I had a great engine but I wasn’t fast enough because I wasn’t powerful. But as there’s less impact, for ultras it has turned out to be an advantage.”​

Since readapting her style, Herron has had only one injury, following a serious accident in February in which her car flipped upside down.​

Her steel was instilled from an early age. Herron’s grandfather was shot in both legs in the Second World War and awarded two Purple Heart medals, which are given for members of the US military wounded or killed while serving. He and Herron’s father were also basketball players under tough Olympic coach Henry Iba.​

“You had to be hard-nosed to play for him,” she explains. “My dad told stories of playing for six hours straight without water. So at age seven, I used to play in the yard, without water, until I blacked out. Then I’d get a sandwich and play some more. I was thinking, ‘This is what I got to do, push myself to extremes’. I was training for ultras without realising it.”​

Another formative event came when she was 17 and her whole family were made homeless by the strongest tornado ever recorded.​

“We get tornadoes all the time in Oklahoma,” she recalls, “so when we left the house I didn’t take anything. But it was crazy, four people in our area lost their lives, our house was flattened. But though we lost everything, I thought: ‘I’m still alive.’ At 17, that’s a big thing to realise, the value of your life. It changed my perspective.” From then on she started running on Sundays instead of going to church, to celebrate her life.​

Herron now believes that she can eventually chase down the men’s ultra running world records and she is partly driven by the inequality she feels is rampant in the sport. The normally upbeat Herron turns serious as she recounts her struggles for recognition in ultra running.​

“In my breakout year in 2015 I won two world titles and broke a world record and I thought I should get an agent,” she says, “but he couldn’t find me a sponsor. Then Jim Walmsley [a top male US runner] dropped out of Western States [a big US race] and I caught him in the world 100km championships, and he gets sponsored by Hoka. I was p----d.”​

She fired her agent and joined Walmsley’s agent, who eventually got her a sponsorship deal with Nike. Recently she was left fuming after a race in France offered prize money for the top 20 men, but only the top five women. And the women’s race was half the distance.​

“Sometimes it’s like a throwback to the 1970s,” she says. “I can’t believe it’s 2019 and women are still fighting for equal prize money. While everyone looks at the men like they’re superstars, I see people looking at me and tutting. I’m pretty tall, and I run aggressively and people don’t like it. I hear them saying, ‘She’s going out too fast’. So it’s a big motivation for me to run faster. To beat the men.”​

The way she is going, she might end up leaving them all behind. They can collect up her beer bottles when they come by.

(12/07/2019) Views: 383 ⚡AMP
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Walmsley and Simion take long course titles at World Mountain Running Championships

Jim Walmsley of the US and Cristina Simion (second photo) of Romania raced to victory in the long races as the World Mountain Running Championships concluded in Villa La Angostura, Argentina, on Saturday (16).

Walmsley covered the 41.5km course in 3:12:16 to beat Italy’s Francesco Puppi by nearly a minute. Simion clocked 3:49:57, beating Frenchwoman Adeline Roche by nearly two minutes.

The course, with a total ascent of 2184m, began in the centre of Villa La Angostura, a Patagonian city of about 12,000, with a road section, before heading north along a dirt track and into a dense forest. The first 2.5km were quite flat until an initial climb through the forest, quite steep in places. The runners had to endure a fairly high river crossing twice, which proved tricky for some.

The second part of the course then took runners on a long but gradual climb up to the Cerro Bayo ski station where the really difficult work began - the long, steep and arduous climb up to the summit of the snow-capped 1785m-high Cerro Bayo. Besides snow, they were forced to negotiate a technical ridge section before returning to a faster section which eventually led them back down to the finish line.

Both races were fast at the front. Walmsley forged an early lead but never managed to open much of a gap on Puppi, the 2017 WMRA long distance champion. Behind them, Hayden Hawks of the US, Spaniard Oriol Cardona and Jonathan Albon of the UK, this year's world trail running champion, took turns battling for position.

(11/18/2019) Views: 341 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Kilian Jornet crushed Sierre-Zinal, and has now set his sights on Pikes Peak

Ten years ago, a 21-year old Catalan trail runner showed up in the end-of-the-valley village of Zinal, in Switzerland’s Valais Canton, not far from the Italian border. He had a list with him.

“It was just a sheet of paper with names of races,” says Chamonix, France-based trail-running author Alain Bustin. “It wasn’t races he wanted to win, or course records he wanted to break. All he wanted to do was take part. Sierre-Zinal was on the list.”

Even then, Sierre-Zinal was iconic. The 31-kilometer race that started in the valley village of Sierre and finished in Zinal was already established as one of the most competitive trail races in the world. And that year, the young runner won.

A few weeks later, he won the 171-kilometer Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc.

That runner, of course, is Kilian Jornet. And last weekend in Zinal, he won “S-Z” for a seventh time, further surpassing Mexican runner Richardo Meija’s five wins between 1998 and 2005. And this time Jornet did something that no one had done in 16 years. He broke one of trail-running’s most-coveted course records with a time of 2:25:35—not by seconds, but by 3 minutes 37 seconds.

The 2:29:12 record had been held all those years by the New Zealander Jonathan Wyatt, now 46, indisputably one of his generation’s greatest mountain runners. Starting more than two decades ago, Wyatt began racking up records from the Alps to the United States, at races as diverse as Switzerland’s Jungfrau Marathon (2:49:01 in 2003) and New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Road Race (56:41 in 2004.) Both are still course records.United States runner Jim Walmsley had a notable success, finishing third in his first running of the famed course, in a time of 2:31:52—a result that in any other year would likely have had him breaking the finish-line tape.

While Sierre-Zinal is arguably one of the most competitive trail races in the world, and much of the attention focusses on the elite runners, it has a wide and diverse following. This year, more than 5,000 runners took part. Recreational runners started five-and-a-quarter hours earlier, a special aspect of the race-day schedule that allows recreational runners to watch elites arrive, several hours after most of them have crossed the finish line.

Nicknamed “The New York Marathon of the Alps,” the race’s rich history makes for a special day for runners from around the world. It’s a vibe that was felt by runners like Mike Ambrose, formerly the North American Marketing Manager for Salomon, and now based out of the company’s world headquarters in Annecy, France.

“Running across that ridgeline with the flowy singletrack, I felt the legends before me,” says Ambrose. “That’s the first time ever in a race that I was putting myself out there with the greatest and the pioneers of the sport. Maybe I wasn’t running at the same speed, but I was part of the history. I actually felt that energy. “

For Jornet, there are few records left to shatter. At age 31, he has Fastest Known Times from the Matterhorn to Mount Everest. He has won trail running’s most prestigious races, some of them multiple times, with course records around the world. It’s hard not to imagine that Jornet might begin to turn his attention to other projects. With Skyrunning Champion Emelie Forsberg, he now has a five-month-old baby—and an energetic labradoodle, Maui, to boot.

As he watched Jornet from a jumbo screen not far from the Sierre-Zinal finish line, Bustin, a longtime acquaintance of Jornet’s, was in a contemplative mood. “Kilian, he’s not just special because of his records at Sierre-Zinal or the UTMB,” he said. “He’s broken mountaineering records and ski alpinism (ski mountaineering) records, too.”

Bustin paused with thousands of other onlookers, as race officials announced to the crowd that Jornet was now 20 seconds ahead of Wyatt’s historic course record. On the screen, Jornet looked fluid and in control, calmly, steadily, smoothly “running the tangents” along a rocky section of the course.

“He’s a fantastic guy, with a great mentality about mountain sports. Maybe he’s about to say to the young runners, ‘Hey guys, I’ve done my time. Now it’s up to you,’” added Bustin. Taking in the weight of what he had just considered out loud—that the world’s greatest trail runner could soon be winding down his long stretch of highly competitive racing days—he looked back up to the screen, saying to no-one in particular, “He has nothing to prove to anyone.”

Well, maybe not quite. There is, arguably, at least one notoriously difficult-to-beat record remaining: Colorado’s Pikes Peak Marathon. In 1993, Matt Carpenter set a confoundingly fast course record there, with a time of 3:16:39. On August 25, Jornet will be there. It’s hard not to imagine he wouldn’t like to cross the tape with a time quicker than Carpenter’s. The trail-running world will be watching.

(08/19/2019) Views: 861 ⚡AMP
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Pike's Peak Marathon

Pike's Peak Marathon

2020 has provided more than its fair share of challenges, but we are eager to host a top-notch race experience on August 23rd that provides a safe, fun, and challenging event for all those participating. The 2020 Pikes Peak Marathon will look different from prior events: no vendor expo, no beer garden, no pizza, no post-race party… but you...

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Kilian Jornet of Spain and Switzerland's Maude Mathys smashed the respective course records at the Sierre-Zinal in Switzerland, the fifth race in the 2019 World Mountain Running Association on Sunday

Jornet clocked 2:25:35 over the 31km course to break the 2:29:12 record set by Jonathan Wyatt in 2003. Mathys was even more dominant, clocking 2:49:20 to clip more than five minutes from the previous mark of 2:54:26 set by Czech Anna Pichrtova in 2008. 

The iconic race, which starts in the Valais town of Sierre and climbs to the village of Zinal, has a total ascent of 2200m and 1100m of descent and features a course offering views of five of the area’s 4000-meter peaks, lending it the nickname, the "Five 4000s Race”.

Jornet broke away early, soon after leaving Sierre and had built a two minute advantage over 2016 winner Petro Mamu by the Ponchette checkpoint seven kilometres into the race. Between the Chandolin and Hotel Weisshorn checkpoints, Jornet eased the pace, allowing Mamu to reduce the gap to 1:27.

From Weisshorn, at 2337m the course's highest point, the race once again picked up steam. The key for Jornet was his powerful performance on the uphill sections, normally the weaker part of his race. While Mamu continued to chip away at the lead, Jornet held on, beating the Eritrean by 42 seconds to take his seventh victory at the event. Mamu clocked 2:26:17, also well inside the previous record.

Jim Walmsley of the US, who last May clocked a world best over 50 miles (80.46km), rounded out the podium in 2:31:52, a solid performance in his European trail and mountain running debut. Juan Carlos Carrera of Mexico and Robbie Simpson of Great Britain completed the top five, clocking 2:32:52 and 2:33:55, respectively.

Briton Andrew Douglas finished sixth to solidify his lead in the WMRA World Cup standings. With 450 points, the Briton has pieced together an unassailable lead with two races remaining in the series.

Mathys, who raced to the European title last year, dominated the women's contest, padding her lead with each passing kilometre before beating compatriot Judith Wyder by exactly five minutes. Wyder's 2:54:20 was also faster than the previous course record.

Italy's Silvia Rampazzo was third in 2:56:17 to finish off the podium. New Zealander Ruth Croft edged Anais Sabrie of France for fourth by just two seconds in 3:01:56. 

Irishwoman Sarah McCormack finished 12th to up her point tally in the World Cup standings to 305. Injury forced Kenyan Lucy Wambui, one of the pre-race favorites, out early on, solidifying McCormack's chances for her overall World Cup title bid.

The WMRA World Cup resumes on 14 September at the Drei Zinnen in Sexten, in the heart of Italy's Dolomites before its traditional conclusion at the Smarna Gora race just outside the Slovenian capital Ljubljana on 12 October.

(08/12/2019) Views: 840 ⚡AMP
by IAAF
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World Mountain Running Championships

World Mountain Running Championships

A person's need to run quickly over both short and long distances is as old as humankind. To be fast helped us to survive, to catch an animal for food, to escape from danger and natural catastrophes, to be successful in war or, as in the case of the first marathon, to take messages. And where did this hunter, warrior,...

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How high-tempo training with elite Ethiopians helped Briton Tom Evans to place third at the Western States 100 this year

Tom Evans spent two months in Ethiopia training with elite marathon runners to prepare for this year’s Western States 100 mile ultra marathon. The training paid dividends as he finished third with the fastest ever time by a non-American runner of 14 hours, 59 minutes and 44 seconds.

“The slowest runner [in the Ethiopian running group], except for me, was a 2:08 marathoner,” the Briton said. “That made it very interesting. Their tempo runs were on dirt tracks with rolling hills, so were perfect for Western States.”

“They would run until they dropped and we were being followed by a car so they’d be picked up,” Evans said. “At first, because of the altitude, I was the first to drop out but I began to get used to the elevation.”

WSER100 is one of the most prestigious 100 mile races in the world. It takes place in California, starting at altitude before descending into deep, hot canyons. Jim Walmsley won this year’s race in a record 14:09:28.

The brutal tempo sessions in Ethiopia were fuelled by fierce rivalries, with runners motivated by the hope of being picked up by foreign agents and given the opportunity to race and earn money abroad.

“It’s almost becomes survival of the fittest,” Evans said.

The “sag wagon” that accompanied the runners was always a tempting respite from the sessions.

“You can drop out when ever you want,” he said. “So, it’s about how much you want it. It was really good mental strength training as they were always going fast and furious.”

Being in a new environment forced the former soldier to be more flexible in his attitude to training.

“You had no idea what was going to happen. I had kids throw rocks at me one day,” he said. “It was such a culture shock. I just had to deal with what was ahead of me day by day.”

Evans said he had learned from them the importance of strong contrasts between hard and easy sessions.

He felt not all of the training was relevant to his competition goals. The other athletes in the group were all preparing for marathons or half marathons, so their longest run was just two hours. Evans would sometimes head out for eight hours at a time.

“They thought I was absolutely mental,” he said. “They couldn’t get over how much volume I was doing. But they were fascinated. They really respected what I was doing.”

There were no coaches on hand to force runners on to the track or trail, but the total immersion experience meant they were not necessary.

“I became so attuned to my body. I was making decisions to drop out of sessions all based on feel,” he said.

Evans, who has won the CCC event at the Ultra Marathon du Mont Blanc (UTMB) week, could feel the effects of his training when he ran WSER100.

“I just felt so much more efficient,” he said. “So, at the end, I was still able to run hard.”

“For me, coming third in my first 100 miler was a best-case scenario,” Evans said. “I knew it was possible, I just didn’t know if it was probable.”

For now, Evans is going back to shorter races of about 50km to 100km, but he said the experience had “lit a fire” in him. 

“I definitely want to come back and see if I can improve my place, if not my time.”

(07/21/2019) Views: 805 ⚡AMP
by Mark Agnew
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Western States 100

Western States 100

2020 race has been cancelled. 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...

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Jim Walmsley wins Western States 100 smashing his own course record

Jim Walmsley wins the 2019 Western States 100 in a course record 14:09:28, breaking his own course record of 14:30:04 set last year.

“I made up a lot of time pushing pretty good up Robinson, Devil’s Thumb as well, then things began to relax,” he said on the finish line, adding there were a few aid stations when he was not so fresh. “Things started rolling again when I crossed the river.”

“It was a big goal just to come here and try and win. It’s one thing to win at Western States, it’s a once in a lifetime thing, but to do it twice, puts you a bit more ‘two time guy right here.”

Jared Hazen took second at the 2019 Western States 100 in 14:26:46, also under Jim Walmsley’s previous course record.  

Before this year’s race Walmsley said his mindset and approach to the race have changed little, and with favorable weather and decent course conditions, a push to again break the record could be in play.

“I might kind of pull things back (from) maybe not running as risky, but at the same time, counter to that, there’s pretty good weather predictions right now,” said Walmsley. “This will be my fourth time racing, fourth year in a row, and it’s by far the coolest year. There’s also that tempting side of it of like, ‘I always want to see what I can run here.”

Walmsley was on a record-breaking pace in 2016, but strayed off course with less than 10 miles to go. He fought through exhaustion to finish 20th with a time of 18:45:36. In 2017, which had a similar amount of snow on the course as this year, Walmsley was several minutes ahead of his 2018 record time during the early portions of the course, but as the day wore on, temperatures climbed past 90 degrees and exhaustion knocked him out of the race with a little more than 20 miles to go.

“Ultimately, it’s about listening to my own pace and just putting everything out there regardless,” he said. “As long as I end up giving my best effort and going to the well to get there, I’m always happy with it. Whether it’s the DNF in 2017 or the course record last year. I’m pretty proud of both days and the fact that I know I gave everything at both races. You can always live with that.”

Coming into this year’s race, Walmsley said he feels he’s matured as a runner, which has given him the confidence to overcome the mental and physical hurdles that arise during a 100-mile race.

(06/29/2019) Views: 887 ⚡AMP
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Western States 100

Western States 100

2020 race has been cancelled. 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...

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Strong, talented and deepest field at Western States Endurance Run at this year race

More than 350 of the world’s best endurance athletes will emerge from the cold and dark Saturday morning to stand at the start line at Squaw Valley, eager to begin the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run from the resort to Auburn.

This year’s field of runners is one of the deepest in the history of the race, featuring the return of both the men and women’s champions along with several top-10 finishers from last year.

After coming up short in two previous bids to set the course record at Western States, Jim Walmsley, of Flagstaff, Arizona, broke through last year, finishing with a record time of 14 hours, 30 minutes, 4 seconds. Walmsley, 29, is set to defend his title this year against a deep field in the men’s division, which features eight of last year’s top-10 finishers.

Walmsley will make his fourth appearance in the race on Saturday. His attempt to break the course record in 2017 ended due to exhaustion at around mile 78. He rebounded the following year by setting the course record, and said breaking that mark could be in play on Saturday.

Walmsley said he’s also been told the early stages of the course are in better shape than they were in 2017, which had a similarly large snowpack. During 2017’s race he was also several minutes ahead of the record-breaking time he set in 2018.

“Ultimately, it’s about listening to my own pace and just putting everything out there regardless,” he said. “As long as I end up giving my best effort and going to the well to get there, I’m always happy with it. Whether it’s the DNF in 2017 or the course record last year. I’m pretty proud of both days and the fact that I know I gave everything at both races. You can always live with that.”

Among those who could challenge Walmsley will be 2017 Western States winner Ryan Sandes. The 37-year-old South African broke through in his third attempt to win at Western States, and then ran as a pacer during last year’s event.

“I feel like it was a big thing for me to win Western States and a big achievement, so I feel pretty relaxed going into Western States from that point of view, but Western States is still one of the biggest 100 milers in the world, if not the biggest,” said Sandes. “I’ve still got that drive and hunger and I think that’s why I came back here. That’s a big motivating factor and I’m definitely hungry.”

Other top competitors on the men’s side include: Mark Hammond, Ian Sharman, Jeff Browning, Charlie Ware, Kyle Pietari, Paul Giblin and Kris Brown.

On the women’s side, defending champion Courtney Dauwalter, of Golden, Colorado, returns after winning in her first time out.

Dauwalter, 34, finished with the second fastest time ever for a woman last year, reaching Auburn with a time of 17:27:00.

Second-place finisher Katlyn Gerbin, 30, of Issaquah, Washington will also be in the field. Lucy Bartholomew, 23, of Melbourne, Australia, finished third last year and will be in this year’s field as well. Bartholomew has spent the past few weeks training in the area, and running with Truckee-Tahoe athletes at local races.

Kaci Lickteig, 32, of Omaha, Nebraska, who won in 2016, will race as well.

Other returning top-10 finishers from a year ago include: Amanda Basham, Cecilia Flori, Camelia Mayfield, Aliza Lapierre and Corrine Malcolm.

(06/28/2019) Views: 845 ⚡AMP
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Western States 100

Western States 100

2020 race has been cancelled. 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...

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Jim Walmsley Runs Faster Than Anyone Ever for 50 Miles, Yet World Champ Hideaki Yamauchi Wins 100k

Prior to Saturday’s HOKA ONE ONE Project Carbon X 100k race in Sacramento, California American ultramarathon star Jim Walmsley said anything can happen in an ultra.

Saturday’s race proved that.

Walmsley broke the world best and American record by going through 50 miles in 4:50:08 (old world best was 4:50:51 by Bruce Fordyce in 1984; Barney Klecker’s American record of 4:51:25 was the oldest American road record on the books) and less than three minutes later he  was sitting on a table on the side of the course. Soon after, he was walking. Walmsley was reduced to high-fiving two-time defending world 100km champion Hideaki Yamauchi as Yamauchi ran by en route to victory in the 100km race in 6:19:54, over 10 minutes outside the 6:09:14 world record.

American Patrick Reagan ended up second in a personal best of 6:33:50 and Walmsley, who had to work hard not to get lapped by Yamauchi (each lap was almost 4.7 miles long), finished 4th in 7:05:24 on a day where the race started in near-perfect 51-degree conditions at 6 a.m. and ended in a blazing sun and 70+ degree heat.

American Sabrina Little was the only female finisher in 7:49:28.

The race was billed as a world record attempt at 100k, but Walmsley was also trying to break the 50-mile world best en route, and for the first 10k, the front three runners — Walmsley, Yamauchi, and Tyler Andrews, running his first race longer than 50k and also targeting the 50-mile world best — surprisingly ran within striking distance of one another on roughly 6-hour 100k pace. Yamauchi had talked about going out at a more modest pace, but afterwards said the downhill opening miles felt fine, so he ran faster than expected as he hit 15k in 54:06 (6:00:40 pace).

No human being has ever run faster for 50 miles than Jim Walmsley did today.

However, the fastest 50 miles in the history of the world had taken its toll and Walsmley immediately was reduced to a shuffle as he started jogging down the course after crossing 50 miles.

He told race commentator and training partner EricSenseman, who was in a car right in front of him, “I’m F’d.”

Any shot at the 100k world record was now out of Walmsley’s mind.

But there was a problem. To be given the official world best and American record for 50 miles, he would have to finish the 100k race (for some unknown reason, there is a rule that interim splits only count as records if the full race distance is finished).

A little more than two and a half minutes after breaking the record, Walmsley was walking on a bridge on the course. He then sat down on a drink station table and dumped water over his head and took gels. After a couple of minutes’ rest, Walmsley started walking again on the course.

Just a tad more than 10 minutes after he had run faster than anyone ever for 50 miles, Yamauchi went by Walmsley as Walmsley gave him a high five.

Now the questions that remained were how fast would Yamauchi run to the finish and could Walmsley make it to the finish.Yamauchi had gone through halfway well ahead of world record pace (he was at 3:00:34, the world record is 6:09:14), but just before 50 miles he slowed noticeably, going from just around 6:00 mile pace to over 6:30 for the two miles to 50 miles.

The world record shot was gone, but Yamauchi was still was on pace for a PR (previous PR of 6:18:22). However, on the final lap, the heat and early pace really took its toll on one of the most accomplished 100km runners in the world, as Yamauchi ran over 7:00 mile pace and had to settle for the victory in 6:19:54.

Meanwhile, Walmsley realized he might be lapped by Yamauchi and upped the pace of his jogging to hold off getting lapped by 22 seconds.

The one guy able to get a PR was Patrick Reagan, who ran the first 50km nearly exactly how he planned, going out in 3:09:11 and hanging on to a 6:33:50 PR.

In the women’s race, Japan’s Aiko Kanematsu dropped out between 43 and 48 miles, which meant Sabrina Little was the only finisher and winner in 7:49:28.

Results below.

Men - Hideaki Yamauchi JPN (6:19:542) Patrick Reagan USA (6:33:50 PB3) Yoshiki Takada JPN 6:52:024) Jim Walmsley USA (7:05:24) Mike Wardian USA (7:29:126) Tyler Andrews USA DNF

Walmsley’s time at 50 miles was a new pending world best/American record of 4:50:08 (old record 4:50:51 by Bruce Fordyce). 

Women) Sabrina Little 7:49:282) Aiko Kanematsu DNF

 

(05/05/2019) Views: 640 ⚡AMP
by Let's Run
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Western States 100 course record holder Jim Walmsley makes Hong Kong debut

Hong Kong is in peak trail-running season, and one of the world’s champion runners, Jim Walmsley, has flown in for a series of events that will test his legendary speed and stamina.

Walmsley has set records for running across the Grand Canyon, smashed the Western States record, earned back to back titles as Ultrarunner of the Year, and is the world’s top ranked runner on ITRA. Despite this, he sets new goals tirelessly.

He is visiting Hong Kong primarily to compete in the Fast 50 Miles Ultra trail run: a gruelling 80km dash along a single trail from Route Twisk to Shing Mun and around the Shing Mun Reservoir, with about 2,500 meters of elevation.

(02/12/2019) Views: 907 ⚡AMP
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Jim Walmsley said that he could beat a 2:05 marathoner if they were matched up on a trail race

Jim Walmsley ran a 1:04:00 in the Houston Half-Marathon last Sunday (January 20).  Many people have been critical of his race and returned to comparing the trail and road running scenes in a futile attempt to try and identify which discipline is more difficult. 

Walmsley is an ultra and trail runner who’s the Western States 100 course record holder, and was formerly a high school and collegiate track runner (8:41.05 3,000m steeplechaser). Walmsley was ranked 23rd male on Sports Illustrated’s Fittest 50 athletes in 2018 (marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge ranked 21st) and is very well known for his accomplishments on the trails. 

His 1:04:00 at Houston qualified him for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials where he will run his marathon debut. As Walsmley straddles the boundary between ultra-trail runner and road runner, he’s become a focal point for the trail versus road argument.

Walmsley was a guest on the Citius Mag podcast the week following his half-marathon and was asked to address some of the comments. Here’s what he had to say regarding a 2:05 marathoner being thrown into the Western States Endurance Run.

“The way that I attack the downhills, I will break your quads and you won’t be able to jog the flats afterwards. Like, give me a 2:05 guy, a couple hours in the canyon (like at Western States) and I’ll be the first one out.”  

(01/26/2019) Views: 1,039 ⚡AMP
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

The 2020 US Olympic Trials for both men and women took place in Atlanta, Ga on Sunday Feb 29. Runners had to qualify by running certain standards beforehand. The trials are hosted by the Atlanta Track club. The course runs through the heart of Atlanta and past monuments from the 1996 Olympic Games Most countries around the world use a...

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French runner Xavier Thevenard won one of the most prestigious trail races in the world on Saturday

French runner Xavier Thevenard won one of the most prestigious trail races in the world on Saturday. Thevenard finished the 171 kilometres in 20:44:16. The runner adds this finish to his two previous wins at UTMB in 2013 and 2015. Earlier this year, Thévenard was on course to win this year’s Hardrock 100 when he was disqualified at mile 91 for accepting aid outside an aid station. Second place went to, unexpectedly, Romanian Robert Hajnal in 21:26:20. This is the runner’s first time in the top three at UTMB and a major international victory. Hajnal said post-race that he was aiming for the top 10. He had no idea he would end up in the top two. Surprisingly, the two favourites Kilian Jornet and Jim Walmsley, were not to be found in the top two. (09/01/2018) Views: 1,060 ⚡AMP
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Jim Walmsley breaks the Western States 100 record by over 15 minutes on a baking hot day

We posted on Tuesday that even with the forecasted hot weather, Jim Walmsley was going to break the course record set in 2012 by Timothy Olsen who clocked 14:46:44. 

For two years now, Walmsley’s public declaration that he will not only try and break the famous 100-mile course record but trim more than 45 minutes off it has bought him massive attention. 

Fast forward to this year's race.  Jim hit the 85.2 mile mark in 12 hours 16 minutes.  Could he hold on for 15 more miles? The temperature in Auburn, California where the race finishes at 6pm was 96 degrees. 

That was still a lot of miles in that kind of heat.  At Pointed Rocks (94.3 miles) he was still trying to hold it together.  He ran 10:50 pace for that 3.7 mile split.  It was hot.  Meanwhile Courtney Dauwalter continued to lead the women hitting 79.8 miles in 13 hours 48 minutes. Course records were still possible. 

Jim passed the 96.8 mile check point at No Hands Bridge and ran right on through without stopping.  He was 14 minutes ahead of the course record still. 

Courtney was 33 minutes ahead of course record at mile 80 with Lucy Bartholomew in second place some miles back. Frenchman Francois Dhaene was in second place at 90.7 miles about an hour behind the leader.  

Reliable reports told I Run Far that Jim was delayed for about ten minutes by a bear with cubs along the trail at around 95 miles.  He passed the Robie Point check point (98.9 miles) running 8:11 pace now knowing he was going to finally win the Western States 100 and maybe still set the course record. 

He kept it together and went on to win clocking 14:30:04 on a baking hot day, taking over 15 minutes off the course record.  

(06/23/2018) Views: 3,026 ⚡AMP
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Is the Western States 100 record going to fall this weekend?

The 2018 Western States 100 kicks off at 5 a.m. PDT on Saturday, June 23rd in Olympic Valley, California before covering the 100 miles to the city of Auburn. Western States is the world’s oldest 100-mile trail race.  In the decades since its inception in 1974, WS has come to represent one of the ultimate endurance tests in the world.  For this year Jim Walmsley plans to go slow and steady, having blown up in the sapping heat last year when chasing the record. “I still think this year I won’t be far from it [the record],” Walmsley told the South China Morning Post. “I am trying to be more conservative, but if there is a special day or special effort than I’ll have to go for it in the end.” For two years now, Walmsley’s public declaration that he will not only try and break the famous 100-mile (161-kilometre) course record but trim more than 45 minutes off it has bought him massive attention. But on the American runner’s 2016 attempt a wrong turn ruined his chances and in 2017 he failed to pace himself correctly in hot conditions.  The current record is held by American Timothy Olson, set in 2012 at 14 hours, 46 minutes and 44 seconds. (06/19/2018) Views: 1,028 ⚡AMP
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The Hottest Race On Earth happens June 16 in Scottsdale where temperatures have reached as high as 122F degrees

Hoping to claim some of the prize money from the most lucrative road race in Arizona, Jim Walmsley, has registered to compete in Scottsdale Beat the Heat taking place on June 16 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Hottest Race on Earth, is a 5k and 10.22-kilometer race taking place during the middle of the day.  The hottest day ever recorded in the Phoenix metro area (June 26, 1990), when the temperatures reached 122F degrees. Some of Walmsley’s career highlights include: UltraRunning Magazine and Runner’s World 2016 Ultra Runner of the Year and UltraRunning Magazine’s 2017 Ultra Runner of the Year, the fastest record for running across the Grand Canyon and back, plus many more. “This is definitely going to be a completely different race than anything I have ever run before,” said Walmsley. “With the race taking place in the middle of the day with a start time of 2:47pm, I am training and looking forward to the challenge of the extreme Arizona summer temperatures.” The first race was held in 2013 and 1,300 runners braved the hot temperatures.  There is $8,000 of prize money. With temperatures potentially this hot all runners should be prepared to run in hot weather.  (05/08/2018) Views: 1,012 ⚡AMP
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