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Articles tagged #Kilian Jornet
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Make a strong, healthy comeback to running with these tips

"Hurry slowly," says ultrarunner Emelie Forsberg.

Whether you’re returning from injury or took some time off of running because of low motivation or life stress, we have some tips from pro ski mountaineer and ultrarunner Emelie Forsberg, author of Sky Runner, on making your comeback. Norway-based Forsberg (who is ultrarunning GOAT Kilian Jornet‘s partner) has returned to racing after having two children, navigated knee surgery, and maintained her delight in training the entire time. Follow her lead and make a smooth return to tackling your running goals.

Find your motivation

Forsberg suggests taking a deep mental dive into what you love about running. She notes that your motivation and goals may have changed since you first began, and that’s OK. “Listen to your body and adjust your training according to the new circumstances,” she says.

When I went through a stressful period, I had trouble focusing on anything other than the negative: I was fitting in less mileage and running more slowly than I had ever before. Reminding myself that running and moving my body in general (walking was good, too) helped me stay healthy mentally was a great way to adjust my focus, and I was able to move through that period without being too hard on myself.

Build endurance through adventure

Forsberg says she loves taking a day to run solo between huts in the mountains. While that might be a bit ambitious for most, you can adapt similar practices to incorporate fun adventures into training and keep it fresh. Heading to a new-to-you location to fit in a longer run, or exploring with friends, and pausing for a fun lunch can be great ways to keep your journey back to peak form gentle and enjoyable.

Forsberg also suggests building endurance through double sessions–but rather than doing double runs, she will ski for part of the day, then switch to running. “The body is already tired, but you end up using different muscles,” she explains. “The training is gentle as your body is tired, but not from running, so your running muscles are still fresh.

Alternate your training

Not feeling like getting out for your usual run? Forsberg says to skip it. “Do something else instead: yoga, aerobics, dance, ice skating, cycling, boxing–the list is endless.” Removing some of the pressure you put on yourself to follow your plan and moving your body in other ways will keep you feeling fresh and motivated.

Returning to running after some time off can be challenging, and navigating the challenges with a mindset focused on seeking joy, and accepting and having fun in the process will make the time fly by and bring healthy nuance to the way you view your training.

(11/28/2022) Views: 86 ⚡AMP
by Keeley Milne
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Kilian Jornet’s favorite fuel: you’ll feel like you’re ready to summit Everest

Arguably the GOAT of ultrarunning, 2022 UTMB and Hardrock champ Kilian Jornet lives in Norway with his partner (and fellow pro runner) Emilie Forsberg, where they grow their own vegetables and use them to create nutritious meals. They love these bean and lentil burgers, and you will too–full of protein and adaptable to every season.

Forsberg shares the recipe in her book Skyrunner: the burgers take less than ten minutes to prep, and work as a side or main dish. Forsberg writes: “I can eat these anytime, in summer with a light salad and roasted or grilled root vegetables, or in autumn or winter with tasty mashed potatoes, olive oil and salt.” Forsberg and Jornet eat mostly plant-based meals, and the combo of beans and lentils in these burgers packs a perfect plant-based protein punch.

Emelie’s bean and lentil burgers (makes 12 larger burgers)

Ingredients

1¾ cup cooked black beans

¾ cup cooked green lentils

¾ cup cooked red lentils

1 egg

3 Tbsp cornmeal

½ to 1 finely chopped onion

Salt and pepper

Other spices, like turmeric or chili powder, to taste

Olive oil for frying

Directions

Mix everything in a blender or food processor. Form the batter into burgers; fry in olive oil.

(11/22/2022) Views: 135 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Three ways to turn your off-season into a running game changer

While there may be less races close to home during the winter months, for runners, there never truly has to be an off-season–and it can be tempting to find races to jump into year-round to keep your motivation high. Even if you’re feeling great after summer training and racing, taking some time off and recharging in the winter months can lead to big payoffs when the days are warm again. Here’s how to turn your off-season into a running game-changer.

Take real time off from running

Pro ultrarunner Keely Henninger recently wrote about the importance of her off-season. “A solid off-season should be a set amount of time without running, followed by a time of unstructured easy training to work on weaknesses, develop strength, and regain motivation and fitness.

Recreational runners often race upwards of five to ten times a year, whereas professional marathoners may race their premiere distance only twice. There’s a reason they are pros–they’ve learned how to optimize their training and recovery time for maximum gain. Henninger says she takes at least two weeks off, and more if she feels she needs it.

Focus on your weaknesses (embrace the workouts you like the least)

In her book Skyrunner, pro ultrarunner and ski mountaineer Emelie Forsberg (also known for being ultrarunning GOAT Kilian Jornet‘s partner) writes about how she uses contrasts in her training. “Since I have a talent for ultradistances, I put extra effort into shorter training sessions and shorter intervals,” she says. She suggests keeping it simple: running hard 1K repeats if you love going long and slow, or finding a track to run on if you favour the trails.

Your brain (and body) may rebel initially, but tapping into a new-to-you training effect will make you faster and more robust. You may be surprised by how much you learn to enjoy what you used to avoid. Stepping out of your comfort zone is also great mental training for the endless array of issues that can crop up during a race.

Stop worrying that you’ll lose your fitness: incorporate other sports and try new things

Forsberg writes, “even though I love what I do, it’s important to have other things in life, other interests.” As a runner, you may feel like running is such a part of your identity that you cannot imagine your life without it. Taking the time to tackle other physical and mental challenges during the off-season is an excellent way to diversify your physical strength (you’ll tap into muscles regular running doesn’t) and power up your brain, while giving yourself a mental break from the demands of racing goals.

Try cross-country skiing, going for a swim, or dropping into a spin class. If those things aren’t accessible or budget-friendly, diversifying can be as simple as heading out for a walk in a new-to-you area or going tobogganing with friends. Dig out some board games, dive into a new book, or try a crossword puzzle to get your brain firing–science says that learning new things is a great way to expand your brain and skill set at any age.

(10/26/2022) Views: 160 ⚡AMP
by Keeley Milne
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Sierre-Zinal champion Mark Kangogo of Kenya receives three-year doping ban

The trail running community has been rocked after the winner of Sierre-Zinal, a mountain race in the Swiss Alps, was slapped with a three-year ban for two prohibited substances (norandrosterone and triamcinolone acetonide). The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has disqualified all of the results from Mark Kangogo of Kenya, dating to Aug. 13 (the date of the race) and Sierre-Zinal has decided to ultimately disqualify Kangogo.

In the past two months, Kangogo has collected victories at Sierre-Zinal and the Jungfrau Marathon, plus finished second at Thyon-Dixense, a 16.35 km trail race also in Switzerland.

The athlete provided an in-competition urine sample at the Sierre-Zinal, World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) World Cup race, held in Switzerland. The sample reported the presence of norandrosterone and triamcinolone acetonide.

Norandrosterone (19-NA) is the principal metabolite of the anabolic steroid nandrolone, which is used to aid recovery from injuries and increase muscle size, strength and power to help them train harder and longer. Triamcinolone acetonide is a steroid to aid muscle recovery and inflammation.

According to his coach, Julien Lyon, Kangogo has been removed from the On-sponsored Milimani Runners team. This team is a project from On that aims to bring trail running culture closer to athletes in Kenya.

Lyon released a statement that Kangogo will be excluded from the team. “There is no excuse and no possible explanation for doping,” says Lyon. “It will take time for us to heal the painful feeling of being betrayed by a training partner, but we will continue to train with the same motivation and determination.”

Sierre-Zinal released a statement Thursday on the disqualification of Kangogo and including a change in the final men’s results of the 2022 edition: “Andreu Blanes (ESP) has officially become the winner of Sierre-Zinal 2022. He won the race in a time of 2:29:19.”

The race also expressed zero tolerance for doping.

As part of the Golden Trail World Series, Sierre-Zinal has implemented the “Quartz” anti-doping program to preserve the health and fairness of all athletes.

Blanes, who came second to Kangogo, and Kilian Jornet, who finished fifth, both took to social media to comment on the issue.

Kangogo, 31, acknowledged the offence, accepted a sanction and waived his right of appeal. His three-year ban will expire on Aug. 13, 2025.

(10/13/2022) Views: 184 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Ultrarunner Tim Tollefson shares mental health challenges in new film

Tim Tollefson is a celebrated American ultratrail runner with wins at big races like the Javelina Jundred, Lavaredo Ultra Trail 120K and Ultra Trail Australia 100K; in 2017 he was third overall at Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), finishing well under 20 hours.

But then followed a string of failures, including at this year’s UTMB, which went badly from the start, forcing him to drop out about four hours in. (Tollefson went into the race with a positive COVID result.) A new film, What Goes Unsaid, reveals something only those closest to Tollefson knew previously–alongside his many successes and the admiration of his fans, for years Tollefson has been dealing with poor mental health and an eating disorder.

Tollefson, who is sponsored by Coros, had a tough adjustment when his family moved from rural Minnesota to the Auburn, Calif. (the sight of the iconic Western States 100 finish) when he was 10, and he was bullied– for wearing glasses, for his accent and his haircut. He started running in middle school, which helped him feel more accepted.

But it also made him want to be leaner, and more like the other runners’ body types he observed on the team; and since he wasn’t the only one trying to eat less to force his body to conform to an “ideal” body weight, he didn’t realize how insidious and dangerous it could be. 

Tollefson qualified for the 2012 Olympic Marathon trials, but struggled in his brief marathon career, ultimately switching to trail running, which he hoped would bring greater success (and therefore self-acceptance). UTMB represented, in his mind, the acme of achievement in the ultratrail world–and he describes his 2017 podium finish, where he broke 20 hours (along with winner François D’Haene and runner-up Kilian Jornet) as the best race of his career. (He finished third in 2016 also.)

But the euphoria was short-lived. In 2018, he returned to UTMB and DNF’d–and again in 2019 and 2021. In the flim, he reveals that, even during the good years, he would almost be paralyzed with anxiety over being seen by others, and by perfectionism, severe body dysmorphia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Interestingly, this is one of the reasons he was attracted to UTMB: it starts in the evening, and much of the first half of the race takes place in darkness. By the time the sun rises, he has run long enough to feel slightly less bad about being seen. “I feel thin again, because I’ve run for 12 hours,” says Tollefson.

Tollefson says it’s not the running, or the altitude, that strikes fear into his heart–it’s being seen by other runners. He says he has been counting calories since 2003, and he only sought therapy recently. He now recognizes that what he sees when he looks in the mirror is distorted and not real. 

Having grown up in the area and competed at Placer High (where Western States runners finish), Tollefson avoided it until 2021. He admits he was always critical of the race, whose course is not as technical or as spectacular as UTMB’s. Ultimately, he realized he was holding it to an unfair standard–much as he had always done to himself and his body. And he decided to run it.

He finished fifth last year, and as his fans already know, this year he finished, but not without struggling mightily–against dehydration and a powerful urge to quit. He placed 33rd overall, with a time of 20:41:28. “I decided that I wasn’t going to give up on myself,” Tollefson told filmmaker Billy Yang, who was commentating, after finishing. He also felt he owed it to his crew the volunteers and the runners who didn’t make it off the waitlist, to finish. 

He shares his story now in the hope that it will encourage others to do the same. Several female athletes (including Olympic bronze medallist Molly Seidel, trail runner Amelia Boone and steeplchaser Allie Ostrander) have shared their stories, but as Tollefson’s makes clear, eating disorders are not limited to female athletes. (Canadian beer miler Corey Bellemore opened up about his own experience during the pandemic.)

“When other people share things publicly, and I relate or emphathize, it makes me feel less alone,” he says. “I’ve never had the confidence to reach out to those people and say thank you, but I know it has an impact.”

(10/11/2022) Views: 193 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Four Takeaways From The Training of Eliud Kipchoge, Marathon GOAT

Eliud Kipchoge is so dominant in the marathon that I think his brilliance might even be underappreciated. How can you fully understand the context of history when you're living in the middle of it? Kipchoge isn't just great. He outran "great" about 5 years ago. He is now something like a miracle.

On Twitter, coach and writer Steve Magness summarized Kipchoge's accomplishments. Since 2013, he has won 17 of the 19 marathons he has entered. His two slowest times during that timespan WON OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALS. He also broke 2 hours in an unsanctioned event, and almost broke it another time. This is Sandy Koufax in the 1960s mixed with Michael Jordan in the 1990s mixed with a malfunctioning ATM machine that keeps spitting out $20 bills. 

Marathons are captivating because they are physiological and psychological nightmares. A 2021 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology examined the physical characteristics of a sub-2 hour marathon and found that it requires holding an extremely high percentage of an astronomically high VO2 max, with metabolic/aerobic efficiency near the limits of what is conceivable.

The study indicated that what seemed physiologically impossible just a few years ago actually just required years of training, otherworldly talent, and work ethic to put it all together. It took an athlete at the 99.99th percentile of humanity in talent and toughness and focus.

If you could draw up that perfect marathoner in a simulation, the result would be Eliud Kipchoge.

Training Context

I love digging into the training of the GOATs while they are at the peak of their powers. When the margins separating athletes at the top level are so narrow, how can someone put a Grand Canyon between themselves and their competitors?

On trails, we have Kilian Jornet publishing his training logs and Strava files, doing podcast interviews, and sharing every secret. On roads, however, it can be harder to know exactly what athletes are doing and how it fits into the broader context of training theory. This article attempts to decipher some of the clues, following breadcrumbs from articles and interviews to lessons from Kipchoge's unthinkable dominance.

First, a few disclaimers. One day, I plan to go under 2 hours as I recite the list of reasons I might be wrong in my conclusions from uncertain data. (That day is not today.)

The main hesitation is that there is no definite training log for Kipchoge. My favorite source that I will be referring to constantly in this article was written by Cathal Dennehy for Outside in November 2021. Dennehy had inside access to Kipchoge's training camp and interviewed his coach, Patrick Sang. That access is key for factual accuracy because there are rumors that some of the online sources purporting to describe Kipchoge's training are approximations at best, and downright fictional at worst.

While there is general agreement on some principles applied by Kipchoge and Coach Sang across interviews and secondary sources, the specifics may remain murky for a while. This article will be trying to describe the outline of a yacht from a foot beneath the surface of the water.

In addition, it's tough to even know whether the reliable sources tell the entire story. In trail running, there are so many variables that go into top performance (many of which downregulate other variables associated with performance), that there is little disincentive to be fully transparent. Anyone can do Kilian Jornet training, but only Kilian will get Kilian results, because there are countless stumbling blocks between process and outcome on rocky, steep trails. 

Road marathons are different. That 2021 study laid out the exact physiological metrics an athlete needed. If someone mastered a training approach to reach those metrics, it's conceivable that copycats with 99.99th percentile genetics would show up at every marathon ready to go GOAT hunting. There are strong disincentives to printing out 1,000 copies of a treasure map while you're still busy gathering gold.

Finally, even if the information is approximately correct, it's still N=1. Plus, there is the unfortunate reality that all world-class athletes face questions about performance enhancing drugs, though to my knowledge there is no reliable evidence here other than very, very fast times. And for the love of all sports, we can't let top performance alone form the basis for doping accusations (though it's always healthy to ask questions).

Even acknowledging those disclaimers, there is a wealth of online information that can give us a solid feel for Kipchoge's general approach, which could have takeaways for everyone. Let's look at 4 lessons from the marathon GOAT, with added context from the scientific literature and training theory. For a more nuanced discussion, my co-coach Megan and I broke down these principles and more on the newest episode of our podcast. 

One: Most of Kipchoge's training is very easy.

The Outside article has so much fantastic insight, and it wastes no time getting to the sexy stuff. "For Kipchoge, recovery runs start at a shuffle, typically an 8:30-to-8:45-minute-mile pace, and slowly build up to finish around 6:30 to 7 minutes per mile." 

Want to see my favorite video of all time? Check out the Kenyan shuffle to start one of their double runs, filmed by Dennehy. Some people put up a poster of Koufax winding up for a pitch or Jordan taking off from the free-throw line, but I want a poster of Kipchoge shuffling his way to greatness.

Okay, time to put on your speculation helmets! For an athlete like Kipchoge, 8:30 pace is nearly double what he does in a marathon, meaning his heart rate may be as low as 100-110 to start. Even if he accelerates to 6:30s, that's still a huge percentage slower than his marathon pace, probably equivalent to Zone 1 heart rate in a 5-Zone model. 

Now, buckle up your conjecture belt, because it's MATH TIME. Dennehy broke down an entire training week that gives us clues into the start of one of Kipchoge's builds (disclaimer: perhaps his training changes a ton later in cycles). It seems that 4 of Kipchoge's training days are purely easy, consisting of 3 x 18 mile doubles (as 12 miles in AM and 6 miles in PM) plus 1 x 2 hours at easy effort (maybe 16-18 miles). Add onto that 2 x 6 mile easy doubles on his workout days.

That puts him around 84 miles that are almost purely easy, and I am guessing firmly in Zone 1. There are probably some miles of warm-up and cool-down for workouts on top of that, also very easy. Let's estimate 100 easy miles in a week around 130 miles.

That would indicate that 77% is in Zone 1 or just a bit higher! Perhaps that approximation is wrong and some of those miles are in lower Zone 2, or maybe there is more steady running on some of those recovery runs than is reflected in the article. But still, that's a lot of easy running. People gasped when Jornet's training summary included 58% in Zone 1, but perhaps that was just a normal range for the GOATs.

The low-end aerobic training supports the high-end training in athletes doing very high volumes. On our podcast, we discussed where an athlete might want to start thinking about specific Zone 1 work as a training focus, and we approximated around 8-10 hours a week. So it doesn't mean you need to go this easy, but you should definitely feel permission to go very easy relative to your physiological limits. Again, no pace is too slow for aerobic development.

If the GOAT can start at a shuffle, we can all start at a shuffle.

Some people put up a poster of Koufax winding up for a pitch or Jordan taking off from the free-throw line, but I want a poster of Kipchoge shuffling his way to greatness.

Two: Kipchoge does high volume training, but not higher than other world-class athletes.

How does someone become the best of the best? The tempting answer is to say: "By doing more than the wannabe best." The right answer is more complicated.

Dennehy indicates that Kipchoge does 124-136 miles per week, largely in repeating weekly structure with workout and long run variation. That likely equates to around 16-17 hours of running per week, similar to many of Jornet's 20-hour weeks. A 2022 review article in Sports Medicine-Open found that world-class marathoners train around 99-136 miles per week and 500-700 hours per year, so Kipchoge falls within the normal range. 

In terms of intensity distribution, Kipchoge likely does most of his training purely easy in Zone 1, with some work in Zone 2 on long runs, a lot of Zone 3 tempo in workouts and long runs, a small amount of Zone 4 threshold on workouts, and very little Zone 5 of pure intensity. It's classically Pyramidal training, with most easy, some moderate, and little hard, a lot like we saw with Kilian Jornet (or with cyclists and skiers). 

I think it's significant that a couple months before his 38th birthday, Kipchoge is still getting faster and faster. He has done that by prioritizing sustainable aerobic development every single training cycle.

Discipline with easy training allows athletes to build up volume that supports more economical workouts, creating a positive feedback cycle over the many years required to explore the limits.

Three: Kipchoge runs controlled workouts, with disciplined intensity control.

The hardest place to get athlete buy-in is right here. Faster is often not better in workouts, particularly for advanced athletes. 

I can already feel some readers recoiling from that idea. If you can do mile repeats at a 6-minute pace, why would you ever run 6:30s?!

Kipchoge's training is another pillar of support for controlled workouts. Dennehy quotes Kipchoge: "I try not to run 100 percent," he says. "I perform 80 percent on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and then at 50 percent Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday."

Those 80% days are workout days. The 50% days are the easy run days. Then he shows up on race day with 100% of his capabilities and proceeds to annihilate our wildest imaginations.

Now is a time to reemphasize that we've ventured into murky waters. Workout descriptions abound online, but how many are perfectly instructive? Honestly, I don't know. I have a habit of cleaning out my ear wax with my car keys. I use Chocolate Chex as an iron supplement. Please take everything I say with a grain of salt (I also put salt in my tea before AM runs, with creamer and maple syrup). 

But we can approximate a zoomed-out description of his sessions, with the workouts seeming to involve very relaxed intervals between marathon and half-marathon pace, sometimes combined with faster intervals closer to 10k speed. The example given by Dennehy is this combo session, all on a rough dirt track at altitude:

Those mile intervals look fast, but for Kipchoge, that's a casual pace around his marathon effort (or a bit harder considering the track and altitude). The quarters are around 10k pace or slightly faster, depending on altitude adjustment. That's a big session in terms of volume, but probably right around the 80% in terms of his effort (which is mind-blowing on its own). 

The principles are great to apply to all athletes-a combination workout of more aerobic intervals followed by speed/power is a strong setup. However, the volume is likely excessive for almost anyone occupying space outside the tail-end of the human talent bell curve. A comparable session for an advanced athlete might be 4 x mile at 1-hour effort progressing to 10k effort, followed by 6 x 200 meters faster. 

You probably noticed that there is an offset between 4 x 1 mile at 1-hour effort (what I recommend for most athletes) versus 8 x 1 mile around marathon pace (what Kipchoge did). Why the offset? And now, my fellow intrepid training explorers, it's time for us to run head first into a training theory brick wall of uncertainty. 

That type of strict intensity control looks a lot like Norwegian training, where athletes do many relaxed intervals around threshold effort. But I think there's a problem. Does strict intensity-controlled training like that done by Kipchoge or the Norwegians work for normal people?

The answer to that question is complex. Yes, it will improve aerobic development at the cellular level. But when an athlete has mechanical limitations that prevent them from running efficiently at these controlled efforts, the workouts may result in an aerobic beast without the mechanical power and efficiency to actually run fast. It's notable that Kipchoge, Jornet, and the Ingebrigstens were all fast as hell as teenagers. Take someone that is already fast as hell, focus mostly on their aerobic development, and guess what? You have someone that can run fast as hell for long as hell. 

But what about everyone else?

In coaching, I have made some compromises around this problem. For intermediate athletes, the controlled intervals are often best around 10k effort-not overly intense to allow for aerobic development, but not so relaxed that they just run slow. For advanced athletes, it's somewhere between that 10k effort (approximating critical power) and threshold effort (1-hour effort).

For pros, it's usually half marathon effort to threshold/CP. It's obviously more complex than that on a weekly basis, I just think it's key to be careful applying the principles that work for a Ferrari to all of us Chevy Volts. 

Four: Kipchoge does quality long runs most weeks.

One of the reasons why I got so giddy when I saw Kilian Jornet's training was the consistent repetition of long tempo runs. Throughout his training, he would do sessions on trails in Zone 3, sometimes over 20-30km. And most sources say that Kipchoge is famous for his long, progressive runs that start easy and end moderately hard. Two GOATS make a trend!

That also overlaps with the training approach for Coach Renato Canova, one of the best marathon coaches in history. I bet we're seeing something very cool about how physiology works in these long events.

Dennehy's article describes an alternating weekly schedule. One week will be 19 miles, the next 25 miles, over hilly terrain. Other sources describe a run that starts easy, before progressing to steady, and inching down toward 5-minute miles by the end. That's an extended time of moderate running over hilly terrain, with most likely around Zone 3 tempo. 

You see these long, quality runs in the logs of tons of world-class athletes. The likely rationale is that long runs progressing to sustainably fast (but still aerobic) speeds approach the maximal strain on the aerobic system and the underlying lipid oxidation that powers it. That improves the body's ability to preserve and recover glycogen stores, a key determinant of how hard an athlete can push in endurance events.

I think all athletes can benefit from a bit more steady tempo in long runs. However, it's key to make sure it doesn't turn into a hard, race-like effort. Exceeding lactate threshold excessively could counteract some of the aerobic development from the sessions. 

And it's even more complicated in trail running, when heart rate gets higher on climbs. That's why I'll often have athletes do their long runs "easy/moderate," not referring to a specific effort level, but giving permission to move up toward threshold on uphills. After seeing this overlap between Jornet and Kipchoge, I am planning on adding more consistent 1-2 hour controlled tempos around 50k effort for advanced athletes who are not doing many training races (which can serve a similar purpose).

Final Takeaway

After running the new world record, Kipchoge had a tweet ready to fire off. He does everything fast.

"Limits are there to be broken. By you and me together. I can say that I am beyond happy today that the official world record is once again faster. Thank you to all the runners in the world that inspire me every day to push myself."

Even in his moment of triumph, he shows gratitude to every other runner. He seems like such a great human. What is it about running that makes our heroes so uniquely kind and caring? Eliud, Kilian, Courtney, Clare, countless others-all wonderful people, using their platforms to spread kindness and love.

I don't know the answer to that question, but I have a theory. When Kipchoge pushes the limits of what humanity can achieve, he is feeling all of the same chemical and emotional sensations that you or I feel when we push our own limits. Yeah, we might be doing it a bit slower. But I think there is some universal truth to be found at the personal edge.

Peer over the edge, and what do you see? I have done hill workouts where I have lost faith and then found faith over and over and over. Running sucks, and it's also the most beautiful thing in the world, sometimes simultaneously. It can be a brutal reminder of death and a transcendent affirmation of life.

As runners, we are constantly asking questions: Can I run my first 5k? Can I finish this hill workout? Can I overcome this stress fracture? We all feel the same physical sensations in that journey, a chemical shitstorm of pain and joy. Over time, with patience and grit, we learn that we can do all of those things and more! So we ask bigger and bigger questions, layering leaps of faith on top of one another as we explore our personal edges.

And for a few athletes on the planet, all of that questioning leads to a really big one: Can I run a world record? I think that in saying that we all inspire him, Kipchoge is saying that his world record attempt shares an evolutionary through line with our first mile, our hill workouts, our injuries. His achievement is the pinnacle of a pyramid of questions that all get at a similar idea.

What is actually possible with my time here on Earth? 

Therein lies the fun part of an often not-fun sport. You have to layer one thousand leaps of faith on top of each other to start getting a hint of the answer. And the answer is that the answer doesn't really matter.

But the leaps? Nothing in the world matters more than taking those leaps. 

(10/02/2022) Views: 183 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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This nutritious pizza is fuel for the fastest, you might not be able to run as quickly as Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, but you can definitely eat like them

Power-ultrarunning couple Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg have it all–glorious mountain miles to run surrounding their home in Norway, the launch of athletic brand NNormal, and delectable home-cooked meals baked from their small family farm. While Jornet recently won both Hardrock 100 and UTMB, Forsberg is an accomplished athlete herself and details her running journey in her book Skyrunner.

Forsberg is also the co-founder of Moonvalley, a plant-based sports nutrition company, with fellow pro runners Ida Nilsson and Mimmi Kotka. Forsberg has a simple pizza recipe that is so easy and versatile you’ll want to have it on a weekly rotation.

Homemade pizza is a family favourite at my house. Since our kids were little, my husband and I have taken turns whipping up a batch of pizza dough, pulling out whatever vegetables we find in the fridge and letting everyone create their own masterpieces. The best part about pizza is that it’s easy to cater to everyone’s unique tastes–try a double batch of dough or split this recipe into four for individual pies.

Emelie Forsberg’s ‘Fast Food’ Veggie Pizza

Ingredients (makes two pizzas)

Dough:

2 1/4 cups almond flour (since there is no yeast in this recipe, Forsberg suggests any type of flour without wheat, including corn, coconut, chickpea, or a combo)

3/4 cup water

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Toppings:

assorted veggies of choice (mushrooms, beets, eggplant, tomato)

tomato sauce

cheese (can use vegan)

arugula for topping

Directions

Mix all the dough ingredients together well. Roll out the dough on some parchment paper and pre-bake it for 5 mins at 225 C (440 F).

While the dough is pre-baking, start chopping your veggies. Forsberg says she throws in what she has at home, and if she’s in a hurry will simply use plain store-bought tomato sauce.

Add tomato sauce, veggies, and your choice of cheese, and pop back in the oven at 220 C for approx 10 more minutes. Top with arugula and enjoy.

(09/21/2022) Views: 231 ⚡AMP
by Keeley Milne
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Kilian Jornet Isn't The G.O.A.T. of Trail Running Just Because He Wins Big Races

After Kilian Jornet won the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) for a record-tying fourth time on August 27, it was easy to assume that running 100 miles is something that comes easy to him.

It doesn't, but it would be easy to think that because, well, it sure looked that way.

While the 34-year-old who hails from the Catalan region of Spain has long ago established himself as the G.O.A.T. of ultra-distance trail running in the mountains, he's as human as each of the other 2,300 runners who toed the line at this year's UTMB. Like his fellow competitors, Jornet felt fatigue in his legs from grinding through the 171.5km (106.5-mile) course and its 33,000 feet of elevation gain. He said he had difficulty breathing when he ran too fast or climbed too abruptly, likely the lingering effects of having just overcome Covid-19 earlier in the month.

And, like everyone else, he had to fight off low moments of mental torment, and maybe even a tiny trace of self-doubt-remember, he's human-as American rival Jim Walmsley opened up a big lead on him over the Grand Col Ferret as the course passed from Italy to Switzerland.

But what sets Jornet apart, and what has always distinguished him as an athlete, is a unique combination of physical ability, smart racing strategy and a deep connection to the mountains that allows him to move joyfully, patiently and, at times, seemingly with relative ease amid the physical anguish that comes with running such a grueling race.

But make no mistake, he suffered enroute to winning UTMB in a course-record 19 hours, 49 minutes, even if he made it look easy overcoming Walmsley and dispatching competent French contender Mathieu Blanchard.

"Since the start there has not been a single moment in which I didn't suffer," Jornet said after the race. "I knew that I needed to keep my intensity under a certain threshold where it can be heavy for the lungs, but it was no problem. But muscularly it was very hard from the start of the race."

Jornet is human, even if it took a debilitating illness to show it. But as he turned in yet another masterwork performance on the world's biggest stage, Jornet gave glimpses of what has made him so otherworldly for so long. Perhaps surprisingly, superior physicality is only a small part of it.Patience and Respect

Having already won UTMB three times and Hardrock a record-tying five times-most recently just six weeks earlier-Jornet had nothing to prove in Chamonix. In fact, if he had never toed the line or for that matter retires from competition, his legacy of epic race victories and Fastest Known Time (FKT) records on some of the most difficult trails and biggest mountains around the world would stand the test of time.

But that brings up another element that makes Jornet great is that he has always run as if he had nothing to prove. Sure, he's a competitive athlete, but his focus seems to be more about immersing in the zest of competition and the life-affirming bliss he's always felt in the mountains.

For Jornet, the destination truly is the journey, not the outcome. That adventure-oriented focus was something he learned in his youth growing up in the high-alpine environment of the Cap de Rec mountain refuge in the Spanish Pyrenees, where his dad was a mountain guide and his mom was a ski instructor. He climbed his first peak at age 3 and started competing in ski mountaineering races at 12.

Along the way, he developed a grounded sense of presence in the mountains that has allowed him to remain calm and bide his time in ultra-distance races-especially more rugged mountain races like UTMB and Hardrock. Instead of going all-out from the front, he typically follows a more fluid strategy of just staying in contact with the lead group and letting the race play out a bit as the terrain dictates before becoming hyper-competitive.

Contrast that to Walmsley, who has been hellbent on becoming the first American man to win the race with a front-running mentality, countryman Zach Miller, who returned after injuries and Covid-19 kept him away from continuing the same pursuit for three years, and the hard-charging Blanchard, who was eager to steal the show and make a name for himself in front of a supportive mostly French crowd after a robust third-place finish in 2021.

Even when Jornet was younger, he ran with maturity and wisdom beyond his years, always earnestly clinging to the premise that the experience of racing-and sharing it with his competitors, not to mention spectators and volunteers when possible-is always more important than the actual race itself.

When Walmsley built a big lead with a strong power-hiking surge up the Grand Col Ferret, Jornet was seemingly content, at that moment, to ease through the highest point of the course, chatting at times with volunteers, fans and videographers in French, Spanish or English as he had done at times earlier in the race. In previous UTMB races, he's burst ahead on the switchbacks up Grand Col Ferret and other steep climbs on that course, only to stop on top and wait for his competitors to catch up while gazing at the stars or picking mushrooms with children.

"At Hardrock this year, when I saw him on top of Grant Swamp Pass, he stopped in the middle of the race just to chat with me because we hadn't seen each other in a while," Miller says. "That's just the way Kilian is."A Versatile Mountain Athlete

Jornet has a much more diverse set of athletic skills and abilities than most ultrarunners. In addition to winning ultras, Jornet was a multiple world champion in ski mountaineering and SkyRunning in his twenties. He also set a host of new speed ascent marks and roundtrips on Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Aconcagua (Argentina), Mont Blanc (France) and the Matterhorn (Switzerland). Although he missed in his attempt to set a new FKT on 29,032-foot Mt. Everest in 2017, he actually summited the world's highest mountain twice in six days without supplemental oxygen.

When he was a few years younger, he set a new record on the 171-mile Tahoe Rim Trail in California and Nevada and posted the fastest-ever time up the steep, rocky 1.3-mile Mt. Sanitas Trail in Boulder, Colorado.

"Kilian is a beast," says Francois D'Haene, the other four-time UTMB winner who last year became the first to win Hardrock and UTMB in the same summer. "When it comes to Vertical K races and distances from 40K to 100K, I think there is no competition between us. He's faster than me and stronger than me, especially on technical terrain."

Aside from long-and-rugged Hardrock and UTMB, Jornet won the shorter and much faster 42km Zegama Alpine Marathon in Spain and placed fourth in the 31km Sierre-Zinal village-to-village race in Switzerland in August. A lot of it has to do with the fact that he still trains in much of the same fashion as he did as a kid, often focusing more on fun, hard, playful days of adventure on foot or on skis as much as he does structured high-performance workouts.

"Kilian is unique in the range that he can cover," Miller says. "As a runner, his ability to switch back and forth from something like Zegama to Hardrock to Sierre-Zinal to UTMB is just incredible. And because of that ability, I think he's a bit of a mad scientist when it comes to training. He kind of turns himself into a guinea pig and trains in ways other guys might not be willing to for fear of overtraining."

All of that translated into Jornet's ability to win this year's UTMB despite trailing Walmsley by about 15 minutes at the 126km aid station at Champex. When the surging Blanchard caught him and quickly left the aid station, Jornet's competitiveness and mountain practicality started to fire up. They passed Walmsley and gapped him and then ran stride for stride over the ensuing 2,300-foot climb from the village of Trient down into the ski town of Valloricine.

Finally, after leaving the 153km aid station at the same moment as Blanchard, Jornet surged on a gently sloped 4km section of trail to the base of the final 2,600-foot climb up Tte aux Vents. Blanchard got a first-hand view of the master at work and all he could do was watch him run away to victory and hold on for second place.

"Running from Champex with Mathieu, I knew I was stronger going up but that he was catching on the downhills," said Jornet, who has lived in Norway for the past several years with his wife, Emelie Forsberg, and their two young children. "Once we got to Valloricine, the strategy was to push very hard up the final climb to Tte aux Vents and then manage the lead. I had about an 8-minute lead and I was feeling comfortable with it, but in a ultra race you never know, many things can happen."A Transcendent Athlete

At some point a conversation about Jornet should transcend trail running and include the similarities he shares with other great athletes who have had a similarly dominant presence in other sports. And yes, that means Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Lindsay Vonn, Eddie Merckx, Michael Phelps, Ann Trason, Lynn Hill, Kelly Slater and Eliud Kipchoge.

Why not? Like each of those all-time athletes, Jornet has consistently risen to the occasion at the biggest moments of his career, not only because he physically outclasses the competition, but also because his intellectual prowess as an athlete and his ability to outthink, outwit and outlast them. It's not that he wins everything-although he's won the vast majority of his races since winning UTMB as a 20-year-old in 2008-it's more that he's been competing at the highest level for 15 years and hasn't regressed and has rarely had bad days.

In 2017, he had a rough go of it in the UTMB and finished second to D'Haene and in 2018 he dropped out after inflammation and pain caused by a pre-race bee sting made it difficult to keep running.

"Even his bad races he performs well, and I think that's what makes Kilian special," says Walmsley, who finished fourth at UTMB this year. "Whether it's a bad moment or a bad race, he's always still competing at a really high level. I have raced him twice at UTMB and both times I have thought I have found a crack, but I haven't been able to hold onto it."

Until recently, Jornet might have been viewed solely for his athletic. But with his bold move this year to break away from longtime sponsor Salomon and begin a new environmentally friendly trail running shoe brand called NNormal (with Spanish footwear brand Camper), he's not only begun to hone his entrepreneurial spirit in the world of business but also to make an impact as the environmental steward he's always been.

It's a path only a handful of high-level outdoor athletes achieved success at after making their mark in their sport disciplines, most notably Yvon Chouinard, a climber, surfer and kayaker who founded Patagonia in 1970.

Jornet ran all of his races this year in the same model of NNormal shoes that will be available at running shops and online this fall. It's a uniquely designed shoe that's balanced under the midfoot to promote midfoot and forefoot running gaits, but with enough cushioning to run with a heel-striking stride, especially on downhill sections of a trail. A thin polyurethane plate provides protection from rocks and some energy return, while a proprietary version of a Vibram Litebase Megagrip outsole serves up secure traction.

That all might sound pretty standard, but Jornet really wants his NNormal shoes to stand out for their durability. He and his colleagues have gone to great lengths to source long-lasting components, but they've also designed the shoe to be deconstructed so it will be easy to re-sole, repair or recycle it after hundreds of miles of wear and tear. It's all part of NNormal's No Trace philosophy that is all aimed at transparently designing gear with the smallest carbon footprint possible.

"There are a lot of good guys in the sport, but in [my] mind, Kilian is the king of the sport," says Miller, who was the fifth finisher at UTMB this year. "He sets the tone for the entire sport and [is] a great representative of the sport."

(09/03/2022) Views: 198 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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2022 UTMB Men’s Race

As expected, the men took the race out fast from the start on the relatively flat roads and trails from Chamonix to the village of Les Houches. Spain’s Pau Capell, the 2019 UTMB winner, led a charging group through Les Houches, seven kilometers into the race, followed closely by Mathieu Blanchard, a Frenchman living in Canada, and Jia-Ju Zhao and Guo-Min Deng, both of China. All the top contenders were in a massive chase pack, settling in for the long night and day ahead.

It didn’t take long for Jim Walmsley (pre-race interview) of the USA to make his intentions for this year’s race clear, coming into Saint-Gervais, at 20 kilometers into the race, in the lead, looking strong and relaxed. Kilian Jornet and Capell were just seconds behind with Deng, Zhao, and American Zach Miller making up a chase group half a minute in arrears. They were followed by Frenchman Germain Grangier, Blanchard, Frenchman Thibaut Garrivier, and Yan-Qiao Yun of China.

Unsurprisingly, by Les Contamines, 31 kilometers into the race, it was shaping up to be a showdown between Walmsley and Jornet. They came into the aid station together looking relaxed, Walmsley taking the time to high-five fans, and were shortly on their way into the night together. Capell and Miller came in just 30 seconds back, and Grangier rounded out the top five, just a minute behind them.

A notable withdrawal around this time due to physical issues is last year’s second place finisher, Frenchman Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz (pre-race interview).

Climbing over the high Col du Bonhomme, 43 kilometers in, Walmsley, Miller, Jornet, and Tom Evans (pre-race interview) of the U.K. shared the lead. With 1,160 meters (3,800 feet) of climbing down just on this one climb, everyone in the group looked relaxed and was moving well. Capell was just 90 seconds back, trying not to let the elastic to the front group snap in the dark of the night on the run over to Col du Bonhomme before the long descent into the remote French outpost of Les Chapieux.

The four leaders stayed together down to Les Chapieux, 50 kilometers into the race, where last year’s winner, François D’Haene — not participating this year — was spectating and cheering on runners. Unfortunately, Capell had lost contact with the lead group over the previous section, coming into the aid station more than two minutes back. The rest of the top nine stayed relatively the same with Erik Sorenson of the USA slotting in 10th for the first time.Coming into Lac Combal, 66 kilometers into the race, after crossing country borders into Italy and traversing the most remote part of the course, Walmsley and Jornet had only slightly pulled away, their gap to Miller and Evans hung at a tenuous minute. All four looked strong, but it seemed like pre-race predictions of a two-man showdown were about to be realized.

Walmsley, with his arms and legs fully covered from the cold of the night but shirt front open, came into the town of Courmayeur, 80 kilometers in, solo and in the lead, but his gap on Jornet just 80 seconds.

Both men were moving well and left the aid station together after only a few minutes. It was a significant 12 minutes before Evans and Miller came through, staying in Courmayeur for under three minutes. Blanchard, looking more relaxed than any of the previous four, was also in and out of the aid station quickly, 18 minutes off the lead. Known for his slower starts and late race surges, Blanchard appeared to know exactly what he was doing.

It was never a question of if Walmsley or Jornet would strike out on their own, it was just a matter of when. Walmsley was the first to throw down a serious acceleration, coming into Arnouvaz (97 kilometers) solo and with a 2.5-minute gap on Jornet. Both were in and out of the aid station quickly, looking strong and motivated. Blanchard also chose the trail between Courmayeur and Arnouvaz to make his move, coming into the Arnouvaz aid station in third, looking very controlled and 14 minutes behind the leaders.

He was familiar with that position in the race, having finished third in UTMB in 2021. He was also familiar with the race tactic of starting slower, letting the leaders fight it out early and tire themselves out, and then moving up as the fast starters dropped back. It had brought him success the previous year, and he was seemingly employing the strategy again. Miller and Evans continued to run near each other, what Evans would later refer to as a “bromance” that lasted over half the race, and both looked like they had less spring in their step than the men ahead of them.

Committed to making the move stick, Walmsley climbed the Grand Col Ferret at 102 kilometers with a strong powerhike and held a five-minute gap over Jornet. Seemingly unconcerned with his position, Jornet chatted in French with both spectators and volunteers before vanishing into the night. Moving faster and looking stronger over the col than the previous two men, Blanchard continued the chase in third 17 minutes back. Miller and Evans continued to work together to keep the gap manageable.

The gap between Walmsley and Jornet stretched even further to 14 minutes by the sleepy Swiss village of La Fouly, 112 kilometers into the race. Both men were running under course-record pace, and both looked calm and collected. Still running strong into La Fouly, Blanchard kept the leaders within reach.

But Walmsley was committed to stretching the elastic on the field as much as he could, coming through Champex-Lac at 125 kilometers with 13 hours and 40 minutes on the race clock, gaining even more time on the course record and moving strongly. It’s generally a bad idea to bet against Walmsley after he’s put his mind to something, and after a fifth place finish in 2017 and DNF in 2018 and 2021 at UTMB, his commitment to the race and move to Europe to train on the trails seemed to be paying off.

But Walmsley is also known for going out fast and strong, and it doesn’t always stick.One could argue that Jornet was just biding his time, letting Walmsley burn his matches out front. However, there were times around this point in the race where Jornet just plain looked like he was working, enough so that we all began to wonder if the GOAT of trail running would have a crack in his armor today. However, by Trient at 142 kilometers, Jornet had decided to make his move, coming into the aid station in the lead. But instead of seeing Walmsley behind him, it was a surging Blanchard, less than a minute back that Jornet would have to now battle.

It was a long 19 minutes before Walmsley would arrive, appearing to be in discomfort. The dynamic duo of Evans and Miller continued to run together, still holding the gap to the race leader at just over 30 minutes, as they had for much of the race.As the kilometers ticked down, it was indeed a showdown between two men, except it was Blanchard challenging Jornet, with both men coming into Vallorcine at 153 kilometers together, well ahead of the course-record pace.

With Walmsley slowly losing time to the leaders but still in third, eyes moved to Evans who’d finally dropped Miller after nearly a night and a day of racing side by side to see if he could make the pass.By this time, it felt nearly inevitable that Jornet would run to the win and it was no surprise when he came into Tete aux Vents solo looking focused and fast with an 11-kilometer downhill run to the finish. Blanchard never gave up the chase, seven minutes back, while Evans passed a tired but “pumped” Walmsley to slot into third for the first time.

Jornet would finish with a course-record time of 19:49:30, besting both François D’Haene’s 2014 record time (20:11:44) on a course which did not include the Pyramides Calcaires, a gnarly little climb and descent added to the UTMB course a few years back, and Capell’s 2019 time (20:19:09), which did include those extra kilometers.

This is his fourth win at UTMB. Just five minutes back, Blanchard would also come into the finishing chute under the previous course record in second place. An elated Evans rounded out the podium, a stellar finish for his first UTMB.

Walmsley came across the line in fourth, releasing the two DNF monkeys on his back and finishing the next step in his goal of ultimately winning this race someday. Miller, no longer on the comeback trail following surgery and recovery, but fully back, crossed the line in fifth place.

Most of the back half of the men’s top 10 are runners who started slower and bided their time, moving up in the race’s second half, including France’s Beñat Marmissolle, France’s Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon,Jonas Russi of Switzerland, and Romania’s Robert Hajnal. The final member of the men’s top 10, however, is France’s Thibaut Garrivier, who went out hot and looked like he paid for it later, but ultimately holding onto 10th place.

(08/28/2022) Views: 217 ⚡AMP
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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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Kilian Jornet and NNormal launch their first trail shoe

Kilian Jornet calls the Kjerag "a shoe that can be used for everything from a VK to a 100-mile race”

The Kjerag [pronounced: sche-rak], a trail running shoe and the first product launched by ultrarunning phenom Killan Jornet’s brand NNormal. The Kjerag is named for a 1,100-metre-high mountain in Norway, which can be conquered by running up challenging trails or tackled via some moderate hiking.

The made-for-everyone versatility of the mountain inspired the name of the shoe, touted as being made for every runner at every level. At 200 g, the Kjerag is a lightweight shoe boasting unique shock absorption and stability, with a stack height of 23.5 mm and a heel-to-toe offset/drop of 6 mm.

The design team at NNormal worked with Jornet to create a shoe that’s made to be versatile enough to switch between road running and scrambling up technical trails.

Jornet explained in a press release on Monday: “Our goal with Kjerag was to find the highest-quality materials, cutting-edge technologies, planet-friendly production processes–the best of everything. Then to bring them together in a shoe that can be used for everything from a VK (vertical kilometer) to a 100-mile race.”

The Kjerag has a generous front volume to provide comfort for runners tackling long races or trekking through hot days. Jornet has been test-driving the shoe throughout the 2022 season. “You forget about them when you run,” he reports.  “They follow the natural movement of the foot, which helps prevent muscle fatigue and blisters. The shoes adapt to you.”

The Kjerag has a super-sticky, extra durable Megagrip Vibram sole, with 3.5 mm lugs intended to prioritize speed and allow sensitivity to the terrain. The shoe boasts a “new generation of foam” with its EExpure midsole, sitting in direct contact with your feet via a very thin membrane. “No inner sole means best-possible propulsion and compression, less slippage and fewer blisters,” explains NNormal.

NNormal will be launching a range of apparel and accessories alongside the Kjerag that align with the same principles: lightweight and breathable attire made for both intense and less strenuous activities at every level. All the clothing designs are intended to be both timeless and durable. 

A shoe as all-encompassing as the Kjerag is hard to imagine, and it will be interesting to see if regular runners find the trail runner as versatile as NNormal claims it to be.

(08/23/2022) Views: 305 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Will Jim Walmsley Be the First American Man to Win UTMB?

Jim Walmsley has always been an outlier among American trail runners.

Not only is he as fast and talented as any ultrarunner the U.S. has ever produced, but he's also been bold and even a little brash about his intentions. His off-the-front racing style is something to be revered-and respected if you're one of his competitors -because the lanky 32-year-old Hoka-sponsored runner from Flagstaff, Arizona, has proven time and time again that it works for him. 

On August 26 in Chamonix, France, Walmsley will embark on his latest and most prodigious quest yet: to win Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). It's his fourth attempt at trying to follow up on his stated intention of becoming the first American man to win the race, but he's gone to extra lengths this year to prepare for it. It would certainly add to what has already been a great year, given that he and longtime girlfriend Jessica Brazeau got married on May 4 in Silverton, Colorado.

But if Walmsley is going to pull it off this year, he will have to fend off three-time UTMB winner and 2022 Hardrock champion Kilian Jornet, of Spain, among other strong runners in the talent-loaded field.

UTMB has been one of the pinnacle events in the sport of trail running since its inception in 2003. Not only does the course send runners on a grueling 171.5K loop (106.5 miles) around the Mont Blanc massif with nearly 33,000 feet of vertical gain, it also brings together the deepest international field of the year and more hype and media attention-including epic coverage and commentary via livestream-than any other event in the world by far.

One of several top-tier Americans in this year's UTMB field, Walmsley skipped the Western States 100 this year and since June has been living and training in the mountains of the Rhne Alpes region of France near Beaufort, not far from good friend Franois D'Haene, who knows a thing or two about training for big mountain ultras. 

Last year, D'Haene not only became the first male runner to win UTMB for a fourth time, but he also became the first runner to win both Colorado's Hardrock 100 and UTMB in the same year.

The Frenchman was crewed and paced by Walmsley at Hardrock in 2021 and was one of the first people to suggest that Walmsley spend a summer training in the French Alps in order to best prepare for UTMB, rather than showing up in Chamonix 7-10 days before as he-and many other American men-have in the past.

Aside from Jornet, who won this year's Hardrock 100 for the fifth time on July 16, the top international runners include Frenchman Aurelien Dunand-Pallaz, the runner-up at UTMB last year; Germany's Hannes Namberger; New Zealand's Scott Hawker; and Spain's Pau Capell, who won the race in 2019.

D'Haene certainly thinks Walmsley is capable of winning UTMB, but points out that there are always numerous capable runners who are contenders and it all depends on how the race plays out. The idea of Walmsley stating his intent out front-that he wants to win UTMB-is more of a bold American approach, D'Haene says, as opposed to a more subtle European style he prefers.

"Just to explain to people, 'I am here to be the first American to win the UTMB,' puts a lot of pressure on him," D'Haene says. "He thinks UTMB, he sleeps UTMB, he eats UTMB, so it's a lot of pressure. If you take the approach that I just want to smash that course and win that race, then it's a lot of pressure. I'm not sure if he'll win or not win, but at least he's training well in the Alps and his confidence is up."

Walmsley has raced UTMB three times already-taking fifth in 2017 but DNF-ing in 2018 and 2021. The fact that no American man has ever won UTMB is irrelevant in the scope of this year's race, but it certainly adds a heightened focus in Walmsley's quest and a brighter spotlight on him before and during the race.

Whereas four American women have won the women's UTMB race a total of seven times-including the 2019 and 2021 champion Courtney Dauwalter-only a handful of U.S. men have made it to the UTMB podium. The highest finish came when when Topher Gaylord and Bradon Sybrowsky tied for second in the inaugural race in 2003. 

While Walmsley appears to be the top American this year, it would be foolish to focus on him as the only American capable of winning. Other U.S. runners with momentum and motivation heading into UTMB include Tim Tollefson, who finished second at CCC in 2015 and third in UTMB in 2016 and 2017; Tyler Green, fourth at Western States 100 this year and 10th in the TDS 145K in Chamonix last year; Zach Miller, winner of the CCC 100K in 2015 and sixth and ninth, respectively, in UTMB in 2016 and 2017.

Miller went for broke trying to win UTMB in 2016 and held a 35-minute lead beyond the halfway point. He still led at the 100K mark, only to struggle over the final 50K and wind up sixth. What makes UTMB different, he says, is that the endless string of long climbs and descents demands a more moderate rhythm and effort over the first half of the course so you don't blow up before the race really begins.

"I don't think there's a super-secret code to crack. We've had a number of really good American men run there, it's just we have to have one of them have a good day all day one of these years," Miller says. "It's not anything we can't figure out or accommodate for. I think we've done it in other European-style races. It's just this one has kind of eluded us. I think it's possible that someone is going to have that 'right' day, but you almost have to have to get a little lucky, too."

Tollfeson is coming off three DNFs at UTMB in 2018, 2019, and 2021, and had a tough Western States this year (21st). Miller also DNF'ed at UTMB in 2018 and 2019 and then was away from racing because of injuries. He finished his first long ultra in several years in late June, winning the Andorra 100K to earn his place in Chamonix.

Other Americans in the field include David Laney (third at UTMB in 2015), Jason Schlarb (fourth in 2014), Seth Swanson (fourth  in 2015 and seventh at TDS last year) and Sage Canaday (48th at UTMB in 2017), who is back after suffering a pulmonary embolism and a devastating house fire in 2021.  

As for Walmsley, his front-running style has helped him snag three Western States 100 titles, three JFK 50 wins, a 50-mile world-best time, a 100K American record and the Fastest Known Time running across the Grand Canyon and back. It also helped him produce a solid 2:15:05, 22nd-place effort at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. 

Most recently, he tore up the trails (and the competition) at the rough and rugged Madeira Island Ultra Trail 115K in Portugal in April. Otherwise is been running in the Beaufortain Mountains with D'Haene and training a lot on a Wahoo bike trainer in France. Two weeks ago, he completed the arduous 114K (71-mile) Ultra Tour du Beaufortain loop with 7,300 meters (25,000 feet) of vertical gain as one of his last big training days. 

"I hope Jim can change it this year," D'Haene says. "I hope he will be OK and can run a good race, of course, but it's UTMB and, of course, it's always difficult."

(08/20/2022) Views: 189 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Ultra running is exploding in popularity around the world, but what actually is an ultramarathon?

The term Ultra covers a broad range of races, from mountains to road 

Ultra running is fast becoming a mainstream sport. Once, it was the realm of a few crazy runners, and not the pastime of everyone from your boss to your neighbour. But what actually is an ultramarathon?

How long is an ultramarathon?

An ultramarathon is anything longer than a marathon, which is 26.2 miles (42.195km). So, you could complete a marathon and run back to your car and you’ve technically run an ultra distance.

Typically, ultramarathons start at 50km and go up from there. Standard distances are 50km, 100km and 161km (100 miles), the latter often being referred to as a “miler”.

While a marathon is never longer than 26.2 miles, ultras tend to vary a bit. For example, the Hong Kong 100 is in fact 103km. And the Ultra Marathon du Mont Blanc, a miler, is in fact 171km. Others are a bit shorter than advertised, too.

Aside from the above three types, there are ultra races of all sorts of distances and formats. As long as it’s more than a marathon, the distances and formats can be limitless.

An increasingly popular format is 250km split over stages, such as the Marathon Des Sables. Runners complete different distances each day, some less than an ultra, and sleep at night.

As the sport continues to grow, others try to push the boundaries – such as the 298km Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge, which is non-stop and has no support on the trails. Runners finish the distance in between around 48 and 70 hours.

The formats are becoming increasingly imaginative. A backyard ultra, for example, is around a 6.7km loop. The runners start on the hour every hour until there is just one runner left, so the distance is not set. It keeps going and going. Runners have gone on for more than 80 hours.

Outside organised events, runners often complete ultramarathons just for fun, to set a personal best or a Fastest Known Time (FKT), which is ultra terminology for a specific course record. This can be anything from the 44km Hong Kong Trail, which takes a few hours, to the 4,172km Pacific Crest Trail, which has an FKT of almost two months.

What terrain is an ultramarathon on?

With an infinite range of distances come infinite terrains. An ultramarathon can be road, flat, track, pavement, mountain, trail, snow and more. As long as you can run on it, you can run an ultramarathon on it.

A famous road ultramarathon is the 246km Spartathlon. It follows the legendary route run by Pheidippides, who ran from Athens to Sparta before the Battle of Marathon in Ancient Greece, thus inventing the marathon.

The most high-profile mountain ultra is the Ultra Marathon du Mont Blanc, which has a total of 10,040 metres accumulative elevation gain in the Alps.

Track ultras often take the format of a set time rather than distance. For example, how far you can travel in 24 hours, round and round the same athletics track.

When Zach Bitter set the 100-mile world record, which has since been broken again, he ran it around a 443m track by doing 363 laps.

The distances and terrains are so varied race to race they are essentially different sports. Kilian Jornet is considered one of the best ultra-mountain runners ever, but comparing him with Yiannis Kouros, considered one of the best ultra road runners ever, is like asking who is better at football: Tom Brady or Lionel Messi.

Is an ultra harder than a marathon?

The word ultra refers to the distance, not difficulty. An ultramarathon is inherently hard, but not inherently harder than a marathon or any other distance for that matter.

If you have a specific and demanding finishing time in mind for your marathon, you will have to stick to a specific split, keep your legs spinning and spinning, all the time concentrating on your pace and pushing your body.

Is that easier or harder than a 24-hour 100km over mountains, with variation in terrain and elevation, when you walk some parts and rest at check points?

What about a 5km? If you want to run a fast 5km, you will be at your absolute limit for the entire time and collapse over the finish line.

Non-runners often think an ultramarathon is the “next step” for runners looking for a new challenge. Searching for a faster time is just as challenging as searching for a longer distance.

Either can be harder than the other – it’s down to the runner.

The same is true within ultra running. Ruth Croft, one of the best runners, dominates races around 50km. She was repeatedly asked when she would do a 100 miler once she had “completed” a 50km. Croft resisted the urge to cave to the pressure to run further until she was ready, understanding that fast and far are two often incomparable metrics.

When you consider all of the above, the simple definition of “longer than a marathon” does not quite do justice to the massive range of events encapsulated by the term ultramarathon.

(08/08/2022) Views: 229 ⚡AMP
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2022 Hardrock 100 Men’s Race

The men’s race at the 2022 Hardrock 100 finished pretty much in line with expectations – with an epic showdown between two of the greatest talents ever seen in the sport – Kilian Jornet (pre-race interview) and François D’Haene (pre-race interview). But there was plenty more action along the way, with bold moves from Dakota Jones (pre-race interview), and some strong running further back the field. Here’s how this year’s clockwise action played out.

From the start, the runners made a fairly predictable formation at the front of the field. Dakota Jones, Francois D’Haene, and Kilian Jornet led the charge, running together, with Jones joking with one of our reporters that they had agreed to finish in the aforementioned order. A very happy looking Dani Jung followed close back from the leaders in fourth at the KT aid station at mile 11.5, with John Kelly three minutes later in fifth. There was a gap of ten minutes or more from this front pack to Jeff Browning and Luke Nelson, who looked to be taking it very easy in sixth and seventh.The front trio remained within a few strides of each other the whole way into Ouray at mile 44, and although looking relaxed, they were already twelve minutes up on course record pace. Jung still followed in fourth, but the gap had widened to almost half an hour. He still looked very fresh and appeared to be taking the high road and running his own race, rather than getting caught up in anything outside of his comfort zone. The next three positions — Kelly, Browning, and Nelson — also remained unchanged with Kelly appearing more sombre than the others, but still making a fast turnaround in the aid station.

Jones was the one to make the move that cracked the front trio, and he came into the Engineer aid station at roughly the halfway point 11 minutes clear of Jornet and D’Haene, who remained together. Jung held on steadfastly in fourth, and former Hardrock champion Browning had moved up to take fifth from a struggling John Kelly.Jones continued to lead the way through Grizzly Gulch, two-thirds of the way into the race, but the Euro duo of Jornet and D’Haene had begun to close. By Sherman at mile 73, the two had joined forces, entering and leaving the aid station together eight minutes ahead of Jones.

They continued to run within seconds of each other, but by Cunningham Gulch at mile 93, there was a notable shift in tone as the race had begun in earnest. Jornet was the first to leave the aid station with D’Haene following seconds later. D’Haene looked strong and can never be underestimated in the finish, but after the headtorches began to flicker on the final descent through Arrastra Gulch, it was Jornet who emerged first from the darkness, having put five minutes on his friend and opponent in the roughly four-mile stretch.

Jornet powered through to the finish, taking his fifth victory in five Hardrock starts, and a clockwise and overall course record in a time of 21:36:34. D’Haene followed and touched the rock at 21:51:21, which was also under the original clockwise record from Jornet’s 2014 run.Further back, despite losing hold of first place, Dakota Jones never stopped pushing and took third in a strong 23:06:19, making his pre-race goal of breaking 24 hours.

An emotional Dani Jung came home in fourth, a position he held essentially all race, in a time of 25:53:47. This is just the beginning of Jung’s season, with UTMB and Diagonale des Fous still to come, and it will be interesting to watch him build on this performance.Jeff Browning was next home, finishing his sixth Hardrock in a time of 26:17:47, saying at the finish “It doesn’t get any easier.”

(07/17/2022) Views: 250 ⚡AMP
by Bryon Powell and Sarah Brady I run far
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Hardrock 100

Hardrock 100

100-mile run with 33,050 feet of climb and 33,050 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 66,100 feet with an average elevation of 11,186 feet - low point 7,680 feet (Ouray) and high point 14,048 feet (Handies Peak). The run starts and ends in Silverton, Colorado and travels through the towns of Telluride, Ouray, and the ghost town...

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Kilian Jornet and Nienke Brinkman smash Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon course records

On Sunday, at the first stage in the Gold Trail World Series (GTWS), Spain’s Kilian Jornet and Nienke Brinkman of the Netherlands both won the Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon in a course record time.

Jornet has now won the race for the 10th time in 11 attempts on the trail of Zegama-Aizkorri, in the Basque Country, Spain. His time of 3:36:40 took nine minutes off the previous record of 3:45:08 set by Stian Angermund-Vik in 2017.

The 34-year-old trail runner covered the 42-kilometre course at a fierce pace while climbing a steep 2,736 metres of elevation gain. Runners had to deal with seasonally warm temperatures but were greeted by thousands of people posted along the course.

Jornet finished three minutes ahead of Italy’s Davide Magnini (3:39:31), with whom he duelled for a long time until the final climb around 33 km. Spain’s Manuel Merillas, who is the reigning skyrunning world champion and speed record holder on Mont Blanc, finished third in 3:45:43.

Jornet has won Zegama in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2019 and now 2022. The big goal for Jornet this year is to win the Hardrock 100 miler, which takes place in Silverton, Colo., on July 15, where he will have to compete against the 2021 UTMB champion, François D’haene of France.

In the women’s race, it was all Dutch-phenom Brinkman. The 28-year-old Dutch marathon record holder never trailed in the race and ran the entire race alone past 10K. Brinkman led Maude Mathys of Switzerland by three minutes at the halfway point and beat Mathys by over nine minutes at the finish, smashing the existing course record by 18 minutes in 4:16:43. Mathys was second in 4:26:03 and Sara Alonso of Spain rounded out the top three, 37 seconds behind Mathys. All three women were well inside the previous course record.

In two months, Brinkman has notched a 2:22 marathon performance in Rotterdam and the Zegama Marathon course record. She is a former Dutch field hockey player, who only started running seriously at the start of the pandemic in 2020. At the end of 2021, she joined Nike’s NN Running Team.

 

Brinkman currently lives in Zurich, Switzerland, where she does a lot of training on the trails and difficult mountain paths.

(06/02/2022) Views: 344 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Kilian Jornet Co-Founds New Brand, NNormal

Mountain running legend Kilian Jornet has announced his newest venture: an apparel and outdoor equipment company called NNormal. 

The brand's creation was announced last month, a partnership between Jornet and Spanish footwear company Camper. According to the brand's website, the company name comes from locations of the designing and testing of products in Mallorca, Spain, and Norway, respectively (Nor + Mal). Jornet, who is originally from Spain, now lives in Norway.

According to the brand's website, the first line of NNormal products - set to include shoes, apparel, and accessories - will launch this fall, both online and in specialty running stores in Europe and North America. Additional members of the NNormal athlete team are also set to be announced in the coming weeks and already include Swedish athlete Emelie Forsberg, Jornet's partner.

While no products have been made available yet, NNormal's website notes that the first line is currently being tested, and that co-founder and first brand ambassador Jornet will wear the gear during his 2022 racing season, ostensibly including his seventh appearance at UTMB this August. Jornet split from longtime sponsor Salomon last year with an announcement that he would be turning toward a new venture, rather than signing with another existing company. Until recently, he had given few other details.

A Focus On Sustainability

NNormal's slogan, "Your path, no trace," alludes to Jornet's activism and dedication to environmental sustainability, and in a video on the website, Jornet outlines the mission and plans for the new company, including that all of its products should be reusable, repairable, or recyclable.

"Whatever we produce, it has a negative impact on the environment," says Jornet in the video. "Transparency is necessary to be honest about what we are doing well and what we should improve. How our company is contributing to climate change, to biodiversity loss, to introducing new chemical elements to nature, to ocean acidification, to land use, and to freshwater consumption, should be studied."

Jornet's partner business, Camper, was founded in Spain in 1975, and is currently headed by Miguel Fluxa, whose family has been crafting shoes for four generations. Camper has laid out ambitious sustainability goals itself, including 100% recycled or circular packaging, 100% of products made with recycled or renewable materials, and 100% ethically trusted and verified supply chain members by 2025, as well as net-zero emissions by 2050.

"So, how do we approach, at NNormal, our environmental responsibility?" said Jornet in the video. "Our DNA is to work on functionality. Our products are made to be used in multiple activities, and to be worn. Durability: to ensure that with this functionality, they can last the maximum. And repairability: to prolong the life of each product. Our end goal is to work toward real, circular products, leaving no trace in our path."

In the video, Jornet goes on to note that the brand's apparel is fully designed and created in Europe with materials from European producers, but that footwear will be manufactured in Asia, at least at first, due to better industrial capacity for producing performance shoes in that area of the world.

"Our goal is to produce more in Europe in the future, and for that we must invest in creating infrastructure and the know-how for it," Jornet says. "We are building long-term relations with our partners and providers to ensure the environmental and social levels of all our supply chain[This] means our internal emissions, but also from our external partners, such as factories, materials, et cetera, and working on reducing it with the goal of having the lowest emissions possible, and compensating the rest of emissions to become carbon neutral."The Goal? Better, not more.

Jornet notes in the video that in the interest of producing less waste and more timeless products, NNormal will include unisex color schemes, emphasize multifunctionality of products so that they can be used for more activities, and limited new releases, creating new designs only if better materials or strategies are identified, rather than releasing revamped editions each year.

The company plans to pursue the highest possible certifications in social and environmental responsibility, notes Jornet, including being a 1% for the Planet member and dovetailing with the work of Jornet's own Kilian Jornet Foundation, which supports environmental projects such as the World Glacier Monitoring Service and the science education work of the Athlete Climate Academy.

(04/16/2022) Views: 269 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Kilian Jornet partners with Coros wearables

The world-class GPS watch company Coros has partnered with two new athletes to expand their trail and mountain running audience. World sky-running champions Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg are the newest pro-athletes to represent the company.

The strategy behind the partnership is Coros’ commitment to helping athletes train and perform at the highest levels. Coros continues to cement itself as the leader in athletic performance-focused wearables, as Jornet and Forsberg join a growing roster of truly world-class athletes that include marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Olympic bronze medallist Molly Seidel.

Jornet has significant goals for 2022, as the three-time UTMB champion to returns Chamonix, France, for another crack at glory. Jornet, who recently left his sponsor Salomon, will also be competing at Hardrock, where he is a four-time champion, and Sierra-Zinal, which he has won nine times (including the last five editions).

Forsberg, who is Jornet’s partner, has the women’s FKT up and down from Mont Blanc in 7:53:12. Forsberg was the world sky-running champion in 2014 and is making a comeback to the sport after the birth of her second daughter in April 2021.

Drawn by its light weight, size and the inclusion of mountain-compatible features, both Jornet and Forsberg will wear the Coros Apex Pro as their primary GPS watch. The Coros Apex Pro features Ski Touring mode with auto ascent/descent detection, SpO2 (pulse oximeter) sensor with specially designed altitude mode, trail running mode and more…

(03/12/2022) Views: 358 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Kilian Jornet Announces Return to UTMB for 2022

"Return of the King."

That was the title of a YouTube video tweeted out by UTMB on February 23 to announce Kilian Jornet's return to the legendary race in Chamonix.

"This year I'm coming back to UTMB," said Jornet, in a clip sprinkled with quotes touting him as the sport's greatest of all time. "Why, you will ask me: it's because I really love to suffer. I really love the pain in the legs, the feet, and everywhere in the body. That's what long distance is about. To enjoy the pain!"

It will be Jornet's first time back at the 105-mile (170K) race since 2018, when he dropped 11 hours in. He has raced UTMB six times since 2008, including victories in 2008, 2009, and 2011. In 2017, he broke the race's course record while finishing second to Francois d'Haene's 19:01:54 and becoming the second man ever to break 20 hours on the course in 19:16:59.

The 2022 edition of UTMB is slated for August 21-28, with the 105-mile flagship race kicking off on Friday, August 26. It will come just six weeks after Jornet's appearance at the Hardrock 100 on July 15, where he will go after another win to complement those from 2014, 2015, and 2017 (as well as a co-victory with Jason Schlarb in 2016, when the two finished hand-in-hand).

Other athletes expressed their excitement for Jornet's return in the Twitter video.

"It would be a bit empty if Kilian wasn't there, to be honest," said Tim Tollefson, who will also race UTMB in August. "He is the king of the sport, so it just feels right to have him on the line."

Once August rolls around, Jornet will compete against one of the strongest fields UTMB has ever seen. Two-time champion Xavier Thevenard of France and an American contingency including Tollefson, Jim Walmsley, Jared Hazen, Sage Canaday, Dylan Bowman, Jason Schlarb, and Cody Reed will all be aiming for a podium finish. On the women's side, Americans Camille Herron, Brittany Peterson, and Hillary Allen will be in attendance, as well as Beth Pascall of the U.K., Audrey Tanguy of France, and Ragna Debats of the Netherlands.

"UTMB always has such a big level, so many good athletes, so I really love this competition," said Jornet in the video announcement. "I'm really looking forward to being at UTMB again this year."

(02/26/2022) Views: 344 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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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: 604 ⚡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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Canadian Reid Coolsaet set to run the 2022 Western States 100

The lotteries for the 2022 Western States 100 and Hardrock 100 took place this weekend, and Canadian Olympian Reid Coolsaet got his name on the Western States list. With over 8,000 applicants vying for only 340 lottery spots (221 for Western States and 119 for Hardrock), runners without automatic entry have a slim chance of having their names pulled, but 34 lucky Canadians got a spot on the start lines.

Western States

Of the top 10 male finishers at last year’s race, eight will be making their return to Olympic Valley, Calif., including second- and third-place finishers Tyler Green and Drew Holmen. Jim Walmsley, who won the race in 2018, 2019 and 2021 (the race was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19), has not elected to return for the 2022 race. The top three podium finishers from last year’s race, Beth Pascall of the UK, Ruth Croft of New Zealand and Ragna Debats of the Netherlands, will all be returning, as will six more of the top 10 women from 2021.

Canada’s Ailsa MacDonald received automatic entry, thanks to her 13th-place finish at the 2019 Western States and first-place finish at the 2020 Tarawera 100 Mile. Other fast runners who have received automatic entry include Sébastien Spehler (second at Ultra Trail Cape Town this year), Tom Owens (fourth at UTMB in 2019), Cole Watson (third at the Javelina Jundred), Stephanie Auston (third at the 2020 Black Canyon 100K and second at the 2019 Tarawera 100K) and Zoë Rom (third at the 2021 Rio del Lago 100 Mile and third at the 2021 Tillamook Burn 50 Mile), among others.

Coolsaet will be one of the top Canadians in the race, despite being relatively new to the ultramarathon scene. In August, he won his first-ever ultra, the Quebec Ultra Trail 110K, despite missing a turn and having to run an extra 10 kilometres. He will be joined by several other Canadians, including:

Leo Fung, Calgary

Jesse Hulley, Calgary

Mike Jollie, Calgary

Kevin Jansen, Calgary

Rohan Aurora, Vancouver

Steve Day, North Vancouver

Adam Harris, Squamish, B.C.

Patrick Humenny, Kimberly, B.C.

Ricardo Tortini, Port Moody, B.C.

Dawson Mossman, New Maryland, NB

Aytug Celikbas, Oakville, Ont.

Matt Lowe, Hamilton

Derek Mulhall, Tecumseh, Ont.

Norman Nadan, Orangeville, Ont.

James Swartz, Toronto

Vincent Gauthier, St-Zotique, Que.

Fanny Barrette, Calgary

Tara Chahl, Edmonton

Chelsey Topping, Lethbridge, Alta.

Kelly Haston, Toronto

Karen Holland, Kimberly, Ont.

Hardrock 100

Hardrock is particularly difficult to get into, because the only way to gain automatic entry into the race is by winning it the previous year. A unique addition to this year’s lottery: entrants who were chosen for last year’s race but were unable to travel because of COVID-19 were given automatic entry for 2022, which included 16 men and two women.

There are some big names on the 2022 start list, including Courtney Dauwalter, Sabrina Stanley, Magie Guterl, François D’Haene, Kilian Jornet, John Kelly, Luke Nelson and Jeff Browning. Canada’s Stephanie Case, who was the first woman (and third overall) at the 450km Tor des Glaciers race in Italy, will also be on the start line.

Other Canadians who received entry into Hardrock include:

Suzanne Johnson, North Vancouver

Dana Samis, North Vancouver

Joanna Ford, Calgary

Larry Kundrik, Lethbridge, Alta.

Ken Legg, Powell River, BC

Randy Duncan, Victoria, BC

Christopher Aubrey, Sherwood Park, Alta.

Nathaniel Couture, Fredericton, NB

Matthew Fortuna, Oyama, BC

Leo Fung, Calgary

(12/06/2021) Views: 603 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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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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World record-holder Eliud Kipchoge says that he wants to try an ultramarathon

As we’ve watched Eliud Kipchoge win race after race, break records and defy human limits, many fans have likely wondered what the marathon legend could do in a race longer than 42K. The great news is, one day we may have a chance to find out.

In a recent interview with Rob Steger in the Training for Ultra Podcast, the marathon world record-holder revealed his next goal after he finishes his marathon career: to tackle an ultra.

“After leaving the marathon, I want to run the ultramarathons just to feel how it is,” he told Steger. “Running for more than four or five days, or even run at once for 70 kilometers. I really want to feel the pain of running for a long time.”

While he hasn’t narrowed down any specific races he’d like to do, Kipchoge expressed interest in many of the Ultras in North America and South Africa, which gives him a long list to choose from. The ultrarunning community appears to be prepared to welcome the Olympic gold medalist with open arms, including fellow running legend, Spanish mountain runner Kilian Jornet.

Throughout the rest of the interview, Kipchoge talks about the pain of training (yes, running hurts for him, too… don’t let his smile fool you), who inspires him (hint: it’s not who you might think), how he motivates himself on days when he doesn’t feel like training and what kind of legacy he hopes to leave behind. The interview is short but not lacking any of Kipchoge’s endearing charm, and will likely have you itching to tie up your shoes by the end.

We may have to wait a while before we see Kipchoge out on the trails, however. To the delight, and perhaps the relief, of running fans everywhere, the GOAT of marathon running hasn’t made any indication that he’s retiring any time soon, and we will still have the pleasure of watching him make history for at least a few years yet.

(09/02/2021) Views: 601 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Francois D'haene claims his fourth victory at UTMB

Frenchman Francois D’haene delivers once again in the Alps, achieving his fourth victory at Ultra-Trail du Tour Mont Blanc. D’Haene finished in 20 hours and 45 minutes to cover the 170km course, climbing over 10,000m up and down the valleys of Mont Blanc.

This is D’haene’s fourth win in his fourth attempt at UTMB. He now single-handedly holds the record for most wins since the race began in 2003, passing Spain’s Kilian Jornet who holds three.

D’haene lead since the first breakaway and started a second breakaway group with American Jim Walmsley, as they began the climbing in Italy, D’haene dropped Walmsley and charged on towards the finish line. Walmsley dropped out of the race after failing to stay on pace with D’haene.

French-Canadian, who lives and trains around Montreal but was born in France, Mathieu Blanchard finished third to round out the podium. This marks the highest finish by a Canadian ever at UTMB. Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz of France was second to round out the French sweep of the podium, for the first time in history at UTMB.

In the women’s race, it was American Courtney Dauwalter who rose to glory. Dauwalter won the previous edition of the race, becoming the third woman to successfully defend her title on the hills of Mont Blanc. Dauwalter broke fellow American Rory Bosio’s course record finishing in 22 hours and 30 minutes. Dauwalter finished seventh in the overall standings, the highest finish ever by a woman.

(08/28/2021) Views: 693 ⚡AMP
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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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François D'haene, Sabrina Stanley win first Hardrock 100 in three years

After two successive cancellations (one due to snowfall and one to COVID), the Hardrock 100 took place in Colorado’s San Juan mountains on Friday, and it was worth the wait. French ultratrail superstar and three-time UTMB winner François D’haene was strong from the start, and powered through to a 21:45:51 finish early Saturday – the fastest time anyone has run the course, counterclockwise or overall (both records were held by Kilian Jornet, who did not run this year).

Defending champion Sabrina Stanley of Silverton, Colo. (where the looped-course race starts and finishes) won the women’s race in 27:21:48 – the second fastest women’s finish ever, and her second time racing Hardrock. Stanley was sixth overall, and was on pace for a course record until approximately mile 80. 

Dylan Bowman of Portland, Ore. took second place, exactly one hour behind D’haene, in 22:45:50. and Ryan Smith of Boulder, Colo. was third, in 23:24:29. All three finished faster than Jornet’s counterclockwise course record of 23:28:00, set in 2015, and D’haene bettered Jornet’s overall record of 22:41:33 from 2014.

Darcy Piceu of Boulder was the second woman to finish, in 32:08:17. Piceu has finished first or second in all eight of her Hardrock finishes. Meghan Hicks of Moab, Utah finished third, in 33:04:59.

D’haene is a three-time UTMB winner (2012, 2014 and 2017), among other titles, and Bowman has twice won the Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji, in 2016 and 2019. Both are Hardrock first-timers. D’haene was paced for the 30-mile section from Grouse to Telluride by Jim Walmsley, who won his third consecutive victory at Western States just three weeks ago and is now training for UTMB.

The second First-timer and favourite Courtney Dauwalter did not finish, dropping out at mile 62. Mike Wardian finished in 26th place, in 36:00:25.

Mario Festival of Calgary, who also dropped out at Ouray, appears to be the only Canadian entry.

Top 10 men

François D’haene 21:45:50 

Dylan Bowman 22:45:50 

Ryan Smith 23:24:29 

Julien Chorier (2011 winner, 2nd in 2014) 25:56:57 

Jeff Browning (2018 winner) 26:58:16 

Nick Pedatella 28:27:47 

Troy Howard 28:33:51 

Trevor Fuchs 29:19:42 

Kevin Shilling 30:33:20 

Mick Jurynec 30:33:20 

Top 10 women

Sabrina Stanley 27:21:48 

Darcy Piceu 32:08:17 

Meghan Hicks 33:04:59 

Olga Nevtrinos 36:35:26 

Heather Brooks 38:09:00 

Betsy Nye 39:36:00 

Pam Reed 41:56:00 

Barbara Olmer 43:22:00 

Marta Fisher 45:21:47 

Betsy Kalmeyer 45:47:17  her second time racing Hardrock. Stanley was sixth overall, and was on pace for a course record until approximately mile 80. 

(07/18/2021) Views: 515 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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2021 Hardrock 100 Preview

Come the morning of Friday, July 16, 146 lucky runners will set off for 100 miles of beauty and challenge through southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains in the Hardrock 100. Along the way, they’ll climb (and descend) 33,000 feet, all at elevations of up to 14,000 feet. The course switches direction with each event edition, and 2021 sees the route run in a counterclockwise direction.

Despite the insistence of some that it’s a ‘run’ rather than a ‘race,’ there’ll certainly be some at the front of both fields going for the win or another top position. This year’s edition will feature strong women’s and men’s races for the win, even if there’s not the competitive depth that the larger fields of other events allow. In the women’s race, we’ll see defending champ Sabrina Stanley challenged by Hardrock newcomer Courtney Dauwalter and three-time winner Darcy Piceu. The men’s returning champion, Jeff Browning, may have even taller task in holding off a pair of talented Hardrock first timers in François D’haene and Dylan Bowman. We dive into the details of each field below!

2021 Hardrock 100 Women’s Preview

Despite only 16 of the 146 runners slated to start this year’s Hardrock at the time I’m writing this, it wouldn’t surprise me if three of this year’s overall top 10 were women. In fact, we could see a pair in the top five if things play out just so.

It’s also worth keeping Diana Finkel’s course record of 27:18:24 from 2009 in mind. She set the course record traveling in the counterclockwise direction, the same direction as this year’s event. It’s also fun to note that the three-fastest ever women’s times at Hardrock were run in this counterclockwise direction.

Although she’ll be a Hardrock rookie, Courtney Dauwalter has to be the women’s favorite at this year’s race. In recent years, she’s won the 2019 UTMB, 2019 Madeira Island Ultra Trail, 2018 Western States 100, and 2018 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji 100 Mile. Just a few week ago, she set a new course record at the San Juan Solstice 50 Mile, run not far to the east of the Hardrock course. What’s more, Courtney now bases herself up at 10,200 feet in Leadville, Colorado, so she’s plenty accustomed to the thin air she’ll find along the Hardrock cour

Sabrina Stanley returns to Hardrock as the defending women’s champion, having won the 2018 race in 30:23. Since then, she’s won the Hurt 100 Mile (2019) and Diagonale des Fous (2019) along with the shorter Mount Cheaha 50k in February 2020 and Quest for the Crest 50k this May. Last year, Sabrina managed to set the women’s supported FKT for Nolan’s 14—twice. A resident of Silverton, Colorado, she’s fully acclimated to the altitude and knows the course well.

If there’s a current Queen of Hardrock, it’s Darcy Piceu with her three Hardrock wins (2012-14) among her seven finishes while she continues to be a near lock for the women’s podium any given year. Indeed, she finished second in 2015 and 2017, her two most recent runs at the race. More impressively, she has twice as many sub-30 hour Hardrock finishes (six) than another other woman (Diana Finkel has three), and, as far as consistency, Darcy has finished all seven of her Hardrocks between 28:57 and 30:15!? Back in 2018, Darcy won both the Andorra Ultra Trail and Angeles Crest 100 Mile. Darcy did battle a serious injury earlier this year, but bounced back with a win at the Jemez 50 Mile in late May and a second at the Squaw Peak 50 Mile in mid-June.

Meghan Hicks has a pair of Hardrock finishes, with a rough 39-hour finish in 2015 and an improved 34:25 in taking fifth in 2016. In 2016 and again in 2020, she set the then women’s supported FKT for Nolan’s 14. This spring, she took third at Scout Mountain 50 Mile. More important, she’s been living and training on the course since March.

2021 Hardrock 100 Men’s Preview

While this will be his first time running the race, that makes France’s François D’haene no less of a favorite to win this year’s Hardrock. Why? He’d be on a very short list of best mountainous 100-mile trail runners in the world with three wins at UTMB (2012, 2014, and 2017) and four wins at Diagonale des Fous (2013, 2014, 2016, and 2018). Without Kilian Jornet, Xavier Thevenard, or, maybe, Jim Walmsley (he knows these mountains well) here, it’s François’s race to lose outside of the San Juan Mountains and the challenges they hold taking it from him. After a light 2020, François tuned up for Hardrock in taking third at the 112k Ultra Cabo Verde Trail in May. It’s worth noting that when snow canceled Hardrock in 2019, he came over and spent a few weeks training on the Hardrock course anyway and he’s back in the area acclimating and scoping the course for at least two weeks again this year.

After trying to get in for seemingly forever, Dylan Bowman will be another Hardrock rookie challenging for the men’s win. Bowman’s damn good at mountainous 100 milers and spent plenty of years living and training in the Colorado Rockies. Among the reasonably recent results that show his chops in the mountains are a third at Transgrancanaria in 2020, wins of Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji in 2016 and 2019, and a seventh at UTMB in 2017. While he lives in Portland, Oregon these days, he’s been living at altitude in Mammoth Lakes, California and training in the Sierra Nevada for much of the past month.

Jeff Browning returns to Hardrock as the defending champion, from winning in 26:20 back in 2018 following the disqualification of Xavier Thevenard. Among his three other Hardrock finishes, he took fourth in 25:42 in 2016 and fourth in 26:58 in 2014. Earlier this year, he won the Zion 100 Mile. Late last month, Browning dropped out midway through the Western States 100 due to dead quads and wanting to save something for Hardrock. In 21 years of running ultras, it’s only the second time he’s DNFed a race, with the other being due to a sprained ankle at UTMB 2015. Browning will be 49 years old on race day.

High-altitude 100 milers seem to suit Ryan Smith, who won Leadville in 2019 and High Lonesome in 2018. Going back a few years, Smith was ninth at UTMB in 2015 and 22nd there the following year. Other top results include fifth at the shortened to 47k Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji in 2016 and 16th at the 85k Trail World Championships at Penyagolosa in 2018.

One shouldn’t underestimate Trevor Fuchs on a mountainous 100-mile course. He’s won the Hurt 100 mile in 2020, taken second at the Bear 100 Mile in 2019, and won the Wasatch 100 Mile in 2016 and 2017. I’m looking forward to finally seeing Trevor race in person.

Although it’s been quite a while, Julien Chorier has twice run Hardrock, winning in 2011 in 25:17 and taking second to Kilian Jornet in 2014 in 25:07. This Frenchman may no longer be able to run that fast of a time, but he continues to have success, placing ninth at TDS and seventh at Ultra Pirineu in 2018 and finishing fourth at Transgrancanaria and 17th at UTMB in 2019. Earlier this year, Chorier took 13th at Transgrancanaria.

If you’re going to follow this year’s Hardrock, you should know Troy Howard, who finished third in 2018 after finishing second in both 2009 and 2013. One could be worried that he took 14th at the relatively small San Juan Solstice 50 Mile in late June, but he was 12th there in 2018 ahead of his third place at Hardrock. Troy simply knows what he needs to do for a good finish at Hardrock. I should add that Troy will be 48 years old on race day. That goes along with Browning at age 49, Smith at 42, and Chorier at 40. That’s a solid masters field right there!

(07/11/2021) Views: 578 ⚡AMP
by I Run Far
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Earth Day 2021: athletes and brands that are making a difference

The Kilian Jornet Foundation

Fans of the sport will know Spanish ultrarunning champion Kilian Jornet well, but they might not realize that he has his own foundation that is dedicated to climate action. The Kilian Jornet Foundation (KJF) works to protect the world’s mountains, which are near and dear to Jornet’s heart, because when he’s not running up a mountain, he’s probably climbing one. As temperatures rise globally, the snow, ice and glaciers found on the world’s mountains melt, leading to rising sea levels, which can cause even more problems, including increased rates of natural disasters, the destruction of unique ecosystems and more.

“Mountains play a key role in our global system,” the KJF site reads. “Without them and their environment there would be no life, and that is why it is essential to conserve and manage them sustainably.” The KJF is linked to other nonprofits that focus on mountains, nature and sustainability, and the site also lists how individuals around the world can play a role in protecting the environment.

Protect Our Winters

Protect Our Winters (POW) isn’t a running-specific nonprofit, but it does have the support of multiple runners and several running brands. As the organization’s name suggests, its goal is to save winter, which is becoming shorter and shorter around the world as global temperatures continue to rise. POW uses its network of outdoor athletes to fight for change, with the ultimate goal of playing a part in achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2050. A number of runners are part of the POW team, including Rickey Gates, who is well known for having run every street in San Francisco. To learn more about POW,

The North Face

The North Face also supports POW, but the company has climate initiatives of its own. A big project from the brand is its Exploration Without Compromise lineup of products. Clothing and gear with the Exploration Without Compromise badge is made from at least 75 per cent recycled, regenerative or responsibly sourced renewable materials. The company calls this “sustainably-conscious gear,” and there are plans to add to this product line with “circular systems” of recyclable gear that The North Face will develop itself. These products will be “designed for circularity,” and the company says they will hit stores in 2022. For more on The North Face and its commitments to sustainability,

The Ultra-Trail World Tour

The Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT) is responsible for some of the world’s biggest and most famous ultramarathons, but it is also the parent organization of a new initiative called Trail with Purpose. This was introduced this year, and it’s a UTWT effort to promote the preservation of the environment and climate action. “Run and challenge yourself, yes, but don’t forget to commit to a sustainable future,

Trail with purpose

View on the original site.

This initiative will be centred around three “forums” that will be held throughout 2021. These forums will feature climate experts who will speak to how race organizers and runners can “meet the challenges of tomorrow’s world” and play a role in the fight against climate change. The first forum will take place in May, and it will focus on business practices that are “compatible with the environment.” The next is in June, and it’s all about water management during running events. Finally, the third forum will be held in August, and it will look at how organizers can minimize the impact their events have on the environment. Click here to find out more about the Trail with Purpose initiative.

(04/24/2021) Views: 454 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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UTMB Is Back!

The world's most important trail race is driving forward-pandemic or not-and despite a tough year across the board, it seems to only be gaining steam. 

While many races struggle to fill their 2021 entry slots, that was not a problem for UTMB, Chamonix, France's Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc-now six races from 40 to 300 kilometers, all of which take place during the final week of August in the legendary mountain town at the base of Mont Blanc. Despite a year off due to the global pandemic, interest in the race series remains very strong. 

For the 16th time in a row, the UTMB races have sold out, with 10,000 runners slated across all the races. With the pandemic continuing to complicate international travel, the event's mix of nationalities has shifted, with more participants from within Europe and fewer from China and Japan. Despite the long-haul travel involved, U.S. interest in UTMB continues to grow, up slightly to 338 participants. 

The UTMB organization is contemplating a number of changes this year, including a streamlined bib pickup system and wave starts with a few hundred runners in each block. Runners will have to wash their hands on their way into aid stations, with social distancing and masks being de rigeur. Shared food bins will be a thing of the past, and it's possible runner assistance areas may be altered or eliminated. 

Despite the global uncertainty, 2021's marquee race around 15,774-foot high Mont Blanc looks to be among the most competitive trail races ever, on a par with 2017, which some observers have considered the most stacked trail race in the history of the sport. That year, France's Francois D'Haene edged out Catalonia's Kilian Jornet by 15 minutes, and Spain's Nria Picas won in a down-to-the-wire race, edging out Switzerland's Andrea Huser by under three minutes.

How did such a strong field coalesce? "It was really just organic. We didn't do anything specific to make it happen," says UTMB's Press Officer, Hugo Joyeux. One example is a post by three-time UTMB winner D'Haene, who asked on Instagram, "Who's coming back to take part in the party? I'll be there!" D'Haene went on to tag his top challengers, gently teasing them into showing up at the starting line next to the Mayor's office in the old part of Chamonix this August 27th. Most are in, with Jornet notably absent as he continues to reduce his trail-racing schedule to focus on mountaineering objectives. 

The USA's top runners didn't need a social media ribbing from D'Haene to add the race to their calendars. Starting for the women will be Courtney Dauwalter, aiming for a second consecutive UTMB win, along with Katie Schide, Kaytlyn Gerbin, Brittany Peterson and Stephanie Howe.  Schide, second in the CCC race in 2018, and 6th in the UTMB in 2019, currently lives in the south of France, in the maritime Alps region, and is easily the most experienced European racer among the U.S. women's elite entrants. 

"UTMB reliably draws the most competitive field of the year," says Schide. With top runners coming out of an usual pandemic year-plus, Schide is eager to go head-to-head. "Time trials and personal challenges are fun, but racing is where I'm really able to find the absolute limits."

The U.S. men's delegation is equally competitive-with a dose of angst added, too. In 18 years, no American male has ever won UTMB. It's long since started to be a topic of discussion. Flagstaff, Arizona's Jim Walmsley has started UTMB twice, finishing fifth in 2017 and dropping out in 2019, while Tim Tollefson, from Mammoth Lakes, California, has had four starts, with two third-place finishes. In 2018, he took a serious fall, fileting a quadricep-yet he still managed to run another 90 kilometers before having to drop. The wound ended up requiring eight stitches. The following year, he showed up at the starting line feeling ill, and eventually dropped. 

About 2021, Tollefson says, "It's going to be another barn burner," revealing that comparisons with others toeing the start line has been something with which he has struggled over the years. "Contrary to what most may believe, anxiety over who is or isn't in a field has tormented me historically," he explains. "Insecurities over training, fraudulent thoughts of belonging, self punishment and disrupted sleep were commonplace." 

For Tollefson, that mix of emotions has added up to sleepless nights and high levels of stress. This past year, counseling has offered him a better perspective. In addition to the usual training, he's working on "becoming mindful in life and believing that the quest to become the best version of myself-which is not dependent on the love, acceptance or applause of anyone else-is the ultramarathon worth mastering." 

"I left the Chamonix valley in 2018 full of anger, guilt and shame. What brewed over the next 12 months was a toxic cocktail of unchecked emotions and coping strategies," says Tollefson. "No matter how much I lied to myself and others, I simply did not want to be there." 

How will he feel, arriving in Chamonix valley this August? "For the first time in years, the thought of being back in the valley, truly present, is beginning to excite me."

The restart of UTMB this summer is welcome news to this Alps tourist hub, which historically welcomes close to 100,000 guests for the race series at the close of each August. When last August's races were cancelled, the organization refunded 55 percent of the entrance fees for the 10,000 registered runners. The split created grumblings on social-media platforms. Meanwhile, the staff of 30, which includes UTMB's international races, suffered its own share of disruptions. They began working from home starting with the first French lockdown on March 17th, and didn't return to the office until this past December. They now operate with 50 percent of the staff in the office-masks required.

(03/14/2021) Views: 540 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Billy Yang’s Latest Film Takes Us Through the Amazing Career of Zach Miller

We caught up with the popular trail-running filmmaker to learn all about his latest project.

Zach Miller has been a household name in trail and ultrarunning since his out-of-nowhere victory at the 2013 JFK 50 Miler. Since then, the 34-year-old has raced and won some of the biggest races on the ultra calendar.

Billy Yang: I started off a fan like everyone else. He’s an unassuming guy, as his friends from Colorado Springs, Colorado, say in the film. I was totally guilty of that. When I first met him, here’s this guy that shocked the ultrarunning community out of nowhere. There were a lot of oddballs at that point in time, but Rob Krar was crushing the competition and dominating the scene. I figured that I’d see what this guy was about.

I was doing a film at Lake Sonoma 50 miler in 2014, which ended up gaining a lot of traction. I followed four runners and this guy Zach Miller kind of spoils my film by winning the whole thing. Over that weekend, we hung out and got dinner with the Nike team. He really was this aw shucks, blue-collar guy who has this flip phone. So I wanted to know, who is this guy?

What did you discover?

Yang: Well, he’s clearly a rabbit—a pacesetter in a race. In that JFK race, everyone thought he’d go 30 or 40 miles with Rob and drop back. But Rob’s wheels came off, and he ended up winning and later signing with the Nike Trail Running team. Fast forward to 2017, here is this guy who has this Steve Prefontaine-esque mindset of racing as hard as you can and giving his best. He even has the mustache.

So, I wanted to tell a three-dimensional story around him with a focus on UTMB as his white whale.

The UTMB crown has alluded every male American that has toed the line in Chamonix, France. It seems like one of the last, to use a climbing analogy, first ascents in running. Zach has been to UTMB three times, once with you there. Were you hoping or waiting to see if Zach could get it?

Yang: I’d be wrong to say the story wasn’t centered around this big, awesome white whale that is UTMB. When I zoom out, I do think that the end we have is kind of perfect. The way the outcome is so imperfect. The finish isn’t a given. For two years, we racked this story. I don’t tell the story about the 2019 race when he dropped out. What we see is his racing style and the only thing that’s a given is how hard you decide to push. That was kind of the spirit of the film.
Miller is now the subject of filmmaker and trail runner Billy Yang’s latest film, Zach. Yang spent years following Miller and capturing every detail of his life for this project that is now available on YouTube.

We caught up with Yang to hear more about what went into the making of his latest project and what he learned from spending so much time with Miller.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

You mention the climbing analogy. My inspiration was actually a film called Free Solo. You can take as many stabs at it and the things you want to do is right in front of you. For Alex Honnold, that was El Capitan. He kept coming back. For Zach, that’s UTMB. Sometimes, it’s just challenging and that mark of a good story is learning how to pivot and complete the story without that Disney outcome.

I finally decided after years of working on this that we needed to wrap this up. We can’t keep chasing this victory that I saw in my head.

Zach is a well-known runner. What do you hope viewers see that they may not have before about him?

Yang: In a way, I’m hoping to introduce him to a new crowd. Zach is a runner, he what makes Zach who is is way more. He grew up in Kenya, and is parents were missionaries. Faith plays a big role in his life. Mentorship and giving back is so important to him. The mindset of ‘do the best you can’ shows in all aspects of his life and at the center of that, I wanted Zach to be a model for people. He’s probably not genetically built like Kilian Jornet or Jim Walmsley or Eliud Kipchoge. But what you see is all the hard work, the miles, and the little things he puts in. He’s so easy to root for.

At the end, we don’t totally see it, but you slightly detail where Zach is at after foot surgery. What’s he up to now?

Yang: He’s not running at the moment. He’s working on building out a short bus that’s turning into a home on wheels. He plans to travel the world in it. That’s the epilogue.

Do you think we see an American man winning UTMB in the coming years?

Yang: I think between Zach, Tim and Jim, and maybe some others no currently at the forefront, someone will do it. Zach said it’s a puzzle you have to put together and for whatever reason, that hasn’t been put together yet. I think it will happen in the next five years and I would bet money it will be one of those three.

(01/30/2021) Views: 612 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Why distance doesn’t matter when it comes to FKTs

Regardless of its length, your favourite running route could deserve its own official FKT

With countless event cancellations this year, fastest known times (FKTs) have blown up and replaced races for so many runners around the world. As the founders of fastestknowntime.com (the official website of FKTs) told FiveThiryEight in the summer, they have seen a massive increase in FKT submissions in 2020 compared to 2019, and that hasn’t slowed down in recent months. It’s easy to look at some of these routes, many of which take days to complete, and think, “I could never do that.” The thing is, FKTs aren’t just for ultrarunners or elite athletes. Anyone can submit a run to be considered by the crew at fastestknowntime.com, and the routes can be as short or as long as you want. So really, there’s nothing stopping you from owning an FKT.

The short

A quick scan of the FKT website will show you that these routes are not all ultra-distance runs. Yes, there are some ridiculously long runs, but there are also routes that you don’t have to dedicate days (or, in some cases, weeks) to in order to complete them. You can even run a few kilometres and, if the route is noteworthy enough, you can get it certified as an official FKT. 

For example, look at the Mt. Sanitas route in Boulder, Colo. This is a 1.4-mile (2.25K) run, although it gains almost 400m in that short period of time. This is by no means an easy route to run, and you’ll be gassed by the end of the intense climb, but it’s just a little over 2K. You probably won’t beat the current FKT (it belongs to Kilian Jornet, who completed the run in just over 14 minutes), but if you’re in Boulder and feel like punishing yourself, give it a shot. 

The long

On the other end of the spectrum, there are the long FKTs. And when we say long, we mean long. A great example of this is the Appalachian Trail. This 3,500K trail stretches from Maine all the way down to Georgia, and the current route records belong to Belgian Karel Sabbe, who ran farther than anyone else at the 2019 Barkley Marathons (although he still finished with a DNF), and American Liz Anjos. Sabbe set his FKT in 2018, completing the route in just over 41 days, and Anjos ran hers earlier this year, finishing in 51 days. 

Try your own

As you can see, you can go super short or extremely long for FKTs. The key to getting your route certified, as listed on the FKT website, is to make sure it is “distinct enough so that others will be interested in repeating it.” It is also noted that, while routes can be any length, “anything less than five miles long or with less than 500 feet of climbing would have to be special.” If you think you’ve got a route that could attract other runners, send it in to the team at fastestknowntime.com. If they like it, run it yourself as the first official record attempt on the route. Once you’re finished, you’ll own an FKT. It might not stay under your name forever (especially if someone like Jornet decides to run it), but you’ll always be the original record holder.  

(12/20/2020) Views: 403 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Former Ultra-Trail World Tour champion dies in training accident

The global ultra community is in mourning following the death of ultrarunner Andrea Huser

The international ultra-trail community was shocked to learn of the death of Swiss ultrarunner Andrea Huser, whose body was found near the small alpine village of Saas Fee, Switzerland, on Sunday. According to an article from Swiss news outlet 20 Minuten, Huser, 46, was reported missing on Saturday after she failed to return from a training run. The rescue party found her body at the bottom of a steep, 140m slope, and police from the nearby city of Valais determined it’s likely she slipped and fell while attempting to cross a stream blocking her route up above. Huser was well known among ultrarunners, and she had many impressive results to her name, including the 2017 Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT) overall female crown. She reportedly retired from the professional ultrarunning scene earlier this year.

An incredible career

Huser entered the world of elite endurance sports in 2002, when she won the European mountain biking championship. In 2004, she finished fourth at the mountain biking world championships, and eight years later, she found her way to ultramarathons. She finished in second place at the famed UTMB in both 2016 and 2017, after placing seventh in 2014. Huser also recorded a 10th-place finish in her lone attempt at the Western States 100 in 2017, and she won the Grand Raid de La Réunion twice. Her last big win came in 2017 at the Ultra Trail Tai Mo Shan in Hong Kong, which helped her secure her UTWT series win.

Mourning a legend

Huser’s running club in Switzerland spoke with 20 Minuten following the news of her death. “It’s just amazing what she’s done,” said a board member from the club. “She was very popular and an amazing woman.” Big names in the ultra world have also spoken up to express their sadness upon hearing about Huser’s accident. “So sad to hear that Andrea Huser passed away,” tweeted Spanish ultrarunning phenom Kilian Jornet. “She was an extraordinary ultrarunner, [and] some seasons she [would] literally run everything, linking ultras every week.”

The UTWT tweeted in response to the news as well, writing a quote from tour director Marie Sammons, who said, “Many of us have had the privilege of meeting Andrea. … A bright and discreet woman leaves us too fast.”

(12/05/2020) Views: 508 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Kilian Jornet drops out of 24-hour running world record attempt, feeling dizzy and seeking medical evaluation

The mountain running superstar swapped trails for tracks in an attempt to beat Yainnis Kouros’ 303.506km record set in 1985

Jornet completes 134km before doctors advise him to seek help for dizzinessKilian Jornet has dropped out of his 24-hour running record due to dizziness. The famous mountain runner did continuous loops of a track in Norway in an attempt to set a new distance covered in a day.

Jornet had run 134km after 337 laps. The record he was going for is Yainnis Kouros’s 303.506km set in 1985.

The Salomon team shared an Instagram story, firstly showing Jornet receiving physio on his knee, then announcing he dropped out and finally explaining: “Kilian was feeling dizzy, so he received medical attention on the track. Although he was feeling better, the medical professionals decided it was best for him to go for further evaluation.”

Kouros, from Greece, is considered the best road ultra runner of all time. His 24-hour record has stood for an incredible 35 years. He also holds the 48-hour record on a track (473km), set in 1996 and the six-day record (1,036km) set in 2005.

Jornet is no stranger to turning over historical records. He set the record on the 106km Bob Graham Round in England in 2018, beating Billy Bland’s time that had stood for 36 years.

Kilian Jornet has dropped out of his 24-hour running record due to dizziness. The famous mountain runner did continuous loops of a track in Norway in an attempt to set a new distance covered in a day.

Jornet had run 134km after 337 laps. The record he was going for is Yainnis Kouros’s 303.506km set in 1985.

The Salomon team shared an Instagram story, firstly showing Jornet receiving physio on his knee, then announcing he dropped out and finally explaining: “Kilian was feeling dizzy, so he received medical attention on the track. Although he was feeling better, the medical professionals decided it was best for him to go for further evaluation.”

Kouros, from Greece, is considered the best road ultra runner of all time. His 24-hour record has stood for an incredible 35 years. He also holds the 48-hour record on a track (473km), set in 1996 and the six-day record (1,036km) set in 2005.

Jornet is no stranger to turning over historical records. He set the record on the 106km Bob Graham Round in England in 2018, beating Billy Bland’s time that had stood for 36 years.

However, the 24-hour record presented a challenge out of Jornet’s comfort zone. He is best known for his domination in the mountains. He has won nearly every high profile trail race, and holds the records at many of them.

He has won the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc three times, Hardrock 100 four times, setting the course record in 2015 and winning with a dislocated shoulder in 2017.

Jornet has six 31km Sierre Zinal titles, setting the record on his latest win in 2019. He won the Western States in 2011. He also holds seven 42km Zegama-Aizkorri wins in Spain.

“For me it’s an unknown terrain,” Jornet said before his 24-hour record attempt. “If I tell you some predictions I will be lying because I really don’t have a clue. I’ve never ran a race on a track and the longest distance I’ve trained on flat is 90km.”

(11/28/2020) Views: 730 ⚡AMP
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Kilian Jornet eyes 24-hour world record

The Spanish mountain runner will shift to the track as he attempts to run more than 300K in just 24 hours

Spanish ultrarunning champion Kilian Jornet is known for his feats in the mountains and on the trails, but 2020 is turning out to be a year of firsts for him. In October, he ran the first road 10K of his career, and now he is set to tackle a race on the track. While a track run is certainly out of character for Jornet, he’ll be sticking to his ultrarunning roots as he attempts to break the 24-hour world record of 303.506K. Salomon, Jornet’s main sponsor, has organized the event, which they have titled Phantasm24. The run is slated for some time later this week in Norway, although due to unpredictable weather, Salomon and Jornet have yet to nail down an exact day.

In 1997, Greece’s Yiannis Kouros, arguably the best ultrarunner of all time, set the 24-hour record that Jornet will chase in the Phantasm24 challenge. In the buildup to the run, Salomon is publishing short videos of Jornet explaining how he has prepared for the 24-hour event. In a video posted on Tuesday, Jornet says he has two main concerns going into the record attempt: fuelling and whether his legs will hold up for the entire run.

“To get energy, to be able to eat a lot and not have any gastro problems,” he says, is very important. “And the second one is the legs. I know I can be 24 hours in this effort … but I don’t know … if I will have any problems. Those are the two things I have doubts about.” Jornet has raced and won some brutal races in his career, including the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc and Western States 100, but he has never faced a challenge like the one he’ll encounter in the Phantasm24, which will be a full day of hard laps around a flat track.

“When racing in mountains, it’s easy for me,” Jornet says in another video. “I know how to pace myself, I know how to push, how my muscles will react, how my cardio will react, but on flat, it’s completely different.” He continues to express his doubts later on in the video, saying, “I know [racing on flat ground] is something that I’m not good at, but it’s always important to find new challenges, I think, and to get out of the comfort zone is always good.”

To beat Kouros’s record, Jornet will have to average at least 4:44 per kilometre for the entire run. This is a pace many people struggle to hold for just 5K, and Jornet is hoping to run it for a minimum of 304K. It’s a tall order, and no one has been able to meet it for the past two decades, but if anyone can reach the same heights as Kouros did in 1997, it’s Jornet.

(11/21/2020) Views: 540 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Spanish ultrarunner Kilian Jornet runs 29:59 and Jakob Ingebrigtsen posts 35:05 at Norwegian 10K

Spanish ultrarunner Kilian Jornet made his 10K debut on Saturday at the Hytteplanmila, a road race in Norway that attracts a number of fast runners, including Jakob and Filip Ingebrigtsen. Jornet eked under 30 minutes with an impressive 29:59, while Filip finished in sixth place in 29:03. Jakob ran a shocking 35:05, although he was reportedly on pacing duty for his brother, which explains his surprisingly pedestrian result. 

Jornet’s run 

Before the Hytteplanmila, Jornet posted on Instagram to write a bit about his goals for the race. “It will be my first race on a flat surface, something that only two years ago I thought (and said) I would never do because I found running on the flat so boring,” he wrote. After making a few adjustments to his training, though, Jornet said he decided to give road racing a try. Unfortunately, he began to feel pain in his calf two weeks before the race, and he ended up taking it easy moving forward until race day.

“As a novice my expectations aren’t big,” he continued. “I would be really happy if I’m able to grab a few seconds to what is my ‘training PB,’ so to run around 29:30.” He fell short of this goal, although he still managed to run a sub-30 result for his first official 10K PB. Had he been healthy for the entire build to the race, he probably could have hit the 29:30 mark. Just a couple of months ago, he ran a 10K in 29:42, and that was immediately after running an all-out vertical kilometre for a challenge he calls the VK10K. If he can run that quickly after punishing his legs for 1,000m of climbing, he’s certainly capable of shaving at least 12 seconds off that time when he’s fresh and healthy. Hopefully he’ll give road racing another shot soon when he’s fully recovered so we can see what he can do. 

Going into the race, we had hoped to see a Jakob-Jornet showdown. We didn’t really expect Jornet to keep up with the young Norwegian, but it would have been fun to see how one of the world’s best ultrarunners fared against one of the top track athletes. Last year, Jakob set the Norwegian 10K record at the Hytteplanmila with a 27:54, but he obviously didn’t make a push to challenge that this time around.

Instead, he paced Filip (who is fresh off a win at the Norwegian cross-country championships) for 7K before slowing down considerably and cruising to the finish. Jakob passed through 7K in 19:53 before slowing to 6:22, 4:10 and 4:40 splits for the final 3K. Filip had a strong eighth kilometre with a 2:48, but he suffered greatly in the last 2K, posting 3:03 and 3:17 splits. 

(10/19/2020) Views: 747 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Grovdal clocks 30:32 Norwegian 10km record in Hole Norway

Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal broke her own national 10km record at the Hytteplanmila 10km in Hole, Norway, on Saturday (17).

The 30-year-old clocked 30:32 to smash the previous mark of 31:25 she set at this race in 2017. The performance lifted the continental cross country standout to fourth on the 2020 world list and third all-time among Europeans, trailing just Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (30:05) and Paula Radcliffe (30:21).

Grovdal has raced little this season but she was on a tear from the gun to make this appearance count, reaching three kilometres in 9:10 and the midway point in 15:17 to finish 31st in the race overall among the 90 competitors.

Vienna Søyland Dahle was a distant second in 33:18.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who made his debut at the distance with a 27:54 course record in this race last year, wasn't really a factor in his return.

Opening with a modest 2:59 first kilometre, he worked his way back to the leaders after two kilometres and briefly took the lead at the four kilometre point. Zerei Mezngi then upped the pace after five kilometres with Ingebrigtsen and his brother Filip struggling to maintain contact. Mezngi extended his lead to six seconds at six kilometres and forged on largely unchallenged to win in 28:20. Narve Gilje Nordas was second in 28:28, while Filip Ingebrigtsen drifted back to finish sixth in 29:03.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who remained in contact through seven kilometres, slowed to a jog over the waning stages and eventually finished in 35:05.

Spanish mountain, trail and ultramarathon runner and ski mountaineer Kilian Jornet ran with the leaders early on, and finished 18th in 29:59.

(10/17/2020) Views: 656 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Kilian Jornet to square off in 10K road race

The young Norwegian track phenom and the seasoned Spanish ultrarunner will battle it out on the roads of Norway this weekend

Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen will reportedly take on Spanish ultrarunning legend (and resident of Norway) Kilian Jornet in the Hytteplanmila 10K road race on Saturday. Ingebrigtsen set the course and Norwegian records at the race in 2019 when he ran a 27:54. This will be his first 10K since the run last year. According to the race website, Hytteplanmila will be the first 10K road race of Jornet’s career, although he has a wealth of experience training and racing across multiple distances. The rare track-trail crossover between Jornet and Ingebrigtsen is set to start at 7:30 a.m. local time.

Jornet’s credentials 

Jornet is one of the best trail and ultrarunners of all time. He has won so many of the world’s biggest races, from the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc to the Western States 100 and so many others. He also currently holds 14 official fastest known times, and he is the course record-holder at many races around the world. 

He opened the VK10K with a 29:57 vertical kilometre, which meant he had to run his 10K (on tired legs) in almost exactly 30 minutes to finish under one hour. Even on fresh legs, a 30-minute 10K would be impossible for most runners, but Jornet hammered out a 29:42, bringing his total time to 59:39. Unless he adds some wild ultra aspect to Saturday’s run, like jogging 60K to get to the race or something else ridiculous (which actually wouldn’t surprise us too much), Jornet should be able to produce another sub-30 run. 

Ingebrigtsen’s stats 

Ingebrigtsen has had a stellar season this year. In May, he broke the Norwegian 5K road record with a time of 13:28. A few weeks later, he set the European 2,000m record at the Impossible Games in Oslo. Later in the summer, he added the European 1,500m and Norwegian 3,000m records to his resume. He also won national championships in the 800m and 1,500m. Whenever he has raced, whether on the track or on the road, Ingebrigtsen has been dialled in and ready to compete at every event this year, and he hasn’t finished worse than second place. 

His 27:54 10K PB puts him in a tie for 10th all-time among Europeans, 41 seconds behind Swiss runner Julien Wanders‘s European record of 27:13 (and only 11 seconds off the second-fastest time ever run by a European). Ingebrigtsen could very well lower his own national record on Saturday and make a push for a spot higher on the all-time list. 

Who will win? 

There should be no debate here — Ingebrigtsen is going to win this race. The only questions are whether he will beat his own Norwegian record, and, if so, by how much? If he met Jornet on a trail or a course in the mountains, it might be a different story, but that’s not the case, and the Spaniard is entering Ingebrigtsen’s arena of choice on the weekend. Even though the race will likely end with Ingebrigtsen well ahead of the rest of the field, it will still be exciting to see how Jornet fares on the road and what he can do on fresh legs. 

(10/17/2020) Views: 657 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Motivated by Mosquitos, Kyle Curtin Sets the Unsupported FKT for the Tahoe Rim Trail

The long days and the full moon created prime conditions for FKTs this week.

The longer days and the full moon made for a prime environment for fastest known time (FKT) attempts last weekend—and several records were taken down.

One of the most notable was the unsupported FKT on the Tahoe Rim Trail by Kyle Curtin, who is the current course record-holder for the Tahoe 200.

The 33-year-old was originally planning to run Western States the final weekend in June, but that was canceled in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. But he was in racing shape, so he made the decision to go for the 165-mile FKT on the Tahoe Rim Trail about a week before his July 3 attempt.

“I was looking at my time for Tahoe 200 around mile 171, and it was close to [Kilian Jornet’s] 2009 FKT on the trail,” Curtin told Runner’s World. “I was trying to link up with some friends to do it later this year, but seeing so many people going out and the moonlight, I thought this was the best time to do it.”

Curtin is no stranger to backpacking, fastpacking, or spending days on the trail without support—all of which helped when planning his FKT attempt. The week of, he scraped together his fueling and mileage plans; he organized the 10,000 calories he’d carry from the start, in the form of citrus- and fruity-flavored snacks during the day and coffee, chocolate, and nuts for nighttime. He also relied heavily on liquid calories from Nuun and Tailwind.

The toughest part of the FKT attempt was managing his water intake, which ended up nearly ending his journey. Though there are many natural water sources along the trail, the 35-mile section between Mount Rose and Edgewood Creek did not have one. There was an option for still water from Spooner Lake that was half a mile off the trail and tasted like “fish-tank water,” according to Curtin.

When he reached that point, he decided not to get water, but the long period with rationed water dehydrated him. Curtin estimates that he wasn’t able to refuel from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.—eight hours.

“Once I was out of water, I was in trouble,” he said. “I fell behind on calories, and that, too, put me in a hole. That’s when I had the biggest meltdown that night. I was suffering from dizziness, dehydration, and probably altitude sickness, and I was moving slow. I texted the photographer who was out with us that I was done. I laid down on the side of the trail and I think I took a 40-minute nap. I’m not totally sure, but when I woke up, I had a bunch of encouraging texts and that got me out of my temper tantrum.”

With some fresh calories in him and some rest, he powered through. At his final stop, 16 miles before the finish, he kept his mind on his mantra, “don’t be out here a second night.”

Over that final section, he thought he would cruise. Instead, he struggled over the 1,900 feet of gain and 2,700 feet of descent. Luckily, he found motivation to always keep moving in an unexpected source.

“Mosquitoes are encouraging,” he said. “If you stop, they’ll just start biting you immediately. That was really true at the end.”

It ended up taking him four hours to do the final 16 miles, and his perseverance helped him nab a 41-hour and nine-minute finish, good enough to get him the unsupported record and the second fastest time ever on the trail.

“My ankles are so swollen, but it was fun,” Curtin said. “I’m definitely thinking about doing some routes running or fastpacking on like the Hardrock course, which is one of my traditions, and some routes near where my family is in Asheville, North Carolina. For now, I’ll have some beer and pints of Ben & Jerry’s.”

Curtin isn’t the only one who took on the FKT this weekend. The women’s FKT on the Tahoe Rim Trail was actually broken twice. First, Helen Pelster took the unsupported record on July 2, finishing in three days, three hours, and 44 minutes—only 12 minutes behind her self-supported FKT on the trail in 2019.

But that was short-lived as Candice Burt broke the record days later, finishing her unsupported run in two days, 12 hours, and 47 minutes.

Another FKT worth mentioning is Joey Campanelli’s destruction of the Nolan’s 14 route—14 14,000-foot peaks—which he completed in 41 hours. The time bested Joe Grant’s 2018 time of 49 hours, 38 minutes. And on the women’s side, Sarah Hansel set the overall and unsupported women’s Nolan’s 14 FKT in 57 hours and 43 minutes.

FKTs, which have been popular for years, have been especially appealing to runners in the absence of races. Big records on routes like the Ice Age Trail and the Long Trail have been shattered during the pandemic, along with many others.

(07/25/2020) Views: 796 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Eliud Kipchoge said that he was incredibly happy to see the world running as one at the Run as One virtual team marathon

Imagine running on the same team as Olympic icons Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele, Geoffrey Kamworor...

Well that's exactly what happened this weekend as normal people across the world ran with Olympic champions in the 'Run as One' worldwide virtual relay marathon.

Teams of four completed a marathon by running 10.5k each, and just by entering you were in with a chance to run alongside some of the biggest names in sport.

But it wasn't just running superstars who stepped up, Tottenham Hotspur football club, Olympic triathlon gold medallist from Germany Jan Frodeno and Spanish sky runner/ultramarathon/daredevil Kilian Jornet also got involved.

The event was organised by NN Running Team, an international team of elite long-distance runners managed by a company in the Netherlands.

Kipchoge, whose historic sub-two hour run in Vienna last October broke new ground, teamed up with amateur runners from Brazil.

The Kenyan ran 10.5k in 31:28 seconds, not the fastest time on the leaderboard, but this event was about much more than running fastest or coming first.

"It makes me incredibly happy to see the world running as one this weekend," said Kipchoge the day before his run.

"Today I ran for my Brazilian team," he posted on Instagram after his 10.5km run, "but together we have all run as one. Runners from all over the world have joined us and showed how ours is a running world."

"Good luck everybody who is taking part today," said Kipchoge as he signed off on Sunday with many more runners still to come.

Another world-record holder and three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele ran with Joris, Stephen, Andy and Tharkun from the Netherlands.

The Ethiopian ran his 10.5km in 32:57 on his own track that he built in Sululta, 25 minutes outside the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The 5000m and 10,000m World record-holder built a six-lane all-weather track which is home to many athletes training and dreaming of Olympic glory.

They call it Bekele's ‘field of dreams’.

"It was a great pleasure to run my 10.5k as part of the MA RA TH ON challenge on my own track in Sululta," he posted.

It was hardly any surprise that half-marathon world record holder Geoffrey Kamworor put in the fastest time, going 10.6 km in 30:08s.

This time Eliud Kipchoge wasn't there to greet him at the finish line like he did at the 2019 New York marathon, but Kamworor was pleased with the run.

The Kenyan ran with a team from the USA.

Kilian Jornet does many things - like ultramarathons and literally running up and down mountains.

He is said to hold the fastest known time for the ascent and descent of Mount Everest for example.

For most of us, running 10.5km is a struggle, but when Jornet's Strava App told him that he had only run 10.49km making his entry invalid, he said ok:

I'll start again.

"It’s been actually pretty fun this MA RA TH ON!" Jornet posted, despite having to do it twice.

"Today I did my relay to join my teammates @davidnilssons@mustafamohamed79 and @fra_puppinho to finish this challenge among more than 100.000 runners worldwide. Thanks guys!"

(06/08/2020) Views: 752 ⚡AMP
by Ken Browne
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Kilian Jornet is always up to something and this ultra feat might top his list

Kilian Jornet is always up to something: Breaking the records for the fastest ascent and descent on Mount Everest, winning some of the biggest ultramarathons in the world—including the 2017 Hardrock Endurance Run in a sling—and living his best life with his wife Emelie Forsberg in the mountains of Norway.

This time around, Jornet challenged his ski partner and world-class BASE jumper Tom Erik Heimen, 44, of Norway, to a race up and down one of the most-iconic climbing mountains in the world: Romsdalshorn. Sitting at more than 5,000 feet, both would have to climb up between 1,300 to 1,500 feet and descend to be declared the winner—Jornet doing so on foot and Heimen BASE-jumping down to the bottom.

Both took separate routes. Jornet went up the north face and climbed down Halls Renne on the other side while Heimen went up Halls Renne and BASE-jumped off the north face. This way, the two would cross paths during their treks.

“It was very unpredictable who would be faster,” Jornet said about the challenge. “I knew I could climb much faster, but the downhill is down climbing so it takes as much time as going up for me. And I also knew that Tom Erik [has] a very good physical level, so he would be quick to climb and of course very fast on the way down.”

As you can see in the video, Jornet has no issue ascending, finishing in just over 30 minutes before beginning his descent. Heimen reached the top 15 minutes after crossing paths with Jornet during his descent and quickly suited up for his jump.

Heimen hit the ground two minutes after takeoff, but Jornet made it to the bottom in a time of 52:26. Heimen’s time was 53:55.

“What surprised me most with the challenge was how fast Kilian is descending the technical and steep Halls Renne with the challenges of loose rocks all the way,” Heimen said. “I know he is very fast going up, and had no doubts that he would beat me to the summit, but I was expecting him to spend more time climbing down than climbing up.”

Jornet’s latest antics add to a constantly growing number of wild races and feats that runners are attempting like Nick Symmonds going for the fastest mile while dribbling a basketball, Mario Mendoza’s 50K treadmill record, or Cynthia Arnold smashing the triple-person stroller marathon record.

Who knows what we’ll see next?

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6dgm5MQPGz8" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

(01/25/2020) Views: 1,222 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Pau Capell aggressive tactics pay off as he becomes first non-French winner since Kilian Jornet to win UTMB

Pau Capell won the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) in 20 hours, 19 minutes and seven seconds. He is the first non-French winner since his fellow Spaniard Kilian Jornet won in 2011.

The UTMB is one of the premier ultra trail races in the world. It is the culmination of a week long running festival, which sees the best in the sport compete for the coveted winners titles.

The brutal 171km course, with over 10,000 meters of accumulative elevation, favors runners who pace themselves conservatively – a common refrain is that “the race does not start until 100km”. But, Capell ignored the advice and set off at an aggressive pace, taking the lead in the first few kilometres and holing it until he ultimately won.

“Leading from wire to wire, in heroic fashion, it goes against common sense in endurance sport and everything you would expect given the field,” said UTMB commentator Dylan Bowman, who finished second in the 145km TDS at the UTMB week in 2018.

Bowman added it shows the sport is evolving, and to win at the top level, you now need to take risks.

Finish line announcer Eoin Flynn listed Capell’s other wins and compared him to a superhero.

‘I felt horrible’: Ruth Croft reflects on OCC win at UTMB

Capell modestly said “I’m not a superhero but if one did exists it would be my parents.”

The race started in Chamonix, 6pm, on Friday. A few Chinese athletes set off at a mad speed. In particular, HK100 2018 champion Qi Min looked like he was trying to set his 5km personal best, rather than run for almost a day. Qi looked over his shoulder and saw the lead he had built in the first few hundred meters and slowed until Capell was level with him. The pair stuck together, but Qi began to fade from the top five. Between 80km and 100km he dropped out of the top five and then out of the top 100. 

The pack began to set and it looked as though the podium was decided well before the finishing line. Capell had an unassailable lead over three time champion and eventual second place Xavier Thevenard (21:07:56), who himself was well ahead of third place New Zealander Scotty Hawker (21:48:04).

Audrey Tanguy wins TDS, Hillary Allen marks comeback from near-fatal fall

“What to say about Pau? He did a great race today. I saw the time, it got 10 minutes farther and 10 minutes farther,” Thevenard said. “He was untouchable.”

Thevenard used his time in the limelight to call people to protect the environment for future generations.

Hawker crossed the finish line, running hand in hand with his young daughter, mirroring scenes at the HK100 when she sang Happy Birthday.

“It’s a dream come true,” Hawker said of reaching the podium at the UTMB. “I thought maybe one day, but it was just a dream, now it’s real.”

Hawker was in the leading group along with Capell at the start of the race.

“At the start, it may have looked fast but it was honestly slower than other years,” he said.

A tearful Hawker said as he ran he thinking of his parents watching at home and his family at the finish line.

(09/01/2019) Views: 1,428 ⚡AMP
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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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Kilian Jornet falls short of Pikes Peak Marathon record as Maude Mathys obliterates women’s mark set last year

Catlan runner ran 3:27:39, nearly 11 minutes shy of Matt Carpenter’s record, which has stood for 26 years

One of the most revered records in American mountain running has withstood a challenge from this generation’s greatest ultrarunner.

Despite an early fast pace, Catalan mountain running superstar Kilian Jornet fell short of breaking Matt Carpenter’s ascent and overall course record in the 64th edition of the Pikes Peak Marathon on Sunday, finishing in 3 hours, 27 minutes, 29 seconds — nearly 11 minutes slower than Carpenter’s 3:16:39, set in 1993.

But Swiss ultrarunner Maude Mathys still provided reason to celebrate. Mathys won the women’s division in 4:02:45, crushing the course record set by Megan Kimmel last year in 4:15:04.

Carpenter’s course record has stood for 26 years. Jornet came to the Pikes Peak Marathon as part of the Salomon Golden Trail World Series, a collection of some of the top mountain races in the world, racing in the hopes of breaking the record after also falling short in 2012.

But he said afterward that his legs felt heavy during his morning warmup. He set a course record at the Sierre-Zinal trail race in Switzerland just two weeks ago, but he said that the short turnaround wasn’t a factor in his race today.

At the halfway mark — the summit of Pikes Peak — the record quest appeared to be in jeopardy. Jornet summited in 2:09:15, more than eight minutes behind Carpenter’s 2:01:06 ascent record, which Carpenter set in the same race he recorded the overall record.

For Carpenter, now 55, Pikes Peak is and remains his domain. He has won the marathon 12 times and the ascent-only run — held the day before the marathon — six times. He has lived in Manitou Springs for years and trained frequently on the Pikes Peak course, learning how to handle the altitude while navigating the flats, switchbacks and steep sections.

In recent years, trail running has exploded in popularity throughout the U.S. and the world, ushering a sport from the fringes of distance running to the mainstream. That has brought a new era of young, accomplished runners who have broken and rebroken records and so-called fastest-known times — thought to be untouchable. Despite the onslaught, Carpenter’s records at both Pikes Peak and the Leadville 100 still stand years after they were set.

The Pikes Peak Marathon course starts in Manitou Springs at 6,300 feet, before climbing more than 7,700 feet to Pikes Peak’s summit at 14,115 feet. The race is the second-oldest marathon in the United States and was the first in the U.S. to record an official women’s finisher.

Just past the first mile, Jornet was already leading the pack by a few steps. Just before five miles, he had built up his lead to more than 90 seconds, on pace to hit the summit in under two hours. But his legs soon caught up with him, and he slowed, summiting in 2:09:15.

Jornet had run this race in 2012, winning in 3:40:26. But he also competed with a heaver race schedule then.

Pikes Peak is one of only three races Jornet will do all year. Already, Jornet holds the course record counterclockwise and clockwise for the Hardrock 100, one of Colorado’s other esteemed ultra runs that starts and finishes in Silverton and loops through Ouray, Telluride and Lake City in the San Juan Mountains, forcing runnings to ascend some 33,000 feet over 100.5 miles.

(08/25/2019) Views: 1,705 ⚡AMP
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Pike's Peak Marathon

Pike's Peak Marathon

A Journey to the Top and Perhaps Back The Pikes Peak Ascent® and Pikes Peak Marathon® will redefine what you call running. Sure, they start out like a lot of races on Any Street, USA. But your first left turn will have you turning in the direction of up! During the next 10 miles, as you gain almost 6,000...

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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: 1,549 ⚡AMP
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Pike's Peak Marathon

Pike's Peak Marathon

A Journey to the Top and Perhaps Back The Pikes Peak Ascent® and Pikes Peak Marathon® will redefine what you call running. Sure, they start out like a lot of races on Any Street, USA. But your first left turn will have you turning in the direction of up! During the next 10 miles, as you gain almost 6,000...

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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: 1,498 ⚡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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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: 1,435 ⚡AMP
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