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Articles tagged #Mountain Running
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The 35th edition of the Swissalpine finds success with new safety concept

The 35th edition of the traditional Swissalpine running spectacle was the acid test for larger running events since the coronavirus struck.

The relief was clear to see for Andrea Tuffli, the Founder and President of Swissalpine. “The concept, which we had completely redeveloped within two months and coordinated with the cantonal administration and the municipality of Davos, has proven itself.

The start and finish area is the most important sector; here we were able to sign the maximum number clearly with block starts of 300 runners and a minimum of helpers from the organization,” said the 78-year-old, pioneer of the Swiss mountain running and trail scene.

“The block start system with a responsible protection concept worked well, not least because of the discipline of the participants. I can imagine using this system next year, hopefully without masks.”

Swiss Athletics President Christoph Seiler came to get an idea of ​​a major event in which almost 2000 runners competed over the two days of the event. “Davos sets an important example in the running calendar, which has been severely affected by the corona pandemic. It is impressive what Andrea Tuffli and his team have accomplished in a short time.”

(07/27/2020) ⚡AMP
by Wilfried Raatz
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Swiss Alpine Marathon

Swiss Alpine Marathon

The Swissalpine Davos is not only the oldest marathon in Grisons but also the second-largest ultra-marathon in Switzerland. However, it is no longer just the races that are the main attraction. The point is to be part of the mountain-runner community that meets for the annual running event in the Alpine town of Davos. We call it «Swissalpine Spirit». ...

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2020 Mountain Running Championship in Golden BC Canada have been canceled

The 2020 NACAC Mountain Running Championship in Golden, BC, Canada has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Limits on the number of participants in events to no more than 50 imposed by the British Columbia government means the host Golden Ultra will have to be cancelled.

The 17th annual North American, Central American & Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championships was to be held in conjunction with the Golden Ultra in Kicking Horse Resort in Golden, British Columbia, Canada on Friday, September 18, 2020. The uphill course was 10.3 kilometers with a total of 1205 meters of ascent and 135 meters of descent.

Meghan Roche (second photo) at the 2017 NACAC Mountain Running Championships in Golden, Canada.

This race would also have served as the 2020 Canadian Mountain Running Championships and their selection race for the 2020 World Mountain Running Championships.

Team leaders from the participating NACAC countries (U.S., Canada, Mexico and El Salvador) deemed it impractical to find a new host race and date by which a safe championship could be held in 2020.

The participating countries are planning to organize a 2021 NACAC Mountain Running Championship to be held in Canada with the host event and date TBD. Selection criteria for the 2021 U.S. team will be announced later in 2020.

(05/13/2020) ⚡AMP
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To Run or Walk the Hills, That Is The Question

Those old enough to have learned to drive with a manual transmission were probably told they had to shift gears when the tachometer reached a certain RPM. Once you became proficient at it, you simply knew when to shift, by feel or sound, and didn’t need to look at the gauge much less think about it. The same is true of changing between running and walking uphill, but, surprisingly, it isn’t as simple, involving many variables. In fact, it is so complex that the choice of when to run or walk up a hill was the focus of a mountain runner student’s recent honors thesis.

Jackson Brill, a Salomon-sponsored runner and soon-to-be-graduate of the University of Colorado-Boulder, wrote his thesis on “To Run or Walk Uphill: A Matter of Inclination” toward earning his degree in Integrative Physiology. In researching it, he worked with his advisor, prominent CU faculty member, Dr. Roger Kram, Ph.D., Integrative Physiology, who runs the locomotion lab that did the original Nike 4% testing.

The Study

Brill’s thesis centers on the point at which uphill trail and mountain runners transition to walkers. He measured three different speeds at which this can occur. First is the “Preferred Transition Speed” (PTS), where people prefer to switch—any slower, humans prefer to walk, any faster, they prefer to run. The second is the “Energy Optimal Transition Speed,” (EOTS), where exercise economy — the cost required to maintain a certain speed — indicates transitioning to walking is mechanically better. (Note: Brill shies away from saying “more efficient” as there is no way to truly measure mechanical power in runners.) Finally, there is the heart rate optimal transition speed (HROTS); a third measure that is basically the same idea as EOTS but using heart rate as the efficiency indicator. At HROTS, heart rate is the same between walking and running. Slower than this speed, walking heart rate is lower than running heart rate. Faster than HROTS, vice versa.

Brill’s study set out to examine the effect that incline had on PTS and EOTS, and to determine “how heart rate is influenced by gait selection.” Brill’s hypothesis was that at certain speeds it would be more efficient to walk on steeper inclines and that both speed and incline play into PTS and EOTS. In other words, that both measures would get slower at steeper inclines.

“I thought this would occur because both walking and running are more metabolically demanding at steeper inclines and, thus, there would be greater drive to minimize energetic cost,” he says. “Finally, I hypothesized that HROTS and EOTS would be equal at each incline. I thought this would occur because heart rate generally correlates with energetic cost during steady state endurance exercise.”

Brill based his study on testing ten “healthy, high-caliber, male trail and mountain runners.” He tested the runners in two sessions, one where the treadmill was set at 0 degrees and 15 degrees and a second at 5 degrees and 10 degrees. PTS and EOTS were determined from metabolic cost data for walking and running at three or four speeds per incline near the expected EOTS.

Expected and Unexpected Research Findings

Image Courtesy Jackson Brill

Brill’s study and analysis produced expected and unexpected results. Consistent with prior research, the study showed that at all inclines walking generally required less metabolic power at slow speeds and running required less at faster speeds, and that the transition would arrive at a slower speed on steeper inclines. Also consistent with prior research was that PTS would be less than EOTS at shallow inclines. The reasons we transition sooner than what would be most metabolically efficient is unclear, but theories point to biomechanical factors, such as sparing fatigue on specific muscles.

This changed at a higher incline, however. At 15 degrees, PTS and EOTS were the same. Since this was only on average (not all of the subjects showed this change), Brill is cautious with drawing conclusions “especially because no prior research looked at PTS and EOTS on these steep inclines and, thus, nobody else has validated such a finding,” he says. However, he observes: “There’s physiological plausibility for PTS and EOTS to converge at steeper inclines since the greater intensity of the steeper inclines means that subjects are closer to their VO2 max and energetic cost or oxygen consumption begins to become a limiting factor at higher intensities, unlike lower intensities on the more gradual inclines.”

Unexpectedly, the study determined that HROT did not equal EOTS at all inclines and, accordingly, that heart rate is not a reliable predictor of when a runner will shift to walking. Therefore, athletes and coaches shouldn’t rely on heart rate monitors to govern gait.

Further Questions

As part of Brill’s written conclusion, he states: “Energetic, biomechanical, and neuromuscular factors may influence gait transition, and these should be studied in further detail, especially on inclines commonly experienced by trail and mountain runners, where the question of gait transition has large performance implications.” He says he’d love to delve into the effects of fuel utilization and carb sparing, local fatigue and the relative strength and weakness of specific lower leg muscles.

Image courtesy: Jackson Brill

Brill points out that the study was limited by the fact that the subjects weren’t able to place their hands on their quadriceps or knees to facilitate knee extension during late stance due to the constraints of the mouthpiece and breathing tube that collected expired air. This may have influenced metabolic cost and discomfort, especially at 10 and 15 degrees, and thus artificially distorted the results. Brill’s thesis also recognizes that the limitations of lab-based research eliminated a variety of relevant factors such as the steepness of the incline, length of the climb, ground surface, and the overall duration of the effort, which all weigh on an individual’s gait selection. Those factors are crucial, along with fueling choices, a runner’s unique leg strengths and weaknesses, use of poles or no poles, at what point in the run the incline comes, and, perhaps most importantly, whether there are other runners to pass or be passed by, or observers to cheer or jeer.

Impact of the Study

Brill says he thought this study was “important because many trail and mountain running coaches and athletes believe that deciding whether to walk or run uphill is solely determined by speed or solely determined by incline.” He wants runners and coaches to understand the “nuance and complexity of gait selection.” Additionally, many trail and mountain running coaches and athletes rely on cardiovascular or energetic models in their training—in the sense of VO2 max and anaerobic threshold workouts—and he wanted to determine whether that reliance was well founded. “Furthermore,” he says, “since coaches and athletes often utilize heart rate monitors to approximate cardiovascular stress or energetic cost, I also wanted to learn if this was a useful tool for approximating EOTS.”

Beyond heart rate, Brill says, “The practical importance of this finding is that if someone says ‘I always switch to walking if I’m going slower than 12 minutes per mile’ or, alternatively, ‘I always switch to walking if I’m going steeper than 10 degrees,’ they’re dumb, because ultimately the speed of transition—whether we’re talking PTS, EOTS, or the unknown transition speed that optimizes performance—is a function of both incline and speed, not just one or the other.”

Expected and Unexpected Research Findings

Brill’s study and analysis produced expected and unexpected results. Consistent with prior research, the study showed that at all inclines walking generally required less metabolic power at slow speeds and running required less at faster speeds, and that the transition would arrive at a slower speed on steeper inclines. Also consistent with prior research was that PTS would be less than EOTS at shallow inclines. The reasons we transition sooner than what would be most metabolically efficient is unclear, but theories point to biomechanical factors, such as sparing fatigue on specific muscles.

This changed at a higher incline, however. At 15 degrees, PTS and EOTS were the same. Since this was only on average (not all of the subjects showed this change), Brill is cautious with drawing conclusions “especially because no prior research looked at PTS and EOTS on these steep inclines and, thus, nobody else has validated such a finding,” he says. However, he observes: “There’s physiological plausibility for PTS and EOTS to converge at steeper inclines since the greater intensity of the steeper inclines means that subjects are closer to their VO2 max and energetic cost or oxygen consumption begins to become a limiting factor at higher intensities, unlike lower intensities on the more gradual inclines.”

Unexpectedly, the study determined that HROT did not equal EOTS at all inclines and, accordingly, that heart rate is not a reliable predictor of when a runner will shift to walking. Therefore, athletes and coaches shouldn’t rely on heart rate monitors to govern gait.

Further Questions

As part of Brill’s written conclusion, he states: “Energetic, biomechanical, and neuromuscular factors may influence gait transition, and these should be studied in further detail, especially on inclines commonly experienced by trail and mountain runners, where the question of gait transition has large performance implications.” He says he’d love to delve into the effects of fuel utilization and carb sparing, local fatigue and the relative strength and weakness of specific lower leg muscles.

Brill points out that the study was limited by the fact that the subjects weren’t able to place their hands on their quadriceps or knees to facilitate knee extension during late stance due to the constraints of the mouthpiece and breathing tube that collected expired air. This may have influenced metabolic cost and discomfort, especially at 10 and 15 degrees, and thus artificially distorted the results. Brill’s thesis also recognizes that the limitations of lab-based research eliminated a variety of relevant factors such as the steepness of the incline, length of the climb, ground surface, and the overall duration of the effort, which all weigh on an individual’s gait selection. Those factors are crucial, along with fueling choices, a runner’s unique leg strengths and weaknesses, use of poles or no poles, at what point in the run the incline comes, and, perhaps most importantly, whether there are other runners to pass or be passed by, or observers to cheer or jeer.

Impact of the Study

Brill says he thought this study was “important because many trail and mountain running coaches and athletes believe that deciding whether to walk or run uphill is solely determined by speed or solely determined by incline.” He wants runners and coaches to understand the “nuance and complexity of gait selection.” Additionally, many trail and mountain running coaches and athletes rely on cardiovascular or energetic models in their training—in the sense of VO2 max and anaerobic threshold workouts—and he wanted to determine whether that reliance was well founded. “Furthermore,” he says, “since coaches and athletes often utilize heart rate monitors to approximate cardiovascular stress or energetic cost, I also wanted to learn if this was a useful tool for approximating EOTS.”

Beyond heart rate, Brill says, “The practical importance of this finding is that if someone says ‘I always switch to walking if I’m going slower than 12 minutes per mile’ or, alternatively, ‘I always switch to walking if I’m going steeper than 10 degrees,’ they’re dumb, because ultimately the speed of transition—whether we’re talking PTS, EOTS, or the unknown transition speed that optimizes performance—is a function of both incline and speed, not just one or the other.”

(05/09/2020) ⚡AMP
by Podium Runner
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For more than a decade, Briton Sarah Tunstall has been among the most successful and visible runners on the World Mountain Running Association

A bronze medal at the 2008 European Championships at 22 and World Championships the following year thrust her into the scene's spotlight. In 2015, she won the WMRA World Cup and in 2017 raced to European silver and took a second world bronze. A fourth place finish in the World Cup standings last year at 33 showed that she's not disappearing from the circuit any time soon, even as the New coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc with the mountain running season calendar as well.

"2020 looks like it is going to be a strange and stilted season," Tunstall says. "Many races I would run have already been cancelled throughout France, Italy and Switzerland, and rightly so. I’d love to think we could be racing towards the end of the summer but after having the winter off I was in no rush to race anyway and I was already playing the early season by ear."

That also means that she isn't currently based in her usual early season training base in the French Alps, a regular part of her routine since 2015, when she was drawn to the region by a stubbornness to finally get back into the shape of her early career successes after a string of injury setbacks derailed her ambitions.

“I was citing the World Championships in Wales as my main excuse to be there - which it was - but having spent so much time there it became very difficult to return to the UK. We've been spending time in the Alps regularly ever since and will try to make it last as long as we can.”

She probably didn’t foresee that alpine lifestyle when she competed in regional and national cross country competitions and fell races as a junior athlete.

“I would make County cross country and England Fell teams but my best result - which I was delighted with - was finishing 10th at the English National Cross Country in my final year. It sounds like a cliché but I think that enjoying the sport is the main factor that will ensure a good transition (from junior to senior competition). Luckily this should be more likely in the fell/mountain scene as it can be less regimented or monotonous compared to track or road training.”

“If you’re still enjoying running,” she says, “that can be a big part of making the jump up to senior as running becomes more of a personal choice and if you enjoy it you will choose to keep running.”

She made two national teams as a senior in cross country, finishing second in the U23 race at the 2008 European Cross Country Championships and 55th at the World Cross Country Championships the following year. Yet her career and strongest interest still gravitated towards the mountains.

“On a selfish front I’d love them to stay that way so I can enjoy the simplicity of the beautiful races but I don’t want them to die out or get lost amongst the big brands or long, gnarly and overhyped races. I may be a traditionalist, but I find it quite conflicting to the understated sport of mountain running and think that the mountains should be able to sell themselves without excessive marketing."

(04/14/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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In challenging times, Of all the communities within the sport of athletics, mountain runners spend more time outdoors than most

So when restrictions for outdoor activities and exercise are introduced, as has been the case in recent weeks during the coronavirus pandemic, it has been particularly challenging to maintain a decent level of fitness for runners who routinely log anywhere between 100 to 200 kilometres per week.

The World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) spoke to some of the world’s leading mountain runners and found that what united them all was a stronger sense of community and a feeling that this crisis puts running into perspective.

Francesco Puppi, the 2017 world long distance mountain-running champion, describes the situation in Italy.

“Life has changed drastically,” he said. “Everyone is supposed to stay at home and avoid social contacts as much as possible: it's the only weapon we have to fight the virus, and we don’t know how long all this will go on.

“Running is permitted but only under particular circumstances. I am currently training, just at a slightly lower intensity than before. I think everyone in this situation should have the sensibility to understand if, when and how to run. It should be done with discretion and care. This is a form of respect for those who are suffering.

“It doesn’t mean that all the work I did has been wasted,” adds Puppi, who had been due to compete at the Rotterdam Marathon. “I am still proud of what I managed, of the big effort I put into those 110-mile weeks, the sore legs, the long workouts, of the improvements and setbacks I’ve experienced on this journey. It’s just a matter of re-thinking our goals.

“Keep on running because this is something we love and makes us feel good, even in the worst situation.”

For 2019 WMRA World Cup winner Andrew Douglas, the situation in the UK, and in his home nation of Scotland, is ‘rapidly changing’.

“I’m just trying to appreciate every chance I get at the moment to put my trainers on and head out for a run,” said Douglas, who is anticipating the introduction of stricter measures like those in Spain, France and Italy.

“Undoubtedly it’s disappointing to see this having such a profound impact on races, but personally the effect it has on me pales in comparison to the much bigger issues facing society, so ultimately it’s just about getting some perspective. I had my best ever season last year so that’s something I’m fortunate to be able to have at the back of my mind.

“Like most people, I have not experienced anything like this in my lifetime, so as much as my working environment is changing, my training at the moment is the one ordinary thing I can rely on for the moment in these extraordinary times.”

“When pubs are closed in Ireland, then it's definitely serious,” said Irish runner Zak Hanna.

“The mountains aren't going anywhere any time soon, so just keep calm, weather the storm and we will all come through this. As the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said, ‘Let it be said that when things were at their worst, we were at our best’.”

Mimmi Kotka, who is from Sweden but lives in France, is into her third day of confinement. The 2018 Marathon du Mont Blanc winner is allowed to exercise outdoors but must stay close to home. “You have to carry a certificate for this too, stating where you live and what your errand outside is,” she says. “Adjusting to new circumstances is part of being human; we need to deal with it. If you’re healthy, be grateful for that. And this is about doing what’s right; after all, running is a leisure activity.”

“In order not to clog up extra resources in hospitals, we're not allowed to go very high up into the mountains,” adds Britain’s Sarah Tunstall, who is based in France. “The mountain rescue teams and workers who control the avalanches at this time of the year are also isolating so it makes the mountains especially dangerous.”

British mountain runner Natalie White, who is currently based in northern Italy, one of the hardest hit areas, says: “Doing our part is going to help not just ourselves but others. Some areas are allowing runners to go out, but close to home and solo. That in itself is a positive to be grateful for.”

It’s not just the athletes who are affected either. Competition organisers have also been hit by the crisis. US runner Max King, who is also race director of the recently cancelled Bend Marathon, asks his fellow athletes for their understanding in these difficult times.

WMRA Council member Nancy Hobbs urges runners to practise social distancing. “It is challenging when running with someone else to not speak, of course, and the further apart you get from someone, the harder it is to communicate,” she says. “However, doing track workouts with friends can be modified. Being creative is the key.

“One of the most important things is to check in with your running friends,” adds Hobbs. “It’s crucial to support one another.”

(03/23/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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How Japanese-Style Training Inspired Jim Walmsley’s Olympic Trials Approach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(02/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by Runners World
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Worku and Yavi are in the spotlight at the Cinque Mulini cross country in Italy

Ethiopian teenager Tadese Worku and defending champion Winfred Mutile Yavi from Bahrain will be in the spotlight at the 88th edition of the Cinque Mulini in San Vittore Olona, Italy, the seventh leg of this season’s World Athletics Cross Country Permit, on Sunday (26).

The 2020 edition of the famous Italian cross country race will be highlighted by a battle between the new wave of African stars, duded “Generation Z” by race organisers, and the best Italian middle distance runners.

Three of the top four finishers in the U20 race at last year’s World Cross Country Championships - Worku, Oscar Chelimo from Uganda and Leonard Kipkemboi Bett from Kenya - will line-up in the men’s race.

Worku, who turned 18 on 20 January, won the U20 silver medal in Aarhus last March. He has been one of most consistent cross country runners this season with back-to-back wins in the World Athletics Cross Country Permit meetings in Elgoibar and Seville. Worku also won the Giro di Castelbuono road race last July, finished third at the Giro al Sas in Trento and set career best times of 7:43.24 in the 3000m and 13:18.17 in the 5000m.

Chelimo, the younger brother of 2018 Cinque Mulini winner Jacob Kiplimo, won bronze in the same Arhus race and took bronze in the 3000m at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. The 18-year-old Ugandan clocked 7:44.82 in the 3000m and 13:20.10 in the 5000m.

Bett won the world U20 steeplechase title in 2018 and went on to finish fourth in the U20 race in Aarhus. He set his 3000m steeplechase lifetime best of 8:08.61 in Doha last May.

Burundi’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo will fight for another top-three placing after winning in Alcobendas on 24 November and finishing second in Soria one week earlier. The 22-year-old trains with Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa under the guidance of Italian coach Massimo Pegoretti.

Morocco’s 1500m specialist Abdelati Iguider will test his shape over a longer distance with the aim to continue the proud Moroccan tradition in San Vittore Olona, which started with the wins of Khalid Skah in 1991 and Salah Hissou in 1999 and the runner-up finish by Soufian El Bakkali in 2017. Iguider won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.

Another interesting entrant is Kenya’s Jackson Muema, who won the cross country race at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Crippa will carry Italian hopes for a top-three placing after finishing fourth for the second consecutive year at the Campaccio Cross Country race on 6 January. During a successful 2019 season Crippa finished eighth in the 10,000m at the World Championships clocking 27:10.76 to break the national record. Last December he won European Cross Country bronze after winning the U20 race in 2014 and 2015 and finishing third in the U23 race in 2016 and 2017. Crippa trained for three weeks in Monte Gordo in Portugal in preparation for the Cinque Mulini and will be aiming to become the first Italian to reach the podium since Stefano Baldini in 2005.

The Italian line-up is completed by Yohanes Chiappinelli, the European 3000m steeplechase bronze medallist in 2018, Cesare Maestri, silver medallist at the 2019 World Mountain Running Championships and winner at last week’s Vallagarina Cross Country race in Rovereto, and Italian 5000m champion Marouan Razine, who finished sixth at the Campaccio this year.

Yavi targetting successful defence

Yavi will return to San Vittore Olona to defend the title she won last year in snowy conditions. The 20-year-old went on to finish fourth in the 3000m steeplechase at the World Championships after improving her lifetime best to 9:10.74 in Monaco.

Kenyan hopes will be carried by Mercy Cherono, world silver medallist in the 5000m in Moscow 2013, and Gloria Kite, who finished third in the 2019 Cinque Mulini and in the 2020 Campaccio and set her 3000m PB with 8:29.91 in Doha last May.

The women’s race will be also highlighted by 20-year-old Kenyan Jackline Jerono, who won two recent cross country races in Allonnes and Le Mans, France, and Jasmijn Bakker from the Netherlands, who was fourth in the U23 race at last month’s European Championships.  

Rising Italian middle distance star Nadia Battocletti will aim to continue her successful season after claiming her second European Cross Country U20 title and finishing sixth at the Campaccio. The daughter of former distance runner Giuliano Battocletti won the European U20 silver medal in the 5000m last year.

Other Italian runners in the field are world U20 mountain running champion Angela Mattevi and Valeria Roffino, who finished 11th at the European Cross Country Championships.

(01/25/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Walmsley and Simion take long course titles at World Mountain Running Championships

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

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

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

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

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

(11/18/2019) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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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) ⚡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) ⚡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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Nicky Spinks will lead the way at Trail Skills for Ultrarunners

Scotland-based women’s guided trail running company, Girls on Hills Ltd, have just announced that they will be hosting a ‘Trail Skills for Ultrarunners’ course in Glencoe October 11-13, with the legendary ultrarunner Nicky Spinks the star tutor.

Spinks will be sharing her experiences and coaching women in the essential skills of ultrarunning, including training advice and running with poles. She will be joining an otherwise all-Scottish line-up of other providers, with experts covering areas such as yoga, nutrition, foot-care and self-massage. 

For female ultrarunners, there can be no better teacher than Spinks. The inspirational Inov-8 athlete just became the first person to complete double rounds of Britain’s three classic 24-hour mountain running challenges: the Bob Graham Round in England; the Charlie Ramsay Round in Scotland; and now the Paddy Buckley Round in Wales. 

On her two laps of the Paddy Buckley Round circuit last month, Spinks ran 94 peaks and 56,000ft of height gain (almost two times Mount Everest), in 57hrs 27mins to complete the ‘doubles’ and make fell-running history. 

Girls on Hills Ddirector Keri Wallace told runABC Scotland online: “Nicky is an incredible woman and an inspiration to so many people, runners and non-runners alike. As a 51-year old, a woman, a farmer and a cancer-survivor, she breaks so many trail-running stereotypes! Who better to join us at Girls on Hills and help coach women in the skills they need to get outside and explore their limits through ultrarunning!”

As a company, Girls on Hills Ltd, who are sponsored by Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports and are partnered with Inov-8 clothing, seeks to address the gender gap in participation that exists in trail, fell and skyrunning by increasing the accessibility of off-road running disciplines. 

“There are no actual barriers stopping women from running long distances in remote places or exploring the mountains – there are only perceived barriers. We welcome women of all ages and from all walks of life, and surprise them with how much they can achieve!”  

(06/03/2019) ⚡AMP
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Veteran runner Priscah Jeptoo will return to competition on Sunday when she competes at the Stramilano Half-marathon in Italy

The former world and Olympic silver medalist is the big name with a personal best time of 65:45 over the 21km distance and 2:20:14 in the full marathon. She has not competed on the big stage since 2016.

"I have not retired and have been training as hard as possible. I had injury challenges, but they are behind me for the time being and it will be a new start for me in Milan on Sunday," said Jeptoo in Nairobi.

Former world mountain running champion Lucy Wambui, the winner in 2015 with her still PB of 70:52, is back to try to regain her title, while another Kenyan, Ivyne Jeruto Lagat (71:51) will also figure highly. Beatrice Boccalini, who set a fast time of 73:36 in December, heads home team.

In the men's race steeplechaser Jairus Birech, who was fourth at the 2015 World Championships, will be making his half-marathon debut.

Birech, who has had it hard to contend with emerging competition in the water and hurdle race, will seek to carve his niche in the road race and will be joined by compatriot Fredrick Moranga, who won the race two years in 61:20.

"I still have hopes of making the Kenya team to the World Championships in the steeplechase. But I have to focus on the race ahead and I have no clue how I will perform. It is a new challenge, which I hope my body will take in its stride. But I expect a podium position," said Birech on Saturday.

(03/24/2019) ⚡AMP
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Stramilano Run Generation

Stramilano Run Generation

The 2020 events were cancelled due to the Coronavirus. All ages, all genres and all preparations’ levels: Stramilano is everyone’s race, the race for whom love sport and want to live unforgettable moments. Both if you’ve been preparing with months of traning or you just want to walk through Milano’s streets, you’re all a part of the big sports people...

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Martina Strähl from Switzerland is considered the favorite at The Jungfrau Marathon

Martina Strähl, who won the World Championships double gold in 2015 as world champion in long-distance mountain running, ran in 2016 at the Jungfrau Marathon with a new course record to victory. However, last year Strähl had to hand over this record to the Vaud woman Maude Mathys. Strähl is now aiming for the record again after she finished seventh in the marathon at the European Championships in Berlin just a few weeks ago. Strähl is demanded by the German Michelle Maier, the runner-up of the last two years, and the Italian Ivana Iozzia, who won the Zermatt Marathon this year. The men's track record is still held by Jonathan Wyatt. The New Zealander ran the track in 2003 in 2: 49.02. On September 6, the three-time Jungfrau Marathon winner will speak about «his perfect race» starting at 8:00 pm at the Hotel Carlton-Europe in Interlaken. Wyatt will be back in 2018. However, the favorites are Jose David Cardona from Colombia, Robbie Simpson from Great Britain, Birhanu Mekonnen from Ethiopia and Shaban Mustafa from Bulgaria. Mustafa, Simpson and Cardona have already won the Jungfrau Marathon. Patrick Wieser from Aadorf or Stephan Wenk from Uster should be the best Swiss. (09/04/2018) ⚡AMP
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Joseph Gray of Colorado Springs captured his 14th USATF National Championship at the Loon Mountain race

Joseph Gray of Colorado Springs captured his 14th USATF National Championship at the Loon Mountain race in Lincoln, New Hampshire on Sunday, July 8. The event hosted the US Mountain Running Championships and a deep prize purse. Gray, 34, completed the course in 50:28. The event was the selection competition for the four men and four women who will compete for the United States at the 34th World Mountain Running Championships in Canillo, Andorra on September 16. Second in the men’s field was Andy Wacker of Boulder in 51:49. David Fuentes placed third and Boulder’s Matt Daniels, running for Hudson Elite, earned fourth in 52:37. The 6.6-mile course climbed 3,200 feet and included grades of up to 48%. Despite the challenging course, the event had more than one thousand registrants. In the women’s race, Allie McLaughlin took top honors in 57:45, while Addie Bracie of Longmont placed third in 1:00:26. (07/09/2018) ⚡AMP
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Ethiopian and record holder Shewarge Amare will be running Mount Washington Road Race after 8 years

Shewarge Amare of Ethiopia, who in 2010 smashed the women’s course record in her first, and until now only appearance in the race, plans to return to the historic Race this month to try to repeat her performance of eight years ago, Meanwhile, Joseph Gray, who has won the men’s race each of the past four years, will miss Mt. Washington this year, as he is preparing to compete instead as part of the U.S. team at the 15th WMRA Long Distance Mountain Running Championships on June 24, in Karpacz, Poland.   After an eight-year absence, Amare’s appearance turns what would have been a likely duel between defending champion Shannon Payne and four-time winner Kim Dobson into a three-way battle in this race to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern U.S. Dobson of Eagle, Colo., holds the second-fastest time ever recorded in the women’s race — one hour, 9 minutes, 25 seconds — and is the only woman to break 1:10 twice on the extremely steep 7.6-mile course. Payne of Franktown, Colo., won Mt. Washington in 2014, in 1:10:12. Absent in 2015 and 2016, she returned last year and won in 1:11:21. (06/13/2018) ⚡AMP
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Perfect day for the World Masters Mountain Running Championships

A picture-perfect day awaited the nearly 400 competitors at the 18th WMRA/WMA World Masters Mountain Running Championships in Zelezniki, Slovenia today.  After several days of afternoon or evening rain storms, the weather held from the first race start at 10:00 a.m. to the awards ceremony later in the day. Even with clouds threatening at the summit of Ratitovec at 1678 meters, which served ast the finish line, the rains never came delighting both spectators and runners.   There were two challenging courses, the long route of 10.8 kilometers with 1184 meters of height difference for men up to 54, and the shorter route of 7.2 kilometers with 869 meters of height difference for the men ages 55-79, and all women (ages 35-79). The terrain included a short stretch on pavement at the start of each race, and then a combination of wide forested path, single track trail, rocky steps, a section to the finish line in a meadow filled with wildflowers and an amazing view. The fastest time of the day on the long course was posted by 50-year-old Miran CVET (SLO) who raced 1:02:22.  The short course top times were from 36-year-old Monica KOLLIGAR (SLO) in 52:04, and Franco TORRESANI (ITA) timed in 47:31. On site were nine members of the local organizing committe for the 2019 event which will be held in Gagliano del Capo, Italy, September 27-29.  (06/03/2018) ⚡AMP
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Sometimes I want to stop as I push myself to the absolute limit but I keep going for the kids

The head of real estate for a global law firm in Australia is currently in training for an upcoming ultramarathon across Indonesian in support of primary school children.  David Jones, who has been with the firm Baker Mckenzie for over 20 years, will be taking part in The Bali Hope Ultramarathon, an 84km run across Bali, in partnership with the Classroom of Hope and Bali Children Foundation. Ultra-distance running has become a passion of David since he started running 10 years ago, he said. “For me, the harder the better — I love mountain running, pushing myself to the absolute limit and finding out what the body is actually capable of when the mind is strong enough to ignore the pain and the constant mantra that sometimes creeps in telling you to stop,” he said. “My passion for fitness and what I have seen it achieve for me personally and for others, both directly and as a tool for raising funds and awareness, led me to setting up a fitness business with my running mate to help train others and encourage them on this journey.” He has always felt that as a member of society with a roof over his head, a steady job and a healthy family, he has a moral obligation to do whatever he can to help others who aren’t as fortunate, he explained.  “An ultra [marathon] allows you, however briefly, to put yourself in a situation where you are suffering and where all you want to do is give up,” he mused. “Then, you think about who you are supporting — kids who live with an undiagnosable condition their whole life, who have never had a day of education in their lives, etc. and you realize that you will of course conquer that last volcano climb or the last few hours of running in darkness covered in blisters and mud.” (05/04/2018) ⚡AMP
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U.S. Team set for Mountain Running Championships in Poland

The USATF Mountain, Ultra, Trail (MUT) Council is proud to announce members of Team USATF scheduled to compete at the 15th WMRA Long Distance Mountain Running Championships June 24, in Karpacz, Poland. 

The double loop course covers 36 kilometers (22.4 miles) with 6890 feet of ascending and descending. The route will challenge the five women and five men of Team USATF by climbing and descending the peak of Mt. ŚNIEŻKA twice.

Mt. ŚNIEŻKA rises just under one mile above sea level at 5250 feet. The top three US finishers will score for the team in each gender division. 

The 10 members this year’s team range in age from 21 to 36. The women’s Team USATF is comprised of Addie Bracy, Ashley Brasovan, Renee Metivier, Sandi Nypaver and Kathryn Ann Ross. The men of Team USATF will be Anthony Costales, Joseph Gray, Tatye Pollmann, David Sinclair and Andy Wacker.

(05/03/2018) ⚡AMP
by Richard Bolt
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Way Too Cool 50k is about breathtaking trails, spirited aid stations and amazing views

The Way Too Cool 50K in Cool California has become the most sought after 50K in the United States for veterans and novices alike. The breathtaking trails, spirited aid stations, amazing views and pure fun, make this an adventure you won't want to miss.... for this year Max King is the favorite in this field? He has the fastest WTC finish time, which came with his 2013 win. David Roche should challenge and, of course, Brett Hales is a fascinating entrant. Hales, a shorter-distance mountain running specialist who finished seventh at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships, put his first ultra-distance race under his belt last summer with a 50k. Ladia Albertson-Junkans and Abby Levene have the most leg speed among this women’s field, so perhaps it’ll be a race for the win between them. But we all know Cat Bradley’s speed and strength, and Brittany Peterson just keeps getting better each time she races, so expect these two to be ‘in it’ as well. (02/27/2018) ⚡AMP
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Their new hobby is Speed mountaineering and long-distance trail running.

After learning the basics of mountaineering from the Spokane Mountaineers while at college in Spokane, Cyrus and Niles Desmarais have embraced mountain running. The twins often spend hours ascending and descending imposing peaks that might take other climbers a day or more. But, they loved to run. And they loved the mountains. So, Cyrus convinced his brother to start a new hobby. Speed mountaineering and long-distance trail running. “I just got tired of doing multiday mountain trips,” Cyrus said. “And I was like, ‘what if we become better runners and I teach Niles some of these mountain skills he needs to learn.’ We could have a lot more fun.” (02/17/2018) ⚡AMP
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Experience trail running in some of the most beautiful and challenging mountain environments

Under Armour announced the race dates and locations for the 2nd annual Under Armour Mountain Running Series. The trail running series is designed for running professionals and enthusiasts alike who want to experience trail running in some of the most beautiful and challenging mountain environments and destinations across North America. The 2018 UA Mountain Running Series kicks off on July 14 in the heart of the Rocky Mountains at Copper Mountain, the largest ski resort in Summit County, Colorado, where runners will be greeted with spectacular scenery and alpine wildflowers... Race distances at each location will include a distance for every runner to test themselves: 5K, 10K, 25K, and 50K. A $5,000 prize purse will be distributed across the men’s and women’s podium for the top three 50K finishers at each race in the series. (02/14/2018) ⚡AMP
Trail Running
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This advice will help make you a better Trail Runner from someone who knows

Professional trail runner Max King has been racing trails—and winning races like the World Mountain Running Championships and World 100K Championships. Here are his five tips: 1. Hiking portions of a trail run is more than okay; it can be more efficient than trying to run a steep section. 2. Keep an upright posture, with your feet staying more beneath your hips than stretched out way in front of you. 3. Keep a short stride on uphills. A short, efficient stride will help you chip away at a long climb. 4. Accept the downhill 5. When hiking, employ one of three techniques. a) take big, fast, purposeful steps. b) put hands on knees, pushing each leg with each step c) on super-steep terrain, step onto the ball of each foot, keeping your back straight. (02/10/2018) ⚡AMP
Trail Running
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Loon Mounain Race is One Tough Hill Climb

The Collegiate Running Association has announced the fifth-annual Collegiate Mountain Running National Championships will take place on July 8, 2018, at the Loon Mountain Race (10.62K), in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Additionally, this year’s event will host the 15th annual North American, Central American & Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championships. Named the "Most Competitive Hillclimb" by Runner's World Magazine, this ridiculously tough race will force participants to climb over 2,000 vertical feet. from Steve Taylor (01/29/2018) ⚡AMP
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