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Articles tagged #Trail
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If your feet are aching after a run try Golf Ball Massage

You finish a long, grueling trail run and you’re tired and sore. After a shower you feel better, but your feet are still aching. Now is the time to get out your trusty golf ball and get down to business.

Maintaining proper flexibility and muscle tone in the feet is crucial for trail runners. The strain on the feet over long distances and uneven terrain is enormous and must be relieved for the feet to function properly through all phases of the running gait. Loss of foot flexibility and strength due to chronically shortened muscles and connective tissue can lead to general aches and pains in the feet – or worse – overuse injuries like plantar fasciitis. In addition, foot problems can translate into ankle, knee, hip and low back pain.

Stretching and self-massage of the feet feel good and help them to recover from the pounding of daily training. Here are some tips to help keep your feet happy:

Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor. Bend your knee and grab your foot with both hands, placing your thumbs on the sole of the foot. Begin by squeezing, stretching and twisting your foot.

Use your thumbs, knuckles or fist to methodically massage the entire bottom of the foot, including the heel. You can use circular strokes, or go back and forth, or use long strokes along the length of the foot. Do whatever feels good. If you find sore spots – and you sill – spend some extra time working on them. This may “hurt good,” but should not cause pain.

If your hands get tired, you can break out your golf ball and use it as a massage tool. Use the palm of your hand to roll the ball around on the bottom of your foot, with a fair amount of pressure. The golf ball is effective because the little ridges on it help stimulate the nerve endings in the foot, break up micro-spasms in the muscles, and warm and stretch the plantar fascia. This band of connective tissue on the bottom of the foot can become inflamed and develop plantar fasciitis, a painful overuse injury that can seriously hamper your running.

Sit in a chair, place the golf ball on the floor and put your foot on it. Use your body weight to apply moderate pressure (“hurts good”), then roll your foot around, letting those little ridges dig into the tight, sore places. If you apply this technique on a regular basis, you can eventually stand up and place most of your weight on the golf ball.

Once you’ve squeezed, twisted, kneaded, and “golf balled” your feet, spend a few minutes stretching your feet and legs. You’ll be amazed at how good you feel all over. Adding this simple massage and stretching routine to your training schedule will keep your feet healthy and happy and increase your running pleasure for many seasons to come.

(05/17/2019) ⚡AMP
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A Long Run the movie tells one man's story, but it's every runner's journey. Bob Anderson's life connects us to many icons...by the end, you're left with a runner's high without the sweat says Dan Brown

Over 100,000 people have already watched A Long Run the movie with good reviews. Now you can watch the full length movie...compliments of MyBestRuns.com with speical arrangments with it's production company Around Town Productions.   

Actor Sean Astin who narrated the film wrote, "I loved A Long Run.  Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your wonderful journey Bob."  Boston Marathon director Dave McGillivray wrote," In watching A Long Run, you readily see the impact and influence Bob has had on our sport over the years.  This story is inspiring, motivational, educational and simply makes you want to go out the door and do a run..and a real 'long run' at that."

Joe Henderson writer and former Runner's World editor wrote, "I’ve always known Bob Anderson as a man of Big Ideas, one with a knack for making these dreams come true. He conceived a little magazine called Distance Running News, which grew into the biggest one, Runner’s World.

"He created a book division that published some of the sport’s best-selling titles...This all happened before Bob turned 30, but his idea-generating didn’t stop then. At more than twice that age, he dreamed up Double Racing and then to celebrate his 50th anniversary as a runner, Bob plotted a tough year-long course: 50 races, averaging better than seven minutes per mile overall, concluding the week he would turn 65."

A Long Run tells one man's story, but it's every runner's journey. Bob Anderson's amazing life connects us to icons like Bill Rodgers, Billy Mills and Paula Radcliffe but also to the low-budget thrill of a community 5k. The gorgeous cinematography captures The Avenue of the Giants, the beauty of Central Park in New York City, the San Francisco landscapes, resort cities like Cancun and Cabo, the lush island of Kauai and the vistas of Fort Bragg.

And the smoothly intertwined stories - his 50-race challenge, the magazine, the running boom - are handled with Olympic-caliber pacing. By the end, you're left with a runner's high, without all the sweat.

This is an inspirational life long journey that takes you across the United States, into Mexico and introduces you to some amazing runners.

A Long Run features Bob Anderson who started Runner's World magazine when he was 17 with $100. He grew the magazine to nearly a half million circulation with monthly readership of nearly 2.5 million before selling it to Rodale Press in 1984. How did he do it and why did he sell the magazine he loved?

50 years after he started running, he started his 50 race challenge... one year - 50 races - 350 miles.

His goal - Average under a 7 min/mile average pace at 64-years-old. That's fast for any age!

In the running formula known as age-grading, Anderson’s mile pace is the equivalent of a 30-year-old running an average pace of 5:24 for 50 races covering 350 miles.

“I wanted to do something special, something that would be very positive for running,” Anderson said. “But I also wanted to do something that would not be easy.”

Did he reach his goal? How did he cope with injuries? Weather? Hills? How did he recover each week?

Bob Anderson first run took place Feb. 16, 1962. His first race was May 7 that year, when he covered 600 yards at Broadmoor Junior High in 1 minute, 39 seconds.  By 1963 at age 15 he placed first at the Junior Olympics in Missouri clocking 2:08.5 for 880 yards.  

By 17, Anderson wanted to tackle a marathon. He wanted to run the Boston Marathon. But neither he nor his high school coach (coach McGuire) knew how to prepare. So Anderson did the 1965 equivalent of a Google search: He sent letters around the country asking for advice.  

Coaches and top athletes replied not just with training tips, but also with addresses of other people Anderson should try. Soon he had a network of running experts at his disposal.

Recognizing the value of this collected wisdom, he turned to teammate David Zimmerman while on a bus trip to a cross-country meet for their Shawnee Mission West team. “I’m going to start a magazine,” Anderson declared.

With $100 from baby-sitting and lawn-mowing jobs, the 17-year-old launched Distance Running News. The magazine debuted in January 1966 with a 28-page issue that Anderson collated, stapled and folded himself.

The publication created a stir among a previously unknown army of foot soldiers. Thirsty runners plunked down the $1 subscription price (for two issues) — and often enclosed an additional $5 just to make sure the magazine stayed afloat.

“Until then, I wasn’t even aware that there was a running community,” said SF Bay Area runner Rich Stiller, who had been running with Anderson since the early 1970s. “I always think that Runner’s World was part of the jet-propulsion that really made the running boom take off and made people realize, ‘Oh, gee, I’m not doing this alone.’ ”

The magazine grew so quickly that Anderson dropped out of Kansas State University. He recruited a SF Bay Area writer and runner named Joe Henderson to be his editor, and moved the magazine headquarters to Northern California.

Anderson’s 50-for-50 goal was in jeopardy after he stumbled out of the gate or, more specifically, down a trail in Mountain View.

While on a training run in December, Anderson awoke to find his head streaming with blood and two people standing above him looking alarmed.

“There were no marks at all on my hands, which means I must not have even realized I was going down,” he said.

The fall required over 60 stitches and plastic surgery. But determined not to cancel the first race in his 50-race quest, Anderson limped to the starting line in San Francisco on New Year’s Day with a ruddy forehead and an eggplant of a bruise on his left knee. He finished that first race and then 49 more that year.  

When Bob was publishing Runner's World he got so consumed managing a staff of 350 and was not able to train enough to run the Boston Marathon.  However he did run ten marathons between 1968 to 1984 but none with enough training.  He would not run Boston until 2013 when at age 65 he clocked 3:32:17.

A Long Run the movie covers a lot of ground.  The year long event finished over six years ago but the story is fresh and a movie all runners and even non-runners will enjoy.  You will want to watch it over and over again.

Some of the runners besides Bob Anderson featured in the film include: Bill Rodgers, Paula Radcliffe, Joe Henderson, George Hirsch, Rich Benyo, Amol Sexena, JoAnn Dahlkoetter, Rich Stiller, Hans Schmid, JT Service, Pina Family, Wall Family, Billy Mills, Gerry Lindgren, Dave Zimmerman, Dean Karnazes, Monica Jo Nicholson, Coach Lloyd McGuire, Katie McGuire, Mary Etta Blanchard, John Young, Roger Wright and more...

It was produced by Around Town Productions and directed by Michael Anderson (third photo at one of the showings in a theater in Monterey). 

To watch the movie click on the link or go to: www.alongrun.com

(05/13/2019) ⚡AMP
by Dan Brown
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For Eilish McColgan, the forthcoming IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, represent an exciting opportunity what she calls her second home

“I'd love to break into the top five or to break 14.40,” Eilish reveals. “Either of those and I'll be really happy!” If that happens, she’ll gladly credit her mother.

“My mum’s the driving force behind everything I do and I wouldn't have achieved anything without her behind me all the way.”

Mother Liz is permanently based in the Arabian Gulf country working as a kids coach at the Al Saad Sports Club for the Doha Athletics Club, which she established following her move in 2014.

“I always knew I would get into coaching when I retired as I started to coach athletes before my own career was over,” said Liz, who at 54 still runs every day and works out in a gym twice a week.

“When I arrived in Doha, I gave some motivational talks in the international schools and it became very clear that a lot of kids wanted to run but there were no opportunities for them, so I set up a little running group that grew very quickly and then developed DAC.” Given her athletics CV, Liz is in high demand.

“Eilish is a very talented athlete and I feel she has a lot more to go in her running,” said her mom Liz, who also took silver at the 1987 World Cross Country Champioships, the 1988 Olympic 10,000m and 1989 world indoor 3000m.

“She has a lot of room for improvement in her endurance and hopefully we will see that in the next few years as she moves up in distance.”

For next year, the two have decided a move to the 10,000m for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and then the marathon in 2021. That’s a distance Liz knows well, with victories in New York, Tokyo and London among her numerous laurels.

“I love training in Doha,” Eilish says. “Of course the weather can be challenging but it's a beautiful country with fantastic sporting facilities.

“2017 was by far my best season to date - I managed to stay much more consistent with regards to injury and illness and it made such a huge difference to my performance and confidence too.”

“I went into races knowing I was in the shape of my life and ready to perform. That confidence continued to snowball and it was the first season I had broken some of my mum’s personal bests too, so that was really special and really helped to drive me on to run faster!”

In 2018 she raced to 5000m silver at the European Championships in Berlin and recorded a 4:08.07 indoor 1500m personal best, yet illness affected her performances at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, as she trailed home in sixth in both the 1500m and 5000m.

Her form however returned with a 4:25.07 track mile, a 54:53 10-mile debut on the roads and then a 31:51 10km road lifetime best in Doha in the New Year, before illness struck again, causing her to place only seventh in the European indoor 3000m final last month.

“I had a horrible start to the year with a virus so silver in Berlin meant a lot to me - being able to turn the year around and finishing on such a high.

“It's frustrating but I'm making some small changes to my travel plans, sleep routine, diet and even my training schedule to try improve my immunity.” 

(05/02/2019) ⚡AMP
by IAAF
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IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha

IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha

The seventeenth edition of the IAAF World Championships is scheduled to be held between 27 September and 6 October 2019 in Doha, Qatar at the renovated multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium. Doha overcame bids from Eugene, USA, and Barcelona, Spain to be granted the rights to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics. Having hosted the IAAF Diamond League, formerly...

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San Diego runner Nikki Hiltz, set a new Blue Mile record in the Women's Mile

Nikki Hiltz of San Diego set a new Blue Mile record in the women´s Mile Championships clocking 4:30, during The Grand Blue Mile in Des Moines on Tuesday.

Nikki Hiltz and Tripp Hurt raced to the USATF Road 1-Mile National Championship Tuesday evening on the streets of Des Moines as part of the 10th Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Grand Blue Mile.

Hurt won the men’s race in 4:04, in a photo finish as the top-five finishers all finished within a second of each other. Hiltz took the lead of the women’s race off the final turn and held off three-time Grand Blue Mile champion Heather Kampf to set an event record in 4:30.

“It’s not just a road race, it’s the USA Road Mile Championship and it’s my first national championship win,” Hiltz said. “It was awesome and the field definitely gave me a run for my money. We got after it and I knew in the last straightaway we’d switch into a new gear. No one made it easy.”

Hanna Fields was also in the lead pack of the race as she and Hiltz took over the lead from Kampf midway through the race.

The men’s race featured a dramatic finish as Hurt sprinted on the outside to best the talented field to the tape to clip Brandon Lasater by just one two-tenths of a second.

“My teammate, Nick (Harris, who finished third), was next to me and I was thinking we needed to battle and hope one of us got it,” Hurt said of the sprint to the finish. My goal was to stay patient and wait as long as I could to make a move to the front. It paid off.”

Will Leer led early in the race, trailed by a tight pack before Kyle Medina briefly took the lead at the three-minute mark as the leaders made the course’s first turn. Seconds later, as the still tightly bunched pack turned on to Grand Avenue, Daniel Herrera led out front until the pace quickened in the final 200 yards with Tripp moving to the outside of the pack to reach the finish line first.

Hiltz and Hurt each earned $5,000 for the national title as part of $30,000 in total prize money awarded. The participants in the USATF Road 1-Mile Championship races were part of more than 4,000 runners who took part in the 10th Annual Grand Blue Mile. 

(04/24/2019) ⚡AMP
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Grand Blue Mile

Grand Blue Mile

Your Race. Your Pace. Your Mile. The Grand Blue Mile was created by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Drake Relays to encourage healthy habits and empower positive change. Held annually since 2010, the Grand Blue Mile has hosted more than 30,000 participants from 26 states, six countries, and four continents. The annual event brings friends and families...

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Aidan Puffer continues to break world records. It started at age 11 and this week the 14-year-old clocked a 14:47 5000m, another world record for his age

Aidan Puffer is a 14-year-old high school freshman at Manchester.  When he crossed the finish line at the Bob Michalski 5000m Championship at the Connecticut Distance Festival on Thursday he had a relaxed demeanor. Placing third behind Xavier junior Robbie Cozean and Hall senior Trey Cormier, Puffer remained calm and stoic after his finish.

For those watching the bushy-haired 14-year-old, it appeared to be just another finisher.   

Except it wasn’t. Puffer had just broken a world record.

With his time of 14:47.66, Puffer broke Hans Segerfelt’s mark of 15:10.2, set in 1975, to claim the world’s fastest time in the 5K by a 14-year-old.

“The 14-year-old world record is like, 15:10,” Puffer said. “The freshman national record was like 14:59. The New Balance nationals standard for the 5K championship race is like 14:50. So I was just focused on hitting all of those, mostly just to get 14:50.”

Mission accomplished for Puffer, who trailed Cozean and Cormier for the entirety of the 5,000-meter race. Cozean (14:40.40) and Cormier (14:42.90) exchanged leads for much of the race, while Puffer trailed patiently, checking his watch and adjusting his pace when needed to assure he’d meet his goal.

“At the beginning I kind of got a little nervous,” Puffer said. “At the beginning I heard 68s and stuff [for 400m] and I was like ‘Oh man, we need to slow down a little bit.’ I mean, it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. I felt really good throughout the whole race.”

Puffer, trains about 40 miles per week and works with his own running coach, has previously set world records in the 5K for the 12- and 13-year-old age groups. 

“I’ve never worked with an athlete with as much natural ability as Aidan Puffer,” Manchester coach Mike Bendzinski said.

It all started a few years ago when Aidan’s father, Kyle Puffer decided to do a "Couch to 5K" training program to run a 5K road race.

His son Aidan was 10. He wanted to do it, too.

"I remember calling the pediatrician and asking, 'Is this safe for him to do?'" Aidan's mother, Martha, said. 

"We knew some other parents who were runners and he beat them and they were like, 'Wow,'" Kyle said. "We said, 'Do you want to do another one?' We found other 5Ks and he ran them and he just kept getting faster. He didn't run other than just racing."

That sounds like a typical kid interested in running. But Aidan wasn't a typical kid. At age 11, he set his first world record, the 11-year-old 5,000-meter record on the track. Then he broke the 12-year-old boys 5K record on the road. When he was 13, he broke another one, the 5K road world record for 13-year-olds.

Then at the BAA 5K, two days before the Boston Marathon, he found himself being called up to the podium where Hagos Gebrhiwet, the Olympic 5,000-meter bronze medalist from Ethiopia, had just accepted the silver loving cup trophy for winning the race.

Puffer had once again broken a world record by finishing the 3.1-mile race in 15:47.  A world record for 13-year-olds and now 14:47 5000m on the track, a world record for age 14.  

(04/20/2019) ⚡AMP
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Desiree Linden put forth a strong effort but failed to defend her 2018 Boston Marathon title, fading from second place to finish the 26.2-mile course in fifth place clocking 2:27:00

“It was an honor to be back and I knew today was going to be a big test to defend but I had a blast out there,” Linden told NBC Sports Network. “Right around 18 (miles), I thought, ‘I think I’m done. Hang up the shoes, retire.' The Boston crowds are so phenomenal, they just kind of helped me regroup.”

Despite Linden joining the lead pack from the start and leading at times, it quickly became the chase pack as 28-year-old Ethiopian Worknesh Degefa separated from the group early and built about a 90 second lead before the 10 mile mark. Degefa won the race with a time of 2:23:30.

With much better racing conditions this year, 35-year-old Linden easily beat her championship time of 2 hours, 39 minutes, 54 seconds from a year ago.

Linden, who lives in Washington, Mich., put on a surge to take the lead of the chase pack with just over 10 miles to go, but the pack trailed Degefa by over two and a half minutes at that point. Linden and fellow American Jordan Hassay even moved into second and third-place, respectively, before Linden fell back from the pack. Hassay, 27, finished as the top American in third place with a time of 2:25:20.

“I think Jordan’s come here and done really well,” Linden said. “She’s in that third spot consistently and she’s going to have a breakthrough on this course. She’s going to make a name for herself. She is the future -- well, she is right now -- of American distance running. The future is bright.”

Linden went through the halfway mark at 1:13:09. Linden’s time has met the American Olympic qualifying standard. After claiming a $150,000 prize for winning last year, Linden will take home a $15,000 prize for fifth place this year.

What is next for Linden?

“Lunch right now, for sure,” Linden said. “Then, regroup ... You finish fifth and you go, ‘maybe there’s a little bit more.’”

(04/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events. The event attracts 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England's most widely viewed sporting event. Though starting with 18 participants in 1897, the event now attracts over 20,000 registered participants each year. You have to qualify to participate. Among...

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Kenyan Monicah Ngige took the victory honors at the B.A.A. 5K women’s clocking 15:16

The women’s title went to Kenyan Monicah Ngige, who earned her second road win in as many weeks after claiming the Cooper River Bridge Run in South Carolina last week.

Though Ngige trailed Violah Lagat by 20 meters at the two-mile mark (9:41 for Lagat), she made up that deficit and then some over the final 1.1 miles, coasting to victory in 15:16, 13 seconds ahead of runner-up Lagat.

Two-time Olympian Kim Conley finished as the top American in fourth, running 15:36.

(04/13/2019) ⚡AMP
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B.A.A. 5K

B.A.A. 5K

The B.A.A. 5K began in 2009, and became an instant hit among runners from far and wide. Viewed by many as the “calm before the storm,” the Sunday of Marathon weekend traditionally was for shopping, loading up on carbohydrates at the pasta dinner, and most importantly- resting. But now, runners of shorter distances, and even a few marathoners looking for...

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Sara Sellers placed second at the 2018 Boston Marathon and is ready to run it again on Monday

When Sarah Sellers rises at 4 a.m., it’s not to sip coffee slowly in the still of the morning or head off to an early shift at the Tucson hospital where she works as a nurse anesthetist. Instead, Sellers hits the blaring alarm and gets out her shoes to tackle another early morning run.

Sellers is preparing for her second appearance in the Boston Marathon after a long love affair with running. The 27-year-old started in middle school with her parents on the trails behind their house in Ogden, Utah, and went on to run in college for Weber State from 2009–13.

For someone who has spent most of her life running, qualifying for the Boston Marathon came easy. But competing among the elites was another task all together. In 2018, Sellers arrived on the starting line in Hopkinton as a relatively unknown runner and had only competed in one marathon, in Huntsville, Utah, in Sept. 2017. She won her debut in 2:44:27—nearly 15 minutes ahead of the next woman.

“In some ways last year it was really nice to be totally naïve and do my own thing and not have anyone besides a few family members and my coach interested in how I did,” Sellers says.

The conditions at the 2018 Boston Marathon were anything but ideal. At the start of the race temperatures hovered around 37 degrees. A torrential downpour, which amounted to over a half inch of rain, soaked runners for the entirety of the race. The worst part, according to Sellers, who compared running in the heavy rains to being in a car wash, was the strong headwinds that reached up to 35 miles per hour. More than 2,500 runners visited medical tents during the race and 1,123 participants did not finish.

When Sellers crossed the finish line in 2:44:04 as the second runner in the women’s division behind two-time Olympian Desiree Linden, who became the first American woman to win the race in 33 years, her anonymity to the general public quickly vanished. Suddenly, the media was clamoring to talk to Sellers, who was in a state of disbelief over her second-place finish. “Who is Sarah Sellers?” started popping on search engines, running message boards and social media. The reality sank in after she found her husband, Blake, and he confirmed that the result was no fluke.

“It was the mixture of excitement and almost this daunting feeling,” Seller says. “It was a little bit scary because I knew it was going to be a big deal but I also asked myself ‘What did I just do?’”

Before April 16, 2018, not many people would’ve cared that Sellers ran track and cross country in middle school and high school before joining the teams at Weber State in her hometown. She was a nine-time Big Sky conference champion during her college career and was voted the university’s 2012 Female Athlete of the Year. After she was diagnosed with a stress fracture in the navicular bone in her foot during her senior year, Sellers didn’t know if she would be able to run again, because that specific bone doesn’t get much blood supply, which makes it hard to heal. She never finished her final year of NCAA eligibility at Weber State.

She went a couple of years without being able to run or could run very little,” says Paul Pilkington, Sellers’s coach at Weber State. “She wasn’t training a lot when in grad school but I think that helped her get healthy again. It’s the whole thing of ‘Hey I may never be able to run again’ that makes her appreciate it a lot.”

Sellers eventually did start running again as a graduate student at Barry University in Florida. She decided to target the 2018 Boston Marathon after her brother, Ryan, signed up. She earned her Boston qualifier in Huntsville and then reached out to Pilkington and asked him to help her train for the marathon.

(04/10/2019) ⚡AMP
by Jenna West
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events. The event attracts 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England's most widely viewed sporting event. Though starting with 18 participants in 1897, the event now attracts over 20,000 registered participants each year. You have to qualify to participate. Among...

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Natalie Rodriguez will make her professional debut at the 34th Annual Carlsbad 5000 Sunday

Natalie Rodriguez makes her professional debut at Sunday’s 34th Carlsbad 5000 and just maybe someone will shout “Chi-co, Chi-co” to boost her performance.

“She is so sweet, so kind and so nice,” said Steve Scott, the race’s co-founder and Rodriguez’s former Cal State University San Marcos coach. “Then she gets into a race and she turns into a lioness.”

Hear them roar and Rodriguez got an earful at last year’s California Collegiate Athletic Association 5K final in Turlock, California.

After winning the 1,500-meter event, Rodriguez attempted her second triumph just hours later in the 5,000. But she trailed the leader, a competitor from nearby Chico State, until she heard those magic words.

“In the last 300 meters she had to make up 50 meters,” Scott said. “Just then the “Chi-co, Chi-co” chant started down the home stretch and it really ticked Natalie off. With every stride Natalie was cutting down the distance she was behind and she just barely nips her at the finish line.

“Natalie had already won a race; she was a conference champion and could have easily coasted in. But that showed her competitive spirit and it really kicked in when they started doing that chant.”

That Rodriguez became the first NCAA Division II All-American from CSUSM was a kick in the britches for the entire school. Count Rodriguez as among the most surprised that it was her.

Rodriguez, 22, started running in high school. After verbal agreeing to attend San Diego State University, her coach suggested CSUSM and its program directed by Scott, one of  America's greatest runners ever.

(04/04/2019) ⚡AMP
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Carlsbad 5000

Carlsbad 5000

The Carlsbad 5000 features a fast and fun seaside course where 16 world records have been set. Both rookie runners and serious speedsters alike enjoy running or walking in one of seven people's races. The day before is the Junior Carlsbad which is just for kids 12 and under. There are events for every age and ability, from the diaper...

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Defending champions Kenyan Justin Kemboi Chesire and local favorite Gerda Steyn are hoping to successfully defend their titles at Two Oceans

A quality field of top local and international elite athletes will take part in this year's Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town on Saturday April 20.

Defending champions Kenyan Justin Kemboi Chesire (3:09:22) and local favourite Gerda Steyn (3:39:32), both from Nedbank Running Club, will be hoping to successfully defend their titles.

Steyn is training with an end goal of Comrades in mind, and with the Easter weekend being that much later this year, it might be a tough task to pull off both wins.

Chesire's training has been going according to plan but he can expect some tough competition from a quality field of ultra runners who have all been training to win.

His fellow countryman Abraham Kiprotich, who boasts the fastest marathon of the entire field (2:10 at the Istanbul Marathon late last year), will be running his first ultra marathon and it will be an interesting test to see how he fares over the last 14km with the Constantia Nek climb part of this last section.

Another popular Maxed Elite runner, Zimbabwean Prodigal Khumalo, is back running after a foot injury had him sidelined since December last year. Khumalo has chosen to run the 24km trail event.

Joining this strong field of male runners is local trail legend Ryan Sandes. He has switched from running the trail event for this year, to running his first 56km ultra event. Sandes is hoping to add the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon to his illustrious list of achievements.

(04/03/2019) ⚡AMP
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Two Oceans Marathon

Two Oceans Marathon

Cape Town’s most prestigious race, the 56km Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, takes athletes on a spectacular course around the Cape Peninsula. It is often voted the most breathtaking course in the world. The event is run under the auspices of the IAAF, Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Western Province Athletics (WPA). The Ultra Marathon celebrates its 50thanniversary in...

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No finisher at Barkley Marathons 2019

It might be hard to imagine a race in which the entire field DNFs, but it’s not unusual at the Barkley Marathons, and it happened for the second year in a row as the race came to an end earlier this morning. The results were somewhat better than last year, with six Fun Runs recorded (three 20-mile loops in under 40 hours). Last year Canadian Gary Robbins was the only runner to achieve a Fun Run, and there were no finishers. 

Last night with only two minutes to go before the 9:23 p.m. cutoff, Karel Sabbe and Greig Hamilton set off on loop four. Shortly afterwards, Guillaume Calmettes arrived in camp, well within the cutoff for a Fun Run (which was 1:23 a.m. Monday) but too late to be allowed to attempt a fourth loop. He was tapped out (referring to the playing of Taps by a bugler for each runner who DNFs). 

Tomokazu Ihara, Johan Steene and Jamil Coury all finished Fun Runs last night, but were tapped out upon returning to camp.

Greig Hamilton was the first to say “uncle” on loop four. Sabbe hung in for another few hours before packing it in and returning to camp around 3:30 a.m.

Gary Robbins noted the significance of the final two to drop out being Barkley “virgins.” Sabbe, a dentist from Belgium, got a lot of attention for setting the most recent FKT on the Appalachian Trail in August 2018. Hamilton, who is from Christchurch, New Zealand, was the 2016 world champion in rogaining (long-distance orienteering).

But at the Barkley Marathons, your race pedigree means very little. Two of this year’s strongest contenders, John Kelly and Jared Campbell, shocked everyone following with their early DNFs. 2017 finisher Kelly, with a strong lead after two laps, headed for his tent for a nap, emerging later to announce he no longer wanted to continue, and tapped himself out on the bugle. Campbell, with three Barkley finishes on his resume, kept fans guessing for hours as to his whereabouts after rolling his ankle badly on the first loop.

 

(04/01/2019) ⚡AMP
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Nicky Spinks is hoping to be the first woman to finish the Barkley marathons

The Barkley Marathons, which is “rumoured” to take place this weekend, is surrounded by folklore about prison escapes and encounters with wild boar. If you’ve never been to Frozen Head, you might think of it as a mysterious, forbidding place whose only reason for existence is as the site of Laz Lake’sinfamous 100-miler.

But Jamil Coury who is returning to the Barkley for the fifth time this year, you’ll see that it’s just a state park like any other, with trails and campgrounds where families go to relax a little later in the season, just like they do in state, national and provincial parks across North America.

Coury and another Barkley veteran, Guillaume Calmettes of France, spent a few days together last month, running the trails in Frozen Head to get in shape for this year’s race. They make Frozen Head look positively benign.

Last year there were no finishers, thanks largely to terrible weather. Spring weather can be unpredictable anywhere, and last year Frozen Head got walloped with a massive rainstorm, dense fog and cold temperatures on race weekend.

Running five 20-mile loops in 60 hours with no course markings and no organized aid stations is hard enough–add bad weather to the mix, and any hopes of finishing were dashed for most people after a loop or two. Gary Robbins completed a “fun run,” three loops in under 40 hours.

This year could be a different story. The forecast for Frozen Head is for temperatures of between 50 F (10 C) and 68 F (20 C), with thunderstorms possible on Saturday.

We’ve also just learned that Nicky Spinks is among the starters. The British ultrarunner ran a double Ramsay Round last year, has also run a double Bob Graham Round, and crewed for Damian Hall at UTMB last year.

Let’s hope the will be some finishers this year.  

(03/29/2019) ⚡AMP
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Michael Wardian has finished his 10-day 631-mile journey smashing the Fastest Known Time on the Israel National Trail by several days

Ultra superstar Michael Wardian set a new Fastest Known Time (FKT) for the Israel National Trail, covering the 631-mile journey (south to north) in 10 days, 16 hours and 36 minutes (unofficially) March 22 in Israel. 

Event organizer Ian Corless wrote, “it’s difficult to put into words a 10-day journey of 631-miles. Especially when someone has run the whole distance. I have to say, mine was one of relief.

“Mike had done it. He had achieved his target of running the INT in 10-days and to be part of the journey is beyond rewarding. I witnessed intense highs and lows. So, to finally watch Mike touch ‘home’ and finally be able to stop, I had relief and immense satisfaction of a job well done. 

“I truly believe Mike, and maybe us all will need more than a few hours to comprehend the new record, for now though, Michael Wardian is the new record holder of the FKT for the Israel National Trail.“

Others have covered this many miles in 10 days but no one has covered this many miles in this amount of time on such a challenging course.  

Michael’s goal was to complete this journey in 10 days and he did it smashing the FKT by several days.  This may be a record that will never be broken.  

Ian shared this personal note:

"This record has been more than a running adventure. It has been an incredible journey that not only allowed us to cross from one end of a country to another, but it has opened our eyes to the beauty of Israel.

"It’s a diverse landscape all compressed into a very small area. The deserts of the south were truly mind-blowing, the best deserts I have witnessed. The green and stoney trails of the north provided a stunning contrast to the red of the south. And throughout this journey, the people of Israel have welcomed us, supported us and helped Mike in a way that none of us could have predicted.

"But the help has not only come from trekkers or runners, the story of Mike’s journey has spread throughout Israel and made multiple news channels and in doing so has created awareness. People have come out to offer best wishes and even offer a place to sleep or provide food.

This journey has stirred an awareness and challenged people to ask themselves, ‘What can I do to challenge myself?’

(03/22/2019) ⚡AMP
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Some ultra runners have completed 631 miles or more within 10 days but have any done so on a trail as tough as the one Michael Wardian is running in Israel?

The Israel National Trail (INT) is an approximately 1015km / 631mi hiking trail that crosses Israel from its southern to northern border, traversing a wide range of landscapes, a rich variety of flora and fauna, and a diversity of cultures.

The trail stretches from Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba to the Dan Kibbutz near the Lebanese border, and was named by National Geographic as one of the 20 best "epic hiking trails" in the world.

We believe the most likely Fastest Known Time on the INT to be set at 15 days in 2013 by Australian Richard Bowles.

On March 12th, 2019, Michael Wardian began his attempt to complete the trail in 10 days.

Wardian is a prodigious American marathoner and ultra-marathoner with a lengthy list of podium finishes at distances from half marathon to 100 miles, with world records such as the fastest time for 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days, and the fastest 50k on a treadmill, and who has completed many of the worlds most challenging races. In September 2018 Wardian ran the 184.5 mile C&O Canal Towpath in an FKT of 36h36m, beating Park Barner's 1976 time by just 12 minutes!

Michael is eight days in and has covered 776k with 241k to go according to the website Fastest Known Time which tracks these types of events.  Photos by Ian Corless.

(Editors note: Michael is also part of the Run The World4 Challenge team and all his miles are being logged there.  He is currently in first place with 504.48 miles logged since March 1. His team Elite Men is currently in second place with 2159 miles. Team Kenya is leading with 2304 miles.  This event ends March 30. Five teams of 14 are logging in as many miles as possible within 30 days.)

 

(03/19/2019) ⚡AMP
by Fastest Known Time
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Run The World Global Challenge 365

Run The World Global Challenge 365

Run The World Global Challenge is a world wide celebration of running. Participants run or walk and then log in those miles (k’s) on their My Best Runs Account. There have already been five different challenges. Three (RTW1, RTW2 and RTW3) were challenges where each team logged enough miles to circle the world which is 24,901 miles. The best time...

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Kami Semick won every Ultra race she entered in 2009 and now is making a comeback

A decade ago, at 42, Kami Semick reached the pinnacle of ultrarunning. She won every race she entered in 2009, including two world championship events in the 100k and 50k, and earned UltraRunning’s Ultrarunner of the Year title for the second year in a row.

But five years later, she called it quits and disappeared from the sport.

Her breaking point came at The North Face Endurance Championship 50-miler in San Francisco, a race she’d won in 2008. At that event in December 2014 where she finished 17th female, “It felt like I was dragging a load of bricks around,” says Semick, now 52 and living in Bend, Oregon. “The only reason I finished is because I promised myself this was the last time I was going to run 50 miles. I wasn’t coming back because I felt so horrible. I shook hands with my sponsor The North Face and said, ‘Nice knowing you, but I gotta stop.’”

Fast forward another five years to now, and suddenly, Semick’s name is popping up again. Eschewing attention-seeking social media posts, she quietly and cautiously began running longer distances again in 2017. She finished two 50-milers and a 100k in her home state last year, then won a 40-miler and 50k in California. Now she’s getting ready to line up at the hyper-competitive Lake Sonoma 50 in April, and the Lavaredo Ultra 120K in Italy in June.

While those newer to the sport might not even recognize Semick, those of us who began ultrarunning in the mid-2000s probably share my excitement at seeing her return. Personally, I’ll never forget The North Face ad campaign from 2006 that showed Semick trail running with her then-4-year-old daughter strapped onto her back. Semick’s muscly physique, fast times at races, and gutsy combination of running and parenting gave female ultrarunners a powerful role model.

I reached out to Semick to find out what happened, and what it’s like to return to the scene and get ready to race again after a long break after turning 50. She agreed to talk, but with some reluctance as part of her looked forward to showing up to Lake Sonoma without being recognized.

“If nobody knows I’m there at a starting line, I’m so happy about that, because then there’s no expectations,” she says. “I’m trying not to be attached to my history as a runner, and I don’t love the spotlight, but the reason I wanted to talk is because I’m curious about other women’s experiences. If I can share my story, then maybe we can join together as women in our 50s and say, ‘Yes, it’s hard.’ … I feel like we have to band together for support.”

(03/19/2019) ⚡AMP
by Sarah Lavender Smith (Ultra Running Magazine)
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Lake Sonoma 50

Lake Sonoma 50

The race is held on the rugged trails at Lake Sonoma, about 10 miles northwest of Healdsburg. The course is 86% single track and 9% dirt roads, with the first 2.4 miles on a paved country road.The race starts at 6:30 a.m. and has a 14-hour time limit. ...

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Vegan endurance athlete Robbie Balenger is set to run more than 3,000 miles across the United States

In partnership with dairy-free ice cream brand NadaMoo, Balenger is hoping his challenge will show the world that even ultramarathon runners do not need to eat animals to excel in their field.

In a post on Instagram, the plant-powered athlete wrote, “On Saturday (March 16th) at 7:30 AM, I will put my feet to the pavement and start to run across the country.”

He believes the run will last for 75 days, covering the 3,200 miles from Los Angeles to New York City. “Not only do I plan to survive running an average of 43 miles a day on a 100% plant-based diet, but I hope to show you how I will thrive,” he continued.

Balenger hasn’t always been an athlete; he used to operate restaurants across Austin, Texas. He needed a way of managing the stressful nature of his career path so six years ago, he began running, according to Lifelong Endurance, an endurance coaching website. He now works as an endurance athlete, coaching others in the field.

“By following my passions and dreams, I believe I can make an impact on those around me,” Balenger notes on the website. “My passions are innate and simple: food and running.”

He will use his 3,200-mile challenge to communicate his feelings about dietary choices, according to NadaMoo. The brand notes on its website that as Balenger makes his way across the country, students and members of the community “will be invited to engage in conversations about big goals and smart food choices.”

Balenger isn’t the only athlete showing that a plant-based diet can boost you to achieve major physical feats.

Last year, Mike Curtin, a 27-year-old vegan thru-hiker, hiked 118 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. The journey — from Windigo Pass in Oregon to Big Lake Youth Camp in Willamette National Forest — took 38 hours and Curtin didn’t stop the whole way.

(03/14/2019) ⚡AMP
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Ultra superstar Michael Wardian started his most challenging ultra ever today, the FKT Israel Project 631 miles in 10 days

Most people would think that running a marathon every day for ten days and averaging under three hours would be enough. But not for ultra superstar Michael Wardian.  For his current challenge he will be averaging 63 miles daily for 10 days.  

He is currently taking on the FKT Israel project. He plans on running 631 miles in 10 days on the National Israel Trail. He started today March 12.

Michael messaged me yesterday and said "I am really excited to attempt a Fastest Know Time on the 1000k Israel National Trail. I can't wait."

His wife, Jennifer, wrote me an hour ago saying "Tough Day I - Michael called out on the trail saying "I am lost in the dark and can't reach anyone, can you help." the call was a bit unsettling." 

FKT Isreal Day 1 - (From Jennifer Wardian): "When I was talking with him this afternoon he said today took longer than expected because he got lost several times and missed trail bases. He said it was very technical and exposed at times otherwise felt great.

The Fastest Know Time Israel Project organizer Ian Corless wrote: "One year of planning finally came to fruition today when Michael departed Eilat, Isreal at 5:46am (March 12) to head south covering a total of 631 miles on the Israell National Trial in a target goal of 10-days,” Ian wrote this morning.  

Later Ian wrote, "At the final feed point, Beer Matak at 61.5km he was notably looking tired and fatigued from the day’s efforts. He was also feeling the heat from the last big climb of the day. It was time to dig deep and push on for a final 18km.

 It was here, as darkness came that disaster struck. Mike followed the marker of the ‘INT’ but unfortunately missed the turn to our bivouac which was off the INT route. He pushed on, following the markers and it was our support runner who notified us that he was ‘missing’ after hearing from another trekker that he passed some 30-minutes early.

“Our camp no cellular connection, so, we departed following the approximate route that Mike would take, It was here that technology took over. We managed to liaise with Mike via WhatsApp, we shared ‘live locations’ and we were able to navigate to him a long way down the ‘INT’ route. The route that he should have done on day-2!

“Mike was surprisingly in good spirits, but he had been out on the trail for almost 13-hours and 20-minutes, it was a tough first day! The only plus side coming that he had eaten in to tomorrow’s mileage.

“Back in camp, it was all about recovery. He hydrated, ate some snacks, wiped down and put on fresh clothes. He soon needed a nap. It had been a very long day, both physically and mentally. The priority was good rest, some quality food and then focus the mind for the challenges that day-2 would present.” 

(03/12/2019) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Kara Goucher is making a second move from the roads to the trails

Kara Goucher is a World Championship silver medallist, two-time Boston third-place finisher, and an American distance running legend. After an illustrious track career, Goucher moved to the roads. Now she’s making a second move from the roads to the trail, running her debut trail marathon at Leadville. 

Goucher announced on Monday that she will be trying something new this June. She said in a race preview, “I started running when I was six and I loved it right away.

I loved being outside, being in the woods and having my heart feel like it was going to beat out of my chest. Now that the days of trying to make Olympic teams are past me, I kind of want to go back to what got me into running in the first place.”

Goucher ran the Houston Marathon in January and had a tough time. After a much anticipated return to the roads, the Olympian didn’t finish the race as a result of an old injury flare up.

After heartbreak in Houston, the runner is excited to get back to her running roots and try out the trail. The Leadville Trail Marathon runs June 15, 2019.

(03/12/2019) ⚡AMP
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Leadville Trail 100 Run

Leadville Trail 100 Run

The legendary “Race Across The Sky” 100-mile run is where it all started back in 1983. This is it. The race where legends are created and limits are tested. One hundred miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain — from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet. You will give the mountain respect, and earn respect from all. ...

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Ultrarunner Rickey Gates gained a new perspective on San Francisco by running every street

Gates, an accomplished mountain and trail runner, had an idea to run every street of his home city, San Francisco.

In a 49 square-mile area, that amounted to 1,100 miles of pavement. He did it in 46 days, averaging just over 28 miles a day, as he had to double up on some streets due to necessity or cul de sacs.

“There is really no way to prepare yourself for ‘this is going to take 36 miles and you’re going to be in this neighbourhood all day’ – and that is the point,” he said in a beautifully shot short film put together by his sponsors Salomon.

He later adds that the people he met along the way and confronting the challenge of being surrounded by people – and you see that he met as wide a demographic as you would imagine in a cosmopolitan city with a mammoth wealth division – “gave me a whole new depth of what empathy is, to try and treat everybody with the same importance”.

The cynic may say he was well looked after with gear, time and other resources by his sponsor – that his is a privileged view of the melting pot of city life.

But we could also see that Gates was touched by the people he met and things he saw. And that, you feel, was his point.

(03/12/2019) ⚡AMP
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Jonathan Briskman is set to compete in the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Half Marathon

Jonathan Briskman has a game plan going into the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Half Marathon, a 13.1-mile race that starts at 7 a.m. on the Silverado Trail in St. Helena, near Conn Creek Winery, and follows a point-to-point course to the finish-line area at Vintage High School on Trower Avenue, on Sunday, March 3.

Briskman, a resident of San Francisco, said one of his focuses will be on trying to stay relaxed for the first few miles, making sure that he doesn’t go out too fast, while still looking to keep up a good pace.

“A lot of it is experience, having raced quite a few half marathons now,” Briskman said in a telephone interview last week. “It’s just knowing how it’s supposed to feel for the first few miles, so that you can pace yourself accordingly, so that hopefully you can finish strong or even a little bit faster at the end.”

Briskman, 27, is one of the elite-level entrants, event organizers said, as he has a personal record time of 1 hour, 7 minutes, 12 seconds at the race distance.

The Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, a 26.2-mile race now in its 41st year and beginning at 7:30 a.m. in Calistoga, is also sold out, with 2,000 runners. The marathon heads south on the Silverado Trail, to the finish line at Vintage.

“That was kind of a breakthrough race,” he said. “I’m hoping to build on that actually at Napa this year and run even a little bit faster. The set-up is point to point, with very few turns. That makes it pretty quick, as well as it’s a little bit of a net downhill.”

“That’s what I’m shooting for, trying to get as close as I can to about that five-minute pace,” he said. “I’m really excited for it. I’m really excited to try and run a fast time.”

Briskman ran a PR of 2 hours, 20 minutes, 18 seconds and placed 63rd overall at the California International Marathon in December. His previous best was 2:28.

(02/26/2019) ⚡AMP
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Kaiser Napa Valley Marathon

Kaiser Napa Valley Marathon

As one of California's top tourist destinations, Napa Valley has been home to this race for decades. When it comes to scenic, it just doesn't get better than Napa in the spring. The narrow valley is covered in grape vines that stretch high up the hillsides on either side. The colors are crisp green, blue and yellow at that time...

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Chris Maxwell is hoping to PR at the new Napa Valley Half Marathon as he gets ready to run Boston April 15

This is a big year for Chris Maxwell. A member of the Bowerman Track Club Elite team in Portland, Oregon, Maxwell will be looking to attain a personal record when he runs the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Half Marathon on Sunday, March 3.

The new 13.1-mile race starts at 7 a.m. on the Silverado Trail in St. Helena, near Conn Creek Winery, and follows the same course that the full Napa Valley Marathon uses, to reach the finish line area at Vintage High School.

Six weeks later, Maxwell is running the 123rd annual Boston Marathon on Patriots Day April 15.   

Maxwell said his training and preparation over the last two months, with mileage of over 80 miles per week and speed workouts on the track, have gone well.

“I think that will translate well to the half marathon,” Maxwell said in a telephone interview Monday. “Coming from not having a strong track background, it’s something that I’m continuing to develop. I feel super excited about the race. I’m feeling great. And I’m excited that I get to open it up and see where I am at six weeks before Boston.”

The Napa Valley Half Marathon, a brand new race which was announced last year by event officials, has a sold-out field of 2,000 runners. It’s one of three races on March 3, joining the 41st annual Napa Valley Marathon and the Kiwanis Club of Greater Napa 5K (3.1 miles). The same finish-line chute, located in the front parking lot of Vintage, will be used for all three races.

Maxwell’s fastest half-marathon time is 1 hour, 12 minutes, 21 seconds – a split-time that he achieved at the California International Marathon, a point-to-point race that is put on by the Sacramento Running Association, this past December. He placed 140th in the race in a time of 2:28:05.

“That was the first half of the race,” said Maxwell, 25. “I know that doing a half, just by itself, and not having the second half within the marathon itself, I think I can definitely run faster than that.”

Maxwell and his coach, Mario Fraioli, have identified a time of 1:09 to 1:10 for the Napa race as a goal.

(02/23/2019) ⚡AMP
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Kaiser Napa Valley Marathon

Kaiser Napa Valley Marathon

As one of California's top tourist destinations, Napa Valley has been home to this race for decades. When it comes to scenic, it just doesn't get better than Napa in the spring. The narrow valley is covered in grape vines that stretch high up the hillsides on either side. The colors are crisp green, blue and yellow at that time...

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Samuel Tefera faces Norway’s brothers at Düsseldorf Indoor meet

Nine of this season's 11 IAAF World Indoor Tour titles will be up for grabs when the six-meeting series concludes with the PSD Bank Meeting in Dusseldorf on Wednesday (20) night, but none will be as eagerly anticipated and as closely watched as the battle for the men's 1500m when Samuel Tefera returns to the track just four days after his sensational world record-breaking run in Birmingham.

The Ethiopian teenager shocked the world when he prevailed in a tactical race to win the world indoor title one year ago, but when he returned to the same Arena Birmingham track last Saturday, few expected the 19-year-old to take down a record set in 1997 - more than two years before he was born - by the all-time great Hicham El Guerrouj. But he did, clocking 3:31.04 to clip 0.14 from the Moroccan’s mark with a convincing victory over pre-meet favourite Yomif Kejelcha.

Here in Dusseldorf, Tefera will be running for another fast time as well as series honours. He trails Kenyan Bethwell Birgen by one point in the standings with 23; so long as he finishes ahead of the Kenyan, he'll take home the US$20,000 prize bonus and a wildcard entry for the IAAF World Indoor Championships Nanjing 2020.

The field also includes all three of Norway's Ingebrigtsen brothers, Filip, Hendrik and Jakob, setting up an intriguing head-to-head with the latter, another teenager, who famously cruised to the European 1500 and 5000m titles last August.

The 18-year-old has raced once this season, clocking a 3:36.21 national record eight days ago. Given the largely solo nature of that run, it's clear he can run faster. 

(02/20/2019) ⚡AMP
by from IAAF
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Australian’ 24-year-old Jacqui Bell is the youngest person lining up for the 323K Alps 2 Ocean Ultra in New Zealand

24-year-old Australian ultra-marathon runner Jacqui Bell is in New Zealand to tackle her longest ultra-marathon.

Bell is lining up in the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra on Sunday with 120 others from 14 countries to run 323 kilometers from Aoraki/Mt Cook to Oamaru in seven days mostly following the off road Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail.

Speaking from Christchurch New Zealand Airport on Wednesday, she told Stuff she expected the race to be "brutal". Completing it will bring her a step closer to being the youngest person in history to run an ultra-marathon on every continent in the world.

"I'm hoping the scenery makes up for the toughness of it. It's a lot of kms, and my body hasn't done any more than 250kms every.

"It's kind of like going into the unknown in that next 73km ... but I'll just try and enjoy it."

Bell said she was looking forward to the "beautiful landscape" in New Zealand.

"I can't wait to clock off from the everyday stresses of life and get to run every day in the mountains.

"I've never been to New Zealand ... I'm not sure what I'm in for."

Bell said she couldn't resist the idea of running 323km.

"It's going to be amazing," she said.

(02/20/2019) ⚡AMP
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Alps 2 Ocean Ultra

Alps 2 Ocean Ultra

New Zealand's First Ultra Staged Run. Starting at the base of New Zealand's highest mountain, travelling on foot 316 kms to the small harbour of Oamaru, located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The ultimate adventure race, Alps 2 Ocean Ultra, was a dream that quickly became a reality. And it’s now only weeks until the 126 entrants will...

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2014 Napa Marathon Champion Jenny Kadavy Is going to run the new Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Half Marathon

There is so much that Jenny Kadavy likes about the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon.

She likes the course, which is a point-to-point route and is considered fast because it is flat.

She likes the area’s beautiful scenery.

She likes the organization of the event and the time of year that it’s held.

“I know that you win some wine – so that’s a good incentive as well,” Kadavy said on Sunday in a telephone interview. “I’ve come out to watch some from friends run it in the past. It’s just always been a really well conducted event.”

Kadavy, a resident of Clayton in Contra Costa County, was the women’s champion and the seventh overall finisher of the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon in 2014.

It was Kadavy’s first win in a marathon. She achieved a personal record, finishing the race from Calistoga to Napa in a time of 2 hours, 40 minutes, 47 seconds. She also qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Kadavy will be returning to Napa, but not to run the marathon. She is an elite-level entrant and is in the field for the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Half Marathon, a first-year race, on Sunday, March 3. The 13.1-mile race starts at 7 a.m. on the Silverado Trail in St. Helena, near Conn Creek Winery, and follows the same course that the full marathon uses to reach the finish-line area at Vintage High School on Trower Avenue.

(02/20/2019) ⚡AMP
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Kaiser Napa Valley Marathon

Kaiser Napa Valley Marathon

As one of California's top tourist destinations, Napa Valley has been home to this race for decades. When it comes to scenic, it just doesn't get better than Napa in the spring. The narrow valley is covered in grape vines that stretch high up the hillsides on either side. The colors are crisp green, blue and yellow at that time...

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The Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon has added a half marathon this year

The annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon has kept to its traditions over 40 years. It’s always on the first Sunday in March. The 26.2-mile full marathon race starts at 7:30 a.m. from Rosedale Road and the Silverado Trail in Calistoga. The USA Track & Field certified point-to-point course takes runners south, through St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, Yountville and to the finish line, located in the front parking lot area of Vintage High School in Napa.

The 13.1 mile half marathon race, new this year, starts at 7:00 a.m. on the Silverado Trail at Conn Creek Winery and also finishes at Vintage High School.

The companion Greater Kiwanis Club of Napa 5K (3.1 miles) race starts at 7:30 a.m. at Vintage High School where it also finishes. 

Michelle La Sala, the founder of Blistering Pace Race Management, is the event’s new race director.

La Sala takes over for Rich Benyo and Dave Hill, who retired after 16 years as co-race directors following the 40th annual race last year. Benyo and Hill have each been involved with the race for 30 years.

”It shouldn’t be a surprise that people love to come and run in the Napa Valley,” says La Sala.  “It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

On January 9, 2018 Forbes Travel Guide rated NVM among the top 13 marathons in the world “worth traveling for,” an honor it has bestowed on NVM three times in the past four years. On January 28, 2016 The Economic Timesranked NVM at the top of its list of the “world’s best marathon locations to inspire you to lace up and get training.” 

Runner’s World magazine selected NVM as one of the top ten U.S. marathons for first-time marathon participants in its January, 2011 issue. My Best Runs/World’s Best Road Races ranks NVM as one of the world’s best 100 races (regardless of distance).

There are so many amazing stories surrounding the Napa Valley marathon and here is one of them:

Steve Radigan (67, Fremont., Calif.) is the only runner that has completed all 40 to date. His phenomenal streak started in 1979, the first year of the event. He owns an amazing total of 156 marathons on his running resume. What keeps this runner returning to NVM every year?

“I love the course, the organization, the size of the field, and how the race has treated me over the years,” Radigan said. “And, it’s much nicer to run on a quiet, gently rolling, uncrowded country road with no traffic than any urbansetting. The fact that it’s a point-to-point course makes quitting less tempting. There’s no shortcuts to the finish line.”

Radigan’s first NVM was his third marathon ever. He was 27 years old and had been running for about three years. Although he liked what running had done for his fitness it was becoming clear that he was never going to be an elite runner.

After his third NVM marathon he remembers: “As I was nearing the finish of that year’s race I thought how much I liked the NVM course compared to others and it would be a good goal for me totry to run it every year until I was 50,” Radigan said. 

In 1982 Radigan crossed the NVM finish line in 2 hours, 49 minutes, and 9 seconds, dipping under the qualifying time he needed for Boston by 51 seconds.

“Other races have come and gone,” said Radigan. “But I’ve been fortunate that NVM has continued and allowed me to come back year after year.”

(02/18/2019) ⚡AMP
by Mark Winitz
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Kaiser Napa Valley Marathon

Kaiser Napa Valley Marathon

As one of California's top tourist destinations, Napa Valley has been home to this race for decades. When it comes to scenic, it just doesn't get better than Napa in the spring. The narrow valley is covered in grape vines that stretch high up the hillsides on either side. The colors are crisp green, blue and yellow at that time...

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Joey Whelan dominated the field and won the Austin marathon again

The defending Austin Marathon champion Joey Whelan’s emotions were concealed behind a slick pair of Oakley shades as he led Sunday morning’s race. But he needn’t have worried about revealing his strategy to competitors. 

Whelan dominated the field, breaking the tape more than three minutes ahead of his closest pursuer, Jameson Mora of Paso Robles, Calif.

Whelan, a 28-year old former Syracuse track and cross-country runner who now lives in Spring Branch, wasted no time moving to the front of the pack, hitting the first mile in five minutes and five seconds. Initially Colorado Springs’ Patrick Rizzo — whose past 2:13:42 marathon made him the fastest runner out there — gave chase, trailing behind Whelan 16:02 to 16:25 at the 5K mark. But by the 10K mark (31:26), Whelan had a full minute on him, a gap he continued to widen.

Clicking off the miles at a 5:05 pace, Whelan never once looked back.

“I didn’t know how far back any of the other runners were,” Whelan said after his victory. “I just tried to focus and not look back.”

Though he had already run a 2:16:28 at Grandma’s Marathon in Minnesota last June — well below the Olympic “B” standard of 2:19 — he figured he might as well shoot for the “A” standard of 2:15 in Austin despite the challenging nature of the course.

Meantime, Mora was running shoulder-to-shoulder with Will Christian of Chesapeake, Va. in a race for second place as Rizzo faded, paying a price for his fast early pace.

Conquering the hills in the first half of the race, Whelan powered up the steep grade on Guadalupe, passing the half-way mark in 1:07:06. Considering that he had most of the toughest climbs behind him, he had a legitimate shot at breaking 2:15 at that point.

But by miles 22 and 23, he had slowed to a 5:30 pace. Still, coming down the long stretch of East Cesar Chavez, Whelan passed the 25-mile marker in 2:09:25, and the sub-2:15 was still a possibility. But the miles had really taken a toll by then, and he broke the tape in 2:17:03— the fastest men’s time since Betram Keter’s 2:16:20 victory in 2015.

Whelan said he has no regrets about aiming high with a fast first half. 

(02/18/2019) ⚡AMP
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Austin Marathon Weekend

Austin Marathon Weekend

The 2020 Austin Marathon will celebrate its 30th year running in the capital of Texas. The premier running event in the City of Austin annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 20+ countries around the world. With a downtown finish and within proximity of many downtown hotels and restaurants, the Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Come...

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Travis Kauffman was able to fight off a mountain lion after the animal attacked him on a trail near Fort Collins

A runner in Colorado fought and killed an 80-pound mountain lion that attacked him on a nature trail in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, wildlife officials said.

Officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife said the man was mauled by a “juvenile” mountain lion as he was running Monday on the West Ridge Trail at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, a 2,700-acre park with hiking and biking trails not far from Fort Collins.

The man was bitten on his face and wrist but fought free from the lion, suffocating the animal with his hands in self-defense, officials said.

Ty Petersburg, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told NBC affiliate KUSA that the man did not have a weapon, so he used the only things he had.

“He was really creative,” Petersburg told the station about the man. “He used his hands, feet — things that were around him, and really it was just a fight for survival.”

Officials said that the man stated he heard a noise behind him while he was running Monday afternoon and, when he turned around to see what it was, the lion “lunged” at him, causing serious injuries.

Petersburg said in a statement “the lion’s hunting instincts were triggered by the runner.” But he told KUSA that the man did what he was supposed to do — he raised his arms so that he would appear larger and he made noise.

The animal still attacked.

The lion was upon his upper body and the man was able to fight the animal off and kill it at the end of it in self-defense, and then get himself off the trail into a car, and he took himself to the hospital.

Following the incident, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) released some tips for surviving mountain lion attacks — as well as some important advice for the big cats.

“Don’t mess with Colorado trail runners,” Polis said in a statement Tuesday. “A runner near Fort Collins killed an attacking mountain lion with his bare hands. Don’t try this yourself on purpose, as it is likely to end poorly for you. If it does come to a fight, Target the eyes and nose. This gentleman managed to suffocate the attacking cat.”

(02/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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Leanne Szeto wants to become the top Hong Kong women’s finisher at the Standard Chartered Half

Leanne Szeto Shiu-yan is ready to put her sports running gear saga behind her as she aims to become the top Hong Kong women’s finisher again in the half marathon in Sunday’s Standard Chartered Marathon.

A prominent triathlete, Szeto received police enquiries after an anonymous complaint was made against her running with a customised sports gear that incorporated the Hong Kong bauhinia during a trail running race in Braemar Hill in mid-January.

Her jersey design could have been in violation of the laws governing the use of the regional flag and emblem. The runner put her story on social media and gained wide support from netizens.

But the 27-year-old, who will be taking part in her third half-marathon race in the annual Hong Kong showpiece, wants put her recent troubles behind her and is fully focused on running a big race over the weekend.

“I won’t use the same gear [with the Hong Kong bauhinia] at the stage as I did not want other people to make it a big thing out of it,” she said at a media function on Wednesday. “Also, the gear manufacturer may not be willing to produce this gear anymore.

“I want to focus on the race on Sunday as this is a big event in Hong Kong. My target is to finish faster than last year.”

She clocked 1:23:29 in the 2018 event which is still her personal best.

(02/13/2019) ⚡AMP
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STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

The Hong Kong Marathon, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, is an annual marathon race held in January or February in Hong Kong. In addition to the full marathon, a 10 km run and a half marathon are also held. Around 70,000 runners take part each year across all events. High levels of humidity and a difficult course make finishing times...

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Western States 100 course record holder Jim Walmsley makes Hong Kong debut

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

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

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

(02/12/2019) ⚡AMP
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I used to dislike hills so much - Michael Anderson on Running File 5

I remember my first marathon (Big Sur) and the days before driving the course. It is a very hilly point to point course on hwy one in Northern California.

Flash forward I did finish in just over 4 hrs.  They have one hill called "hurricane hill" at the 13 mile mark, I remember getting to the top and saying "efff this, never again will hills be a challenge.”

After this race I realized how important hill training is to a training schedule. No matter what you cannot escape hills, they are all around me in my home town.  

I can hate them or learn to love them. I decided to love them and take them as mini accomplishments that need to be conquered. You grind it to the top and then look out over the views, it is very rewarding. I go heavy on hills on all my courses as most trail races are all about getting verticals it’s inevitable.

Hills and loving them!

I find the biggest hills near my house and run them regularly.   You might not think it is helping you because it seems slow but you need to run hills to handle them.  Just do them!  But don’t run hills more than twice weekly and put a day or two in between. 

I love to put my head down and take it one step at a time, sometimes if it’s a new hill I walk very steep sections and then know what the hard parts are and I can be better prepared on my next time up.

Take it as it comes and never say never.  The more you run hills the easier they will become. 

Michael Anderson on Running is a regular My Best Runs column. 

(02/10/2019) ⚡AMP
by Michael Anderson
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Big Sur Marathon

Big Sur Marathon

The Big Sur Marathon follows the most beautiful coastline in the world and, for runners, one of the most challenging. The athletes who participate may draw inspiration from the spectacular views, but it takes major discipline to conquer the hills of Highway One on the way to the finish line. Named "Best Marathon in North America" by The Ultimate Guide...

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Maine Woman with MS is running the grand slam of Ultra Running - Marathon Man Gary Allen File 4

Melissa Ossanna, of Bar Harbor, Maine, has big plans for 2019.  Not only will she be turning 50, she has registered for the “Grand Slam of Ultrarunning” (fondly called ‘The Slam’ by those who participate).  This involves running four of the fiveoldest 100-mile footraces in the US, scheduled from June through September. 

This is a laudable and often daunting goal for every runner who attempts it, but Ossanna has another challenge, she has Multiple Sclerosis.  She was diagnosed with the condition in her mid-20’s and struggled quite a bit with temporary blindness, weakness and numbness in her limbs, and severe fatigue, among other issues.  

In 2009, she was unable to stay awake all day at work and was forced to go on intermittent disability.   She thought this might be the beginning of the end of her ability to earn a living, and most importantly, to be able to stay active with her husband and young son. 

Ultimately, she learned that the fatigue was a result of MS-related sleep apnea, which is treatable.   As she started to sleep better, she got some energy back, and was able to return to work full time.  She also decided to take the advice of her neurologist and use this bit of extra vigor to start exercising.  For years, she had been too tired to even consider adding an exercise program to her schedule.  

Where many people would start with a couch to 5K program, an introduction to fitness at the YMCA or something else reasonable, Ossanna happened into town the day before the Mount Desert Island marathon in 2011, had a moment of regret that she wasn’t a marathon runner, and then decided she would become one.  She registered for the MDI marathon 2012 before she even owned running shoes.  

The year of training was a long one, starting with not even beingable to run 0.8 miles (the length of the road she lived on).  However, once marathon day arrived in October 2012, Ossanna was ready and had learned to love running.  

That one marathon led to another, which then led to a 50K, then a trail 50K, then a 50-mile trail race, and then a 100-mile race.    Ever since she started running, Ossanna has not had any notable MS exacerbations.  She attributes her continued health to her running habit, and she never plans to slow down if she can help it.

With her decision to run the Grand Slam this year, Ossanna decided she wanted to raise money for a charity that meant something to her.  She had raised money for the National MS Society in the past, and had considered doing that again, until she ran the Vermont 100 in 2018 and became familiar with Vermont Adaptive.  Vermont Adaptive helps people with disabilities get outside and do active things.  

Becoming active in the outdoors gave Ossanna her life back, and has prevented any permanent disability for her, and she wants to help others to “get outside and play”, regardless of any challenges they face.  

If you want to support Melissa and Vermont Adaptive click on the link.

Top photo: Melissa at the Javelina Jundred 100 miler in AZ

(Marathon Man Gary Allen is an exclusive My Best Runs column.  Gary is one of only a few who have run a sub three hour marathon over five decades and hopes to make it six soon.) 

(02/10/2019) ⚡AMP
by Gary Allen
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Nikki Han is the first woman to break 298km ultramarathon and she never thought about stopping

Nikki Han reached the end of the 298-kilometre Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge (HK4TUC) in 58 hours and 20 minutes on Friday night, becoming the first ever female “finisher”.

“I felt so good the whole way,” she said. “It isn’t a race. You don’t care about the people in front of you, you don’t care about the people behind you. You just run.”

The HK4TUC links all four of Hong Kong’s major trails – the MacLehose, Wilson, Hong Kong and Lantau Trails. There are no checkpoints or support allowed, but runners have help travelling between the trails. If you reach the end, marked by the postbox in Mui Wo on Lantau Island, in under 60 hours, you are a “finisher”. If you reach the end in under 75 hours, you are a “survivor”.

“I thought I could finish on the ferry over [to Lantau],” said Han, who lives in Discovery Bay. “I’ve done the LT70 before in 11 hours and I thought I could do it, even on tired legs. I pushed a little bit harder.”

Han took advice from Will Hayward, who was a survivor last year, and made sure she brushed her teeth throughout the run. “It just makes you feel so good and so much better,” she said.

Han said she did battle the urge to sleep at the start of the Wilson Trail. “But I never thought about stopping. It was awesome actually. Brutal, but awesome,” she said.

 

(02/09/2019) ⚡AMP
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William Sawyer who founded the JFK 50 Miler and who ran it at age 75 has died at 90

Buzz Sawyer enjoyed keeping score. In the game of life, it’s safe to say he finished a winner. Sawyer, a former world-ranked distance runner who founded the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon in Washington County, died Sunday. He was 90.

“He’s never going to be forgotten,” said Mike Spinnler, the JFK 50 race director since 1993, when he took over for Sawyer. “He’s like Red Auerbach with the Celtics or Paul Brown with the Browns. I don’t care how many centuries the JFK goes on, he’s always going to be synonymous with it. It doesn’t exist without him.”

On March 30, 1963, Sawyer answered President John F. Kennedy’s call for Americans to be more physically fit. He and 10 young men from his Cumberland Valley Athletic Club set out to cover 50 miles on foot. The route consisted of the rugged Appalachian Trail, the flat C&O Canal towpath and rolling country roads — almost identical to the course used every year since.

Of the 11 starters in 1963, four finished, including Sawyer. They completed the trek together in 13 hours and 10 minutes.

The next year, there were 16 starters and seven finishers, and the event continued to grow. Similar JFK challenge events across the country faded away.

“Buzz was not that different than guys all over the country who organized JFK 50 events in the spring of 1963,” Spinnler said. “What made him different was that after Kennedy was assassinated, he kept holding the event to memorialize Kennedy. While all the other events disappeared, his continued on his back for 30 years. … I know for a fact that he lost money out of his own pocket to keep that race alive for decades. He just had such passion for it.”

Sawyer was a regular participant in the JFK 50 in his event’s early years. In 1970, at age 41, he finished fifth overall in a personal-best time of 8 hours and 53 minutes in a field of 274 runners and hikers.

But that was his last finish as the event’s director. The JFK was becoming so big that he had to devote all of his energy to managing it on race day.

By 1972, there were more than 1,000 participants. In 1973, the JFK had a starting field of 1,724 — the largest of any foot race in the U.S. that year and nearly 200 more than the Boston Marathon.

(02/06/2019) ⚡AMP
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Happy Course Hunting - Michael Anderson on running File 4

So many times I will be out on a run and spot some path and decide to just take it. This is my way of charting new courses and see where it takes me. Sometimes the path I take leads to a dead end which results in backtracking but most of the time it leads me to a whole new area that I have never been before and some awesome connector to something else.

On Thursday’s run I found such a path which lead me to a huge amount of other trails that are single track. It makes me so excited to explore the area and see what additional course I can chart out.

What I love about running is just this, the Exploration of the area, getting the lay of the land on foot that you will never experience driving a car. I just love it.  Another bonus of running

Good indications to check out a path

A dirt road that seems to be a connector between two major roadways

A golf course path, but be careful 

A Bike path, most cities have them

A hidden trail off the path, this will usually lead somewhere so be prepared that it doesn't twist you around

Happy Course hunting

(Editor’s note: Michael Anderson on running is a regular column covering common sense advice by a lifetime runner.  He has run the Boston, Big Sur, San Francisco and Seattle Marathons and has been running most of his life.)

(02/03/2019) ⚡AMP
by Michael Anderson
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The king of the trails, Rene Villalobos is a 59-year-old plumber with 350 ultras under his belt

Rene Villalobos is less than halfway through the 2016 Rocky Raccoon 100 in Huntsville State Park, Texas, when the pain in his back returns. A year earlier, he had fallen on a patch of black ice late at night during Arkansas’ Run LOVit 100K and slipped a disk. The doctors told him he wouldn’t be able to run long distance anymore but, well, here he was.

He grimaces as pain shoots up his back. Soon the sun will sink beneath the canopy of oak trees and sweet gums overhead and out of sight. Villalobos uses a few unprintable words to gripe to his “friend” Sal (James Salvador), an Italian ultrarunner who encouraged Villalobos to quit dropping the F-bomb on long miserable runs and find the joy in running.

“Look at this and this and this,” he would tell Villalobos, pointing at the scenery. “And don’t worry about anything else. Enjoy it! This is all a gift.”

Salvador had passed away nearly 10 years prior, in April 2002, during a low-risk planned surgery. He and Villalobos had been running together for 20 years by that time, and were planning to run several ultras together in the coming weeks. Instead, Villalobos found himself and his sister, Clara, with Salvador’s family as the priest read his last rites.

Villalobos says he’s “not really too much into superstition.” He doesn’t have pre-race rituals or lucky socks. But he does have a lot of running buddies like Salvador who have passed away over the years, and he still communicates with them.

“That’s probably about the weirdest thing I do,” he says. “I always say, ‘Well, I’m going to take my angels for a run today.’”

Rene Villalobos, 59, of Fort Worth, Texas, is not your typical runner-looking dude. He has dark skin, bronzed by hours in the sun, salt-and-pepper hair and a goatee to match; until a few years ago, he weighed over 200 pounds and possessed a hefty paunch.

But looks may be deceiving in his case. Villalobos has run over 350 ultras, and over 150 100-milers. At one point, he ran nine 100-mile races in nine weeks. Counting unofficial races, by August 14, 2018 Villalobos says he had run 1,117 marathons. On the Mega Marathon List, he is ranked number five, with 1000 official marathon finishes. Let those stats sink in.

“Trying to explain Rene is almost as difficult as trying to explain trail running,” says Joe Prusaitis, the former longtime owner and race director of Tejas Trails, a collection of respected Texas races that includes Rocky Raccoon. Prusaitis has a long history of racing with and hosting Villalobos at races. “And I think the more you understand trail running, the more you would understand Rene.”

While not a household name or podium contender, Villalobos epitomizes a passionate approach to trail running. His training weeks might make even the pros blanch especially because, for over 30 years, he worked digging ditches and fixing pipes as a plumber, often in 110-degree Texas heat, before going on his weekday runs.

Things changed in 2004 when he got a job as Master Inspector for his hometown of Fort Worth. While he appreciates the air conditioning, being what he calls a “blue-collar runner” makes him proud, and he still does plumbing jobs for friends on the side.

At the 2016 Rocky Raccoon volunteers and spectators caught sight of a Hispanic guy using a thick stick as a cane, moving slowly into the clearing. He’s obviously struggling—his stride is off, and he’s using the stick only halfway into the race. But he doesn’t stop. Villalobos hobbles back into the woods for his third lap, and, when he emerges again, he goes right on for the fourth.

Volunteers watch with concern and hope. The finish line looks increasingly like a ghost town as people pack up and go home.

In the woods, Villalobos repeatedly thumps the stick beside him like a third leg, occasionally griping to Sal, when no one else is around. He shuffles down the singletrack, over little wooden bridges, through brush and pine needles and endless roots as the sun rises.

“Pine trees and roots, that’s all it is,” Villalobos says. “What happens is you do four laps, and on the last lap all the roots have grown a foot.”

When he exits toward the finish for the last time, he is hunched over his stick, barely taking steps. He looks like he’s aged several years in a single night. In the miles since the last aid station, he’s fallen 20 minutes behind the cut-off time.

But he has “finished.” Racers and volunteers have tears in their eyes as he crosses the line. He doesn’t get an official finish time, but the race organizers give him a finisher’s belt, “because they said I was tough,” Villalobos says.

“When he sets out to do something, he just finishes it,” Villalobos’s running buddy Gerardo (Gerry) Ramirez says. “We’ve been through some races, in snow, like knee-deep snow, races where we’re drenched in mud; we’ve been hailed on, but I’ve learned not to give up because of him.”

(02/02/2019) ⚡AMP
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Use running as a way to release stress and quiet the mind - Michael Anderson on Running File 3

Work and life balance can be stressful, so much to do everyday and it seems like there is never enough time to get it all done. We are pulled in every direction and the feeling is one of being in a washing machine.

I can say I suffer with some form of mental despair, its hard for me to shut off my brain.

I feel therapy can be extremely important and its good to have someone to talk with. My advice is not one or the other (therapy or running) but some of both.

Running is a huge form of meditation and can be a perfect way to shut off the brain and focus solely on the task of one foot in front of the other.

Running can lead you to so much beauty especially when you get out on the trails and see true love. When you use running as a way to release stress and quiet the mind you really will see a difference.

Being a recovering alcoholic. running saved my life. Before I would escape with drinks but now I put in the miles and the results are endless life.  I do have an addictive personality and I am for sure an running addict and proud of it. 

Running reliefs:

Running is the cure for when you feel down on yourself.  How can you not feel good after pounding out a mile run and giving back to yourself.

Running is the cure for when you have had a hard day at the office, you gotta release the clutter and reset and a good run gets that done.

Running is a cure for stresses at home, wife and baby (love them) but they can add stress too, running is giving back to you and solely to you.

Running is a cure for the bad habits, (drinking and smoking) running will drop the weight and is such a natural high, best high I have ever experienced.

Happy, sad, glad or mad, Running is great for all of these emotions:

Happy- damn it will feel great to open it up.

Sad- flush out the tears and shed them on the roads.

Glad- damn glad to be out here today.

Mad- put that negative energy into pounding the roads, hit the high moments and release.

ALL good and run on!  Michael Anderson on Running

(Michael Anderson has been running all his life.  He has run four marathons including Boston, Big Sur, San Francisco and Seattle and has sights on running his first ultra soon.  He has participated in all three Run The World Global Challenges and plans to do Challenge 4 starting March 1.)

(01/29/2019) ⚡AMP
by Michael Anderson
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Jim Walmsley said that he could beat a 2:05 marathoner if they were matched up on a trail race

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

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

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

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

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

(01/26/2019) ⚡AMP
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

Atlanta will host the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon for both men and women, USA Track & Field and the United States Olympic Committee announced Monday. Hosted by Atlanta Track Club as the local organizing committee, the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon will be held Feb. 29, 2020, and will take place in conjunction with the...

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They don't call it HURT for nothing, First Canadian finisher Pargol Lakhan finished top 10 female in 34:02:23

January 19 and 20 marked the 19th year of HURT (Hawaii Ultra Running Team) 100 miler in Oahu, Hawaii. Located in a mountainous tropical rainforest, the course includes five 20-mile (32K) loops with 7,468 metres of elevation gain, and a cutoff of 36 hours. The 99 per cent singletrack consists of 20 stream crossings, exposed ridges, roots, rocks, puddles and mud wallows. Rainfall on race day meant slippery conditions, falls, broken bones, and some DNFs. Seven Canadians started HURT 100, and three finished. First Canadian finisher Pargol Lakhan finished top 10 female in 34:02:23.

HURT 100 is considered one of North America’s toughest 100-milers. Picture a scene from Jurassic Park–except the dinosaurs are muddy and hungry ultrarunners. Canadians Simon Garneau (Que.), Derek Anaquod(Sask.), Karen Johansen (Alta.), Lourdes Gutierrez-Kellam (Alta.), Craig Slagel (B.C.), Lori Herron (B.C.), and Pargol Lakhan (B.C.) toed the line. Due to the weather, injuries, and unanticipated complications, only Gutierrez-Kellam, Anaquod, and Lakhan finished. 

Lakhan traveled from Vancouver, B.C. to Hawaii without a support crew. After a series of serendipitous Facebook conversations, she lucked out with pacers and a crew she had never met. From the 6 a.m. start line through to the finish, Dennis Källerteg and his parents supported Lakhan. In just over 32 hours of racing, these strangers became her friends. Källerteg, a 22-year-old from Sweden, had raced HURT 100 in 2018, but dropped out prior to the 2019 start line. The family ultrarunning vacation became a crewing adventure instead.  

Like most 100-milers, runners risk getting lost, getting injured, falling, feeling nauseous, and anything else Mother Nature throws at them. During the first 32K loop, Lakhan felt strong and was with the top ten women until she went a few kilometers off course. With somewhat fresh legs, she climbed back up the technical trails and found her way. Seeing fellow B.C. ultrarunning family Gary, Linda, and Reed Robbins cheering runners on every loop made Lakhan feel comforted. “It felt like I was running at home.” 

(01/25/2019) ⚡AMP
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Hurt 100 Mile Endurance run

Hurt 100 Mile Endurance run

The Hawaiian Ultra Running Team's Trail 100-Mile Endurance Run, referred to hereafter as the “HURT100”, is a very difficult event designed for the adventurous and well-prepared ultrarunner. It is conducted on trails within the jurisdiction of theState of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR),Division of Forestry and Wildlife,Nā Ala Hele program. Nā Ala Hele has turned traces of...

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Gene Dykes has an insane racing schedule for this year from 5k to 218 milles

Gene Dykes, the 70-year-old from Philadelphia whose marathon world record attempt ended in disappointment when he realized the event he chose (the Jacksonville Marathon in Florida) was not USATF-sanctioned has posted his chosen races for 2019 on his Facebook page–all 34 of them. (His 2:54:23 on a certified course is the fastest ever run by someone 70 plus.)

Dykes is as prolific a racer as 2018 Boston Marathon champion Yuki Kawauchi. Here’s what he has lined up for this year: 34 races, consisting of five marathons (including Boston, Big Sur, New York and Philadelphia), 13 ultras (10 of them on the trails, and including no fewer than four 100-milers and a 24-hour track race), and 16 shorter races.

What does not appear on the schedule is another stab at the record he thought he’d bagged in Jacksonville. Though Dykes told us in December that he was planning another attempt at Ed Whitlock’s M70 record at either the Houston Marathon or the Louisiana Marathon (both are January 20), he has now said that’s off, partly because he’s recovering from a fall at the Wild Azalea 50-miler in Louisiana January 5. 

Gene wrote on his Strava account, "Trail was particularly treacherous this year.  Wet, roots covered in fallen leaves.  I went down hard more than a dozen times.  I banged up my knee pretty badly at the 30 mile mark but I was able to finish off the next 20 miles.

"I couldn't walk that evening or the next day.  Often wondered if I'd ever run again.  It's a week later now, and the swelling has mostly subsided."

He did post on Monday that he is feeling just fine now. He was able to run 8.5 miles January 15 at 7:49/mile pace.  His next race on his schedule is the Chilly Cheeks 11k trail race January 20.

(01/16/2019) ⚡AMP
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My Love Affair with Central Park started 40 years ago tonight - Larry Allen on Running File 5

If you want a useful guide for running in Central Park this isn’t that. There is plenty of concise information available online and all of it will do a far better job telling you exactly how to go for a run in New York City’s favorite 840 acre backyard.

If you want to know about beginning a long term relationship with New York City and running in Central Park, this is my story.

My first run in the park was on December 29, 1978. I was in college on the GI Bill and had taken my slightly unreliable but fun-to-drive MGB from Maine to Florida over Christmas break.

I didn’t want to think about the trip back north. Hitchhiking was still an option in those days if my car gave out but it surely was not what I wanted.

I was already a veteran of two marathons and was ramping up my mileage for the Boston Marathon the following April. I had a glorious couple of weeks of running in the technicolor light and warmth of south Florida and while there even managed to meet Frank Shorter.

I ran twice a day including a couple of two hour runs, went to empty beaches to bask in sunny 60 degree days while bundled up locals looked on, amused and mystified.

All in all it was a great time, went quickly and too soon I was starting the long drive back to Maine.

A couple of uneventful days on the road brought me back to the NJ turnpike two days before New Year Eve. In the fading light of a cold, clear winter afternoon I pulled into a service plaza for gas.

My plan was to continue driving on through the night for the last 500 plus miles vs. spending money I didn’t have for a roadside motel room. A “you are here” map in the foyer of the restroom surprised me with my close proximity to NYC.

The next thing I remember is rummaging through the stuff in my car for an address book with the phone number of a longtime summer friend from Maine who spent the balance of his life on upper west side of New York.

I searched between the seats for change to make a call on a pay phone and was fortunate that my friend even answered. He graciously said I could crash for the night.

I’d never even been into NYC proper and the prospects for the evening were exciting if not a little intimidating.

I finally made it safely down from the high bridge over the Hudson River into the city and found a place to park near Grant’s Tomb on Riverside Drive, a few blocks west of my friend’s apartment not far from Columbia University.

I made the wise choice to schlep all of my stuff to the apartment for fear that the patched convertible top and dodgy locks of my car wouldn’t deter anyone in 1970s NYC, from breaking in looking for anything of value.

I said a quick hello and thank you to my friend on arrival but needed a run before I could eat or do anything else. He understood and gave me directions to Central Park and showed me how to buzz myself back into his high rise building.

Running down Broadway entailed dodging and weaving along hopelessly crowded evening sidewalks, scents from all manner of ethnic food wafting as I made my way through the 20 red lights, one per block, for a mile.

Eventually a left turn, to the east for a few more blocks to enter the park around 100th St at Central Park West.

The park was dark and cold, full of energy but it oddly felt peaceful too. The air was filled with different smells; diesel bus fumes, horse manure, musty fallen leaves, street pretzels, roasted nuts and yes, adrenaline, some of it mine.

Traffic hadn’t been banned from the park drives in the evening yet so it was full of yellow cabs and giant 70s era sedans moving slowly in heavy evening traffic.

I looked around for a landmark, something to remember so I could find my way back out of the park onto the same street in hopes of finding my way back to my friend’s place through what felt like barely contained chaos on the city streets.

I took note of a broken, graffiti covered park bench in this far less than gentrified version of the city. It seemed memorable enough and I guess it was.

Inside the park there was a lane for running. Parallel were two traffic lanes around what I’d been told was a six mile loop circling the park just inside the perimeter.

In spite of the hummock and pot-hole filled streets, particularly in the nearly bankrupt version of the city at the time, I recall the park drives being remarkably smooth pavement.

I turned right, running downtown on the west side.  The rolling hills also seemed more downhill than up too, something I confirmed in years and miles to come.

At first it was a gentle contained pace, working out the stiffness in my legs and back after a day long drive from North Carolina on a bad suspension and the hard seats in my car.

The grade of the rolling hills and gently winding turns in the park seemed worn-in to the landscape. It felt perfect for running, almost carved into the city like the equivalent of glacial wear but from the mass of some number of the eight million city residents using the park day after day.

Making my way down the west side for a mile offered peeks through the leafless trees and scenic overlooks of the lights and architecture of pre war apartment buildings forming what appeared to be a tall, impenetrable wall along the avenue fronting the park.

Periodically there were glimpses further downtown to the iconic skyscrapers in midtown. The Empire State Building and Chrysler Building most familiar amongst a forest of others that seemed just as big if not as well known.

I simply didn’t want to stop running, the pull was almost magnetic, my tempo gradually increasing around the next corner or over the next hill, all just to see what was ahead.

It was all a bit like a party that you didn’t want to leave for fear of missing something good that might happen.

Just before reaching a first opportunity to choose between veering left from the main park drive or continuing straight toward the high rises of midtown; I went by what, in a few years, would be renamed Strawberry Fields.  It was in honor of John Lennon; murdered not far away at the entrance to his building, the Dakota, which overlooks the park here.

The park is a perfect rectangle, slightly off of an exact north to south axis extending from 110th St to 59th St., 2.5 miles on each side and slightly over .75 mile between 5th Avenue on the east side and Central Park West on the other.

Years later I learned that the cutoff (or shortcut) I had seen and gone by at 72nd St and another I hadn’t reached yet at 102nd St made for a seemingly endless variety of options for creating and running multiples of loops of 2, 4, 5 miles and of course the full 6 mile circuit.

The New York Road Runners used the counterclockwise 6+ miles of the full park four times plus the slightly less than two mile loop from the bottom of the park to 72nd St for the 26 miles 385 yards for the 55 finishers of first New York Marathon in 1970.

The marathon still uses the park, but only about half of it for part of the final three miles of the race.

I read somewhere that 20,000 people run in Central Park on an average day. There are days and seasons during the year when that number seems high but other days and times during the year when it is certainly low. I guess that’s what they mean by average.

There are over 30 races in Central Park every year. Most hosted by the New York Road Runners Club and a few by other organizations.

Nearly all have thousands of participants, racing distances ranging from a 1 mile kids race to a 60k ultra marathon. Some with top invited international and American stars, some simply very large competitive local races. Every one a variation in the options for running loops in the park.

I continued running through the park, next past a big open meadow on the left, learning later that it was the 15 acre Sheep’s Meadow.

It has been a historic spot for protests over the past 100 years, up to 30,000 sunbathers on a nice day and 150,000 for a Barbra Streisand concert in the 1960s and yes sheep, from the 1860s until the 1930s.

Adjacent to the finish line of the marathon at Tavern on the Green the meadow also was a post race staging area for a few years.

22 months after my first run in the park I was back here, finishing my first marathon in New York. My last run up the hill to that familiar finish line was 32 years later.

The buildings along the southern edge of the park loom up just a few hundred yards away from the marathon finish. Columbus Circle marks one of the four corners of the park here and is a block from where I lived for 10 years when I finally moved to the city.

Almost every day was a 15 minute walk home from work at MoMA for me, dogs out for a walk and then into the park for an evening run. Sometimes clockwise, up the westside, the opposite direction of my first run.

Often I ran the same counterclockwise direction I was running that night. Across the bottom of the park to the east side, the legendary Plaza Hotel, the Central Park Zoo and the Wollman Skating rink anchoring the corner on that side.

I saw the familiar sign for the Essex House hotel along the way on my first run in the park that night and invariably still take a glance up at it on every run 40 years later.

Turning back north on the east side of the park led me up a gentle hill through dramatic exposed rock outcroppings of Manhattan’s bedrock schist. Apparently something which allowed New York to more easily build foundations for it’s famous skyscrapers over the last century.

I ran past playgrounds, the 100 year old children’s carousel and about a mile beyond Columbus Circle, to the other end of the 72nd St cutoff.

In years ahead it became a familiar corner. Nearby is the start and finish for the New Years Eve 4 mile race in the park, starting at the stroke of midnight with fireworks. 

The corner is also near the start of one of the bigger hills in the park, this one known among local runners as “cat hill”. Midway up the 1/4 mile climb is a sculpture of a life sized and menacing mountain lion, seemingly ready to pounce from a natural stone overhang directly over the runner’s lane.

It was too dark to see the cat that night but is familiar enough now. Cat hill is a popular place for training for some of the dozens of running clubs that meet up and use the park for weekly group training sessions.

A couple of minutes more led me past what I didn’t know at the time was the back of the massive Metropolitan Museum of Art. Around it and closer to 5th Avenue for another half mile brought me near a building I did recognize, Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmark cylindrical Guggenheim Museum.

The nearby entrance to the park would become familiar later as the place where the marathon enters the park for the last 2.5 miles of the race headed back in the direction from which I’d just come.

The summer after my first NY marathon and having entering my 2nd, there was a fundraising appeal in my race confirmation. The NYRR was trying to raise money to purchase a six story Beaux Arts townhouse just opposite the Guggenheim for one million dollars.

They were successful and for 36 years it served as headquarters, clubhouse and place to pick up bibs for their many races. It was listed for sale this past year for 25 million dollars as they apparently need something fancier and/or bigger.

Nearby is a statue of the late, charismatic leader of the NYRR, Fred Lebow. His vision arguably responsible for the explosive growth of urban marathons around the world for decades. His likeness stands looking at a stopwatch, appearing to be silently calling out time splits to runners just inside the park.

The entrance of the 1.5 mile long reservoir running path is there too, named for Jacquelin Kennedy Onassis, a nearby resident for decades, she was known to jog on the scenic cinder path and reportedly was even seen wearing long white formal evening dress gloves on cool days.

At the reservoir it felt like I had run between 5-6 miles, I knew it was six around the park but then maybe 10 minutes more to and from my friends place.

I was moving along briskly, feeling good but thinking I should get back but had reached the point where it made more sense to continue on vs. turning back. Maybe three miles to go.

Just 1/4 mile past the flat straight section along the reservoir the drive started down a hill and turned toward the center of the park from the perimeter. I felt a change. There were fewer street lights, less traffic and not as many people around. It all seemed a bit more ominous.

A half mile further brought me to the 2nd cutoff between the east side and the west. This one at 102nd St. It was very dark, narrow and almost foreboding.

In 1989 this section of the park, down the hill from the reservoir to the 102nd St cutoff became notorious as the site of a series of “wilding” gang assaults on a number of runners and pedestrians over one hour on a frightening night that April. It culminated in the vicious assault and rape of the “Central Park jogger” on the cutoff road I was passing.

Even 11 years prior to that night it felt dangerous. Today most runners and running clubs practice a buddy system when running at night in the park as a result of what happened in 1989.

There is a prominent police presence in this area and thankfully crime in the city and the park has declined precipitously too.

In all of my thousands of miles in the park over the years, many at night, I’ve never personally experienced a threat or even witnessed one and I’m grateful for that.

The almost kaleidoscopic park quickly changes again at the far north end. The park drive quickly snakes through a steep S shaped descent with high bluffs overhead on one side and an open high view of Harlem on the other; the Meer waters and the Conservatory Gardens in the foreground.

The far north end of the park remains the most natural with unspoiled ravines, dramatic rock faces, waterfalls and streams all tucked away.

On runs here I’ve seen families of raccoons crossing the road at night and hawks swoop down for unsuspecting squirrels during the day but nothing of the sort on this particular night.

Midway down the hill brought me past a large skating rink outfitted for youth hockey. I learned later that it does double duty as a community pool in the summer.

Now at the north edge of the park I could see into Harlem. I made the turn, running to the west. Just outside the park were dilapidated tire changing shops, gas stations, boarded up windows, burned out cars and a trash can with a makeshift bonfire offering warmth to a few men huddled around.

Continuing on, anticipating a turn to the south to complete my circuit of the park it quickly became evident that I was going to climb a good hill.

Runners in NY refer to this climb with some dread as THE Harlem Hill, it climbs about 150 ft in half a mile and then just as quickly drops down again. I wasn’t far beyond where it leveled out again and suddenly on my right, there it was!  

The familiar broken, graffiti covered bench that I’d decided to use as part of my trail of bread crumbs when I entered the park.

Not much had changed on the surface. Traffic had lessened somewhat as the evening rush was concluding. The smells were the same but had become permanently imprinted in my brain vs. something new to experience.

I slowed my pace for the few blocks back toward Broadway and a final right turn north for the last mile up toward Columbia.

After less than an hour on foot I felt like I understood New York to some extent....and I liked it. The prospects for the evening seemed exciting enough when I decided to spend the night but I had no idea.

Even before I finished the run one big thing had changed. I knew or at least hoped that I’d spend part of my life in the city. 

My wife, step daughter and I have been fortunate to have lived the last 21 years of our life together in New York and adjacent to Central Park, 10 years on one corner of the park and the last 11 years a few blocks from the far opposite corner. In part, all due to one unforgettable run around Central Park on a cold December night 40 years ago tonight.

(Larry Allen on Running is an exclusive My Best Runs Running News Daily feature.  Additionally Larry is doing the Run The World Challenge for the third time.) 

(12/28/2018) ⚡AMP
by Larry Allen
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Merry Christmas to all our My Best Runs followers from Bob Anderson and staff

We have been up here in Bend Oregon visiting my son and his family since Friday. My son Michael Anderson is our MBR results editor and post results as soon as they become available.  Sometimes it is as soon as the first runners are crossing the finish line. 

Michael (top photo) have carved out many running courses around his house.  We have already run 22.2 miles since Friday and will at least get in six  miles today.  

Last Christmas Michael lived in Eugene and we ran the Pre Trail Christmas morning.  

We have been running on Christmas Day forever.  When Michael lived in the Bay Area I would run with my daughter Lisa and her family and then run with Michael in the afternoon.  

Lisa (second photo) and family lives in San Jose, California.  She is our social media and newsletter editor.  We celebrated Xmas with them before heading up to Oregon.

Both of my kids have run marathons, my wife has run a half marathon and many other races but after operations on both feet can’t run now (Catherine works out at the gym these days) and all my four grandkids run even including my two year old, Bear. Owen age 12 have already run a 5:52 mile.  My son-in-law Justin has run a 1:27 half marathon.

We are a running family and have been forever.  There is no better day than Christmas Day to get outside and get in a few miles.  (Updated: Mike and I got in 7.1 miles through two inches of snow today.)

Two other members of our full time crew are Jaime and Manuel. They work at our La Piedad office.

Our webmaster Waitman Gobble keeps us all working and always is coming up with new features. 

Gary Allen (Marathon Man Gary Allen) and Larry Allen (Larry Allen on Running) have signed on to do regular writing for us sharing their many years of running wisdom and knowledge with us.  I am sure they will be getting out and getting in a few miles today.

Willie Korir is located in Nairobi, Kenya and has been sharing insights into what makes many runners in Kenya superstars.  He has also run and logged 2851 miles for our three Run The World Challenges since July 4. 

Our third Run The World team is not too far off of running and logging enough miles to circle the planet for the third time.  I am so proud of our team. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to everyone.    Be sure to get out today and let’s all make 2019 a super year.  I know this is our plan here at My Best Runs.

(12/25/2018) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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A Journey in the world of extreme ultra running, Challenging The Impossible.

This new movie gets into the minds of the runners, to understand why they would undertake such a huge challenge and follow how they set about preparing for the task. 

The Movie Breaking 60 was shot over a period of five months in the build up to and during the challenge days, the film explores the world of extreme ultra running.

In January 2017, 22 determined runners embraced the challenge of a single self supported effort over Hong Hong's grueling four ultra trails. 

The movie Breaking 60 is the story of that challenge.

This movie has recieved raved reviews such as, “Finishing under 60 hours is more about the mind, more about stubbornness... just dealing with the pain,” wrote Scottie Callaghan.

(12/23/2018) ⚡AMP
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Aaron Saft has created a 24-hour race on New Year´s Eve at North River Farms

A new race has been created in Mills River that allows runners to literally run into the new year — provided they are willing to run for six, 12 or 24 hours straight.

On New Year’s Eve, around 50 runners will descend on a 1.5-mile dirt loop track around North River Farms.  Starting at 12 a.m. Dec. 31, competitors will run around the loop, trying to complete as much distance as they can before the new year.

Aaron Saft, a veteran trail and ultramarathon runner and Mills River resident, thought it would be a good way to ring in the new year. Saft is a race director, the owner of Root RX running store in South Asheville and president and founder of the Run 828 Foundation — a nonprofit supporting healthy, active and outdoor lifestyles in Western North Carolina.

Four events will take place on the same loop: a 24-hour solo run and relay, a 12-hour solo run starting at noon and a six-hour solo run starting at 6 p.m. All races will finish at midnight Jan. 1, with the award ceremony taking place at 12:15 a.m.

“It allows people to accomplish whatever goal they have in mind,” said Saft. “Get a new distance record, try to go farther than they ever have before. So it’s really individualized.”

Saft said most runners shoot for 100 miles in 24 hours. All runners who complete 100 miles will receive a custom race logo buckle.

There’s very little sleep involved. Some will stop and grab food periodically and take a walk break, but others will run the entire time.

“You can walk the whole way if you want to,” said Saft. “It’s really up to the individual.”

(12/21/2018) ⚡AMP
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Sarah Reinertsen has been the only amputee to have completed the World Marathon Challenge

For a long time, people with disabilities were defined by what they couldn't do -- Sarah Reinertsen is choosing to be defined by what she can do as an amputee.

She's not just breaking down barriers, she's blazing a trail for all who come after her.

"Growing up, I knew I was different, right, and I was OK with being different but I was not OK with being told I couldn't do something," Reinertsen said.

"I was born with a tissue disease that meant that my thigh bone stopped growing, so although I had two legs, my left leg was extremely shorter than my right leg."

Reinertsen and her family decided to amputate her leg when she was just seven years old. "That was a really hard time for me," she said.

From age 7 to 11, Reinertsen struggled to make peace with her new reality.  "I was the only kid in my entire school that had a physical disability that you could see," she said.

"I had coaches that wouldn't let me play with the other kids on the main field. They would make me go kick a soccer ball on the side of the wall by myself and so for many years of my childhood I used to believe that narrative. I used to believe that I wasn't good enough."

That all changed when she went to one of her dad's 10k races -- like she did most weekends. But this race changed her life.

"There was a woman in the race who was an amputee and she was doing the 10k and I just thought, I had never seen another amputee on one of these road races with my dad and so I just thought 'wow, if she can run in this six mile race, maybe I could run and do a six mile race,'" Reinertsen said.

She's been running ever since. She learned the ins and outs of prosthetics and backed by Nike and Ossur Prosthetics, Reinertsen ran one race after another. But that was just the beginning.

"I knew this guy named Jim McClaren who had done an Iron Man on a prosthetic leg and I was like 'Jim that's so cool that you did an Ironman, I want to do an Iron Man just like you' and he said 'well I don't know of a girl on a prosthetic that can do it' and I was just like 'are you kidding, you do know a girl because you're looking at her, I'm going to do the Iron Man,'" Reinertsen said.

She not only did the Iron Man, she qualified for the world championship in Kona, Hawaii. She was one of only 10 in the physically challenged division and the only woman.

"I just believed that I could do it," she said. That belief has knocked down barriers all over the world.

She's also the only amputee to have completed the World Marathon Challenge.  That is running seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

"It's sort of like a long race with sort of like naps in between," she said.

When she's not taking the athletic world by storm herself, Reinertsen is working with Nike's Innovation Kitchen, designing sportswear that gives independence to anyone who wants it, regardless of the physical challenges they may face.

(12/20/2018) ⚡AMP
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Vlad Ixel traded his alcohol and cigarette addiction for an addiction to trail running

Vlad Ixel decided trail running was a healthier addiction than cigarettes and alcohol. 

Ixel, who came second in the North Face 50 behind Chinese phenomenon Yan Longfei on Saturday, decided to quit alcohol, cigarettes and meat two days before his 25th birthday. Later that week, he decided to run his first-ever marathon.

“When I was 24, the only running I would ever do was to the liquor store before it closed to make sure I had enough bottles,” said the 31-year-old Ukrainian, who has been based in Hong Kong for the past four years. “I couldn’t sleep without my six beers.”

”The high I got from crossing the finish line was far greater than anything I felt on a night out with drugs or alcohol, and with my addictive personality it just began to snowball. Since then, I’ve literally never stopped running,” Ixel said.

He’s not exaggerating. Ixel quickly became one of Hong Kong’s most active elite runners. He is sponsored by North Face and runs roughly 30-35 ultra-marathons a year.

In addition, Ixel has quickly developed a strong presence as an online running coach and motivator, having accrued over 20,000 Instagram followers.

Ixel moved to Hong Kong from Perth, Australia for his running career.

“When I was living in Perth there was maybe only two or three races a year. So when I started racing in Asia I met some friends who told me I should come down to Hong Kong for race season. I ran the 2013 Northface 100 and I thought ‘Wow this place is awesome, this is where I need to be.’

(12/17/2018) ⚡AMP
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He hopes to be the only man on earth to run a sub three hour marathon in six consecutive decades - Marathon Man Gary Allen introduction

Gary Allen is going to sharing his thoughts and knowledge here in MBR’s Running News Daily under the banner “Marathon Man Gary Allen.”

In his first column I sent him some questions so we all could get a flavor of what makes this incredibly creative and talented man tick.  I know I am looking forward to his writings here and I hope you are too!

So Gary, how did you discover running?

”I wanted to be a hockey player,” wrote Gary “but there weren’t enough kids on the small Maine Island I am from for a team. Then in 1972 I saw a skinny guy named Frank Shorter run into a stadium in Munich and I was like cool, you can win a gold medal just for running.”

How important is running to you?

“I have been involved with running for my entire life so assigning importance to who and what I am is like trying to describe how big the universe is to an ant. It is impossible for me to adequately portray how all encompassing running is to me as a part of my life,” says Gary. 

Does being an accomplished runner help you put on first class events?

“Absolutely! The races I direct are direct reflections of what and how I expect races to be run. I would never ask anyone to do something I haven’t done so I merely apply my expectations and my creativity to every race I help to organize.”

What one race you have run stands out as number one?

“Ahhhhh I can’t narrow it down to one race. However, Boston is always high on every list. I have one more to run to make a quarter century of unicorn chasing. The Burning Man ultra (photo) is a race I love beyond words. It helped change my thinking about how races run.

“A combination of an other worldly environment and no entry fee helped to expand my thinking. NYC (19 finishes) is where I was inspired to become a race director after watching Fred Lebow in action in 1980. It is reality true, if you can make it there you can make it anywhere! 

Tell us about your coaching?

“I have coached at the HS level and coached many individuals over the years but my current team is at Mount Desert Elementary School where I have been the XC coach for the past 12 years.

“My philosophy is pretty simple, make running fun and kids will want to run more and the more they run the better they get at running which is of course even more fun for them!

“One of of our key workouts is called, zombie tag. We run in the surrounding Maine woods and trails and I assign a few zombies and the rest of the team tries to run away and not get caught. 

“I also love to hide pizzas in the woods and have the kids run around and find them! Apparently my methods work cause in the past decade plus we have won almost every meet we’ve run!”

What are your personal goals as a runner?

“As a race director: I want to leave our sport better than I found it.

”As a coach: I want to inspire the next generations of runners to think about running for their entire lives. Rather they run or not matters little, but I want them to always remember and to love running knowing some will go on and be involved in our sport as competitors, coaches or even as race directors.

”As a competitor: I have accomplished pretty much every goal I’ve set for myself. Of late I struggle some with the naturally selfish nature of being a long distance runner.

“The single dimensional, ‘I’m training for,’ ‘Look at me’ has become less and less appealing to me over the years.

“As you know one of my proudest achievements is joining the five decades Sub 3 hour marathon club. At this point nobody on earth has run a sub 3 hr marathon in six consecutive decades so maybe it’ll give it a shot in 2020!

“Incidentally Joan Benoit Samuelson is the only other Mainer on the list and the only woman who has done this and I wouldn’t count out Joanie to run a sub 3 for her 6th decade.

Can you give us some background info?

“For Work: Lobsterman, Boat Builder, Carpenter, Yacht captain, Farmer, Auctioneer, Coach, Inspirational speaker.”

”Some Personal Records: Marathon 2:39:10, Half Marathon 1:13:20, 50 miles 6:21.

”My family settled on Great Cranberry Island in the 1670s.  I am 12th generation. It’s a small offshore Island off the coast of Maine. It’s probably the most unlikely place to become a runner as the main road is only two miles long. I built my own house by hand from trees growing on my land. I dug my well with a shovel figuring they used to do it that way so why couldn’t I?”

(12/16/2018) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Chinese runner Yan Longfei is having great success from the marathon and beyond

China’s Yan Longfei broke yet another Hong Kong course record at the North Face 50 with a time of four hours, 45 minutes and five seconds, shattering the previous record by more than 40 minutes at Tai Mei Tuk.

It was the third Hong Kong trail running record broken in less than two months for Yan, who smashed the Lantau 70 record back in late October and did the same in the TransNT back in November. And once again, he did so “without running seriously.”

“Yan Longfei is ridiculous, he’s just a phenomenal athlete,” said the North Face-sponsored Vlad Ixel, who finished second with an impressive time of 5:26:55. “I knew that I was racing for second place from the beginning.”

It was the first time running the North Face 50 trail for Yan, who said he enjoyed taking in the scenery and saying hello to hikers.

“I just treat these races as practice,” explained Yan, who elected to run the 50 instead of the 100 because he is running the Shenzhen International Marathon on Sunday. “Hong Kong’s trails are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I had done the Lantau and Hong Kong trails before but it was my first time doing this course. I really enjoyed it.”

(12/15/2018) ⚡AMP
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Olympic steeplechaser Donn Cabral is going to make a Surprise Marathon Debut In Honolulu tomorrow

Through the mud and over the hills, Donn Cabral pressed forward along the trail at Reservoir #6 in West Hartford, Conn. The Olympic steeplechaser was in the middle of a workout that consisted of 22 miles with 18-19 of them at 5:20 pace, a monumental training session for a marathon runner. While most track athletes wouldn't even think of attempting such a challenging run, Cabral felt like he was home. "It just felt great. I wasn't able to get into a rhythm because of the course, but I just knew that I was so strong and my body was working the way it was supposed to. This is the way running is supposed to feel," Cabral told Race Results Weekly over the phone on Thursday. He went on to complete the early November workout with 19 miles run at 5:15 pace which, if maintained for 26.2 miles, would equate to a 2:17 marathon. The workout is one of many that have given Cabral confidence heading into his surprising marathon debut at the Honolulu Marathon here on Sunday. At this point in the 28-year-old's career, he has accomplished a great deal in the steeplechase: two eighth-place finishes at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, two NCAA titles, and a 10th-place finish at the 2015 IAAF World Championships. While Cabral still feels that he has unfinished business in his primary event, the decision to run a marathon now came as a result of listening to his body and the training that he responds to. "A big reason that I wanted to run a marathon was that I think it's the best way for me to run my best steeplechase," Cabral said. "I look back at my training in 2015, the year that I ran my 8:13 personal best, and I think it was a week before the USA prelims, I did a hard 10-mile run at 5:15 pace in really humid weather and I ran 90 miles two weeks before. Nothing about that is crazy, it just shows that I do run well with that type of work."  (12/08/2018) ⚡AMP
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Courtney Dauwalter is one tough Ultra runner and wins many that she enters

Courtney Dauwalter specializes in ultras.  But her success in winning them has opened a debate about how men’s innate strength advantages apply to endurance sports.

At 1:40 in the morning, running through the woods near Lake Tahoe, Courtney Dauwalter began hallucinating. She saw live puppets playing on a swing set on the side of the trail. Trees and rocks turned into faces.

She was on her second night without sleep, 165 miles into a 205-mile race through the mountains, pushing her body to levels considered physically impossible not long ago, and seeing very strange things in the night. Dauwalter had been on her feet for almost 40 hours and was leading the field of 215 runners as she set her sights on a course record for September’s Tahoe 200, one in a series ultramarathons.  

Their hero is Dauwalter, a 33-year-old with a reputation for outrunning men and shattering course records. She has won 11 ultramarathons and finished second in seven other endurance races.

This weekend, she will try to break the women’s world record for the most miles run in 24 hour track run, at the Desert Solstice competition in Phoenix. She will have to run more than 161.55 miles to do so. She already holds the American women’s record, 159.32 miles.

This fall, she ran 279.2 miles in what’s known as Big’s Backyard Ultra, a grueling race of attrition during which runners have to complete a 4.16667-mile loop each hour. If they want to put their feet up, eat, go to the bathroom or close their eyes for a few minutes, they have to earn the time by running faster.

The last person standing wins. After tracking Dauwalter for two days in Tahoe, Kyle Curtin passed her at Mile 182. Forty-nine hours 54 minutes after starting the Tahoe 200, Dauwalter crossed the finish line in second, twenty-seven minutes behind Curtin.

The two set a new course record by almost 10 hours. “Courtney was definitely the person to beat,” Curtin said. 

(12/07/2018) ⚡AMP
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Vibram Hong Kong 100 was elevated to Series in the Ultra-Trail® World Tour

Vibram® Hong Kong 100 is delighted to announce its elevation to “Series” level in the Ultra Trail® World Tour (UTWT). This confirms Vibram® Hong Kong 100’s place among the eight most prestigious trail races in the world and as the only Series event in Asia. This further increases the race’s allure to athletes competing for top rankings in the UTWT, the world’s premier trail racing series. The 9th edition of the Vibram® Hong Kong 100 will be held on 19 and 20 January 2019. The race was first held in 2011 and has quickly become one of the most popular events in the global trail running calendar, attracting over 7,000 applicants from 60 countries for just 1,800 places. Hong Kong hosted the UTWT 2017 awards ceremony in January this year, the first time the celebration has ever been held outside Europe. Janet Ng, the Vibram® Hong Kong 100 Race Director, said the race’s elevation was “a tribute to the Hong Kong trail running community, which provides incredible support for the race, along with roughly 1,000 volunteers, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, St. John Ambulance, the Emergency Services, the sponsors and the Hong Kong Tourism Board. It’s great to see all this hard work and enthusiasm acknowledged, and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone to the festivities here in Hong Kong in January”. (12/06/2018) ⚡AMP
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