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Articles tagged #Trail
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Regan Yee runs Olympic standard in 5,000m time trial

Regan Yee, 24, shattered her 5,000m personal best in a time trial on Saturday, running under the Olympic standard of 15:10 to finish in 15:08. The Vancouver native says she is really happy with her spring training block and even happier with Saturday’s run. Even though her time won’t count for qualification (the window doesn’t open until December 1, 2020) it’s a huge confidence boost. It wasn’t only Yee who ran well, her three teammates Sarah Inglis, Natasha Wodak and Natalia Hawthorn also had great runs, with Inglis and Hawthorn running huge personal bests as well.

Yee says the group ran a successful 3K time trail two weeks ago. “John Gay [2019 World Championships competitor] paced us. Both Sarah and I ran under nine minutes and it felt hard but manageable. After that, we knew we could run a good 5K.”

Yee says Saturday was perfectly paced and actually felt really smooth. While road runners can race in co-ed events and have their results count for qualification for any Canadian team, on the track, a co-ed race isn’t considered valid. Yee says having a male pacer is a luxury. “Caleb de Jong [their pacer] was great, and pacing was easy for him. It’s basically his tempo pace. He was really calm and encouraging, which rubbed off on me I think. There’s something nice about the person pacing you running at a comfortable clip. It makes the pace feel more comfortable for you as well.”

But Yee didn’t have just one pacer, she also had teammate Alicia Butterworth with her for 3K, Inglis next to her who finished in 15:15 and her coach Mark Bomba on a bicycle. “It was a super controlled environment. In that way, it felt way easier than a race. I put at lot of pressure on myself in a race setting, but there was way less stress on Saturday. I could just shut my mind off and run. We wanted to run 73-second laps, and that’s exactly what we did.”

Throughout July, Yee says she wants to run a little bit of everything. “I think we’ll do a 1,500m, a 2K steeplechase, maybe even throw an 800m in there for fun. I don’t really have a lot of speed in my legs right now, but I like to run an annual 800m. I don’t even know what my PB is, but hopefully I can run a 2:05. I haven’t run anything faster than 66 seconds in a 400m, but I think I can do it.” Yee will take August as a rest month before she gears up for her 2021 season and (hopefully) qualification for her first Olympic team.

Saturday’s Time Trial results

Regan Yee – 15:08, Sarah Inglis – 15:15, Natalia Hawthorn – 15:30, Natasha Wodak – 15:31

(07/05/2020) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Professional ultramarathoner Michael Wardian is running length of Delaware

With most major races wiped off the calendar, professional ultramarathon runner Michael Wardian was asked to run 96 miles — the length of Delaware — over the course of a month as part of a virtual charity event.

"I was like, 'It's 96 miles, I'll just do it in one day,'" Wardian said.

So around 1 p.m. on Thursday, Wardian started a run on Concord Pike at the Delaware and Pennsylvania border that will finish on Fenwick Island. He is being accompanied by Nick Cruz, a Milford resident, who after hearing about the attempt decided to try it himself.

The route they will take is roughly 130 miles, substantially longer than Delaware's end-to-end length of 96 miles. By zig-zagging through the state, Wardian and his crew lead Phil Hargis hope to avoid as many dangerous stretches of highway as possible.

From North Wilmington, they'll cross through the city to get on the Jack Markell trail, eventually passing through Delaware City before running a portion of the Mike Castle trail along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. From there, the planned route wraps around Middletown and cuts through the center of Dover before ending with a long stretch on Coastal Highway through the beach towns.

Wardian expects the run to take between 24 and 30 hours.

"I just think it's a cool route," Wardian said. "It's not as straight as you can go because I wanted to finish at the beach, because I just thought it would be cooler than finishing in like Selbyville."

In a typical year, Wardian travels from his Arlington, Virginia, home around the globe, competing for the shoe company Hoka One One in ultramarathons – races beyond 26.2 miles. By day, he is an international ship broker.

With his racing calendar clear because of the coronavirus, Wardian has turned his attention to virtual races and FKT attempts – fastest known times across certain routes.

In April, Wardian ran 262.5 miles over 2.5 days to win a virual event called the Quarantine Backyard Ultra. He's already competed about 30 times this year and has dozens of first place finishes and world records on his career resume.

It's unclear exactly what the standard is for the fastest time across Delaware. When Wardian posted about his Delaware run on Instagram, someone replied that a runner named Scott Newcomer ran the length of the state recently in 34 hours.

Fastestknowntime.com, which is the closest thing to an official record, doesn't yet list an end-to-end Delaware run.

Wardian is a frequent visitor to the Delaware beaches with his wife, Jennifer, and sons, Pierce and Grant, and expects to close on a property in Rehoboth Beach in August. He said the run will be a "very cool introduction" to the state.

"I really love the running community of Delaware too," Wardian said. "It's not often someone is like, 'Yeah, I'm willing to run 130 miles.'"

(07/04/2020) ⚡AMP
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The 2020 Badwater 135 will not be held due to the pandemic

"The World’s Toughest Foot Race has been cancelled for 2020.  This was going to be the first race featured by My Best Runs to happen since the LA Marathon, held March 8, but Badwater 135 organizers just could not get things worked out," says MBR Director Bob Anderson.  

Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA, the Badwater® 135 is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. The start line is at Badwater Basin, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level.

The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m), which is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. The Badwater 135 course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent.

Competitors travel through places or landmarks with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, Devil’s Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, Darwin, Keeler, Lone Pine, Alabama Hills, and the Sierra Nevada.

The 43rd edition will NOT take place Monday-Wednesday, July 6-8, 2020.

(06/28/2020) ⚡AMP
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Badwater 135

Badwater 135

We could not make this happen in 2020 and we have been forced to cancel our event for this year. Recognized globally as "the world’s toughest foot race," this legendary event pits up to 90 of the world’s toughest athletes runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers against one another and the elements. Badwater 135 is the most demanding and...

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The World’s Toughest Foot Race is on and going to be the first race covered by MBR since March 8. The 43rd annual event is set for July 6-8

The last race MBR posted results for was the LA Marathon March 8.  Since then every race we cover, and we only cover the best, most unique and interesting races in world have either been cancelled or postponed.  We are talking about races like the Boston Marathon, Big Sur and the Berlin Marathon only to name three.  

The big question has been, what race is going to be the first?  it appears it is going to be an ultra race.  A race celebrating 43 years.  The Badwater 135.  No races for four months.  

Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA, the Badwater® 135 is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet.

The start line is at Badwater Basin, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m), which is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. The Badwater 135 course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent.

Competitors travel through places or landmarks with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, Devil’s Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, Darwin, Keeler, Lone Pine, Alabama Hills, and the Sierra Nevada.

The 43rd edition will take place Monday-Wednesday, July 6-8, 2020.

(06/18/2020) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Badwater 135

Badwater 135

We could not make this happen in 2020 and we have been forced to cancel our event for this year. Recognized globally as "the world’s toughest foot race," this legendary event pits up to 90 of the world’s toughest athletes runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers against one another and the elements. Badwater 135 is the most demanding and...

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Ultrarunner sets world record, completes 64 marathons in 64 days and counting

Alyssa Amos Clark is an ultrarunner originally from Bennington, Vt., who ran 64 marathons in 64 days as of Tuesday. She has moved around a lot, and she recently returned to the U.S. from just outside of Naples, Italy, where she and her husband had been living for the past two years. As an ultrarunner under a strict Italian quarantine, Clark came up with the idea of running a marathon on her treadmill everyday until she could run outside again. She enjoyed the ride so much that she has stuck with it well beyond the isolation period.

“In Italy we were under a very strict lockdown. We couldn’t run or walk outside without our papers with us.” She came up with the idea on March 29 and started running March 31. Until the beginning of May, every run was done on a treadmill.

Currently residing in Panama City Beach, Florida, Clark is hoping to complete 75 marathons in 75 days, well beyond the women’s world record which was previously set at 60 marathons in 60 days (the men’s record is unofficially 607, but Clark isn’t ready to commit to overtaking that mark). While Clark may continue beyond 75, she says the cumulative fatigue is building up.

“This started out being really fun, and it’s getting less fun now,” she jokes.

After she finishes her marathon streak, she’ll start training for the Moab 240, which is set to take place this October in Utah.

“I’m really looking forward to that right now,” she says. “I want to make sure I’m healthy and fit so I can have a good build.”

She’s averaging around four hours per marathon right now, but sometimes it’s a little quicker if she feels good and a little longer if the weather isn’t great. While this isn’t exactly trail running, Clark says she feels like the mental fortitude she’s gained from this experience will be invaluable when she can race on the trails again.

“The mental toughness component is huge,” she says. “This will be a great jumping off point for me fitness-wise, but I’m really excited to get back on the trails again. I’m looking forward to resuming running in the mountains.”

(06/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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The organizers of Sanlam Cape Town Marathon are adding a virtual version to its existing range of events

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race organizers are adding a virtual version of the iconic city marathon to its existing range of events.

It is still too early to predict whether the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon will be staged in its original format on 18 October. The race organizers remain in close contact with Athletics South Africa and all relevant role players as the months progress.

The virtual race will offer an interactive and immersive race experience for runners by superimposing the race route on top of streets, open spaces and gardens, complete with live tracking, distance markers, and push messages with information about key landmarks as they are passed.

The creation of this virtual race will allow athletes to compete in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on 18 October from anywhere in the world, starting between 06.00–10.00 local time, wherever they are.

The race will be available through the Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon app, an integrated digital platform that will launch soon.

The app will track participants as if they are running the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon route no matter where they are in the world – making this a virtual race like no other.

While the 5km and 10km Peace Runs will also be presented in Virtual Race format on 17 and 18 October respectively, there will not be a Virtual Race option for the 2020 Trail Runs.

Entries for the Virtual Race have opened via Webtickets. Athletes who have already entered the 2020 race will be able to transfer to the Virtual Race. Entrants will receive an official race number, and all finishers will receive a digital medal and certificate.

(06/13/2020) ⚡AMP
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Cape Town Marathon

Cape Town Marathon

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

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The 2021 HURT 100 is Cancelled

The Board of Directors of HURT, Inc has made the difficult decision to cancel the HURT 100, originally scheduled for January 16-17, 2021. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made this decision necessary.

For our potential runners, the continuing worldwide travel restrictions, State of Hawaii quarantine, and airline and accommodation uncertainties have made planning a trip to our islands difficult and worrisome.

For our HURT team, not knowing future state guidelines for holding an event like ours makes planning extremely difficult and potentially impossible. Above all, we want to ensure the safety of our runners, families, and volunteers.Though we will miss you all this January, we look forward to welcoming you to the HURT 100 on January 15-16, 2022.For our local Hawaii runners, we are looking at options for holding additional Trail Series races in January and February.

(06/06/2020) ⚡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 ultra runner....

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Winny Kosgey targets to run the Ottawa Marathon’s 10k virtual run on June 2

On Sunday, a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule docked with the International Space Station, the first time a crewed US spacecraft has performed the feat in nearly a decade.

The "Soft capture," the moment when the spacecraft makes first contact and starts latching with the target vehicle, occurred at 10:16 am Eastern Time (5.16pm Kenyan time).

Carrying two NASA astronauts, Bob Behnkhen and Doug Hurley, the mission marked a huge milestone in space travel.

Back on earth, and right here in the North Rift, man will celebrate another major milestone, this time in sport, not space travel.

Under normal circumstances, Winny Kosgey, an upcoming distance runner, would have been in Ottawa, Canada, for a 10-kilometre run.

But with the coronavirus having disrupted global sports programmes and airline travel, Kosgey was among scores of sportspeople who couldn’t travel to their destinations of competition.

However, she will still run the Ottawa 10km race, and has the possibility of bagging prize money.

Thanks to technology, organisers of the race have elected to have it run, virtually.

With virtual competitions slowly becoming the enforced vogue, Kosgey will most certainly break new ground for Kenyan sport when she competes on Tuesday.

Virtual running seems to be the way forward now for athletes as they wait for the virus to be contained.

Last weekend’s cancellation of the Boston Marathon, the first time it its 124-year history, drove further affinity to virtual running.

Her quick thinking directed her to the internet where she managed to register for the reorganised race, and she has been preparing for the last few weeks.

The virtual race requires an athlete to compete alone at his or her own pace, adhering to social distancing regulations provided by the government and Ministry of Health.

She said she has been promoting social distancing in sport, and, at the same time, competing to raise money for charity for a children’s hospital in Canada.

She will be running alone, with her husband a freelancer journalist Justin Lagat, and her daughter, Berylynn Jerotich, monitoring her progress from a trailing car.

“The race is to promote social distancing and it’s only my family who will be able to see me running.

“I don’t expect anybody to cheer me while running,” said Kosgey, who names world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei as her mentor.

(06/01/2020) ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Ottawa 10K

Ottawa 10K

Ottawa's course is fast, scenic and few elevation changes. Considered to be an excellent course for first timers and should provide an environment conducive to setting a PR. The Ottawa 10K is the only IAAF Gold Label 10K event in Canada and one of only four IAAF Gold Label 10Ks in the world. The Ottawa 10K attracts one of the...

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2019 champion is running UTMB anyway

Spanish ultrarunner Pau Capell says he plans on running the 171K UTMB Mont-Blanc route even though the race is cancelled

On May 20, race organizers for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc announced that the 2020 edition was officially cancelled. The UTMB features seven events (all of which start in Chamonix every August), the most famous being the gruelling 171K ultra that takes runners through the Alps in France, Italy and Switzerland. Runners around the world were of course disappointed when the race was called off, no matter how inevitable that cancellation seemed to be. The men’s champion from 2019, Pau Capell of Spain, isn’t accepting the cancellation, and he has announced that he will be running the route on his own in late August.

Capell made this announcement soon after the UTMB was officially cancelled (just two days later), posting on Twitter and Instagram to say, “I will run UTMB! Alone, without a bib and with my support team.” He also posted that he plans to start the run at 6 p.m. on August 28, four days after the event was set to officially start.

There are many issues that could arise and ruin Capell’s plan, including potential travel restrictions and further lockdowns in his home country of Spain or in France. Both countries were under strict lockdowns for the past two months, and restrictions have only recently been loosened in each country. Many public health officials around the world have forecast a second wave of the coronavirus, so by August, Spain, France and the rest of the world could be back in lockdown, which would stop Capell from going.

There’s also the moral question of whether it’s OK to go and do this race when it’s been cancelled. UTMB organizers called the race off because it was the best way to keep everyone safe, and although Capell running on his own with a small support crew is much different than thousands of runners coming to race the UTMB events, it’s still a questionable decision.

Capell is an experienced ultrarunner, and he will undoubtedly come well prepared with enough supplies and a good crew, but there’s the possibility that people will follow in his footsteps and take on the UTMB solo as well. If this happens, it’s very possible that other runners won’t be as well prepared as Capell, and that could create issues for themselves and other runners around them.

If Capell is able to go through with his solo run, it will be interesting to see how it goes. When he won the race in 2019, he covered the 171K course in 20:19:07. It’s hard to imagine that he could beat that time without the adrenaline shot delivered from a real race with cheering spectators and other competitors, but we’ll just have to wait and see what type of run he can produce if the time comes.

(05/31/2020) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Spanish ultrarunner Pau Capell says he plans on running the 171K UTMB Mont-Blanc route even though the race is cancelled

On May 20, race organizers for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc announced that the 2020 edition was officially cancelled. The UTMB features seven events (all of which start in Chamonix every August), the most famous being the gruelling 171K ultra that takes runners through the Alps in France, Italy and Switzerland.

Runners around the world were of course disappointed when the race was called off, no matter how inevitable that cancellation seemed to be. The men’s champion from 2019, Pau Capell of Spain, isn’t accepting the cancellation, and he has announced that he will be running the route on his own in late August.

Capell made this announcement soon after the UTMB was officially cancelled (just two days later), posting on Twitter and Instagram to say, “I will run UTMB! Alone, without a bib and with my support team.” He also posted that he plans to start the run at 6 p.m. on August 28, four days after the event was set to officially start.

There are many issues that could arise and ruin Capell’s plan, including potential travel restrictions and further lockdowns in his home country of Spain or in France. Both countries were under strict lockdowns for the past two months, and restrictions have only recently been loosened in each country.

Many public health officials around the world have forecast a second wave of the coronavirus, so by August, Spain, France and the rest of the world could be back in lockdown, which would stop Capell from going.

There’s also the moral question of whether it’s OK to go and do this race when it’s been cancelled. UTMB organizers called the race off because it was the best way to keep everyone safe, and although Capell running on his own with a small support crew is much different than thousands of runners coming to race the UTMB events, it’s still a questionable decision.

Capell is an experienced ultrarunner, and he will undoubtedly come well prepared with enough supplies and a good crew, but there’s the possibility that people will follow in his footsteps and take on the UTMB solo as well. If this happens, it’s very possible that other runners won’t be as well prepared as Capell, and that could create issues for themselves and other runners around them.

If Capell is able to go through with his solo run, it will be interesting to see how it goes. When he won the race in 2019, he covered the 171K course in 20:19:07. It’s hard to imagine that he could beat that time without the adrenaline shot delivered from a real race with cheering spectators and other competitors, but we’ll just have to wait and see what type of run he can produce if the time comes.

(05/26/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

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

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The 2020 edition of the UTMB might be cancelled, but now you can look back and enjoy the 2019 race coverage for free

This week, the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc was officially cancelled for 2020, and as a result, race organizers are releasing the 2019 event footage to runners and fans for free. This would have been the eighteenth edition of the trail race, but athletes will have to wait until 2021 to race through France, Italy and Switzerland again.

Luckily, fans of the event can rewatch last year’s run, and although it’s not as good as the 2020 race going ahead as planned, it’s still some good news in these hard times. The race footage can be viewed at the Endurance Sports TV website.

The UTMB is an event with seven different races, all of which take place in Chamonix, France, each August. The biggest of these events is the 171K UTMB Mont-Blanc race, which takes runners through the the Alps in France, Italy and Switzerland. Runners also have to climb more than 10,000m over the 100-mile event, which is higher than Mount Everest.

It is an epic race and challenge, and each year thousands of runners travel to France to see how they fare in one of the seven races (although a third of the UTMB Mont-Blanc runners don’t make it to the finish line). If you’ve never watched this event, you’ll definitely want to check it out.

“The UTMB is a huge event to be cancelled this year, yet we don’t want fans to miss out, and have therefore opened up all of last year’s content for free,” said co-founder of Endurance Sports TV Paul Shanley. “We hope that this will give runners the next best thing to look back on all of the action from 2019.”

The 2019 edition of the UTMB saw thrilling results, including American Courtney Dauwalter‘s win in 24 hours, 34 minutes and 26 seconds. This was Dauwalter’s first try at the UTMB, and she nailed it, beating the second-place female, Kristin Berglund of Sweden, by almost exactly an hour. Dauwalter finished in 21st place overall, and she was the second American finisher, crossing the line just seven minutes after fellow American Jason Schlarb.

Rewatching this event, or watching it for the first time, is a great way to get motivated for your own training. It can be tough to find inspiration to train right now during COVID-19 with no races to work toward, but watching UTMB 2019 will certainly give you the boost you need to get back into action.

(05/25/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

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

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Hardrock 100 canceled for second time in as many years

Avalanche debris in 2019, COVID-19 in 2020 wipe out famed ultra-marathon

The Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run can’t catch a break.

After unveiling a loaded field of U.S. and international runners selected through the lottery in December 2018, the Hardrock 100 ultra-marathon that starts and finishes in Silverton was canceled in 2019 after a winter of heavy snow left avalanche debris and dangerous high water along its 100.5-mile loop through the heart of the southern San Juan Mountains.

A year later with the same field of registered runners as 2019 set to compete, the Hardrock 100 board of directors once again had to cancel one of the world’s most iconic mountain ultra-marathons. This time, it is because of the global COVID-19 pandemic with public health orders in place prohibiting large gatherings such as the Hardrock, which has a field of 145 runners. Though it is a small field of athletes, hundreds more are involved in the form of pacers, crew members, media and run volunteers.

The Hardrock 100 continued to delay its decision until Saturday while similar events in the U.S., such as the Western States Endurance Run in California, canceled much earlier. Western States 100 made its decision March 27.

“This is a tough decision,” said Hardrock 100 director and co-founder Dale Garland in a phone interview with The Durango Herald. “I hated making it. It is not one where just sat down one day and decided to pull the plug. We realize we have an impact on the sport and the economics of the area, and it’s something done with a lot of consideration. I’m really sad, and I have heartache about it.”

The latest Hardrock 100 cancellation is another blow to Silverton, which suffered economically from the affects of less tourism because of the 416 Fire near Durango in 2018. Already in 2020, Silverton has seen the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, which brings more than 3,000 people to Silverton on Memorial Day weekend, canceled because of COVID-19. Many businesses in Silverton remain closed with only essential visitors allowed into the small mountain town of fewer than 700 residents. In 2019, DeAnna Gallegos, the director of the Silverton Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Hardrock 100 helped deliver $1 million to the local economy.

Past experience pays off

The cancellation is the fourth in Hardrock 100 history dating back to 1992. The previous cancellations were all because of natural causes. Along with the dense avalanche debris scattered across the course in 2019, the event was called off in 1995 because of too much snow and in 2002 because of extreme fire danger in the San Juan National Forest.

It was because of that first cancellation in 1995 that Hardrock is able to financially survive a cancellation, even with two in a row. After 1995, the board of directors established a reserve bank account to set aside funds in the case of another lost year.

“We just needed to make a decision by June 1, if we could,” Garland said. “Part of that is to honor people’s flight plans, vacation rentals and all those things. Also, we felt if we made a decision by June 1 we could still buy everything we needed. We hadn’t spent a whole lot of money with equipment, merchandise, awards or anything like that. So, we’re in pretty good shape and didn’t have to hit the reserve account very hard.”

A loaded field awaits fate

The run, which traverses across the rugged San Juan Mountains with 66,050 feet of elevation change at an average elevation of more than 11,000 feet, including the 14,048-foot summit of Handies Peak outside Lake City and seven mountain passes at higher than 13,000 feet, has become a legend among the world’s best ultra runners. Athletes must complete previous qualifying 100-mile races to even enter the lottery, which had a record 2,487 applicants for the 2019 race.

While U.S. stars such as Courtney Dauwalter, Dylan Bowman, Jeff Browning, Jason Schlarb, Sabrina Stanley, Darcy Piceu and Darla Askew were among those expected to run in 2019 and then in 2020, French stars Francois D’Haene and Xavier Thévenard were also highly-anticipated competitors who had gained a lottery spot.

It was expected to be the most talented field in the history of the event, and it has now been put on hold twice.

No announcement was immediately made regarding registration for the 2021 race and if it would once again carry over from the 2019 lottery or if there would be a new lottery.

“It’s up in the air,” Garland said. “That is a board decision, and it’s split. That’s why it hasn’t been decided yet. It’s been two years, so do we keep rolling people over or give 145 new people a shot at it? They’ve been waiting two years for a new lottery, as well. It’s a philosophical difference not resolved yet. We will keep people updated as soon as those decisions are made.”

Garland said making the event larger to accommodate the addition of new runners to the existing pool of 145 already selected would require discussions with the Bureau of Land Management and forest service, as that would exceed what the event’s permit is allowed. He did not indicate that there was a plan to try to increase the size of the event.

Alternative formats didn’t fit Hardrock’s image

Garland and the run committee considered alternative plans to the traditional Hardrock 100 this year. Some suggested it be conducted virtually. There was discussion of holding the event as usual but with staggered starts and without gatherings such as Camp Hardrock, the pre-race briefing and the awards banquet which would have brought all the runners together at the same time.

“I don’t think you can replicate the Hardrock experience virtually,” Garland said. “We entertained the idea, but no, we couldn’t do that. Then we looked to see if we could do it without all the experiences that make Hardrock what it is and build our community. At some point it was like, ‘What are we trying to create?’ Especially for a first time runner, we didn’t want that to be their experience.

“We also thought about doing a regional Hardrock and limiting it to the Four Corners states. But we couldn’t come to a philosophical agreement that we wanted to do something like that, either.”

While Garland said canceling the event stings, he is confident it can move forward and remain a special event. In a year in which the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in France and other U.S. events such as Western States and the Leadville 100 have been canceled, he believes the running community will understand.

“What does it say when we can’t do it two years in a row?” Garland said. “That’s why we wanted to wait and see as it got really close if things were going to change or not or if we could make it work. We kept trying to move forward, but we couldn’t do it.”

(05/24/2020) ⚡AMP
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Hardrock 100

Hardrock 100

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

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Prefontaine Memorial Run canceled

COOS BAY — The annual Prefontaine Memorial Run became the latest victim of the COVID-19 pandemic this week, when the long-running tribute to Marshfield great Steve Prefontaine was canceled for this year.

The Prefontaine Memorial Foundation committee agreed unanimously to cancel the event, which had been scheduled for Sept. 19, due to COVID-19 guidelines and concerns.

“This would have been the 41st year for our event, and though we regret the necessity of the cancellation, our foremost concern is to safeguard the wellbeing of our participants, volunteers and those who gather to watch and cheer on the walkers and runners,” said Bob Huggins, the executive director for the Foundation.

Huggins noted that refunds would be sent to people who already have signed up for the race.

The committee had hoped to be able to hold the race, which is the largest annual sports event on the South Coast, typically drawing more than 1,000 runners and walkers for its 10-kilomter race and 2-mile run walk and an associated high school cross country race.

“There are just too many situations we can’t control,” Huggins said. “The outdoor running portion of it is OK. The likeliness of getting COVID if you’re outdoor running is remote.

“But when we start dealing with indoor registration, start-line gathering with people around, handing out awards — there’s just too many things we can’t control.”

Plus, Huggins pointed out, “The governor’s proclamation that sporting events and large gatherings are prohibited through September pretty much made our decision for us.”

Locally and statewide, other big events also have been canceled, including the Hood to Coast Relay, the Butte to Butte run in Eugene, Cycle Oregon and county fairs.

The South Coast Running Club also this week canceled all its summer events, including the Jennifer’s Cathing Slough Classic in June, the rescheduled Roseburg to Coos Bay Relay in June, the Mayor’s Firecracker Run on July 4 in Mingus Park, the Circle the Bay in August and the Sunset Bay Trail Run on Labor Day Weekend.

“Given the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, we have made the difficult decision to cancel running events through September,” club officials said in a message sent out to members. “We believe this is the most responsible course of action.

“We are saddened by the circumstances that are causing us not to be hosting these events. We believe it is our role to keep our runners and their families healthy by decreasing exposure risk.”

This was going to be a particularly big year for the Prefontaine Memorial Run because the Road Runners Club of America had declared the run this year’s National Championship 10K race. But Huggins said RRCA officials already have told him they will award that distinction to next year’s run.

“We look forward to Sept. 18, 2021, when we plan to once again invite runners to take part in our premier event to honor our hometown hero, Steve Prefontaine, his celebrated running career and his memory,” Huggins said.

The annual run helps the Prefontaine Foundation fund a number of projects each year.

Huggins said projects made possible by the generous support of sponsors and the proceeds from the run include grants to support track and cross country programs in Coos County high schools, annual scholarships to high school seniors who participate in track or cross country, and helping fund the Pre Track Club, a summer training program at Marshfield High School.

This year’s sponsors include Nike, Pacific Properties, Tower Motor Company, Banner Bank, Vend West Services, Farr’s Hardware and North Bend Medical Center.

More information about the run and the Prefontaine Foundation is available at www.prefontainerun.com or by calling Huggins at 541-297-0230.

(05/23/2020) ⚡AMP
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One of the world’s biggest ultramarathons UTMB officially cancelled after a month of uncertainty

For almost a month, a lot of uncertainty has surrounded the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB). With the race scheduled for August 24 to 30 in Chamonix, the French government announced in late April that major sporting events were cancelled until at least September.

But UTMB organizers gave athletes and the running community hope, saying the race would likely still be run, just with a few alterations so it could fit the government’s guidelines. Satisfying these guidelines proved to be unsuccessful, and this morning, it was announced that the 2020 edition of UTMB has been officially cancelled.

The UTMB route—which is 171K long—starts and finishes in Chamonix, located in the French Alps, and takes runners through Italy and Switzerland before they return to France. The event has been run since 2003, and this year would have been its 18th edition. Although poor weather has forced organizers to shorten the event in years past (2010, 2012 and 2017), 2020 will be the first year they’ve been forced to cancel the race outright.

In the cancellation notice, event organizers listed their reasons for calling the event off, the biggest of which was the health and safety of participants. There were 10,000 runners registered for the 2020 event, and the UTMB site says these athletes came from more than 100 different countries.

In April, UTMB co-founder Catherine Poletti proposed the possibility of cutting that number to 5,000 competitors, but that still couldn’t feasibly work with the French public health rules. Organizers ultimately decided that cancelling was “the most responsible decision to preserve the health and safety of all participants, which include runners, inhabitants of the Mont-Blanc region, visitors, suppliers, partners and volunteers.”

Runners registered for the 2020 event will receive a refund of 55 per cent of their original entry fee. UTMB officials have also given participants the option to turn down this refund and donate it to charity, which can be done through the event’s website.

UTMB is not a race you just sign up for—runners undergo a long qualifying process for this event. With this in mind, organizers will give 2020 runners the opportunity to reserve their spots in the 2021, 2022 or 2023 events.    

(05/21/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(05/18/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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What is going to happen to road racing as we know it? Bob Anderson thoughts on the situation. Could it be the end of big races?

The COVID-19 virus is deadly.  Already (as of May 17) at least 317,000 people worldwide have died from the virus.  This number is still growing by thousands each day.  By the end of this week most likely over 100,000 people in the US will have died from the Coronvirus (COVID-19).

Some people think this number has been inflated.  Others think it is low.  It is hard to really know the true facts.  In any case thousands of people have died from this new virus.  That's a fact.  

Some still feel this virus is no worse than the common flu.  Many of these ill informed people might be some of the ones who are continuing to spread the Cornavirus.  Many of these people don't wear face masks while in public nor practice social distancing.  These types of people could easily be those that end up infecting others.  And kill racing too.  More on this later.  

Doctors are saying this virus is much more contagious than the common flu and the death rate particularly for people aged 60 plus is high.  Much higher than the common flu.

This information is talked about daily in the news and there is no need to further exam that here.  The focus here is road racing and what impact this crisis is going to have on the sport.  

The My Best Runs (MBR) website only features and follow the best, most interesting and unique races in the world.  The site is currently following 837 races from all over the world.  

One thing the website does is list the leaderboard results from the races featured. The top four men and women and then age-group winners in ten year age-groups starting at age 40 are posted.  Stats are complied and compared among the races.  Nearly 90,000 unique people visited the site in February to look for races, follow races or read Running News Daily.  The traffic had doubled in a year.  That's over one million annually.  The growth of the site illustrates how road racing around the world was growing.  

Everything was set for a banner year.  The Boston Marathon had lined up another amazing field for their annual races that has been held every year since 1896 on Patriots Day.  The London marathon had confirmed that the world's top two marathoners would battle it out on the streets of London.  Maybe the first sub two hour marathon in a real race was going to happen? However both races were postponed and they hope to have races this fall.  Some feel that is not going to happen. 

It was in early February when people began talking about the Cornavirus.  A virus started in China.  But mostly people did not seem overly concerned. 

The month before (January 26) the Ujena Fit Club (UFC) Training Camp in Thika Kenya was opened.  The camp was not totally finished but the core group of runners had been selected, a time trial was staged and a traditional goat feed blessed the opening. A couple hundred people showed up for the affair.

A third floor of the club would be added in the following months to house guests interested in training with elite Kenyan runners.  The official grand opening was set for the end of May with a Double Road Race 15k race planned the same weekend.  Sponsored were being lined up for a world record attempt.    

The top runner in the club and part owner is Joel Maina Mwangi.  For the last couple of years prior he would travel to Italy in the spring and bring back enough prize money to take care of him and his family for the rest of the year.  

2020 was going to be his best year yet.  Joel was in top form being trained at his UFC Training Camp by coach Dennis.  His teammates pushed Joel in three-a-day workouts to higher limits.  

Joel left for Italy in early February right after the UFC Training Camp US partners Bob and Catherine Anderson had left after attending the opening.

Joel's first race was in Verona, Italy Feb 16.  He won that race and clocked 1:00:40 for the half marathon, a personal best.  His plan was to race each weekend after that and then run the Rome Half Marathon set for March 8.  This point to point course is fast.  Galen Rupp had won there a couple of years back breaking an hour in the process.  Joel's plan was to win, break an hour for the first time and bring home the big prize purse.

This didn't happen as Italy started closing down their country to battle COVID-19.  It was going out of control.  Joel luckily left Italy March 7th for his home in Thika, Kenya while he could still travel. But not with the over $20k(US) he was planning on bringing back home with him.

The world was shutting down.  Whole countries were locking down.  The last race featured by MBR to take place was the LA Marathon March 8 along with several others held that same weekend.  There has not been a significant race held any place in the world since March 8.  California ordered everyone to Shelter in Place starting March 17.  Other states and countries followed.  

Every race scheduled for April or May and featured on the MBR website were either canceled or postponed.  Most races also in June and July have been canceled or postponed as well.  The Tokyo Olympics were postponed for a year.  The Berlin marathon in September was canceled (but they are trying to workout a new date), Western States 100, the Camrades Marathon, the Dipsea, and so many other well established races were cancelled.   

Pippa Stevens a CNBC writer posted, "As running has grown in popularity, local clubs have popped up around the country, and there are now roughly 35,000 races each year in the U.S. alone, data from industry trade group Running USA shows.

"More than 44 million people in the U.S. identify as a runner, and 17.6 million people crossed the finish line in U.S. races in 2019.

"With all races cancelled for the time being, billions of dollars are at stake. The biggest marathons – from Boston to Chicago to London to Tokyo – inject hundreds of millions of dollars into local economies. The most recent analysis of the TCS New York City Marathon, for example, found that the race’s economic impact topped $400 million."

A lot is at stake.  But race directors need to know that even if cities allow them to hold their races, not everyone will automatically be there on the starting line.  

Dan Anderson wrote, "I am having a major motivational problem with my running!  For the first time in my running career (almost 55 years) I have no races to train for.  I really miss them.  But I will not run in a race until a vaccine is available.  Being 68 years old with several preexisting risk factors it is too dangerous!  Hopefully within a year a vaccine will be available.  Until then I will push myself to get out and run."

Racing is addictive and so many people around the world love it. Once things are figured out and it is safe again many will be there on the starting line.                                                                                       

Sam Tada who lives in Japan wrote, "Racing helped me so many times in my life and I miss it.  

"Racing gives us opportunity of challenge, growth, and communication.  It makes us happy and healthy mentally and physically.  I love racing and miss it. 

"We are facing difficult time right now but once this health concern is gone I think we will be able to enjoy racing more since we understand how racing is important for us.   

"I am looking forward to racing again and I am trying to do my best effort to stop the spread of this virus."

There are a lot of things that will need to be addressed.  Here are some ideas I have.  Maybe at least for awhile or forever all runners will need to show up wearing a Face Mask.

Then they walk into a screening booth and have their temperature checked.  If they pass, they walk into another booth were they are sprayed with a solution (totally safe) that would kill any viruses they may have on their clothing, shoes or body.  At this point they are still wearing their face mask.  And they continue to wear their face mask until about a quarter mile out or until there is spacing between them and others.  Once they finish they put back on their Face Mask until they are back in their car.

Of course everyone would have to sign a Waiver saying that if they contract COVID-19 at the race and if they die later their family could not sue the race or city.  No idea how porta potties, water stops or handing out medals at the end could work out other than eliminating them. 

I see two problems with these ideas. Remember those people that are already not following the rules?  Do you think they would show up at a race wearing a Face Mask?  And we also know that signing a waiver does not restrict a family from sueing everyone if a member of their family dies from COVID-19 which they determined they got at a race.  Even before this crisis a husband ran a half marathon in San Francisco and died at the finish line.  He had signed a waiver but his wife sued everyone and won lots of money.  The race Director got out of the business (sadly) yet he did nothing wrong from the inside information I know.  

There is not a clear answer about the future of road racing.  No matter how careful race directors, cities and charities (because they are big losers too)  work together it would only take a few jerks to ruin it all.

So what race is going to be the first one back?  Any day now the Old Dominion 100 Miler set for June 8th will be making a decision.  They posted on their website, "The Old Dominion Run is still working all options in an attempt to have the run this year.

"We are working with numerous authorities in our area to assist in providing a good and safe race day experience for everyone involved. The governor of Virginia has gone to phase one in our area and our authorities are reviewing our plan vs the restrictions. 

"Currently, part of our proposal has had to include a limit on our field to 50% for any hopes for us to proceed. We currently have 55 entrants and will not immediately be taking more from the wait list.

"Responses from the authorities will be a major part of our decision on 17 May. If the race proceeds, entries will not be more than 55. The waitlist will remain active," posted by Ray, Wynne and Race Management.

On June 20th the Shelter Island 10k (first photo) is scheduled to take place in Shelter Island New York.  It is a big race and there are always fast winning times.  We have contacted the race director and have not gotten a comment from them.  There is no mention on their website about COVID-19.  We are assuming they are trying to make it happen but what is their plan?  

A couple of other races in late June are also trying to figure something out.  Like the Halifax Marathon (second photo) has not torn in the towel just yet but are closely monitoring the situation as noted on their website.  

Another one of the 837 races being followed by MBR wrote, "Our race was cancelled for this year, fingered crossed we will be back in 2021, april 17th.

"Our race of 2500 might look a bit different in 2021, 10 wave starts of 250 each? Each 10, 15 to 20 minutes apart? Lots of questions like what will aid stations look like and function? Maybe results may go to chip times, or no awards at all? Things will be different.

"The big question now is how we will all deal with the city, county and state mandates and permits. In the past, permits were a pretty easy process, no mass gatherings limitations.

"Locally I believe we will have some small events, mostly if not all on our trail system which limits events to 200 participants. A couple are still moving forward with fall dates, hopefully they will happen. Currently we have a limit for runs set by our city, set at 250 runners with wave starts, with really no other details. In the past road events have had much bigger fields. Going forward if the social distancing stays part of the rules it will be very hard to stage a very large running event.

"Events may look like some ultrarunning events, with very little or no finish line parties, just finish, quick drink and maybe food and head home.

"Runners and organizations will adapt to the rules and events will happen," wrote Brian at Race to Robie Creek.

Hopefully the game changer is going to be that a vaccine is created and COVID-19 is wiped off the face of the earth.  Just as long as everyone gets vaccinated and don't continue to think that COVID-19 is no worse than the common flu. This could solve most everything as long as cities who issue permits think it is enough.  

It sure would be nice to get back to things as they were.  Or at least close to it.  But many of us will continue to wash our hands more often, wear a face masks at times and not go out if they are not feeling well.  Road racing is just too important to so many people. 

(05/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Old Dominion One Day 100 Mile

Old Dominion One Day 100 Mile

(May 19, 2020) Thank you all so much for your patience as we were waiting to hear back on all of our approvals today. However, we are very sad to say the race is cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19. We did not receive all of the approvals needed from our area authorities. See you in 2021. The Old Dominion...

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After the Ahmaud Arbery's killing, some African Americans are reconsidering fitness routines

"I'm changing my patterns because I can't change the color of my skin," the founder of a running group said.

Every time Edward Walton laces up his running shoes, no matter where he is, there is a calculus he takes into consideration: What time of the day is it? What neighborhood will I run in? What am I wearing?

And when he's outdoors, he says, it adds up again: Am I running too fast? Does it look like I'm fleeing from someone?

"It's the math," Walton, 51, a cybersecurity architect and consultant in metro Atlanta, said, "of running while black."

The killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who his family says was out for a jog when he was chased and fatally shot by two white men in late February, has renewed a national conversation about racial profiling and when black Americans, in particular, are accused of criminal behavior in the midst of routine, everyday activities, such as mowing a lawn or waiting inside a Starbucks.

Arbery, 25, has been described by his family and friends as an athlete who regularly ran in his south Georgia community in Glynn County, and had plans to go back to technical school and become an electrician. While the father and son involved in his killing were arrested last week on murder and aggravated assault charges in the wake of leaked cellphone video appearing to show the confrontation, the incident has rattled people like Walton, who say the killing is an extreme occurrence of what runners like himself have long, quietly known.

"When I'm running, people give me two looks," Walton said. "Why is this black guy running? What is he running from? What did he do?"

The suspects in Arbery's killing, Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, told police they were making a citizen's arrest and believed the youth had burglarized a nearby home that was under construction. Attorneys for Arbery's family maintain there is no evidence showing he was engaged in criminal activity on that day, other than possible trespassing on the unoccupied property. The attorneys for the McMichaels have suggested there's more evidence yet to be made public that tells a different narrative.

"This is not some sort of hate crime fueled by racism," Gregory McMichael's attorney, Franklin Hogue, told reporters Friday. "It is and remains the case, however, that a young African American male has lost his life to violence."

As the circumstances surrounding Arbery's killing play out in the criminal justice system, black runners who spoke with NBC News said the case serves as a reminder that their lives could also be in jeopardy if they're out at the wrong place and the wrong time.

Seven years ago, Walton co-founded a group in Atlanta called Black Men Run, which he says has grown to 55 chapters in 35 states, as well as internationally in London and Paris.

It was conceived as a way for black men, facing their own health disparities and challenges, to unite in fellowship and help one another become accountable for their physical well-being. That has become especially important now, Walton added, with the disproportionate effect that the coronavirus outbreak has had on black Americans.

But incidents like Arbery's killing have also shifted the group's focus to becoming more activist-driven. Last week, members participated in a 2.23-mile jog in Arbery's honor, marking the day of his death, as part of a social media campaign. A rally is planned Saturday in the coastal community of Brunswick, Georgia, where Arbery was from.

Tobias A. Jackson-Campbell, a realtor from Atlanta who has run in four marathons, said he's begun changing where he runs to avoid isolated places in the city, such as the undeveloped sections of the multiuse trail known as the Atlanta Beltline.

Jackson-Campbell said he's been followed by police during his runs and questioned about what he's doing in a particular neighborhood.

"For me, as a black man running, it's sometimes like driving while black," he said.

Arbery's killing, he said, only reinforced that "if it could happen to him, it could definitely happen to me."

Kristea Cancel, a runner from North Carolina, said she recently tracked her 13-year-old son's run using an app because she was uncomfortable not knowing where he was. The next day, she went running with him.

She recalled how a few years ago while running in Tennessee, someone in a white pickup truck threw their drink in her face and screamed at her on a busy street in broad daylight. Nothing had been out of the ordinary until that moment, she said — it had been a routine run.

"When will it be OK to just be shopping, running, in the park and not be feared or criminalized by people who can't just let us be human beings, enjoying life as they are entitled to do?" Cancel asked. "No mother should be worried a run or walk may end their son's life."

When Walton hears of how friends and others have changed how they exercise outdoors as a precautionary measure, he says he completely understands.

"I'm changing my patterns," he said, "because I can't change the color of my skin."

(05/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by NBC News
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Running on empty: Coronavirus has changed the course for races big and small

The coronavirus pandemic has crippled the sports landscape. Leagues from the NBA all the way down to Little League Baseball have paused or canceled seasons.

In response to various stay-at-home orders that vary from state to state, people have been encouraged to exercise -- safely and while socially distancing. To run, walk and bike. Maybe, now with the idea, to one day compete in a 5K or a 10K race, maybe even a marathon.

When life resumes, whenever that is, those opportunities will be different and, in the case of some road races, not even there.

The racing organizations, big and small, that stage those events are having to grapple with postponements and cancellations to a point where they may not be able to ever come back at full strength.

Many of the world's largest marathons have already been impacted by the pandemic -- the Boston Marathon was postponed until September, the London Marathon until October and the Berlin Marathon, which had been scheduled for Oct. 24, has already been canceled.

Events that lead to mass gatherings, such as sports and concerts, are expected to be among the last to return even as the U.S. and the world look to reopen various businesses.

In the world of running, it is the smaller races -- from 5Ks and 10Ks to half marathons and marathons, many operated by local event organizers -- that are under financial stress.

In 2019, Running USA, an industry trade group, tracked more than 21,000 road races, which collected roughly $267 million in fees from more than 17.6 million registered runners.

Christine Bowen, vice president of programming partnerships and operations at Running USA, told ESPN.com that new estimates as of mid-March showed roughly 7,500 road races have been canceled so far into 2020, and thousands have been canceled since. That's more than 1.2 million participants who are left in limbo, she said -- and with more cancellations likely to come. In addition, race registrations nationwide are showing a 95 percent decline.

There's also the loss of raising money for charity, Bowen noted. Roughly 79 percent of road races are associated with at least one charity partner.

Fewer people signing up for races is one thing. The industry is also dealing with runners who are asking for their money back. While the average cost to enter a race is $70 to $79 per entry, many smaller events don't offer refunds, as those registration revenues are spent in advance for race security, staff, shirts, bibs, medals, water, snacks and other logistics -- sunk costs even if the races are not held.

"At the moment, I am not looking to register for any further road races as we have no idea what will happen," Samantha Music, a tax assistant who lives in Connecticut, said. "It is rather discouraging to continue to train even though the races are not happening."

Music had signed up to run seven races so far this year, with collective registration costs of more than $1,200. So far, six of the seven have been officially canceled, and a majority of the races, she said, are non-refundable.

However, two of the races did offer deferment for a non-complimentary guaranteed race entry for 2021 or a full refund and no-entry option for 2021. This means, if the race is lottery-based, she would need to reapply sometime next year.

"I am absolutely feeling stressed, as well as depressed about all the cancellations and losing money on the races that are being deferred to next year," Music said. "I understand that the race organizers have to pay for everything they ordered, but it doesn't suck any less to have to pay for a race again."

"I am absolutely feeling stressed, as well as depressed about all the cancelations and losing money on the races that are being deferred to next year."

Samanta Music, runner from Connecticut

The tune is a little different for Matt Becker, who is an applied mathematician at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. Becker, who is new to the road race scene, and his wife had signed up for six races between the two of them so far in 2020. Five of them have been canceled or postponed, and of those five, four offered deferred payments for next year, or whenever the rescheduled race will take place.

"I think, on the whole, the race organizers are doing their best to accommodate difficult circumstances," Becker said. "Once it is safe to do so, I don't think I'll have any different approach to signing up for races in the future."

As part of its guidance to race directors, Running USA issued this statement:

"Negative comments about refunds, chargebacks and greed are swirling. The running industry especially is not a faceless group. ... it may be helpful to share with participants that many expenses are incurred months ahead of the event and the option of refunds really is not straightforward or always possible. Remind runners of your commitment to the community."

But will there be races for the community in the future?

Bowen said that though the average running organization employs eight full-time employees, there are contractors working with event management companies who also rely on the events as their main source of income.

According to the Endurance Sports Coalition, hundreds of thousands jobs are in jeopardy in that space. The coalition is made up of more than 475 endurance sports groups seeking relief from congress. The endurance sports industry -- which also includes events such as Tough Mudder and Ironman triathlons -- is a $3 billion industry that provides more than 500,000 jobs.

The coalition includes bigger races, like the Boston Marathon and Rock 'n' Roll marathon series, that will always have people clamoring to run them. It's the medium to smaller-sized races, and the companies that put them on, that are facing the direst of straits.

J.T. Service is the co-founder and CEO of Soul Focus Sports, an event management company in the San Francisco Bay Area that helps to put on a handful of road races.

Run Local Bay Area is a client of Soul Focus Sports, which puts on races including the San Jose Shamrock Run, the Silicon Valley Half Marathon and the Across the Bay 12K. The Silicon Valley Half Marathon -- which did not occur as planned on April 5 -- would have usually attracted between 3,000 and 5,000 runners.

"I almost want people to kind of think about us as local businesses," J.T. Service said. "There's this huge push of support your local business or support your corner pizza shop where you normally would get pizza. I think there needs to be this element of seeing the race, your local fundraising charity event, as that local business that needs just as much support now -- maybe more now than ever -- for the long term good of the community, so they can come back and open their doors and open their starting lines to runners when this thing is cleared up."

Through June, six races have been canceled under the Soul Focus Sports umbrella in the Bay Area. Service said they have lost "a few hundred thousand [dollars] in revenue" and that affects roughly a dozen event staffers.

To make up for lost races, runners have been encouraged to participate in virtual runs instead -- a way to both encourage running and return some value.

For many of these virtual events, runners can run the scheduled "race" distance when they want, where they want -- from a local trail to a treadmill -- and can then log their time results on the event's website to compare against others, and have their medals, race shirts and other "swag" shipped to them.

In addition to its Walt Disney World Marathon and other events, runDisney has been holding virtual races for five years. The Rock 'n' Roll marathon series and IRONMAN triathlon series -- both part of the Wanda Sports Group -- have begun offering competitive virtual events, and other race directors have taken creative approaches to keep runners active.

The Hartford Marathon Foundation, which organizes more than 30 annual races throughout New England, launched the "WeRunCT" virtual challenge to encourage people to collectively run the equivalent of every square mile of Connecticut (5,018 miles). Within three weeks, more than 1,250 participants ran the state of Connecticut 14 times over -- covering the square mileage of all of New England, approximately 71,500 miles.

"We understand how important it is for us to provide our running community with encouragement to keep active and maintain a healthy outlet to help manage stress during this unprecedented time," HMF CEO Beth Shluger said in a statement. "While we can't hold events and gather together, we're committed to providing ways for people to experience some of the enjoyment of racing through virtual events and challenges."

Bowen said there is a glass-half-full approach.

"I think that mental health area is really going to look more at [running]," she said. "I wouldn't be surprised if you start seeing companies sort of corporate wellness programs to say to their employees, 'Maybe sign up for a virtual race in the office because we're all working from home right now.' That's something to keep people engaged."

Virtual races can be positive, she said: "Right now, I will stay for sure, it's given companies an opportunity to be very creative in how they work with their runners and their sponsors."

Those virtual events could continue to be a source of revenue for race directors, and alternative social distancing options for runners. And Service, from Soul Focus Sports, sees another silver lining: Many people are taking up running while seeking exercise during the pandemic, and all those outside running every day could fall in love with the sport -- and could stick around for a while, too.

"So I see an opportunity for this industry, and that's from local specialty shoe shops to races -- but we have to be almost leaders, to the point of saying: Running is going to help bring this country back," Service said. "Why wouldn't be this our fuel or a thing that brings people back together?

"They're resilient people."

(05/16/2020) ⚡AMP
by ESPN
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On May 14, British Columbia will reopen provicional parks

British Columbia has announced that phase two of the province’s four phase return will begin mid-May, and will include the reopening of provincial parks for day use (on May 14), along with small social gatherings.

This is very good news for runners as they’ll be able to access their favourite trails and maybe even recruit a training partner or two.

B.C.’s parks and trails have been closed since late March. According to the provincial government, B.C. residents could almost double the number of social contacts they have currently and still maintain flat transmission rates. Phase two also includes the ability to visit healthcare professionals like physiotherapists, chiropractors and counsellors.

Gatherings of over 50 people remain banned for the foreseeable future, which includes professional sports and concerts.

While the province remains a long way from a complete return to normalcy, these developments are encouraging news. The province’s runners will be able to achieve a level of relative normal, just in time for the nice weather.

So on May 14, gather one or two running buddies and hit your local trails for your first group run of the spring.

(05/12/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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To Run or Walk the Hills, That Is The Question

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

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

The Study

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

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

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

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

Expected and Unexpected Research Findings

Image Courtesy Jackson Brill

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

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

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

Further Questions

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

Image courtesy: Jackson Brill

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

Impact of the Study

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

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

Expected and Unexpected Research Findings

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

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

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

Further Questions

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

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

Impact of the Study

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

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

(05/09/2020) ⚡AMP
by Podium Runner
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The Quad-City Times Bix 7 will be held virtually in July 2020

The Quad-City Times Bix 7, Prairie Farms Quick Bix, and Arconic Jr. Bix will be held virtually in July 2020, race leaders announced today – continuing the Bix tradition in a way that honors the caution necessary in this time of pandemic.

This unprecedented decision was made out of an abundance of caution, and in concert with the Bix 7 medical and safety support team, said Michelle Juehring, race director.

The greatest factor has been, and will continue to be, the safety of race participants, volunteers, spectators and the community as a whole. This year, the spirit of Bix will go beyond the city of Davenport, Iowa.

“Our team has been working diligently over the past months, exploring every option to  make this year’s Quad-City Times Bix 7 a safe and successful event,” Juehring said. “For more than 45 years, the Quad-City Times Bix 7 was held on the last Saturday of July. This year, participants will have the whole month of July to Run With The Best.”

Participants can complete their race distance during the time frame of July 1-July 25, at any location: sidewalk, treadmill, trail, living room or track. Runners and walkers will submit their times online. A finisher’s certificate can be printed and shared to social media. An official race T-shirt will be mailed.

Registered runners for the Quad-City Times Bix 7, Praire Farms Quick Bix and Arconic Jr Bix will have two options. Transition into the 2020 Quad-City Times Bix 7 Virtual Race or transfer race entry into the 2021 race. An email will be sent to registered runners with detailed instructions.

“The 2020 Quad-City Times Bix 7, Prairie Farms Quick Bix, and Arconic Jr. Bix may not be the races we are accustomed to, but it will certainly be historic," Juehring said.

“Please, stay safe, look out for each other and throw out kindness like confetti. This year we will Run With The Best – together, apart.”

Register today at www.Bix7.com to Find Your Happy Pace!

(05/07/2020) ⚡AMP
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Bix 7 miler

Bix 7 miler

This race attracts the greatest long distance runners in the world competing to win thousands of dollars in prize money. It is said to be the highest purse of any non-marathon race. Tremendous spectator support, entertainment and post party. Come and try to conquer this challenging course along with over 15,000 other participants, as you "Run With The Best." In...

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Even with major sporting events banned in France until September, UTMB organizers are still trying to make the race happen

On Tuesday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe confirmed that major sporting events would be cancelled until at least September. UTMB, one of the world’s biggest trail races, is set to run August 24 to 30 in Chamonix, France. Despite this announcement, Catherine Poletti, co-founder of UTMB, thinks that the race will go ahead, just with some changes to the original plan.

Poletti says that while the race won’t be able to accommodate their 10,000 entrants, if they capped the event at 5,000, it might be possible.

“We are working on the barrier measures, not only for the start, but on all fronts,” she told Le Dauphine. “We are committed to not giving up. We still want to organize the event in compliance with the rules. The entire economic community of the Mont-Blanc valley needs this. We are a race outside a mass stadium, which can adapt to the rules set by the government.”

While UTMB will hopefully be able to run, events like the Tour de France are facing cancellation. The Tour, which was already rescheduled from June to August, will be well over the gathering cap of 5,000 people and is considered a major sporting event. No official statement has been made yet in regard to the Tour.

 

(05/03/2020) ⚡AMP
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Ecotrail de Bruxelles

Ecotrail de Bruxelles

This event is credited with four new qualifying points for the UTMB race. The goal is finally to propose a 85% green route! This change required to leave the Atomium, located in the northern "not too green" of Brussels.The new start will be given to the heart of the capital of Europe, at the foot of the European institutions!This new...

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With his race event cancelled, 72-year-old Eric Spector inspires other seniors to remain active

The key is to commit to staying fit, whether during a pandemic or not, says Eric Spector.

If these were normal times, Eric Spector would be in the final phase of training for the race of his dreams — the annual Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile trail run from Squaw Valley to Auburn. It's an event he calls the Superbowl of ultramarathons.

But with the June event canceled, along with most other activities, due to the coronavirus crisis, the 72-year-old fitness enthusiast has been forced to adapt his fitness routine.

Rather than rigorously training in the hills above Palo Alto, Spector has turned to power walking. And rather than swimming and exercising at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, he has set up a gym in his garage where he can lift weights, ride a stationary bicycle and generally keep moving.

"The key is working up a sweat and getting the benefit of a cardiovascular workout," said the Palo Alto resident, who has participated in more than 20 marathons in the United States and abroad and was the oldest person to complete the 2018 Rio del Lago 100-Mile Endurance Run in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Though a committed runner, Spector, who turns 73 on May 5, is no exercise snob. In fact, he's a promoter of exercise for anybody and everybody through his Twitter page, [ @fitatallages.

"It doesn't really matter what activity somebody chooses — the benefits of being fit are extraordinarily clear," he said."It prevents so many diseases and, if you get sick, your recovery time is usually much shorter because of your fitness.

"Whether you speed walk, bicycle, play racquetball, hike — the most important thing is that you do it regularly and that you sweat. With those two ingredients, it provides a longer, healthier, more vigorous life."

On his Twitter feed, Spector often shares links to inspirational stories of older athletes as well as small exercise tips like:"Well, you don't want to run? Then dance."

During the stay-at-home order, he has been sharing the many ways athletes, from Olympians to coaches, have adapted their fitness routines. One marathoner who qualified for this year's Olympics in Tokyo, shared this philosophy with the New York Times: The only thing athletes can control at this point, since competitions and events are canceled, is their training routines. Another story that Spector shared from Sports Illustrated features a running coach who provided some creative inspiration to those looking to compete or exercise: He organized a virtual ultramarathon where participants mapped out their own running loop in their backyards, neighborhoods or treadmills and livestreamed their runs on Zoom.

Spector said the key is to commit to staying fit, whether during a pandemic or not. He recommends picking an exercise and following through with a routine. This can be anything from walking around the block once a week to walking around the backyard everyday. Tracking when, where and for how long you do a particular activity will help you maintain a routine and stay motivated.

Exercise wasn't always a priority for Spector.

As a young man he was overweight and working long hours at a New York City startup.

"I wasn't at all plugged in to athletics of any kind — I'd really done nothing more than work and eat and put on some weight," he said.

But he became intrigued when some of his business school classmates flew in from California to run the 1978 New York City Marathon.

"I thought, 'If these guys can do it, I should be able to do it,' so I bought some sneakers, went out for a run to the west side of the Hudson River and barely made it," he said.

Spector kept at it, and a little more than a year later, he entered the 1979 New York City Marathon.

"It was my first running event ever but I did quite well and loved it," he said."I really loved the fitness, the clarity of mind, the stream of consciousness as you're running."

He grew to love the "runner's high," which he describes as"a kind of a euphoria, where you're not even conscious of the effort. It's just the rhythm and the joy of physical activity.

"For me, that kind of activity has been a mainstay of mental health and sanity, with the benefit of staying fit," he said.

(05/01/2020) ⚡AMP
by Chris Kenrick
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Western States 100

Western States 100

2020 race has been cancelled. The Western States ® 100-Mile Endurance Run is the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race. Starting in Squaw Valley, California near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and ending 100.2 miles later in Auburn, California, Western States, in the decades since its inception in 1974, has come to represent one of the...

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UTMB organizers are still trying to make the race happen

On Tuesday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe confirmed that major sporting events would be cancelled until at least September. UTMB, one of the world’s biggest trail races, is set to run August 24 to 30 in Chamonix, France.

Despite this announcement, Catherine Poletti, co-founder of UTMB, thinks that the race will go ahead, just with some changes to the original plan.

Poletti says that while the race won’t be able to accommodate their 10,000 entrants, if they capped the event at 5,000, it might be possible.

“We are working on the barrier measures, not only for the start, but on all fronts,” she told Le Dauphine. “We are committed to not giving up. We still want to organize the event in compliance with the rules.

The entire economic community of the Mont-Blanc valley needs this. We are a race outside a mass stadium, which can adapt to the rules set by the government.”

While UTMB will hopefully be able to run, events like the Tour de France are facing cancellation.

The Tour, which was already rescheduled from June to August, will be well over the gathering cap of 5,000 people and is considered a major sporting event. No official statement has been made yet in regard to the Tour.

(04/29/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

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

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People are still running in Central Park but the thought of it now makes me nervous

(Editor’s note: I asked my friend Larry Allen to give me his overview of the situation back east due to COVID-19. Larry is a lifetime runner and is a cancer survivor. Him and his wife live in New York City and has a weekend house in Connecticut.)

“Hi Bob, Sorry to be so slow to respond. We are in Connecticut at our weekend place. We were without internet for 10 days, our cell service is nil and our phone only functions with working internet. It was a real catch22 to find a way to get a service appointment, certainly because we were untethered digitally but more so because the ISP was overwhelmed and.short staffed. We finally got through on Twitter and now with a new router & modem I think we’re back in the modern world, to the extent we can bear to be.

"My oncologist and my internist essentially booted me out of the city in early March due to my still compromised immune system. I was due to have a CT scan and some other post-chemo exams a month ago, just to be certain all was still ok and that I had no reoccurrence of the cancer. Unfortunately the Doctors won’t let me near a hospital, they explained that the risk to go without followup exams for the near term was less than the risk of showing up at the hospital and possibly being infected with my immune system as it is.

"We are safe here for now. Concerned about the food supply and basic services but there’s not much more to be done than hunkering down and hoping that the trends begin to turn.

"I’ve been able to continue running six days, 25-35 miles a week. I try to go to the rail trail near our home which is usually my peaceful place. The odd hybrid bureaucratic nature of the shared federal/state/local responsibility for the trail has spared it from being closed as is the case for all other state and local parks with less complicated governance. The bad news is this: there are huge numbers of people suffering from “cabin fever” in lovely spring weather after a long winter and too few places for people to get out for some exercise. Naturally the rail trail has gotten too crowded for safety so other than going at dawn or dusk or during a rainstorm it’s not really an option. I guess it’s somewhat of a blessing that there are far fewer cars on the road so hitting the pavement is less treacherous than it might be. One has to assuming e the air quality is better too.

"As you know we live very close to Central Park and it is one of my favorite places to run.  I really enjoyed running with you there last year.  

"People are still running in Central Park. I don’t know how but the very thought of it makes me very nervous now." 

(Photos:  me a couple of weeks back,  enjoying a run with Bob in the park last Feb 2019 and Bob and I at a Speak Easy the night before.  Bob's wife Catherine took the shot.  When life was normal.) 

(04/26/2020) ⚡AMP
by Larry Allen
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Bolt goes viral with cheeky 'social distancing' Olympic photo

Retired track star Usain Bolt showed he's still a few steps ahead when he posted a picture of him outstripping his rivals at the Beijing Olympics with the cheeky caption: "social distancing".

Bolt's post, featuring a picture of the 2008 Olympics 100m final, blew up on social media, drawing more than half a million likes and 90 000 retweets.

It showed the Jamaican crossing the finish line at the Bird's Nest stadium in a then-world record time of 9.69, glancing round from Lane 4 as his despairing competitors trail two paces behind.

"Savage", commented one Twitter user, while New York Times journalist Christopher Clarey posted another picture of Bolt out in front on his own, captioned "self isolation".

Bolt's chest-thumping celebration in Beijing added to a legend that grew further when he won the 200m in another world-record time. He retired in 2017 with eight Olympic gold medals and the current 100m mark of 9.58, set in 2009.

Bolt, 33, has been encouraging Jamaicans to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic, posting videos of himself exercising at home and juggling footballs with a friend. He also helped promote a major fundraiser, Telethon Jamaica.

After retiring from athletics, Bolt, a Manchester United fan, attempted to launch a career in football, and had a trial with Australia's Central Coast Mariners before contract talks failed.

(04/19/2020) ⚡AMP
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Should I wear a face mask while running and exercising outside?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a face mask in public.

But what if you’re zooming past people on a bike or running on an empty trail? Many people have asked if they still need a mask. Let’s face it: they’re not the most comfortable accessory when sweating your way through a workout.

Here’s what you should know to stay as safe as possible while exercising outdoors.

Should I wear a mask while exercising outdoors?

The answer depends on where, and potentially when, you’re exercising.

The CDC recommends wearing a mask in public settings where it’s harder to stay away from people, like grocery stores and pharmacies. Currently, the rule is to maintain at least six feet between yourself and others. If you’ve jogged along Kelly Drive or in Wissahickon Valley Park, you know that’s often impossible, especially on sunny Saturdays.

“If you’re in an area where you know you’re going to be crossing paths with a lot of other people, you 100% should be wearing a mask, but in general, try to avoid those situations,” says Patrick Davitt, the director of the University of Sciences’ Health Science Program.

Davitt suggests finding less crowded areas and avoiding peak hours. As an avid runner currently training for a 100-mile race, he runs almost daily, often still outside, and without a mask during early morning jaunts.

“As long as you’re running alone in an unpopulated area, you can keep the mask at home,” says Davitt. “But if you see someone in your oncoming path, cross the street well in advance — it’s just common courtesy as a runner.”

Avoid people, even if you’re wearing one

Make the effort to hop off the sidewalk or swerve into the grass. As a runner or biker, playing the game of coronavirus Frogger is extra important since others may not see you whizzing by from behind.

This applies even if you’re wearing a mask. Experts say that masks don’t replace social distancing, which remains one of the most important ways to slow the spread of the virus.

“Keeping that six feet of distance from someone else is more important than anything else,” says Bucks County Health Director Dr. David Damsker.

If wearing a mask, remember it won’t make you invincible. You may also need to adapt your workout, but don’t let this discourage you.

“Running and being outdoors is good for you, so you don’t want to stop,” says Davitt. “Just understand that exercising with something that’s covering your mouth, that you’re not used to wearing, is likely to change how your workout looks, and that’s okay.”

How to exercise with a mask

The obvious change: wearing a mask makes it harder to breathe. You may need to decrease the volume and intensity of your workout.

“Airflow will be restricted, so your body will have to work harder to perform at the same rate as you would without the mask, and that becomes exponentially true as the intensity goes up,” says Davitt. “The faster and harder you’re breathing, the more the mask is going to affect that.”

Listen to your body. This is extra important if you have underlying conditions, like asthma. Don’t be afraid to slow down and take breaks. Davitt says now may be a good time to back off a little anyway, especially if you’re prone to pushing yourself to your limit.

“If you go too hard, that can compromise your immune system, which you don’t want right now,” says Davitt.

To get used to exercising with a mask, practice inside. Wear it for at least an hour and get moving. Five minutes of jumping jacks is a great place to start.

“If it’s irritating your face, you need to find a way to reposition it or find another mask that works better for you,” says Dr. Alexis Tingan, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and sports medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Make sure your mask is comfortableComfort is crucial so that you don’t adjust your mask once outdoors — which, experts emphasize, is essential to avoid spreading the virus. It’s challenging enough to avoid fidgeting with a mask when you’re not sweating it out, so take time to find the right fit. 

One of the most comfortable Face Masks on the market is being made by UjENA Fit Club.  These are made from high quality four-way stretch fabric.  These Mindful Face Mask is what lifetime runner Bob Anderson is wearing all the time while in pubic. 

A proper fit will also help you avoid a rash. If the mask starts to bother you, address it immediately.“Running has an analgesic effect, so your pain sensitivity gets temporarily dulled” says Davitt. “But it’s just like avoiding a blister — if you continue, you might be limited from going outside at all the next day.

”You may have to head home earlier than planned. If you’re far from home in a crowded area, Davitt says to act strategically. Can you use your shirt as a barrier to readjust the mask? Or shrug your shoulder to your ear to reposition?

Avoid touching the mask with your hands.As the weather gets warmer, working out with a mask becomes less appealing. Choose a style that’s optimal for exercising.“I’d advise against the ear-loop medical masks. They can get soggy,” says Tingan.

“While the CDC recommends cotton for indoor situations, there’s no set guidelines on exercising. Cotton is going to be incredibly uncomfortable and you’ll become much more likely to touch the mask.”

 

Cotton absorbs sweat, but it’s not moisture-wicking. The sweat stays in the fabric, often leaving you soaking wet by the end of a workout. Finding a breathable material is key. If you’re shopping online, look for the words “breathable” and “microfiber.”

“You’ve got to work with your resources. The mask prevents droplets from going out into the air, so anything is better than nothing,” notes Tingan. “But if cotton makes your workout miserable, then you’re less likely to wear it correctly, or to wear a mask altogether.”

You may want to find an alternative for exercise. Tingan recommends balaclavas and buffs.

Balaclavas cover the whole head and neck; look for a style that covers the mouth and nose. Avoid wool, and look for microfiber, an absorbent, fast-drying material.

A buff is a tube of stretchy material that you can pull up over your nose and mouth. Its name comes from one of the main brands that makes them; they’re also sometimes called “neck gaiters.”

“Balaclavas and buffs have elastic and a close fit, so they’re also less likely to move around when you’re running,” says Tingan.

If you go the cotton route, consider wearing a sweatband around your forehead. This helps trap sweat to prevent you from wiping your face.

Virtual exercise and races

Own a treadmill, stationary bike or bike trainer? If you’re anxious about exercising outdoors, it may be worth checking out trending virtual exercise apps like BitGym, Virtual Runner, and Zwift allow runners and bikers to explore different courses, often simulated from those around the world. Some apps, like Zwift, allow you to also compete with others.

“I can be cycling alongside someone from Sweden or Brazil, or running down the road and see this cartoon avatar trying to pass me,” says Davitt of Zwift. “It’s making the indoor workout more fun, and it brings back a sense of camaraderie that’s missing while we’re all social distancing.”

(04/18/2020) ⚡AMP
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After over 50 hours ultrarunner Mike Wardian runs 63 laps for 422K to win the virtual race Quarantine Backyard Ultra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(04/07/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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A Guide To Trail Etiquette In The Age Of Coronavirus-As people pack onto trails, etiquette matters now more than ever.

As more and more people are looking outside for exercise and recreation, trails across the country are becoming increasingly crowded. Trails near Los Angeles, Chicago and the Bay Area have closed in response to crowds so large that social distancing becomes all but impossible.

Other governments, like ones close to our home office in Colorado, have issued warnings that if trail users continue to neglect the rules of the off-road, additional trails will be closed. In an effort to stem the tide of bad trail manners and keep trail access open, trail runners are urging one another to be polite and follow directions.

Remember that running is a privilege and should be treated as such, and that environmental considerations are as important as ever. Whether you’re a trail veteran or are a first-timer in need of a primer, here’s a guide to trail etiquette and stewardship in the age of coronavirus.

Safety First

The coronavirus pandemic is an issue of life and death for many people, and your behavior should reflect that, on and off the trail. Make sure you’re keeping your trail runs chill and avoid as much risk as possible. Now is not the time to go for a technical, off-the-map ridge scramble or sustain an injury. Healthcare systems are already stretched in many areas, and trail runners should not add to that burden. Stick to runs that are within your regular routine.

Follow all CDC social-distancing guidelines, and do not run in groups. If you see people not complying with social distancing, kindly explain what it is, and that continued trail use depends on everyone doing their best to respect those guidelines. It’s possible that people not complying are simply unaware and could be new trail users, so practice compassion and kindness.

“If you need to recreate and you love our outdoors do it in communities close to your home,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis in response to his stay at home order. “This pandemic is not a vacation.”

Don’t go out if you feel sick or have been in contact with those who have. Stay as close to home as possible, because the farther you travel, the more potential you have to spread the virus.

“If you need to recreate and you love our outdoors do it in communities close to your home,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis in response to his stay at home order. “This pandemic is not a vacation.”

Know Before You Go

Plan ahead, even if you’re going to an area you’ve run in 100 times. Make sure your activity complies with local guidance, such as shelter in place or lockdown orders, and that it’s close enough you can get there with minimal travel. Check your local public land management’s website to be sure the trails are open, and what closures might be in place. If parks are closed, don’t go. Be sure that trail conditions are good, as running on muddy trails can cause erosion.

Make sure that your workout plans fit the time and terrain you’re aiming for, and don’t try to throw down a sick tempo run uphill through prime-time Boulder trail traffic. Avoid crowded trailheads, and use this as an opportunity to spread out to less popular spaces.

Pack It Out

Even if your local parks and trailheads are open, be aware that services might be limited due to coronavirus. You might need to use the bathroom ahead of time, and be prepared to pack out trash. At all times, comply with Leave No Trace principles.

Right Of Way

As more people take to the trails, it’s key that runners stay aware of their surroundings. If you listen to music, leave one ear open or the volume low enough that you can hear what’s happening around you. Politely give people warning if you’re going to pass them, and let them know which side you’ll be passing on.

Mountain bikers should yield to all pedestrians, and pedestrians should yield to equestrians (them’s the rules!). Typically, hikers should yield to trail runners and downhill traffic should typically yield to uphill traffic (the thinking here is that it’s less cumbersome to stop moving downhill than it is to pause while you’re hustling up).

No Touching

On singletrack, it can be tough to give everyone the six feet of social distance that they need, so make sure you give people plenty of warning that you need to pass them. If you’re being passed on a slope, move the uphill side of the trail to avoid stepping on the “critical edge,” which is the downhill part of the trail that’s prone to erosion and can narrow over time.

Since most singletrack is less than six feet wide, you might have to step off the trail slightly to allow others to pass (avoid running off-trail, as that will make it harder to prevent environmental damage than simply stepping off) and avoid stepping on delicate plants or soil. Stable rocks, if you can find them, are a safe bet. If you feel that trails are too crowded to pass safely, consider running at a different time or in a different place.

Remember, you can’t catch the coronavirus from a smile, and it’s important to be friendly and wave as we share the trails. We’re in this together, let’s support each other out on the trails.

It might feel like there’s suddenly a lot more folks occupying your home turf, but it bears remembering that we are the crowds. Being a runner, or a frequent trail user does not give you any additional privilege compared to a first-time user. Rather, it gives you the tools and responsibility to practice good communication and trail stewardship. Trails are shared spaces, and everyone should feel welcome for safe, outdoor activity.

Remember, you can’t catch the coronavirus from a smile, and it’s important to be friendly and wave as we share the trails. We’re in this together, let’s support each other out on the trails.

(04/05/2020) ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Will virus translate into a running boom?

 The cancellation of Grandma’s Marathon earlier this week left many runners in the region in despair, especially those who were training for their only long-distance race.

However, rules implemented during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic about social distancing and staying at home ironically might be creating a running boom not seen since the 1970s and ’80s.

Outdoor exercise — as long as not done in groups or in closer proximity than 6 feet — is allowed, and it appears, anecdotally at least, that running is on the upswing in Duluth, already a run-happy community.

“I have never seen so many people out and about on a daily basis, families, single people, couples, people walking their dog,” longtime runner Jarrow Wahman said. “Any which way you turn, you can see people out. People do need to get out, and they are.”

Likewise, Katie McGee, another veteran distance runner, says she has seen many people out taking advantage of the temperate Duluth spring.

“That really has been a saving grace for me, that I can go out and get fresh air and get sunshine, get time for myself to think,” McGee said. “This could be the beginning of a new running boom, people are saying, because you can’t do group sports or go to the gym.”

Others are more hesitant to take to the roadways.

Kelly Erickson, who has been part of a Duluth running group for a number of years, agrees that the number of runners has likely grown but says their training regimen will be altered dramatically by race cancellations.

Few have had their training interrupted as dramatically as Erickson, who dropped out of Grandma’s three weeks before it officially was called off Tuesday, March 31. She claims long-distance running lowers one’s immunity, something she wasn’t comfortable risking.

“Because of coronavirus, I wanted to drop out and stay healthy.” said Erickson, who runs a small payroll processing company in Duluth. “I had to put my family and business first before I could consider continuing to train.”

Count Jessica Hehir as another runner who has been cautious during this pandemic.

The Duluth resident began running 13 years ago and has competed in a handful of Grandma’s marathons despite being diagnosed with asthma six years ago.

But that breathing issue has her concerned that she is more at-risk for the COVID-19 disease, which attacks the respiratory system.

“I’ve been concerned about having a compromised immune system right now so I have been taking it easy and backing off,” said Hehir, who has reduced her training sessions to between 3-5 miles. “Part of me was relieved that (Grandma’s) was canceled because it takes that pressure off. Once you sign up for a race, no one wants to be the one who quits.”

The higher number of runners out on the roads and trails also concerns Hehir.

“That does make me nervous,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to take a run by where I live near UMD because there’s so many people out. I wouldn’t want to breathe in their exhaust, so to speak. I usually run early in the morning so I feel safe about that.”

McGee, also is an online coach for McMillan Running. Some of her clients live in coronavirus hot spots.

“I have athletes all over the country and the world, and we’re all saying the same thing,” McGee said. “In New York City, I have some athletes waking up at 4 a.m. to run so they can get out before anyone else is out. That’s saving them from despairing about everything going on.”

From the Boston Marathon to the Summer Olympics, races are being canceled or postponed all over the world. Grandma’s, which had been set for June 20, was only the latest and certainly not the last.

“I know so many runners who have had other races canceled and have been looking forward to Grandma’s as a hopeful bright spot in this whole COVID deal,” McGee said. “Maybe by (the time) Grandma’s (was scheduled) we can all resume doing what we love.”

(04/05/2020) ⚡AMP
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On Thursday the City of Toronto implemented a fine of up to $5000 for anyone running or walking and not staying at least two meters apart

On Thursday afternoon, the City of Toronto announced their newest COVID-19 related by law: requiring people in parks and public squares to remain two meters apart (if they don’t live together). It will be in effect for at least the next 30 days and could result in a fine of up to $5,000. The by law and related fine is a result of the growing number of hot spots in the city where people are congregating. Those spots include Sunnybrook Park, Humber Bay Park and Canoe Landing, which are all frequented by runners.

Beyond the mentioned hot spots, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, another popular Toronto running location, was closed to the public on Thursday. CTV News spoke with Josh Matlow, city councilor, who said, “The Mount Pleasant Cemetery, for those of us who live in midtown and people across the city, is a place where we can escape the big city. But far too many people have not been adhering to social distancing.”

The City of Hamilton, as of Friday morning, has closed Bayfront Park for the same reason. This follows last week’s closure of Hamilton-to-Brantford Rail Trail, the Dofasco 2000 Trail and the Lafarge 2000 Trail–all popular running spots.

All tracks in Ontario closed.-  As of this week, the province has closed all outdoor recreation amenities, which includes tracks and sports fields. This is being enforced with officers patrolling the grounds of high school, university and community tracks.

All tracks in Ontario closed.- As of this week, the province has closed all outdoor recreation amenities, which includes tracks and sports fields. This is being enforced with officers patrolling the grounds of high school, university and community tracks.

British Columbia has made a similar announcement.- Last week B.C. also issued a similar notice, closing the province’s recreation facilities and trails.

Where can you run?.- With these closures, runners are encouraged to hit the treadmill if they have one, run in less-popular areas, and try their best to workout at home. While it’s very possible to maintain a two meter distance from another person while running, it’s hard to do so in a crowded area. If you’re finding it hard to keep your distance on your usual running route, try a new one for the time being.

The roads are the best bet for getting mileage in at the moment. Thankfully, traffic is minimal right now, so heading out (especially early in the morning) is a good way to get a solo run done.

(04/03/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Running In The Pandemic Era

Running is a unique sport – a runner may venture out for a solo run around the neighborhood or the track, meet up with a running group or crew to run in a small group setting, or participate in events that bring together hundreds or even thousands of runners. The physical, social, and mental benefits of running are well documented: greater muscular and bone strength, increased cardiovascular endurance, reduced anxiety and depression, and improved mood, among other perks. Who wouldn’t want to join in the fun?

Unfortunately, in our current environment of quarantining and social distancing, sharing the sport of running with others in a group setting isn’t possible, and most events are being cancelled or postponed or moving to virtual options in the coming months.

If you are looking to start running as a means to manage stress and get some exercise, the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) offers advice for getting started on your own!

What do I need?.- Luckily, running requires little physical equipment. Begin by gathering the following: 

Clothing. Ideally wear moisture-wicking fabrics. (Cotton is not one of those fabrics, but if that’s what you’ve got, rock that old concert t-shirt!).

A comfortable pair of athletic shoes. Start with whatever you have paired with a moisture-wicking sock. (Again, avoid cotton here, but work with what you have!)Check with your local run specialty store to see if they are open.As a small business, they need your support so consider getting into some new running gear.

Somewhere to run. Keeping appropriate social distancing in mind, if outdoor activity is still a possibility in your city or state, try walking out your door for a jaunt to the corner or a loop around the block. Check out the multi-use trail your community has invested in. Head to the park or the mountains to enjoy the trails.Check first to determine if they are open.Clear the pile of junk off the old treadmill in the basement!.

A little knowledge.Understand the importance of not going out too hard, too far, too fast if you have not been running regularly in recent weeks or months.

Determination. Cross whatever “finish line” you set for yourself.

Set Goals.- Whenever you start a new activity, be it running, basket weaving, closet organizing, homeschooling, or whatever you’re using to fill your time these days, keep the following goal-setting recommendations in mind:

Use your current fitness level as your starting point. If exercise isn’t a regular part of your routine, work your way up to moving your body a few days each week for 15-20 minutes at a time. If you’re used to hitting the gym or going for walks, your starting point will be a little further down the proverbial road. Follow the RRCA’s 10 Week Getting Started Plan.

Make time for physical activity. If you find yourself working from home and getting used to a new routine, set an alarm on your phone. Add it to your calendar. Whatever you need to do to get out and move at regular intervals during your new schedule.

Start slow. Start short. This most likely means start out with a lot of walking and very little running. Walk around the block, around the neighborhood, or to the grocery store to restock. Get your body used to moving for longer periods of time.The more you walk with short bouts of running, the more your body will start to adapt to the exercise.Your goal right now should be to increase movement without injuring yourself.

Make your goals specific to YOU, not your partner, your neighbor, or that elite runner you saw on Instagram. It might be running a specific distance or length of time without stopping. It might be running a certain number of days each week.

Keep Your Momentum.- Endurance and speed come with time and effort. Find joy in what you’re doing, keep it fun, and focus on the long game. Remember that old “marathon vs. sprint analogy?” It obviously applies to running!

Pick up the pace. Incorporate running into your walks. Run from here to the next driveway (or lamppost, or tree, or whatever landmark you see out there), walk some more, then run again. Run more and walk less as the weeks go by. Running legend Jeff Galloway popularized the run-walk-run method. Check out his books and website for more information.

Understand Muscle Soreness.When you first start running you may experience some muscle soreness. Don’t worry, this normal, and you may notice more on the second day compared to the first day. This is referred to as DOMS or Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness. Do not let it discourage you or keep you from continued movement. But do take a recovery day as needed to reduce the chance of injury.

Challenge yourself and others. Even if you can’t run alongside other people, you can still experience the social benefits of running.

Check out apps like Strava, a social network for endurance sports. Use a mapping tool like Map My Run to find local running routes or create your own. If you’ve got a GPS-enabled watch (Apple, Android, or endurance-specific watches from Garmin, Suunto, Coros, Polar, and others) they’ll have built-in training and social features. These apps and others can track your activities, too, recording distance, time, pace, route, and other metrics.

Have a treadmill? Platforms like Zwift and device-specific services like Peloton Tread and NordicTrack’s iFit let you virtually run all over the world, participate in training sessions, and track your progress.

Switch it up. Running is great, but cycling and weight lifting and Zumba-ing are awesome, too. Many gyms and fitness studios are offering free online content, so try a new cross training workout in your living room!Focus on flexibility and core strength, which is an important aspect of injury prevention for runners.

Rest. Include running-free days in your fitness schedule. Get quality sleep. Acquaint yourself with the yoga mat collecting dust in the corner and follow a running-specific stretch video online. Listen to your body – if you’re not up for running today, try again tomorrow!.

(04/01/2020) ⚡AMP
by Colorado Runner
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OTC Elite runners hoping for late-summer meets

The coronavirus pandemic has postponed the Tokyo Olympics for a year and put the 2020 track and field season on hold indefinitely.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the work has stopped for the athletes.

Several members of the Eugene-based Oregon Track Club Elite professional training group have continued to train, albeit with a modified schedule.

Gyms are closed, as are several local tracks, but the trails are still open, and OTC Elite’s team of middle distance and distance runners are taking advantage.

“Not much has changed for me fortunately,” said Ben Blankenship, a 2016 Olympian in the 1,500 meters. “It’s just going out there alone and being self-disciplined.”

Blankenship has been plotting his return to the Summer Games since his eighth-place finish four years ago in Rio de Janeiro.That didn’t change on Tuesday when the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government agreed to move the Olympics to 2021.

“I was really ready to do something,” Blankenship said. “We were looking at some of those early (spring) Stanford meets to get ready. But now it’s kind of catch your breath and restart. It could almost be looked at as a bonus year, right? So what can you do this year as kind of a bonus?”

Blankenship wasn’t the only runner on OTC Elite gearing up for a spot on the starting line at the Summer Games. Among its 15 members, there are six Olympians, including marathoner Sally Kipyego, who had already qualified for Tokyo with her third-place finish at the women’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials last month in Atlanta.

USA Track & Field has not yet announced whether Kipyego, as well as former Oregon star and men’s marathon winner Galen Rupp, will be able to keep those qualifiers for the 2021 Games or if the marathon qualifier will have to be raced again. The top three finishers in both races in Atlanta qualified for Tokyo.

Also for OTC Elite, Francine Niyonsaba was the 2016 silver medalist in the women’s 800 for Burundi, Hassan Mead (U.S.) and Tom Farrell (Great Britain) were in the men’s 5,000 that year, and Nijel Amos won silver in the men’s 800 for Botswana in 2012 when he was just 18 years old.

Amos had his best season on the track last year since his success in London. He ran under 1:45 in all but one race, and twice broke 1:43, including his season-best of 1:41.89.

Amos wasn’t the only one who excelled in 2019.

Hanna Green is coming off a breakout season as she made her first World Outdoor Championship team for the United States in the women’s 800 after running 1:58.19 for a second-place finish at the U.S. Outdoor Championships.

That success fueled high expectations coming into the 2020 Olympic season.

“Definitely disappointed because I felt like I had a pretty good start and was kind of rolling into another good season,” she said. “You just have to think positive right now because you don’t know what’s going to happen so you don’t want to get into a negative thought process where you’re just worrying. You have to go with the flow.”

Like Blankenship, Green is taking advantage of the trails to get her work in and try and maintain some fitness.

“We’ve definitely stepped back in our training, just to be safe and so our immune systems aren’t being damaged by hard workouts,” Green said. “Once we know if or when there are going to be races we’ll start to build up again.”

The sooner the better, both Blankenship and Green said.

World Athletics said earlier this week it was still hoping to host several one-day meets later in the summer.

“If they could get in those later Diamond League meets that would be awesome, or any meet in general,” Green said. “You just have to stay ready for whatever’s next whenever that may be.”

(03/30/2020) ⚡AMP
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Canadian cities start closing local trails

On Thursday morning, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced that all of the city’s parks and outdoor recreation centres would be closed, effective immediately. This announcement came only two days after Hamilton announced the closure of their conservation areas, which includes the Hamilton-to-Brantford Rail Trail, the Dofasco 2000 Trail and the Lafarge 2000 Trail–all popular running spots.

The closure of public parks, a home away from home for many runners right now, isn’t just happening in Ontario, it’s all across the country. In B.C., the provincial government closed 14 provincial parks yesterday because, as Global news reports,”not enough people are understanding the seriousness of the novel coronavirus pandemic.” In Ottawa, as of Monday evening at 9 p.m., Gatineau Park closed, again, due to public health risks.

In Alberta, the story is similar, with Banff National Park visitor rates soaring over the weekend and the park closing three days later.

While change is difficult for outdoor and exercise enthusiasts, in many cases local trails, paths and parks were becoming overrun with people. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused an obvious running boom. There are massive numbers of people jogging, running, speed walking and working out outside due to the national closure of non-essential businesses (which includes gyms). While Canadians are encouraged to stay active in healthy and safe ways, like running, the number of people hitting the trails was making it very hard to follow the public health guidelines while getting your mileage in.

With these preliminary closures (and certainly more will come), runners are encouraged to hit the treadmill if they have one, run in less-popular areas, and try their best to workout at home.

(03/27/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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No finisher at the Barkley Marathons again this year (also, no race)

Even the legendary Barkley Marathons couldn't make it through a pandemic. The Tennessee ultramarathon was called yesterday and remains without a finisher to the race since John Kelly in 2017.

The ultra trail race was set to take place later this month or early April in Frozen Head State Park. The 100-mile course is limited to 60 hours. It's considered one of the toughest races on the planet in part because it is both physically and mentally exhausting.

There is always a great deal of interest in the race, and this year was no different as Canadian ultra trail runner Gary Robbins was set to make his return to the race after a long recovery from injury.

Robbins hinted that the race would likely be cancelled with a social media post on March 14, but also said that he was ready and was nearing peak fitness in his training.

"I feel like this might be the fittest I’ve ever been heading into the race. Certainly, it’s the best my legs have ever felt at this point in time. Having missed almost two years due to injury, but continuing to train over 500 hours on the bike in 2019, seems to have done nothing but strengthened my body overall," he wrote.

Race founder Gary "Lazarus Lake" Cantrell was working hard to try to make the race happen, even after the U.S. travel ban resulted in a number of European runners having to cancel.

Without a doubt, "Laz" will be back soon enough to enact his unique brand of punishment on unsuspecting runners who might think a run in the Tennessee woods sounds like fun.

(03/21/2020) ⚡AMP
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The Lincoln marathon to offer race virtually

Lincoln Marathon organizers and runners are working to figure out a way to still run the marathon after it was cancelled earlier this week.

On May 3rd 7,000 runners were going to compete in the Lincoln Marathon.

Since the race has been cancelled that's not the case but some runners are still hitting the trails.

Matt Anderson has been gearing up for his fifth half marathon.

"Honestly I wasn't shocked," said Anderson. "I don't think anybody is by all the cancellations that have been going on at this point. We understand and hopefully there will be plenty of opportunities to do it in the future."

While it still needs some fine tuning the Lincoln Marathon organizers decided that racers can run the marathon virtually.

"It won't be the same because you won't all be running at the same time and the same conditions," said Ann Ringlein the manager of Lincoln Running Company. "You can see how many people ran in your age group, so we're trying to make it as close to a race situation and simulation as we can."

The virtual marathon means that runners can make their own path, it just has to be a half or full marathon distance.

"Could run to Bennett Nebraska from here," said Anderson. "You could do a loop around the lake. Heck I could run to South Street and back like 20 times and that would count."

Even though the marathon is cancelled Anderson says there is still a goal to accomplish.

"At the end of the day," said Anderson. "It's still about getting out and running and that's what we have to do."

Lincoln Marathon Officials are still working through the details of the virtual run.

They will update all competitors as soon as they have the logistics figured out.

The runners are expected to get their completion certificate, medal and t-shirt.

(03/19/2020) ⚡AMP
by Nicole Griffith
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Lincoln Marathon

Lincoln Marathon

The Lincoln National Guard Marathon and Half-Marathon is run on a citywide course that starts and finishes on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Runners in both races share a common start and run a loop route past the Nebraska State Capitol, along Sheridan Boulevard, past Union College, along the Highway 2 bike path, past the Lincoln County-City Building...

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How European indoor 5000m record-holder Marc Scott is coping amid the Coronavirus outbreak. Some good advice

The European indoor 5000m record-holder on life in Oregon amid the Covid-19 outbreak and how running at times like these has many benefits.

Some of Britain’s top athletes are sharing insight into how they are coping during the coronavirus outbreak, which continues to cause great uncertainty and disruption to training and competition. Here European indoor 5000m record-holder Marc Scott talks about his own situation and shares some advice for other athletes in a similar position.

“Competitions will be resumed, there is always something to train for!” “So far, here in Portland in the United States, things seem to be going ahead as normal despite all the cancellations everywhere else,” says Scott, who is now back in training after a strong winter season which saw him break Mo Farah’s European indoor 5000m record with 13:08.87 in Boston.

“Nike HQ where we are based has limited the gyms and facilities to current employees and athletes only so that helps. We can still use the track and surrounding trails.”

Training as normal.- “Our coach has told us that we are continuing training as normal, sessions will go ahead unless informed otherwise,” adds the Bowerman Track Club runner.

“We still plan on heading to altitude camp in a few weeks also, because as of now the Olympic Games and other championships are still on! We typically don’t meet in large groups anymore but that’s not restricted training.

“I usually find out my competition schedule after a block of training, based on how that has gone. No cancelled races just yet, fingers crossed.”

Running has many great benefits.- “My top tip would be to ensure you are self isolating whenever necessary,” Scott says. “Maybe the group runs and social events will stop, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go outside for a run on your own!

“Competitions will be resumed, there is always something to train for! So, keep training. Running doesn’t just have a fitness aspect to it, it has many great benefits. It will break up the constant media surrounding us and enable us to get out there and enjoy ourselves.”

(03/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Jessica Whittington
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Until further notice, The Comrades Marathon will go ahead as planned

The Comrades Marathon Association’s (CMA) Board convened an urgent meeting on Monday evening in light of the outbreak of the coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, and the subsequent postponement or cancellation of sporting events and mass gatherings in the country.

Athletics South Africa (ASA), under the auspices of which the Comrades Marathon is held, has aligned itself with the national state of disaster as pronounced by President Cyril Ramaphosa and have taken a decision to postpone with immediate effect all athletics events in the country at all levels for 30 days.

This comes as the President specified strict measures to combat the virus which has been described as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The decision includes the postponement of all school athletics including the ASA National Primary Schools T&F Championships which was scheduled for Pietermaritzburg this week; the postponement of all club and provincial activities, including Fun Runs, Park Runs, Road-Running, Cross Country, Trail Running and Track & Field events; as well as the postponement of all ASA championships.

This comes as the President specified strict measures to combat the virus which has been described as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The decision includes the postponement of all school athletics including the ASA National Primary Schools T&F Championships which was scheduled for Pietermaritzburg this week; the postponement of all club and provincial activities, including Fun Runs, Park Runs, Road-Running, Cross Country, Trail Running and Track & Field events; as well as the postponement of all ASA championships.

Under the ongoing guidance of the government on the virus, as well as ASA and KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA), the CMA Board will review the situation by 17 April and advise Comrades athletes and stakeholders on the way forward, depending on the status of the virus in the country at the time.

CMA chairperson, Cheryl Winn said, “With nearly three months to go to #Comrades2020, the CMA Board has decided that it is premature to postpone this year’s Comrades Marathon. We will however continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and will make a decision by 17 April depending upon how the situation evolves on whether to postpone #Comrades2020 to a date later in the year.”

Winn added: "We will make announcements and issue updates on an ongoing basis. As the CMA Board, we have to consider the best interest and well-being of our athletes, supporters, spectators, volunteers and the public.

With 282 successful substitution applications having been processed since opening of the 2020 substitution period, we urge all Comrades runners to continue with their training preparations for the 95th edition of the Ultimate Human Race.”

(03/17/2020) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

2020 race has been officially cancelled. Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a...

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Ukrainian runner Oleksii Borysenko is missing in Japan

In Japan for the Tokyo Marathon, Ukrainian runner Oleksii Borysenko has been missing since late February.

A search was launched on Monday on Mt. Fuji for Ukrainian marathoner and trail runner Oleksii Borysenko. Borysenko was in Japan for the Tokyo Marathon, but was unable to race due to the cancellation of the mass participation race. He was last seen on February 28 heading into a subway station.

Borysenko, 37, is an accomplished runner and ambassador for Hoka One One Ukraine. In 2019, he posted several impressive results from races across Europe. He ran a 2:37:29 at the Berlin Marathon in September, and later in November he came fifth at the Kyiv City Half-Marathon in 1:14:58 (which, according to his Instagram page, are his PBs at each distance).

He also represented Ukraine at the 2019 Trail World Championships in Miranda do Corvo, Portugal.

The Tokyo Reporter wrote that the search was called off after just one day due to unsafe weather conditions on Mt. Fuji. The rescue team reached an elevation of 3,000 meters before they had to turn around (Mt. Fuji has a total elevation of 3,776 meters). The search is set to resume once the conditions clear up.

(03/11/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon is an annual marathon sporting event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. (2020) The Tokyo Marathon Foundation said it will cancel the running event for non-professional runners as the coronavirus outbreak pressures cities and institutions to scrap large events. Sponsored by Tokyo...

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Great Britain´s Tish Jones has endured injuries, a bike crash and a kidney stone problem but remains focused on the London Marathon

Since running a marathon PB of 2:31:00 in London last year to qualify for the World Championships in Doha, luck has not been on Tish Jones’ side and she has endured injuries, a bike crash and a kidney stone problem among other things.

Speaking from her training base in South Africa, she says she has had “a bumpy road” in recent months – and she is not exaggerating.

The build-up to her first GB appearance in Doha went well, with much of her training done in Colorado, but just before going to the holding camp in Dubai her carbon fiber bike was stolen in Teddington – a blow for an athlete who enjoys mixing cycling with running.

She was then forced to pull out of the marathon in Doha in October with a leg muscle injury.

Then just days later she came off her mountain bike while riding along a trail and broke a bone in her arm and cut her face badly in the crash. This led to her arm being in a sling for a while but she battled on training with Tokyo selection in her sights.

However, 2020 then began with her father suffering a major heart attack and her own training has been troubled by a kidney stone problem.

“It’s been a bit physically and mentally exhausting lately,” she says with some understatement.

Based in Cape Town and covering several hundred kilometers every week on her bike, in addition to running, Jones is used to taking the unconventional route. In her younger days she was not a keen runner at school and instead spent more time horse riding before eventually coming into running after impressing in obstacle course racing.

She has faced plenty of obstacles during recent months of training too. On her bike crash in October, she says: “I’d ridden the trail many times but my front suspension didn’t take kindly to this one chunk of wood that I tried to go over. My wheel planted into it and stuck and my arm collapsed on the handlebar. I landed on my face and my elbow, so I broke my radius.

“I think I was mildly concussed but I got up, checked that I had everything in my pockets and that my teeth were okay because there was blood everywhere. My helmet was crushed on one side and my ear was cut up with gravel. I thought my arm was sore but didn’t realize it was broken. I was at a high point on the mountain so had to ride down, although I realized I couldn’t brake properly so I got off occasionally and carefully made my way back to the gym in the end, where my stuff was.

“When people saw me, they were shocked. I didn’t know how bad my face was. When I got to the emergency room, I ended up being there for six hours until midnight. Although I was fine after that. It was just annoying that all that stuff (bad luck) happened at the same time.”

On her current kidney stone problem, she says: “The doctor didn’t seem too concerned about the size of it so I think I just have to wait and it’ll go of its own accord and I’m keeping myself as hydrated as possible in the meantime.”

The 34-year-old had an injury-hit build-up to London last year, though, but she came good in the end to finish second Brit behind Charlie Purdue and ahead of Lily Partridge, Hayley Carruthers, Tracy Barlow and Sonia Samuels. Jones was unable to run during January but kept fit with cross-training and then packed lots of work into the final two months before taking two minutes off her PB in the big race itself.

“I was devastated not to run in Doha,” she says, adding that the British Athletics team were brilliant in helping her throughher preparations and subsequent difficulties. “The hot climate didn’t matter to me. I wanted to run and I would have dragged myself to the finish. But my coach says it was a blessing that I missed it because I could have come out of it in a bad way.

“I was so upset not to race there though as it was my first British vest. I was in bits. It was like being in mourning afterwards. But with the injury there was no way I could have run it – that was the problem.”

“I don’t have much patience for most things. I lose my temper so easily. But I have patience for running. Everything goes into my running.”

(03/11/2020) ⚡AMP
by Jason Henderson
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Ryan Smith rules men's field, Anne Theisen pulls out women's win at Napa Valley Marathon

The 42nd Annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon and Half Marathon, boasting its largest field ever, did not disappoint on Sunday.

Far from it, in fact.

The field of 5,000 registered runners for the marathon, half marathon and 5K were treated to stellar views, mild weather and the type of hospitality and community feel that have attracted runners from all over the world.

“We kind of need to wait for it to flush out until the very end, but so far so good,” said second-year Race Director Michelle La Sala as the latter half of the marathon field began to come across the finish line at Vintage High School. “We have had lots of happy people finish today, lots of PRs (personal records). It was a really fast day and the weather was great. We’re definitely excited and want to see what we can do from here.”

While a community event in the truest sense, none of the top finishers were Napa Valley natives. Both the men and women’s winners of the full marathon were out-of-staters, but the top finishers in the second annual half marathon hailed from the Bay Area.

With a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 47 seconds, Ryan Smith, 40, of Boulder, Colorado won the full 26.2-mile race on the men’s side, while 47-year old Anne Theisen of Mazama, Washington, was the fastest woman to cross the line, doing so in 2:52:58.

Smith ran alone for the majority of his time on the course on Silverado Trail, which began in Calistoga and ended at Vintage High School in north Napa. He finished almost three minutes ahead of second-place finisher Nicholas Budzyn of Citrus Heights.

Smith said after the race that he actually prefers running alone, and that by looking at previous times he figured that might be a possibility again on Sunday.

“It’s a great marathon,” Smith said. “It’s kind of my jam. I like the low-key ones. It’s just something a bit more mellow and fun about it.”

Sporting a mullet, Budyzn, a collegiate hockey player-turned-endurance runner, had no complaints about his performance.

“I feel like it went great,” he said. “I ran smart but pushed when I wanted to. I was conservatively aggressive and was able to hold it together and finish strong.”

Theisen, meanwhile, had competition nipping at her heels. She came in with arms raised in victory just 20 seconds ahead of Catherine Medvene, 30, of New York. Unlike Smith, Theisen didn’t come in expecting a top finish but that reality showed itself relatively early on.

(03/02/2020) ⚡AMP
by Gus Morris
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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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Rod Waterlow, 82, will be the oldest qualified runner for the 2020 Boston Marathon

Vancouverite Rod Waterlow enjoys running marathons, but it's the fear of death that really keeps him going. 

Waterlow, 82, trains three days a week no matter the weather or how he feels about hitting the trails that day.

"There are days when I just don't want to get up, and I think maybe I won't go today," Waterlow said, sitting next to a pastel-coloured sofa in his modest west-side home.

"And that's the beginning of the end really." 

Waterlow — a chatty chap with a London accent and a lanky build — will be the oldest runner to qualify for the upcoming Boston Marathon on April 20.

At his qualifying race in Oregon last fall, he came in 18 minutes faster than the required time for his age category. At Boston, there will be 15 men older than 80 taking part in the prestigious race, among a total of 30,000 marathoners. 

This will be Waterlow's third time at Boston. It's surprising that he would return — the last time he raced there, in 2014, he fell ill mid-way through and it took him nearly six hours to finish. He was later diagnosed with acute pneumonia. 

But his wife of 47 years, Karen Waterlow, isn't surprised that he keeps on going. 

"If there's something he wants to achieve he'll set out and achieve it," she said.

Waterlow, a former architect and emergency planner for the Vancouver School Board, didn't start running until he was 47.

He was drinking a pint on St. Patrick's Day in 1984 when he found out the friend he was with was training for the Vancouver marathon. Waterlow had never heard of it. 

After his friend completed the race, Waterlow was impressed — and inspired. He signed up for training at the YMCA and ran his first marathon the following year. 

And just like that, he was hooked. Since then, he has raced in over 100 half-marathons and 34 full marathons. Today, he trains three times a week. 

"When I'm really in the zone, I'm not even thinking about it," he said. "It's like a Zen feeling." 

 

(03/02/2020) ⚡AMP
by Maryse Zeidler
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

The 124th Boston Marathon originally scheduled for April 20 was postponed to September 14 and then May 28 it was cancelled for 2020. The next Boston Marathon is scheduled for April 19, 2021. Among the nation’s oldest athletic clubs, the B.A.A. was established in 1887, and, in 1896, more than half of the U.S. Olympic Team at the first modern...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(02/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by Runners World
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28-year-old Megan Youngren will be the First Openly Transgender Athlete to Compete at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

Megan Youngren became one of 63 women at the California International Marathon to officially qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic marathon trials, the race that will determine the team for Tokyo. Her 40th-place finish in 2:43:52 came as both a relief and a reward, after four months of intense training. But it also marked another significant moment: With her qualification, Youngren is set to make history on Feb. 29 as the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials.

“I’m open to talking about it to people because that’s the only way you make progress on stuff like this,” says Youngren, who first started taking hormone medication as a college student in 2011. She came out publicly as transgender in ’12 and finalized paperwork for her transition in ’19.

“To my knowledge, and that of other staff who have been with USATF for many years, we do not recall a trans competitor at our Marathon Trials,” spokesperson Susan Hazzard says. Just last month, Chris Mosier was interviewed by The New York Times as the first transgender athlete to qualify for and participate in an Olympic trials in the gender with which he identifies. Mosier is the first trans man to compete with cisgender men at the 50-kilometer race walk in Santee, Calif. “For me, it’s all about making a pathway for all the trans athletes that come after me,” he told the Times.

In 2013, Youngren started running to lose weight and boost her health after transitioning, and now she primarily races on trails and runs up and down mountains for fun. Youngren says that running helped alleviate any lingering symptoms from a case of shingles. By 2014, she was running consistently, but with little structure to her training. An Alaska native, Youngren ran her first marathon at the 2017 Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks in 4:48, on a course with an unforgiving 3,285 feet of elevation gain and loss. Despite the difficulty and cramping, she credits that race as the one that got her hooked on the 26.2-mile distance.

At the 2019 Los Angeles Marathon, Youngren managed to get her time down to 3:06:42, which propelled her to seek out a sub-three-hour goal for the first time. At the time, she was working at a bakery and her job required a lot of manual labor, but she still managed to fit in runs after work. When the bakery closed in September, it freed up some time in her day to run more, and Youngren’s mileage eventually reached 85 per week, with the majority on trails.

“I thought that if I worked incredibly hard and took some huge risks that I could run a 2:45,” Youngren says. “People will try to put it down by saying, ‘That’s too easy because you’re trans.’ But what about the 500 other women who will qualify? There’s probably someone with the exact same story. I trained hard. I got lucky. I dodged injuries. I raced a lot, and it worked out for me. That’s the story for a lot of other people, too.”

Before the California International Marathon, Youngren’s previous PR was a 2:52:33 set in August at the Anchorage RunFest’s Humpy’s Marathon, where she battled heavy winds and was on qualifying pace through 18 miles.

“I’ve had multiple times this year when I thought I was going to hit that time but then fell apart,” Youngren says. “This time, it was really hard but I made it through. The race itself broke me mentally.”

(02/13/2020) ⚡AMP
by Chris Chavez
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Tibi Ușeriu has finished the Yukon Arctic Ultra race and said The road seemed at one point without end

Fabian Imfeld from Switzerland was able to maintain his comfortable lead all the way to the finish line. After a stay at Pelly Farm that Fabian considers his home away from home, he went back to the Pelly Crossing Finish line. It has been really great to see him come in. All the way he had done very well. Always positive and in a good mood. Fabian had already been with us last year and had experienced issues with a bit of frostbite which meant he could not finish. Not this time! Congratulations!

Tiberiu Useriu has got a similar story. He tried the 430 last year and got very bad frostbite – even though he had already considerable experience with cold weather races. I was very happy to see that, instead of trying to overtake Fabian, which I am sure he wanted with all his heart, he actually took the rest his body needed. Lesson learned. Tibi finished. Zero problems with frostbite this time.

The Romanian also has a very interesting story and I think it is okay if I share it here. In his home country he is famous for  his athletic achievement but also his life change. The short version is that he had a very difficult youth and I am sure a lot of people would have thought that his entire life would go the wrong way. A lost case for society. He stumbled and fell. Tibi realised he needed to change and he got up again. Now he is helping kids in Romania who are faced with the same or similar problems to get back on track. Doing these races he can show them that anything is possible. And he is leading a project with a great team of people to create a permanently marked long distance hike trail in Romania. An exciting project that creates jobs and will help with tourism. Congratulations, Tibi! And good luck with your work!

As those two were approaching the finish line we had still hopes that Patrick O Toole and Paul Deasy from Ireland would also get to Pelly. However, Patrick had to be pulled at McCabe due frostbite on a finger. Paul originally left that checkpoint but about 10 km in he experienced stomach problems and just could not get warm. So, he made the right decision and did not continue.

All athletes and crew arrived safely back in Whitehorse. Some hours ago we had a very nice little party at the Coast High Country Inn. Trail stories were exchanged and I have seen a lot of happy faces.

Safe trip home everyone!

(02/09/2020) ⚡AMP
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Yukon Artic ultra 300 miler

Yukon Artic ultra 300 miler

The Yukon Arctic Ultra is the world's coldest and toughest ultra! Quite simply the world's coldest and toughest ultra. 430 miles of snow, ice, temperatures as low as -40°C and relentless wilderness, the YUA is an incredible undertaking. The Montane® Yukon Arctic Ultra (MYAU) follows the Yukon Quest trail, the trail of the world's toughest Sled Dog Race. Where dog...

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Linda Carrier, 57, is ready for global challenge

Upon crossing the finish line of a marathon, endorphins high and glowing with accomplishment, any devoted runner might start thinking about the next one.

In a few weeks, Linda Carrier will finish six laps of a seven-kilometer ice airstrip in Antarctica and board a plane, not for home in Pinehurst, but to Cape Town, South Africa.

There will be another race to run 12 hours hence.

Going from subzero temperatures to a summer day will call for a wardrobe overhaul, but a half day and 2,500 miles after finishing the first marathon, Carrier will set off on another 26-mile course.

That’s just the first leg of the World Marathon Challenge, which will see Carrier and 40 other runners from around the world run seven marathons on seven continents. They have all of 168 hours to do it.

Extreme athleticism has been in vogue for a while as a way to subvert midlife crisis, but Carrier took up running as a teenager soon after she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She first ran a half marathon in 1995 at 33, and has been gradually pushing her physical boundaries ever since.

Carrier has run more than 100 marathons and half-marathons. Not just any marathons, either: Berlin, Chicago, New York, London, Tokyo and three times at Boston. She celebrated her 50th birthday by running a 50-mile trail ultramarathon in Washington state.

“I never let diabetes define me". She said. When she was diagnosed with diabetes, there was no question of slipping into inactivity as she learned to give herself insulin and moderate food intake.

“Running added to the complexity of the equation, but my doctors said it was really helping,” she said.

Carrier dove into distance running on a lark. She ran her first marathon in Honolulu with friends and hoped, at best, to come through it alive.

As forms of exercise go, running is easily the most accessible. There’s no equipment needed, aside from a decent pair of shoes, and any trail or stretch of road will suffice for a course. It wasn’t long before Carrier started noticing her fellow runners’ shirts, and the names of groups that transcend national boundaries and unite people who make a hobby of running regular marathons.

She was soon drawn into the fold and found herself ticking off all the boxes: qualifying for Boston, then onto the other major cities. Now 57, Carrier has run marathons in 29 states, which means she only has 21 to go.

“The key to this schedule is you start out and just start to build,” she said. “Her training schedule basically got it where I was learning to run on tired legs. Running seven marathons and flying over 33,000 miles straight, through all of the time zone changes and running in different temperatures, you’re going to be tired.”

“Linda is an inspiration to so many within the diabetes community as she represents our goal of helping individuals with diabetes live longer, healthier lives,” said Mark Grant, vice president of the Americas region for the Diabetes Group at Medtronic. “We are humbled that our MiniMed 670G has supported her journey, and look forward to following her future successes.”

(01/30/2020) ⚡AMP
by Mary Kage Murphy
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World Marathon Challenge

World Marathon Challenge

The World Marathon Challenge ® is a logistical and physical challenge to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Competitors must run the standard 42.2 km marathon distance in Antarctica, Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and North America within 168 hours, or seven days. The clock starts when the first marathon begins in Antarctica. ...

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More People Are Running Ultras Than Ever Before That’s not a guess. It’s a scientific fact.

Ultrarunning has become more mainstream over the past few decades as many runners have turned their attention to the trails to go beyond 26.2.

That’s not just an opinion, it’s a scientific fact backed by the research conducted by RunRepeat and the International Association of Ultrarunning, which teamed up to examine 5,010,730 race results from 15,451 races—roughly 80 percent of all ultras believed to have taken place worldwide since 1996.

With that much data, we can safely make some conclusions about the sport and where it’s headed. (You can read the entire report RunRepeat.) Here’s what stood out to our Runner’s World editors.  

It’s no surprise that as ultramarathons enter the mainstream, more people are signing up for races. This is a huge change compared to road races—5Ks have seen a decline since 2015, according to a RunRepeat and World Athletics study, while marathons have leveled off. In comparison, ultras have grown 345 percent since 1996 from 34,401 ultrarunners in 1996 to 611,098 in 2018.

That’s not to say everyone is doing the extreme distances. In fact, only about a quarter of ultrarunners prefer distances over 50 miles .

There is still a massive gender disparity in the ultrarunning world. In 2018, only 16 percent of race participants were female. Yikes! Work needs to be done to rectify that, but the current trend is promising.

That 16 percent represents around 97,700 women, whereas around 4,800 total women competed in ultras in 1996. The overall percentage still needs to tighten up, but it is exciting to see that there have never been more women going beyond 26.2 than right now.

Most numbers seem to point up in the study, except for the average pace we see in races longer than 26.2. On average, ultrarunners are moving at about at 13:16-per-mile pace. That’s 1:41 per mile more than in 1996 when the average pace was 11:35. This is likely because of the increase in amateur participation.

That becomes clearer when we look at the longer race paces that actually become faster when the race is longer. Over 50 miles is typically where you’ll find the most dedicated ultrarunners, which translates to more training and faster times. With this is mind, it also makes sense that the longer distance paces have remained fairly steady over the years whereas the 50K distance has seen the biggest slow down in pace, going down more than 2 and a half minutes slower than in 1996—a 23-percent change.

The average pace may be declining, but females are gaining on—and even passing in some circumstances—the men.

Women have slowed down from a 12:25 to a 13:23—40 seconds—at all distances above the marathon. However, men have slowed down from 11:24 to a 13:21—a 1:57 difference. Yes, that’s a two-second difference between the average paces for the genders.

However, women, on average, are faster than men by 0.6% during races longer than 195 miles. We think Courtney Dauwalter, Camille Herron, and Maggie Guterl would agree with that information.

The average age of participants has gone down by a little over the last decade—43.3 years old to 42.3. It’s not a huge shift, but it’s still a sign that the participants are skewing a little younger.

That’s unlike the rest of the running world that has seen all race’s average ages steadily increase since 1996. When we look at the 5K to marathon, the average age goes up from 39.3 to 42.5, according to a RunRepeat and World Athletics study. The study states this is likely because of more dedicated runners sticking with it into their 60s and 70s.

Don’t let age fool you though. Anyone can run. Take it from George Etzweiler and Gene Dykes.The Demographic Is Getting Younger

The average age of participants has gone down by a little over the last decade—43.3 years old to 42.3. It’s not a huge shift, but it’s still a sign that the participants are skewing a little younger.

That’s unlike the rest of the running world that has seen all race’s average ages steadily increase since 1996. When we look at the 5K to marathon, the average age goes up from 39.3 to 42.5, according to a RunRepeat and World Athletics study. The study states this is likely because of more dedicated runners sticking with it into their 60s and 70s.

Don’t let age fool you though. Anyone can run. Take it from George Etzweiler and Gene Dykes.

The U.S. does Lag Behind the Rest of the World.  Some of the best ultarunning talent in the world might come from the U.S. for both men and women, but overall, the country’s average pace is ranked eighth. Taking the podium spots when it comes to average speed over all distances beyond 26.2 miles are:

South Africa (10:36 average pace). Sweden (11:56). Germany (12:01)

After that, the Netherlands (12:41), United Kingdom (12:44), Belgium (13:03), and Australia (13:18) rank ahead of the U.S (13:22).

(01/26/2020) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Maegan Krifchin And Recent Georgia Tech Grad Avery Bartlett Join Atlanta Track Club Elite

As the Olympic year approaches, Atlanta Track Club Elite announced Friday that it has added a middle distance star and a marathon standout to its team of Olympic hopeful athletes.

Recent Georgia Tech graduate Avery Bartlett will begin his professional career in Atlanta starting with the 2020 indoor track and field season. Bartlett is the 2018 ACC Champion in the 800m. He holds the second fastest 800m and 1500m times in school history. His 1:47.54 set in 2019 trails only Atlanta Track Club Elite teammate Brandon Lasater (1:47.38, 2015) on the Yellow Jacket all-time list.

Bartlett was born in Atlanta but grew up in Tallahassee, Florida. He returned to Atlanta to study at Georgia Tech, the school from which both his parents, his grandfather and great grandfather all graduated.

“This city has always meant a lot to me. I see putting on an Atlanta Track Club singlet as my way to fully contribute to the city’s success,” said Bartlett. “Atlanta Track Club gives me the opportunity to train with some of the best and put my limits to the test.”

Bartlett joins a talented group of middle distance men in Atlanta which includes Lasater and Abraham Alvarado, the 1,000m runner up at the 2019 USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships.

With just 11 weeks until Atlanta hosts the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, veteran marathon star Maegan Krifchin has returned to Atlanta to train with Atlanta Track Club Elite. Krifchin, who placed 7th in the 2016 Trials, comes to Atlanta after training in Washington D.C. She previously ran with the Club in 2017. The Long Island, New York native and Syracuse University alum holds a personal best of 2:32:47 in the marathon and 1:09:51 in the half marathon.

“I came to Atlanta Track Club to be part of a community where I can support others and they can support me,” said Krifchin. “I thrive in this kind of environment and I am excited to see what we can do together.”

Krifchin is one of eight Atlanta Track Club athletes qualified for the Trials which will be held on February 29. Bridget Belyeu, Laurie Knowles, Lacey Krout, Morgan VanGorder, Wilkerson Given and Matt McDonald are also qualified for the race.

“Avery and Maegan each bring new talent, experience and personality to Atlanta Track Club Elite,” said Coach Amy Begley. “We look forward to seeing Avery compete with the nation’s best this season and to have Maegan join the hometown team competing for a spot in Tokyo.”

Founded in 2015, Atlanta Track Club Elite is sponsored by Mizuno USA and coached by Amy and Andrew Begley.

(01/21/2020) ⚡AMP
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China dominates as You Peiquan and Xiang Fuzhao take titles at the Vibram Hong Kong 100

Mainland Chinese runners dominate the field on both the men’s and women’s side

China’s top trail runners were certainly not deterred from coming to Hong Kong given the city’s ongoing political protest scene, as the top spots was claimed by a mainland runner in the men’s and women’s categories at the HK100, a 103 km course that is based around the city’s famous MacLehose Trail.

You Peiquan won the men’s division with a time of 10:00:17, while Xiang Fuzhao won the women’s division with a time of 11:28:59. Yo led for most of the race in his attempt and set a new course record. He said he has only been competing for two years and has only now figured out how to master his nutrition for races. Yo also said he doesn’t have a coach, runs a lot on his own and mostly does laps on an empty stomach on a track to train.

“I started off very excited and might have overdone it,” said Yo through translation, who came first in the Captsone 60K and the Devil’s Ridge 60K last year. “For the last two hills I basically had to walk.”

China’s Jing Liang came second with a time of 10:33:10, and compatriot Deng Guomin with a time of 10:39:28, came third for the men. The race features less than 100 racers over two divisions.

Xiang, who finished second last year in the HK100 in more than 12 hours, said she felt good at the halfway point and then kept building from there.

“I said at the press conference that I would like to win in my third year,” said Xiang, who beat her time from 2019 by around 58 minutes. “This year I wanted to take it a bit more aggressively and at the midpoint I was already 20 minutes ahead. A lot of running is a mathematical game I think, looking, assessing and adding your times, and after that it was all about catching more time as I went on.”

She said this year came down to having more people help her prepare for the race.

“A lot of it was having a sponsor and a lot of support from everyone around me, and accommodation and training. And most importantly today I really wanted to be the champion.”

 

(01/20/2020) ⚡AMP
by Patrick Blennerhassett
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Vibram Hong Kong 100 Ultra trail

Vibram Hong Kong 100 Ultra trail

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

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Ultra runners are prepared for 2020 Yukon Arctic Ultra

On January 30 at Shipyards Park, more than 60 athletes from 16 nations will converge on Whitehorse to begin the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra, one of the coldest, toughest, ultramarathons in the world.

Since 2003, the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra (MYAU) has been held every February along the Yukon Quest Trail – the route of the 1,000-mile sled dog race.

A cumulative total of nearly 900 hardy souls have toed the start line in Whitehorse next to the Yukon River to cover their choice of four distances along this brutally cold and challenging trail, with a marathon, 100 and 300 mile races.

Every second year there is also a 430 distance, which is the case again in 2021. In 2020 an expected 65 athletes from 16 countries will compete, with more than half signed up for the 300-mile race.

The 300-mile race sees athletes travel to Pelly Farm, there they will leave the river to turn around and go to Pelly Crossing on the farm road.

“Once again we have an amazing race roster with great athletes from all over the world,” said Robert Pollhammer, MYAU race director. “It’s a perfect mixture between veterans, newcomers and athletes returning to finish unfinished business. As always, I keep my fingers crossed that they all reach their respective goals.”

Athletes can complete their chosen distance either on foot, fat bike, or cross country skis.

Shelley Gellatly is a local racer and is a 300-mile finisher. This year, she will attempt the trek to Pelly Crossing again, this time on skis.

Gellatly has been involved in the race since it’s inauguration and was inspired to try it as a way to see the Yukon Quest trail.

“I did it the first time in ‘03 because I wanted to see the trail,” said Gellatly. “I originally thought I would try and mush the trail but realized I didn’t have the cash or the knowledge and thought this would be a great chance to see it.

“I’ve been involved every year. It’s really fun and interesting.”

During the race, competitors are expected to be self-sufficient, towing food and shelter behind them in heavily laden sleds called ‘pulks’ and melting snow to provide water.

Night temperatures can reach as low as -50 C, which when coupled with windchill and sheer physical exhaustion can be not just challenging, but extremely dangerous. Situations which under normal circumstances would be inconsequential can become life-threatening.

This year is the 17th edition of the race. There have been 891 participants, including 2019 so far. Forty-one nations have been represented. In order of most representation are Canada, UK, Germany, Italy, United States and Denmark.

 

(01/18/2020) ⚡AMP
by John Tonin
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Yukon Artic ultra 300 miler

Yukon Artic ultra 300 miler

The Yukon Arctic Ultra is the world's coldest and toughest ultra! Quite simply the world's coldest and toughest ultra. 430 miles of snow, ice, temperatures as low as -40°C and relentless wilderness, the YUA is an incredible undertaking. The Montane® Yukon Arctic Ultra (MYAU) follows the Yukon Quest trail, the trail of the world's toughest Sled Dog Race. Where dog...

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