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Articles tagged #Trail running
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Kilian Jornet falls short of Pikes Peak Marathon record as Maude Mathys obliterates women’s mark set last year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(08/25/2019) ⚡AMP
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Pike's Peak Marathon

Pike's Peak Marathon

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

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Yes, raw speed helps. But it isn’t everything. Why Older Runners Have an Edge in Ultra Races

There were two first-time winners at last weekend’s Leadville Trail 100 Run, as Ryan Smith of Boulder, Colorado, and Magdalena Boulet from Berkeley, California, persevered on the out-and-back course in the Colorado Rockies. Smith won the men’s race in a time of 16:33:24, while Boulet finished in 20:18:06 and, in a salute to her Western environs, broke the tape wearing a black Stetson hat.

Beyond their individual triumphs, Smith and Boulet also chalked one up for the 40+ demographic; Smith turned 40 this year, while Boulet is a spry 46. For those keeping score, this is actually the second consecutive year where both the male and female winners at Leadville were in their fifth decade. In 2018, it was Rob Krar (41) and Outside contributing editor Katie Arnold (46) who stood atop the podium in a race which is among the oldest 100-milers in the country and bears the prestige of being included in the so-called “Grand Slam of Ultrarunning.”

How to account for this quadragenarian dominance? Road racing snobs might point out that the field size in ultras is generally quite small and that these events are hence less competitive than big city marathons with thousands of participants. This year, the Leadville 100 had fewer than 400 finishers. Then there’s the fact that the elite ultrarunning scene, despite its increased mainstream visibility over the past decade, is still largely unprofessional, in the sense that weekend warriors can carry the day at certain marquee events. Smith works full-time as a software engineer, and Boulet is VP of research and development at GU Energy Labs. While this amateur spirit might be a point of pride for ultrarunners who don’t want their sport to devolve into the doping-riddled morass that is professional track and field, one could argue that it also subtly discourages the best pro distance athletes (i.e. Kenyan and Ethiopian runners) from turning to the trails. This, in turn, makes the podium perpetually attainable for the super-fit middle-aged hobbyist.

But maybe there’s more to it than that. Given the amount of stuff that can go wrong when you’re running 100 miles in the mountains, perhaps more “mature” athletes might have an advantage when raw speed is less essential than psychological resilience.

“Ultrarunning is about problem solving and being fast is just one piece in a larger puzzle,” says Boulet, who was back at work on Monday morning. “There are so many other pieces that need to fall into place in order to have a successful race.”

Boulet would know. In 2015, she triumphed at Western States, arguably the most vaunted ultra on U.S. soil. Last year, she won the Marathon des Sables, a 156-mile, six-day stage race in the Sahara Desert that frequently gets cited as one of the world’s most difficult races.

Boulet also has the rare distinction of having successfully transitioned into the world of ultrarunning after a previous career as a pro marathoner and road racer. In 2008, she made the U.S. Olympic team in the marathon. The following year she was the first American woman (sixth overall) at the NYC Marathon. With the exception of Kara Goucher, who contested her first trail marathon earlier this summer, Boulet is surely the most accomplished road racer to take a serious shot at competitive trail running.

“I was able to bring the experience from my marathon and road career into trail racing, but with a lot more experience and a lot more patience,” she says. “I’m a lot kinder to myself and my body.”

For his part, Sands, who describes himself as a “serious amateur,” agrees with Boulet that being the best pure runner is only one factor when a race involves one hundred miles of elevation change, gnarly terrain, and volatile weather. Unlike in shorter road races, where it is much more feasible to execute a race plan to perfection, in ultras the objective isn’t so much to avoid mishaps, as to make the best of it when they inevitably happen. 

“Typically success in these longer events is not about getting everything dialed next to perfectly, because that’s just so rare,” Sands notes. “It’s really about, when some issue arises and you’re faced with a challenge, how well can you react in the moment to overcome it.”

This latter point reminded me of a recent email exchange I had with Robert Johnson, the editor and co-founder of Letsrun.com and a road-racing snob if ever there was one. Johnson made the point that one thing he finds intriguing about ultras is that there is still an aspect of the “unknown.” He noted that training for traditional distance running had more or less been “solved”; everyone already knows, more or less, how to prepare for races. Ultra-running, on the other hand, is still very much an undiscovered country.

Boulet agrees with this assessment.

“After twelve years of doing marathons, I got to the point where I had that formula dialed-in really well with my coach. We could look at a block of training and know what that translates into [performance-wise]. It was very predictable,” she says.

But the ultra scene offers enough potential variation that, Boulet notes, each race can necessitate its own specific training cycle. In the lead-up to Marathon des Sables, for instance, she spent weeks running on sand.

“For someone who is older, ultras are really exciting because you’re not doing the same thing over and over. They keep changing,” Boulet says.

“I think that’s also a key to longevity in the sport. To keep it interesting—and fun.”

(08/24/2019) ⚡AMP
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Kilian Jornet crushed Sierre-Zinal, and has now set his sights on Pikes Peak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pike's Peak Marathon

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

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Skyrace apologizes for men-only prizes at the Dolomyths Skyrace in Canazei Italy

There was some controversy at the Dolomyths Skyrace in Canazei, Italy last weekend. The Salomon Golden Trail Series event is a 22K race gaining 1,700 metres in elevation, and course records were broken in both the men and women’s races. Davide Magnini of Italy won in 2:00:28, while Judith Wyder of Switzerland won her first Skyrace in 2:18:51.

When the race organizers highlighted the elite men in the Vertical Kilometre presentation as well as a surprise bonus for breaking the two-hour barrier at the awards ceremony but did not offer a similar bonus for the women, trail running athletes shared their concerns.

Second-place finisher Ruth Croft of New Zealand expressed her disappointment at the unequal representation at the awards ceremony, describing it as “a reoccurring topic in our sport.” The Dolomyths Skyrace claims to treat men and women equally in their races, and apologized after the fact, explaining their decisions. That there was a presentation for the men’s Vertical Kilometre race and not the women’s was due to a limited number of registered runners and availability of athletes, they said.

The Dolomyths organizers also explained the two-hour barrier men’s prizing was a last-minute decision, and one they acknowledge and regret. In response to the controversy, race organizers have decided to have a time barrier for the women’s race in the future. In their apology, the organizers requested that those affected by the decisions investigate further before judging.

Athletes present at the Dolomyths Skyrace were not the only ones sharing concern about the discrepancy.  Trail runner Sandi Nypaver commented on the organizers’ apology, writing, “As a high-level race, they need to set the example and not make last-minute decisions that are poorly thought through.

They could have been very clear beforehand that women were not available for the presentation or delayed the presentation until more women arrived. Of course people will make assumptions when things are not publicly stated. With that said, I greatly applaud the race for admitting mistakes were made and making sure they don’t happen again.”

After initially sharing concerns, Western States 2019 winner Clare Gallagher commented her relief at the formal apology made by Dolomyths Skyrace, writing, “So glad to read this. A great example for other races that might also have made honest mistakes in not having equal prizes, representation, bonuses, or other areas where women haven’t been treated equally. We can have productive discussions and create solutions!”

(08/10/2019) ⚡AMP
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Taking care of your feet is one of the most important things a runner can do

Here are some preventative measures you can take to prevent swelling in your feet as you rack up the miles.

Finding the correct form for your body while running is very important for keeping your run as low impact as possible. There is much debate about what type of strike on the ground is best for your foot and body when you run, but a lot of the conversation has resided on the agreement that it depends on your gait and body type what will work best for you.

If you are a beginner start out with an easy pace until your body becomes more used to the regular motion can help you to control the impact of your run on your body. Practicing different form techniques to see what feels best for your feet and body can help you learn what foot strike causes the least amount of discomfort for you during and after your run.

Wearing proper shoes is very important.  Make sure they fit your foot correctly. There are many types of running shoes out there that are suitable for varying needs. Going to a running shoe store and having a representative assess your gait and foot strike as you run can help to determine what the best shoe for you.

Finding footwear that is breathable and allows for your feet to remain cool as you run can help prevent foot swelling as well. 

Staying hydrated is without question one of the most important things you can do for all of your bodily functions. Our bodies are mostly made of water, and dehydration can occur easily when we’re spending our days sweating it out on a run. The average person needs anywhere from 2 to 2.5 liters of water daily, and if you’re an avid runner, chances are you need more.

Maintaining a balanced diet is essential to healthy living. As a runner, your food is your fuel, and keeping your energy up is important. If you are exhausted, so is your body, and so are your feet. Eating food that is low in sodium can help you to reduce swelling and bloating in your body overall. This includes your feet, which are the furthest point from your heart and need good circulation to stay happy and healthy.

Sodium rich foods are usually processed, and the salt is sneakily hidden amongst the ingredients in the nutrition facts section. Staying away from processed food will help keep your sodium intake low. Try snacking on nuts, fruits, and vegetables instead of grabbing a bag of chips and you’ll notice a difference in how your feet respond to your run.

Your feet have muscles groups like the rest of your body, and they must be properly strengthened to prevent injury and swelling. Using resistance bands or doing toe raises can strengthen weak feet, making them more resistant to the impact of your foot strike when running. Strengthening your feet will also help you improve your gait.

Rest is also important. Marathon running is something a lot of runners enjoy, some like to jog only, or participate in trail running through parks and mountainous areas. No matter where it is you like to run, making sure to take the time to rest your body can help prevent swelling and other complications from running.

Massaging your feet or foot soaks with Epsom salts are excellent ways to care for your feet. Taking the time to raise your legs after you run for 15 to 20 minutes can help improve circulation after a run, helping to prevent or reduce any swelling that might set in after a day of pounding the pavement.

(07/22/2019) ⚡AMP
by Colorado Runner
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Cancellation of 2019 Hardrock 100 because the trail is not in good shape because of heavy snow during the winter doesn’t deter ultra community

There may not be a 2019 running of the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run through the San Juan Mountains, but there will be plenty of trail running events that will provide ultra-running enthusiasts a chance to interact with some of the world’s best athletes.

A week of activities kicked off Sunday in Durango, as running stars Anna Frost, François D’haene, Dakota Jones and Hardrock 100 director Dale Garland will gather at the Durango Outdoor Exchange for a public meet and greet and run.

“I think everyone loves talking about Hardrock and running,” said Frost, a two-time Hardrock 100 champion originally from New Zealand who now also calls Durango home. “It’s a great opportunity for us to have these world-class athletes right here in Durango as well as having the race director of Hardrock here.”

D’haene was one the favorites to win this year’s Hardrock 100 but will have to wait until next year to run for his first chance to kiss the rock, as this year’s run was canceled after a winter of heavy snow that resulted in avalanche debris making many sections of the 100.5-mile loop from Silverton to Telluride, Ouray and Lake City and back to Silverton impassable. There was also big concern about high water with a late runoff from the melting snow.

France’s D’haene, a four-time Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc champion and UTMB course record holder, had planned to spend time running in the San Juan Mountains to prepare for this year’s Hardrock, and he still traveled to Southwest Colorado despite the race cancellation that was announced June 10.

“François D’haene, in my mind, is probably the best runner on the planet in terms of consistency and skill at ultra-running,” Frost said. “He has so much experience. He had a baby boy and was coming for Hardrock and decided to still come anyway. He’s pretty dedicated to his commitment to coming for Hardrock.”

Garland has yet to meet D’haene in person and is eager for him to join the Hardrock community this weekend.

“It does mean a lot when somebody of his stature and with his prestige in the ultra-running community says, you know what, it’s worth it for me to not blow this thing off and rearrange my schedule, I’m still going to enjoy the San Juan Mountains and still gonna be part of the Hardrock community,” Garland said.

Durango’s Jones also will be in attendance along with representatives from Salomon running. Frost said there will be several gear giveaways as well as a donation box to benefit the Silverton community and help mitigate the economic impact of there not being a race this year.

“I know Salomon is doing a special work day on Monday, so they are giving back and being part of the community, which I think is really cool,” Garland said.

(07/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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Hardrock 100

Hardrock 100

Due to historic snowfall, avalanches, avalanche debris, an inability to reach certain aid stations and uncertain conditions on more than 40% of the course, the 2019 Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run has been canceled. The start date for 2020 is July 17. 100-mile run with 33,050 feet of climb and 33,050 feet of descent for a total elevation change of...

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British athlete Kristian Morgan is aiming to set a new world record for running the iconic 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail

Starting on July 1st, the inov-8 ambassador hopes to break the highly sought-after speed record of 41 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes, set last year by Belgian dentist Karel Sabbe, and held previously by ultramarathon running legends like Scott Jurek and Karl Meltzer. If successful it will be an official Guinness World Record.

To do this, the 42-year-old aims to run and fast-hike about 55 miles a day, sleep between 5 and 7 hours a night and consume approximately 8,000 calories a day.

His “secret weapon” will be revolutionary inov-8 graphene shoes, giving him the world’s toughest grip for the world’s toughest trail running challenge.

The Appalachian Trail (AT) is hugely popular with thru-hikers, most of whom take 5 to 7 months to complete the route, which climbs the equivalent of 16 times Mount Everest. Kristian hopes to do it all in less than 6 weeks.

To put it into perspective, Kristian will attempt to run back-to-back marathons, plus a little more, every day, covering a distance equal to two-and-a-half completions of Land’s End to John o’ Groats (the length of Britain).

Running northbound from Georgia to Maine on the Eastern side of the United States, Kristian will pass through 14 states and be supported throughout by his mum and cousin, who will drive ahead and set up overnight camps at scheduled stops.

“I decided long ago that I wanted to live a life rich in experiences over possessions, and I can think of no better experience than running the AT. It’s going to be the adventure of a lifetime,” said Kristian, who has run 120+ marathons and ultramarathon events.

“I supported Karel when he set the record last year, spending 15 days on the trail with him. I also spent another 5 days on the trail earlier this year. I feel all this experience, coupled with the help I’ve had in planning from AT veterans, stands me in good stead to have a go at the world record.”

Living out of a camper van in the heart of London for the last eight years and working as a self-employed ultramarathon coach, Kristian has done most of his training in and around England’s capital city, often running 100+ repetitions of a small hill near Crystal Palace.

He added: “Life on the AT will be very different to life in London, but I can’t wait to get going. I’ll start running at 4am each day in the dark and push on until reaching the overnight camp. I’m really looking forward to the peace and tranquillity, but less so the prospect of encountering bears and snakes. Meeting a bear in the dark is my biggest fear!”

The AT speed record is one of the most high-profile in the sport of ultramarathon running. Kristian has been able to gain advice from legends like Jurek and Meltzer, plus invaluable support from Warren Doyle – a man who has thru-hiked the AT 18 times.

(07/02/2019) ⚡AMP
by Richard Bolt
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Kara Goucher says the Leadville Trail Marathon was the hardest thing she'd ever done

Former elite US marathoner Kara Goucher was the fifth female across the finish line and first in her 40-49 age group at Leadville Trail Marathon in the Colorado Rockies. “Without a doubt, the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she tweeted–quite a statement from a two-time Olympian, world championship silver medallist, and two-time Boston Marathon third-place finisher.

Goucher has blogged about the experience of transitioning from the roads to the trails on her sponsor Oiselle’s blog, where she also dispenses advice to those considering (or executing) a similar transition.

It seems road running and trail running are, well, quite different. For one thing, terrain and weather conditions play havoc with road runners’ expectations regarding time and pace, which are mostly beyond anyone’s control. (Goucher’s time was 3:54:07.)

"I pushed beyond any limit I ever have, thanks for making me find out what I’m made of when the going gets rough!” Goucher said in another tweet. Goucher told Runners World that she was vomiting repeatedly from altitude sickness throughout the race.

Tara Richardson of Glenwood Springs, Colo., Jana Willsey of Denver and Corinne Shalvoy of Castle Rock went 1, 2 and 3 for the top three females while Joshua Lund of Boulder, Pat Cade of Leadville and Chad Trammell of Anchorage stood on the men’s podium (which also happened to be the M30-39 podium).

The course runs through old mining roads and trails, reaching a maximum elevation of 13,185 feet (4,019m). This was the race’s 19th year.

(06/24/2019) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Leadville Trail Marathon

Leadville Trail Marathon

Run through the historic mining district’s challenging old mining roads and trails, and hit a high of 13,185 feet at Mosquito Pass during the Blueprint for Athletes Leadville Trail Marathon or Heavy Half Marathon. The views will leave you breathless, if you’re not already. This exciting race is hosted in the Historic Mining District located on the east side of...

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Henri Lehkonen is more prepared than ever for the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run

The Hong Kong-based Australian Henri Lehmonrn will run the Western States 100 with a power monitor attached to his shoe and will stick religiously to a predetermined wattage.

“It’s been a revelation. If I lost the thing, I’d buy another tomorrow,” he said. “It’s a miracle way to control yourself in racing.”

Lehkonen believes it is better than other similar metrics, like heart rate, because it removes variables like excitement or altitude.

“I’ve done enough races now when I’ve not followed the watch and I’ve blown up, and when I’ve followed the watch and I’m tearing past people at the end,” he said. “I follow it for the first third – that’s where the damage is done if you over exert yourself. Then you get the adrenaline from passing people.”

And it is working. In March, he ran the 100km Ultra Trail Australia (UTA). He was 69th after 1km, but finished 11th in a highly competitive field.

Power meters are common in sports like cycling, but are yet to be taken up widespread in trail running. Lehkonen was introduced to the meter by his coach Andy Dubois, who crunches the data to give him an accurate power curve for his races.

Aside from the gadgets, Lehkonen is leaving no stone unturned. It is notoriously hard to win a place at WSER100. Hopefuls enter a lottery, and improve their chances by entering the lottery multiple years in a row. This was Lehkonen’s third year submitting an application, which is relatively quick.

“It’s Western States. It’s that big and it’s hard to get into, so I’m viewing it as all in,” he said.

He flew to California for a weekend to look at the course. The race directors organised a three-day event where runners could do the last 112km of the course, with some of the checkpoints set up.

(06/21/2019) ⚡AMP
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Western States 100

Western States 100

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

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The two-time Olympian and world championship silver-medallist Kara Goucher wins age group at Leadville Trail Marathon

Former elite US marathoner Kara Goucher was the fifth female across the finish line and first in her 40-49 age group at yesterday’s Leadville Trail Marathon in the Colorado Rockies. “Without a doubt, the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she tweeted–quite a statement from a two-time Olympian, world championship silver medallist, and two-time Boston Marathon third-place finisher.}

Goucher has blogged about the experience of transitioning from the roads to the trails on her sponsor Oiselle’s blog, where she also dispenses advice to those considering (or executing) a similar transition. It seems road running and trail running are, well, quite different. For one thing, terrain and weather conditions play havoc with road runners’ expectations regarding time and pace, which are mostly beyond anyone’s control. (Goucher’s time yesterday was 3:54:07.)

Tara Richardson of Glenwood Springs, Colo., Jana Willsey of Denver and Corinne Shalvoy of Castle Rock went 1, 2 and 3 for the top three females while Joshua Lund of Boulder, Pat Cade of Leadville and Chad Trammell of Anchorage stood on the men’s podium 

(06/17/2019) ⚡AMP
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A Response from a Proud “Lazy Parasite” Trail Runner

Marc Peruzzi’s recent Ouside magazine column about trail work clearly touched a nerve in the running community. Part of his argument is fair criticism, but he got some important things wrong.

I’ve been a competitive trail runner for over a decade; I’ve participated in some of the most well-known and competitive ultras around the world, including the Barkley Marathons, the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, and the Western States Endurance Run.

I’ve also been a human rights lawyer for about the same period of time, and I take a deep interest in how we in the trail and ultrarunning community contribute to broader society. I know I’m not alone in this—as trail runners, many of us pride ourselves on being responsible stewards of our environment and contributing members in the outdoor sports community. We pick up trash left behind on the trails by inconsiderate urbanites. We don’t cut switchbacks, and we know how deep a hole to dig to bury our own poop (minimum: six inches).

We see ourselves as the “good ones”—runners who lightly tiptoe along mountain and forest paths, leaving no trace. Our intimate connection with the outdoors makes us protective of the wilderness that we enjoy, and that is something we hold tightly as part of our culture and identity as runners.

Given all that, it’s no surprise that when Outside published an article on May 22 calling trail runners “lazy parasites” and “deadbeats,” the reaction from the trail and ultrarunning community was swift and fierce. The writer, Marc Peruzzi, claimed that we simply aren’t pulling our weight when it comes to trail work. “When compared to mountain bikers and hikers, trail runners are the least likely to volunteer to build and maintain trails,” Peruzzi wrote. Leaning heavily on anecdotal evidence to back up his views, Peruzzi tried to hit us right where he knew it would hurt—and it did.

Candice Burt, an elite ultrarunner and the race director of the Triple Crown 200 mile series, wrote in a response on her website that she was shocked when she read the article. “I have no issue with asking user groups to do more to give back,” she wrote. “However, this article was not so much a call to action as it was a full on insulting diatribe aimed at my community.” For her part, Burt wrote about how she organizes an annual volunteer work party to maintain trails that would otherwise cease to exist, and how her company donates over $20,000 to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association for building and maintaining trails. “Trail running and stewardship are my life,” she wrote, “[It] has always been an important part of the trail running culture.” Many others in the trail community echoed her reaction.

A number of prominent ultramarathon races in North America in addition to Fat Dog and Burt’s 200 mile race series, require volunteer service from entrants, typically in the form of eight hours of trail maintenance. (Peruzzi briefly acknowledged this in his story.) These races include the Western States Endurance Run, the Vermont 100 Endurance Race, Angeles Crest 100 miler, and the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run. 

In short, we in the trail running community know that we aren’t the lazy parasites and deadbeats Peruzzi claims we are. So why does he have this impression? And are we taking his criticism so personally because there is a kernel of truth to it? Could we be doing more?

The short answer is yes, we could be doing more. Adam Chase, the President of the American Trail Running Association (ATRA), responded to Peruzzi’s article on Facebook by saying: “I must confess. We are guilty as charged…we need [to do] more. A lot more.” Indeed, as trail running continues to increase in popularity, it will become even more important that we expand our volunteer and conservation efforts.

Clare Gallagher, an elite ultrarunner and environmental activist, has not been shy in calling us out on this and urging us to do more, long before Peruzzi’s story was published. “If we are not engaging with the politics of public land protections, we are freeloading,” she wrote in September 2017.

While I’m more than willing to admit that we need to do more as a community, I refuse to accept the suggestion that we are lazy deadbeats who “are the least likely to volunteer to build and maintain trails,” as Peruzzi claims.

Does that mean that we aren’t deeply involved at a grassroots level or that we don’t care? Hell no. We may be a ragtag bunch, but we are compassionate and committed. From the moment I joined this community, I understood that the expectation was to give back, whether through trail work, guided running for visually impaired athletes, or simply picking up garbage left behind by others. Advertising these good deeds was certainly not required, and it was maybe even discouraged. 

But rather than engage in a pissing contest with our fellow athletes over who is doing more to protect our common lands, I’d prefer to join forces to make us all more effective. 

The definition of a parasite is something that exists by taking from or depending on something else. In that sense, I will happily embrace Peruzzi’s label. I am a trail running parasite: I truly rely on the trails to exist. For that reason, I see it as my duty to ensure that the trails I run on—and all the ones I haven’t yet—are protected. I will do this by working alongside my trail running companions, and learning from my mountain biking colleagues. The only way to make progress on these issues is to band together, not drive each other apart. As for the rest of Peruzzi’s article? Well, it’s going in a six-inch hole, where it belongs. See you out on the trail.

(Editor’s note:  this is a condensed version of Stephanie’s article.  Click on the link to read her entire article.). 

(06/09/2019) ⚡AMP
by Stephanie Case for Outside Online
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Nicky Spinks will lead the way at Trail Skills for Ultrarunners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(06/03/2019) ⚡AMP
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Kami Semick won every Ultra race she entered in 2009 and now is making a comeback

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lake Sonoma 50

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

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Leanne Szeto wants to become the top Hong Kong women’s finisher at the Standard Chartered Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

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

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The king of the trails, Rene Villalobos is a 59-year-old plumber with 350 ultras under his belt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(02/02/2019) ⚡AMP
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Vlad Ixel traded his alcohol and cigarette addiction for an addiction to trail running

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(12/17/2018) ⚡AMP
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Chinese runner Yan Longfei is having great success from the marathon and beyond

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

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

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

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

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

(12/15/2018) ⚡AMP
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Vibram Hong Kong 100 was elevated to Series in the Ultra-Trail® World Tour

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

Tom Evans is among a top line-up of confirmed elite runners for next year’s Western States 100. The world trail bronze medallist is one of 10 runners invited by organisers of the Ultra Trail World Tour, which includes the Western States 100.  Also due to take part in the world’s oldest 100-mile trail event on June 29, 2019, is Italy’s Francesca Canepa, who won the main UTMB race this year, and Spain’s Jordi Gamito Baus, who was second on this year’s UTWT standings. Britain’s Beth Pascall, who was fourth in this year’s UTMB, is another who will be heading Stateside. Evans wrote on Twitter: “So excited to announce that I will be racing Western States 100 next year! It will be my first 100 mile race. I can’t wait for the highs and lows of training to get to the start line. It’s going to be one big journey." The race from Squaw Valley to Urban along the Western States Trail was established in 1977 and has since become one of the world’s toughest and most prestigious trail running contests. (11/29/2018) ⚡AMP
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Camille Herron is back and better than ever after suffering a quad injury

Herron transitioned to trail running in 2016 and promptly set a course record by 27 minutes at the Ultra Race of Champions 100K in 9:36:05—and did it while drinking a Rogue Ales Dead Guy Ale during the last few miles of the race, which has since become part of her racing strategy.

In June 2017, Camille Herron competed in Comrades Marathon, a race in South Africa known for its 55-miles of torturous mountainous climbs. She crossed the line first by over four minutes, and became the third American ever to win the race.

Then in November, Herron not only won her first 100-mile race at the Tunnel Hill 100, but broke the World Record for the women’s 100-mile distance by over an hour.

During the race, she averaged a pace of 7:38 per mile. For Herron, running is not only a sport, but an extension of her identity; she is voracious in her pursuit of distance, but she has fun, too.

She looks forward to her post-run bacon and beer and, the night before big races, Herron brings a speaker to host dance parties. Sometimes she’s still dancing the next morning on the start line. This year, Herron was poised to return to the 2018 Comrades race in the best shape of her life.

However, in late May of 2018, just weeks before she was set to toe the line, she tried a new quad strengthening routine she found on YouTube. Always one to push herself to the limits, Herron found herself limping in the days that followed, due to a stress reaction of the femur and she withdrew from Comrades.

Weeks later, realizing she could not run at all, she withdrew from the 2018 Western States Endurance Run as well. Herron, 36, who now splits her time between Alamosa, Colorado, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, took her first steps back running eight weeks ago and recently completed a 114.6-mile week of training.  Camille is back and will be racing soon.

(11/15/2018) ⚡AMP
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South African's Karkloof 100 miler has been selected as a qualifying race for Western States 2020

The Karkloof100 is a 100 Mile Endurance Race, one of only a few such races in South Africa and only one of two 100-milers in KwaZulu-Natal. The Karkloof, renowned for its indigenous forests, wetlands and grasslands is an ideal setting for the extreme challenge that aims to push the boundaries of Trail Running in South Africa by attracting top class, local and international field to compete over what is considered the ultimate distance in trail running. The organizers are very excited because the race is now going to be a qualifying race by Western States 100.  John Redinger, President, Western States 100, wrote, “We are pleased to inform you that 2019 Karkloof 100 has been selected as a qualifying race for the 2020 Western States 100. Runners who complete the race within your time limit will qualify to enter a lottery where the runners for Western States will be selected. The qualifying period for the 2020 Western States will be from November 5, 2018 through November 3, 2019. The lottery will be held on December 7, 2019 and the race itself will be run on June 27-28, 2020.”  (11/05/2018) ⚡AMP
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Running the trails around Estes Park helped Kelsey Persyn win her first marathon

Kelsey Persyn won the Aspen Backcountry Marathon on Saturday, her first.   "It feels pretty cool. It's something I didn't expect, but I'm really happy that it happened. It kind of fueled my fire. I really want to get more into trail racing." Persyn, 22, was the top female finisher in Saturday's full marathon, which was essentially a 26-mile loop around — and up and over — Red Mountain, finishing at Rio Grande Park. She completed the race in 3 hours, 57 minutes, 55.71 seconds, which was good for 10th overall. This wasn't Persyn's first win in Aspen, as she also won the 2016 Aspen Valley Half Marathon, a road race, in 1:24:31. She ran track and cross country at Texas A&M before graduating this past May. She has been working as a park ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park this summer, and plans to make the move to Colorado more permanent. Running the trails around Estes Park helped her adjust to the altitude in Aspen. Saturday's race also happened to be her first full marathon. She hopes to race in the New York City Marathon in November. "I was kind of nervous in the beginning," Persyn said of Saturday's trail marathon. "Knowing you can overcome something like that is a really, really awesome feeling. It was just amazing. Trail running is great because time flies by, there is amazing scenery. It's just a really cool experience." (08/13/2018) ⚡AMP
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Mark Garrigan ran his first ultramarathon in 2012 and that race planted a seed to pursue a dream to build a trail running community in his home state

Mark’s big goal is to bring people together to run on trails. That message is all over the nurun co. website, which he designed, and it really drives every decision he makes. Mark enjoys introducing people to trail and ultra running and he is always very excited to welcome new trail runners to his races. He puts on training runs leading up to this events and is always there to answer any questions or help runners with their concerns.  As a race director, Mark’s appreciation for everyone who runs his races starts with a hand written thank you note sent to them after they register.  Besides planning and directing races and other trail events, Mark also designs all the logos and graphics for T-shirts, medals, signs, and the website. To say he puts his heart and soul into this would be an understatement. “I got into trail and ultra running because of… a girl,” said Garrigan. “I met her at my former place of employment and it just so happened she was on a relay team for a 50 miler. Since the team was full, I thought it would be a good idea to tell her I was running the solo event. Little did I know, I would not only fall in love with and marry that girl, I would also fall in love with a sport I didn’t even know existed.” Since his passion was ignited for trail running, he has completed a variety of races from marathon distance to 100 miles. What he found in the sport was an endless supply of inspiration, encouragement, and optimism. “It’s amazingly obvious how awesome the people in the trail and ultra community are,” said Garrigan.   (07/14/2018) ⚡AMP
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80-year-old Russ Kiernan Running the Dipsea for the 49th time

Mill Valley's Russ Kiernan is a three-time Dipsea champion, a member of the Hall of Fame and now perhaps the race's most recognized and beloved figure.  Kiernan's résumé remains unparalleled. His records of 27 top-ten, 19 top-five and 15 top-three finishes will stand for eons. Safe, forever, is his record of 11 Double Dipsea wins. His fastest Dipsea time was a sensational 51:23, at age 42, in 1980. Ten consecutive years (1999-2008), he recorded an actual running time (in minutes) below his age (in years), a feat only a handful of other runners have ever achieved even once. A unique aspect of Kiernan's Dipsea career is that, unlike other of the race's all-time greats, he was never a nationally top-ranked runner - although he was in the mixed horse riding/trail running discipline of Ride and Tie. "I did well in the Dipsea because I have always been a good and fearless downhiller, rarely got injured, and I trained long and hard on the course," Kiernan says. "And I knew the legal shortcuts!" Kiernan taught in San Francisco public elementary and middle schools for decades. It was at San Miguel Elementary School in the City that he met wife Marilyn, a kindergarten teacher, and they just celebrated their 50th anniversary. They had one child together, Kari, 47, and also raised Heywood Bowser, 46, through foster care. Bowser now has two children at Tamalpais High, with Russ and Marilyn living right across the street. At 80, Kiernan, not unexpectedly, has his share of medical woes. He is losing some vision to glaucoma and making a few wrong turns. He's had bouts with skin cancer. He is having a surgical procedure on his leg just nine days before the Dipsea. But on June 10, Russ will be at the Dipsea start line for a 49th time. You'll recognize him by the loudest cheers.      (06/02/2018) ⚡AMP
by Barry Spitz
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Seven reasons to Swap the Treadmill for Trail Running

Twenty-nine-year-old ultramarathon runner Sho Gray keeps busy as a cross country and track coach, minister, and volunteer, but he still makes time for the occasional “3 to 6-hour jaunt” through the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As an ultramarathoner, Gray has finished eight races of 100 miles or more. He ranked eleventh in the world last year for the men’s 12-hour race, but his ultimate goal is to hold the world title for the 24-hour race.  On average, Gray runs six days a week, and four of those days are spent on the trails. According to him, running on a treadmill or track may help you with speed, but trail running allows for more growth. As he puts it, “Treadmills teach you to build a rhythm, track workouts teach you to run fast, and trail running teaches you to enjoy the moment and build strength.” An ultramarathon runner wouldn’t choose to spend the majority of his training time on the trails if there weren’t numerous benefits. Here are seven benefits. 1. The ground is soft on your feet. 2. The uneven terrain helps you build strength. 3. You feel compelled to run farther. 4. You become a more well-rounded runner. 5. You feel freer. 6. You get to appreciate the natural world. 7. Trail running gives you perspective. (05/13/2018) ⚡AMP
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Trail running and racing is more popular than ever and it does requires you to be more alert

Trail running is a fantastic way to soak up the great outdoors. The uneven nature of trails requires a decent level of awareness which - in the long run - may help improve balance and coordination. The surfaces are often softer than the pavement, which will take the stress off joints. It may require a journey out of suburbia, but the serenity is worth the trip alone.  However, several risks present themselves with trail running. A constant level of alertness is required with the rough terrain to avoid slipping and tripping on obstacles.  Specially designed shoes will help and here is why: trail running shoes are generally more sturdy than the average Running shoe.  The Mountain Safety Council suggests when planning a trail run you should consider how long you are running for, the terrain you are running on, what the weather is doing and your fitness level. Other items worth carrying include: water, sunscreen, a First Aid kit, a communication device and perhaps some insect repellent.   (05/05/2018) ⚡AMP
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Indian team is ready for the Trail World Championships

Trail running in India received a much-needed boost from the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) after the sports body selected six Indian ultra runners, up from two last year, to represent the country at the 2018 Trail World Championships to be held at Penyagolosa, Castellon in Spain on May 12 this year. The AFI selected team is Aakriti Verma, Kieren Dsouza, Ajit Singh Narwal, Ullas Hosahalli Narayana, Lokesh Kumar Meena, and Sampathkumar Subramanian for the Championships.  Ultra trail runner Ajit Singh Narwal says, “It’s a fantastic feeling to see the sport gaining traction in the country. And this is merely the championship team. The number of people starting to run trails has increased manifold in last few years in India, that’s great news. So excited for the future of the sport in India.”  (05/02/2018) ⚡AMP
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Using Poles can greatly add to a more efficient trail running experience

Poles can greatly add to a more efficient trail running experience, primarily while walking on uphills. Poles are especially useful in longer in trail running races with lots of sustained or steep terrain. Walking with poles can be a good way to conserve leg power as it allows athletes to engage otherwise unused muscles in the upper body. Poles can also be helpful on very steep uphills with loose footing. In these situations racers can take up body weight with the upper body and reduce foot slip. On steep downhills the use of poles can aid balance and stability. While striding with poles, keep your hands relaxed get into a natural rhythm. Let momentum & gravity swing the pole forward. (04/05/2018) ⚡AMP
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Bend Oregon ranks with any Town in America as a Trail running destination

This Pacific Northwest gem sports miles of trails and open road for runners.Situated in central Oregon on the eastern flanks of the Cascade Mountains, it has both numerous nearby trail running options around town and a seemingly endless array of long-haul routes at higher elevations. Because of its small-town convenience, adventure-oriented population and 300 days of sunshine per year, Bend ranks with any town in America as a trail running destination.“Bend is an amazing place to live as a runner,” says Max King, elite trail, road and track runner. “For me it’s the combination of trails right from town; an amazing outdoor community where you get runners that bike and swim and do everything; and two great specialty running stores with several events a week that tie everything together.” (03/11/2018) ⚡AMP
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‪Ditch the road and hit the trails running with these tips for beginners!‬

There’s some ridiculously fast trail runners out there. It’s like they glide over rocks and roots. I am not one of those people. You will run slower on trails than on the road, especially as a beginner. It takes time to build up your speed. Base your runs on how you feel rather than what your pace is. Going for time rather than mileage is also a good place to start. If it takes you 45 minutes to run 5 miles on the road, aim to run for 45 minutes on the trail. You may not make it to 5 miles but the effort will probably be the same. Pay Attention to the Trail: It’s very tempting to look around at all the beauty that’s around you while on the trails but once you do, you’ll probably end up doing a face plant. Look down at the ground and a few feet in front of you to pick your path of direction. And be sure to pick your feet up. No shuffling! If you do, you’ll be face planting non stop. Use your Arms: Of course we use our arms in road running but even more so in trail running. By keeping your arms out a little wider, it will help with balance as you change direct or if you need to hop over something...Whatever you do, have fun! There’s bound to be a trail system near you no matter where you live from urban to rural. Give it a try and maybe you’ll be a believer in the saying, “The road to hell is PAVED!” (03/06/2018) ⚡AMP
by Happy Fit Mama
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Top eight America’s Cities for Trail Running - number eight is NY Central Park!

You don’t have to go far to hit these sweet trails 1. Santa Fe, New Mexico The Dale Ball Trails 2. Boulder, Colorado with more than 200 miles of trails 3. Madison, Wisconsin winding around and between four lakes 4. Austin, Texas with 19,000 acres of parks 5. Ann Arbor, Michigan Potawatomi Trail offers up 17.5 miles of trails 6. Washington, DC 2,000-acre Rock Creek Park 7. Nashville, Tennessee Warner Park Trails system 8. New York, New York No, that’s not a misprint, there are dozens of miles of trails in Central Park. Trail Running at it's best. (02/20/2018) ⚡AMP
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Their new hobby is Speed mountaineering and long-distance trail running.

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

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

On January 6 through the 7th in Bandera, Texas the Tejas Trails organization will host its 8th USA Track & Field trail running championships and 16th running of the Bandera 100k. The venue, the Hill Country, northwest of San Antonio Texas. The Bandera 100k is one of the toughest trail runs in Texas, as well as the oldest 100km. It's beautiful, fun, and incredibly well- supported. (01/02/2018) ⚡AMP
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Ultra Running Picture Of the Year 2017

Jessie Haynes at Western States 100 about to cross the American River. It is that time of the year when the ultra and trail running aficionados go crazy at the prospect of another Western States Endurance Run (WSER) – the oldest 100-mile race in the USA and the one with the legendary story of Gordy Ainsleigh and a lame horse. With 18.000ft of climb and 22.000ft of downhill, the race has in the past been full of incredible stories. This photo gives you the feel of the race. (12/12/2017) ⚡AMP
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