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Articles tagged #Ultra
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Canada’s Trishul Cherns completes his 300th ultra, Cherns's ultrarunning career has spanned more than 43 years

On a cool Saturday morning in West Orange, New Jersey, Canadian ultrarunning legend, Trishul Cherns, completed his 300th ultramarathon at the Squatchy Leftovers Maple Leaf 50K. At 64, Cherns’s ultrarunning career has stretched over 43 years and he has no intentions of stopping anytime soon.

We sat down with him to talk about his 300th run, his storied career and his plans for the future.

The Squatchy Leftovers Maple Leaf 50K consisted of 10 five-kilometer loops through the trails, and was named both for the group that organized the event (the Sassquad Trail Runners) and for Cherns himself (the maple leaf is a nod to his Canadian roots). While you would expect someone to feel sore and tired after the day after running 50 kilometers, Cherns spoke as though he’d merely jogged around the block. “I recover very fast, and so that’s the blessing,” he says. “I could go and do it again today.”

Of course, anyone who knows Cherns’s history in the sport would not be surprised to hear that. He is best known as a multi-day racer, and throughout his career, he has represented Canada in many international competitions.

He has broken more than 110 Canadian ultrarunning records and has accumulated more than 73,000 kilometers in ultras, which have included events as short as 50K and as long as 1,000 miles (1,600 km) on the roads, trails and track. “That’s just ultramarathon racing kilometers — that doesn’t mean training or marathons,” he says.

Cherns has been on the podium at dozens of races over the years. “I’ve been first, second and third, and have even placed last in some races, so I’ve done it all,” he says. Out of all of the races he’s done, his most memorable was a 24-hour race in Burlington, Ont. He won, but that wasn’t the reason it holds such a special place in his memory. It’s because his parents were on the sidelines. “There’s something special about winning a race and having your parents there to watch,” he says.

Throughout his career, Cherns has watched the world of ultras change dramatically. Manual timing has been replaced with timing chips, cotton T-shirts have been ditched for technical materials and runners can listen to music now from their phones, rather than carrying around a cassette player. “The technology has been fantastic,” he says. “It’s made the progress of ultrarunning much better and made it more visible.”

Cherns is excited about the growing popularity of ultra events, particularly in the women’s field. “There are more and more women doing the sport, and that’s fantastic,” he says. That growth has fuelled a rapid improvement in performances as well, and over the past several years, records have fallen time and time again. “Before at an ultra race you’d have maybe 20 people coming out,” says Cherns. “Now you have 150 people coming out.”

Cherns attributes a lot of this growth to the spiritual side of ultrarunning that you don’t get with any other sport or running distance. “When you go these great distances, whether it’s 100K, 200K — more than the marathon — it becomes much more of a spiritual journey,” he says. “You feel more alive when you do an ultra, you feel more vibrant.” He explains that because you’re left with yourself during an ultra, you have more of an opportunity to connect with yourself on a mental, emotional and spiritual level.

“When you run a 5K or 10K, it’s a physical effort,” he says. “When you run 50K or 100K, 10 times the distance, it becomes much more than just physical. It becomes an emotional test, a mental test, it becomes a journey.”

He also credits the ultra community for fuelling the growth of the sport, noting that unlike a marathon or other road races, ultras are less about the competition and more about the camaraderie between yourself and other runners. You’re no longer running against people, you’re running with them.

As he nears his 65th birthday, Cherns notes that he no longer has a 30-year-old body (even if his mind thinks he does). His goals have shifted as he’s gotten older, from performance and placing to getting across as many finish lines as he can. “I no longer run to compete, I run to complete,” he says. “But if I can compete, then great.”

Cherns’s goal is to have the longest ultrarunning career in history. The record is 59 years, which means he’ll have to continue competing in ultras at least until he’s 81. “I did my first ultra at 21 — can I do this for 70 years until my 90s?” he says. “That’s what I’m after.” Cherns also has his eye on crossing the 100,000 km mark in ultra races, and completing more than 500 (or 600, or 700) ultras.

“I enjoy each and every journey. Each race is different and presents a different challenge,” he says. “But to me, from the goal point of view, that’s what I’m after.”

(11/30/2021) Views: 12 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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The Fine Art of Balancing Running and Parenting

By now, just about everyone has seen the videos on TikTok or Instagram with a hiker in the backcountry using the same audio clip. All their friends are getting married and having kids, but not them - they're adventurers. The obvious flaw with these videos is that those inspired by the outdoors can still have kids, get outside and have epic days.

Do you have less time and other constraints? Sure, but getting out there could be more important than ever for parents. The benefits of the outdoors and exercise are proven to have a positive impact on anyone's life. With the new stresses of becoming a mom or dad and everything that goes into parenting, it can be even more of a necessity.

"I feel like trail running has been so beneficial because I like being in the outdoors. I am a type of person that likes to be alone to run, I think because I have four kids, which can be chaotic so it's kind of like my peace," says Verna Volker, a trail runner, mother, and advocate whose work with her own indigenous community has helped elevate her voice. "I feel like it's helped me get outside and just to be a better parent, a better mom to my kids and kind of release all my stress, and it feels like coming home."

Volker just completed her first ultra race, the 100K at the Javelina Jundred in Arizona. More than 60 miles is a challenge for anyone, but can be even trickier while raising four children.

"I was excited to accomplish the 100K, but at the same time, it was like the drive and the motivation behind it was just very spiritual for me," says Volker. "I think in that way it's been really beneficial. It also keeps me goal-oriented, because as a mom we oftentimes put our kids before ourselves. And so it really has driven me. This is my time, this is my goal."

Volker isn't alone in feeling that way. The science supports that running can help parents better navigate their lives.

"We say a lot that running makes you a more patient parent for sure. It makes you a more productive worker. It makes you a more loving spouse," says Dimity McDowell, the co-founder of Another Mother Runner, an online running group aimed at mothers and women, in general, to help provide resources for runners of all levels. "Basically, when you run you get out and do the thing that brings you joy and makes you feel competent and powerful."

McDowell's organization has created a community through social media and podcasts to reaffirm the benefits of running and how it can dovetail with all the challenges of parenting.

Keep Moving

Lack of sleep, poor eating habits and a host of other issues can impact new and longtime parents. It's easy to see how these lifestyle changes and demands can stifle an active lifestyle. 

It also creates a new contradiction of being exhausted even though they haven't even stepped outside. A University of Pittsburgh study highlighted this paradox, following different groups of people to see how life changes led to lower levels of activity. The study found that single and married people more or less kept the same level of activity, but once people became parents, their activity level slowed.

Analysts found that many parents had an all-or-nothing approach, so if they couldn't be all in on their activities, they would opt for skipping them altogether. However, research shows that even a little bit of exercise can be beneficial, even if it's not as much as you hope to get.

"Running is obviously one of the most efficient forms of exercise. You can get out for a 20-minute run and feel great and you can leave from your front door. There's minimal equipment," says McDowell. "It gives you time to process things that may have happened, as far as trying to figure out a situation with your partner or with your kid. I mean, kids can be really challenging, right?"

The good news is that going for a run is more than just a healthy activity for a parent; it also provides an opportunity to be a role model for your children. Multiple studies show that more active parents raise more active children and instill a passion for getting into the outdoors that will make any outdoor-loving parent proud.

Getting Out There

With any lifestyle change there are new stress factors. Facing that stress is necessary to staying mentally healthy. Most of us have experienced the stress relief brought about by a great run, and that's not just in your head. The pandemic led to a surge in people getting outdoors for comfort and created plenty of data to back this up.

Outside Magazine highlighted one study that showed how nature positively impacts your body's chemicals, reduces stress hormones and lowers blood pressure. In the long term, it helps decrease the anxiety associated with significant life changes.

While not every runner has quick access to trails, those who can make time for it can benefit from being in nature.

"If it's available to you, go in without headphones and just really tune into the powerful being that you are and what you're feeling," says McDowell. "I think it's so grounding and so helpful and mind-clearing. I also think it's good for beginning runners. It can be really beneficial because you have to be focused on the trail in front of you."

Preparing for Uphill Challenges

When it comes to being an active parent, simplicity is key. Whether that's running down the road or training for an ultra, time can be one of the biggest challenges. And for many, that means early mornings, working with their partners to find time or even hiring a babysitter.

"It can be hard if you have a partner or a spouse who does not understand your need to run or your interest in running," says McDowell. "Running is more time away from family, so it's important to sit down and have a family meeting and say these are my workouts for the week. It's especially important if you are training for something that requires more time."

"My husband's really great about taking the kids. When they were younger, he would come home at lunch for me to run," says Volker. "Also, when they were younger, I would wake up early, like 4:00 a.m. Now, I still like waking up early and having time to run for me. Then I can get home in time for anything else."

As a parent, time spent running may be more exclusive, but at the same time, you get to enjoy new trail days with a small companion who's seeing the epicness of the outdoors for the first time. 

"I think that it's just really fun when your kids start to join you and start running," says Volker. "Just give yourself grace. I always tell people I started running in the midst of motherhood, and I had three little boys, so you're tired, but somehow you make it through."

(11/28/2021) Views: 26 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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China's ultramarathon tragedy and the survivors threatened for speaking out

When Zhang Xiaotao woke up he was in a cave and somebody had lit a fire to keep him warm. He had no idea how he'd got there.

Zhang's frozen unconscious body had been found by a passing shepherd who'd wrapped him in a quilt and carried him over his shoulders to safety. He was one of the lucky ones.

In May this year, 21 competitors died at an ultra-running event in northern China hit by extreme weather conditions: hail, heavy rain and intense gales caused temperatures to plummet, and nobody seemed prepared for it.

Only a small number felt comfortable talking about what happened - and some have been threatened for doing so.

The sun was out on race day in Baiyin, a former mining area in China's Gansu province. Some 172 athletes were ready to run 62 miles (100km) through the Yellow River Stone Forest national park.

The organisers were expecting good conditions - they'd had mild weather the previous three years. They had even arranged for some of the competitors' cold-weather gear to be moved forward along the course so they could pick it up later in the day.

But soon after Zhang arrived at the start line, a cold wind began to blow. Some runners gathered in a nearby gift shop to take shelter, many of them shivering in their short-sleeved tops and shorts.

Zhang started the race well. He was among the quickest to reach the first checkpoint, making light work of the rugged mountain trails. Things started to go badly wrong just before the second checkpoint, some 20km into the course.

"I was halfway up the mountain when hail started to fall," he later wrote in a post on Chinese social media. "My face was pummelled by ice and my vision was blurred, making it difficult to see the path clearly."

Still, Zhang went on. He overtook Huang Guanjun, the men's hearing-impaired marathon winner at China's 2019 National Paralympic Games, who was struggling badly. He went across to another runner, Wu Panrong, with whom he'd been keeping pace since the start.

Wu was shaking and his voice was trembling as he spoke. Zhang put his arm around him and the pair continued together, but quickly the wind became so strong, and the ground so slippery, that they were forced to separate.

As Zhang continued to ascend, he was overpowered by the wind, with gusts reaching up to 55mph. He'd forced himself up from the ground many times, but now because of the freezing cold he began to lose control of his limbs. The temperature felt like -5C. This time when he fell down he couldn't get back up.

Thinking fast, Zhang covered himself with an insulation blanket. He took out his GPS tracker, pressed the SOS button, and passed out.

Closer to the back of the field, another runner, who goes by the alias Liuluo Nanfang, was hit by the frozen rain. It felt like bullets against his face.

As he progressed he saw somebody walking towards him, coming down from the top of the mountain. The runner said it was too cold, that he couldn't stand it and was retiring.

But Nanfang, like Zhang, decided to keep going. The higher he climbed, the stronger the wind and the colder he felt. He saw a few more competitors coming down on his way up the mountain. His whole body was soaking wet, including his shoes and socks.

When he finally did realise he had to stop, he found a relatively sheltered spot and tried to get warm. He took out his insulation blanket, wrapping it around his body. It was instantly blown away by the wind as he'd lost almost all sensation and control in his fingers. He put one in his mouth, holding it for a long time, but it didn't help.

As Nanfang now started to head back down the mountain, his vision was blurred and he was shaking. He felt very confused but knew he had to persist.

Halfway down he met a member of the rescue team that had been dispatched after the weather turned. He was directed to a wooden hut. Inside, there were at least 10 others who had decided to withdraw before him. About an hour later that number had reached around 50. Some spoke of seeing competitors collapsed by the side of the road, frothing at their mouths.

"When they said this, their eyes were red," Nanfang later wrote on social media.

Zhang, meanwhile, had been rescued by the shepherd, who'd taken off his wet clothes and wrapped him in a quilt. Inside the cave, he wasn't alone.

When he came to, about an hour later, there were other runners also taking refuge there, some of whom had also been saved by the shepherd. The group had been waiting for him to wake up so they could descend the mountain together.

At the bottom, medics and armed police were waiting. More than 1,200 rescuers were deployed throughout the night, assisted by thermal-imaging drones and radar detectors, according to state media.

The following morning, authorities confirmed that 21 people died, including Huang, who Zhang overtook, and Wu, the runner he'd kept pace with at the start of the race.

A report later found that organisers failed to take action despite warnings of inclement weather in the run up to the event.

As news of the deaths broke on social media, many people questioned how the tragedy could have happened. Some competitors, such as Zhang and Nanfang, chose to write about their experiences online to help people understand what it was like.

But Zhang's post, written under the name 'Brother Tao is running', disappeared shortly after it was published.

When Caixin - a Beijing-based news website - re-uploaded his testimony, a new post appeared on the account a week later, begging the media and social media users to leave him and his family alone.

It later transpired that Zhang had suspended his account after people questioned his story. Some accused him of showing off for being the sole survivor at the front of the pack, others had sent him death threats.

"We don't want to be internet celebrities," he wrote online, adding that the man who saved him had also faced pressure from the media and "other aspects".

"Our lives need to be quiet," he wrote. "Please everyone, especially friends in the media, do not disturb me and do not question me."

The survivors weren't the only ones to find themselves put under pressure.

One woman, who lost her father in the race, was targeted with social media abuse on Weibo after questioning how her father was "allowed to die". She was accused of spreading rumours and using "foreign forces" to spread negative stories about China.

Another woman, Huang Yinzhen, whose brother died, was followed by local officials who she claimed were trying to keep relatives from speaking to each other.

"They just prevent us from contacting other family members or reporters, so they keep monitoring us," she told the New York Times.

In China it's typical for relatives of those who have died in similar circumstances - where authorities face blame - to have pressure placed on them to remain silent. For the government, social media attention on any possible failings is not welcome.

A month after the race, in June, 27 local officials were punished. The Communist Party secretary of Jingtai County, Li Zuobi, was found dead. He died after falling from the apartment in which he lived. Police ruled out homicide.

Short presentational grey line

The Baiyin marathon is just one of many races in a country that was experiencing a running boom. Its tragic outcome has brought the future of these events into question.

According to the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA), China hosted 40 times more marathons in 2018 than in 2014. The CAA said there were 1,900 "running races" in the country in 2019.

Before Covid hit, many small towns and regions attempted to capitalise on this by hosting events in order to bring more tourism into the area and boost the local economy.

After what happened in Baiyin, the Chinese Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection accused organisers of some of the country's races of "focusing on economic benefits" while they are "unwilling to invest more in safety".

With Beijing's hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics just months away, China has suspended extreme sports such as trail running, ultramarathons and wingsuit flying while it overhauls safety regulations. It is not yet clear when they will restart. There have been reports that not even a chess tournament managed to escape the new measures.

But without events like these, people wishing to get involved, perhaps even future star athletes, are finding themselves frustrated. In some cases, as Outside Magazine points out, athletes could take matters into their own hands, venturing into the mountains without any regulation whatsoever and putting themselves at risk.

Mark Dreyer, who runs the China Sports Insider website, wrote on Twitter: "If this incident has removed the top layer of the mass participation pyramid - as seems likely - there's no telling what effect that would have at the lower levels.

"The long-term effects of this tragic - and avoidable - accident could also be significant."

(11/21/2021) Views: 86 ⚡AMP
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Judy Sheppard took up running in her seventies – and has even completed an ultramarathon

AS FAR AS 76th birthday presents go, an entry into a 50K ultramarathon is fairly unconventional. But that’s exactly what Judy Sheppard, now 78, received from her daughter Liz Sheppard. More remarkably, she completed it and, at the time of writing, was preparing to run the London Marathon having achieved a Good For Age (GFA) place.

Liz has form with this kind of thing, having encouraged her mum to join her on a half marathon in Cyprus back in 2016. Judy, 72 at the time and with no previous running experience, didn’t think that she would be up to it but decided to find out. She was – and she’s been running ever since.

‘I got addicted to it,’ she says. ‘After a race, I get such a sense of achievement that I’ve done it at my age. And because there aren’t many runners in my age group, I’ve won a lot of trophies. It gives me a buzz to know I can do it.’

Speaking about the previously mentioned birthday present, Race to the Stones, Judy says: ‘The first 20 miles went quite well, but then it all went downhill. I felt a bit tired and sick, but I did at least finish it.’ A pretty standard ultramarathon experience, then, albeit infinitely more impressive given her age.

So what’s the secret to Judy’s current remarkable running success? ‘Most people are winding down in their seventies, but I’ve always been energetic as I have to take the dogs walking,’ she says. Alas, it seems that her four-legged friends do not make for the best running companions. ‘There’s no way I would run with them as they’d be dragging me into the bushes!’

She’s keen to encourage more septuagenarians to take up running, too, and believes that you’re never too old to get active. ‘Just go for it,’ she says. ‘I honestly didn’t think I’d be any good at running. If anybody in their seventies wants to run but thinks that they can’t do it, well, they can. Because if I can do it, anybody can.’

To date, Judy has run three marathons and an ultramarathon, all accompanied by her daughter, who says that running has helped bring them even closer together. ‘It’s given us a real bond,’ says Liz. ‘I think it’s amazing what she’s doing. You don’t get a lot of runners doing marathons and beyond in their late seventies. Mum is so determined. Once she fell over at the start of the race but got back up and made it to the finish. I think she is a real inspiration to older runners.’

Along with her new collection of finisher’s medals, Judy has also found a ready-made group of friends, many of whom are part of the Slinn Allstars, the running group she joined in 2017. ‘They’re fantastic and very inclusive,’ says Judy. ‘I never imagined I’d get the support I’m getting. I have a top with my name on it when I’m racing and have found a lot of people cheering me on.’

Like many others, Judy had to make do without any crowd support for the past 18 months as Covid kiboshed all big city races. Having secured a GFA place for London back in 2018, she had to requalify last year for the virtual London Marathon. ‘I scraped it!’ she says. ‘It was absolutely tipping down all day. The GFA time for women of my age was 6:15, and I think I ran 6:14.’

Liz’s London Marathon journey hasn’t been quite so lucky, though. Having secured a charity place for this year’s event, she had planned to run with her mum, but a badly sprained ankle put paid to that. ‘I’d hoped it would have healed by now, but there’s been very little progress,’ she says. ‘It’ll be my mum’s first big race without me. I feel bad, but I also know that she’ll have a great adventure.’

This may, however, be the end of their mother-daughter marathon running. ‘I think London will be my last marathon,’ says Judy. ‘I’ve heard it’s so well supported – the atmosphere and everything – so it’s something I wanted to experience, but I’ll concentrate on 10Ks and half marathons after this.’

Liz isn’t convinced by this retirement talk, though. ‘No way! She says that, but I know what she’s like. She’ll definitely do it again.’

It would make for quite an 80th birthday present, after all.

(11/20/2021) Views: 47 ⚡AMP
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New and familiar faces vie for JFK 50-Mile Titles This Weekend

This weekend's JFK 50-Mile in Hagerstown, Maryland, will see Thanksgiving-like temperatures between the 20s and 40s, in keeping with many past editions of the race. But that's where the similarities between the 2021 JFK and previous races end.

Over 1,000 athletes will descend upon Hagerstown on Saturday with every possibility that a new champion will be crowned in both the men's and women's races. 

On the men's side, the most recent champion to return to JFK is David Riddle, who won in 2011. It might be 10 years since his victory, but he's fresh off a win at the Super Bull Trail Championships 50K in Wooster, Ohio and has won Alabama's Mountain Mist 50K a whopping nine times, most recently this January.

JFK has a brand-new course record set last year by Hayden Hawks (a blistering 5:18:40), and a stacked field of lesser-known names will see how close they can come. Ultra newcomer Adam Peterman, who was second at this year's Pike's Peak Marathon and won the Speedgoat 50K in July, will look to make his mark on the men's field. The top returner is Anthony Kunkel, who was fourth last year. Other names to watch include Ben Quatromoni, who won the Kilkenny Ridge 50-miler in September and the Algonquin 50K in February; Jared Bassett, who won the Rogue Gorge 50K in October; and Sean Van Horn, fresh off a second-place finish at the Grand Traverse 40-miler and third at the 2020 Javelina Jundred 100-mile. 

But it's on the women's side where things get really interesting. Like the men, the women have only one of the past two decades' champions returning in the form of Devon Yanko, who claimed the crown in 2009. Yanko is also one of nine women in the field to have raced in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials back in February 2020. Others from that road marathon include Sarah Cummings, Anna Kacius, Sarah Biehl, Starla Garcia, Jeanne Mack, Rachel Viger, Karen Dunn and Caitlyn Tateishi.

nna Mae Flynn will make her JFK debut this year. The 2019 champ at both the Speedgoat 50K and the Lake Sonoma 50-Mile will be one of a slew of athletes chasing Ellie Greenwood's course record from 2012 of 6:12:00. Also watch for Kimber Mattox and Kristina Randrup. Mattox won the 15-mile Smith Rock Ascent in Oregon in May (where she was 5th outright) as well as the 2020 Way Too Cool 50K. Randrup won the American River 50 Mile in California in May by nearly an hour, and was third at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile in September. 

And the stories at JFK won't end with those vying for the win. Watch for Carolyn Showalter, who will be looking to extend her record of 34 JFK finishes. The 67-year-old also holds two other JFK records: she's tied for most wins by a woman with six AND most consecutive finishes with 22, a streak she held from 1982-2003.

No matter what, one thing is for sure: this year's JFK will be one of a kind.

(11/20/2021) Views: 46 ⚡AMP
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Woman sets Guinness World Record for running the most consecutive marathons

When lockdown began in March 2020, Alyssa Clark, an ultrarunner from Burlington, Vt., was living in Italy, where everyone was directed to stay inside. She hopped on her treadmill and decided to run a marathon every day until the lockdown was supposed to end — a period she thought would be only two weeks. Fast-forward more than three months, and the 28-year-old ended up logging a total of 95 consecutive marathons before, ironically, the COVID-19 virus forced her to stop.

March 31 was Clark’s first marathon of the challenge, and she wasn’t able to move her runs outside until the beginning of May. She had already completed 25 consecutive marathons when she learned the Guinness World Record for women was 60 marathons in 60 days, so she decided she could surpass that mark. She set her sights on 75 marathons in 75 days, which she accomplished on June 13.

Canadian Running caught up with Clark last June, when she was 64 marathons into her journey. At that time, the marathons had begun to take their toll. “This started out being really fun, and it’s getting less fun now,” she said to us.

Despite this, she continued lacing up her shoes every day for another 31 days. Clark completed most of her marathons in about four hours, sometimes faster when she was feeling good, sometimes slower if the weather was bad. During that time, she and her husband moved from Italy to Panama City Beach, Florida.

 

Eventually, she decided to set her sights on 100 marathons in 100 days. In early July, however, Clark noticed the marathons had gotten significantly more difficult, but she wasn’t sure why. She had begun experiencing tightness in her chest while she was running, and doctors diagnosed her with an upper respiratory infection. Finally, on July 4, after 2,489 miles, 95 marathons and 95 days, Clark decided the best decision for her health was to call it quits. Two weeks later, it was confirmed that she and her husband had contracted the COVID-19 virus.

 

Being only five marathons away from hitting 100, Clark was disappointed to have to stop, but was thankful she was able to continue as long as she did. “Marathons at 100 degrees. Marathons in the middle of the night. Marathons on treadmills alone. Marathons with the best friends and company of which I could ask. Thousands of messages of love and support. A journey I will remember forever,” she wrote on her Instagram page.

 

Finally, more than a year after she completed her last marathon, Clark had her world record ratified by Guinness, and her name is officially in the books as the one to beat. In an interview with CNN, she said she’s not looking to break another world record because of the lengthy, tedious process required to have the first one ratified, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have more goals on the horizon. Up next, she will attempt to set a new FKT on the Pinhoti Trail, which stretches 335 miles from Alabama to Georgia.

(11/20/2021) Views: 50 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Jocelyn Rivas Just Ran Her 100th Marathon—All Before She Turned 25

Now the youngest person to run 100 marathons, Dreamer Jocelyn Rivas recently finished her hundredth at the Los Angeles Marathon.

Jocelyn Rivas has been running marathons since she was 17. On Sunday, the 24-year-old ran her 100th at the Los Angeles Marathon. This makes her the youngest runner to complete 100 marathons, pending verification by Guinness World Records. It also makes her the youngest Latina to accomplish this feat—something she’s proud of, as a Dreamer who came to the U.S. from El Salvador when she was six.

Rivas was born in El Salvador with health problems so severe her mother was told she would never walk normally. She never found out what exactly the cause was, but she did start walking normally when she was a kid, and then she took up marathon running when she was in high school, as part of the Students Run LA program.

Since then, she has run marathons in 19 states, and she once ran six marathons in nine days. Her first marathon was the Los Angeles Marathon, so running it again as her 100th marathon has been coming full circle.

Rivas spoke with Women’s Running about how she got into running, why she decided to take on 100 marathons, and what it was like to cross the finish line in Los Angeles.

Women’s Running: You ran your first marathon with Students Run LA when you were in high school, but were you a runner before that?

Jocelyn Rivas: When I started with Students Run LA, it was the first time I had run. You could say I had done the one mile because that’s required for [Los Angeles Unified School District] high school kids. That was the only thing I had done.

The reason I started running was I came out to the 2013 L.A. Marathon to support my friends who were running. I saw everyone running, from kids to adults who are in their 70s, and I was like, why am I not out there? What’s preventing me from being out there? I got inspired by those people, complete strangers, and then I was like, I want to run a marathon.

WR: What was it like to go from no running to training for such a long distance?

JR: Students Run LA helps high school students train for a marathon in six months. In the beginning, it was a bit difficult because my mom didn’t want me to run a marathon. The reason was because I was born with a broken back, neck, and feet. So I have always had a lot of back pain and neck pain, and she just didn’t want those things to become worse. But I wanted to run a marathon. I knew I could do it.

Essentially, I was like: You know what, I’m gonna do this, just to prove her wrong, just to prove I could run a marathon. But when I crossed that finish line, I realized I love running. My mom was the motivation, but I ended up falling in love with running.

WR: How did you recover from those injuries as a young child?

JR: The resources in El Salvador were kind of limited. My mom was also very poor—she barely even had money to feed me, so she wasn’t able to take me to a specialist. But she took me to physical therapy that was free. My feet were completely turned around to the outside, instead of straight, and then my back, my spinal cord, was not straight at all. I was like that for several months until, I guess with therapy and everything, my body started to get back together little by little. My mom says it was a miracle, because they told her I most likely wouldn’t be able to walk normally. My sister says it took me a while to start walking. I was slower than most kids. And she says after three or four years, I was fine.

WR: Have you had to deal with that back and neck pain in your running?

JR: Yes. I actually asked my teammates: Are you feeling back pain? They said no, we’re not feeling anything at all. That’s how I realized, with my back pain and my neck pain, I was going to have to dedicate a lot of myself to running. I do a lot of recovery. After every single run, I do scraping, I do tape, I massage myself. Sometimes I do cryotherapy.

WR: What inspired you to run 100 marathons?

JR: In 2017, I was in a very bad place. I’m a Dreamer—I’m a DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] recipient. The Trump administration had just announced that they were going to take it off, meaning that I’d lose the potential of renewing, I would be undocumented again, and I would definitely lose my job and not be able to continue going to college. I was going to lose everything I had worked so hard for, and I really wanted to do it to showcase that Dreamers are here to do something good. We love this country as much as every American—we just don’t have the papers. We came here as young kids, and we grew up in American culture. My biggest thing was, I don’t think many people could put a face to Dreamers. They think negative things about us. I wanted them to see the face of a Dreamer and be like, this is just one Dreamer, and there’s thousands of Dreamers just like her, just wanting to follow their dreams. So it started with that.

But in 2019, at marathon 25 [after the Trump administration’s efforts were blocked], I needed a new “why”—something that would carry me through when I’m in my darkest places, when I’m running those marathons and I just feel like I can’t keep going anymore. And that’s when it came to me: I want to do this to inspire my community, to inspire women. Growing up, I never had anyone to look up to, athletic-wise, who I could identify as a Latina who could do this. I was just like: I want to be that person, or at least inspire my community to get out there to chase their dreams, or start the journey, whatever that is. Running all these marathons has made me realize that nothing is impossible in this world. If you want something in life, go chase it, go get it.

WR: What challenges have you faced along the way?

JR: When I was running these marathons, I was trying to get a PR, I was trying to run faster every single time. And I was getting injured. I had a lot of shin splints on both legs, and then here and there, I sometimes deal with IT band injuries. How am I going to make it if I’m so injured and I’m barely in my early 20s? That’s when I reached out to Julie Weiss, who had done 52 marathons in 52 weeks, so she had a lot of knowledge. She said, you’ve gotta go slower. I told her the times I was finishing, and she’s like, no, you’ve gotta run an hour slower than what you typically run. Just take it easier. Enjoy the

journey. Take photos. Forget about PRs right now—you can do PRs after.

That took me to 100. If I would have kept running fast, fast, fast, trying my best to PR, there’s no way I would have made it to 100. I took her advice to take it slow and enjoy the races more and not to be so hard on myself.

WR: You’re running marathons so frequently, what is your training like?

JR: I really do not train like a normal person who’s training for a marathon. Since I’m running a marathon every weekend, I consider it my long run on Sundays. Monday and Tuesday, I take off completely, I just stretch and rest, and I do my usual thing—I work. Wednesdays after work, that’s when I go for my first run, like a 5k. Thursdays, I do maybe a 5k to 6 miles, depending on how my body’s feeling. On Fridays, I do another maybe four miles, and then Saturday, I do a 5k or don’t run at all. It’s very low mileage, roughly in the 40s with the marathon included.

WR: Do you have any advice for other young women who want to go after big running goals?

JR: All it takes is for you to believe in yourself. I always say, the only person that could stop you is you. I truly got inspired by my community, so this didn’t happen by itself. But if you believe in yourself, you know what you can do, and you know how far you can go in life.

WR: What kind of reaction have you gotten from people in your community?

JR: It’s been amazing, they’re all super supportive—I’m representing South Central L.A. I grew up very poor, with very limited resources. But I got lucky with Students Run LA. And I think they saw me as a 17-year-old, and then they just kept seeing me going and going, and now I’m at 100. There’s so many Students Run LA kids here, and I think they’re also getting inspired, with all the girls who have reached out to me. I honestly can’t even believe it. I’m still trying to process it.

WR: Overall, what would you say you get out of running?

JR: I found my passion. Whenever I’m having a stressful day, I just know if I go for a run, I come back and I am the happiest person ever—it releases all my stress. It makes me feel so confident, so empowered, so strong, and makes me feel beautiful and alive. It is like nothing else. I’m still someone who’s very young, still learning about the world, and still trying to grow in every aspect of life. And having that sense that I could be 100% myself and love myself when I’m running, it definitely has helped me so much in my personal life and in my career.

WR: The Los Angeles Marathon was your first marathon as well as your hundredth. How do you feel about that?

JR: I love the L.A. marathon. This whole time, I’ve been doing back-to-back marathons so I could get L.A. to be my hundredth marathon. And so having accomplished this, after how many flights got canceled, how many marathons, how much I cried and stressed, knowing that I was able to get to 100 at L.A. is literally a dream come true. I wanted to finish here, in the community that molded me to who I am today.

WR: How did the L.A. Marathon go?

JR: I felt like it’s just another marathon until I got to the starting line and thought, oh my god, this is my hundredth. I teared up a bit. Throughout the race, again, I thought, oh, it’s just another marathon. And once I hit mile 23, that’s when I started feeling it. So many people were out there cheering me. It was amazing. At the finish line, they had a ribbon that said “The Warrior—100th Marathon” for me.

WR: What’s next? Are you going to take a break from marathon running?

JR: I want to, but I am doing a marathon the following weekend. I will try to PR, and we’ll see if it happens. I’m gonna try to do a few more marathons just to make sure that the record stays with me, because I’m still getting certified. All the races I did were USATF certified—that was one of the requirements from Guinness World Records. I have everything documented, but I’m just going to do maybe five or eight more marathons to make sure the title stays with me.

After that, I am going to take a break. Probably five or six months into physical therapy, I’ll try to get my body to come back stronger. Because the end goal is I want to run a 100 miler—I do want to become an ultramarathoner. And if I do that 100 miler and I crush it, or at least I survive, I want to try to go for maybe Badwater.

(11/14/2021) Views: 70 ⚡AMP
by Women’s Running
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Tommy Rivers Puzey has been fighting for his life and on November 7 completed the New York City Marathon

In July 2020, the ultrarunning community was shocked to find out that Tommy Rivers Puzey had been diagnosed with primary pulmonary NK/T-cell lymphoma, a rare and aggressive cancer. Since then, Rivers Puzey, or Rivs, as his friends like to call him, has been fighting for his life, and it appears that he is winning. On Sunday November 7 the beloved ultramarathoner completed the New York City Marathon in 9:18:57, barely one year after taking his first steps after treatment.

Aside from being a well-known ultrarunner, Rivers Puzey is a father to three young girls and husband to his wife, Stephanie Catudal. He had been struggling with COVID-like symptoms for several weeks in an Arizona hospital when he finally received his diagnosis.

His condition deteriorated quickly, and by October, he had lost 70 pounds and was deemed ineligible for a bone marrow transplant because he was too frail. According to his Instagram, where he has been very open about the struggle he has gone through over the last year, his doctors did not expect him to make it. He spent five months in the hospital, underwent multiple surgeries, ventilatory intubation, an open-lung biopsy, collapsed lungs, internal bleeding, acute liver failure, deep vein thrombosis, ulcers, lung infections, septic blood infections and several other dangerous side effects. He had to re-learn how to talk, swallow, chew and move his limbs. After six rounds of chemotherapy, he was told by doctors that his cancer was in remission.

One year later, Rivers Puzey surprised his loyal followers when he announced he’d signed up for the New York City Marathon. He slowly made his way through the city’s five boroughs, smiling and high-fiving spectators as he went, and crossed the finish line in Central Park in complete darkness, after most of the crowd had already gone home. Once an aspiring U.S. Olympic Trials marathoner, he called completing the marathon “the single most difficult athletic achievement” he’s ever accomplished.

Rivers Puzey’s fight is not over yet. According to his Instagram, doctors have given him a 90 per cent chance that his cancer will return without a bone marrow transplant, so he is now working on building up his strength so his body will be able to handle another four to six rounds of chemotherapy, followed by a bone marrow transplant. For runners wishing to support him and his family, you can visit the GoFundMe page set up by his brother, Jacob Puzey, and others.

(11/13/2021) Views: 58 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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How Gene Dykes Became the World's Fastest 70-Year-Old

Gene Dykes is a heck of an athlete. In his serious bowling days, he four times rolled a perfect score (300). On the golf course, he has recorded a best round of 68 on a par 70 layout. And a little less than three years ago, Dykes ran the fastest time ever by a 70-year-old in a certified, out-and-back marathon (2:54:23 in December 2018).

What's he been up to since that marathon record? Quite a bit, especially when you consider his prolific race and ultramarathon schedule. But a bit less than planned, given a broken shoulder in 2019 (trail run fall), Covid restrictions in 2020, and a hamstring injury from August this year.

Dykes, now 73, had hoped for peak 2021 races to come at the WADA WMM Age Group Championships in London in early October, followed 8 days later by a fifth consecutive in person, age-group win at Boston. His hamstrings didn't cooperate, however. He had strained them in August at the Hood To Coast Relay.

As late as 24 hours before London, Dykes figured he wouldn't run. But he's irrepressible when it comes to starting lines, so he was there the next morning, and eventually hobbled and walked to the finish in 5:37:56.

At Boston, he hoped to continue his four-year age-group victory streak (65-69 victories in 2016 and 2017,  70-74 in 2018 and 2019). His legs felt a bit better, so he decided to aim for 3:30 pace, which he calculated would give him a 50/50 chance of winning his age group.

His math proved remarkably good, but he ended up on the short end of the 50/50. Dykes hit the tape in 3:30:02, just 28 seconds slower than Mike Wien's first-place 3:29:34.

"If I had known I needed 30 seconds, I could certainly have found them in the last 5 miles," Dykes says.

Other 70-somethings have broken 3 hours in the last month, including Jo Schoonbroodt in Amsterdam (2:56:37) and Michael Sheridan in London (2:59:37). Dykes will turn 74 next April. If he wants to remain atop his age-group, he'll face serious competition for the first time.

To get ready, and to heal an ailing body, Dykes plans a full month of no running from mid-November to mid-December. He and his wife will be cruising the waters around Antarctica and chasing a solar eclipse. He hopes to return to competition at the Naples (FL) Half Marathon in January.

Here, Dykes answers questions about his remarkable past three years of running and what he has learned along the way. His coach, John Goldthorp, adds more information about Dykes's training routine.

Q &A with Gene Dykes

Why did you run London and Boston if you were injured?

Before London, my coach didn't want me to run, my family didn't want me to run, my wife didn't want me to run, but I felt like my Facebook friends were all saying: "Run, run, run." I thought I'd drop out after 6 or 7 miles, but I kept going even though my hamstrings wouldn't allow anything under 10:15 pace. Then I didn't run a lick before Boston, but I could tell that my legs were a little better.

You were already running strong in your mid-60s when you hired a coach for the first time. How did that change things?

It was like night and day. I was a 3:29 marathon runner before, and six months later I ran 3:09 at Boston. When I coached myself, I pretty much ran all long, slow miles with occasional 800-meter repeats on the track. If I was sore after a workout, I figured it was best for old guys like me to rest. John had me out there working my ass off 6 days a week. Sure, a couple of those were recovery runs, but he had me doing lots of miles about a minute per mile faster than before.

I found that when a coach set expectations for me, there was no way I wasn't going to suffer to get the workout done. Needless to say, I discovered I had much more ability locked away than I had realized. I only needed the expertise and accountability that a coach provides.

I've read that you were mostly running around 45 to 50 miles a week. That seems low for your fast race times.

That's the trouble with averages. They hide a lot of variation. I ran close to 2800 miles in 2016, 2017, and 2018, which comes out to about 53 miles a week. But I did so many ultra-marathon races, that my training average was probably 45 to 50. When peaking for a specific, important marathon, I was in the low- to mid-60s.

You run a lot of ultras, and also race frequently. Is that to build endurance first, and then speed?

I'll probably never have another year like 2018.  I ran 43 races that year. Hey, only seven of those were ultras!  Because I raced almost every weekend, the race substituted for one of the week's harder speed workouts, yes, but I also trained pretty hard between races.

This year is instructive: You dropped out of a 256-mile trail race, ran a world best for 50K, did a road mile, then a 100-mile, then won three track races at USATF Masters, then jumped into Hood to Coast in late August. And these were only a few of your races in 2021. My question is: Is this a racing plan or a kid running amok in a candy store?

I guess there really is no grand plan most of the time.  Every November I go through the list of races that pique my interest, either for fun or competition, and pencil the most important ones into the calendar. So many races, so little time! The most fun I have is when I'm running a long distance on trails. Even though I hate the 5K and shorter, any race is fun. Once upon a time, I figured that I would perform better if I didn't race so often. But in 2018, I raced 16 straight weeks and got faster every week. So why not go with it?

If 2021 had gone perfectly, what would have been your realistic goals at London and Boston?

At the beginning of the year, the dream was to set a world record at London and win at Boston. So, timewise, that would have been a 2:54 and, say, 3:07. As it turned out, absolutely nothing about that was realistic. After a 2020 filled with injuries and no races, I was off my game from the get-go in 2021. I realized pretty early that I wouldn't be setting a record in London, but I still thought I could win both London and Boston, at least until the hamstring injury.

What have you learned about yourself and running since your big year in 2018?

Don't run a bunch of fast legs at Hood to Coast on a body that's already tired! Otherwise, I'm not absolutely sure I've learned anything yet. I have some theories that I'll test out next year. I'll probably give myself more recovery time after ultras, and maybe stop doing the 200-milers. I might race less often, but I'm hoping I can still perform well at road races week after week.

Maybe I've learned two things: 1) Injuries are weird; and 2) Maurten is a game-changer for me.

What makes injuries so weird is you don't know when you're going to get one, or when it will get better. Every injury is different. Some only hurt when you run, and some don't hurt when you run, but they hurt around the house and yard. Some go away in a couple of days, but are suddenly replaced by others. You never know what's coming next.

Hamstring injuries really worry me. This is my third. The first one kept me from running for six years!  The second knocked me out for six months. I'm hoping that this one is only six weeks (and the fourth one only six days).

Maurten has become an absolutely essential fuel for me in long races. It's more important than carbon shoes. It lets me get in more calories than ever before, and it eliminates nausea. When I'm feeling fatigued in a long effort, and then get some Maurten, my body feels happy again. [Note: Dykes has filmed a promotional video for Maurten, and might become a sponsored athlete.]

Have you changed your training over the years?

I don't think much about my training, I just do what my coach tells me.

What's in your future?

Sometimes I think I should just retire from trying to beat records. Maybe I should just have fun, and to hell with what everybody else thinks. I did set out to beat the marathon record in 2018, but I didn't do it for the attention. I just needed a good goal to motivate me for a couple of years.

I'll probably try to get back in shape and run fast next year. Then in 2023 when I'm 75, I'll try to repeat what I did in 2018. I'll prioritize whatever age-group records I think I can get, and the big championship races.

ohn Goldthorp answers questions about Gene Dykes's training

What kinds of workouts seem to work best for Gene? Which don't?

Every athlete is an N=1. Gene is fond of 'general aerobic' runs that are 60 to 90 seconds slower than his current 5K race pace, and he certainly loves long runs. Often we combine stamina training and short hills to make a longer session. We can tick off a lot of boxes in one day that way. Then he jogs very slowly the next day to recover.

Gene does so many ultras and other races, what role does recovery play in his training plan?

It's true that older athletes may need more time to recover, but sometimes a 70-year-old retiree can recover faster than a busy professional with young children. My marathoners aim for 2 harder workouts per week with everything else being very easy. Gene tends to run 5 to 6 days a week, depending on his gardening and golfing plans.

What about paces for intervals, tempo, long runs, etc.?

I prefer to help my athletes train by perceived effort instead of pace. Gene is unique in his ability to run marathons at a pace only about 35-40 seconds per mile slower than his 5K pace, where others are often 50 or 60 or more seconds slower. So we target many of our hard workouts close to his marathon effort. Gene's very good at not forcing things. Early in a workout, he's often convinced he won't be able to complete the planned session. But as he warms up, he usually finds that he can.

Anything else?

Gene's a master at listening to his body and doesn't hesitate to take a day off if necessary. On the other hand, I can't tell you how many times I gave him a light session only to learn later that he felt good and went out for a 23-miler instead.

How about Gene's racing schedule?

To say Gene's racing schedule is unorthodox would be putting it mildly. In 2017, he ran three 200-milers in three months and often raced the other weekends. But maybe this has contributed to his success. Running ultramarathons early in a training block allows him to develop tremendous endurance. Then, for about 8 weeks, he'll use shorter races and faster long runs to develop his threshold and efficiency.

I assume Gene's racing doesn't fit your ideal. How do you keep him under control?

At the end of the day, we have one life and we need to do what brings us joy. Gene loves going on adventures, challenging himself, and seeing the world via running. He's made a lot of friends and inspired a lot of people. If I were to say, "No, you must stick to one way of training and racing," I wouldn't be taking a client-centered approach to coaching.

I'm here to support Gene's journey. Sometimes that means getting out of his way. Other times, I try to gently nudge him back onto the path.

(11/13/2021) Views: 62 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Powered by plants: elite athletes on the impact of a vegan diet

Changing what you eat might not seem like an obvious solution to environmental sustainability. It doesn’t have the immediacy of plastic reduction or avoiding fossil fuels. But there is increasing evidence that a shift to a plant-based diet can hugely reduce an individual’s impact on the climate, primarily with less energy required in food production from meat and dairy products.

A study from the University of Oxford found that people can cut their carbon footprint from food by up to 73% by switching to a vegan diet. Furthermore, the reclaiming of global farmland used for agriculture would revitalise wildlife conservation and hugely reduce extinction.

All of which makes fascinating reading for any ecological-minded athlete. But what are the implications on athletic performance? Nutrition is a fundamental element of performance at the highest level, so is it possible to help the environment and still succeed as an elite athlete on a vegan diet?

More international athletes are making the change and are proving that it is.

Kaylin Whitney, who ran world U18 100m and 200m bests in 2014, is one such athlete who is now relying upon plants to power her to international success. She switched to a vegan diet in the lead up to the US Trials and Tokyo Olympics, while also transitioning to the 400m from the short sprints.

Whitney reached her first Olympics and left with two medals: gold from the women’s 4x400m having run the opening leg in the heats and bronze in the mixed 4x400m where she ran the third leg.

The US sprinter followed in the vegan spike marks of Morgan Mitchell, who was a member of the Australian 4x400m quartet that finished seventh at the Rio Games. Mitchell has since started to make her mark in the 800m, representing Australia at the Tokyo Olympics on a plant-based diet.

Middle distance runner Andreas Vojta has been representing Austria in major championships for over a decade, including the 2012 Olympic Games, five European Championships and six European Indoor Championships.

He first turned to veganism in May 2018, driven by a passionate belief in animal rights and addressing climate change. “I went vegan for ethical and environmental reasons,” he says. “I was learning more and more about animal agriculture and quickly found out that I could not unite my ethical views with the cruel industries I was actively supporting every day. So, I aligned my morals with my actions and went vegan.

“I suddenly felt like I was doing the right thing, which really frees up your mind. The least I could do was go vegan for the animals, our planet and also my own body. I actually went vegan without any considerations from the health side, but I experienced some benefits from a health and performance standpoint. I started feeling a faster recovery after intense workouts and competitions and also needed less sleep.”

His shift aroused the curiosity of his fellow athletes, particularly as he has set his personal bests over 3000m (7:49.75) and 5000m (13:24.03) and a national 5km road record (13:48) while vegan.

“Even though most people know what veganism is, they don't have a lot of practical experience with it and are curious to know how it works, especially as an athlete,” he explains.

“Like every change in your life, it might be unfamiliar the first weeks, but then it just becomes part of your everyday life. Nearly everyone I talk to already understands the massive ethical issues that come along with animal farming, so as a next step I am trying to help and inform everyone who wants to know how they can easily integrate a vegan lifestyle into their lives.”

For ultra runner and international masters age-group marathon runner Fiona Oakes, veganism has been a way of life since she was a child. The British runner holds the women's world record for the fastest aggregate time to complete a marathon on all sevens continents (23:27:40). But it is through her role as co-founder of the running club Vegan Runners where she has drawn most attention to veganism.

“I had qualified for the championship start of London (Marathon) in 2004 and realised it was an amazing opportunity to promote veganism in a positive way to a captive audience who were already invested in their health and wellbeing,” she says.

“It was an opportunity to wear a 'billboard' promoting the word vegan and run through the closed roads of the capital while spectators, press and media looked on. We went for it, and this is how Vegan Runners was born.”

Since then, the club has grown exponentially and is now the UK’s fastest growing running club, with nearly 3000 members.

“As the years have passed, I have obviously sought and gained much more information on how veganism not only benefits the animals but the planet, the environment, individual and global health. The real beauty is I am constantly learning more about its comprehensive positive universal impact on a daily basis.”

Her most recent project is seeing her create a new endurance event, the Running for Good Ultra, to champion positive change, including environmental sustainability.

“For me, my running has always been about building a positive platform from which to speak about and promote an issue which I am passionate about," she says. "That issue being the positivity of veganism for so many reasons.

“I honestly believe that having an 'ulterior' motive – or at the very least an 'extra' motive – rather than just running races for times, trophies and medals, has enhanced my ability to keep motivated and inspired over many years and to train hard and maintain focus.

“It's truly my belief that when you are out there either training or racing, the idea that there is a deeper reason and that others may be influenced or inspired by your presence, commitment, actions and achievements, is just the tonic you require to keep invigorated and excited at the prospect of your next run.”

For Oakes and many other vegan athletes, going green has become even more important than winning gold.

(11/07/2021) Views: 79 ⚡AMP
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Elite Canadian marathoners Dayna Pidhoresky and Rachel Cliff and ultramarathoner Mathieu Blanchard offer their tips to help runners fuel their training

Nutrition is one of the pillars of athletic performance, and its importance for runners cannot be understated. Put simply, if you want to run well day in and day out, you have to fuel your body properly so you can perform to your maximum potential in workouts and races. Elite Canadian marathoners Dayna Pidhoresky and Rachel Cliff and ultra-marathoner Mathieu Blanchard understand this all too well, and they sat down with Canadian Running to offer their advice to runners who want to fuel properly to maximize performance.

Blanchard explains that runners need to be very attentive to the fuel they are taking in, because it helps their bodies prepare for their training load. It also allows them to maintain intensity during workouts and races and assists in recovery afterward. “Poor nutrition could also make our tissues more inflamed,” he says, “and therefore cause injuries, or even cause gastric disorders during exercise and low energy.”

Cliff agrees and adds that any athlete competing at a high level is following a healthy, balanced nutrition plan. She says that means eating enough calories to support your training, as well as getting a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. As a predominantly plant-based athlete (though not fully vegetarian), Cliff says getting enough protein is her biggest struggle. To improve her intake, she tries to find little ways to include protein-rich foods into every meal and snack.

“A smoothie is a great way to get more protein in because you can add a lot of things like chia seeds, hemp hearts and yogurt,” she says. Cliff also really likes using the Näak Nutrition cricket protein powder, which provides a lot of protein with a low environmental footprint. And before you ask, Cliff says no, the cricket powder doesn’t taste like you’re eating bugs.

“That’s one of the things I love about Näak, that they find ways to sneak protein into food in a way that you can’t taste it, but it’s there,” she says. “The great thing about the cricket powder is that it’s a complete protein.”

Minh-Anh Pham, co-founder of Näak Nutrition, says they understand not everyone is ready to eat crickets yet, which is why the company has also developed a line of plant-based bars and powders. “Our mission is to make sport nutrition more sustainable,” he explains. “We want to give you maximum nutrition with a minimum impact on the environment.”

“I love this stuff,” says Pidhoresky. “The taste, texture, what they strive for as a company as they aimto be kinder to the environment…and if you are scared of crickets you can opt for the vegan protein powder or bars!”

Like Cliff, Blanchard also says adequate protein intake is a priority in his nutrition plan, and if cricket protein really isn’t your thing, he enjoys Näak’s vegetarian products, like their protein bars and powders, to help him meet his needs. Both the cricket products and vegetarian products have a smooth brownie texture, no gastro-intestinal discomfort and long-lasting energy. “I love the recovery protein powder because it is vegetarian and digests very well,” he explains. “I have never had an upset stomach like with other protein powders.”

When asked what nutrition advice she would give to recreational and competitive runners, Cliff says the most important thing is to be aware of your training volume and be really cognizant that you don’t put yourself into an energy deficit. “Don’t try to cheat your body out of the nutrients and calories it needs to recover,” she says. “In the long run, it will pay off.”

In a similar vein, Pidhorseky says runners need to respect the 30-minute window after a workout and fuel appropriately. “You will recover so much better and achieve so much more,” she adds.

Näak Nutrition holds the values of sustainability and community close, and the company donates three per cent of their profits to the B.C. Parks Foundation, which manages the parks in both B.C. and Alberta. To learn more about the Näak products or the company’s sustainability and community initiatives, head to ca.naakbar.com.

(11/06/2021) Views: 98 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Two-time Olympic medalist Nick Willis’ advice to injured runners

New Zealand’s Nick Willis is a two-time Olympic medalist whose elite running career has lasted more than 20 years and is still going strong. With a resume like that, it’s safe to say the guy has probably had a few injuries throughout his time as a runner, so when he offers his advice on how to deal with the aches and pains that come with the sport, runners everywhere would do well to listen up.

Recently, he took to Twitter to do exactly that, and his advice is something runners of all levels should take to heart.

Through a series of Tweets, Willis described a recent calf injury he sustained while running on a slippery path in the rain. When dealing with an injury, most runners’ first instinct is to foam roll, stretch and massage right away, but that’s not what the running veteran did: instead, he stopped running immediately and started doing strength work.

More specifically, he began doing three sets of 20 calf raises, three times per day. He began with just his body weight, eventually adding weight as he got stronger. During that time, he began running every second day, stopping as soon as he felt his calf cramping up again, which was at the 15-minute mark for his first run. As he continued to diligently do his calf raises, he was able to increase the length of his run every time he hit the road by 10 minutes, until after 10 days, he was able to do a full 60-minute run.

Here is where the important part comes in: it was not until after 12 days that he finally went and got some massage done, which he knew would act as a diagnostic tool to see how far his injury had improved. If the pain was too much during the massage, he knew there was still inflammation there and he wasn’t yet in the clear.

Fortunately for him, the pain subsided and the massage helped a lot, and he believes that waiting nearly two weeks before getting any massage done was the key to his success. Any earlier, he believes, would have been counter-productive. Biomechanist and ultrarunner Geoff Burns weighed in on the thread, wholeheartedly agreeing with Willis. He points out that a big mistake many runners make is overly treating an injury in the first few days it appears, and stretching, poking, testing and massaging something that hurts will likely only increase whatever structural damage has already occurred. In other words, “wait for the snake to stop hissing,” he says.

Of course, not every injury can be solved in a couple of weeks by doing calf raises, but the takeaway here is that often, when injury strikes, we tend to panic and want to do everything we can to fix it right away. While this is understandable, we’re better off calming down, giving our bodies a break and taking things one step at a time. In most cases, this will ultimately speed up the recovery process and get you back on the road sooner.

(11/05/2021) Views: 49 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Last Minute Halloween Costumes For Trail Runners

Need something for your kiddo's trick-or-treating? Mandatory office Halloween soiree? First post-covid social engagement? Try one of these easy-to-assemble trail running Halloween costumes!

Basic Trail Bro: Don a Ciele hat, and rock some bright Goodr's with a confusingly non-technical button-up shirt and jorts if you're feeling spicy. BYOB - a super dank IPA (the hazier, the better) swaddled in a coozy you got in a race swag bag.  You're probably from Boulder. Or Flagstaff. (Portland variation: add a rain jacket and a slightly better beer.) Make sure to track your trick-or-treat excursion on Strava and don't stop talking about your podcast.

The Courtney: Throw on a tee-shirt and your comfiest basketball shorts and BYO candy corn. Nachos optional.

The Ultra Ultra Runner: Grab your trekking poles, headlamp, gaiters, neck gaiter, waist-light, UPF hat with sunshade, taped-seam windbreaker, sunglasses, clear glasses, 12-liter vest, hip-belt, flasks, bladder, body glide, ramen noodles, gels, spare socks, spare shoes, space blanket, sunscreen, arm sleeves and wind pants.  Though you may be dressed like you're about to run the Marathon Des Sables, you could also just be out for a casual jog. You're a human drop-bag: ready for anything. 

The Crewmate: Same as above, but carry everything around in your arms the entire night and try to hand everybody you see quesadillas and Skratch.

The Emelie: Grab your S/O and dress entirely in S/Lab, or skimo suits with a babybjorn. Still be faster than everyone. 

The Rookie Trail Racer: Grab some long shorts, a sleeveless Nike shirt, and blast the tunes in your Beats By Dre headphones (around your neck, so everyone can hear). Forget the hydration pack, just bring a good ol' Gatorade bottle and be sure to ask everyone "How many miles is 25k????". 

The Harvey: Just circle your block 354.2 times while trick-or-treating

Sexy Minimalist Trail Runner: Just split shorts and a handheld. That's it. 

The Influencer:  This costume is #Sponsored. Flip up the brim of your colorful hat, and snap a pic with your favorite beet-based energy bar or isolated cricket protein, preferably while gazing out at the ocean, or from a summit. Keep your phone and significant other at the ready for any potential photo ops.  Bonus points if you have a cute dog who knows a TikTok dance. Make sure all product logos are visible at all times. 

Sexy IPOS: Nothing but a gravel bike and KT tape.

The Media Mogul: POV: Your YouTube channel is just about to go viral. Grab your go-pro and lace up your trail runners, because you're about to get a lot of B-roll. Wear a Sony TX90000 BD around your neck, and be sure to periodically change lenses for no particular reason. You're a human steady-cam who'll do anything to get the shot. 

The Local Legend: To embody the low-key vibe of the frustratingly-fast unsponsored hometown hero, pull on a of worn-out trail runners and tattered shorts. Wait, is that a Team USA Shirt? Who is this runner? How many FKT's do they have?  OOOPS! Someone just stole your CR!

 

(10/31/2021) Views: 71 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Javelina Jundred is the Ultimate 'Jalloween' Party

There's going to be one hell of a Halloween party held on the outskirts of the Phoenix metro area this weekend.

Part authentic endurance running race and part freak show with costumed trail runners constantly in need of rehydrating, the Javelina Jundred trail running races and post-race party are the stuff of legend. As the race producers at Aravaipa Running proclaim from the start, "it will test your endurance and challenge your sanity."

The 19th annual Javelina 100-mile and 100km races begin Saturday at 6 a.m. and send runners out on a mostly flat and fast multiple- loop course through the desert terrain of McDowell Mountain Regional Park. And while fast running isn't discouraged - the women's 100-mile winner usually finishers under 16 hours and the men under 14 hours - costumers definitely are encouraged. There's also a nighttime race called the single-loop Jackass Night Trail 31km that finishes as the Saturday night party is starting to rev into high gear. 

Javelina is a trail running party that really wants to be an all-night rave. As much as it offers great fall racing opportunities (with 2022 Western States 100 Golden Ticket qualifying spots for the first time), it's really more about being a massive Ultra Jalloween Party for the ultrarunning community. The races draw both elite pros, middle-of-the-packers and novice runners alike, but it's the colorful costumes, free candy at aid stations, all-night music, spontaneous dance parties, fire dancing, misfit parade for waitlisted runners and other festive craziness that runners remember the most.

The race was started in 2003 by Phoenix ultrarunner Geri Kilgariff as an irreverent, party-oriented fun run on a multi-loop course and eventually later taken over by Aravaipa Running in 2008.

"She created this event to basically troll everyone, and thought that it would be funny," Matt Feldhake said during the race's video preview released this week. "And it's turned out to be this incredible, fun event in the desert. She created something great and we've been grateful to continue to put it on since 2008." 

How wild is it? Put it this way, no other race has an aid station with the nickname of Boner. (It's a skeleton figure you'll encounter at the Jackass Junction aid station.) There's also a "Best Ass Award" at this desert party, which coincides with the adult-themed "R" rating Aravaipa brandishes on its website.

As for the racing, there are plenty of talented runners among the 588 entrants in the 100-mile field. That includes Devon Yanko (39, San Anselmo, California), Camille Heron (39, Oro Valley, Arizona), Brittany Peterson (35, Pocatello, Idaho), Meredith Edwards (37, Durango, Colorado), Lisa Robert (42, Tucson), Tessa Chesser (34, Flagstaff, Arizona) and Lotti Zeiler (25, Austin, Texas) on the women's side and Dave Stevens (39, Canada), Adam Dalton (27, San Diego), Michael Demarco (34, Baton Rogue, Louisiana), Zach Merrin (36, North Canton, Ohio), Charlie Ware (36, Tucson) and Joe "String Bean" McConaughey (30, Seattle) among the top men.

Also in the field are 13-time finisher Susan Donnelly (58, Oak Ridge, Tennessee) and 11-time finisher Fred Roberts (61, Tucson). And then there's Ed Ettinghausen (59, Murietta, California), a six-time Javelina finisher who has made a name for himself by taking on the Javelina Jundred in a full suit and heavy jester hat.

In the 100K, Tyler Andrews (41, Concord, Massachusetts) leads a strong men's field, while Cat Bradley (29, Boulder, Colorado) is one of the top entrants among the women's field. 

"It's definitely a one-of-a-kind race," says Phoenix trail runner John Byrne. "But even if you don't run fast or well or very long, it's an amazing party."

(10/30/2021) Views: 98 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Women´s 2018 flying Pig Marathon winner Caitlin Keen is the 2021 favorite

If all goes according to plan, the women's winner of the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon will celebrate with a cold beer and a burger at Zip's Cafe in Mount Lookout. 

Sometime around 10:30 a.m. Sunday, after hurrying by the Halloween harriers, 29-year-old Caitlin Keen hopes to join the exclusive club of two-time winners of Porkoplis pride.

Keen, who spent her elementary school years in Hyde Park (St. Mary's), has been training in sweltering Fort Worth, Texas, and is looking forward to a Sunday morning start with a chill in the air.

She breezed to her first Flying Pig win in 2018, then was outkicked at the end of the 2019 race by Anne Flower to finish second the last time this race was run. Where most participants are happy to finish, Keen's eye is on the prize, even though her last marathon was in Feb. 2020 at the Olympic Trials.

"I'm coming off of a lot of running without racing," Keen said. "I've been training all summer when it was hot. You're just dragging yourself through it, picking yourself up every day. I think it's probably going to be for my benefit. The weather looks pretty good."

In the previous 22 trots of 26.2 miles, there has only been a trio of female winners who have crossed "The Finish Swine" as champion twice. In the second and third years of the race, Becky Gallaher won in 2000 and 2001 back-to-back. Amy Robillard also went back-to-back in 2014 and 2015. Flower, the 2019 champ, is the most recent.

No autumn Flower

On a whim, Anne Flower put in a month's worth of training while working as an emergency room resident and won in 2016. The Anderson Township native, now a full-fledged doctor, repeated in 2019, which technically makes her defending champ since the coronavirus pandemic halted the "live" race in 2020.

Flower is skipping this year's Pig and running in a marathon in Indianapolis the following week. That leaves Keen, now a Fort Worth resident, as a heavy favorite.

Flower, who is hoping to get a PR on a fast course at Indy Nov. 6, is gravitating toward longer races having recently competed out west in events at Moab, Crested Butte and Pike's Peak.

"I've started running ultra marathons in the past few years and have had similar success," Flower said. "Marathon distance is starting to feel too short and fast for me to keep up!"

She plans on cheering this weekend and points toward Keen, whom she outdueled in 2019 as a runner to watch.

"Caitlin Keen is super fast!" Flower said. "Cincinnatus Elite and Columbus Running Company Elite also have very talented teams. Of course, there are always the 'not yet known' runners who could perform well and finish first."

(10/28/2021) Views: 115 ⚡AMP
by Scott Springer
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Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

This beloved race found it's name from Cincinnati's pork history which dates back to the early 1800's. Cincinnati is also known as "Porkopolis."Our weekend line up of events are designed to welcome athletes of all abilities from the Diaper Dash to the full Marathon and everything in-between, we truly have something for everyone. We even added a dog race several...

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Pacers of Flying Pig Marathon are ready to help participants reach their goals

Thousands of people will be running the Flying Pig Marathon this weekend and will have help available to help them reach their race goals.

“The Pig is my favorite race in the whole world,” explains ultra-marathon runner and Flying Pig pacer Harvey Lewis, “Honestly it is an iconic event. Where else do pigs fly? And you’ve got all these people out cheering people along.”

Lewis is one of the famous Flying Pig Marathon streakers which means he has run every Flying Pig Marathon dating back to the first in 1999.

Lewis is also part of the pace team, coordinated by Chris Cavanaugh.

“Our job is to help you execute a smart race,” explains Cavanaugh. “We’ve made all the mistakes already, so if you want to run a smartly executed race, you have a time goal for four hours, three and a half hours, link up with one of our teams and they’ll kind of help take you through it. There’s enough stress in a race already, you put in all the work, and you want to execute, and we can help you do that.”

“I’m psyched about the opportunity,” says Lewis who is leading the 4:45 marathon group, “Having a chance to share that with others. I get so much more from this race, by doing that, than I would by racing at my very fastest.”

Cavanaugh will also run the Flying Pig Marathon just 20 days after he ran the Boston Marathon.

In an unusual year, that is normal.

The Boston Marathon is traditionally the third Monday in April, and the Flying Pig Marathon is the first Sunday in May.

“The Pig is kind of a celebratory run,” explains Cavanaugh, “You’ve done the work so as long as you can recover fairly well, you’ve got a couple of weeks to do that, and you can turn around and do both.”

Lewis, a Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts school teacher, is back from breaking a world record at the Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra Run in Tennessee.

Lewis received many hand-written notes of support from his students at the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts.

Now, it’s his turn to pay it forward and help the runners on Sunday reach their own goals.

You will have a chance to meet the pacers at the Flying Pig Marathon expo Friday and Saturday.

The hours are 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

On race day, just look for the pink balloons and big signs that say what time the pacers are representing.

(10/27/2021) Views: 121 ⚡AMP
by Ashley Smth
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Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

This beloved race found it's name from Cincinnati's pork history which dates back to the early 1800's. Cincinnati is also known as "Porkopolis."Our weekend line up of events are designed to welcome athletes of all abilities from the Diaper Dash to the full Marathon and everything in-between, we truly have something for everyone. We even added a dog race several...

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Harvey Lewis Breaks the Big’s Backyard Ultra Record By Running More Than 350 Miles in 85 Hours

He ran a 4.1667-mile loop every hour for 85 hours.

The third time was the charm for Ohio’s Harvey Lewis at the 2021 Big’s Backyard Ultra. After finishing as the assist in 2017 and 2020 (meaning, he is the second-to-last runner left in the race), the 45-year-old was finally the last runner standing in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. In total, Lewis ran 350.0028 miles in 85 hours/laps, making him the undisputed backyard ultra world-record holder.

The backyard racing format has grown in popularity recently, with pop-up races happening all over the world. The rules, put simply, are: run a 4.167-mile loop at the top of every hour until one runner has done at least one more lap than the second-to-last runner. If both runners stop at the same time, then no winner is declared. At Big’s, runners complete a trail loop during the day, and a road loop at night.

The 2020 race was a virtual event, with runners in more than 20 countries competing simultaneously in standalone races. As a result, the 2021 race was anticipated to be one of the most stacked fields in race history. While some international runners were still unable to make the trip due to pandemic-related travel restrictions and concerns, several top runners made it to the start line. This included 2019 champion Maggie Guterl, 2020 champion Courtney Dauwalter, Big’s regular Dave Proctor, Michael Wardian, and Steve Slaby.

The race started at 6 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 16, and only three runners of 35 starters total dropped out within the first 24 hours (100 miles). But after that, runners seemed to drop almost every hour. Nine completed 48 hours, a large pack for reaching the third day of the race.

Lewis’s Big’s experience paid off as he and his crew chief Judd Poindexter troubleshooted any issues that arose. He fueled well and got five- to 10-minute naps when he could during the night, a big change from not sleeping at all in 2017.

One the race hit the 72-hour mark, it headed into uncharted territory with just three runners still standing: Lewis, Missouri’s Chris Roberts, and Japan’s Treumuchi “Mori” Morishita. Only two known backyard races in the world have hit the fabled fourth day before. This was the first time it had ever happened at Big’s.

“We all wanted it so bad,” Lewis told Runner’s World. “We had lasted so long out there, which takes incredible willpower. It definitely helped. I wouldn’t have been out there without a reason to keep going, so I really enjoyed the challenge of running with them for so long together.”

The trio battled from lap 63 on, all quietly competing against one another. Each runner had their own style; Lewis and Morishita would sprint out of the corral at the start of some laps, which was a fan favorite.

“At the start and in certain areas, we just started sprinting,” Lewis said. “Morishita would sprint through the woods and yell, and then I would sprint through the woods and yell. It was a good move, so I hope Morishita didn’t mind I was doing it as well.”

Roberts struggled a lot before dawn, fighting off an injury that had him leaning sideways and coming in with few minutes to spare on laps. But as the sun rose, he recovered for a strong day. 

Issues arose late in the game for Lewis and Morishita. Both runners fell on lap 81, which caused Morishita to miss the cutoff by 30 seconds, ending his day and leaving just Lewis and Roberts in the race. Lewis fell on the final hill and left him with an unknown (at the time) hand injury. Because his legs were okay, he ignored it and kept moving.

“As we got to the night, I thought for sure we’d be going to 400 [miles], so I mentally prepared myself for that,” Lewis said.

Many anticipated another complete night—that is, until lap 85, when Roberts surprisingly returned to camp soon after starting. Lewis, still on his loop, didn’t know this. Even though he didn’t see Roberts on the way back, he still wasn’t convinced he won until he got back to camp.

There, Lewis was greeted to roaring applause from the crowd that was still there. Lewis was finally a Big’s champion, capping off an incredible year of winning three major races: Badwater 135, Ohio’s Backyard Ultra, and now Big’s. He also earned the undisputed world record for most yards ever completed in a backyard race, taking the title from John Stocker who ran 81 yards with his assist, Matt Blackburn at the Suffolk Backyard Ultra in June 2021.

“It was an incredible experience,” Lewis said. “It has been one of my dreams to win this race, and to have it come to fruition was pretty mind-blowing for sure. I was super psyched.”

Lewis was so overcome with joy and exhaustion that he spent little time enjoying his win, opting to head to his tent shortly after finishing.

“When I finished, whatever armor I developed in my mind that told me I wasn’t going to submit went away,” he said. “I was really tired. I didn’t care where I slept. There was a cot in my tent 40 meters away, and it felt like the Taj Mahal. I fell asleep with half a plate of rice and beans on me.”

The next day, Lewis got a ride back to Cincinnati. When he arrived around 11 p.m., he kept his run streak alive by getting a mile in with minutes to spare. Then, a friend instructed him to go get his hand checked out in the emergency room after midnight. Harvey was diagnosed with a clean break in the fourth metacarpal of his right hand, and he was told should heal in a few weeks with just a splint. 

Lewis told Runner’s World that he got a few hours of sleep in the ER before going home briefly and run commuting to work—he’s a social studies teacher at School for Creative and Performing Arts. Lewis wasn’t supposed to work because he had taken the day off. However, because of a shortage of substitute teachers at the moment, he literally ran in teach anyways.

“A couple times a year, I’ll take off to recuperate,” he said. “As long as I’m not hurting myself, I do the commute with human power.”

Big’s is likely the last race of the year for Lewis, though he plans to run the Flying Pig Marathon easy on October 30. His next big adventure will be the Barkley Marathons in 2022, which he now has entry to because of his Big’s win. Cantrell let Lewis know his thoughts on that.

“My biggest memory was turning to [Big’s and Barkley Marathons creator Gary ‘Lazarus Lake’ Cantrell] at the end and saying, ‘The winner gets an entry to Barkleys,’” Lewis said. “He couldn’t say no, so he went along with it. The next day, he told me that I’d be the sacrificial lamb.”

 

(10/23/2021) Views: 64 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Caught in blasting snow ultrarunners stuck together for safety, all 87 participants were rescued in the mountains of Utah

When snowflakes started falling a few miles into a 50-mile ultramarathon through the Utah mountains, Annie Macdonald was not worried. As an experienced long-distance runner, she had expected some snow.

But then the stray flakes turned into a near whiteout, lashing participants of Saturday’s DC Peaks 50 race with winds of up to 40 miles per hour and erasing the path through the desolate terrain. The temperature dropped and Macdonald, who wore a rain jacket over a shirt, with tights, mittens and running shoes, became “just miserably, miserably cold.”

The race was in its first year as a new arrival to the increasingly popular ultramarathon scene. Ultramarathons stretch longer than the 26.2 miles of a marathon, covering grueling distances of 50 miles or more.

At about seven miles into the race and six miles from the first station, there was little choice for Macdonald but to keep going. With the path gone and the snow blasting into her face, she could only follow the footfalls of the runner ahead of her, pushing on nearly five hours to the station.

“I just kept thinking, okay, be smart. Don’t get injured, because if you get injured, then you can’t keep moving, and you have got to keep moving,” Macdonald said in an interview on Sunday. “And so that was what I kept telling myself. But even then, it was still scary for me, because I’ve never been that cold. And you just think, how can I be this cold?”

The 46-year-old, a friend of the race organizers who lives in the last house outside the canyon where the ultramarathon began, was one of 87 runners caught in the rugged mountains of northern Utah when extreme weather brought on up to 18 inches of snowfall. All were rescued in an hours-long operation that included the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, first responders, search and rescue volunteers and the organizers of the ultramarathon, who called off the event once they grasped the extreme conditions.

Rescuers “covered the entire course on foot, as well as with 4x4s and snowmobiles, for several hours to assist runners off the mountain,” the sheriff’s office said. A few were treated for hypothermia and one for a minor injury from a fall. They were released at the scene.

“It certainly, without a doubt, could have ended up much worse for many of those participants,” said Davis County Sheriff Kelly V. Sparks said. “We had serious concerns … if somebody hadn’t been able to get to them quickly and get them rewarmed, they could have been in great jeopardy.”

Unlike marathons that send runners across big city streets, ultramarathons typically start in small towns and carve through lengthy trails. They usually draw smaller groups of runners, although ultrarunning has been growing in popularity in recent years. The extreme activity saw tragedy in May, when 21 people died in the cold during an ultramarathon in China.

The Utah race was plotted to take runners on a “tough course” that was more than 70 percent trails and 24 percent service roads, up peaks and through canyons with 12,000 feet of vertical gain. Organizers promised adventure and impressive views of the Utah landscape.

Jake Kilgore, one of the race directors, is himself an ultramarathoner who said that he lives five miles from the trailhead. He said that he and fellow race director Mick Garrison started planning the event two years ago and initially considered July. “As ultra athletes, we would never ask our runners to do something we would never do,” he said. He and Garrison live a mile a part, and “run on these trails every day,” and so in July 2020, Garrison ran the course with Kilgore to test it out. “It was nearly 100 degrees that day, 95 to 100 degrees … It was unbearably hot and he could not go any further at mile 40,” he said. “So we went back to the drawing board.”

They ended up choosing October. The course traversed five cities, and he checked forecasts for those locations, and other areas along the course such as Francis Peak. “Everybody knew it was going to be raining, some snow … an inch or two max,” he said. Sparks said that at 7,000 feet, snow was not unexpected. At that elevation, there was a “storm cell that had been active for a couple of days, so it was not a quick moving storm or anything.”

The race featured live technology meant to predict and track the runners’ locations and provide a stream of the course, Kilgore said. Most runners started at 5:30 a.m., with about 20 runners beginning at an early 4:30 a.m. After 7:30 a.m., when the live feed came online from the first aid station — located at Francis Peak at just over 9,000 feet, 13.5 miles into the race — “that’s when we saw truly how bad it was,” Kilgore said. There were cross winds of up to 40 miles per hour and 18 inches of snow.

That is when Kilgore and Garrison called off the race. The decision was relayed to all the aid stations, and volunteers were told to head to the first station to wait for runners and get them off the mountain.

Up on the course, Macdonald said, runners decided to stay in groups to reach safety. She said they slowed to a walking speed, unable to continue running. Icicles hung from her jacket and from the long hair of a fellow runner. Macdonald could no longer feel her face. “We were just yelling to each other making sure everybody was still with us and that we didn’t drop anybody,” she said. The trip, she said, “felt like forever.”

Kilgore said he ran home to put on ski goggles, gloves and gear. He shuttled up as high onto the mountain as he could to get onto the course and help get runners down. He said contingency and safety plans allowed them to jump into action, with the help from more than 100 volunteers who were stationed throughout the course, to get everyone to safety.

By 2:45 p.m., about five hours after organizers called the sheriff’s office for assistance, all of the runners had been accounted for. By about 7 p.m., all the rescuers — a team made up of the volunteers who work and train with the county — had also made their way down the mountain.

The sheriff said authorities plan to speak with the organizers: “Our goal being to educate them and help them understand better how to get better information and better contact with us before a race begins.”

But Macdonald credited the race organizers with helping to prevent a dire situation that could have been “incredibly tragic for people.” Without quick work to account for all the racers and shuttle them down the mountain, the tough race day could have ended differently, Macdonald said.

Instead, Macdonald welcomed a crowd of runners into her home, where they sipped hot chocolate and traded stories. She said she has frostbite on her legs, yet plans to run the race again next year given the chance.

“As soon as I can sign up, I’ll do it,” she said. “I’ve got to finish it.”

 

(10/23/2021) Views: 83 ⚡AMP
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If you want to run an ultramarathon, here are six things to consider about going over 26.2.

As athletes, we are constantly searching for the next challenge – what new boundaries will you set for yourself this year? More and more people are turning to ultramarathons as the next frontier. If you too find yourself curious about the world of ultrarunning, here are some things to consider about going over 26.2.

1. Mental Capacity

Any grizzled old ultrarunner can attest to the power of your mind when running longer than most people care to drive. This is likely the most important aspect to consider. It takes a certain amount of toughness, both mental and physical (is there a difference?) to run ultramarathons. Discomfort, doubt and fear are often part of the game. But every time you enter the “pain cave” you come out the other end less frightened by subsequent visits. If your 50 km experience is a positive one and you aspire to try your hand at 50 miles, or even a 100 mile race, then the ratio of risk vs. reward is increased on both sides of the equation. The longer you run the higher your propensity is for experiencing these “tough spots”, but with that also comes an increase in satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment. This is the lure of ultrarunning.

2. Running History

Let’s start with the basic assumption that it’s best to use races as stepping stones to the next, further distance. Therefore your journey to ultrarunning should use each successively longer distance as a stepping stone to the ultramarathon. Taking this measured approach means you’ll take the smallest possible jump in distance from where you are comfortably running now. So if you’ve been doing 5 km races, train for a 10 km race. From 10 km go to a half marathon and so on, until you’ve finished a marathon injury-free. At this point you are ready an ultramarathon distance. There are few exceptions to this rule and most attempts at breaking it result in a broken body.

Let me say it again: If you have successfully finished a marathon injury-free, you can in fact most likely run an ultramarathon. The logical step up in distance from a marathon would be a 50 km race (31.1 miles), at just five miles longer than the marathon. Know that moving up in distance will take a bit more time and fortitude. But the longer your running history the the easier this transition, or addition in miles, will be.

If you thought training for a marathon was a chore, then you might want to reconsider training for an ultra.  There are certainly ways to mitigate the time commitment (like having a training plan), but it can’t go unnoticed that a certain “addiction to miles” and the time required to feed that addiction only helps your cause.

As your distance goals increase, there is generally less focus on pacing and more focus on overall volume/miles/time on foot. Training for an off-road ultramarathon brings with it training on trails, which means pace becomes a less effective way of measuring effort. So as your training moves to the trails, your training schedule will change to perceived exertion or heart rate guided, time-based runs.

3. Eating and Drinking

Ultramarathons are long, so you are going to have to figure out a solid nutrition and hydration strategy. Failure to do so often results in failure to finish. Your body has stored energy in the form of muscle and liver glycogen. This is the energy reserve that allows you to run for 1.5-2 hours without taking in any fuel. This is adequate for short distances, but won’t serve you well when your race is a 4-7 hour long 50 km. So buy some gels and start figuring out what your stomach can handle during your long runs.

There isn’t anything different happening to your metabolism rate once you pass the 26.2 mile mark; however you are definitely running low on your body’s stored energy (glycogen). So from the start of the race this means consistently consuming calories. Karl Meltzer, who has won more 100 mile ultramarathons than anyone else, fuels almost exclusively with energy gels in a 100-mile race. For most of us however the thought of eating 65 gels during a race is repulsive. So variety is key. Get most of your calories from what works best and is easily digestible, which is usually gels or powders. Then supplement that with other tasty treats like fruit, energy waffles and bars. For the longer ultras some real food options become very appealing. Two of my favorites are baked yam/apple, and avocado wrapped with turkey. Make sure to test your fueling strategy out during your long training runs, to mitigate the unexpected.

As for hydration I think Dr. Timothy Noakes (The Lore of Running) has it right regardless of the distance: “Drink to thirst, that’s it”.  However the longer the race, the more time there is for you to develop hydration issues. So be smart and consistent and don’t allow yourself to get behind. You can usually come back from a bonk, but true dehydration or hyponatremia could end up in a hospital ride.

4. More Gear

The free-spirited 5K or 10K runner who heads out with only a pair of short shorts might find the required equipment for ultrarunning a bit daunting. The gear is in fact improving leaps and bounds year to year (check out UltrAspire). The unfortunate fact though is that at some point while training or racing you’ll have to carry calories and water with you. This will require a hydration backpack or what we ultrarunners call “handhelds”, which are simply bottle holders that attach your bottle to your hand.

At some point in your progression, like a Jedi and his light-saber, you will not be able to leave the house without taking your handheld with you. At this point, “You are almost ready, young Jedi”.

5. Terrain

Most ultramarathons are run on trails as opposed to roads. This change of scenery brings with it a natural antidote to the boring monotony of road running the concrete jungle. It also means hilly undulating terrain, worse footing, mud, and wonderfully technical trails. Fret not if you come from a road background and have an aversion to exposure, there are plenty of ultramarathons on flat tracks and bike paths. However, my bet is that you will at some point fall in love with the rugged remoteness of “real” trail runs. You aren’t entirely alone out there either. All ultramarathons have aid stations where there is usually food, water and first aid.  It’s just not available as often as during a road race and depending on the location, might not have as much variety.

6. Finally, the most important thing…

Ultrarunning is in fact a labor of love. Truthfully, the only real prerequisite for an aspiring ultrarunner is a love of running. Being able to cover vast distances on your own strength is simply one of the most empowering feelings there is. The accomplishment will open doors for you mentally, proving the limitless capacity of perseverance and determination.  After all, once you’ve run that far – is there anything you can’t do?

(10/18/2021) Views: 89 ⚡AMP
by Matt Hart
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Big's Backyard Ultra World Championship has begun

Big’s Backyard Ultra World Championships, Laz Lake’s infamous last-person-standing ultra, started at 7 a.m. Central this morning in Bell Buckle, Tenn. with 36 runners from 10 countries qualified at backyard races around the world to toe the line today. Watch for Canadians Dave Proctor, Stephanie Simpson, Matt Shepard, Eric Deshaies and Terri Biloski, with the action likely to continue until Monday.

The rules are simple: the course is a 4.1667-mile (6.7 km) trail loop (a.k.a. yard), which switches to a road loop at night. (The rationale for the length of the loop is that using this formula, 100 miles takes exactly 24 hours.) A new yard starts every hour on the hour. Runners must complete each loop under the one-hour cutoff and be ready on the start line for the next yard. A warning whistle is blown at three, two and one minute before the cutoff. If you fail to finish before the hour is up, it’s a DNF. If you fail to start (and make forward progress) at the top of the next hour, that’s a DNF. This continues until only one runner is left. 

In the early hours of the race, most runners have time to spare after finishing each yard, and they use this time to refuel, use the bathroom, tweak their gear and rest. As the hours wear on and their pace gets slower, they have less and less time before lining up for the next yard.

As the race goes on and fatigue sets in, the dilemma becomes, where is the sweet spot between expending as little energy as possible while maximizing rest time between yards? In other words, the faster you complete the yard, the more rest time you get before the next yard – but you also fatigue more quickly. 

This year’s starting list

This year’s competitors include seven women, two of whom are former Big’s champions Courtney Dauwalter and Maggie Guterl. Courtney holds the record for the most yards run at the Big’s course in Tennessee (68). The world record for the backyard format was set by John Stocker of the U.K. in June 2021, with 81 yards, eclipsing Karel Sabbe’s previous WR of 75 yards, set at last year’s Big’s world championships, on his home course in Belgium.

 

Here are this year’s contenders, with their country, age and qualifying number of yards. (Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions, most runners from Europe were not able to participate this year.)

Courtney Dauwalter, USA, 36 (68 yards – i.e., 455.6 kilometres over 68 hours) 

Harvey Lewis, USA, 45 (67 yards) 

Gavin Woody, USA, 44 (64 yards) 

Michael Wardian, USA, 47 (63 yards) 

Maggie Guterl, USA, 41 (60 yards) 

Amy Masner, Ireland, 47 (59 yards) 

Steve Slaby, USA, 40 (57 yards) 

Chris Roberts, USA, 36 (56 yards) 

Jennifer Russo, USA, 55 (54 yards) 

Yukinori Yushida, Japan, 52 (54 yards) 

Terumichi Morishita, Japan, 41 (53 yards) 

Dave Proctor, Canada, 40 (52 yards) 

Jon Noll, USA, 36 (50 yards) 

Jacob Conrad, USA, 36 (49 yards) 

Katie Wright, New Zealand, 34 (49 yards) 

Gabe Rainwater, USA, 33 (48 yards) 

Sarah Moore, USA, 33 (48 yards) 

Chris Murphy, Australia, 37 (46 yards) 

Stephanie Simpson, Canada, 35 (43 yards) 

Ron Wireman, USA, 40 (43 yards) 

Fanny Jean, France, 41 (42 yards) 

Matthew Shepard, Canada, 34 (42 yards) 

Hisayuki Tateno, Japan, 50 (42 yards) 

Shawn Webber, USA, 47 (42 yards) 

Mathieu Weiner, USA, 54 (42 yards) 

Piotr Chadovich, USA, 43 (41 yards) 

Morton Klingenberg, Denmark, 36 (39 yards) 

Chris Boyle, USA, 42 (38 yards) 

Andres Villegran, Ecuador, 37 (38 yards) 

Will Rivera, USA, 51 (37 yards) (DNS) 

Eric Deshaies, Canada, 48 (35 yards) 

Vincent Barrientos, USA, 40 (34 yards) 

Haim Malki, Israel, 44 (34 yards) 

Terri Biloski, Canada, 45 (33 yards) 

Jason Bigonia, USA, 44 (32 yards) 

 

Mark Begg, USA, 47 (26 yards) 

(10/17/2021) Views: 163 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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The Performance-Enhancing Power Of Easy Doubles

The hardest part of running training theory is that every athlete is their own N=1 study. We have individual inputs-training volume, intensity, etc. We have individual outputs-time to exhaustionp, VO2 max, race results. But the line connecting input to output will always be a best guess, because we have way too many confounding variables (age, stress, training background, muscle fiber typology) and no way to look under the hood to see exactly what's happening (humans prefer not to be dissected).

Even for a single athlete using different training interventions over time, there is not enough data to reliably infer what causes what. That training plan could have caused a world championship. Or it could have been the base built in that lower-intensity approach a year ago, mixed with better fueling, all combined with an optimal day in the menstrual cycle.

So how do we know what works? 

Well, we do have a baseline understanding of physiology. While humans vary substantially, we're all a similar assortment of semi-organized chemical interactions that love the show Ted Lasso. But that still raises the measurement problem-how can we actually know what training is best with this deluge of uncontrollable variables? It's enough to make any coach pull their hair out, which may itself be an advantageous adaptation. Receding hairlines are built for aerodynamic speed, I tell myself.

While we may never be able to know the optimal approach for each individual, we can hypothesize what works across the population. N=1 sucks. But add up thousands of Ns, and we're getting somewhere. Bad for scrabble, good for training theory. Nn-nn-nn-nnn, hey hey heyyy, good science.

And when you add up all those Ns in running, looking at training logs of top performers, you'll notice something curious. Doubles. Lots and lots of doubles.

Doubles in Practice

A 2019 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at 85 elite athletes over their first seven years of serious training to draw conclusions about the type of runs associated with top performance. Volume of easy runs had the highest correlation with performance, from 0.72 at 3 years to 0.68 at seven years. These findings were backed up by a 2020 study in the European Journal of Sports Science. Neither of those studies discuss doubles specifically, but I'd bet the dog and the car (as implied by the first thing, a Subaru) on some of that volume being accumulated with multiple runs in a day.

For example, a 2019 study on the Ingebrigtsen brothers indicated that they accumulated 150 to 160 kilometers a week onget this13-14 separate sessions. They sometimes do multiple harder workouts in a single day. And brother Jakob won the 1500 meter gold medal in Tokyo.

The same goes for athletes coached by Renato Canova, famous for his "block" training days of two hard workouts, plus countless easy doubles. Before medaling in the Olympic Marathon, Molly Seidel did 6 doubles most weeks. I bet there are more running Olympians who do triples (used in some East African training camps) than train solely with singles. 

Last week's article on cross-country ski training cited many studies (an excessive number of studies) about the high proportion of extremely easy training at the top end of that sport. Some of the greatest champions do 90%+ of their training at low heart rates! As outlined by a 2010 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, skiers (and runners) accumulate aerobic volume to increase in mitochondrial content and capillaries around muscle fibers, improve metabolic function at both high and low intensities, and encourage a more economical use of oxygen to power performance at all intensities as well. All of that corresponds to faster race performances, even in events that are just a few minutes long.

But if it was just about volume, why aren't we seeing top runners rely more on massive singles? That's what bikers do for the most part: several tiny espressos, one big ride. Meanwhile, swimmers do tons of doubles, as do skiers. That's interesting! So what connects running and swimming and skiing, but not biking? My guess is that it's related to the biomechanical demand of the sport varying significantly at slow paces, plus injury risk. Biking is the same if you do it with low power or high enough power to mine Bitcoin in an environmentally responsible way (quads will save the rainforests?). For running, meanwhile, overload those biomechanical patterns and athletes may get inefficient, even if they are able to avoid injury.

So we're trying to add up to a big aerobic number (adjusted for individual background), while balancing overall stress for long-term adaptation. But overemphasizing long singles may have diminishing returns due to the demands of running. 

Doubles help solve the math equation. 

But is it just about the extra volume? I doubt it. 

Doubles may provide a hormonal stimulus that enhances adaptation, they may increase adaptation markers and protein expression associated with better performance, they may improve glycogen replenishment, they may even have some fascinating relationship to epigenetic signaling. A 2012 study on mice found that 3 x 10 minute runs in a single day led to the same adaptations as a 30 minute run, but possibly with slightly larger increases in expression of one protein (TSP-1). What would that type of study look like in humans? Unfortunately, finding out would require dissection. And that's the type of lopsided trade that would only appeal to the New York Mets.

Whatever the exact reasoning, thousands of world-class athletes have come to the conclusion that doubles are key on the track and roads. However, they're sometimes less common in trails and ultras. I have two theories for the cause of that offset.

First, trail running relies heavily on resilience to fatigue from variable musculoskeletal loading patterns. The track is an aerobic system contest, the trails involve the same aerobic pathways with a wrinkle-it doesn't matter how strong your aerobic system is if your legs are Jello. Musculoskeletal damage (and thus, potential adaptation after recovery) accrues over longer runs, so perhaps the long singles create resilient monsters (assuming an athlete doesn't break first).

Two, the margins in trail running are not as narrow as on the roads and track. Our sport is messy, full of rocks and roots and airplane arms, so the champions don't need to find every single possible advantage. A 0.1% improvement in aerobic power might be swallowed up by a 10% improvement from not eating sh*t on a descent. (That also gives me hope that doping is less common in trail running than in a sport like cycling.

How To Add Doubles

While doubles work for pro athletes, I have seen in coaching that they can work for almost anyone, subject to a few disclaimers. First, the body knows stress, not miles. A double can be counterproductive if it adds even an ounce too much to the stress scales. Only double if you have the time, energy, and life force to spare.

Second, increasing volume increases injury risk. It's hard to run a PR with an achilles that sounds like a creaky doorway. 

Third, adaptation is a high-stakes game. Overloading stress in moderation followed by recovery can lead to breakthroughs. But overloading a bit too much can lead to stagnation and regression. Some world-class athletes are likely chosen partially because they are genetic anomalies with adaptation under high chronic stress loads. So make sure you're always listening to your body.

Given those risks, my co-coach Megan and I introduce doubles with five guidelines. This will be the next topic for "Sexy Science Corner" on our podcast, so listen when that comes out for more info.

One: Keep it very easy-up to 2x your 5k pace

If the goal is the aerobic stimulus while balancing stress, almost no pace is too slow. I personally do my doubles without a GPS watch, partially because it may auto-pause due to how slow I go. If your normal easy pace is 8 minutes per mile, you can make it 9 or 10 minutes per mile, especially to start. Molly Seidel often does them at 8+ minute pace, with a marathon pace in the mid-5s. I have seen some pro runners in Boulder doing them at what looks like 10 minute pace. Glorious prancy ponies! Just focus on good form-light on your feet with quick strides.

Two: Keep it short-20 to 30 minutes is plenty

There is some evidence that the productive hormonal stimulus of running rises most rapidly in the first half-hour, before leveling off (and sometimes reversing, though it's debated and individual-dependent). Many athletes describe feeling refreshed after a quick afternoon shake-out. For trail runners, we really love doing some of these sessions on the "treadhill" to reduce impact and get climbing-specific biomechanical loading.

Three: At least a few hours after your first activity

Glycogen replenishment is a key element in doubles, so some fun food and a few hours is plenty. Canova blocks sometimes involve tinkering with glycogen levels for elite male athletes, but we have seen that backfire.

Four: Add them on workout days first, aerobic days next

Easy doubles on workout days may maximize adaptation benefits, plus there is a greater endurance stimulus. Once an athlete is adapted to the approach, we'll occasionally have them run more moderately on some workout-day doubles or treadhills (sometimes even with structured workouts like Canova blocks, but that's a training element you should only add at the direction of a coach due to the high risk of injury and overtraining). Don't double on long run days, which may overwhelm glycogen replenishment and increase breakdown rates. Any double could be replaced by easy cross training as well, which should accumulate aerobic adaptations at similar rates, with lower injury risk.

Five: All doubles are optional

There is no such thing as a mandatory double for our athletes. The main training session is what matters most, and tons of our team members have won some of the biggest races in the world without any doubles at all. So listen to your body. Are you dreading it? Skip. Do you have any niggles, even the smallest whisper from a gnat's ass? Chill. Affect sleep, family, work? Bag it. Does it slow down your recovery for the next day? It's OK to give it a couple weeks for adaptation, but if that persists, nix doubles until you wake up the next day feeling as strong or stronger than you would otherwise.

Many athletes we coach will see this general weekly structure on their peak build weeks, when life stress is low, and health is perfect. Peak ultra builds usually involve fewer (if any) doubles, in order to maximize the musculoskeletal adaptation stimulus, as described above.

Monday: rest and recovery

Tuesday: easy run and hill strides (6-12 miles)

Wednesday: workout (8-13 miles) and optional double/treadhill (2-4 miles)

Thursday: easy run (6-12 miles) and optional double/treadhill (2-4 miles)

Friday: easy run and optional hill strides (3-8 miles) or x-train/rest

Saturday: Long run (10-25 miles)

Sunday: easy run and hill strides (6-15 miles) and optional double/treadhill (2-4 miles)

The big thing to remember: doubles are 100% not necessary. But then again, running isn't really necessary either, in the big scheme of the universe. Doubles, like run training in the first place, is all about exploring the limits of your potential by doing something that seems moderately unreasonable.

(10/16/2021) Views: 94 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Marathon des Sables Wrapup

After a 2.5-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was with great anticipation that the 2021 Marathon des Sables took place this week. The famous desert race, which runs in the Sahara Desert of Morocco, travels 155 miles (250 kilometers) over seven days, traversing sand dunes and stone-filled plains in an arid climate where mid-day temperatures easily reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius).

Each day, a mobile bivouac is erected in the desert, which serves as the day’s finish line, campground for the night, and the following day’s starting line. There are six stages total, and five of them are competitive stages. The final stage is an untimed charity stage. Participants must carry their own equipment including food, camping materials, and survival gear along with water rations supplied by the race organization.

Typically, the race takes place in April, which is spring in the Sahara Desert. This October edition was said to be hotter and drier than usual for this race and this time of the year. In addition to the heat, a stomach virus ravaged many of the participants. By the end of the week, dropouts amounted to over 40% of all starters, an unusually high drate for this particular race.

Sadly, the race claimed the life of one runner due to cardiac arrest. The French man, in his fifties, was an experienced ultrarunner who had met the medical requirements necessary to start the race. iRunFar covered this story earlier in the week.

For the first three days of the 2021 edition, it looked like parity might define the race. Moroccan brothers Rachid El Morabity and the younger Mohamed El Morabity ran close together, leading the rest of the men’s field by just minutes. On the women’s side, Morocco’s Aziza Raji held a bigger, but not insurmountable, half-hour lead over Aicha Omrani (France) and Hassna Hamdouch (Morocco) in second and third.

The stage was set for shakeups in the grueling 50-mile Stage 4. However, Raji and the El Morabity brothers were about to render the outcome academic. At the end of Stage 4, just 15 minutes separated Rachid and Mohamed El Morabity from each other in first and second overall — but the rest of the field lagged behind by over an hour. Meanwhile, Raji had built her lead over the women’s field from less than an hour to a mind-boggling four-plus hours.

In the end, Rachid El Morabity took the win, finishing with a time of 21:17:32. Mohamed took a narrow second in 21:32:12, less than 15 minutes behind his older brother. This marks Rachid El Morabity’s eighth win of this iconic sand race, and Mohamed El Morabity’s fourth 2nd place behind his brother.

Merile Robert (France) was the lone non-Moroccan on the men’s podium, a position with which he’s familiar. This marks his fifth Marathon des Sables finish, with his top previous finish also third behind the El Morabity brothers in 2018.

Aziz Yachou (Morocco) took fourth place, less than two minutes out of podium position, in what was an incredible breakout performance. According to his social media, Yachou received an hour’s penalty during the race due to losing an item of his required kit, which makes this podium near miss even more fascinating. (Required kit and the penalties for missing or losing items are clearly communicated by the race organization before the race.)

Mathieu Blanchard (France, lives in Canada) rounded out the top five, though he was a distant two hours and 20 minutes behind fourth place. He said on social media he suffered the stomach virus during Stage 4. Blanchard has had quite the 2021, following up his third place at the 2021 UTMB with this performance.

Notably, 10-time Marathon des Sables winner and Moroccan sand running legend Lahcen Ahansal finished ninth in the age 50-59 category with a time of 38:16:32.

Aziza Raji demolished the women’s field with a winning time of 30:30:24. It was Raji’s first win. She was second at the last edition and had a few top-five finishes before that. She’s only the second Moroccan woman in the history of the race to win it, after two-time women’s champion Touda Didi.

Tomomi Bitoh (Japan) took second in 34:39:17, moving up in the cumulative standings during the 50-mile Stage 4 and marathon-distance Stage 5 through a well-paced week of racing.

Aicha Omrani finished third in 35:47:48; remarkably, she finished the 2011 Marathon des Sables in nearly the double the time it took her finish this edition.

Hassna Hamdouch and Elise Caillet (France) rounded out the top five.

(10/16/2021) Views: 130 ⚡AMP
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Marathon Des Sables

Marathon Des Sables

The Marathon des Sables is ranked by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on earth. 7 days 350k Known simply as the MdS, the race is a gruelling multi-stage adventure through a formidable landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates - the Sahara desert. The rules require you to be self-sufficient, to carry with you on your...

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Brighton marathon organisers apologise to runners after making course ‘too long’

The event was 568m too long 

Runners who took on the Brighton Marathon nearly went the extra mile - after organisers said the course was too long.

Sunday’s 26.2 mile event started at Preston Park in the city and finished near the Brighton Pier with Neil McClements crossing the line first in two hours and 33 minutes.

But organisers later said there had been a mistake with the course measurement.

In a statement on Facebook, they said: “We would like to apologise to our marathon participants that the course today has measured 568m too long.

“We are wholly disappointed that this has affected our runners & hope that it hasn’t marred the experience, at what has been a fantastic comeback event after 18 months.”

Many of the replies to the post made light of the situation, with some suggesting they had just finished their first ultramarathon - a catch-all term for races longer than marathon distance.

(10/09/2021) Views: 90 ⚡AMP
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Man dies while competing in grueling, multi-day race across the Sahara Desert

An unnamed competitor in the 2021 Marathon des Sables died on Monday, marking the third fatality in the race's 35-year history.

Known as one of the most difficult footraces in the world, the Marathon des Sables takes place each year in Southern Morocco's Sahara Desert. The race covers approximately 250 kilometers (about 155 miles) over a period of about seven days.

Because it exceeds the traditional marathon distance of 26.2 miles, the Marathon des Sables qualifies as an "ultramarathon." The level of prolonged exertion to complete an ultramarathon, particularly when combined with extreme environmental conditions, can take a severe toll on one's body, causing potentially dangerous physical and psychological issues.

The Marathon des Sables reported the tragic incident on Monday, noting that the competitor suffered "cardiac arrest in the dunes of Merzouga" following "a fainting spell."

They added that the man was "in his early 50's and had fulfilled all the medical requirements for the race." He had already completed the first stage of the competition "without the need for medical assistance" at the time of the incident.

"After he collapsed, he was immediately rescued by two other competitors who are also doctors, who triggered the SOS button on his beacon and started the heart massage protocol," said officials from the event.

The Marathon des Sables Medical Director arrived at the site "within minutes by helicopter and took over from the participants." However, despite "45 minutes of resuscitation," the competitor was pronounced dead by medical staff.

The man's identity has been kept secret "out of respect" for his family, who has reportedly been informed of his passing.

Following the incident, Race Director Patrick Bauer broke the news to participants, leaving "staff and competitors...extremely affected."

While the race is planned to continue despite the tragedy, competitors will participate in a minute of silence before the beginning of the third stage.

As noted by The Conversation, ultra-endurance activities put a range of stresses on the body, physically and psychologically. "As growing numbers of competitors look to push themselves to their absolute limit, and [organizers] seek new challenges to enable them to do so, there is always going to be some risk," wrote the publication.

However, "the main cause of death during ultramarathons...is actually sudden cardiac death." Consisting of 43 percent of ultramarathon deaths, these cardiac arrests are usually sustained by those with unknown heart conditions.

Other potential dangers include environmental conditions, psychological stress, sleep deprivation, water and sodium loss and tissue damage.

In order to participate in the Marathon des Sables, competitors must provide "a medical certificate issued by the organization stating their ability to participate and a resting ECG report." Throughout the race, each individual is responsible for providing and carrying their own food, sleeping equipment, and other gear.

(10/09/2021) Views: 134 ⚡AMP
by Newsweek
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A team of Canadian runners is running to Chicago for the Chicago Marathon

With the U.S. land borders closed to automobiles, 12 runners are on their way by foot from Toronto to Chicago for the 2021 Chicago Marathon this Sunday.

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, the group of runners departed from the base of the CN Tower at dawn. They plan to travel 850 km to Chicago over three days and three nights. Their adventure is a non-stop ultra-relay, consisting of 83 legs, where each runner will have to cover between eight and 13 kilometres each leg

This run was orchestrated by Lululemon ambassador Quinton Jacobs, who made a similar journey from Toronto to New York in 2019. After completing New York, Jacobs approached his friend Anoke Dunston with an epic proposition to run to the 2020 Chicago Marathon. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, they had to postpone their journey until 2021. Still, with the U.S. land borders closed to automobiles, it has created a logistical flurry for the group. 

The two friends rounded up four Canadians and six Americans to join them on their Escape to Chicago challenge. “We have one RV, two support vehicles and a Sprinter van,” says Jacobs. “When Anoke and I reach London, Ont., we will drive back to Toronto’s Pearson airport to meet our American contingent travelling with us now in Detriot.”

When the group reaches Detriot, they have another van waiting for them to get the group to Chicago. “The pandemic has been a hiccup in the planning of our event, but we are making it work,” says Dunston.

Jacobs was first inspired to start this challenge by a run to Montreal, which he did with friends a few years ago. “We built this challenge around vibes, and to put a spotlight on the people who are leaders in our community,” says Jacobs. “Our goal is to raise money for charity and showcase our team of inspiring people doing inspiring things.”

Lululemon has sponsored their run and invited the Toronto, Detriot and Chicago running communities to join in on cheering the Escape to Chicago team during their journey – hosting run celebration parties at the stores as the runners pass through each major city.

The group is completing this challenge in support of the St. Felix Centre, a non-profit organization supporting homelessness and food insecurity in Toronto. They are also fundraising for local kids’ charities in Detriot and Chicago.

(10/09/2021) Views: 77 ⚡AMP
by Running magazine
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Ultra trail runner and psychotherapist Cassie Smith explains how the combination of running and nature can boost your mood

The mental health benefits of running are well documented, and there’s a large body of research demonstrating the mood-boosting effects of getting out for even a short jog around the block. There are also a number of studies that show the positive impact nature can have on our mental health.

Trail running is the perfect combination of exercise and nature, and while it isn’t a panacea for mental illness, its positive impact on mental health cannot be denied. We spoke with ultratrail runner and psychotherapist Cassie Smith about how runners can maximize the mental health benefits of their daily miles.

Smith is an accomplished ultratrail athlete. The Smartwool-sponsored runner has several podium finishes to her name from races in Canada and around the world. She’s also a psychotherapist who works as a counselor at the University of British Columbia, which gives her a unique insight into the positive and negative aspects of running as they pertain to mental health. She explains that in addition to the combined effects of nature and physical activity, trail running also promotes being in a more present mindset or a “flow state,” which can help individuals cope with everyday stress and anxiety.

“A lot of mental health issues result from our minds going backward and thinking about the past, or going forward and worrying about the future,” she explains. “When you’re in that flow state, you’re not doing either of those things. You’re focused on the task in front of you, and the mechanisms in your brain that pull you in those other directions aren’t operating.”

She adds that while you can also enter this flow state on the roads, trail running is more effective in this way because you have to be more mentally engaged in what you’re doing to navigate uneven terrain and avoid tripping on a rock, root or other obstacle.

On the flip side, trail running does tend to lean toward the extreme end of the sport, and Smith admits that if you’re not careful, running can start to have the opposite effect on your mental health, particularly if it takes you away from other important parts of your life, like spending time with friends and family. Smith adds that many trail runners (and runners in general) also risk tying up too much of their identity in the sport, which sets them up for trouble if they have a bad run or race, or if something happens that prevents them from training.

“I encourage people to paint a picture in their minds of the healthiest version of themselves,” she says. “What do you look like when you’re sleeping eight hours each night, eating healthy meals, connecting with friends and moving well without pain?”

She goes on to explain that anything you do, including trail running, should promote that healthy version of yourself and be one aspect of it — not the entire picture. If you’re neglecting your relationships, sacrificing sleep or beating your body up without proper recovery in order to focus on running, you’re likely taking it too far. “You have to ask yourself if trail running is still serving its purpose,” she says, which is to make you a healthier, happier person.

Smith points out that finding the right balance can be difficult for people who have a naturally competitive drive. Making the conscious decision to laser-focus on training in the last couple of weeks leading up to a big race is fine, but it’s easy for runners to forget that they have value outside of their performance.

Smith’s advice for runners

While running is an excellent tool for coping with stress, anxiety and depression, Smith warns that it shouldn’t be the only way runners manage their mental health. She reminds us that running is still both a physical and mental stressor, so she encourages runners to be mindful of their other needs and to prioritize them as well. She adds that if you’re struggling with your mental health, it’s important to talk to someone about it. Friends and family and mental health professionals serve different functions in this way, and she says both play key roles in supporting someone who’s struggling.

Finally, Smith reminds runners to be gentle and to have compassion for themselves. It’s easy to get caught up in negative self-talk when a run or workout goes south, and this can lead to a downward spiral in which running is doing more harm than good. In the same way, if you are struggling with your mental health, she encourages you to treat it the same way you’d treat a physical injury — with time, patience and care.

“If you sprained your ankle, you wouldn’t go out and try to run on it the next day, you’d go easy on it and wait for it to heal,” she says. “When we’re struggling with a mental health issue we don’t always have the same compassion for ourselves.”

Trail running (and running in general) has a lot of mental health benefits, and it can be an excellent tool to help you cope with the stressors of daily life. The key is to balance it with other parts of your life to ensure you maximize its benefits, rather than detracting from them.

(10/04/2021) Views: 106 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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London Marathon's never-ending race towards sustainability continues

Since launching 40 years ago, the London Marathon has become firmly established as one of the world’s leading mass participation events and is embedded as an iconic occasion in the international road running calendar.

It has been the scene of several world records, most notably in 2005 when Paula Radcliffe reset the boundaries of women's endurance running by clocking 2:15:25, roared on by a packed and passionate British crowd.

Fast forward to 2021, on the eve of this Sunday’s World Athletics Elite Platinum Label event, Virgin Money London Marathon organisers have broadened their world-leading ambitions to include environmental sustainability.

“We recognise we have a responsibility as a high-profile mass participation event to set a higher standard,” says Megan Hunt, head of sustainability at London Marathon Events (LME), which also hosts 12 other hugely popular events with more than 200,000 annual participants.

This weekend alone, up to 50,000 participants will take to the London streets to tackle the classic distance, cheered on by an estimated 750,000 spectators lining the route, and a further 50,000 are expected to take part ‘virtually’ by running, jogging or walking the 42.195km distance in their own communities across the world.

By any estimate, it is a huge operation, involving massive numbers of people, and with that comes the potential for a large environmental impact. It is an obligation they take very seriously, both in terms of their events and the role they play in influencing the behaviour of hundreds of thousands of people.

‘We are in a unique position, and we can do something about it’

“Environmental sustainability is one of our company-wide objectives, it’s a really important pillar of what we do, it’s something that needs to be in the DNA of every organisation across all aspects and the LME recognises that,” says Hunt.

“As we organise mass participation events, we have a responsibility to try and reduce our environmental impact and create collective action amongst our partners and participants. We are in a unique position, and we can do something about it.”

Since 2019, the London Marathon has experimented with and activated several environmental innovations to reduce its impact. With last year’s event reduced to an elite-only field in London, 2021’s event presents a first opportunity to roll out more eco-friendly practices.

This includes printing numbers at the event registration rather than posting them in pre-race packs, which – it is estimated – will result in 1000 less numbers being printed. Following testing in 2019, this year will also see a clothing donation system in place at the start, with a charity on hand to collect all discarded clothing for re-use or recycling. At another LME event, 55% of clothing was reused and the remainder was recycled.

Plastic water bottles are an almost unavoidable feature of any mass participation event, and this is another area in which race organisers have taken big strides forward.

Every water bottle used is made from recycled material and is 100% recyclable. To support this, #DrinkDrainDrop messaging to all runners is designed to encourage the proper draining of bottles and for them to be dropped in the assigned sacks to enable a closed loop system of recycling. In addition, there will also be compostable cups used on site for sports drinks and runners are being urged to use bottle belts to reduce overall use of plastic bottles. The latter, it is estimated, can reduce the demand for water bottles by 40%.

Creating a positive conversation around environmental sustainability

For fuel emissions, organisers have also made changes to reduce carbon, switching to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil fuel over red diesel for their power generators and deploying electric lead vehicles ahead of the elite field. When it comes to waste, a system of general waste, food and recycling will be in place to reduce litter and landfill. At the end, runners’ finisher bags are made from sugarcane, also with a lower carbon footprint.

The environmentally-friendly face of the event has been welcomed by participants. “We’ve had good feedback, we’ve had positive feedback, but we know we can do more,” says Hunt, who hopes the experience of the London Marathon has a ripple effect.

“The aim is to create a positive conversation around environmental sustainability and create behaviour change for when participants go into other running events. But we are always looking for feedback to see how we can improve and how we can do better.”

The event continues to evolve year on year, but not every environmental experiment has worked.

“We’ve been honest. We’ve trialled things and if they don’t work, that’s fine. At least we’ve tried it,” Hunt admits. “So, one example, in 2019, was capes. We picked 500 participants and the aim of those capes was to reduce discarded clothing at the start and the number of kit bags used. But we decided in the end not to continue with them because the environmental impact in the production of those capes and washing them, outweighed the waste reduction benefits.”

Organisers are conscious that the influence of the London Marathon goes well beyond Sunday and also beyond the UK, and so they take acollaborative, long-term and international view.

“We’ve been working closely with other mass participation events in the UK and also our Abbott World Marathon Majors partners to share learnings and create best practice, so the behaviour change and good environmental behaviours are taken at all events. With environmental sustainability and climate action, working together and working collaboratively is the way you will gain positive change. I think everyone recognises that you can’t do it alone,” she says.

As well as working with their partners at the Berlin, Tokyo, Boston, Chicago and New York marathons on environmental sustainability, London organisers are also seeking to make a difference in the home countries of their elite athletes.

“We wanted to support projects that had a link with where our elite athletes are from. A lot of the elite athletes are positive and endorse taking climate action. So, one of the things we are trying to do is invest in carbon balancing and carbon offsets and those projects will be based in Kenya. One example is community reforestation in Kenya,” reveals Hunt.

As for the future, Hunt is ultra-keen for London to continue to be a leader in environmental innovation and for improvement year on year. “One big area that we want to do is reduce the emissions from our own operations (aside from the events),” she says. “Being able to decarbonise those and switch to renewable forms of power and electrifying our fleet (of vehicles). Waste is another key area, so transitioning and increasing the amount of circularity in our products too.”

When it comes to climate action, London Marathon is in it for the long run.

(10/02/2021) Views: 108 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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UTMB bans painkillers at all events including ibuprofen, before or during any UTMB races

The organizers of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) World Series will be banning the use of painkillers within 24 hours and during all races. This includes all non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. The announcement was made after the UTMB’s Quartz Event health program carried out post-event drug tests for the first time this year and three athletes’ samples contained NSAIDs.

The Quartz Event health program was set up in 2008 to protect the health of participants and contribute to clean sport. The rules of the program align with the banned substance list set out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) but goes a couple of steps further. Under the Quartz medical rules, athletes must not compete in any race if they have violated any of the following regulations:

Within 60 days before the start of the competition and during the competition: 

Intravenous iron infusions

Within 7 days before the start of the competition and during the competition:

Intravenous infusion

Gas inhalation

Substance subject to a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) according to the WADA Prohibited List

All glucocorticoids regardless of the mode of administration

Thyroid synthesis hormones except in case of partial or total removal of the thyroid or hypothyroidism of medical origin.

Within 24 hours before the start of the competition and during the competition:

All beta-2-agonists regardless of the mode of administration

All painkillers including Tramadol and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) regardless of the mode of administration

All substances included in the WADA Monitoring Program

After the 2021 UTMB final, three athletes out of 30 who were tested had NSAIDs in their samples. The organizers did not disqualify the athletes because the rules were only implemented this year, it was their first violation and there was an assumed lack of knowledge of the new regulations. Moving forward, however, all races will be employing the Quartz Event program and any athletes found in violation of the rules will be automatically disqualified.

Why are painkillers being banned?

According to Doctor Patrick Basset, the medical director of Dokever, the company that manages the medical teams at all UTMB events, these regulations have been put in place to protect athletes from the dangers of self-medicating. “the most frequent type of self-medication seen is to treat two types of symptoms: osteoarticular pain and digestive problems,” he explains on the UTMB website. “As a consequence, the main medicines concerned are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), anti-diarrhea or anti-vomiting medicines.”

He continues to explain that in the context of a long-lasting endurance race, taking anti-inflammatories could be toxic to the kidneys and cause rhabdomyolysis, which is the excessive breakdown of muscle tissue to dangerous levels, potentially leading to renal insufficiency. This is even more likely to happen when combined with dehydration, hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and hypotension (a drop in blood pressure).

Many athletes are criticizing the ban as going too far since the Quartz program refers to these new rules as “legal doping,” and NSAIDs are not banned by WADA.

(09/23/2021) Views: 139 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

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

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How To Avoid Stomach Cramps When Running

There is nothing worse than a rumbling stomach while you are out on a run. Whether you have a side stitch (side cramps) or feel the need to rush to the nearest porta-potty, stomach issues can really cramp your running style. Learn how to avoid stomach cramps when running with these tips.

Warm Up

A cramp in your side (side stitch) is—just like it sounds—a severe pain in your side body. It typically occurs right below the rib cage. It is not actually related to your stomach or digestive system. While the exact cause of side stitches is unknown, some theories suggest that it could be related to blood flow to the liver, spasms in the diaphragm, or stretching of the ligaments.

To prevent side stitches, warm up properly. This gives your body time to accommodate to faster breathing and adjust to stretching ligaments.

Hydrate

Do you skip drinking fluids during a run because you worry they will cause sloshing and cramping? It is time to adjust your strategy. This can lead to dehydration, which actually exacerbates stomach issues.

When you are exercising at an intense level, your body diverts blood away from the stomach in order to supply your muscles with much needed oxygenated blood. This means that digestion can be negatively affected.

Drink adequate fluids in the days leading up to your training session or race, and remember to drink throughout your run. 

Practice Fueling

When you train for a long-distance race, you put in hours of running each week to gradually build your muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance. However, just like training your legs for those long runs, you also need to train your gut.

Often, newer athletes skip fueling during training but attempt to use a sports drink or gel during their first long race. The result? Stomach cramps, thanks to a belly that has never practiced processing fuel under such circumstances.

Luckily, the fix for this is easy. Simply practice your fueling strategy during training.

This will help teach your stomach how to process fuel under conditions of decreased digestive blood flow along with the jostling motion of running. 

Do Not Over-Fuel

It can be tricky to nail down the correct amount of fuel to take in during a long run. But one thing is certain: trying to replace every calorie you burn is a recipe for disaster. Instead, aim to take in around 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates (about 120 to 240 calories) per hour on runs lasting longer than one hour and 15 minutes. 

If you are training for a long-course triathlon or ultra-marathon, you might bump that range up to 30 to 90 grams of carbohydrates per hour. As you start experimenting with fueling, start at the lower end of this range. If you feel like you need more energy, you can gradually work your way up to the higher end of the range on subsequent runs and see how your stomach tolerates this.

Minimize Fat

Fat is a satiating nutrient. It slows down digestion and helps us feel full longer. While this is great for everyday life, it is not ideal before a training session. You do not want to start running with a belly that is still feeling full and risk cramping. Low-fat, low-fiber breakfast ideas include:

Cereal with milk and a banana

Toaster waffle topped with peaches

Bagel with a small amount of cream cheese

Rice with a poached egg

Sandwich with a small amount of peanut butter, banana, and honey

The exception to this tip is if you are a fat-adapted athlete who is practicing the keto diet. In that case, you should follow your normal routine, as foods outside of that could cause stomach cramping. For most athletes, however, a standard moderate carbohydrate diet will lead to the best performance.

Know Your Lactose Tolerance

Lactose is sugar that is found in dairy products. Some people lack enough of the digestive enzyme known as lactase to properly break down this sugar. This is what is commonly known as lactose intolerance. If you have this condition, eating certain amounts of dairy can cause stomach cramping and diarrhea.

Interestingly, you can develop lactose intolerance later in life, even if you previously were able to tolerate dairy. Lactase production decreases over time for certain people based on genetic factors. For others, a gastrointestinal infection or inflammatory bowel disease may cause secondary lactose intolerance.

Digest Before Running

Most experts recommend eating a meal about one to four hours prior to running, though this is very individualized. Some runners have iron stomachs that allow them to eat a burger 30 minutes before a jog, while others might need two hours to process a small sandwich and some fruit.

If you often experience stomach cramps when running, try eating about three to four hours prior to your training session or event. Allowing more time between eating and running gives you more flexibility for the type and amount of food you can eat, as your body has ample time to digest.

Avoid NSAIDs

Ibuprofen and naproxen are NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). While some athletes might take these medications prior to or during a run to stave off any muscle soreness, this practice increases the risk of stomach upset and cramping.

In addition, overusing NSAIDs on long runs has been shown to increase the risk of hyponatremia (a dangerous diluting of blood sodium levels) and kidney damage, and could impair muscle recovery. It is wise to avoid these medications before or during a run unless a doctor has advised you to take them.

Rule Out Medical Conditions

In some cases, stomach cramps could indicate a food sensitivity or intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, or another digestive complication. It is best to consult with a healthcare professional.

(09/06/2021) Views: 142 ⚡AMP
by VeryWell Fit
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10 Of The Worst Training Tips You Hear In Running

Bad Tip One: Your body needs to look a certain way or weigh a certain amount.Being an athlete is all about finding your strong. Every runner that has long-term growth and success fuels their body adequately. For some athletes, that leads to complying with that formula espoused by Mr. Crap-Face. For other athletes, it means a body that looks different and weighs more or less. All are equally valid. And here's the biggest point of all: all are optimizing what they are capable of given their unique genetics and backgrounds. 

The problem is that a formula might be interpolated from an outlier, a person that won an Olympic medal or Western States. Interpolating from outliers is crap science, and it's crap physiology. Athletes that try to fight against their unique genetics and backgrounds will not adapt to training stimuli efficiently, and will almost always get slower with time. That time might not be tomorrow, but trying to fit into someone else's clothes or onto their scale is a ticking time bomb for athletic growth.

Three years ago, the New Zealand rowing team had a reckoning. A survey indicated that all but one athlete was at risk of low energy availability. Doctors, nutritionists, and coaches worked with athletes to change the culture and approach to fueling. Rower Brooke Donoghue summarized the wisdom that they applied leading up to the Olympics: "Now I understand being lean isn't a priority, being strong is," she said. "It doesn't matter what I sit at on the scales. It's opened us up to understand it's not about a number but more about a good feeling, knowing we're fuelling well."

In Tokyo, Donoghue won a silver medal, and the whole team had breakthrough successes. Low energy availability from a focus on body weight can hurt the endocrine system and overall health. The New Zealand rowing team learned something else. Eating enough can fuel better performance, recovery, and adaptation. Food can act as a natural, legal, fun PED.

Move, eat, love, repeat. You found your strong. And your strong is perfect.

Bad Tip Two: Easy runs need to be at a certain heart rate all the time.

The body does not work in cordoned-off physiological zones, where exceeding aerobic threshold is a crime scene for athletic growth. When you feel good, your easy runs can be a bit faster. When you feel tired or are not recovering rapidly, your easy runs can put snails to shame. The art and science of easy running require that an athlete listens to their body, not to a calculator. 

This tip is grounded in the truth that easy runs can be very easy, and often should be very easy. The aerobic system should be built from the ground up. Just make sure that focusing on the aerobic system doesn't neglect the musculoskeletal, biomechanical, and neuromuscular systems. You have to go faster to get faster, in moderation.

Bad Tip Three: To be a pro, you have to do doubles/100 miles a week/complicated workouts

This is the general catch-all heading for tips that you might hear from an elite athlete talking about their own training. The problem is that all of these tips are overwhelmed by confounding variables, and sometimes people get the lines of causation mixed up. Doubles are an important feature of some pro athlete training, but also coincide with athletes that have the time and physiology to handle them. High-volume weeks can be a proxy variable for stress and adaptation, but the cells don't give a single frick about a week, and only care about a mile in association with the chemical context that goes along with it (we went into detail on our podcast here). Big double-threshold workouts or supercompensation hill sessions could help growth, but are also just a part of training for athletes that are tough as nails and have big dreams.

Successful athletes can likely be successful using multiple approaches, but we can't prove a negative. So we are left adding up a bunch of N=1 experiments. Don't feel obligated to mimic the specific approach that works for someone else. General principles are your friend (doubles/100-mile weeks = consistent and frequent chronic stress, workout design = efficient and strategic acute stress). Specific rules can just be dogma.

Bad Tip Four: It's all about time on feet.

This tip is mostly for the ultra crowd. Time on feet may be helpful if it involves moving efficiently on trails, including hiking, with plenty of time for recovery and adaptation. But there is no evidence and little physiological theory that chronic weekly totals of dozens of hours on feet will help an athlete move more efficiently (or be healthier). While that stuff may work for some people, you can be fast and healthy by spending time in the morning doing your activity, then living your life normally (periodically mixing in some bigger acute stresses along the way), even when training for races that take 12-24+ hours.

Bad Tip Five: The more training volume and/or vert, the better.

Connected to the last two points, volume and vert totals are proxy variables for stress. But they are not actual stress as experienced by the cells and body systems that drive performance. A 10-mile run might just be a 10-mile run. Or it might act a bit like a 20-mile run if you've been up all night with a kid, are dealing with a mental health lull, or are preparing a work presentation. One of the hardests things to internalize for an athlete is that the body can actually adapt to the lower volume just as well as higher volume as long as stress is calibrated appropriately for their unique context.

The body doesn't know miles, it knows stress. And more stress is not always better, particularly when some champions are specifically chosen due to being genetic anomalies when it comes to managing chronic training stress.

Bad Tip Six: You should hike a hill in training if you'd hike it in racing

Specificity is important sometimes, just don't go overboard with it. I see so many athletes sell themselves short by hiking every uphill because they read that tip in an ultra running article, or heard it from a friend. The problem is that it's very hard to level up if your brain is constraining you in advance of your body saying it needs constraints.

If you hike all of the time, that is awesome and valid. But if you are healthy enough to run, try to run a couple steps more on your next run. It can be so freaking exciting to see where this athletic journey goes when we take off the constraints that were holding us back.

Bad Tip Seven: You can always get all of the nutrition you need from food and sunlight

Maybe you can! But through coaching and research, my wife/co-coach Megan and I see a lot of bloodwork, and there are many athletes that can't. Pay special attention to ferritin and vitamin D. Sometimes, leafy greens and UV rays don't cut it, and that's OK. If you're unsure, get blood tests from your doctor or a company like Inside Tracker.

Bad Tip Eight: You can't lose fitness in a taper

True, your aerobic system won't undergo a fundamental remodeling in a couple weeks. But blood volume, VO2 max, cardiac output, and neuromuscular efficiency all can detrain rather quickly. It's important to rest more, but don't shut down like you're a bear in November. Most of our athletes maintain their normal frequency at 30-50% lower training volume, with a rest day or two more for ultras, plus a bit of intensity too. 

Bonus Tip: Minimal shoes are better for health and/or performance

I don't think people say this piece of advice anymore, but it's worth addressing just in case someone went into a coma after reading Born To Run. First, to that coma person, did you like The Apprentice? You won't now. 

Second, for the love of all that is good in this world, wear shoes that are comfortable for you, not shoes that are comfortable for someone who may or may not have a functioning achilles tendon in a few years. Different things work for everyone.

Bad Tip Nine: Death before DNF

Running is not a test, it's a celebration. 

As Dani Rojas said in Ted Lasso, "[The sports psychologist] helped me remember that even though futbol is life, futbol is also death. And that futbol is futbol too. But mostly that futbol is life!"

(09/05/2021) Views: 113 ⚡AMP
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This Lithuanian Runner Broke the 24-Hour World Record, a Mark That’s Stood Since 1997

The Lithuanian runner averaged a 7:29/mile pace for a full day.

Sania Sorokin has claimed another world best in 2021, breaking the 24-hour record set by legendary Greek ultrarunner Yiannis Kouros in 1997.

Kouros’s mark (303.4 kilometers or 188.52 miles for a 7:38/mile pace) remained elusive until August 30, when Sorokin lined up at the UltraPark Weekend 24-hour race in Poland. The 39-year-old Lithuanian runner averaged a 7:29-per-mile pace for the entire day on his way into the history books. His official distance was marked at 309.4 kilometers (192.25 miles).

“[The world record] was my dream for about five years,” Sorokin told Runner’s World. “It was an almost perfect race, but I know I can do better.”

Though unsponsored, Sorokin is no stranger to high-level performances such as this. His accolades include three 24-hour world championships since 2015, winning the famed Spartathlon ultra in 2017, and breaking the 100-mile and 12-hour world records in April this year.

His initial plan after his April success was to go for the 24-hour world record at the 2021 World Championships in October. However, the race was canceled in June due to the pandemic, so Sorokin chose the UltraPark Weekend 24-hour race in nearby Poland to go for his record attempt.

“Poland is not far from me,” Sorokin said. “This is a very high standard race, Poland has very strong ultrarunners, and the track is very good. I thought it was good to go for the 24-hour world record.”

In preparation for a record run, Sorokin increased his mileage for this training block. His weeks ranged from 142 miles at their lowest to 173 at his peak. He included speed work, while also doing cross-training, such as weightlifting, cycling, and swimming.

Sorokin lost his job as a dealer at a casino in January because of the pandemic, so he’s had more time to “train like a pro.” He credits this for his success and why he showed up in peak form to his record run.

Though he was on pace for the entire run, he did run into issues during the night.

“The conditions, the weather, the track, the organization, everything was perfect,” Sorokin said. “There was some crisis at night with my stomach. It stopped working well for a few hours, but then began to work again, and I really didn’t know if the record was to be or not to be until 21 hours of running.”

In those final three hours, Sorokin routinely crunched the numbers in his head. Finally, with 40 minutes remaining, he reached the 300-kilometer mark. Two more laps would give him the record. He did that and then some, breaking the world record by six kilometers.

Since breaking the record, Sorokin returned to Lithuania and has been inundated with interview requests. He has a couple ideas for what he wants to do next, but he said his focus right now is finding a sponsor for 2022.

“I need to find a sponsorship for next year because soon I need to be back to work,” Sorokin said. “I am in peak form, so I feel like I can still do better. I don’t exactly know what’s next for me. Maybe the 48-hour record.”

That record currently stands at 473.49 kilometers (294.21 miles), or put simply, a 9:47/mile pace for two days straight. It was set in 1996 by Kouros.

(09/05/2021) Views: 114 ⚡AMP
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Courtney Dauwalter Smashed the Women’s Record at UTMB and Knocked Over 2 Hours Off Her Previous Best

In her second appearance at the French race, she knocked over two hours off her previous best and placed 7th overall.

Courtney Dauwalter returned to the 106-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) to defend her 2019 crown and did not disappoint in her second appearance in Chamonix, France.

The 36-year-old from Golden, Colorado, led wire to wire in the women’s race, running into only a few minor issues along the way to set a new course record in 22:30:54 and finish seventh overall.

“It was an incredible experience again, and we were so excited to be back, immersed in that community,” Dauwalter told Runner’s World. “I didn’t know what to expect from the race, but I knew that I was lining up healthy and physically and mentally as ready as I could be.”

UTMB was a redemption race for Dauwalter, who was forced to drop out at mile 62 of the Hardrock 100 in July because of stomach issues.

Since then, Dauwalter said she has been tweaking her fueling strategy with her husband and crew chief, Kevin Schmidt. With solid foods causing issues at a certain point, she found that she should take in liquids only.

What happened at Hardrock turned out to be a blessing for her second time through the Alps. Similar problems arose around mile 50 at the Courmayeur aid station. Dauwalter was well ahead with only Mimmi Kotka of Sweden near her, but solid food wasn’t going down. Though she initially planned to switch to liquids only at mile 70, she and Schmidt opted to make the change earlier.

This meant Dauwalter relied on drinking a lot at aid stations and only fueling with the single liter she carried with her between aid stations.

“Climbing out of Courmayeur and coming to the top, I lost my lunch a little bit,” Dauwalter said. “But once it happened, it never happened again and I felt fine. I don’t know if my body was rejecting the fluids I put into it, but it ended up not being a big deal.”

Dauwalter then opened up a massive lead in the women’s race, picking off male competitors one by one. She said there were still low points in the latter part of the race—her legs felt shredded with each climb—but in those moments, she turned to her old friend, the iPod Shuffle.


“It literally has just the play button,” Dauwalter said. “It’s the best. Helps occupy my brain space with upbeat music. It basically has a playlist that started in 2010 and has just been added to since. So an eclectic mix of country music, Michael Jackson, Prince, some early 2010s pop and rap, and Taylor Swift.”

Dauwalter led the women’s race by over an hour as she made the final climb out of Vallorcine at mile 93 and descended back into Chamonix. Dauwalter found herself overjoyed upon seeing the mass of spectators welcoming her back into town.

As she ran through the streets and across the line, Dauwalter said she had no idea her time of 22:30:54 had set a new course record. Her time bested fellow American Rory Bosio, who set the previous record in 2013 (22:37:26) on a course that was three kilometers shorter.

“I feel very happy to have made the entire loop,” Dauwalter said. “After DNFing Hardrock, I wanted to finish UTMB no matter what it took. I’m grateful to my legs, my body, and Kevin and I were able to make the whole 100-mile adventure together. It’ll make for another great memory.”

Not only did Dauwalter make history with her time, she also finished seventh overall in the race. The rest of the women’s podium rounded out with French runner Camille Bruyas taking second (24:09:42) and Kotkas taking third (25:08:29). You can find the full results here.

“It’s a very cool time in the sport,” Dauwalter said. “There’s a lot of women pushing the limits and seeing what is possible. I feel lucky to be in this sport right now and sharing miles with those women and sharing races with these women.”

Dauwalter celebrated at the finish with Schmidt and her Salomon team. Having a beer was her top priority, so she grabbed a light beer that was handed to her. The next event on her race calendar is Big’s Backyard in October.

In the men’s race, French runners took the top five spots, led by now four-time champion Francois D’haene (2012, 2014, 2017, and 2021), who finished in 20:45:59.

American men continued their struggles at the event with Jim Walmsley and Tim Tollefson dropping out. The top American male was Luke Jay, who finished as the second American and 34th overall in 25:54:40. No American man has ever won UTMB.

(09/05/2021) Views: 108 ⚡AMP
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The world's best finish lines

Whether you are running your first or 50th race, there is no better feeling than crossing the finish line. We appreciate all finish lines in life no matter your goals, but we take a look at some of our favourite finish lines in races across the running world.

Boston Marathon (U.S.)

It would be hard to leave the finish line of the prestigious Boston Marathon off the list. Right on Hereford, left on Bolyston and you can see the finish line, with 500m to go. It’s a memory Boston marathoners remember forever. To hear fans, family members and Bostonians screaming at you as you run toward the line certainly gives you a final push to the finish.

Ultra de Trail Mont-Blanc (France)

This UTMB finish line sits right in the heart of Chamonix, surrounded by picturesque views of the French Alps. Ultrarunners descend from the mountain into the village after 171 km of racing, and hear the roar of the crowd as they run through narrow cobblestone streets toward the finish.

Olympic Marathon (Various)

The Olympic marathons always take place on the final two days of athletic events at the Games. Although fans were not allowed in the stadium in Tokyo, there were people lining the marathon course in Sapporo, which was one of the advantages of it being moved to that city. The raw emotion of athletes celebrating as they complete the Olympic marathon is a moment like no other.

Around the Bay 30 km (Canada)

Canada’s Around the Bay 30 km road race has a unique finish line, in which runners finish go through the lower level of a hockey arena to finish at centre ice of Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre. Friends and families sit inside the arena to watch runners cross the line. Spectators will also sit inside to avoid the freezing temperatures of the March race.

Melbourne Marathon (Australia)

Similar to Canada’s Around the Bay race, the Melbourne Marathon finishes inside one of the world’s top 10 largest stadiums: the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The MCG has a seating capacity of 100,000 people and is home to the AFL Grand Final and Australia’s cricket team. Runners enter the MCG after completing 41 kilometres around the streets of Melbourne, to finish the marathon at midfield.

Great Wall Marathon (China)

The Great Wall of China Marathon starts and finishes inside the village of Huanyaguang’s Yin & Yang Square. Despite the steep climbs on the iconic Great Wall of China, runners are rewarded by the breathtaking views along the course. In the last two kilometres, as you reach the village from the wall, spectators will be cheering as they have a traditional festival for runners.

Comrades Ultra Marathon (South Africa)

The Comrades Marathon is a point-to-point 90 km ultramarathon in South Africa, starting at City Hall in Pietermaritzburg and finishing at the Sahara Kingsmead Cricket Stadium in Durban. Race spectators wait at the finish in Durban in front of a big screen, waiting for entrants to cross the line. The race has a challenging time limit, as runners must complete the distance in less than 12 hours.

(09/04/2021) Views: 110 ⚡AMP
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World record-holder Eliud Kipchoge says that he wants to try an ultramarathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

(09/02/2021) Views: 229 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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The TransRockies Golden Ultra cancelled

The TransRockies Golden Ultra race, one of Canada’s toughest trail races, has been cancelled this year due to the mandating of organized events set by the British Columbia government.

The Golden Ultra was supposed to take place on Sept. 17-19 in Golden, B.C. but as of Aug. 23, the B.C Interior Health Region stated that all outdoor organized events will be limited to under 100 people for one month to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Race organizers did everything they could to try to make this event happen, but the public health mandate does not allow large gatherings, and this event cannot operate without all its volunteers and athletes.

Information on the 2022 event will be updated over the next couple of days. All of the 2021 registrants will be deferred to the 2022 event with no penalty.

(08/29/2021) Views: 114 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Francois D'haene claims his fourth victory at UTMB

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

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

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

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

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

(08/28/2021) Views: 188 ⚡AMP
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

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

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Kipchoge reveals his next goal after leaving marathons

Kipchoge has been recognised the world over as the epitome of limitless possibilities.

Marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge has revealed that he intends to push his body further than the 42km marathon which he has won over 10 times.

In a recent interview with author and athletic enthusiast Rob Steger, Kipchoge said his next goal after leaving marathons would be the ultra marathon.

"After leaving the marathon, I want to run the ultramarathons just to feel how it is. Running for more than 4 or 5 days or even run at once for 70 kilometres. I really want to feel the pain of running for a long time,” Kipchoge said.

The 36-year-old has been recognised the world over as the epitome of limitless possibilities, having beat the sub-2-hour mark in 2019.

Kipchoge’s timing of 1:59:40 isn’t officially recognised as a world record as the conditions—a straight and even track, a battery of world-class pace-setters and special shoes, among others—were carefully chosen to propel him towards it.

But it takes nothing away from a feat that transcends the realm of mere statistics and accomplishes what was once considered invincible.

He recently asked Kenya to embrace the use of technology in training to keep performing wonders at international competitions.

“If we don’t embrace technology then we are not moving... I know regulations will be there but technology should take centre stage.

“Let all athletes have top technology, have top innovation. That’s the only way to think and actually try to improve your performance,” Kipchoge told Reuters.

His incredible form was now been turned into a movie called Kipchoge: The Last Milestone.

The film portrays Kipchoge as a tireless athlete with a work ethic, a contemplative attitude and a fundamental modesty.

The legend uses hypoxic training which helps his body adapt to reduced oxygen intake to prevent him from running out of breath.

His muscles have high capability to self-contract to enhance the smooth movement of his limbs

An excerpt from his training manual reads that in 2018, he completed an entire session in under 80 minutes with no time between warm-up, workout, and cool-down. Later the same day he ran 12km in less than 50 minutes.

(08/28/2021) Views: 191 ⚡AMP
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So You Want To Run UTMB. Here's How To Qualify.

The trail and ultra world was rocked this spring when the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc announced a partnership with Ironman, the global triathlon brand. Aside from the inevitable financial questions that pop up with such an acquisition, many trail runners were left wondering how am I going to get into UTMB?

To compete at the UTMB World Series Finals in Chamonix, runners must compete in at least one of the 30 UTMB World Series Events or one of the three UTMB World Series Majors, where they can collect Running Stones for use in the lottery or be rewarded for their performance with direct access. Men's and women's champions will be crowned for each of the three key distances of the UTMB race week in Chamonix: the OCC (50K), CCC (100K) and UTMB (100 miles).

The full UTMB World Series calendar will be announced sometime this fall, including several UTMB World Series Events and one UTMB World Series Major in the U.S.

"Trail running was born in the USA [but] it's not easy for a French company to develop something [there]," said UTMB Co-Founder and Co-Owner Michel Poletti, in an interview with Trail Runner columnist Doug Mayer. "That's part of our decision to partner with Ironman, is that it will be easier for them to develop the sport in the U.S. than for us in France." Poletti noted they are talking with "many other races in the world, including the United States."

What The Heck Is A Running Stone?

A Running Stone is like a lottery ticket. It's your entry into the lottery to compete at UTMB, CCC, TDS and OCC. If you have seven stones, that means your name is in the lottery seven times, giving you a higher chance of being selected than someone with only three stones. 

You can earn stones by competing in UTMB associated races. For example, competing in a 50k+ race "by UTMB" will earn you nine stones. Competing in an Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT) race over 50k will earn three stones. Western States Endurance Run finishers and Javelina Jundred runners can earn three stones. UTMB is now a Western States Golden Ticket Race, as is Javelina. You can see the full list of qualifying races here. 

UTMB, CCC, TDS and OCC do not earn runners Running Stones. 

UTMB Qualifying Points

Runners who haven't collected Running Stones can enter the lottery if they have the required number of qualifying points from no more than two races.

Elite Runners

UTMB races save spots for elite runners according to the number of ITRA points a runner has. For men, anyone with an ITRA score over 880 can skip the lottery and entry fee. Elite men with scores between 800-880 can skip the line but still pay an entry fee. Women with an ITRA score over 760 get free entry and no lottery, while women with a score between 760 and 675 skip the lottery, but pay the entry fee.  The top three runners from any given country get in free. Easy!

All Roads End In Chamonix

UTMB is calling its new global race series the "UTMB World Series," which breaks down into four categories of races: World Series Qualifiers, Events, Majors and Finals. Qualifier races, whose numbers will apparently be in the thousands, give "privileged access" to World Series Events and World Series Majors, both of which feature 50K, 100K and 100-mile distances. Each World Series race gives a participant one lottery entry (UTMB calls them "stones") to the finals in Chamonix. The World Series Majors are the flagship races on each continent, with two entries to the Chamonix lottery. Between the Majors and Events categories, UTMB expects to have 30 to 40 races take part.  

Everything points toward Chamonix and the World Series Finals-and the only way to get there will be through the new race series. To get to Chamonix, runners will also need to finish a race of comparable difficulty in one of the other UTMB race series.

(08/28/2021) Views: 112 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Czech Runner Dies from Falling During UTMB’s TDS Race in Chamonix

It is believed to be the first death in the 19-year history of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc races in and around Chamonix

There was sad news coming out of Chamonix, France, early on the morning of August 25.

The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc race organization reported that a male runner from the Czech Republic competing in the 145-km TDS race died after suffering a bad fall and serious injuries. The accident occurred at the 62.3 km mark on the descent of the Passeur de Pralognan, an 8,421-foot mountain pass west of Chamonix, France.

It is believed to be the first death in the 19-year history of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc races in and around Chamonix.

A spokesperson for the race said the UTMB race organization is deeply saddened and wished the international trail running community to join in offering condolences to the family and friends of the victim.

When the accident occurred at 12:25 a.m. CET, the rescue team stationed on the course responded to the scene immediately and additional emergency personnel was called into action via helicopter support. Despite life-saving treatments, the runner (who is being kept anonymous until all family members have been notified) succumbed to his injuries. Because of the remote and complex nature of the rescue operations, the race was partially halted and the runners located at the Passeur de Pralognan, and further back, were instructed by the race committee to turn around and go back down to Bourg Saint-Maurice, where they were met and transported back to Chamonix.

The race began on Tuesday afternoon in Courmayeur, Italy, and runners experienced clear skies and cool temperatures through the night and into the early morning. The 293 runners who had already run through Passeur de Pralognan were allowed to continue on to finish the race, but the remainder of the approximately 1,200 runners who were turned back will not be able to continue.

Norway’s Erik-Sebastian Krogvig was the eventual winner of the TDS, making it back to Chamonix after 18 hours, 49 minutes, 58 seconds. The TDS race, officially known as the Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie, is the most technically challenging race during the UTMB week, with several craggy climbs and descents that require precise footing and balance.

“This is a tough section of the course,” reports Trail Runner Magazine contributor Doug Mayer, who lives in the Chamonix area. “You’ve just climbed 2,000 meters in about 10 km, then need to hold on to chains on the other side. They have a rescue group right there at this spot, always. It’s the most technical moment of the race.

(08/28/2021) Views: 173 ⚡AMP
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

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

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2021 longford marathon goes virtual

Despite the best efforts of all involved with the organisation of the Abbott Longford Marathon, unfortunately it is not possible to go ahead with the in-person event in Longford this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

As a result, the committee has made the decision to go virtual.

The 2021 Virtual Abbott Longford Marathon will take place between Sunday, August 29 and Thursday, September 30. Participants can take part in a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon or 39.3-mile Ultra Marathon and complete the distance at a time and location of their choosing between those dates.

Registration for the 2021 Virtual Abbott Longford Marathon is now open at: http://www.longfordmarathon.com/enter/

2021 Finishers Medal

Entry in any distance will cost €15, and all runners will receive a specially commissioned 2021 finishers medal by post.Announcing the virtual race, John Sheehan, vice-chairman of the organising committee said,

"While we are of course disappointed not to be able to go ahead with our event again this year, we are delighted that with the support of our main sponsors Abbott, we can bring our event to the virtual world, and I encourage everyone to get involved and take part over the month of September."

Mr Sheehan outlined that the virtual event will help to raise vital funds for charity partners, St Christopher's Services in Longford, at a time when funding for their services is most needed.

He concluded, “We look forward to 2022 with hope and optimism and are planning for the Abbott Longford Marathon at the end of August.

“We hope to see you all soon. In the meantime, keep safe, keep running and enjoy the 2021 Virtual Abbott Longford Marathon.”

(08/25/2021) Views: 149 ⚡AMP
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Longford Marathon

Longford Marathon

The Friendly Marathon in the Heart Of Ireland. Ireland's friendliest marathon has a reputation for being one of Irelands best organised events, with a flat course, through the beautiful countryside of Longford, Roscommon and Leitrim beside the River Shannon. Take a place,its an ideal run for anybody training for the Dublin City Marathon in October. Organised by runners, for...

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As runner should you be worried about hyponatremia?

Hydration is important for runners, particularly during the hot summer months. Not surprisingly, the conversation surrounding hydration typically revolves around encouraging runners to drink more water, not less, but it is possible to drink too much water. Hyponatremia is a potentially dangerous result of over-hydration, and it’s something for runners to keep in mind when they’re out on a hot run.

According to the Mayo Clinic, hyponatremia occurs when the concentration of sodium in your blood is abnormally low. Sodium is an electrolyte that helps regulate how much water is in and around your cells. Drinking too much water can cause the sodium in your body to become diluted, which causes your body’s water levels to rise and your cells begin to swell. This can cause mild to life-threatening health problems. Symptoms include:

Nausea and vomiting

Headache

Confusion

Loss of energy, drowsiness and fatigue

Restlessness and irritability

Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps

Seizures

Coma

There are many possible reasons someone might develop hyponatremia other than drinking too much water. Still, runners who are participating in long events like marathons, ultras and triathlons are at higher risk because they are more likely to over-consume water in an effort to stay hydrated.

How can you prevent hyponatremia?

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say how much water is too much, because every individual’s hydration needs are different, but in general, runners should aim to take in only as much fluid as they lose during a race. For most people, thirst is a good guide to determine how often and how much they need to drink.

Another effective solution is to choose a sports drink during a run or race instead of water. This way, you’re replacing electrolytes (like sodium) while you drink, which will help to maintain your sodium balance.

Just remember to practice using these types of beverages during your training runs before using them during a race because, for some, they can cause gastrointestinal upset.

Finally, even when you’re not running, you should avoid excessive water intake. The color of your urine is usually a good indicator of your hydration status, and you should aim for it to be pale yellow in color. Clear pee is a sign you’re drinking too much and you should set the water glass down.

(08/25/2021) Views: 106 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Annie Hughes and Adrian Macdonald win Leadville Trail 100

The world-famous Leadville Trail 100 Run presented by La Sportiva race returned to Leadville this weekend, the pinnacle finale event of the 2021 Leadville Race Series which is comprised of more than 15 mountain bike and trail running events each year. Event owner Life Time welcomed a field of 681 runners ranging in age from 19 to 78 years old, representing all 50 states and 13 countries, who toed the line at 4 a.m. with the ultimate goal of completing the 100-mile “Race Across the Sky” in under 30 hours. Of the 681 starters, 321 finished.

“I want to extend my sincere congratulations and thank you to every single athlete, spectator, and member of the community who collectively made this event so successful,” said first-time Race Director and previous Leadville Trail 100 MTB finisher, Tamira Jenlink. “As a Leadville resident, I understand first-hand how this event changes lives. The entire Life Time team is already looking forward to 2022!”

In the women’s division, Annie Hughes, 23, of Leadville, Colo., finished first with a time of 21:06:58. Genevieve Harrison, 34, of Eagle, Colo., finished with a time of 22:06:59. Third place was secured by Blake Wageman, 36, of Conifer, Colo., who crossed the line at 22:25:20.

Hughes noted about her win, “Living in Leadville, getting to experience altitude and having access to the course year-round was really helpful. I’m so thankful for my pacers and crew, who taught me so much.”

For the men, Adrian Macdonald, 32, of Fort Collins, Colo., finished first with a time of 16:18:19. Matt Flaherty, 36, of Bloomington, Ind., secured second with a time of 16:59:38. Two-time previous winner Anton Krupicka, 38, of Boulder, Colo., placed third with a time of 17:07:55.

Describing his first 100-mile race, Macdonald noted, “I felt great all day — my legs and breathing all felt good. It’s just sort of crazy and insane. I told myself I was just going to go out and run all day and I did.”

Proving themselves to be ultra-endurance champions, three women earned the incredibly respectful title of Leadwoman and 40 men earned the title of Leadman following the event after successfully completing five events within the Leadville Race Series throughout the summer including the Leadville Trail Marathon, Silver Rush 50-mile run or mountain bike race, 100-mile mountain bike race, and Leadville Trail 10K.

The famed course brings runners through 13,000 feet of net gain, topping out at 12,424 feet. Notably, 31 Leadville citizens proudly represented their hometown, for which the race series is well known and beloved, in the participant field.

This year, 66 athletes across the 100 MTB (Aug. 14) and 100 Run (Aug. 21) have exceeded the goal of collectively raising $150,000 for the Life Time Foundation, which will be allocated to Lake County Public Schools schools to keep highly-processed food out of meals, while increasing the amount of fresh and simply prepared foods for students. Additionally, Leadville local Rodrigo Jimenez, who started the race 2.5 hours after the official start, raised more than $72,000 for the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation after passing 660 of the 681 runners on-course, receiving fundraising pledges for each.

To view all of the Life Time athletic events after August, please visit: https://my.lifetime.life/athletic-events.html

The Leadville Trail 100 Run presented by La Sportiva is owned and produced by Life Time, the premier healthy lifestyle brand. It is among more than 30 premier athletic events owned by the company, including the Stages Cycling Leadville Trail 100 MTB, Garmin UNBOUND Gravel, Verizon New York City Triathlon, Chicago Triathlon, and Miami Marathon.

About the Leadville Race Series

Started with only 45 runners as the Leadville Trail 100 Run in 1983, the Leadville Race Series now consists of seven running events and four mountain biking events, plus six events in the Leadville Qualifying Series. The Race Series stretches across three months, and hosts thousands of racers on foot and on mountain bike in some of the world’s most iconic events. Endurance athletes worldwide now make the pilgrimage to Leadville, Colo., with the single goal of competing in “The Race Across the Sky.” Visit www.leadvilleraceseries.com for more information.

(08/23/2021) Views: 172 ⚡AMP
by Colorado Runner
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Leadville Trail 100 Run

Leadville Trail 100 Run

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

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The “Two-Hundred 100 Milers Club:” Sandra Brown and Ed Ettinghausen Rack Up Impressive Number of 100-Mile Finishes

In terms of ultrarunning milestones, Sandra Brown and Ed Ettinghausen are a few 100 milers ahead of the pack.

Brown, a 72-year-old woman from England, said she knew long-distance events were for her as soon as she completed her first 100-mile event, a linear cross-country course on an old pilgrimage route in Southern England finishing in Canterbury.

“I heard about the Centurions — those who have race walked 100 miles in under 24 hours — and I wanted to be a Centurion, perhaps all the more as these events had only recently been opened to women. So I entered and successfully completed that year’s UK 100 Miles Race Walking Championship, a Centurion qualifying event. I was on the slippery slope familiar to all ultra-distance athletes,” said Brown.

Not only did she join the Centurions, but she later went on to complete her own record-setting accomplishment. On March 30, 2019, Brown became the first person to join the “Two Hundred 100 Milers Club,” tallying her 200th 100-mile finish at the Dublin 2 Belfast 107-mile race.

“My 200th 100-mile plus event was a friendly event that [my husband] Richard [Brown] and I did together, and that felt very special. It was a milestone. But at the same time, when I finish every event, I’m also looking forward to future events,” said Brown.

She didn’t stop there. Brown most recently completed her 208th 100 miler on July 23, finishing the Kennet & Avon Canal 145-Mile Race which ran from London to Bristol. Brown, who does a mix of race walking and running, finished the event in a time of 43 hours and 55 minutes, which averages out to an 18:10-minutes-per-mile pace.

Not to be left behind, 59-year-old Ed Ettinghausen, who lives in Murietta, California and is known as the Jester for his colorful race-day attire, completed his 209th 100 miler on August 1 at the Southern Discomfort 30-hour race, edging into the lead over Brown for the time being. Ettinghausen was not far behind Brown in breaking the 200-mark, with his 200th 100-mile finish coming at the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival on April 23, 2021.

Ettinghausen, who said he got bit by the ultrarunning bug when he crewed for a friend at the Badwater 135 in 2010, has been chasing records since finishing his first Badwater in 2011. As he looked into the records, Ettinghausen set his sights on racking up one hundred and forty-five 100-mile finishes to beat the record which, at the time, he thought was held by German doctor Hans-Dieter Weisshaar.

“I reached that and thought I’d broken some record till someone said, ‘Wait, no, have you heard of Sandra Brown? She’s done so many more!’ I found out through [ultrarunning historian] Davy [Crockett] she’d done 180 or so at that point, so I had my sights set on catching her,” said Ettinghausen. “When I found out she had done 205 in 2019, that became my goal.”

As to who is keeping track and how all these 100 milers are tallied, Brown and Ettinghausen are in a league all their own where the numbers are so astronomical that keeping tabs falls largely to them and their fan base in the ultrarunning community. However, one major resource that tracks these endurance legends is the Ultrarunning History website, run by Davy Crockett.

Brown said that for her, keeping tally is more about personal achievement than holding the top place.

“I wish Ed, and all ultra athletes, all the very best in their personal quests and goals. I don’t feel and have never felt that this is rivalry or competition. For me, it’s a personal interest, and I do events for fun and the great satisfaction they give.” said Brown. “The challenge is a personal one – seeing what you can do. I was well over 100 completions of 100 miles or more, and so was Richard, before we even knew that Davy Crockett was keeping records of such completions. Davy does a fantastic job with his ultra-distance history website, which I love reading.”

Only 19 ultrarunners including Brown and Ettinghausen have joined the “100×100 club” with the achievement of running 100 or more 100 milers. Brown’s husband, Richard, is also part of this elite group.

And don’t think that the total mileage Brown and Ettinghausen have accrued is “only” 20,800 and 20,900 miles, respectively. Many of the events they are completing are over 100 miles, as evidenced by Brown’s 145 miler in July and Ettinghausen’s 105 miles at the Southern Discomfort.

When asked how their spirits (and knees) are holding up to the mileage, they had this to share:

“My knees are perfect, in better shape than ever, I did the right training and took care of myself,” said Ettinghausen. “I have a whole bunch of goals. To have 70 wins before I hit 60 years old. Then I have a whole ‘nother goal list.”

“I love every event and confess to complete addiction. I have been very lucky in avoiding significant injuries. I think that mixing race walking and running helps,” said Brown.

At present, both ultrarunners are the only two to break into the “Two Hundred 100 Milers Club,” though up-and-coming ultrarunners are sure to be inspired to chase after their achievement. Apparently, neither one is eyeing retirement after this milestone either, with Ettinghausen aiming at the Angry Owl Ultramarathons 24-hour race next.

“I have the Angry Owl 24-hour race coming up. Last year I took second at the race and hoping to take the win. It will be my 61st 100-mile win,” said Ettinghausen.

Brown, who noted her local events calendars is still recovering from COVID-19 cancelations, hopes to find one or two more events in the fall. “[I] look forward to what 2022 will bring,” said Brown.

Undoubtedly, 2022 will see both Brown and Ettinghausen adding a few more 100-mile finishes to their collection.

(08/22/2021) Views: 134 ⚡AMP
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5 Things To Know About This Year's Leadville 100 Run

After being canceled in 2020 for the first time in its 39-year history, the Leadville Trail 100, a,.k.a., "The Race Across the Sky," returns Aug. 21-22 with the same rugged, mountainous spirit it has had since inception. 

An eager field of 687 runners will toe the starting line in Leadville, Colorado, trying to survive the high-altitude, out-and-back course over 12,532-foot Hope Pass and back. There are a few minor changes this year - most notably the pre-race athlete meeting and the post-race awards ceremony will be held outside on the Lake County High School football field and no pacers or crew will be permitted at the 50-mile turnaround point at Winfield - but otherwise this fabled race born out of the hardrock miner vibe of the resilient 1880s mining town remains the same as it ever was.

"It's Leadville, so it's all about getting to Winfield in good shape and then it's all about guts and strength and toughness on the way back," says Don Reichelt, one of the top contenders in the men's race this year. "If you've blown your quads coming down the back side of Hope Pass and then have to deal with the mental aspect knowing you have to go back up and over it, it can be a make-or-break moment of the race. It will be fun to see how it all plays out."

Here are a few things you should know about this year's Leadville 100.

The Course

First things first, the race is officially 99 miles in length with 15,734 miles in elevation gain. The out-and-back course starts and finishes at an elevation of 10,160 feet in Leadville, dips down to a low point of 9,219 feet near Turquoise Lake and tops out at 12,532 feet on Hope Pass at the 45- and 55-mile points. It's a unique course with two rugged climbs in each direction (Hope Pass and Sugarloaf Mountain/Powerline) and a lot of flat, fast entirely runnable sections on dirt roads and paved roads, as well as epic singletrack sections on the Colorado Trail. The men's course record of 15:42:59 was set by Pikes Peak Marathon legend Matt Carpenter in 2005, while the women's course record of 18:06:24 dates back to Ann Trason's astonishing 1994 effort.

Women's Race Contenders

Among the top women in this year's race is North Carolina's Ashley Arnold, 34, who was the women's champion in 2013 and third-place finisher in 2010. Although she has raced sparingly since 2019, she's been staying in Leadville and Buena Vista for a few weeks and training on the course and should be a contender based on her experience and track record. Although she won three 50K races in 2019-2020, her strong third-place effort at the Power of Four 50K in Aspen on July 31 is a good testament of her fitness.

Vermont's Aliza Lapierre is coming off a fourth-place effort at the Catamount 50K (4:59:19) in June and a  win at the Infinitus 88K race in May (9:33:16) in her home state, as well as a victory at April's Ultra Race of Champions 100K (10:18:57) in Virginia. Leadville local Annie Hughes, 23, has only been trail running since 2019, but she's won a 50-miler each of the past three years (Jemez Mountain, Indian Creek, Collegiate Peaks) and has a third (Bryce Canyon, 2020) and a first (Mace's Hideout) in her two 100-milers. She also has a few high-mountain FKTs to her credit, including her 61-hour, 19-minute effort on the 167-mile Collegiate Loop in 2020.

There are several other top women from Colorado, starting with Maddie Hart, 24, of Boulder, who won the 2019 Tahoe Rim Trail 100-miler, and Kim Dobson, 37, of Eagle, a six-time Pikes Peak Ascent winner who has won all three of the 50K/50-mile races she has entered since 2018, including the Crown King Scramble 50K (4:31:44) in Phoenix in March.

Blake Wageman, 36, who has raced consistently at 50K and 50-mile race for the past several years (including a runner-up showing at the Silver Rush 50 on July 10 in Leadville); Carrie Stafford, who was fourth in the Leadville 100 in 2019; Becky Kirschermann, 48, a three-time top-five finisher at the Run Rabbit Run 100; Tara Richardson, 30, who is making her debut at 100 miles after running strong at Aspen's Power of Four 50K race in late July; and Becky Lynn, 28, who has been a strong runner at 50K and 50 miles.

On August 20 at 1 p.m. MT, Trail Sister's founder Gina Lucrezi will be emceeing a "Ladies of Leadville" roundtable discussion at the race expo with a diverse group of seven of this year's Leadville 100 participants - Arnold, Dobson, Lapierre, Grace Sims, Kate Tsai, Jolene Sandoval and Sawna Guadarrama. The goal of the event, which will be broadcast via Instagram Live, is to provide insight and inspiration from their unique perspectives and various backgrounds, to celebrate and empower women trail runners of all abilities and to promote diversity within the sport and longer ultra-distance races.

Men's Race Contenders

Among the favorites in the men's race is Ian Sharman, 40, of Bend, Oregon, who is a four-time Leadville winner (2013, 2016, 2017),  and the fastest finisher of the Grand Slam of Ultraunning (69:49:38 combined time for finishing Leadville, Wasatch, Western States and Vermont 100-milers in 2013). Sharman, who placed second in the McDonald Forest 50K on May 8 in Corvallis, Oregon, has numerous ultrarunning wins and podium finishes under his belt and a 16:22 personal best on the Leadville course.

Another top contender is Tyler Andrews, even though he hasn't raced this year and doesn't have a lot of ultra-distance race experience. However, the 31-year-old runner from Massachusetts has set some pretty serious FKTs on high-altitude trails in Chile, Ecuador and Peru as part of a journey he dubbed the Los 10 FKT Project. He's also a two-time U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier who owns a 2:15:52 personal best for 26.2 miles on the roads.

Colorado's Don Reichelt, 35 brings a lot of very good ultrarunning race experience with him, especially from the past couple of years. Most notable are a third-place finish at the Badwater 135 in 2018, a win at the Lean Horse 100-miler in South Dakota in 2019 and a blazing 13:16 third-place effort at the Tunnel Hill 100-miler in Illinois last November. Reichelt has continued to improve into his mid-30s and lives in Fairplay, Colorado, and regular trains in the mountains around Leadville.

Cody Reed, 30, of Mammoth Lakes, California, has said on Instagram he'll be gunning for the win in a course-record time. This is the third year in a row Reed has been registered for the Leadville 100 but he got hurt in 2019 and the race was canceled last year. After recovering from a knee injury in 2019, he went on to win the Ultra Trail Cape Town 100K in South Africa. He has a lot of good to very good results since 2016 and certainly should be a runner to watch. He tuned up for the race by winning the six-day TransRockies Run.

Although he has vowed to run more conservatively than in his previous five starts, Anton Krupicka is not only a Leadville 100 legend but also an icon in the sport of ultrarunning. The two-time Leadville winner (2006, 2007) was trail runner's first social media star, and, although he admits he doesn't love the gratuitous attention he can attract, he's still a legit athlete and should be among the top five in the men's race based on his stout summer of training on his feet and on his bike. 

Other runners to watch include David Kilgore, 29, New York City, a former University of Colorado runner and 2:27 marathoner who won the 340-mile The Speed Project multi-day race from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in May; Hannes Gehring, 34, of Denver, who set the Never Summer 100K course record (11:47:06) and placed sixth at the Run Rabbit Run 100-miler in 2019;  Jackson Cole, 25, of Alamosa, Colorado, who has run several fast 50K races but hasn't raced anything longer than 38 miles; and Adrian Macdonald, 32, from Fort Collins, Colorado, who won the Antelope Island 50-miler in Utah this spring.

Leadman/Leadwoman runners and savvy veteran racers

There are 67 athletes remaining in the Leadman/Leadwoman challenge (of the original 109 starters back in June), but each one has to complete the Leadville 100 under 30 hours to become an official finisher. The Leadman/Leadwoman competitors have already completed at least four of the five Leadville Race Series events: the Leadville Trail Marathon, Silver Rush 50 Silver Rush run and/or mountain bike (competitors can chose one or both events), Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race and the Leadville 10K. Rodrigo Jimenez is currently in 8th in the standing and will start in dead last on Saturday, competing in the Back of the Pack challenge to raise money for the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation.

There are four runners over the age of 70 entered in the Leadville 100: Gordon Hardman, 70, Chuck Cofer, 70, and Marlin Weekley, 70, and Marge Hickman 71. Hardman has been running ultras since the late 1980s, has three previous Leadville finishes to his credit (1989, 1998, 2010) and is one of only 23 runners two have completed the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning twice (1989, 1998). Weekley has apparently only been running ultras in his 60s, but has more than two dozen race finishes over the past seven years. Cofer has 12 previous Leadville 100 finishes dating back to 1996, but is back for the first time since 2015. Hickman, a longtime Leadville resident, is one of the most accomplished women runners in the race's history. She's a 15-time Leadville 100 finisher who won the women's race in 1985 (26:57:50) and finished as the runner-up four times (1984, 1986, 1991, 1995). She also wrote an authoritative book on about the race.

Robbie Belanger's Endurance Feats

Robbie Belanger is a plant-based endurance athlete known for running across the U.S. in 75 days in 2019 and setting a world record for the Central Park Loop Challenge (16 laps, just under 100 miles) during the park's official opening hours. Most recently, he created a new challenge for himself focused on exploring Colorado and his affinity for the Leadville Race Series. In 2019 he moved to Denver and did the Silver Rush 50. In light of COVID, he started thinking about what he could do locally, within Colorado, so came up with the Colorado Crush Challenge, using the Leadville Race Series as a framework for his larger effort. His challenge started with the Leadville Marathon on June 19, followed by running the Colorado Trail in 11 days, and then completing the the Silver Rush 50 on July 10. Between Silver Rush and the Leadville 100 run, he reached the summit of all 58 of the Colorado 14ers, completing that epic feat on August 16 when he reached the peak of Missouri Mountain. That's 58 peaks in 38 days with nearly 300,000 feet of vertical gain.

(08/21/2021) Views: 197 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Leadville Trail 100 Run

Leadville Trail 100 Run

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

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Beat The Burn With These Tips for Running in Heat and Humidity

With summer in full effect, you may have noticed that your runs have begun to feel different. As in...why does my easy pace now feel like I'm running in mud and I'm working so hard to get nowhere fast?

Summer running can make it feel like you need gills rather than lungs. If you are doing heart rate training, good luck. The warmer the weather, the harder your body has to work to keep you cool. Your heart rate will be higher and breathing more difficult. The reason why is your body is directing blood to the skin to cool you off through sweating. That means there's less blood available to transport oxygen to your muscles. What would usually be an easy-paced run feels more like a max all-out effort.

If you don't like running in the heat or humidity, you don't need to retreat inside for the next few months. There are plenty of things to try to make it a little bit more comfortable. And if you do have to hit the treadmill, no biggie. Do what works for you.

Less Is Best

Wear as little clothing as legally possible. If you are the sports bra only or shirtless kind of person, do that. Stick to light-colored, loose, wicking materials. Now is not the time for wearing all black or cotton. No matter what fabric you are wearing, Body Glide can be a life saver for preventing chafing.

Don't Forget the Sunscreen

Even if it's early morning or partly cloudy, protect yourself from skin cancer and other skin damage by using sunscreen before every run. Just be sure it's sweat proof. No runner needs to feel the pain of sunscreen and sweat in their eyes.

Wear a Hat or Visor 

 A hat or visor will not only protect your skin from the sun, but it will also help to keep your face shaded. Soaking the hat or visor in cold water before heading out the door can help to lower body temp and feel cooler as well.

Start Slow and End Slow

A warm up prior to a run should always be done (try one of these dynamic warm ups!), but even more so when the temperatures are high. You want to gradually increase your heart rate rather than starting out too fast. Same thing for the end of the run. Do a gradual slow-down that includes some time for a slow walk. It will help regulate your heart rate and cool your body a bit.

Run Early 

Morning temperatures are usually the coolest during the summer. It also will give you a break from the strongest hours of sunlight. The humidity can sometimes be high in the morning, but at least you won't have the blazing sun on you. And you may even get the treat of a gorgeous sunrise. You want to be sure to avoid the middle part of the day, which will be the hottest.

Run Late

If you aren't a morning person, wait until the late evening when the sun is starting to set. The temps will be better than mid-day, and the humidity may dip, too. Just like running early, you'll probably get the treat of a gorgeous sunset.

Slow Down

Your body has to work extra hard in the heat and humidity running at a "normal" pace, and when you try to pick up the pace, even more so. Run for time and effort rather than distance and pace. Save the hard pace workouts for a day when the temp and humidity are lower or when you can go early in the morning when the day is coolest.

Hit the Trails

When the temperatures rise, asphalt and concrete absorb heat and radiate it back into your face. Trail running usually offers shade from trees unless you are going above the tree line. It also forces you to slow down. Bonus if the trail has the perfect place to jump in a lake or river post run!

Drink up

If you are running more than 75 to 90 minutes, carry a hand-held water bottle, hydration belt or hydration vest with you. Or stash water bottles along your intended route ahead of time if you don't like carrying anything in your hands. For an extra dose of cooling relief, freeze your water bottles before your run. By the time you need it, enough ice has melted for you to drink up some icy cold water. Planning your route along accessible drinking fountains is not a bad idea either. You may also opt for adding electrolytes to your water to help balance the extra sodium and potassium lost through increased sweating.

Ice It

Ultraruners use this trick all the time while racing in the heat. Stuff a bandana full of ice and tie it so the ice is at the back of your neck. Or fill up your hat with ice before putting it on your head. As the ice melts, it will keep you cool.

Run With Friends

Just like running on frigid cold mornings in January, having friends to commiserate with while you slog through the heat makes it more tolerable. If you are joining a larger group run, there's high probability that water, Gatorade or fuel will be out on the route. You won't have to worry about having enough water with you.

Take It Inside

If it's really hot and humid and your only option to run is during the hottest part of the day, take it inside to the treadmill, preferably to a treadmill in an air-conditioned room.

(08/20/2021) Views: 99 ⚡AMP
by Angela Bekkala
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Beat the heat of the afternoon when air quality is at its worst-Lousy air quality days, get that jog or walk done earlier in the day.

You've probably heard it time and time again during this run of exceptionally bad air quality in Denver and along the Front Range – get that exercise and/or outdoor activity done during the early morning hours to escape bad air quality.

But, you might not know why air quality tends to be best during the early morning – and worst during the afternoon.

Let's start with the basics:

When Denver has poor air quality, it's usually because of ground ozone – though it's often mixed with or directly from wildfire smoke.

Ground ozone forms from a combination of car exhaust, other forms of pollution and warm temperatures.

Because car traffic peaks in the morning and evening and temperatures usually maximize in the afternoon, that's when conditions are typically at their highest for creating ground ozone.

That ground ozone, however, also dissipates fairly quickly after dark. Because sunlight is a critical ingredient to ozone's formation, ground ozone dissipates quickly after dark. Ground ozone levels at night are typically very low, even if they're really high during the day.

By the way, you might also notice us saying "ground ozone" as opposed to just "ozone." That's because ozone itself can be a very good thing – after all, it's what comprises the ozone layer about 20 miles above the surface. The ozone layer shields us from the majority of the sun's ultraviolet radiation.

Ground ozone, on the other hand, creates smog and pollution at the surface.

So long story short – when you know that lousy air quality might be in the forecast, get that jog, walk or outdoor activity done during the early morning hours or at night after the sun goes down.

These simple routine changes will spare you the worst air quality-related impacts!

(08/14/2021) Views: 122 ⚡AMP
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Man drifts ashore while trying to run from Florida to Bermuda inside 'bubble'

An ultramarathon runner who is trying to trek on foot from Florida to Bermuda in a strange floating device drifted ashore Saturday along the coast of the Sunshine State, a report said.

Reza Baluchi — and his so-called bubble, which allows him to navigate on the top of the water — ventured ashore in Flagler County, Fox 35 reported.

Baluchi is attempting the daring sea voyage to raise money for charity and to encourage people to follow their dreams.

“I will show people anything you want to do, do it,” he told the news outlet. “Don’t listen to anyone. Chase your dreams.”

Baluchi said his goal is to raise money for homeless people, the Coast Guard and police and fire departments.

The endurance runner has tried similar aquatic travels in the past.


In 2014, he was rescued by the Coast Guard while trying to reach Bermuda in a homemade floating “Hydro Pod.” He had been suffering from fatigue at the time.

“I’ll never give up my dream,” he told Fox 35. “They stop me four or five times but I never give up.”

(08/14/2021) Views: 122 ⚡AMP
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Scott Jurek Halts Appalachian Trail FKT Attempt-Injury forces ultra legend Scott Jurek off the trail

After just one week on the trail, Scott Jurek was forced to terminate his Appalachian Trail Fastest Known Time attempt.

About four days into his run, he developed a quad issue similar to the one that plagued him in 2015. Unlike his injury six years ago, he was unable to push through or walk it off.

After months of silence on social media, the trail runner from Boulder, Colorado, unveiled his summer plans for a record-setting run on the Appalachian Trail this week. As per AT tradition, he adopted a trail name — “Webwalker” — which was given to him by thru-hikers during his 2015 speed attempt.

As of late Tuesday, Jurek, 47, was already seven days and several hundred miles into a southbound trek on the trail, not far from the Maine-New Hampshire border. His goal was to complete the 2,193-mile trail from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia, in 40 days or fewer.

That would have not only lowered his only personal record on the AT by six days, but it would also have surpassed Utah ultrarunner Karl Meltzer’s current supported Fastest Known Time of 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes set in 2016. Jurek set the northbound supported FKT (46 hours, 6 hours, 7 minutes) six years ago, but Belgian ultrarunner Karel Sabbe lowered it by five days (41 days, 7 hours, 39 minutes) with an amazing effort in 2018.

“I haven’t forgotten the suffering, but sometimes you have to go back to the hard places and do the hard things,” Jurek said via social media this week. “I still have so much to learn, and I still have more to give.”

(08/14/2021) Views: 119 ⚡AMP
by Outside Online
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Running After 40: Time to Get Smart

As you get older, setting goals—and reaching them—will look a little different

Your forties: the decade when it all goes to hell. You get injured more. Your 5K time doubles. Recovery takes forever. At least that’s what everyone tells you will happen when you turn 40. And they’re (kind of) right. After 30, people can lose up to 5 percent of their muscle mass per decade, and VO2 max also tends to drop by 10 percent per decade. The result? Runners tend to get slower.

“You can expect to see a 1 percent decline in speed per year after you hit 40,” says Scott Murr, founder of the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training at Furman University. “And that assumes you’re training properly. If you’re not, you can expect bigger declines.”

But plenty of runners have been successful well into their forties, particularly endurance runners. “I was probably the most successful in my forties,” says Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, a professional ultrarunner best known for winning the most 100-mile trail races of any runner in history (38). But he wasn’t winning because he was becoming a faster runner as he aged. Instead he did it by running smarter. We’re not saying that by adhering to the following tips you’ll magically start winning 100s, but they will keep you running strong straight through your mid-life crisis years.

Welcome to the No Mistakes Zone

“Aging athletes have to adjust their expectations, otherwise they’ll get frustrated and potentially hurt,” Murr says. “I’m 57 years old. I can’t do what I could when I was 37 or 47. I can’t even run as fast as I could when I was 55.”

There are certain physiological truths that can’t be denied, but Pete Magill, a masters runner, coach and author of a series of books about running (including Build Your Running Body), says that training right can go a long way to improving performance as you age. “You can still do amazing things in your forties, but you have to do everything right,” Magill says. Loss of muscle mass, increasingly brittle connective tissue, and decreasingly dense bones are a recipe for injury. “When you enter your 40s, you’re in a no mistakes zone. You can’t go out the first day and run 30 minutes as fast as you can like you did when you were 20.”

Recover, Recover, and Recover Some More

The main reason masters runners get injured, according to Magill, is that they underestimate their need for downtime. “Our recovery requirements expand as we get older, and it’s hard for us to adjust,” Magill says. “We feel good and think we’re ready to run hard again, but feeling good is not a green light to push it.”

When you train hard too soon after a big day, you’re not giving your body the chance to finish rebuilding muscle, which is what makes you stronger and faster. “It takes more time than we think it does,” Magill says. “If you feel good two days after a hard run, wait a third day before doing a difficult workout again, otherwise eventually your body will break down.”

Meltzer didn’t start running ultras until he was 29 and he didn’t learn the importance of recovery until he was in his forties. “It took me a while, but I learned to run less and rest more,” Meltzer says.

But that doesn’t mean you should just sit on the couch. Magill says that runners need to adopt active rest—Meltzer, for example, gardens and hikes on down days. It also means incorporating mellower workouts into your training plan. “The trouble is that most runners turn every day into a medium day,” Magill says. “If you have difficult days, you have to have easy days. Most runners run their distance days faster than they need, which sabotages their hard workouts.”

Get Swole

Strength training will help combat that natural loss in muscle mass and bone density. Murr says there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for strength training, as long as you’re working all the major muscle groups.

Magill recommends a basic regiment that includes squats, deadlifts, and Nordic curls. It’s a program designed to strengthen your muscles in the way they’ll be used when you run to help prevent injury. 

“The best way to get fit is to train without interruption, without taking breaks for injuries,” Magill says. “Injuries sideline your ability to improve. If you can go a few years without an injury break, something magical happens; your body begins to function in a way you never thought possible. Everything reaches a peak.”

Chill the F—k Out

Meltzer is proof that runners can stay successful in their forties and beyond, and he says he didn’t personally change his goals as he aged. He still wanted to run long distances and for a long time he wanted to win races. He coaches a lot of masters runners who come to him with lofty goals, which he says is fine as long as they keep their aging bodies in mind while training for those goals.

“You can only get so much out of your body, but if you treat it properly you’ll get the most out of it,” Meltzer says, adding that treating your body properly often means runners need to learn how to relax. “I developed a better attitude about running as I got older. I realized that I’m a better runner when I’m doing what I enjoy. I like to be in the mountains and run up 3,000 vertical feet, so that’s how I train.” 

According to Meltzer, if masters runners need to change anything as they age, it’s in their mindset. Don’t be so hard on yourself. “Take it as it is. Enjoy it. Don’t get stressed about losing your speed in your forties,” he says. “Just enjoy what the decade brings you.”

(08/08/2021) Views: 175 ⚡AMP
by Outside Online
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Why The Rocky Mountain Slam Is The Toughest Race Series In Ultrarunning

Almost every year, Leland Barker creates trophies for runners who complete the Rocky Mountain Slam, an annual test of endurance, fitness, perseverance, altitude and logistics.

To claim one of Barker's trophies, a big hunk of chainsaw-cut wood burned with the athlete's name, date and races, runners must complete four out of five designated 100-mile trail races over a 3-month span. Since the first completed slam in 1999, it has been accomplished just 59 times by 30 runners. Some years, as many as eight runners have earned the prize. However in other years, it's been zero.

"It's definitely a feeling of accomplishment," says Andrew Barney, 44, of American Fork, Utah, who's done it four times. "I know a lot of runners who say they only run one 100 a year, and that's big enough for them."

The only runner who hasn't collected the big wooden trophy is Barker himself. He completed the Slam in 2003 but never gave himself the award.

"I meant to," he says, laughing. "I had a piece of wood saved to make an award for me and I never got around to making it."

That's just fine with him, though. The 59-year-old resident of Smithfield, Utah, has gotten all he's wanted out of the Slam-and more.

Barker is the race director of the annual Bear 100 Mile Endurance Run. The race, which crosses the Utah-Idaho border, was founded in 1999. Barker wanted a way to attract more runners to his race. He's not certain of the date, or who actually came up with the idea, but says the Slam sprouted from a discussion between himself, Roch Horton, Hans-Dieter Weisshaar and Errol Jones. The idea was inspired by the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, which has been around since the 1980s and challenges runners to complete the nation's four oldest and most prestigious 100-milers in a calendar year.

To complete the Rocky Mountain Slam, men and women have to finish four out of five annual races in the Rockies: the Bighorn 100 in Montana in June, the Hardrock 100 in Colorado in July, the Leadville Trail 100 in Colorado in August, the Wasatch Front 100 in Utah in early September and the Bear 100 in late September. Leadville and Wasatch are also part of the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning.

"We wanted the Bear to be the final race," says Barker.

It's an informal fellowship. Runners don't have to register, notify anyone of their intentions or pay any special fees. The only requirements are to finish the two mandatory races-Hardrock and Bear-along with two of the other three. Then, Barker recognizes those runners at the awards ceremony. They earn Barker's wood trophy and, sometimes, a T-shirt.

It's so informal that the first runner to complete the Rocky Slam in 1999 was grandfathered in. James Ballard of Montana ran the Hardrock, Leadville, Wasatch and Bear races the year before Barker and his buddies had even come up with the idea.

Nobody earned the Slam in 2000. Betsy Kalmeyer of Colorado was the lone qualifier in 2001. In 2002, no one earned the trophy. Then, in 2003, Barker was one of five slammers, a group that included Weisshaar, a 63-year-old from Germany who would go on to be a six-time slammer, the most ever.

"He was amazing," says Barker. "He was doing it when he was my age. I'm no longer doing 100-mile races. Actually, he was older than me when I started doing it. He didn't go real fast, he was one of the last finishers usually. But he really enjoyed doing 100-mile races. He'd come to the United States and do one every weekend all summer long."

Most judge Hardrock as the toughest race of a difficult bunch. "It's an amazing amount of climb and descent," says Barker.

In fact, it's more than 66,000 feet of elevation change at an average elevation of 11,000 feet. Each race has its challenges. Leadville is run at high altitude, with a 30-hour time limit. The Wasatch ("100 miles of heaven and hell," is its slogan) has big climbs and descents, as do the Bear and Bighorn. To Barney, the five races all share Rocky Mountain character of steep terrain, unpredictable weather, high altitude and beautiful scenery. He says there's a "ruggedness" of rocky trails.

"It's a lot of steep climbing," says Barney. "And all kinds of weather conditions. Even in summer, you can have snow. I've dealt with all kinds of conditions, from heat to downpours to blizzards."

Barney completed his first Slam in 2009 and his fourth in 2016. In a perfect scenario, he would probably do four of the Rocky 100 races every year. However, he could not get into the Hardrock race this year. But he did run Bighorn and will be doing Wasatch and the Bear.

That's one of the logistical challenges making the Rocky Mountain Slam more difficult. As the number of ultrarunners surges, races become more impacted and many adopt lotteries. Hardrock, Leadville and Wasatch now have lotteries. Bear and Bighorn fill up quickly, so it's important to register early.

Barney acknowledges that doing four 100-milers in a summer is physically challenging, especially in years when the Wasatch and the Bear are within a couple of weeks of one another.

But, like other ultrarunners, he loves the mountains, trail running and being with friends. He enjoys pursuing the Slam and the feeling of accomplishment. He admits getting "a sort of empty feeling" when he can't get into a race like Hardrock. Plus, there's a spiritual pull to running 100 miles through the wilderness.

"At Hardrock, in the middle of the night, I had a chance to just lay down and turn my light off and look at the stars at 13,000 feet," he says. "You don't get to do that very often. Just enjoying being out there and the moment, seeing sunrises and sunsets and sunrises again in the course of one race, it's somethingIt let's me think about my place in the world and the universe and where I fit in."

(08/07/2021) Views: 117 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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