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Articles tagged #Ultra
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The Pittsburgh Marathon is Cancelled but Jeff Gleason and a small group of his buddies will be running their own marathon

COVID-19 might have put a stop to the Pittsburgh Marathon, but it didn't stop a group of Pittsburgh runners from planning their own. During the wee hours of the morning Friday, March 27, elite athlete Jeff Gleason and his running buddies will go the distance – running while the rest of Pittsburgh sleeps. 

His small team is nothing short of extraordinary: "Wayne Kurtz is our de facto race director -- he actually ran 30 full Ironmen over 30 straight days," says Gleason. I'll serve as co-pilot and Bill Thompson, ultra-runner extraordinaire, will be my wingman. He ran across the entire state of Tennessee for no particular reason."

When the alarm rings, they will lace up their running shoes and strap on head lamps. Starting somewhere between 1 and 2 a.m., they will track their miles by Garmin and finish long before the city wakes. And afterwards, they are planning to go to work.

Gleason is not a quitter. In addition to medaling in marathons, he has completed over 70 ultramarathons. His "never say die" attitude got him through four 135-mile crossings of the Mojave Desert in unbearable heat and Big Foot, an excruciating 200-mile race through mixed terrain across the Cascade Mountains in Washington State.

That perseverance also came into play a few years ago, when debilitating knee pain knocked Gleason off course. Several physicians told him knee replacement was necessary, and he would never run again. After searching high and low, he found Richard Berger, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Rush UniversityMedical Center, Chicago, who performs joint replacement without cutting muscles, ligaments or tendons. Because of this, the recovery is faster with less scar tissue build up. That means within months, athletes like Jeff can return to their sport. In fact, three months post-surgery, Jeff completed the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. In hindsight, he says, "I could have done the whole [26.2], but my wife would have killed me."

In addition to the Pittsburgh Marathon, Jeff was planning to complete his 30th 100-miler ultra in New Jersey—which was also cancelled. But even with no foreseeable races in his future, he found a silver lining. "Fortunately (or maybe not so fortunately)," says Gleason, "I have some friends who are crazy enough to run over 26 miles in the middle of the night."

Above all, Jeff is just happy to be running again—pain free. "There is a running God," he admits, "and his name is Dr. Berger." 

(03/26/2020) ⚡AMP
by Jeff Gleason
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Dick's Sporting Good Pittsburgh Marathon

Dick's Sporting Good Pittsburgh Marathon

This race is your game - however you decide to play it. As a competitor. A fund raiser. An enthusiast. A veteran. A team player. It's whatever you want it to be. It's whatever you make it. It's YOUR game..... Run it. Play it. Own it. Love it. Runners will race on the North Shore of Pittsburgh, cross each of...

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The Quarantine Backyard Ultra is a chance to race virtually for free this spring

If you’re itching to race this spring but don’t know where to turn, maybe just look to your backyard. The Quarantine Backyard Ultra is a free race that anyone can enter, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home or on a route nearby. Canadian ultrarunner and treadmill-running world record-holder Dave Proctor will be running the Backyard Ultra, which will be broadcast on YouTube starting on April 4, and the Barkley Marathons‘ Laz Lake will be the honorary race director.

The race starts at 6 a.m. PT on April 4. All runners will connect via Zoom video call, and this is where their progress will be monitored. Athletes can choose between running on a treadmill or on a route that starts and finishes at their home. Runners who choose the former option must point their camera at their treadmill after they complete each lap to prove they completed the distance (each lap is 6.706K).

Racers who opt to run outside must use a GPS watch or smartphone to record their distance run, and at the end of each lap, they must show proof of the completed lap to the Zoom audience. Once runners complete each lap, they can relax until the next lap begins. The last person running is the winner.

The race will be live streamed on YouTube, which should satisfy many running fans’ needs for live racing. Better yet, the event will have live updates on its Facebook page written by Lake, and, if all goes well with Zoom, Lake will also provide colour commentary over the live feed as well. Last year, Lake travelled to Calgary and acted as the honorary race director for Proctor’s Outrun Backyard Ultra, which was modelled after Lake’s Big’s Backyard Ultra in Tennessee.

The race is being organized by Personal Peak, an endurance coaching company witch which Proctor works. In May, Proctor was set to tackle the TransCanadian speed record attempt, and Personal Peak coaches were going to be his crew for the run. When he had to postpone his attempt, Proctor decided he had to do something to replace it.

“His fitness level wasn’t going to go to waste,” says Stephanie Gillis-Paulgaard, Proctor’s publicist. “Dave’s a competitor, so we said, ‘Let’s see who else we can get on board.'” So, Personal Peak set the race up and they “extended that invitation to all of the best ultrarunners,” Gillis-Paulgaard says. As it stands now, 11 other elite runners have confirmed for the April 4 race, but Gillis-Paulgaard, Proctor and the Personal Peak team hope to attract runners of all levels.

“Hopefully, for those people who have trained over the winter months, this will give them something to race, whether they run one lap or 50,” Gillis-Paulgaard says. The winner of the event will win what is, according to the race website, “soon to be world’s most coveted prize: The Golden Toilet Paper Roll.” In a time where race opportunities are sparse and toilet paper is hard to come by, you can get both in the newest virtual race.

(03/24/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Ultramarathon competitor Diana Dzaviza runs 37 kilometers without leaving the confines of her apartment

A Latvian woman living in Vienna has reportedly managed to combine the twin virtues of exercise and social distancing by running 37 kilometers without leaving the confines of her apartment.

Ultramarathon competitor Diāna Džaviza spent six hours performing the feat along a 22-meter route that encompassed landmarks including kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.

She completed 1,687 laps and is also donating 172 euros to a charity for seriously ill children using the money she was going to pay to enter a long distance race in Austria that was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

According to data from the "Strava" app, the distance was even more impressive at some 46.36 km.

The 107-kilometer Riga-Valmiera track record holder and current Latvian champion in the 100-kilometer distance had decided on March 21 to take part in the annual six-hour charity run in Austria , where the proceeds would be donated to families with seriously ill patients, but did not let the cancellation of the event prevent her from stretching her legs.

Refreshments were provided along the way in the form not of high-energy drinks but home-cooked pancakes supplied by her daughter.

(03/23/2020) ⚡AMP
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No finisher at the Barkley Marathons again this year (also, no race)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(03/21/2020) ⚡AMP
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How Running Boast Your Immunity

Exercise physiologist David Nieman has spent the last 40 years studying links between exercise and immunity. It’s not a new field. But with the increasing rate of race cancellations and general concern around the global COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, plenty of runners have found themselves wondering whether their intense training is helping, or hurting, their health.

Exercise studies show that regular, modest exercise boosts immunity, and lowers your risk of infection. That’s the good news—and the reason so many scientists believe that running and other regular exercise is a healthy, body-strengthening activity.

On the other hand, hard, continuous, long-effort exercise like marathons and ultra marathons can lower your resistance for 24 to 72 hours, and lead to increased colds and respiratory illnesses for a week or two. Too much exercise volume and intensity turns the corner on what experts refer to as the J curve—and your risk of infection goes up.

Case in point: Nieman and colleagues recently measured the immune response of Antarctic trekker Colin O’Brady, who in late 2018 became the first person to cross the continent unassisted, covering 930 miles in 54 days. The research team found that O’Brady entered a state of  “dysfunctional immune response” that was most severe during the last month when his “energy expenditure was highest, body mass was reduced, and training distress was most severe.”

In his famous exploration of immunity at the Los Angeles Marathon, Nieman found that runners who had been training 60 miles a week or more had double the post-marathon infections of those training under 20 miles a week. Overall, marathon finishers had six times more infections and respiratory illnesses post marathon than a control group of non runners. This lowered immunity was transitory, meaning it didn’t last long, but it was significant enough to produce more post-marathon illness.

Train Smarter, Not Harder.- When it comes to training, more is not always better. For the biggest immunity-fighting response, Nieman suggests following this handy, easy to remember rule of thumb: Run less than 60 miles a week, mostly at a low intensity (60% of max VO2 corresponds to 75% of max heart rate), mostly in workouts that are less than 60 minutes at a time.

Nieman and colleagues have been surprised by one of their consistent findings. While long, hard runs seem to lower immunity, the same is not true of long, intermittent runs. In other words, a long marathon-pace run is a stressor, but if you follow a run/walk approach or even 10 minutes hard/10 minutes easy, you reduce the lower-immunity threat. “When you do a back-and-forth kind of running, your body seems to react in a favorable way, like you’ve just been out for a walk,” Nieman observes.

Eat to Boost Immunity.- Nieman believes the key nutrient that bonds exercise and good health is carbohydrates: before, during and after running. In fact, he notes a whole new science of immuno-metabolism that puts glucose and glycogen in the center of healthy immunity, just like they are in endurance running.

By measuring glycogen in immune cells, Neiman has discovered that a three-hour run (with no carb intake) depletes those cells just as it depletes your leg muscles, and the immune cells become noticeably dysfunctional. You could say they bonk. When runners consume carbs during the same run, their immune cells “look and perform much better,” says Nieman.

Beyond carbs, you might also want to stock up on blueberries. Nieman has long been interested in polyphenols, flavonoids and other food substances that support immunity. In a soon-to-be-published paper, he explored the effects of blueberries on immunity and inflammation after a three-hour laboratory run. One group of runners ate a daily cup of blueberries for two weeks before the lab run. Another group didn’t. “The blueberries knocked down the pro-inflammatory response by a lot,” he says, noting that this group of runners also had less muscle soreness.

While he has investigated other frequently-mentioned approaches like vitamin C and probiotics, he finds little evidence that they make a significant contribution to immunity. In Nieman’s world, if you’re consuming healthy carbs and blueberry-like, flavonoid-rich foods, you’re about 90% down the road to an immunity-boosting diet.

In a 2019 paper published in The Journal of Sport and Health Science, “The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system,”  Nieman and Laurel M. Wentz suggest several other simple and effective immunity-enhancing strategies that runners can follow all the time:

Develop a specific training plan built around ample recovery, sleep and possible mental stressors.

Don’t do individual workouts or weekly total workouts significantly harder than you’ve been doing.

Monitor yourself closely for early signs of illness and/or overtraining, and adjust accordingly.

Skip the gym with its crowds and potential pathogens. Run outdoors.

Avoid excessive alcohol intake.

Adapt stress management strategies to control for life’s hassles.

(03/16/2020) ⚡AMP
by Amby Burfoot
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The Marathon des Sables has been postponed due to coronavirus

The Marathon des Sables ultramarathon, scheduled for April 3-13, has been postponed to Sept. 18-28.

Marathon Des Sables: Communicate. Dear competitor:

Given this more than worrying situation and the circular published by the Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Morocco on March 4, 2020 on the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19), it is very likely that the 35th MARATHON DES will be banned SABLES planned from April 3 to 13, 2020.

As a precaution, we prefer to anticipate and assume our responsibilities. Therefore, we inform you today that this edition is postponed until the 35th period from September 18 to 28, 2020.

We understand that the postponement of this edition can be very complicated for each and every one of you. However, unfortunately it seems inevitable to us to make this decision one month after the initial departure for the well-being of all and for the pleasure that we want to keep within the MDS family.

Know that this situation affects us all, but we will see each other in a few months to celebrate this anniversary edition in the best conditions.

Thank you for your understanding and see you soon under the stars!

(03/09/2020) ⚡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. 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 back everything except...

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Ultrarunner Jim Walmsley runs 2:15:05 marathon debut at U.S. Olympic Trials

Jim Walmsley, one of the world’s best ultrarunners, ran his marathon debut at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials. On Saturday, Walmsley finished in 22nd and crossed the line in 2:15:05.

A year ago, we looked at Walmsley’s training as the Houston Half-Marathon approached. At Houston he nailed a 1:04:00, exactly the time he needed (down to the second) to qualify for the marathon trials. Following his 2019 Houston race, he went on to win a 50-mile race in Hong Kong and take 43 seconds off the 50-mile world record before shattering his own course record at Western States.

There’s no doubt Walmsley is a tough racer, but this was his first time racing a road marathon, and he didn’t quite have the chops to make the 2020 Olympic team. With that said, he ran an extremely impressive debut, on a windy day and on a hilly course.

The runner sat in the chase group (which included Galen Rupp, the eventual winner) for the first half of the race. That group was on pace for a sub-2:10 marathon, am ambitious pace for most of the runners.

Walmsley would fade, but not too much, averaging 5:10 miles and closing in 5:17. He finished ahead of some very impressive names like Jared Ward and Connor McMillan.

On Saturday, Rupp has made his fourth Olympic team, winning the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:09:20. Second place went to first-time Olympic qualifier Jake Riley, and third to five-time Olympic qualifier, masters runner Abdi Abdirahman. At 43, Abdirahman is also the oldest American ever to qualify for the Olympic marathon.

(03/02/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Organizers confirm extra 2km to ultra-marathon route for the Two Oceans Marathon

Organizers of the Two Oceans Marathon have confirmed that this year's ultra-marathon will be run over a distance of approximately 58km - some 2km further than the previous 50 editions of the race.

While there has been wide-spread speculation among the running community in recent weeks as to a change in route, organizers, via a press release to the media, race stakeholders and runners, confirmed "small changes" to the ultra-marathon route for the 51st running of the race on Easter Saturday, April 11, 2020.

The new route - which is still to be announced - will add approximately 2km to the overall distance, turning the 56km race first held in 1970 into a 58km outing for the 11 000-strong field.

Entrants concerned over finishing before the cut-off gun sounds have been assured that the various medal cut-offs and overall finishing time will be adjusted accordingly.

Finer details regarding the exact ultra-marathon route will be announced "soon".

Suffice it to say, Thompson Magawana's men's 1988 record (3:03:44) and Frith van der Merwe's women's mark (3:30:36) set in 1989 will remain intact for at least another year.

(02/28/2020) ⚡AMP
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Two Oceans Marathon

Two Oceans Marathon

2020 race cancelled. Cape Town’s most prestigious race, the 56km Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, takes athletes on a spectacular course around the Cape Peninsula. It is often voted the most breathtaking course in the world. The event is run under the auspices of the IAAF, Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Western Province Athletics (WPA). The Ultra Marathon celebrated...

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Ultra-marathoner Michael Wardian Will Attempt Breaking a 29-year-old Course Record at Catalina Island Marathon

Renowned record-breaking marathoner and ultra-marathoner and NATHAN sports athlete Michael Wardian will run in the Catalina Island Marathon on Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Avalon, CA.

Michael Wardian will look to add to an impressive running resume, which includes world records  for the fastest time for seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

Fastest marathon and 50K on an indoor 200-meter track and fastest Leadville 100 mile and Pike’s Peak marathon double. Wardian will chase the 2:39:58 course record set in 1991 by Catalina Island Marathon legend Bill McDermott. The 43rd anniversary Catalina Marathon is an iconic bucket list race with rugged terrain, spectacular vistas, and more than 4,000 feet of elevation gain.

The 29-year-old course record will prove to be challenging to beat, but Michael Wardian will have his opportunity to make history on March 14, 2020

(02/21/2020) ⚡AMP
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Catalina Island Marathon

Catalina Island Marathon

The 2020 events have been postponed due to the Coronavirus. Coming up on its 43rd Anniversary, this "bucket list' marathon features the exciting and historic marathon course used largely since the first year on the Catalina Island Conservancy’s lands. This includes much of the rugged terrain, spectacular vistas, challenging climbs and special challenges enjoyed by thousands of runners over the...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(02/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by Runners World
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Beatie Deutsch from Israel wins Miami half-marathon

An ultra-Orthodox mother of five won the half-marathon at the 18th annual Life Time Miami Marathon and Half Marathon event.

American-Israeli Beatie Deutsch, 30, finished with a time of 1:16:4 to win in the women’s category on Sunday, the Miami Herald reported.

It was Deutsch’s first race in the United States. She is working to qualify to represent Israel in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. That race currently is scheduled for a Saturday, however, and the Sabbath-observing Deutsch would be unable to compete even if she can reach the Olympic qualifying time.

Deutsch, who moved to Israel from New Jersey in 2009, is known for running in a skirt, sleeves that fall below her elbows, and a headscarf.

In May, Deutsch was the top female finisher in a 13-mile half-marathon race in Riga, Latvia, reportedly becoming the first ultra-Orthodox woman to win an international athletic competition.

This year, for the first time, the Miami Marathon offered kosher-certified meals for athletes at the finish line, the Miami Herald reported.

(02/11/2020) ⚡AMP
by Marcy Oster
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The Miami Marathon

The Miami Marathon

Over the past 16 years of the existence of the current Miami Marathon, there was only just over 90 athletes who had run every single event. Before the inception of the Miami Marathon as we know it now (est. 2003), the race was originally known as the Orange Bowl Marathon which began in the late 1970s. One of our very...

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Ultrarunner Kristina Madsen of Denmark wins Antarctica Marathon overall at World Marathon Challenge

Race director Richard Donovan had to do some last-minute scrambling to reschedule travel and race times at the 2020 World Marathon Challenge when weather conditions prevented the group from flying to Antarctica on Thursday as scheduled.

Time waits for no man or woman when you have only seven days to run seven marathons on seven continents, so instead, the challenge kicked off in Capetown, South Africa, where elite ultrarunner Kristina Madsen of Denmark was the first female to cross the finish line. On Day 2 of the challenge, in extremely cold, windy conditions, Madsen won the Antarctica marathon outright in 3:54:20.

Madsen, 34, is a veteran of both WMC (she was second female last year) and many ultras and Danish national teams.

The third marathon is underway in Perth, Australia today, having started at 11:30 p.m. local time.

That wasn’t the only last-minute change to this year’s challenge. There were originally 42 competitors from 15 countries participating (25 men and 15 women), and one Canadian, Elaine Du.

But travel restrictions due to the coronavirus meant seven individuals who were either from China or who had recently traveled there could not participate. Donovan has offered to bring all seven back for the 2021 challenge at no charge.

(02/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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World Marathon Challenge

World Marathon Challenge

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

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By Defying Expectations, Nike NEXT% Moves Athletes Forward

Call it the ultimate test run: When Eliud Kipchoge broke the two-hour marathon barrier in Vienna this past October, he was wearing a prototype of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%.

"For runners, records like the four-minute mile and two-hour marathon are barometers of progress. These are barriers that have tested human potential. When someone like Eliud breaks them, our collective belief about what's possible changes," says Tony Bignell, VP, Footwear Innovation. "Barriers are inspiring to innovators. Like athletes, when a barrier is in front of us, we are challenged to think differently and push game-changing progress in footwear design.”

The NEXT% platform is the ultimate expression of Nike's ambition to engineer footwear with measurable performance benefit. NEXT% is all about creating more efficient intersections between the body and technology to enable athletes to shatter personal boundaries — and sometimes, as our athletes have shown, break records. It is the ultimate meeting of sports science and purposeful design.

“The groundbreaking research that led to the original Vaporfly unlocked an entirely new way of thinking about marathon shoes,” says Carrie Dimoff, an elite marathoner and member of Nike’s Advanced Innovation Team. "Once we understood the plate and foam as a system, we started thinking about ways to make the system even more effective. That’s when we struck upon the idea of adding Nike Air to store and return even more of a runner’s energy and provide even more cushioning.”

Nike NEXT% is a footwear innovation system engineered to give athletes a measurable benefit. Informed by sport science and verified by the Nike Sport Research Lab, the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% features three critical components, working together to help runners on race day:

Nike’s newest race-day shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% features two new Nike Zoom Air pods, more ZoomX foam and a single carbon fiber plate (all updates from its predecessor, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%), and an ultra-breathable, lightweight Flyknit upper – all adding up to improved cushioning and running economy.

The shoe is part of a suite of products releasing in summer 2020, including the Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% and Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% FlyEase, complementary training shoes that translate the principles of the Alphafly to rigorous daily use, and track spikes (the Nike Air Zoom Victory) that extend the NEXT% design ethos to new disciplines.

For the Tempo NEXT%, the NEXT% system is specifically tuned to training. The plate shifts from carbon to a composite — softer for added comfort over higher mileage — but still serves to provide stability and transition throughout a runner's full stride. ZoomX, prized for its energy return and responsiveness, sits above the plate at mid and forefoot. For maximum impact protection and durability, Nike React Foam is used at the heel. The same Nike Zoom Air pods featured in the new Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% are also placed in the Tempo’s forefoot to offer responsive cushioning and a sensation of propulsion.

The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%, Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% and Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% FlyEase give athletes of today an opportunity to stamp their mark and motivate athletes (and designers) of tomorrow to set even greater goals.

(02/09/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tibi Ușeriu has finished the Yukon Arctic Ultra race and said The road seemed at one point without end

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

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

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

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

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

Safe trip home everyone!

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

Yukon Artic ultra 300 miler

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

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Conor O’Keeffe is ready to run 32 marathons in 32 days in 32 counties with 32 pounds on his back

He is putting an extra challenge on himself as he will start his feat with 32 pounds on his back, removing one pound each day. For Conor,  it symbolizes the weight of depression that has been lifted off his shoulders.

The 28-year-old from Glanmire has set himself a Herculean challenge.  The fact Conor, whose goal is to raise €100,000 for Pieta House, is starting his epic trek on April 1 shouldn’t for a minute make you think he isn’t serious.

The 6ft 3in athlete insists: “I want to discover what I am capable of. I want to do something huge.” Conor is a law graduate who, as a skilled Thai boxer, fought in front of 2,000 people in Neptune Stadium for an Irish title while still a student in UCC. He has never settled for half-measures.

“I know how to train to do that, to do something huge,” he says, “and now I want to go that extra mile. I might be mad in the head!” adds Conor, who climbed Kilimanjaro in his teens, with a smile.

It wasn’t that long ago that the young ultra-runner, ‘Enduroman’ champion, and supreme Thai boxer felt he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.

“I want to raise awareness around depression and raise awareness about the valuable services offered by Pieta House,” says Conor of his marathon attempt.

“When I lost my way and suffered from depression, I didn’t know where to turn. My life was a constant battle of ups and downs, huge highs and crashing lows.”

Things are different now. Depression no longer weighs Conor down. On each of the 32 days of his epic journey, he will shed one pound of weight from his back, signifying he is rid of the ‘Black Dog’ that used to snap at his heels.

Depression plagued Conor in his teens. His sporting prowess gave him only a temporary reprieve.

“School didn’t really suit me,” he reflects. “Even though I achieved good results when I repeated my Leaving Cert.

“I was a chubby kid and I didn’t really feel I belonged at school and I didn’t get on with the teachers. I always had an adventurous streak. I needed stimulation to get me out of trouble.”

He found that stimulation in a boxing club on Cork’s Northside, with the Siam Warriors, excelling at Muay Thai boxing. “It was a really big deal for me to come up the club’s ranks and get a shot at my first Irish title in 2013,” says Conor. However, a cyst was found on his brain and that put an end to his fighting career.

Since then, he has transformed as an ultra runner and in 2019 he won Enduroman 200, a 200 mile (324 kilometer) foot race. Conor was plagued by depression in previous years and lost his way after he left college. He was drinking and smoking, chasing women as a way to fill a part of him that was missing in his life.

Conor had lost all self-respect and it was through running he found his true self again, an ambitious and single-minded man with a determination to inspire and engage others. Conor is a passionate mental health advocate and has shared his own journey through public talks for corporations and charities.

His experiences allow him to enlighten others and his message resonates because audiences are gripped by this enthralling tale. The next leg is the most demanding and it will require him to push his body to new extremes.

(02/07/2020) ⚡AMP
by Emma Costello
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Israeli marathon runner Beatie Deutsch is set to compete in the 2020 Fitbit Miami Half Marathon

Israeli marathon runner Beatie Deutsch is breaking records just four years after taking up the sport. But that isn’t what makes her so remarkable. It’s the stereotypes and cultural barriers she shatters every time she crosses a finish line in a long skirt, long sleeves and a head scarf.

The 30-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish mother of five, who was raised in New Jersey and moved to Israel in 2008, broke the course record for Israeli women at the 2018 Jerusalem Marathon, and has since won the Tiberias Marathon, the Israeli half marathon and marathon national championship. Her personal best marathon time of 2:32 is just shy of the Olympic qualifying standard.

Last May, she won a half marathon in Latvia, becoming the first known Orthodox Jewish woman to win an international race. This Sunday, she is running in the LIfe Time Miami Marathon, her first race in the United States. She is competing in the half marathon, and will be rooted on by Jewish fans in South Florida and all over the world, many of whom follow her on Facebook and Instagram (@marathonmother).

“Speedy Beatie,” as she has been nicknamed, is inspiring Orthodox Jewish women to take up running, women like Brocha Lipkind, a 45-year-old mother of five from North Miami Beach, who is participating in the Miami Marathon with a 54-member team called “Run4Yitzi.”

The group is raising funds for ALS-stricken Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz of Los Angeles, 47, who cannot move, talk or eat on his own but writes a weekly blog using eye movements to direct his computer.

“I think the stereotypical view people have of a religious Jewish woman is a woman with a million kids hanging on her, not working, not caring about herself and her individuality and we don’t always represent so well because maybe sometimes we look haggard,” Lipkind said. “Beatie is out there changing the face of what religious mothers and women look like. Even more so, she’s changing the face of what people think Jewish people are all about. She is out there surrounded by runners from all over, even Palestinian runners. She’s representing a culture of love and kindness, support for everybody.”

Deutsch grew up in Passaic, New Jersey., and though she was always tiny — she is barely over 5 feet now — she was athletic and coordinated. She didn’t watch sports because her deeply religious family didn’t own a television, but she was a talented gymnast. She stopped training at age 12 for modesty reasons because the coaches were men. She took taekwondo lessons and played basketball every Sunday with other girls at her school. She never considered running until four years ago, when she finished last in family races on the beach and vowed to get back in shape.

Her husband, Michael, an avid cyclist, fully supported her new hobby and even bought her a runner’s watch. She never imagined running marathons would result in becoming an international role model.

“Sports has such an important power to break down barriers,” she said by phone from Jerusalem. “Through the running community in Israel, I have come in contact with so many people, not just Jewish but also non-Jewish. In Israel, there are a lot of stereotypes about religious Jews and people have misconceptions about what we are able to do and how oppressed we are. I have been able to break down some of those barriers.”

Living in a “Haredi” community of strictly Orthodox Jews, Deutsch said “being different is not always accepted,” but she is slowly changing attitudes. She is proving that she can be a doting mother to five children under the age of 10, a devoted wife and a professional athlete.

(02/07/2020) ⚡AMP
by Michelle Kaufman
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The Miami Marathon

The Miami Marathon

Over the past 16 years of the existence of the current Miami Marathon, there was only just over 90 athletes who had run every single event. Before the inception of the Miami Marathon as we know it now (est. 2003), the race was originally known as the Orange Bowl Marathon which began in the late 1970s. One of our very...

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With the 2020 Olympics approaching in less than six months, Tokyo officials are calling for action to contain the coronavirus

With the 2020 Olympics less than six months away, there is some speculation about the possible risk from the rapidly-spreading coronavirus that has already resulted in the postponement or cancellation of at least four major international competitions.

Though the possibility of the Olympics being cancelled seems unthinkable,  Tokyo City Governor Yuriko Koike was quoted yesterday by an Associated Press reporter as commenting: “With only 177 days to go and our preparations accelerating, we must firmly tackle the new coronavirus to contain it, or we are going to regret it.”

The Olympics are scheduled to take place in Tokyo and Sapporo from July 24 to August 9. The Asian Indoor Championships (previously scheduled for February 12 and 13 in Hangzhou, China), Hong Kong Marathon (February 8) and the Gaoligong UTMB ultra (March 21 to 23 in Yunnan, China) have all been cancelled, and the World Indoor Athletics Championships, previously scheduled for March 13 to 15 in Nanjing, China, have been postponed for one year to March, 2021.

According to the World Health Organization, as of yesterday there were 6,065 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 16 countries, almost 6,000 of them in China. Some sources claim there have been 170 deaths, and there have been no deaths outside of China. There are currently three confirmed cases in Canada. Each person infected with the virus could potentially transmit the infection to two or three other people.

Many international public health authorities are downplaying the risk of transmission so as not to induce panic, while discouraging non-essential travel to Wuhan. Meanwhile, sales of surgical masks to reduce the risk of transmission have skyrocketed in many countries.

The postponement of the World Indoor Championships has interesting implications for the Olympics. With the new World Rankings system, championship meets give athletes the chance to accrue points towards Olympic team qualification, giving those who compete at World Indoor Championships a leg up on their compatriots who do not. The one-year postponement means that opportunity is no longer available before the Olympics, so the effect of the postponement is to level the playing field somewhat (assuming the Olympics go ahead as planned).

(01/31/2020) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Linda Carrier, 57, is ready for global challenge

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

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

There will be another race to run 12 hours hence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Marathon Challenge

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

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Kenyan world record-holder Brigid Kosgei goal is to win the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

World record-holder Brigid Kosgei has promised to go all out and win next month’s Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon.

Termed ‘the world’s fastest half marathon’, the 14th edition of the annual race will be held of February 21 with Kosgei expected to set the field alight alongside a line-up of world-class elite runners.

“I am really excited to come back to the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon after two years. My only experience in that race was in 2018 when I came in seventh (with a time of 66:49),” Kosgei said.

“I know that this year the line-up is one of the best ever for a half marathon and I really hope to run fast.”

Having smashed Paula Radcliffe’s long-standing marathon world record by 81 seconds last year in Chicago with a time of 2:14:04, the Kenyan star enjoyed an incredible 2019 where she won every single race she competed in, including the London Marathon and Great North Run where she set impressive times of 2:18:20 and 64:28 respectively. The Kenyan, who will celebrate her 26th birthday the previous day of the race, is expected to kick-start her preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Kosgei can expect stiff competition from a host of top runners, including recent winner of the Comrades Marathon, Gerda Steyn of South Africa when the 21.1km race is run on Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island. Steyn kicked off her running journey in the UAE with the Desert Road Runners Club and distinguished herself by becoming the first woman to complete the Comrades ultra-marathon in under six hours.

Her personal best of 2:27:48 for the full marathon in New York last year earned her a qualifying spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

(01/30/2020) ⚡AMP
by Alaric Gomes
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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Nontuthuko Mgabhi from Richards Bay aims to be the first woman from Africa to run the World Marathon Challenge

A Richards Bay woman is aiming to become the first woman in Africa to run the World Marathon Challenge - seven marathons on seven continents in seven days - in February.

On Suday, a 15km and 5km fun run and walk was held in Bulwer to raise awareness about her attempt and to help raise funds for it.

Nontuthuko Mgabhi, 32, will use the challenge to raise R3.5million for Khipinkunzi Primary School in Mtubatuba.

“I wanted to do something special for my birthday and was asked to give a motivational speech at the primary school last year, which has 657 pupils from Grade R to Grade 7. When I arrived at the school, I saw the poor state it was in and wanted to make a difference,” Mgabhi explained.

She is aiming to raise R3.5million to build five classrooms, two administration offices and to revamp the school.

Participating in the World Marathon Challenge means she would have to cover 295km and spend about 68 hours flying. The first marathon is in Antarctica on February 6, the second will be Cape Town on February 7, February 8 is in Perth, February 9 in Dubai, February 10 in Madrid, February 11 in Fortaleza in South America, and finishing in Miami on February 12.

Mgabhi said she started running in 2013, when a friend asked her to participate in the East Coast Radio Big Walk with her.

Ten months later, she participated in the Comrades Marathon and has since completed more than 50 marathons, including four Comrades and 15 ultra marathons.

(01/28/2020) ⚡AMP
by Kwazulu-Natal
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World Marathon Challenge

World Marathon Challenge

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

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Defending champ Ruti Aga and last year's winner Birhanu Legese will be back for 2020 Tokyo Marathon

Ethiopia is pretty far down the road to overtaking Kenya as the world's leading marathon nation, and its presence is heavy in both the women's and men's fields for the Olympic year 2020 Tokyo Marathon. Lacking London's star power the Tokyo fields won't win many nominations for best of 2020, but with loads of World Marathon Majors top three finishers and winners of next-tier gold label marathons they're still fields at a level most other races would love to be able to pull off.

On the women's side, with PBs of 2:18:34 and 2:18:46 defending champ Ruti Aga and past winner Birhane Dibaba lead a main of twelve top-tier invited elites, of which nine were born in Ethiopia. The other three, Valary Jemeli Aiyabei, nationality transfer Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, and Selly Chepyego Kaptich, were all born in Kenya.

With Tokyo not counting in last-chance Olympic qualification for Japanese women the top entrant from outside those two countries is Japan's Haruka Yamaguchi, an amateur who took 7th in this past weekend's Osaka International Women's Marathon in 2:26:35. Former Canadian national record holder Rachel Cliff and locals Kaori Yoshida, Risa Noguchi, Shiho Kaneshige and Yurie Doi fill out the rest of the sub-2:30 set.

On the men's side Ethiopians make up five of the eleven invited internationals including the top four, with last year's winner Birhanu Legese leading the way in 2:02:48. Things are heavily stacked in the 2:04 to low-2:05 range, perfectly designed to set it up for the Japanese men. Their task and its payoff are simple: be the top Japanese guy in 2:05:49 or better and replace national record holder Suguru Osako (Nike) on the Sapporo 2020 Olympic marathon team.

Osako's there to stop them, fresh off a 25 km tempo in Dubai. His main competition is previous national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda), who said last week that 2:05 isn't good enough and that if he doesn't run 2:04 in what he's calling his final marathon in Japan then he'll turn down the Olympic team spot.

Shitara's got that crazy edge working, which can count for a lot, but the biggest danger to Osako is probably going to be the ultra-disciplined Hiroto Inoue (MHPS), who ran 2:06:54 in Asics behind Shitara's NR two years ago, then made the switch to the Next% this season and promptly crushed the course record on the New Year Ekiden's longest stage. Put him in the same shoes as Osako and Shitara and they'd better watch out.

Kenta Murayama has the goods to be the other three's equal, but with his sponsor team Asahi Kasei having lost the plot when it comes to marathoning it would be a surprise to see him go much below 2:08. With twelve current sub-2:10 Japanese men in the field it's one of the best domestic races ever assembled, but apart from Murayama and possibly his talented teammate Shuho Dairokuno it's hard to see any darkhorses breaking through to the level of Osako, Shitara and Inoue. 

Mizuki Matsuda's 2:21:47 win in Osaka last weekend bumped her up into the 3rd Olympic women's spot but left her vulnerable to others in Nagoya, but with all the main men in Tokyo it's even harder to see anyone in Lake Biwa a week later going better than what they might do here.

(01/28/2020) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(01/26/2020) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Kilian Jornet is always up to something and this ultra feat might top his list

Kilian Jornet is always up to something: Breaking the records for the fastest ascent and descent on Mount Everest, winning some of the biggest ultramarathons in the world—including the 2017 Hardrock Endurance Run in a sling—and living his best life with his wife Emelie Forsberg in the mountains of Norway.

This time around, Jornet challenged his ski partner and world-class BASE jumper Tom Erik Heimen, 44, of Norway, to a race up and down one of the most-iconic climbing mountains in the world: Romsdalshorn. Sitting at more than 5,000 feet, both would have to climb up between 1,300 to 1,500 feet and descend to be declared the winner—Jornet doing so on foot and Heimen BASE-jumping down to the bottom.

Both took separate routes. Jornet went up the north face and climbed down Halls Renne on the other side while Heimen went up Halls Renne and BASE-jumped off the north face. This way, the two would cross paths during their treks.

“It was very unpredictable who would be faster,” Jornet said about the challenge. “I knew I could climb much faster, but the downhill is down climbing so it takes as much time as going up for me. And I also knew that Tom Erik [has] a very good physical level, so he would be quick to climb and of course very fast on the way down.”

As you can see in the video, Jornet has no issue ascending, finishing in just over 30 minutes before beginning his descent. Heimen reached the top 15 minutes after crossing paths with Jornet during his descent and quickly suited up for his jump.

Heimen hit the ground two minutes after takeoff, but Jornet made it to the bottom in a time of 52:26. Heimen’s time was 53:55.

“What surprised me most with the challenge was how fast Kilian is descending the technical and steep Halls Renne with the challenges of loose rocks all the way,” Heimen said. “I know he is very fast going up, and had no doubts that he would beat me to the summit, but I was expecting him to spend more time climbing down than climbing up.”

Jornet’s latest antics add to a constantly growing number of wild races and feats that runners are attempting like Nick Symmonds going for the fastest mile while dribbling a basketball, Mario Mendoza’s 50K treadmill record, or Cynthia Arnold smashing the triple-person stroller marathon record.

Who knows what we’ll see next?

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6dgm5MQPGz8" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

(01/25/2020) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Ultra runners are prepared for 2020 Yukon Arctic Ultra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Yukon Artic ultra 300 miler

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

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Ultra runner Jared Hazen, is focused on winning the Vibram Hong Kong 100km ultramarathon

Jared Hazen is focused on winning the Vibram Hong Kong 100km ultramarathon, starting at 8am on Saturday, by leading the race as early as possible. The American speedster believes that although it is possible to podium by running conservatively, runners need to push from the start to come first.

“I’ve moved up, late in races, to a podium a spot. But trying to win is playing a whole other game, you have to be at the front of race the whole time,” Hazen, 25, said. “You're not going to luckily sneak your way into first place.”

The HK100 is the first race of the Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT). It is one of five UTWT races in Asia, including the Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji. It starts in Sai Kung and snakes across the New Territories to Tai Mo Shan.

Hazen said in any race, the reports you get in checkpoints about how far other runners are ahead of you can be inaccurate, making it hard to overtake them: “It's better to manage yourself while in the lead.”

However, pushing from the start is a risk as it is all or nothing, and you can blow up.

“I think it's OK for it to be nothing on some days,” he said. “But you have to hold yourself accountable to a certain extent. Sometimes it was stupid and you blew a chance. But you've got to give yourself a chance. Can you walk away with your head held high?”

Hazen added that although American runners have the reputation for going out hard, with an all or nothing attitude, it was only recently that the Europeans earned the same reputation: “I feel like it’s flip-flopped. But it’s because some faster American athletes have got into the sport recently.”

Owing to the HK100’s UTWT status, the start line is packed with talent. Foreigners, like Hazen, travel to Hong Kong and many unknown but equally talented mainland Chinese runners also attend. The past two editions have been won by mainland Chinese men and women.

Hazen said he knew the Chinese runners by name only. Usually, he is familiar with the field because he races the same events in the US so often. He knows his competitors’ styles, strengths and weaknesses.

“So this will be new. But that is what this year is about a little bit, stretching myself and racing new runners,” he said.

“I've been doing the same races for too long. There are some really cool races on the UTWT and I just want to participate in that more. I want to be more of an international runner and not a US runner,” he said. He is also targeting the Transvulcania in La Palma, Spain, in May and the CCC in Chamonix, France, in August.

Hazen is also returning to the Western States 100 mile (161) this summer, where last year he ran the second-fastest time ever. It would have been the course record had his training mate Jim Walmsley not beaten him that day and set the record.

(01/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Mark Agnew
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Vibram Hong Kong 100 Ultra trail

Vibram Hong Kong 100 Ultra trail

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

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Courtney Dauwalter and Jim Walmsley were named 2019 Ultra Runners of the Year

Two-time Western States winner and course record-holder Jim Walmsley, 29, of Flagstaff, Arizona and 2019 UTMB champion Courtney Dauwalter, 34, of Golden, Colorado are your 2019 Ultra Runners of the Year, as announced by UltraRunning Magazine.

It’s Walmsley’s fourth time in a row taking the honor and Dauwalter’s second.

In a year in which Walmsley scored four wins, including WSER (where he bettered his own course record), as well as capturing the 50-mile world record, the Ultra Runner honor was something of a foregone conclusion.

Similarly for Dauwalter, who not only scored three big wins in 2019 (including UTMB in her first appearance there), but she was on her way to winning Western States when forced to withdraw with a bad hip after 80 miles (129K).

 

(01/16/2020) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Bend Oregon ultra runner Mario Mendoza sets treadmill world record for 50k

Mario Mendoza has received national and world recognition for his running, but this race was a little different. Mendoza was racing against the clock, on a treadmill, in front of a crowd of Madras High School students in Madras, Oregon.  

Mendoza broke the 50K treadmill world record at Tuesday's event by 46 seconds. He officially finished with a time of 2:59:03.

Fifty kilometers is about 31 miles, so Mendoza ran for at an average pace of six minutes a mile.

“You have to get comfortable with that type of hurt and pain," Mendoza said later. "You have to make it your friend, and I think today we accomplished that.”

Mendoza chose to break the record at Madras High because of the school's diversity. Part of his goal was to promote fitness and inspire the students at the school.

“I want the students here to use the gifts they have, and to believe that big things can happen -- for them and for Madras," he said.

Mendoza is a national trail running champion and he's been USA's Trail Runner of the year four times. He said he was born to run, and that nothing matches the accomplishment of finishing a race -- or in this case, setting a new world record.

“Once you finish," Mendoza said as he smiled and took a deep breath. "It’s done.”

Mendoza said plans to rest for two weeks before he begins training for his next race. He plans to race in the Black Canyon Ultra 100K in Arizona next month.

(01/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by Jordan Williams
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Black Canyon Ultras

Black Canyon Ultras

The 2021 Black Canyon Ultras will feature point to point 100k & 60k courses along the world class Black Canyon national Recreation trail. Hang out the race at the Amery Henderson Trailhead finish line complete with Freak Brothers wood fired pizza! join us in February for this classic Arizona foot race. The Black Canyon 100K trail race takes place on...

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HydraPak will bring its premium reusable hydration to Support Cupless Racing at Big Sur Marathon

With over a decade of uninterrupted designation as a zero-waste event organization, the Big Sur Marathon Foundation (BSMF) is excited to announce a partnership with HydraPak as their official reusable hydration gear partner. HydraPak will bring its premium reusable hydration product line and sustainability mission to participants and visitors of the 35th Annual Big Sur International Marathon this April. 

Crafted in Northern California, HydraPak designs and produces flexible performance hydration systems aimed at reducing single-use waste and supporting athletes and adventure-seekers in the pursuit of personal goals.

BSMF prioritizes the development of ecologically and environmentally-sustainable practices and is always looking for new ways to conserve resources. The marathon’s budding partnership with HydraPak is the first step in the organization’s quest to eliminate all single-use cups on course at BSMF events. 

Participants in the 2020 Big Sur Marathon and related race weekend events will be invited to opt-in to a cupless experience during their race. The Big Sur Marathon Foundation and HydraPak are aiming for a 33% opt-in rate for participants across all race weekend events, eliminating tens of thousands of single-use cups on course.

The first 4,000 participants to take the cupless pledge will receive a complimentary Big Sur Marathon branded SpeedCup™, courtesy of HydraPak. It is hoped these participants will use this cup during their race, and after crossing the finish line in the recovery zone and finish village. With 11 aid stations on course, each marathon participant who takes the cupless pledge will potentially reduce their individual disposable footprint by 22-33 cups. Custom branded hydration offerings will also be available for sale online and at the Health & Fitness Expo, held the two days before the marathon.

Starting this year, the Big Sur 12K, the only distance to run through the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, will be a cupless race.  All participants will receive a HydraPak SpeedCup™ to use at the refill-only fluid station inside the park, saving over 1,500 disposable cups from being distributed on course and avoiding any cup waste in the sensitive area.

"Finding ways to reduce our footprint is always top of mind," said Doug Thurston, race director and executive director of the Big Sur Marathon Foundation. "We’ve made several important shifts to more sustainable practices and the decision to bring HydraPak on board to help us reduce single-use cups on course is a natural progression. We are very pleased to partner with HydraPak on this program.”

HydraPak’s collapsible and reusable SpeedCup was designed specifically for runners, and offers an alternative to single-use cups at race events. Made of ultra-light TPU, a 100% BPA and PVC-free material, the SpeedCup’s flexible design allows runners to collapse the cup and stuff it in their pocket or use the integrated finger loop, making for easy transport from start to finish.

“We’re eager to add value to the sustainability efforts of the BSMF by adopting the use of reusable hydration solutions with their road race events,” said Morgan Makowski, Director of Marketing at HydraPak. “Not only are we reducing waste with reusable cups, but we’re helping educate runners and other event hosts about different environmental impacts.”

The Big Sur International Marathon will celebrate its 35th presentation on April 26th, 2020, with 15,000 total entrants expected in seven different races. The full marathon and all other Sunday race distances are sold out with limited spots still available in the innovative Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge and Saturday’s 3K event in Pacific Grove. 

(01/09/2020) ⚡AMP
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Big Sur Marathon

Big Sur Marathon

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

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I didn’t know Ultra running was even a thing until recently says a Pulitzer Prize winner John Archibald

I didn’t know ultra running was even a thing, until recently.

And then I read about a guy in Kansas last year who was about to complete a 50 kilometer race when, before he could cross the finish line, he was struck by lightning and killed on the spot.

Ouch. 

I thought at first it was the saddest thing I’d ever heard, a guy running for hours, pushing himself beyond limits I could fathom, to die in a flash before he could reach the end.

But the more I thought of it, the more I thought I might be wrong. Maybe it was just the opposite. Maybe it was a beautiful, poetic way to exit this realm, testing one’s body, stretching one’s will beyond earthly bounds. The race couldn’t break him. It took a bolt from the sky.

I couldn’t even define the sport, much less participate in it, for my knees hurt when I drive 26 miles in a comfortable car. Ultra running is anything longer than a marathon, really. The sport is a global phenomenon, and big in Alabama, too, from the Bearly Ultra, a 27-mile trail race sponsored by the Birmingham Ultra Trail Society – or BUTS – to 50 mile and 100 mile races across this state.

It seems so surreal, so impossible. I knew Birmingham was home to Micah Morgan, one of the best ultra runners in the country, because I’d read how she finished the Badwater 135, a 135-mile race that starts in Death Valley, Calif., and ends impossibly at the summit of Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.

But I’ve come to see the people who are committed to ultra running, and they are very real. I look across the office at my colleague, Bob Sims, who entered a couch-to-5k program eight years ago when he couldn’t run a single mile. Last year, at the age of 62, he ran in two 100 mile races.

That’s remarkable.

I see my colleague Anna Beahm, who started running in high school to get her mind and body right but was driven to longer distances for the joy of competition, for the sheer badness of doing something 99 percent of humanity cannot or will not do. She ran four ultra races last year – three 50ks and a 50-miler.

I can understand those things. Even if I will never be a 1 percenter.

What I didn’t get, until I talked to BUTS president Lisa Booher, was the depth and the breadth and the complexity of the ultra running world in Birmingham. I always thought of running as a solitary exercise, a plodding one-foot-in-front-of-the-other fight against boredom.

“I think that’s why you have to have friends,” Booher said.

Which was not as pointed or personal as it sounds now.

“I fell in love with the running because of the competition,” she went on. “I kept running because of friends.”

That’s what I really didn’t get about this exercise in super endurance and hyper drive. It can be a form of moving meditation, as Booher puts it, a time of self-discovery and exploration. But running 50 or 100 miles requires more than a solitary soul.

It requires a crew and volunteers and an understanding that simply competing in events like these amounts to a part-time job. It takes support and sustenance and friendship. It requires conversation, often, mid-race, about anything but the running itself, or the pain, or the shoes. It requires a community.

It’s a good thing Alabama has one of those. An ultra one.

John Archibald, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is a columnist for Reckon by AL.com. His column appears in The Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times, the Mobile Register and AL.com. Write him at jarchibald@al.com.

(01/03/2020) ⚡AMP
by John Archibald
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Camille Herron's secret to ultra distance domination? Low mileage and speedwork

Speedwork for an ultrarunner may a little counter intuitive, but Herron insists that it’s been very important for her huge results. “Speedwork helps train my legs and mind for the long ultras to keep springing and stay light. These also happen to be two of my favourite things to tell myself mid-race.” Just like speed training is important for marathoners, it’s also important for ultrarunners.

Herron’s speed philosophy

Herron says when she first got into ultrarunning she made the mistake of bringing her mileage way higher than it had been before. “I assumed I just needed to be running more than I was as a marathoner. I didn’t really know how ultrarunners trained. I just thought it meant more [than the marathon]. But this really high mileage made me tired and flat.”

When Herron re-dedicated herself to the sport two years later, she knew her training approach needed to be different. “In 2015 I decided to go back to the approach that kept me fast as a marathoner. This meant no long run longer than 22 miles and two-week workout cycles.”

How the workouts fit into her week

Herron likes to add a progression run into her long run or pickups at the end. “I like progression runs during my long run. This means I’ll change the pace during the last 30 minutes, so I’ll do 15 to 30 seconds of hard sprinting at a time. If I’ve been running for three hours and I throw in these pickups, I actually feel like I recover faster.”

For short intervals Herron will also add 90-second repetitions a couple of times a month. “This feels like all-out sprinting for me now, but it’s a good way to remind my body to be springy and light. I don’t do track workouts any more, because as I’ve gotten older I’ve become more protective of my body. So instead of the track, we usually run on a dirt road. She continues, “I’m 37 years old now, so the speedwork is more about effort than pace for me. Speed just helps to raise the ceiling for everything else.”

How she keeps the milage high without doing long, long runs

Herron’s long runs are only 18 to 22 miles, short even by marathon standards, but the runner incorporates a second run into her long days to keep mileage up. “One unique thing about my training approach is the low mileage, but on long run days I run again in the evening. My second run is 35 or 50 minutes, depending on how long the run in the morning was,” she says. “I feel like this helps me recover faster than if I did it all at once.”

Up next

Before the end of 2019, Herron will have begun her longest race to date–a 48-hour race in Arizona. “I have a window to start the race between December 28 and January 1. Right now we’re just watching the weather to see when it’ll be optimal, and I’m hoping to start on the 28th.”

The runner is very excited about her first multi-day event. “I’ve never done a 48-hour race–this is my first time getting into the multi-day stuff. I had to push through so many challenges with the 24-hour race that I’m so excited to see what’ll happen over 48.”

(12/29/2019) ⚡AMP
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Think of running in winter as a training tool to make you stronger, tougher, healthier and happier

In the winter of 1939, when the military posted Swedish miler Gundar Hagg to the far north of that nordic country, he devised a unique training program of running on trails through knee- or hip-deep snow. Most days he would do 2500 meters in snow for strength, followed by 2500 meters on a cleared road for turn-over. But during those times when he couldn’t find cleared roads—sometimes for weeks—he’d run up to the full 5K in snow. The next summer he set huge PRs, coming within one second of the mile world record.

Hagg continued his routine in subsequent winters, devising a hilly 5K loop in a different locale that trudged through snowy forest for 3000 meters then ended with a 2000 meter stretch of road where he could run at full speed. He kept improving, and the summer of 1942 he set 10 world records between 1500m and 5,000m.

While Hagg’s routine was created out of necessity, he obviously valued the snowy training. When he moved to a city with a milder climate, he wrote in a training journal, “It will be harder running than any previous year. Probably there won’t be much snow.” And every winter he scheduled trips north to train on the familiar, tough, snowy trails.

Hagg is of a different generation than those of us with web-connected treadmills that can let us run any course on earth from the comfort of our basement, but they’re on to something we might still benefit from: Winter can be an effective training tool. Here are five reasons you’ll want to bundle up and head out regardless of the conditions, indeed, why you can delight when it is particularly nasty out.

1) Winter Running Makes You Strong

As Hagg demonstrated and Robinson points out, winter conditions work muscles and tendons you’d never recruit on the smooth, dry path. A deep-winter run often ends up being as diverse as a set of form and flexibility drills: high knees, bounds, skips, side-lunges, one-leg balancing…

Bill Aris, coach of the perennially-successful Fayetteville-Manlius high school programs, believes that tough winter conditions are ideal for off-season training that has the goal of building aerobic and muscular strength. He sends the kids out every day during the upstate New York winter, and says they come back, “sweating, exhausted and smiling, feeling like they have completely worked every system in their bodies.”

2) Winter Running Makes You Tough

No matter how much you know it is good for you and that you’ll be glad when you’re done, it takes gumption to bundle up, get out the door and face the wintry blast day after day. But besides getting physically stronger, you’re also building mental steel. When you’ve battled snow and slop, darkness and biting winds all winter, the challenges of distance, hills and speed will seem tame come spring.

“If you have trained in deep snow, or battled up a slippery hill into freezing sleet, or lifted your feet out of sticky clay for an hour, the race can hold no fear,” Robinson says. “If you do real winter training, Boston in April can throw nothing at you that you have not prepared for.”

3) Winter Running Improves Your Stride

Running on the same smooth, flat ground every day can lead to running ruts. Our neuromuscular patterns become calcified and the same muscles get used repeatedly. This makes running feel easier, but it also predisposes us to injury and prevents us from improving our stride as we get fitter or improve our strength and mobility. Introducing a variety of surfaces and uncertain footplants shakes up our stride, recruits different muscles in different movement patterns, and makes our stride more effective and robust as new patterns are discovered.

You can create this stride shake-up by hitting a technical trail. But as Megan Roche, physician, ultrarunning champion, clinical researcher at Stanford and Strava running coach, points out, “A lot of runners don’t have access to trails. Many runners are running on flat ground, roads—having snow and ice is actually helpful, makes it like a trail.”

In addition to creating variety, slippery winter conditions also encourage elements of an efficient, low-impact stride. “One thing running on snow or ice reinforces is a high turn over rate and a bit more mindfulness of where your feet are hitting the ground,” Roche says. “And those two things combine to a reduced injury risk.” After a winter of taking quicker, more balanced strides, those patterns will persist, and you’ll be a smoother, more durable runner when you start speeding up and going longer on clearer roads.

4) Winter Running Makes You Healthier

“Exercising in general, particularly during periods of higher cold or flu season has a protective effect in terms of the immune system,” says Roche. You get this benefit by getting your heart rate up and getting moving even indoors, but Roche says, “Getting outside is generally preferable—fresh air has its own positive effect.”

Cathy Fieseler, ultrarunner and sports physician on the board of directors of the International Institute of Race Medicine (IIRM), says there’s not much scientific literature to prove it, but agrees that in her experience getting outside has health benefits. “In cold weather the furnace heat in the house dries up your throat and thickens the mucous in the sinuses,” Fieseler says. “The cold air clears this out; it really clears your head.”

Fieseler warns, however, that cold can trigger bronchospasms in those with asthma, and Roche suggests that when it gets really cold you wear a balaclava or scarf over your mouth to hold some heat in and keep your lungs warmer. “Anything below zero, you need to be dressed really well and mindful of your lungs, making sure that you’re not exposing your lungs to too cold for too long,” Roche says.

5) Winter Running Makes You Feel Better

For all its training and health benefits, the thing that will most likely get most of us out the door on white and windy days is that it makes us feel great. “A number of runners that I coach and that I see in clinics suffer from feeling more depressed or a little bit lower in winter,” says Roche. “Running is a great way to combat that. There’s something really freeing about getting out doors, feeling the fresh air and having that outdoor stress release.”

Research shows that getting outside is qualitatively different than exercising indoors. A 2011 systematic review of related studies concluded, “Compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy.” They also found that “participants reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and declared a greater intent to repeat the activity at a later date.”

(12/29/2019) ⚡AMP
by Podium Runner
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Ultra marathon runner Will Mather has faced sleet, snow, and high winds during a month long challenge which will see him clock 500 miles

A brisk jog on Christmas Day morning probably fills most of us with dread - so spare a thought for Will Mather who is spending December running 500 miles.

Ultra marathon runner Will has faced sleet, snow, and high winds that blew him off a footpath during his ongoing quest to raise funds for charity.

The dad, from Hadfield, regularly takes to the fells, trails and roads around Glossop.

But he has stepped up his routine for a Christmas challenge in support of Mummy’s Star - which supports women and their families affected by cancer during pregnancy.

Will has been running an extra mile each day of the month, working up to 31 miles on New Year’s Eve.

“I started ultra running in 2017 when I had this idea and have thought about how to do it ever since,” he says.

“I could have chosen February where I'd only have to do 28 days but If I'm going to do it I need to do it right so it had to be a month with 31 days.”

Will has taken the last week of December off work so he’ll have time to meet his daily challenges when the miles really ramp up.

Haulier Will is being backed by his wife Zoe and sons Oliver and Riley during his challenge.

He says: “I’ll be doing this challenge for my local charity Mummy’s Star. It's an amazing charity and when I was introduced to it and read some of the stories it made me think what would I do if me and my wife were in that situation?

“This is the only charity of its kind so without the support mummy star gives there is no support. I think they play a vital part in these situations.”

Some days have been tougher than others but Will has been helped along the way by family and friends who have joined him on his runs.

“I got the wall feeling rubbish long days at work and just simply knackered (4-5hours sleep isn't the best) I still got out and did the 20miles, getting home at 10pm I had a shower and eat my tea in bed. Sleep was needed,” he wrote on his 20th day.

On day 16 he wrote: “16 miles around kinder trying to find a path as the clouds were low and the everything covered in snow.”

While on day 9, Will started his run at the eye wateringly early hour of 3.30am.

“Day 9 was a 9mile run on my own with the moon and badgers keeping me company at 3.30am, it does mean I can get a small rest period before I do 10 miles tomorrow evening,” he wrote.

(12/28/2019) ⚡AMP
by Beth Abbit
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A Winnipeg man Junel Malapad runs 100 kilometers on Boxing Day

A Winnipeg man spent Boxing Day doing something very different.

He hit the pavement in support of Siloam Mission.

For the fifth straight year, Junel Malapad, who is a local ultramarathon runner, spent the day running.

He calls the annual run ‘Change Boxing Day to Running Day’.

His goal this year was to run 100 kilometers.

He started at 4 a.m. Thursday and spent the day running a three-kilometer loop at The Forks.

“Siloam Mission helps out a lot of homeless people, and people should not freeze to death in our city, they could be picked up and helped out. Siloam Mission does a lot of great things that way, so that's the reason why I’m running today," said Malapad.

Throughout the day, Malapad was joined by fellow runners for parts of the route.

Donations were collected at The Forks and will be dropped off at Siloam Mission.

(12/27/2019) ⚡AMP
by Devon McKendrick
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Ultras are not for everyone and here are five reasons why.

Ultras are tough and are not for everyone.  Here are five reasons why:

1. Trail running is hard.  Trail running is fun. But it’s also tough. The many variables in trail running such as the terrain, the weather, the mountains mean that the trails will challenge you regardless of the distance. Training on the trails means challenging yourself daily in the trails and mountains. If you decide to race on the trails, getting to the start line is a courageous act no matter how far you’re going.

2. Longer doesn’t mean better.  On paper, it appears as though a 5K trail race is less daunting than 200 miles through the wilderness. But that’s like comparing apples to elephants. A 5K trail race is it’s own beast, which requires focused training and execution. A 200 mile ultra through the trails and mountains is entirely different and unique. Both distances are challenging and deserve kudos.

3. Know what makes you happy.  If short and steep is your jam–then that is awesome. If mental and physical perseverance with limited sleep makes your heart dance, that’s great too. Know what makes you happy, while remaining open to new experiences. Being a real trail runner means knowing your ‘why’ and not caring what the world thinks.

4. Ultras aren’t for everyone.  But neither are 10Ks. Despite the fact that social media can be saturated with images and videos of everyone and their uncle finishing 100-milers, the trail running world is so much more. Trail running is simply running on the trails, which can include any distance and any terrain off the road. As long as you’re not having a party on the pavement, you are a trail runner.

5. Make it meaningful.  One of the keys to success in any area of life is meaning. Whatever distances you decide to focus on, make it count and don’t forget to smile.

(12/27/2019) ⚡AMP
by Tory Scholz
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Ultra--marathon runner Susannah Gill has written a book about her running experiences

The ultra-marathon runner, whose parents live in Much Wenlock and who spent her time training in the south Shropshire hills, has teamed up with her coach and founder of The Running School, Mike Antoniades, to write a book of her experiences.

'Running Around the World: How I ran 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days' takes the reader on a truly inspiring journey which sees Susannah go from a non-runner to conquer her ultimate challenge of running 183 miles (295 km) and travelling 55,000 miles, all inside 168 hours. In the process she ran in to the female world record holder.

Readers are taken on a whistle-stop global tour, from the icy snow of Antarctica all the way around the world to the warmth of Miami’s South Beach.

Susannah raised nearly £20,000 for SportsAid, a charity that supports Great Britain’s next generation of athletes.

Her best marathon time is 2:56, which she achieved at the Manchester Marathon in April 2019. Aside from the 60+ marathons she has completed over the last decade, she has run numerous ultra-marathons, including 100-kilometre, 100-mile and 24-hour races.

The book is based on the special partnership between runner and coach. Susannah and Mike give unique insights into the physical effort and mental toughness needed to achieve Susannah’s world record which saw her complete each marathon in an average time of 3 hours 28 minutes and 9 seconds.

Susannah said:“In January, I set off with 39 other runners with the aim of completing the 2019 World Marathon Challenge.

"I came home a world record holder, having had the experience of a lifetime. With this book I wanted to share openly and honestly the highs, the lows and the often unexpected joy of pushing myself to new limits.

"I hope my story can inspire other people to realise we can all take on incredible challenges and be amazing.

“I am so pleased to have written this book with Mike. His expertise and support helped my running dreams come true.

"I am indebted to Mike and all at The Running School, as well as those involved in the World Marathon Challenge for allowing me to be part of such an amazing challenge.”

Mike added: “Over the last 40 years I have coached thousands of runners and athletes, many recreational runners and others to win medals and titles.

"What Susannah has achieved is a unique test of mind and body and an example of what can be achieved with focus and determination. In this book we have shared what we have both learnt, which we hope is both entertaining and helpful to all runners.”

Esther Newman, Editor Women’s Running Magazine, said: “Susannah is an incredible ambassador for women’s running."

Susannah will be speaking at The National Running Show on January 25-26.

(12/26/2019) ⚡AMP
by Lucy Todman
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World Marathon Challenge

World Marathon Challenge

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

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Yuki Kawauchi ran his 100th marathon at the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon in Japan

2018 Boston Marathon champion Yuki Kawauchi is not like most other competitive marathoners, who typically don’t race more than two or three marathons a year. Yesterday Kawauchi ran his 100th marathon, at the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon in Japan, about 150 kilometers southwest of Hiroshima.

Kawauchi won this race last year, in 2:11:29. This year he finished in 2:14:17, in seventh place, making it his 94th marathon finishing in 2:20 or under.

Students of Kawauchi’s career know that his first marathon was 10 years ago, at the 2009 Beppu-Ōita Marathon in Japan, where he finished 20th in 2:19:26. (He brought his time down twice more that year, in Tokyo and Hokkaido.) This means he has averaged more than nine sub 2:20 marathons per year.

While most competitive marathoners don’t race that distance more than twice a year, Kawauchi races about once a month.

It’s a different kind of impressive from the traditional quest to be the fastest in the world. A 2:08 guy (from Seoul in 2013), Kawauchi may not challenge the world’s fastest marathoners, but he dominates in sheer volume of running. He’s had his share of podium finishes–in addition to winning Boston last year in conditions that drove many of his faster competitors off the course (his 79th sub-2:20 finish), he has stood on the podium at the Gold Coast Marathon four times, and last year he won the BMO Vancouver Marathon, adding to the list of smaller marathons he has won. According to his Wikipedia page, Kawauchi entered nine marathons in 2012 and won five of them.

Kawauchi races ultra distances as well, which some say is his secret weapon. And he comes from a family of runners–his two younger brothers are also marathoners, and this year he returned to Boston with his mom, Mika Kawauchi, who started running marathons at age 52 and qualified easily.

At the rate he’s going, we predict that by next summer he’ll have 100 sub-2:20 finishes.

(12/17/2019) ⚡AMP
by Canadian Running
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15 Mind-Blowing Race Moments From 2019-From Kipchoge to Kosgei and all of the upsets, records, and victories in between, 2019 was a major year for running.

1-Kosgei Shocks Everyone in Chicago-On October 13, Brigid Kosgei made history when she won the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:04. The Kenyan ran almost perfectly even splits to achieve her goal in the Windy City, passing the halfway mark in 1:06:59 before clocking 1:07:05 for the second half.

2-Eliud Kipchoge Dips Under 2-Hour Marathon Barrier-In his second attempt at breaking the two-hour barrier in the marathon, Eliud Kipchogeof Kenya accomplished the feat with a stunning run of 1:59:40 on the streets of Vienna in October.

3-Joan Samuelson Crushes Her Goal 40 Years After Boston Victory-In 1979, Joan Benoit Samuelson set a national and course record when she won the Boston Marathon as a 21-year-old college student. Forty years after her historic victory, Samuelson, 61, set out to run within 40 minutes of her winning time at the 2019 Boston Marathon. On April 15, the 1984 Olympic champion wore a similar Bowdoin College singlet to honor her 1979 win and shattered her goal, crossing the finish line in 3:04. “To be here, 40 years later and being able to run, let alone being able to run a marathon, I feel blessed,” she said.

4-Jim Walmsley Obliterates His Own Western States Record-Ultrarunning star Jim Walmsley maintained his Western States winning streak when he obliterated his own course record in June. Navigating 100 miles from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California, Walmsley broke the tape in 14 hours and 9 minutes, which broke his own course record by more than 20 minutes

5-Donavan Brazier Breaks 34-Year-Old American Record-Donavan Brazier had the race of his life when he broke one of the oldest American records on his way to winning gold in the 800 meters at the IAAF World Championshipsin Doha, Qatar. With 250-meters to go, Brazier ran away from the field to secure the first 800-meter world championship gold medal for the United States in a time of 1:42.34. 

6-Dalilah Muhammad Sets World Record Twice-Dalilah Muhammad made history twice this season when she broke the 400-meter hurdles world record and lowered it once again on her way to winning the world championships.

7-Sifan Hassan Wins Unprecedented Double at Worlds-At the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Sifan Hassan won two gold medals that no man or woman has achieved in the history of the world championships or Olympic Games. The Dutch runner, 26, kicked off the competition by winning the 10,000-meter final in a national record time of 30:17:33. 

8-Maggie Guterl Becomes First Woman to Win Backyard Ultra-For 60 hours straight, Maggie Guterl ran the same 4.2-mile trail loop to become the last runner standing in the Big’s Backyard Ultra race. The Durango, Colorado, native ran 250 miles on her way to becoming the first woman to win the brutal race that rewards the person who can run for the longest amount of time.

9-Geoffrey Kamworor Breaks Half Marathon World Record-Holding a 4:25-mile pace, Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya shattered the world record at the Copenhagen Half Marathon in September, running 58:01. The performance, which was 17 seconds faster than the previous record, took place in the same city where the 26-year-old won his first of three half marathon world championship titles in 2014.

10-Joyciline Jepkosgei Debuts in NYC Marathon, Beats Mary Keitany-In her first marathon, Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya secured a title in a major upset. The half marathon world record-holder raced like a veteran in the New York City Marathonto beat four-time champion Mary Keitany in a winning time of 2:22:38, only seven seconds shy of the course record.

11-Kenenisa Bekele Wins Berlin Marathon 2 Seconds Shy of World Record-One year after Eliud Kipchoge set a world record that many believed would be untouchable for at least a few years, Kenenisa Bekele nearly surpassed it at the Berlin Marathon. The 37-year-old Ethiopian won the race in 2:01:41, just two seconds shy of Kipchoge’s record. 

12-Freshman Sha’Carri Richardson Shatters 100-meter Collegiate Record-In her first ever NCAA Outdoor Championship, Sha’Carri Richardson made history. In the 100-meter final, the LSU freshman sprinted to victory in a collegiate record of 10.75.

13-Drew Hunter, Athing Mu, and Colleen Quigley Win First Pro Titles-The USATF Indoor Championships brought out exciting breakthroughs for three young athletes. In the men’s 2-mile, 21-year-old Drew Hunter won the crown out of the “slower” heat by running a world-best time of 8:25.29. The women’s 600 meters was won by 16-year-old Athing Mu who defeated world silver medalist Raevyn Rogers in an American record time of 1:23.57.

14-BYU Snaps NAU’s Winning Streak at the NCAA Cross Country Championships-The Brigham Young team had a banner day at the NCAA Cross Country Championshipsin November. Battling muddy conditions, the BYU Cougars secured the team victory over three-time defending champions Northern Arizona in the men’s race. With a team total of 109 points, BYU beat NAU by 54 points to win the program’s first NCAA cross-country championship in history.

15-Joshua Cheptegei Sets 10K World Record After Winning Two World Titles-Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda capped off a banner year when he set a world record in the 10K on December 1, running 26:38 to win the 10K Valencia Trinidad Alfonso in Valencia, Spain. Earlier this year, he won the world cross-country championships and the world championship 10,000 meters in Doha, Qatar.

 

(12/15/2019) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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It may come as a surprise, but Nike's popularity is not growing as fast among Strava users as other brands

The running/cycling/social media platform Strava, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, has just published its much-anticipated Year in Sport. One of the most striking pieces of information in it, not surprisingly, concerns shoes. The fastest-growing shoe on Strava is not the Nike Vaporfly or NEXT%, as you might expect. In fact, it’s not even close.

That distinction belongs to the HOKA Carbon X, the brand’s carbon-plated racing shoe introduced last summer and worn by two-time Western States champion Jim Walmsley when he set the 50-mile world record in California in May 2019.

The second-fastest growing model is the Adidas Solar Glide, and the third is the Fresh Foam Beacon by New Balance, one of the shoes favored by American ultrarunner and multiple age-group record-holder Gene Dykes.

What the research did show, however, is that among Strava runners who ran the World Major Marathons and logged what shoe they were wearing, Nike NEXT% wearers posted the fastest times. Three guesses as to which shoe was next fastest: that’s right. The Vaporfly.

Some other interesting facts emerging from Strava’s research over the past year: we knew that running is hugely popular in Japan, but the Japanese are not stopping at the marathon–according to Strava in 2019, the island nation has more ultramarathoners per capita than any other country in the world.

Further, almost 24 per cent of runners in Japan have completed a marathon or ultra. That’s an increase of 23 per cent over last year, and more than double the percentage of marathoners and ultrarunners in the next most marathon-mad country, France (which had 10.4 per cent). The US was third, with 7.6 per cent.

(12/11/2019) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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The man who inspired the Barkley Marathons has died at age 70

Barry Barkley of Shelbyville, Tenn., for whom race director Lazarus Lake (aka Gary Cantrell) named the Barkley Marathons, died on December 5. An obituary in the Shelbyville Times-Gazette says Barkley “loved the outdoors, playing pool, and his animals.”

Trail Running Magazine reach Laz by email. He offered the following on his friend’s passing: “the ultramarathon community lost one of its own this week, with the passing of barry barkley (70). most only know of him indirectly; from the race that bears his name, but he has been a quiet contributor to the sport for the past 42 years. it was always his preference to operate quietly in the background, but he did get enjoyment from the notoriety of his namesake race. since 1979 literally thousands of ultrarunners have met barry at the races. only a handful ever knew who he was. that was how he wanted it. Barry barkley will be sorely missed.”

Barkley’s photo shows he bore a marked resemblance to Laz himself, who started the race in 1986 after hearing about the 1977 escape of James Earl Ray (the man who killed Martin Luther King, Jr.) from Brushy State Penitentiary. After more than two days on the lam, Ray had only covered 13 kilometres before being re-captured. The former ultrarunner Laz, who knew the area well, is said to have responded, “I could do at least 100 miles,” and created the race, naming it for his friend, neighbour and running partner. The race course goes through the grounds of Brushy State, which closed in 2009.

The race is a notoriously difficult 100-miler, with a number of quirks that set it apart from any other race on Earth. It involves five laps of a 20-mile loop that many believe is significantly longer than 20 miles, along an unmarked course that changes slightly every year, with huge elevation gains and losses. GPS are not allowed–Laz issues each racer an inexpensive watch that shows only the time, counting down from the 60-hour cutoff. Cheating is impossible, since runners must present specific pages torn from books hidden along the course, in order to start the next lap.

Runners can replenish their water stores at two locations, but otherwise there are no aid stations–they can meet their crews only between loops, back at camp in Wartburg, Tennessee’s Frozen Head State Park.

(12/09/2019) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Hongkonger runs the length of Japan, battling loneliness and becoming ‘the runner of past, present and future’

Wong Ho-fai runs 500km in one week, as part of his trans-Japan run from Wakkanai to Okinawa

Hong Kong ultra runner Wong Ho-fai completed an epic run from the north of Japan to the south, but it was one week in particular that stood out as an incredible feat.

After passing Tokyo, Wong worried that time was against him. So, he ran 500km in seven days.

“There was loneliness from Tokyo to Hiroshima,” he said, “but I let it subside by focusing on myself, and ran about 500km. I didn’t plan it, I just went fast. I was lonely, but I used the time to reflect. I was lonely but I was also afraid time was running out, so I was driven by fear, which made me more alert.”

Wong, 35, started his 3,250km run in Wakkanai in northern Japan on August 18 and arrived in Okinawa after 73 days of running at the end of October, and has since been relaxing in Japan and trying to readjust back in Hong Kong.

“I’m living a parallel life,” Wong said. “Part of me is living in the past, in Japan. Part of me is living in the present, in Hong Kong and a third part of me is living in the future, imagining running across America.”

Wong has long dreamed of running from coast to coast across the US, and has been building towards it with a 1,400km run around Taiwan and now across Japan.

Wong is trying to not get ahead of himself by spending time on his own and meditating.

“I try to live moment by moment, just like in Japan,” he said.

The start of the mission in Japan was delayed and so Wong set off too fast and injured himself. He was forced to rest, but the break gave him time to meet one of his heroes, ultra running legend Scott Jurek who told him “there is magic in suffering”.

Since returning from Japan, Wong has been getting rid of a lot of his belongings. He dreams of a life like he had during the run.

“I try to live as simple as I can,” he said. “After throwing away a lot of my stuff, I feel better. I feel much lighter.”

(12/07/2019) ⚡AMP
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'I puked, fouled myself and collapsed - it was great': Meet the record-breaking ultra marathon runner fuelled by beer and burritos

At the ultra running World Championship, competitors looped a 1,500 metres circuit continuously for 24 hours and, with time running out, American Camille Herron was suffering.

She had thrown up twice, stopped to lie down twice, and had such serious bowel issues the officials had forced her off the course to shower and change her clothes. By the finish Herron had run 168 miles, the equivalent of running 6½ consecutive marathons, each in an average time of 3 hr 44 min.​

She certainly means it when she says: “I want to change what people think is possible. Especially for women.”​

Herron’s feat was a world record, she finished sixth in the race overall (including the men) and moved to third best on the United States all-time list for both genders. To get there she had to endure multiple setbacks.​

“I was trying this new fuelling plan with this new product and it wasn’t going well,” Herron explains. “The race was in France, so most of the rest rooms were squat toilets. For 350 athletes, they only had three normal toilets.”​

On her third bathroom stop in quick succession, she found a queue of athletes so decided to carry on. “But on that lap my bowels sort of unleashed themselves,” she says, laughing about it now. “But this is ultra running. S--- happens. Literally!”​

She switched her food to cups of mashed potato, makeshift burritos and her secret weapon – beer. Her condition did not improve but then a switch flicked in her mind.​

“After puking the second time, with 2½ hours to go, I just said to myself, ‘Let’s drop the hammer, let’s go beast mode’.”​

Herron started to fly. “I like to think of myself as a boxer, throwing punches,” she says. “Those last few hours were awesome, the most fun I’ve ever had in a race.”​

Surely she doubted, during the low moments, that it would all come together so spectacularly?​

“No,” she says. “I had already accepted before the race that I would be challenged. So at no point did I feel defeated. It was like ultra chess, we had to brainstorm how to deal with the problems. In the night, that’s the hardest part, because the brain is shutting down, so you’re trying to keep the light on.”​

Herron discovered the benefits of beer by accident. “I was in a trail race, really struggling, sitting in a chair. I’d tried everything and it wasn’t working and my husband just said, ‘You want a beer?’ I popped out of my chair after that. It got my blood flowing again.”​

During her latest world record she downed three Belgian beers along the way. “It settles my gut and helps me focus,” she laughs.​

Herron’s achievements are all the more astonishing as she has had to overcome a lopsided body, re-teaching herself how to run after years of injuries. She was born with her right thigh bone twisted inwards and has an extra bone in her right foot. “There’s something developmentally quirky about how I’m built,” she says. To reduce the strain on her body she re-learnt to run lifting her legs from the ground rather than pushing off. It means she looks like she is roller skating rather than running. “It’s like I’m prancing,” she says. “But I’m light on my feet. As a marathon runner, I had a great engine but I wasn’t fast enough because I wasn’t powerful. But as there’s less impact, for ultras it has turned out to be an advantage.”​

Since readapting her style, Herron has had only one injury, following a serious accident in February in which her car flipped upside down.​

Her steel was instilled from an early age. Herron’s grandfather was shot in both legs in the Second World War and awarded two Purple Heart medals, which are given for members of the US military wounded or killed while serving. He and Herron’s father were also basketball players under tough Olympic coach Henry Iba.​

“You had to be hard-nosed to play for him,” she explains. “My dad told stories of playing for six hours straight without water. So at age seven, I used to play in the yard, without water, until I blacked out. Then I’d get a sandwich and play some more. I was thinking, ‘This is what I got to do, push myself to extremes’. I was training for ultras without realising it.”​

Another formative event came when she was 17 and her whole family were made homeless by the strongest tornado ever recorded.​

“We get tornadoes all the time in Oklahoma,” she recalls, “so when we left the house I didn’t take anything. But it was crazy, four people in our area lost their lives, our house was flattened. But though we lost everything, I thought: ‘I’m still alive.’ At 17, that’s a big thing to realise, the value of your life. It changed my perspective.” From then on she started running on Sundays instead of going to church, to celebrate her life.​

Herron now believes that she can eventually chase down the men’s ultra running world records and she is partly driven by the inequality she feels is rampant in the sport. The normally upbeat Herron turns serious as she recounts her struggles for recognition in ultra running.​

“In my breakout year in 2015 I won two world titles and broke a world record and I thought I should get an agent,” she says, “but he couldn’t find me a sponsor. Then Jim Walmsley [a top male US runner] dropped out of Western States [a big US race] and I caught him in the world 100km championships, and he gets sponsored by Hoka. I was p----d.”​

She fired her agent and joined Walmsley’s agent, who eventually got her a sponsorship deal with Nike. Recently she was left fuming after a race in France offered prize money for the top 20 men, but only the top five women. And the women’s race was half the distance.​

“Sometimes it’s like a throwback to the 1970s,” she says. “I can’t believe it’s 2019 and women are still fighting for equal prize money. While everyone looks at the men like they’re superstars, I see people looking at me and tutting. I’m pretty tall, and I run aggressively and people don’t like it. I hear them saying, ‘She’s going out too fast’. So it’s a big motivation for me to run faster. To beat the men.”​

The way she is going, she might end up leaving them all behind. They can collect up her beer bottles when they come by.

(12/07/2019) ⚡AMP
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Saucony's new lineup of shoes has something to make every kind of runner feel fast

Saucony has launched its 2020 shoe lineup, including the much-anticipated Endorphin Pro, the company’s carbon-plated racing flat.

Spencer White, VP Human Performance and Innovation Lab at Saucony, says this isn’t a spring-loaded shoe. “It’s not a spring, it’s a rigid roll. There’s a lot of storytelling with these carbon-plated shoes, but the thing you have to understand is that it’s not springing you forward. The shoe is absorbing the energy from a runner’s stride so your body doesn’t have to. This helps you feel better later into a race or the day after training.”

The carbon-plated shoe uses SpeedRoll Geometry to deliver a pop at toe-off to help the runner feel fast. The shoe’s midsole is made of the ultralight PWRRUN PB cushioning that’s 40 per cent lighter than Saucony’s PWRRUN+ (which is used in the Triumph). The S-shaped carbon-plate runs the full length of the shoe. The plate is designed to give a springboard effect at take off.

Since this shoe is designed for speed, the upper is inspired by track spikes and uses Saucony’s track technology to wrap the foot in light, performance-oriented materials. The shoe has an 8mm offset and runs light at 212g for a men’s size 9. The shoe retails for $250.00.

The Speed could be a racing shoe or a trainer for your fastest road sessions. The Speed is everything that the Pro is, without the carbon plate. Instead of carbon, there’s a full-length TPU plate which gives a similar feel to the carbon, at a lower price point.

This shoe is just a touch heavier than the Pro, weighing 221g for the men’s size 9, but comes in at $50 less than the Pro, retailing for $200.

Shift is Saucony’s newest trainer, ideal for a hard long run. This neutral-cushioned shoe uses Saucony’s new PWRRUN foam (launched earlier this year) in combination with an extended TPU heel counter that works in unison with the a rubber wrap to support the runner’s foot.

The Shift runs a little heavier than the other models (286g for the men’s shoe), but that’s ok–this is a performance training shoe, not a racing shoe. It retails for $180.

The shoes will be in store by summer.

(12/05/2019) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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The Comrades Marathon has been awarded Gold Label status by the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU)

The IAU introduced its own labeling system for qualifying events to ensure that the race route is measured to conform to World Athletics regulations as well as enjoying recognition by its own national athletics federation, being Athletics South Africa.

This effectively means that only athletic performances in IAU labeled races are officially recognized.

This is not only important for possible "Best Performances" but also for the calculations of any travel grants distributed at major IAU competitions.

The IAU Labels are certifications granted by the international body to ultradistance races and are categorized according to IAU Gold Label, IAU Silver Label and IAU Bronze Label.

The labels are conferred on IAU ultramarathon races in various categories. In order to qualify for the Gold Label status, the Comrades Marathon had to meet the following criteria:

Race history and performance: • Gold - the race must have existed for 3 years (3 editions) at least and if not, it must have had an IAU silver label for the previous year.

Elite performances: • Gold and Silver - at least 5 athletes (mixed men and women) performances at international (gold) or national level (silver) in one of the three previous years.

Course Measurement: • Gold - the route must be measured by an Official "A" or "B" WA/AIMS measurer following the WA rules (with the Jones Counter). • Gold and Silver - a technical delegate must be appointed prior to the race, decided between LOC, IAU General Secretary and Area Representative. 

Anti-doping Control: • Gold - Anti-doping control has to respect the WA guidelines and the numbers of controls will be discussed with the IAU. Costs are met by the race organization or the national federation.

"We are grateful to the IAU for conferring the impressive Gold Label status on the Comrades Marathon. This is indeed an honor and a privilege for the CMA; as well as being a massive show of confidence in the thousands of Comrades members, volunteers and stakeholders who execute a remarkable event year in and year out," said CMA chairperson, Cheryl Winn.

(11/28/2019) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

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

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10 Reasons to Run a Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving is the most popular running day of the year, according to Running USA. Last year more than 1.17 million people registered for a Turkey Trot around the Thanksgiving holiday. The tradition is believed to have started in 1896 in Buffalo, New York, with Y.M.C.A. Buffalo Niagara’s Turkey Trot —  today the 8K attracts more than 14,000 runners and calls itself the “oldest consecutively run footrace in North America.”

While running a few miles won’t do much to offset the 2,000+ calories you’re likely to consume on Thanksgiving, there are plenty of other reasons to lace up your sneakers and get moving with family and friends.

1.- It’s one of those rare unicorn events that everyone can actually do together, whether you run, walk or trot. Win points with your Ironman father-in-law. Or just use it an excuse to be better at something (anything!) than your cousin.

2.- On the other hand, if you get stressed by family dynamics, a Turkey Trot can also be a great excuse to escape. (Self-care, hello?!?!?)

3.- Most races have shorter distances for kids, everything from a 1-miler to a 500-meter dash — often with mini-medals, chocolate lollipops or hot apple cider at the finish.

4.- You can probably get out of some holiday-related jobs/duties/tasks — peeling potatoes, putting the leaf in the dining room table, getting folding chairs from your uncle’s garage — because you will be at the race (and going to/coming from/showering after!).

5.- If you’re traveling to that same relative’s house for the fifth year in a row, consider finding a race in a nearby town (Active.com has a comprehensive list); a new environment can keep things interesting.

6.- Make fun of the (probably ugly) shirt that will go straight into your pajama drawer because it features the face of a massive cartoon turkey or the name of a local pub. (Why are Turkey Trot race shirts so universally bad?) 

7.- Feel morally superior to everyone else when you post your Turkey Trot pic on social media or feel less lazy (and avoid FOMO) when everyone else posts theirs.

8.- Enjoy an extra helping of stuffing.

9.- If you do post a pic, use #WillTrotForBeer and tag @MichelobULTRA — until December 1 the brand will donate $1 per pic (up to $10,000) to AmpleHarvest.org, a non-profit aiming to end food waste and hunger.

10.- Appease guilt on Friday when you don’t work out because you’re still full/busy shopping/watching Christmas movies/eating another slice of pie.

(11/26/2019) ⚡AMP
by Stephanie Emma Pfeffer
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YMCA Buffalo Niagara Turkey Trot 8K

YMCA Buffalo Niagara Turkey Trot 8K

The enthusiasm, energy and incredible holiday spirit that radiated down Delaware Avenue tells us that our local Thanksgiving Day run is so much more than just an 8k road race. It is an incredible tribute to all that makes Western New York great – Family, Friendship, and Benevolence. Together with the Y, you are helping to connect those less fortunate...

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How ultra-trail runners fit training into a busy life

It’s dark, it’s cold, and it’s the time of year when skipping a run seems like a great idea. Sometimes it feels impossible to juggle family, work, friendships, and a regular running practice all while staying sane. You’re not alone. Even the best ultra-trail runners struggle with motivation at this time of year.

When ultrarunner, father, race director and ultra-preneur Jamil Coury asked Twitter for tips to stay on track with balancing it all, he wasn’t asking for a friend. Useful and practical advice came flocking in from many well respected and talented trail runners. Passionate trail and ultrarunners from a range of abilities and backgrounds responded, sharing their strategies for doing it all and not burning out. 

Balance is relative - Filmmaker, podcast creator, and ultrarunner Billy Yang believes dividing up responsibilities looks different for everyone. “Balance is all relative and everyone’s pie charts look different. Just shift/tweak/adjust as necessary given the seasons,” he tweets.

Commuting is key - Many tweeters responded in support for the run commute in order to increase mileage in training. They also recommended adding in a lunchtime workout or hills on the weekends.

Do it early - Coach and ultrarunner Jason Koop gets up at 4:30 a.m. ready to get it done. Canadian Anne-Marie Madden agrees, and she suggests an early morning workout combined with a run commute to start the day.

24 hours is a myth - The Queen of 200s race director Candice Burt shares that she has “learned to not see things in as much of a 24 hour way.” For example, she promotes simplifying her days so that she focuses on more work on some, more training on others, and more family time on other days.

Set a timer - Ultrarunning vet Megan Hicks says that she uses a timer app for core workouts and foam rolling during work breaks.

Consistency is key - Running isn’t perfect, so doing something is better than nothing. Often, running one mile with your kid is better than a Netflix marathon. “The vast majority of fitness comes through consistency/workouts don’t need to be ideal/perfect,

Wing it - Many ultra-trail parents shared that their priority is family and “everything else falls where it must.”

Set reasonable goals - Know your priorities and set goals based on the time you have in a typical week. Just remember that a typical week for an ultrarunner is anything but average–as we are all a bit guilty of overachieving.

Forget about balance - If you want something done, give it to an ultrarunner. Ultra-trail runners are busy and often passionate about everything they juggle. Amy Broadmoore replied to Coury’s tweet with, “I have a feeling that you and @BillyYang are as successful as you are because you immerse yourself in your work (at least for stretches) and let your life get out of balance.”

Celebrate gains - Feeling successful with what you can do is key, rather than focusing on what you don’t have enough time for.

(11/24/2019) ⚡AMP
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New documentary on Nicky Spinks at the Barkley Marathons

The doc follows the British ultrarunner on her quest to become the first woman to finish the infamously difficult race.

Back in March, the British runner Nicky Spinks, 52, was considered the most likely of the seven women registered for the Barkley Marathons to become the first-ever female in the race’s 33-year history to finish. Along with Canadian Stephanie Case (a Barkley veteran who had attempted the race in 2018), Spinks had to bail on the second of five 20-mile loops. Her sponsor, the British gear company Inov-8, in partnership with Summit Media, has produced a documentary on her attempt, entitled Last Women Standing: The Barkley Marathons 2019. 

Spinks is the first person ever to complete doubles of all three classic British fell-running rounds, which link numerous peaks in a circuit (the Paddy Buckley Round, the Ramsay Round and the Bob Graham Round), among many impressive accomplishments in her fell-running career. She crewed Damian Hall to a fifth-place finish at UTMB in 2018.

(11/24/2019) ⚡AMP
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Kenya’s Asbel Kipsang and Tefera Dinknesh Mekash from Ethiopia are the favorites at the Asics Firenze Marathon

Kipsang won the race in his debut over the 42 km distance in 2014 in 2:09:55. He went on to clock his personal best with 2:07:30 in Seoul in 2016 and will aim at breaking the Florence course record held by his compatriot James Kutto who clocked 2:08:40 in 2006. Kipsang finished third in Shanghai in 2:09:02 and sixth in Paris in 2:08:29 in 2017.

Moroccan Hicham Bofars, 31, also returns to Florence, where he finished second last year in personal best of 2:12:16. Bofars ran all his three marathon races in Florence in 2014, 2015 and 2018.

Kenyan Peter Kirui Cheruiyot boasts solid personal best times in the half marathon with 59:22 from Prague in 2014 and in the marathon with 2:06:31 from Frankfurt in 2011.

Gilbert Kipleting Chumba from Kenya has already run on Italian soil and won the past two editions of the Treviso Marathon - in 2018 he clocked his personal best of 2:12:19.

The Ethiopian contingent will be represented by Gereme Azmeraw Mengistu and Nigussie Sahlesilassie Bekele. Mengistu set his personal best of 2:12:27 in November 2016. Bekele won the Stockolm marathon last June in 2:10:10, also a personal best.

Morocco’s Hicham Amghar, who has a 1:00:23 half marathon PB, will make his marathon debut.

The best Italian runner in the field is Ahmed Nasef, who won two national marathon titles and set his marathon career best of 2:10:59 in 2012.

The fastest runner in the women’s field is Ethiopia’s Dinknesh Mekash Tefera, who set her career best of 2:23:12 in Frankfurt in 2015. Tefera will take on her compatriot Amelework Bosho Fekadu, who has a 2:32:39 PB, Kenya’s Salina Jebet (winner in Astana 2018 in 2:31:06) and Burundi’s 21-year-old Elvanie Nimbona, who finished second in Padua last April in 2:30:28.

Croatian ultra-marathon specialist Nikolina Sustic set her previous marathon career best of 2:41:11 in Florence last year and improved this time to 2:37:55 in Padua in 2019. Former European U23 cross country champion Jess Piasecki will make her debut over the marathon distance after improving her personal best in the half marathon to 1:11:42 in Usti nad Labem in Czech Republic last September.

(11/23/2019) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Firenze Marathon

Firenze Marathon

This is Firenze (Florence) Marathon! Along the way you will be surrounded by centuries of art, history and culture, a unique emotion that can only be experienced by those who run in Florence. Thousands of sports people and enthusiasts from all over the world come to participate in this classic race on the last Sunday in November. The route takes...

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Kara Goucher is officially now an ultrarunner

Kara Goucher took a podium spot yesterday at her first 50K at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships

Olympic marathon runner Kara Goucher has joined the ultramarathon club. On Saturday November 16, the former Nike athlete raced to an impressive third place finish at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships 50K race in San Francisco in a time of 5:30:57. Goucher has found a new love and appreciation for the trails, especially in the wake of the suspension and allegations of abuse against Nike and her former coach, Alberto Salazar.

Goucher raced her first trail race back in August at the Leadville Trail Marathon, and has been moving up in distance ever since. The North Face 50K race gains 2,053 metres running through the Marin Headlands in the San Francisco Bay area. Goucher challenged her physical and mental toughness through Tennessee Valley, Muir Beach, and Pantoll Station, descending on the famous Dipsea trail. After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, she finished the race enthralled and exhausted at Crissy Field.

Goucher shared the podium with Corinne Shalvoy in first place with a time of 5:00:10 and Jenny Comiskey in second with a time of 5:15:12. Nicholas Handel won the men’s 50K race in 3:58:11, Brian Gillis was second in 4:11:45, and Justin Grunewald was third in 4:15:39.

(11/23/2019) ⚡AMP
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Grandma, Pamela Chapman Markl, 64, is breaking ultra marathons records

It’s not unusual to find Pamela Chapman Markle running anywhere from 80 to 100 miles each week. It’s just part of her long-distance race training as an ultramarathon runner, and the San Leon resident says she loves it.

“I enjoy the challenge physically and mentally,” said Markle. “It’s always a surprise to me to see how the body will adapt to what you demand of it.”

At 64 years old, Markle is persevering in a passion that pushes her to the limit. And the demands for ultramarathon running — races that go beyond typical marathon length of 26.2 miles — can be tough.

“My current running schedule is very hectic,” said Markle, who runs one long weekend run of up to 25 miles. “Stretching has become a necessity with my aging, and also some strength work.”

Races often range from 50 to 200 miles, with some lasting for an undetermined distance requiring more from 24 to 48 hours. The courses can be varied from cross-country trail races to repeating single loops on a track.

Most of the races that Markle has completed have been between 50 and 150 miles and last up to 48 hours. She has run almost 40 ultramarathons in the last 10 years.

“I have run nine ultramarathons since January 2019, and I have more to complete this year,” said Markle, who works as a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Preferring to run by herself rather than in crowds, Markle doesn’t train with a running group and has no time in her schedule for the traditional marathons and 5Ks.

“I am disciplined enough to run alone and love it,” said Markle, who’s also careful to manage her nutrition for running.

Her hard work is paying off. Markle is breaking race records in her age division and earning recognition, including running one of the fastest times of 21 hours and 29 minutes in her age group at a 100-mile road race in Florida.

Markle set another record at the MadCity 100K in Wisconsin, where she won the USA Track & Field National Champion for her age group. She also set records in her age group for the Badwater 135 race, a course that covers 135 miles non-stop across California terrain.

Chris Kostman, who organizes the Badwater series of ultra running races, said Markle is redefining what’s possible for runners as they age.

“She has broken the women’s 60-plus age group record during each of the four consecutive Badwater 135 races she’s competed in,” Kostman said. “Her performances are plain to see, and we all stand in awe of Pamela.”

She became interested in distance running a decade ago when a surgeon who she knew ran ultramarathons encouraged her to give running a try. Her first race was called the Rocky Raccoon and 100 miles long. Markle trained for nine months.

“I didn’t train properly and had quite a few injuries,” said Markle, who has three daughters and eight grandchildren. “I decided to do another race with a different training program. Then I got hooked.”

(11/15/2019) ⚡AMP
by Kimberly Piña
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 Rocky Raccoon 100 mile

Rocky Raccoon 100 mile

Rocky Raccoon is the fastest 100 mile trail run for men in North America, as well as the oldest running 100 miler in Texas having been first run in 1993 with 29 finishers. It’s described as beautiful, fun, and great for veteran runners as well as those looking for their first 100 mile finish. Any American Citizen may enter the...

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49-Year-Old Ultrarunner Dave Mackey Won't Back Down

Dave Mackey was the first person to run the Leadville Trail 100 Run with a prosthetic leg

 The 49-year-old physician assistant spent those two decades putting together a stellar ultrarunning career, earning national championships in 50K, 50-mile, and 100K distances. He set the record for the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim run in 2007 and was named Ultrarunner of the Year twice by USA Track and Field. His only injury during that time was a rolled ankle in 2007 that made him rest for a few weeks.

“I’ve always been lucky with injuries,” Mackey says from his home in Boulder, Colorado. “Well, except for falling off a mountain.”

In 2015, Mackey was running 8,459-foot Bear Peak in the Rocky Mountains’ Front Range when he decided to scramble down a series of boulders off the backside of the summit. An experienced rock climber, he had taken the route plenty of times before. But during his descent, a boulder jostled loose, and he fell 50 feet, breaking his left tibia in eight places. For a year after the accident, Mackey and his surgeons were hopeful he would keep the leg. But after suffering constant pain from scar tissue and low-grade infections, it became obvious that it would never fully heal. Mackey says the decision to amputate was an easy one.

“It was about quality of life,” he says. In addition to being a dedicated ultrarunner, Mackey is also an accomplished adventure racer, skier, and mountain biker. “Keeping my leg would’ve held me back for years, if not my whole life,” he says.

“But I knew after the amputation I would run again. People do amazing things with one leg, or no legs for that matter.”

After the surgery, Mackey spent almost a year adjusting, learning how to walk and run again while also undergoing multiple fittings for his prosthetic leg due to shrinking muscles in the residual limb. But he wasn’t down for long. Less than two years after his surgery, Mackey completed the Leadman Series, a succession of six races over the course of a summer that includes the legendary Leadville Trail 100 Run and Leadville Trail 100 MTB.

“The vast majority of people who lose a leg never work again,” Mackey says. “They never establish the same mobility as they had before. I’m really fortunate, and I was motivated.”

Finishing the Leadman Series was just the beginning for Mackey, who has largely resumed his old routine since losing his leg. He runs every day with a blade prosthetic—there’s an 11-mile route he likes to knock out in the morning before sending his kids off to school—he mountain-bikes regularly, and he skis with his family during the winter. Although Mackey figures he’s half as fast on rocky trails now, it’s all relative. Last year he finished 12th in the Leadman Series, just over seven hours behind the series winner’s accumulated time for all six races. This year he ran the Leadville Trail 100 in 25 hours, 54 minutes, roughly six hours slower than his 2014 time.

Still, he placed 98th overall out of 841 runners and was the first runner to ever finish the race with a prosthetic leg. “The more technical the terrain, the slower I have to go,” Mackey says. “Rocks that are smaller than a fist are easy to work through, but with the baby-head-size rocks, the blade can roll more easily. I have to watch my steps more.”

Mackey also says he’s enjoying the training process more than he ever did before. “I just want to get out there and make the most of it,” he says.

“I’m more appreciative now of every individual run or ride. Or skiing with my kids. It feels so good. With the accident I had, I could’ve died.”

Recovery has been a fact of life since Mackey’s accident. He’s had more than 13 surgeries during the last four years. When I talk to him, he’s fresh off a three-hour mountain-bike ride, slowly working his way back into “normal” life after having two screws removed from his leg two weeks earlier. “It can be hard,” Mackey says. “Taking time off in your forties is different than taking time off in your twenties. You don’t necessarily bounce back like you used to. But this whole process has taught me patience. You have to stay patient so you don’t get hurt again. But if you’re motivated, you can come back.”

Although Mackey is still getting after it postaccident, his motivation to keep moving has changed slightly. At one time, pre-accident, it was pushing himself to the brink of collapse in order to win races and crush records. 

“You feel like a train wreck one moment, then an hour or two later you feel great, because your body cycles through it,” he says. But while he continues to love the physical challenge of ultras, it’s not the podium that motivates him these days. It’s the process itself.

“Being in the outdoors is what keeps me going,” Mackey says. “The longer the trail run, the more I get out of it. It takes energy to make it happen, but the net return of those runs gives me more energy for everything else. It gives me a better attitude, a better perspective. Being outside, moving, it’s like therapy.”

(11/11/2019) ⚡AMP
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Leadville Trail 100 Run

Leadville Trail 100 Run

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

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