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Articles tagged #Ultra
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Canadian record-holder Dave Proctor announces a second cross-Canada speed record attempt starting May 18, 2020

Canadian and world record-holding ultrarunner Dave Proctor, whose 2018 cross-Canada speed record attempt was thwarted by injury after 2,415 kilometres, has announced he will try again next year, starting on May 18. This time Proctor will run from east to west, starting in Newfoundland and finishing in Victoria, with the goal of completing the quest in 67 days. The current record, held since 1991 by the late Al Howie of Victoria, is 72 days, 10 hours.

Inspired by his experience as the father of a child with a rare genetic disease (his son Sam, 10, has RECA,  which stands for relapsing encephalopathy with cerebellar ataxia), Proctor raised more than $300,000 from his runs for the Rare Disease Foundation last year. His latest accomplishment was two world records in treadmill running, set at the Calgary Marathon expo in May: the 12-hour and the 100-mile, which he set at 153.8K and 12:32:26. Proctor holds the Canadian records for 24 hours and 48 hours on the road.

“I’m ready to take this on and I’ve got so much more in the tank this time,” says Proctor. “My bodyhas recovered, and I am fitter than ever before, with more passion about our cause fueling me and the hundreds of communities supporting the run.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the publication of the first biography of Howie, by Jared Beasley, who stumbled upon his story in 2014 after meeting and befriending one of Howie’s competitors from the 1980s. The two men belonged to a small subset of ultrarunners who ran mind-boggling distances in the multi-day races of the 1980s and 90s, which have almost completely disappeared.

Howie was an eccentric and a loner with a complicated personal history, who mostly lived in poverty.

His habit was to start races at a blistering pace, creating a huge lead for himself before settling into a slower, more sustainable pace that he could maintain for days at a time. He met Terry Fox and Rick Hanson at the run that inspired Fox’s Marathon of Hope (the Prince George to Boston Marathon of 1979, in which Howie finished third). Howie was 46 when he set the cross-Canada speed record, and two weeks after completing the run, he broke his own course record at the Sri Chinmoy 1,300-mile race in New York.

Proctor will have to cover 105 kilometres, or the equivalent of two and a half marathons a day, to achieve his goal, which is to break Howie’s record by five days.

Proctor recently broke his own 48-hour record (unofficially) at the Six Days in the Dome event in Wisconsin, at which American ultrarunner Zach Bitter broke the world 100-mile record. Proctor is now looking ahead to Laz Lake’s Big’s Backyard Ultra, which starts on October 19 in Tennessee.

(09/17/2019) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Great Britain mountain runner Robbie Simpson again wins the Jungfrau Marathon

Robbie Simpson secured the victory again at the traditional Jungfrau Marathon. The Scot remained below the three-hour mark at 2:59:29, distancing Moroccan Abdelhadi El Mouaziz by 2:35 minutes and Colombian William Rodriguez Herrera by 2:47. In the women's race, Simone Troxler (Chardonne) beat Theres Leboeuf (Aigle) and Sara Willhoit (GBR).

Robbie Simpson knows the route from Interlaken to Kleine Scheidegg at 2061 meters above sea level. leads, inside and out. In his fifth participation, the defending champion came but only at the end of tours. Until kilometer 38, a trio led by El Mouaziz, Eritrean Petro Mamu and Rodriguez Herrera. El Mouaziz, who already won the marathons in London and New York, made his debut at the 27th edition in Interlaken. Just four kilometers from the finish Simpson turned on and hung his competitors in an incredible finish. "I did not feel so good today. Only at the end did it go up for me. That's why I'm so happy about this victory, "said Simpson.

Of the 4,000 runners who were put on the track in Interlaken by the five-time OL World Champion Judith Wyder, the Zurich Stephan Wenk ranked as the best Swiss in sixth place. The 36-year-old, who already won the Swissalpine Marathon this year and placed second in the "Eiger Ultratrail", was more than satisfied with his placement: "From kilometer 10 on I felt more and more comfortable and I was doing very well. The weather did not play a big role for me today. Nevertheless, I missed the substance at the very end and I lost two more seats. My time of 3:05:23 hours is my best result ever, "rejoiced the exhausted Wenk.

A "super happy" winner,  Simone Troxler, the favorite and winner of the women, raved about the atmosphere on the 1829 meters of altitude. "It was just a wonderful experience. All the bells, alphorns and so much more - it was awesome. "Last year, the Vaud woman made her debut at the Jungfrau Marathon and is also a strong street runner, as she proved with her second place in the Lausanne Marathon in 2018. The route to the Kleine Scheidegg demanded everything from the 23-year-old. "I had to suffer a lot from Wengen. The cold was blatant and I had cramps. I really did not know how to get up there and it was also mentally difficult because I led the field alone, "Troxler admitted. With her time of 3:36:13 hours she was, despite all difficulties, only three minutes slower than last year.

Big challenge with the weather, The cold snap and snowfall of the past days presented the organizing committee with great challenges. "Thanks to great helpers, we cleared away the snow on the track and we knew that we would be struggling with some rain and a lot of fog," said OC President Toni Alpinice. His team has worked tirelessly in the last few hours to ensure that all runners arrive at the finish line at Kleine Scheidegg. "We provided more than 5,000 sheets of heat and made sure we could distribute more warm drinks".

Popular races on the Höhematte in Interlaken, On the day before the big marathon, many para-athletes use the opportunity to prove their speed. So dominated once more the Pararace mile Marcel Hug before Beat Bösch and Heinz Frei. In the women's race, Manuel Schär beat Sandra Graf.

Virgin Minirun and Mini Marathon - the race for all, Shortly after 15 o'clock also the little ones started their races. The Jungfrau-Minirun in categories from MuKi and VaKi to the U16-Kids always attracts a lot of interest. An experience was certainly not just the run. Many children were handed over the medals by former World Cup ski racer and world champion Marco Büchel.

(09/07/2019) ⚡AMP
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Jungfrau Marathon

Jungfrau Marathon

The Jungfrau-Marathon presents the most beautiful marathon course in the world - marvelous mountains scenery and the excellent change of the landscape between the start in Interlaken and the finish on Kleine Scheidegg. The difference in altitude of 1829 meter (6000 feet) is a challenge for everybody. There is no Marathon in Europe with such great dimensions. Eiger, Mönch and...

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50K relay will be added to the 2020 Calgary Marathon weekend event

Registration is now open for the 56th running of the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon, which takes place on Sunday, May 31, 2020, and next year’s race weekend will offer an exciting new event: in addition to the very popular 50K ultra, which had 138 finishers in 2019, there will be a 50K relay, in which teams of two to four people can sign up to cover the distance together over four legs that vary from 7.8K to 18.6K.

In addition, Roundup registrants (who race the 5K at noon after completing one of the other distances in the morning) will receive a special Roundup bib and swag item, and finishers’ medals for both events can be combined into one super-medal, introduced in 2019.

Race distances include the GoodLife Fitness 5K, the Jugo Juice 10K, the Centaur Subaru 21.1K, the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon 42.2K, the 50K Ultra, the 50K Relay and the Scotiabank Kids Marathon, as well as the Roundup, in which runners may race any of the Sunday morning distances in addition to the 5K, which starts at noon.

“We launched this quietly last year, as it was something we heard from runners that they were doing already, running the 5K in addition to another distance at our race weekend,” says race director Kirsten Fleming, “and participants wanted it to be official. We didn’t realize how popular it would be, so we really formalized the program this year, streamlining the registration… and they get a special swag item in addition to their two medals (that fit together) and their two shirts.

They will have special bibs that identify them to people and their own package pick up area, and some surprises and delights along the way.”

The 50K relay reprises an event introduced for the race’s 50th anniversary in 2017, which was also Canada’s 150th birthday. It was called  the Confederation 150K, and it was so popular that people have been asking ever since if the race was going to bring back a relay of some kind. 

The regular 50K has also been Canada’s national 50K championship since 2014, and many past podium finishers have gone on to represent Canada at the world 50K championships.

(09/05/2019) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Scotiabank Calgary Marathon

Scotiabank Calgary Marathon

This is Canada's oldest marathon, Canadians and runners from around the world love this race, consistently voting in the Best Road Race in Alberta. There is a full-marathon, half-marathon, 10k, relay, 5k family walk/run and kids races. You expect the route to be packed with participants and enthusiastic spectators. Be part of the energy at Canada´s Marathon Celebrating 55 years...

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Courtney Dauwalter wins UTMB with dominant display – tough days are why she loves ultra running

Courtney Dauwalter won the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) women’s race in 24 hours, 34 minutes and 26 seconds. She absolutely crushed the women’s field, finishing while the next closest competitor was still around an hour from the end. Dauwalter was 21st overall and the second fastest American in the race, including the men.

The 171km UTMB is one of the most famous and hotly contested races of the year. The brutal course has over 10,000 metres of accumulative climbing, much of it at altitude.

Dauwalter is the fourth American women to win the race. This year, she was the second American overall, pipped to the post by a matter of minutes by Jason Schlarb.

“It was a really tough day, but that’s why we love ultra running, right?” Dauwalter said, adding a thank you to her friends and family, saying she wished they were there, but “I’ll take care of the beers for you”.

Yao Miao of China was in the lead for much of the early stages. She set out at a fierce pace. Before the race started, ultra runner Dylan Bowman predicted Miao would win or crash out of the race, when speaking on the Billy Yang Podcast.

He was proved correct as Yao eventually faded and by the time Dauwalter finished, Yao was languishing almost 70km back, in 73rd position.

This was Dauwalter’s first UTMB race. She completed the race with her trademark baggy clothing and irrepressible smile.

(09/01/2019) ⚡AMP
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

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

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Pau Capell aggressive tactics pay off as he becomes first non-French winner since Kilian Jornet to win UTMB

Pau Capell won the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) in 20 hours, 19 minutes and seven seconds. He is the first non-French winner since his fellow Spaniard Kilian Jornet won in 2011.

The UTMB is one of the premier ultra trail races in the world. It is the culmination of a week long running festival, which sees the best in the sport compete for the coveted winners titles.

The brutal 171km course, with over 10,000 meters of accumulative elevation, favors runners who pace themselves conservatively – a common refrain is that “the race does not start until 100km”. But, Capell ignored the advice and set off at an aggressive pace, taking the lead in the first few kilometres and holing it until he ultimately won.

“Leading from wire to wire, in heroic fashion, it goes against common sense in endurance sport and everything you would expect given the field,” said UTMB commentator Dylan Bowman, who finished second in the 145km TDS at the UTMB week in 2018.

Bowman added it shows the sport is evolving, and to win at the top level, you now need to take risks.

Finish line announcer Eoin Flynn listed Capell’s other wins and compared him to a superhero.

‘I felt horrible’: Ruth Croft reflects on OCC win at UTMB

Capell modestly said “I’m not a superhero but if one did exists it would be my parents.”

The race started in Chamonix, 6pm, on Friday. A few Chinese athletes set off at a mad speed. In particular, HK100 2018 champion Qi Min looked like he was trying to set his 5km personal best, rather than run for almost a day. Qi looked over his shoulder and saw the lead he had built in the first few hundred meters and slowed until Capell was level with him. The pair stuck together, but Qi began to fade from the top five. Between 80km and 100km he dropped out of the top five and then out of the top 100. 

The pack began to set and it looked as though the podium was decided well before the finishing line. Capell had an unassailable lead over three time champion and eventual second place Xavier Thevenard (21:07:56), who himself was well ahead of third place New Zealander Scotty Hawker (21:48:04).

Audrey Tanguy wins TDS, Hillary Allen marks comeback from near-fatal fall

“What to say about Pau? He did a great race today. I saw the time, it got 10 minutes farther and 10 minutes farther,” Thevenard said. “He was untouchable.”

Thevenard used his time in the limelight to call people to protect the environment for future generations.

Hawker crossed the finish line, running hand in hand with his young daughter, mirroring scenes at the HK100 when she sang Happy Birthday.

“It’s a dream come true,” Hawker said of reaching the podium at the UTMB. “I thought maybe one day, but it was just a dream, now it’s real.”

Hawker was in the leading group along with Capell at the start of the race.

“At the start, it may have looked fast but it was honestly slower than other years,” he said.

A tearful Hawker said as he ran he thinking of his parents watching at home and his family at the finish line.

(09/01/2019) ⚡AMP
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

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

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Tollefson, Dauwalter Lead a Strong Pack of Americans at 2019 UTMB

A year after a bad fall ended Tim Tollefson’s latest effort to be the first American atop the podium at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), the ultrarunner is returning with reignited determination—but also a heavy heart.

Twice a third-place finisher of the daunting 171K, the Mammoth Lakes, California, pro is primed and ready to compete in this epic race through the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps between Friday and Saturday. This comes after Tollefson’s bid in 2018 ended around the 48K mark when a fall required stitches in his left quad, forcing him to withdraw, but not leading to any long-term damage.

Though a disappointing way to end his day and his hunt for first, he’s put that behind him as he once again tries to become the first American man to finish atop the podium in the 17-year history of the race.

“Last year doesn’t haunt me, but it’s something I would like to avenge,” Tollefson told Runner’s World. “It serves more of a constant reminder that I need to come back here and prove something to myself because I think I have unfinished business. I think this race in particular plays to experience, and I’d like to think that I now have enough experience and the skill set to put together the performance I have dreamt of.”

Training was slightly different this year to prepare. The 34-year-old physical therapist added about 20 percent more vertical gain during his weekly training, especially on long runs. This included dozens of 20- to 30-mile runs with about 9,500 feet of vertical gain. He also won the popular 120K Lavaredo Ultra Trail in June in Cortina, Italy, with a time of 12:18:47.

With more than 32,000 feet of vertical gain and often inclement weather, the UTMB course has been known to crush even the strongest and fittest runners. Tollefson proved worthy of the challenge in 2016 and 2017 with third-place efforts, not to mention his runner-up showing in the adjacent CCC 100K in 2015.

This year, Tollefson is competing for more than just his personal goals: He is running to honor a fallen friend. On August 14, friend and fellow Mammoth Lakes resident Cody Tuttle, a 32-year-old professional filmmaker and photographer who documented Tollefson for several projects, died in a paragliding accident near Lone Pine, California.

“It was a tragic loss for the community,” Tollefson said. “It’s a sobering reminder that every time we go into the mountains, there is an inherent risk, and yet there is a reason we are all drawn to this type of rugged mountain environment.”

Tollefson will have heavy competition as he strives for his goal. As usual, the men’s field of the race is deep, with Frenchman Xavier Thévenard, a three-time winner and defending champion as the clear favorite. Last year’s runner-up Robert Hajnal of Romania is also in the field, but Americans Zach Miller, twice a top-10 finisher at UTMB, Alex Nichols, who was second at the 2018 Hong Kong 100K, Hayden Hawks, who has had big success at 50K and 100K races, and Jason Schlarb, who has been on a tear since turning 40, could all be contenders.

“I feel like I’ve finally acquired the climbing skills that allows me to run with the Europeans and be able to be confident coming into this race,” Tollefson said. “It still comes down to executing the race, but I’m really psyched to get out there and run another lap around Mont Blanc.”

The women’s field is also intriguing, especially from an American point of view. Although defending champion Francesca Canepa of Italy returns, all eyes are on Courtney Dauwalter, who has dominated women’s ultrarunning in recent years, right up to the point when she dropped out of the Western States Endurance Run in late June with a hip injury. The 34-year-old Golden, Colorado, resident is healthy, but admits she didn’t do the training she had hoped while recovering from her injury.

“It’s a long race and, from what I hear, it’s a grind, so it’s not a fast 100-miler,” Dauwalter told Runner’s World. “I’m not sure how my skills and experience will play into it, but I’m going to take each section as they come and run as efficiently as possible and see what happens. These mountains are awesome and the challenge will be big.”

Two-time winner Rory Bosio (2013, 2014) from Truckee, California, is also back after running the shorter OCC in 2017 and the longer TDS last year, while Nebraska’s Kaci Licktieg, who took third at Western States Endurance Run this year, and Katie Schide, an American living in Switzerland, both could be poised to compete for podium finishes.

“I don’t know if I can be competitive; the women’s field is bonkers this year, and I think that’s great,” Bosio told Runner’s World. “Winning those races back to back seems so long ago, almost like it happened to a different person. But it’s going to be an exciting race, no matter what because it’s UTMB.”

More than 2,300 runners from 90 countries will start the race at noon ET on Friday. You can follow along live here.

(08/31/2019) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

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

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Former Ironman world champion Chris McCormack is going to take on the Marathon Des sables in 2020

When Australia's Chris McCormack, the two-time Ironman world champion (2007 and 2010), finished his active pro triathlon in 2014, he initially devoted himself to organizing various projects, putting his own athletic career on hold. In 2015 he took over the leadership of the "Bahrain Elite Endurance Triathlon Team," backed by Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamed Al Khalifa.

In 2017 McCormack founded "Super League Triathlon," now held as a series with different locations around the world. For the coming year, the 46-year-old has decided to put sport back in the foreground. "Macca" announced his registration for the famous Marathon des Sables, a race that he says has always been on his bucket list.

The Marathon des Sables is an extremely demanding ultra-marathon that started in 1986 and takes over seven days through the Moroccan Sahara. The 252 km event is run in six stages over seven days. Five stages are between 20 and 40 kilometers, while one stage covers about 80 km. Next year the race takes place between April 3 and 13.

The participants carry their own gear and food for the whole race - the organizers provide water and an open tent. You must also be equipped with minimal survival equipment including a sleeping bag and a snakebite set.

The course typically consists of rocky plains, dry riverbeds and sand dunes, and only occasionally runs through villages. During the day temperatures can reach over 40 degrees Celsius, while at night dip as low as 5 degrees.

(08/30/2019) ⚡AMP
by Simon Muller
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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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Anthropology Professor Gabrielle Russo is training for the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trial

Gabrielle Russo, Stony Brook University Assistant Professor of Anthropology is not just training any marathon, she’s training for the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials.

To compete at the trials, runners must meet a qualifying time standard of 2:45. Russo earned her way with a qualifying time of 2:44:51 at the Philadelphia marathon in November 2018 – keeping her dream alive by a scant nine seconds. Only a few hundred women in the entire nation will compete for these three spots; earning the golden Olympic Trials Qualifying ticket is considered an honor in itself.

So far her Olympic Trials quest has been a two-year affair with marathons that began when she completed the Long Island Marathon in May of 2017. Under the coaching of Tommy Nettuno, it’s a quest that will continue until at least February, when the qualifying race takes place in Atlanta on Leap Year Day, February 29, 2020.

Although somewhat new to marathon racing, Russo’s running story actually began as a high schooler in East Stroudsburg, PA, where she was a sprinter and hurdler – and good enough to still hold some local records and a spot in her high school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. She continued her passion at Dickinson College where she ran both track and cross country, and where she would take the class that would open the door to her future career.

“I always had an interest in anatomy,” said Russo. “Sophomore year I found my way into an Introduction to Biological Anthropology class and that was it — from that point on there was no plan B.”

Though it set her on the path to what would become her career, the epiphany would also take her off the road. Russo would take nearly a decade off from running as she pursued graduate school, earning her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin in 2013, completing two post-doctoral positions, and then joining the Stony Brook faculty in the Fall 2014 semester. She initially lived in bustling Manhattan and then Queens, but eventually moved to the more open spaces of Long Island. Once there, she quickly joined the nearby Sayville Running Club and dusted off her running shoes.

“Running is almost spiritual to me, it gives my life something that nothing else can,” she said. “It can also be a form of relaxation and meditation, which certainly served me well through my first year in a tenure-track position.”

Seeking to push herself even further, Russo began competing in ultramarathons – which are any races longer than a typical 26.2-mile marathon. She would eventually complete a 50-mile ultramarathon (the JFK 50), finishing sixth overall in the women’s division. It was after that remarkable achievement that she set her sights on the 2020 Olympic Trials and earned a spot on her running team, Rabbit. Her training as a scientist would come to play an important role.

(08/30/2019) ⚡AMP
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pike's Peak Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boulet agrees with this assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pike's Peak Marathon

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

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Boulder’s Ryan Smith wins 2019 Leadville 100 with consistent second-half pacing

Boulder’s Ryan Smith won the Leadville 100 trail run on Saturday night thanks to consistent second-half pacing that left his rivals unable to respond. It was the biggest win of his ultrarunning career.

The Boulder-based runner, who came to the United States from the United Kingdom and works full-time a software engineer, was greeted at the finish by his wife and almost 2-year-old daughter. He turned 40 years old this year.

“There’s just a lot of running in the race,” Smith said, referring to the long flat sections along much of the course. “It really favors a flat runner rather than a mountain runner, and I typically do a lot of mountain stuff.”

His win — in 16 hours, 33 minutes, 25 seconds — was far from expected. Smith was not among the pre-race favorites to win, and he wasn’t feeling well leading into the Twin Lakes aid station near the 40-mile mark. But at the turnaround at Winfield, he held his pace steady, averaging around 10 minutes per mile for the rest of the race.

“Always be closing!” his last pacesetter, Clare Gallagher, herself a Leadville 100 winner in 2016, yelled to him after his win. She was referring to Smith’s penchant for strong finishes, and to the casual observer, it might have seemed that Smith was surging. But consistent pacing that late in a race — he averaged 9:58, 9:53, 9:59, 9:54, 10:01, 9:55, 9:54 for all of the second half checkpoints — is remarkably difficult to achieve.

His win came after Jared Hazen, the runner-up to this year’s Western States 100, set out a blistering early pace, intent on breaking the course record of 15:42 set by Matt Carpenter in 2005. Late Saturday morning, while racing back toward Twin Lakes, he told a Denver Post reporter along the trail that he had dropped out and “needed to get to an aid station.” He had turned around before the Winfield aid station — the halfway point of the course.

The Leadville is infamous for seducing runners into racing too hard too early, with flat fields and trails before turning into a punishing climb to 12,600 feet over Hope Pass.

For the women, Magdalena Boulet of Oakland, Calif., finished in 20:18:07 in her first Leadville 100. Boulet, who won her first-ever 100-miler in 2015 at Western States and was a U.S. Olympic marathoner in 2008, said she was inspired to run at Leadville after crewing for her boss at GU Energy Labs a few years ago. She had acclimatized at altitude for only two weeks before Saturday’s run. Boulder’s Cat Bradley was the second woman to cross the finish line in 20:45:48.

(08/18/2019) ⚡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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What is the longest someone has run without stopping?

In 1992, after taking a 15-year break from running, it wasn’t enough for Dean Karnazes’ first run to be 30 miles. Winning the infamous, 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon across Death Valley in 120-degree heat didn’t cut it. Nor did pushing the opposite end of spectrum of human suffering by running a marathon to the South Pole, at -13-degrees F.

From October 12-15, 2005, Karnazes ran 350 miles across Northern California without stopping. He didn’t stop to sleep or to eat, or – in the most stupefying accomplishment of all – he did not even slow down to sample a Sonoma Valley chilled chardonnay. All told, he ran for 80 hours, 44 minutes without a break. He covered ground – from San Francisco to Bodega Bay to Stanford University, in Palo Alto – that many of us would plan for a weeklong road trip in a car.

The outing, which cost him a few toenails, included 40,000 calories of intake over the 3.3(ish) days, required shoe changes every 50 miles or so to accommodate his ever-swelling feet, and wasn’t originally supposed to be quite so long. After winning the Badwater in 2004, Karnazes set the goal to be the first runner to go 300 miles without stopping. Because, why not?

(08/17/2019) ⚡AMP
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Armin Gooden is set to compete at the Leadville 100-Mile Trail Race this Saturday

Armin Gooden was four years old in 1983 when the once-booming mining town of Leadville, Colorado – on the verge of economic devastation after the closure of Climax Mine in 1982 – hosted the first-ever Leadville Trail 100-mile run.

Race founder Ken Chlouber had organized the trail run in what’s considered North America’s highest incorporated town, elevation-wise. He hoped it would salvage Leadville from virtual ruin after more than 3,000 workers were left unemployed in the wake of the mine’s closure the year before.

On Saturday, Aug. 17, Gooden will be four decades old when he tries his hand – well, legs – at the iconic 100-mile course which snakes 50 miles out and back through the Colorado Rockies. Terrain is comprised mostly of forest trails with a few mountain roads mixed in, its website says.

Gooden, whose 40th birthday fell on this past Sunday, is a 1997 graduate of Buckhannon-Upshur High School. His mom, Idress, and dad, Dave, still live in Upshur County.

But they’ll be in Leadville at 4:30 a.m. sharp Saturday, when the race begins. The Leadville 100’s lowest point measures about 9,200 feet and its highest peak 12,600 feet. That point is known as Hope Pass – or ‘Hopeless Pass’ by runners “because it crushes souls and destroys dreams,” Gooden says. In fact, a local CBS station out of Twin Lakes, Colorado, on Thursday reported that a 28-member team of llamas and their human guides hauled approximately 3,000 pounds of food, drinks and gear up to an aid station at Hope Pass.

Gooden good-naturedly called the race his “mid-life suffer-fest” Wednesday in a Facebook post when he thanked his friends on social media for their recent birthday wishes: “Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Stay tuned for live tracking at my mid-life suffer-fest in just a little over two days,” he wrote.

The primary question that runners who do ultra-marathons– especially hundred-mile ultra-marathons – face is: “Why?” Why subject yourself to such a “mid-life suffer-fest,” as Gooden put it? After all, only about 50 percent of runners who qualify through the lottery actually complete the Leadville 100, Gooden said. Others must drop out if they don’t make various cut-off points throughout the course, including completing the first 50 miles in 14 hours or under.For Gooden, who’s now a resident of a Denver-area suburb, the thirst to complete the Leadville 100 began as a mode of mental survival.“I had a really rough year in life the past year-and-a-half,” Gooden said. “I did this huge climbing trip in Alaska at Denali National Park, and I sort of cheated death after surviving this crazy storm. I had gone through a really bad divorce, and I was in no mental space to run, but I needed some kind of outlet.”

“A good friend of mine knew I wasn’t in the best place, so he said, ‘You’re going to start running again, and you’re going to pace me in the Leadville 100,’” Gooden recalled. “Life just kind of gave me what I needed.”

Pacing his friend in the 2018 Leadville 100 – for a 14-mile section from miles 62 to 74 – was enough to hook Gooden.

“It was pretty awe-inspiring,” Gooden said. “I muled for him. I carried all his water and food. It really allows you to experience team camaraderie. I knew right then and there – I decided, ‘I’m doing this next year.’”

Of course, it wasn’t exactly Gooden’s first rodeo when it came to running.

He was a standout cross-country and track and field runner in high school who was recently inducted into the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the school’s undefeated state champion cross-country team in 1993. Gooden went on to run at Frostburg State University in Maryland. However, his college career ended when he was plagued by persistent lower back pain.

“I actually quit running in college because I had so much lower back pain,” he recalled. “I can go for a seven-hour run now and have no lower back pain.”

Combined with natural running talent, Gooden, who works as an emergency room nurse, has always had an appetite for adventure. In addition to Denali National Park in 2018, he’s also mountain-climbed in the Peruvian Andes and Island Peak in Nepal. He completed the Grand Traverse Ski Mountaineering Race from Aspen to Crested Butte, Colorado, as well as the Dirty 30 50K – about 31 miles – in June 2019, too.

(08/16/2019) ⚡AMP
by Katie Kuba
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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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Abbott has announced a new partnership with the Longford Marathon to become the title sponsor for the race in 2019

The marathon, which is in its 18th year, will take place on Sunday, August 25 and is expected to attract more than 1,200 participants.Ciaran Corcoran, strategic programmer director of Abbott’s diagnostic business site in Longford said:  "Abbott has been a proud member of the Longford Community for more than 15 years, employing more than 700 people and we’re delighted to support the Longford Marathon, which is one of the largest events held in Longford each year. "Marathon runners truly embody the idea that at our healthiest, we can accomplish amazing things. Our sponsorship of the Longford Marathon allows Abbott to celebrate the health and achievement of people from all over Ireland.”A keen marathon runner, this year will see Ciaran Corcoran run the Abbott Longford Marathon for the 5th time. “I’m delighted that so many of my colleagues are joining me in this year’s marathon.

The support along the route from the people of Longford is tremendous. There is great excitement among our employees from Abbott’s 9 sites across Ireland, a significant number of whom will be participating on the day.

Not only is the marathon contributing to a great community spirit, it is also raising funds for St Christopher’s Services Longford, which provides services for the intellectually disabled throughout the midlands."

Fiona Fenelon organizer of the Longford Marathon said; “We are delighted to partner with Abbott as title sponsor of this year’s race. Abbott is one of the largest employers in the region and as a company focused on helping people to live their best lives, is a perfect partner for us.

"This year’s Abbott Longford Marathon will be one of the biggest ever, attracting participants from throughout the country. The Abbott Longford Marathon includes a range of race distances from a 5km race to a 63km ultra marathon. Regardless of ability and experience, participants can reach a meaningful personal achievement."

(08/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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Longford Marathon

Longford Marathon

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

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Alex Petrosky of Edmonton wins ultramarathon race after nearly 13 hours of running

While most of us spent our August long weekend relaxing, other Canadians gathered in the Rocky Mountains to push their bodies to the ultimate test.

The Canadian Death Race is a strenuous 125-kilometer course divided into five legs that starts and finishes on a 4,200-foot plateau, passes over multiple mountain summits and a major river crossing at Hell’s Gate Canyon at the junction of the Smoky and Sulphur rivers.

Alex Petrosky of Edmonton walked away as the race winner on Sunday, finishing with a time of 12 hours and 47 minutes.

“I was trying to be strategic. Picking my point when I’d separate from the field and not push too early. I’ve had an issue with that before. I take the approach that if you’re not running fast, you’re not trying.”

He laughed as he explained that this time he “relaxed for the first 50 kilometers” of this race.

Petrosky hit his stride despite battling the elements of a rain-soaked course.

“This weekend was very painful. You’ve got wet mud, clay sticking to your feet. Some pretty rough bush. You’ve got scrapes cause you’re falling all over the place,” Petrosky said. “It was wet and muddy, but from a temperature standpoint, it was nice and cool. When it’s 25 degrees or higher, it really hurts the body. You can’t push as hard as you’d like to. It adds another variable to the race. I didn’t have that issue on Saturday.”

He acknowledged the event isn’t everyone’s ideal long weekend.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. I totally understand that. I don’t expect people to always understand where the passion comes from. But, if you’re having a good day out there. It’s pretty awesome.”

He said his last mountain climb put him into a meditative state, where he found his rhythm — despite bad conditions.

“It was like a river flowing down past your feet. It was pouring rain at the time. It was gushing down. The trail was the drainage route for the mountain,” Petrosky said. “I’ve done 30 of these runs, sometimes 16, 17 or 20 hours long… the farther in you get, the closer you are to failure in your body.”

“I didn’t feel ready to be on a start line until two days before the Canadian Death Race, I’ve learned the body has a way and the mind has a way of getting you ready for anything.”

(08/10/2019) ⚡AMP
by Morgan Black
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Amarjeet Singh Chawla lost his eyesight by age 40 but runs marathons to bring awareness about avoidable blindness

Amarjeet Singh, the visually impaired marathoner famously known as “Sporty Sikh”, on Sunday completed a 21-km run in Pune to raise awareness about the issue of “avoidable blindness”.

Singh was diagnosed with macular degeneration, one of the leading causes for vision loss, at the age of 13, and lost his eyesight completely by the age of 40. It was only at 48 that he started his sports career. He had earlier won a gold medal in 50m freestyle at an all-India swimming competition for disabled in Mumbai and is the only blind person to scale the 19,830-ft Dolma Pass in Tibet.

Asked how he is preparing for the Kargil Marathon, Singh said: “I have never practiced regularly for any marathon event. I am visually impaired and need a person to help me run. I cannot find a person to help me every single day. So, I practice only on the weekends and try to complete one run, be it 10km or 21km. The Kargil Marathon is on August 25. I will go there three days in advance with Rahul Brahme who has escorted me in 32 half marathons. We have a good tuning. In the three days, we will do 5km runs twice a day to get acclimatised to the weather as there is a risk of elevation in that area.”

Singh has finished 179 runs in all and there will be five more before the Kargil Marathon. “I have done 107 half marathon (21km), 66 10km runs, five ultra marathons and one intercity ultra. I wish to be a part of longer runs. I want to run from Delhi to Amritsar, which is approximately 650 km, to raise awareness against drug abuse,” he said.

Asked about the most difficult run he has completed so far, the Sporty Sikh says: “The Mumbai-Pune 160km run held in June was my first long-distance run and the most difficult so far.

I began my run from Goregaon Sports Club and a few women who had earlier participated in Pinkathon escorted me. Severe summer temperatures made the run difficult. It was 44° Celsius and the most difficult part of the race was the ghat section. This was a three-day run and I am thankful to the people who escorted me and helped me.”

The 63-year-old marathoner says he wanted to do something in life that would help people remember him. “I was approached for a fundraiser for the visually impaired persons and my first marathon was 7km. Cricketing hero Kapil Dev escorted me for 200 metres. This is when I thought that running for a cause will take me places. After that I was escorted by Milind Soman, felicitated by Sachin Tendulkar and have received the mayor’s award in Mumbai. All this appreciation keeps me going. I motivate myself and after completing every event I ask myself: ‘Bol Amarjeet, karega kya?’ (Tell me Amarjeet, will you do it?) and my inner self says yes and I get ready,” he says, adding that he never says no to run: “You can ask me to run at any point in the day; even at 2am. Just a cup up tea and I am ready.”

(08/07/2019) ⚡AMP
by Shalaka Shinde
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Ashprihanal Aalto Wins the 23rd Sri Chinmoy 3100 Mile Race

Ashprihanal Aalto is ready to go to sleep.

The 48-year-old Finn just won this year’s Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race. He crossed a duct-tape ribbon Friday after running more than 60 miles on each of 48 consecutive days around the same half-mile course in the Jamaica Hills neighborhood of Queens, N.Y.

This is Mr. Aalto’s 15th time completing one of the hardest footraces in the world, which requires runners to cover 3,100 miles over 52 days. It is often compared with ultra-endeavors like the 6633 Arctic Ultra that crosses the Arctic Circle and the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley. The concrete sidewalk course wraps around one block that is home to Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical High School and its baseball field, with a view of Grand Central Parkway.

Guru Sri Chinmoy, an Indian athlete and philosopher who died in New York City in 2007, started the run in its current form in 1997.

His goal: to achieve the seemingly impossible—and in the process, transcend the limitations of the mind through meditation and persistence.

Not to mention, New York City’s summer heat, exhaust from nearby traffic and crowds of children walking to school.

Mr. Aalto isn’t the only one ready for a nap. The race relies on dozens of helpers and volunteers who work around the clock.

Hometown friends, co-workers and fellow disciples of Mr. Chinmoy, sleep very little for the month and a half. They spend all day on chores, including fixing the runners’ shoes and making tea and food for the eight runners participating this year who consume up to 110,000 calories a day total.

“You don’t want to have to come through here wondering what to eat,” said race director Rupantar LaRusso.

“I’m very happy,” Mr. Aalto said, who has won the race eight times now. “I can go do other things, rather than run, run, run.”

(08/06/2019) ⚡AMP
by Acacia Coronado
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3100 Mile Race

3100 Mile Race

The Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race. Called 'The Mount Everest of ultramarathons' by The New York Times, is the longest certified footrace in the world. Athletes are able to test themselves in a format unlike any other ultra-marathon event. In order to meet their goal of 3100 miles in 52 days, they must log an average of 59.6 miles per day....

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Junko Kazukawa is the first person to finish the Leadville Race Series and the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in a single season, she is now training for the Leadville Trail 100 MTB

Kazukawa was in the best shape of her life in 2005 when she learned she had cancer. She was 42, training for the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race, and found a lump on her left breast. First, there was denial, then anger: She was an athlete. A professional trainer. She was healthy. “Why me? I was shocked,” Kazukawa says. But she was also lucky. Doctors were able to remove the lump surgically, and Kazukawa continued training, even completing the mountain bike race that same year.

While she felt like the event was hard, she figured the Leadville Trail 100 ultramarathon would be more challenging for her. Immediately after the Leadville Trail 100 MTB, she made a commitment to compete. “I felt that life is short,” Kazukawa says. “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, so if there’s something I want to do, I need to do it.” 

That sense of mortality served Kazukawa well as she rebounded from her first bout of cancer to become an accomplished ultrarunner, only to discover another lump four years later. This time, the cancer was more serious, requiring a mastectomy and chemotherapy. But she never gave up running. A month after finishing chemo, she completed the New York City Marathon. “I thought it was a good way to give closure to that terrible disease,” Kazukawa says. “And with the New York City Marathon, if I got tired, I could just take the subway to the finish.” 

Kazukawa continued to grow as a trail runner. In 2015, she became the first person to finish the entire Leadville Series and the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in a single season. The Leadville Race Series involves running the Leadville Marathon in June, the Leadville 50 in July, and completing the Leadville 100 MTB, Leadville 10K, and Leadville 100 in August. To complete the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, she had to finish Western States, the Vermont 100, and the Leadville 100 in just three months. Accomplishing either of these series is a career-worthy triumph.

Doing both in a single season is next level. Kazukawa doesn’t know of any other person who has completed the same feat, although Australian ultrarunner Dion Leonard is attempting to do so this year. 

“It sounds hard, but if you plan ahead and have a good base and pay attention to strength training, it’s not that bad,” Kazukawa says. “By the time I hit Western States, I had built up my fitness, so I just raced and recovered.”

Kazukawa, now 56, didn’t take up running until she moved from her childhood home in Japan to the United States for college. Even then, it was just short distances to stay in shape. She began teaching group fitness classes in 1989 as an undergraduate, continuing to do so while working toward a masters in exercise physiology. After that, she started running marathons, then trail marathons, then ultras. “I love the challenge of an ultra, because you’re right on that edge of what you can do and what you can’t do,” Kazukawa says. “Once you finish, you know you’re alive. It’s a confidence builder.” 

Kazukawa completed a 100-mile race in Wyoming in June and will run the Leadville 100 in August for the seventh time. In September, she is hoping to take her running to the next level and tackle a new distance, 200 miles, in the Italian Alps.

(08/06/2019) ⚡AMP
by Graham Averill
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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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Two defending champions Rachid El Mourabity and Magdalena Boulet, will be back in Dubai to defend their Al Marmoom Ultramarathon title

El Mourabity of Morocco and American Boulet took the men's and women's crown in the inaugural edition of the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon last December with El Mourabity clocking 31 hours, 17 minutes and 29 seconds across the four-day and 270-km race, and Boulet finishing with a time of 37:27:59.

Both have now confirmed, along with a number of other elite ultra-runners, for the second edition of the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon, which will be a longer 300-km race and spread across five days with a prize purse of $100,000.

"Some of the world's best endurance and ultramarathon runners, including the defending champions Rachid El Mourabity and Magdalena Boulet, will be back in Dubai to take part in the second edition of the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon," said Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council.

"The first edition of the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon was a huge success with elite ultra-runners from 48 countries taking part in the 270km race. Media from around the globe covered the event, while CNN International flew down a team to Dubai to cover the race and the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation.

"This year, the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon is going to be even bigger and better. The distance has been increased to 300-km, and so the competition is going to be stiffer. We have developed a special GPS system to track participants this year and there will be drones covering the full race. We will have a much bigger race headquarters as well and a lot more tents for athletes to relax in.

"The Al Marmoom Ultramarathon is a translation of the guidance of our wise leadership to take advantage of the many opportunities that the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation offers and to encourage all segments of our society to use the Al Marmoom for their sports and outdoor activities. The Reserve is the perfect place to host this challenging event and provides participants with a unique opportunity to experience the beauty and tranquillity of our deserts."

Alongside the main event, the gruelling 300-km Ultramarathon, the race also offers lesser distances of 110-km and 50-km to encourage endurance runners from the UAE and region to participate. The 300-km race will be completed in five days and over four separate routes starting from the base camp situated in Al Qudra. The 110-km race will be a non-stop 24 hour run, while the 50-km race will be completed in one day.

All three races are self-sufficient with water and tents supplied, as well as medical and safety support given. Top rankings and special recognition winners in all three races will receive prize money, and all finishers will receive medals and t shirts.

The organisers are encouraging runners who wish to sign up and prepare for the event to join the weekly 'build up runs' training programme, which will start Friday, August 30, and run for 12 weeks leading up to the main event.

(08/06/2019) ⚡AMP
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Al Marmoom Ultra Marathon

Al Marmoom Ultra Marathon

Launched under the initiative of UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of DubaiHis Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve will host the world's longest desert ultra-run Meraas Al Marmoom Ultramarathon. Meraas Al Marmoom Ultramarathon is a 300km, 100km and 50km race across desert terrain and will be held 11th to 15th December...

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Norwegian Runner Dies After Being Struck by Lightning During Italian Ultramarathon

Extreme weather this past weekend in Italy claimed the life of a 44-year-old woman from Norway who was participating in an ultramarathon after she was struck by lightning on Saturday.

According to a release on the Südtirol Ultra Skyrace's Facebook page, the incident occurred around 7:15 p.m. near a lake called Lago di San Pancrazio. The dangerous weather issues prompted race officials to suspend the race 30 minutes prior, but many runners — like the woman — were between aid stations with no way of receiving the news.

Nearby runners that witnessed the strike called emergency personnel, who transported her by helicopter to Bolzano Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

"We are shocked and deeply shaken by this tragic accident," said Josef Günther Mair, chair of the race's organizing committee. "We express our deepest condolences to the family of the athlete."

The victim's name has yet to be made public.

Südtirol Ultra Skyrace race dubs itself "the most extreme experience in the Alps" along a trail called "Hufeisentour" in the Sarntaler Alps. Runners travel 121 kilometers (more than 75 miles) over three days and climb almost five miles in altitude.

(08/04/2019) ⚡AMP
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The winner of the 300km Al Marmoom Ultramarathon is going to win $100,000 at this year ultra event

If you thought a 270km race through the desert wasn’t long enough, well your wish has just come true, as this year’s longest desert race in the world has added an extra 30km to it.

The Al Marmoom Ultramarathon 2019 is upping its length this year to 300km.  And is offering $100,000 (more than Dhs360,000) for the winner.

The race will place over five days from Monday December 9 until Friday 13, the world’s longest desert race will see some of the world’s most famous ultra-runners come to Dubai to battle it out over tough desert terrain.

This year will see three distances, including the incredible 300km race set to be completed in five days and over four separate routes starting from the base camp situated in Al Qudra. Just a casual 60km per day, through the desert.The 110km race will be a non-stop 24-hour run through day and night, while the 50km race is to be completed in one day.Tents will be pitched throughout the course and there will be water rations on the route and in the camp.

A medical team of doctors and paramedics will also be supervising the race, in case of injury or exhaustion.“The UAE is home to some of the world’s most-seasoned and experienced desert ultra-runners and we are encouraging UAE based ultra-runners to enter all three distances as well as team entries for the 50km distance,” said event director Ruth Dickinson.

In it for the experience and not the cash? Those who finish the incredible race will get a medal and a t-shirt so you can show off to everyone you completed it. Well earned.The first edition saw elite runners from 48 countries race over 270km in four days.

(08/01/2019) ⚡AMP
by Darragh Murphy
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Al Marmoom Ultra Marathon

Al Marmoom Ultra Marathon

Launched under the initiative of UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of DubaiHis Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve will host the world's longest desert ultra-run Meraas Al Marmoom Ultramarathon. Meraas Al Marmoom Ultramarathon is a 300km, 100km and 50km race across desert terrain and will be held 11th to 15th December...

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Irishman Tom McGrath who has been dubbed the real-life Forrest Gump has revealed how his love of running helped him beat a deadly booze addiction

Tom McGrath has ran six marathons in six days, completed several 1,000 mile ultra-marathons and was the first Irishman to do the Race Across America. The Fermanagh man went to New York in 1969 to play Gaelic football and decided to stay permanently.

He pursued his love of running there and took on the Race Across America just after getting married in 1977.  Speaking about the race in new documentary Every Five Minutes, Tom said, "That was my honeymoon. I got married on a Sunday and started running on a Monday. I did it in 53 days and seven minutes.”

And he didn't stop there, with his next challenge being a 1,000 mile marathon, completing this arduous run three years in a row.

In addition to this, Tom also won Ireland's first 24-hour race and ran six marathons in six days. But despite his incredible athletic success, publican Tom was struggling with alcohol addiction, only stopping drinking when he was not running.

He explained, “Alcohol abuse almost cost me my life.  I abused it to a point where I was given a week to live."

As it’s said in the documentary, "When Tom wasn’t drinking, he was running, and when he wasn’t running he was drinking."

In 2010, Tom became seriously ill and his life was hanging in the balance. It proved to be the wakeup call he needed to quit drinking. 

He revealed, "My wife and daughter got me into hospital when my eyes turned yellow. I didn’t realize that it was happening. The doctor told me I had a week or ten days to live if I didn’t stop drinking. He said to me, ‘I hope you’re here on time.’ ”

Tom, now 69, has been sober for nine years and is in good health. Having raised money for various charities over the years, Tom is planning on retiring from running soon after completing one more charity feat.

He will jog solo from Belfast to Dublin -running over a marathon each day - to raise funds for mental health charity Jigsaw. Along the way he will attend screenings of the Every Five Minutes documentary to share his story and raise awareness about addiction.

He says, “I want to show people that it’s possible to get through it. If they come along and see the documentary they’ll see a story of redemption, salvation, willpower, discipline and determination.”

(07/29/2019) ⚡AMP
by Edel Hughes
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The weather was perfect for this year’s San Francisco Marathon and Half Marathons

There is a new men’s champion at the San Francisco Marathon for the first time since 2016.

After Jorge Maravilla won the race in each of the last two years, Gregory Billington captured the 42nd edition of the event Sunday with a time of two hours, 25 minutes and 25 seconds. He averaged a blistering pace of five minutes and 33 seconds per mile, which put him ahead of Maravilla’s second-place time of two hours, 29 minutes and 28 seconds.

On the women’s side, Nina Zarina jumped out to an early lead and won without much drama with a time of two hours, 47 minutes and one second.

She completed the course well ahead of second-place finisher Eleanor Meyer (two hours, 52 minutes and 16 seconds) and the rest of the field. Zarina added another accomplishment to her 2019 resume after being named the female global champion at the Wings for Life World Run in Switzerland in May.

It appeared in the first portion of the race as if Maravilla would join her in the winner’s circle when he paced the field through the first 5.5 miles.

However, Billington pulled even by the halfway mark before turning on the jets and building a comfortable lead:

There would be no doubt from there, as the American maintained and added to his lead through the back half of the course and prevented Maravilla from three-peating in the Bay Area.

Billington, Zarina and the rest of the runners started at 5:30 a.m. PT at Mission Street and The Embarcadero on a 26.2-mile course, which is a Boston Marathon and Olympic time trials qualifying race.

The finish line was at Folsom Street and the Embarcadero but only after runners went past a number of San Francisco landmarks and neighborhoods. Runners went past the famous piers and Fisherman’s Wharf, through the Presidio, through Golden Gate Park, across the Golden Gate Bridge and past Oracle Park, where the San Francisco Giants play.

They dealt with a total elevation gain of about 1,175 feet in a city that is known for its hills, further testing their endurance and strength on a grueling course.

Ultra superstar Michael Wardian won the 52.4 mile Ultra (that’s two SF marathons).  Pictured with MBR  Director Bob Anderson who clocked 1:46:42 at age 71 for the second Half race good enough for first 65 plus. 

(07/28/2019) ⚡AMP
Bob Anderson, Michael Wardian
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San Francisco Marathon Weekend

San Francisco Marathon Weekend

The 42nd running of The San Francisco Marathon (Full Marathon, 1st Half Marathon, 2nd Half Marathon, 5K and Ultra marathon) will fill San Francisco’s streets. The course is both challenging and rewarding. You’ll enjoy waterfront miles along the Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Crissy Field; feel your heart pound as you race across the Golden Gate Bridge; speed past landmarks like...

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Cancer Survivor Stephanie Moore is lacing up her shoes and training for the New York City Marathon

A Charlotte woman who spends most of her free time running ultra-marathons was sidelined after a stage four cancer diagnosis. Now, she's on the road to recovery and hopes to be ready in time to run the New York City Marathon this fall.

Stephanie Moore was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018 after she felt persistent stomach pain. 

She took some time off for surgery and chemotherapy, but now she's lacing up her sneakers and training for the New York City Marathon. 

During the race, she'll be representing the Colon Cancer Foundation, and says she isn't letting the disease slow her down. 

"Especially when I'm lacking motivation, it's just...not today. I'm not going to let it beat me today," Moore says. "If I can just get out there and do one or two miles, great. I don't set a huge goal for myself other than just get out there. Get your shoes on, get dressed, get out there. And more often than not, once I get out there I feel good." 

As part of running for charity, Moore is raising money for the Colon Cancer Foundation. 

(07/27/2019) ⚡AMP
by Katy Solt
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TCS  New York City Marathon

TCS New York City Marathon

The first New York City Marathon, organized in 1970 by Fred Lebow and Vince Chiappetta, was held entirely in Central Park. Of 127 entrants, only 55 men finished; the sole female entrant dropped out due to illness. Winners were given inexpensive wristwatches and recycled baseball and bowling trophies. The entry fee was $1 and the total event budget...

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Weather forced the Ultra Mount Fuji 102-mile course to be shortened

It happened again! Weather forced the Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji 165k (102-mile) course to be shortened. Looking back at recent years, UTMF missed an entire year, changed its course, had a year with an exceptionally short course, and changed what time of the year the race was held, but still, snow, ice, and low temperatures in the Shakushi Mountain area cut the race off this year.

Runners were held up at the last aid station reached before 3:00 p.m. that afternoon, though the top runners did finish the official distance prior to the cutoffs going into place.

Men Jing Liang (China) was there early, but as the late-race challenge–and the Tenshi Mountains–came on, pre-race favoriteXavier Thévenard (France) was simply too strong. Thévenard won in a convincing 19:36, and then Liang ran into trouble so much that he barely held off third-place Loren Newman (USA). Second- and third-place Liang and Newman finished in 20:39 and 20:40, only 36 seconds apart.

Generally when an American podiums at an Ultra-Trail World Tour race it’s a familiar name. I’ll admit though that Loren Newman’s is a new name.  Looking back before this breakthrough run, he was 17th at the 2015 Western States 100.

Deeper results included Tofol Castanyer (Spain), 12th in 23:18.

Among other Americans, Franz Van Der Groen, Coree Woltering, and Ryan Ghelfi were all stopped short of the finish. Van Der Groen reached 155k in 28:44, Woltering 140k in 28:07, and Ghelfi 127k in 17:32. With the early 17-hour time, though, perhaps Ghelfi stopped for reasons other than the weather cutoff?

The women’s race wasn’t that different from the men’s, what with a clear winner and then a much closer race between second and third. Fuzhao Xiang (China) won in 24:20, and was chased by Lou Clifton (Australia) and Kaori Asahara (Japan) in 25:50 and 25:55.

(07/27/2019) ⚡AMP
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How high-tempo training with elite Ethiopians helped Briton Tom Evans to place third at the Western States 100 this year

Tom Evans spent two months in Ethiopia training with elite marathon runners to prepare for this year’s Western States 100 mile ultra marathon. The training paid dividends as he finished third with the fastest ever time by a non-American runner of 14 hours, 59 minutes and 44 seconds.

“The slowest runner [in the Ethiopian running group], except for me, was a 2:08 marathoner,” the Briton said. “That made it very interesting. Their tempo runs were on dirt tracks with rolling hills, so were perfect for Western States.”

“They would run until they dropped and we were being followed by a car so they’d be picked up,” Evans said. “At first, because of the altitude, I was the first to drop out but I began to get used to the elevation.”

WSER100 is one of the most prestigious 100 mile races in the world. It takes place in California, starting at altitude before descending into deep, hot canyons. Jim Walmsley won this year’s race in a record 14:09:28.

The brutal tempo sessions in Ethiopia were fuelled by fierce rivalries, with runners motivated by the hope of being picked up by foreign agents and given the opportunity to race and earn money abroad.

“It’s almost becomes survival of the fittest,” Evans said.

The “sag wagon” that accompanied the runners was always a tempting respite from the sessions.

“You can drop out when ever you want,” he said. “So, it’s about how much you want it. It was really good mental strength training as they were always going fast and furious.”

Being in a new environment forced the former soldier to be more flexible in his attitude to training.

“You had no idea what was going to happen. I had kids throw rocks at me one day,” he said. “It was such a culture shock. I just had to deal with what was ahead of me day by day.”

Evans said he had learned from them the importance of strong contrasts between hard and easy sessions.

He felt not all of the training was relevant to his competition goals. The other athletes in the group were all preparing for marathons or half marathons, so their longest run was just two hours. Evans would sometimes head out for eight hours at a time.

“They thought I was absolutely mental,” he said. “They couldn’t get over how much volume I was doing. But they were fascinated. They really respected what I was doing.”

There were no coaches on hand to force runners on to the track or trail, but the total immersion experience meant they were not necessary.

“I became so attuned to my body. I was making decisions to drop out of sessions all based on feel,” he said.

Evans, who has won the CCC event at the Ultra Marathon du Mont Blanc (UTMB) week, could feel the effects of his training when he ran WSER100.

“I just felt so much more efficient,” he said. “So, at the end, I was still able to run hard.”

“For me, coming third in my first 100 miler was a best-case scenario,” Evans said. “I knew it was possible, I just didn’t know if it was probable.”

For now, Evans is going back to shorter races of about 50km to 100km, but he said the experience had “lit a fire” in him. 

“I definitely want to come back and see if I can improve my place, if not my time.”

(07/21/2019) ⚡AMP
by Mark Agnew
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Western States 100

Western States 100

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

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Long Distance Legends Michael Wardian and Dean Karnazes are set for the inaugural MCM50K

The MCM50K is the first of its kind, an urban ultra in Arlington, Virginia and the nation's capital with all the same on-course benefits of a marathon. Event registration sold out in under one hour, attracting enthusiastic runners from all over the US and big names in running. When the runners cross the MCM50K finish line, it will make the event the largest ultra in the United States by nearly double the current record.

“More and more people are looking for what’s next after they’ve run a marathon, and I think this is it,” shares Wardian.

Wardian is hoping to add the MCM50K top finish to his already impressive resume, which includes finishing over 400 marathons and ultras with dozens of top finishes, three 50K and one 100K titles from US Track and Field championships. Wardian is known for outlandish running feats and being a positive character in the running community, most recently running the entire 90-mile Capital Beltway.

“It's an opportunity to put myself out there, have a great experience, get a chance to see even more of beautiful Washington DC, but also to try to get on the podium.” With over a dozen MCM finishes, Wardian hopes this is his time to grasp the lead sharing, “I’m super excited. The Marine Corps Marathon was my first big city marathon I ever did in my life and it’s been a really important part of my career. This is my opportunity to have another chance to win the event, especially with inaugural 50K, a distance I’m quite comfortable with.”

As a northern Virginia native, Wardian hopes to pull from his hometown advantage. “I have a lot of friends and fans who are going to be taking part in the event with me and family that'll be out on the course supporting.”

Standing next to Wardian at the start line will be friend and competitor, Dean Karnazes. “Dean and I have worked and traveled together for nearly a decade. I’m looking forward to hanging out and experiencing this together,” offers Wardian. “I’m sure he’ll be inspiring people to get out there and put their best foot forward.”

Karnazes is known for being a New York Times bestselling author, named one of TIME magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World,” one of the fittest men on the planet according to Men's Fitness, and for accruing a wild list of incredible running accomplishments including running 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 consecutive days.

“The two of us have a really interesting and very close relationship. It’ll be great to see him on the start line,” shares Karnazes. “Mike and I gravitate towards the same type of events, and from a competitive standpoint it’s unbelievable what he’s accomplished.”

Runners will get to interact with Karnazes during the ultra event. He looks forward to enjoying the ultra at a comfortable pace, taking in the inaugural event and connecting with his fellow runners. On the eve of the MCM50K, runners will have a special opportunity to interact with Karnazes and hear motivation from him at the Carbo Dining In. 

Runners will get the chance to interact with Wardian and Karnazes at the MCM50K start line and during their 30+ mile journey. Running an inaugural event is special, and running alongside a few of running idols makes it unforgettable.

(07/20/2019) ⚡AMP
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Marine Corps Marathon

Marine Corps Marathon

Recognized for impeccable organization on a scenic course managed by the US Marines in Arlington, VA and the nation's capital, the Marine Corps Marathon is one of the largest marathons in the US and the world. Known as 'the best marathon for beginners,' the MCM is largest marathon in the world that doesn't offer prize money, earning its nickname, “The...

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An ultramarathoner won the Badwater 135 race through Death Valley, then proposed. (She said yes.)

Moments after he finished the 135-mile run from Death Valley to Mount Whitney, setting a record in the Badwater 135 race, Japanese ultra runner Yoshihiko Ishikawa dropped to one knee. The reason wasn’t fatigue or relief over the accomplishment. He was asking his girlfriend to marry him.

Ishikawa finished the race Tuesday in 21 hours 33 minutes 1 second, breaking Pete Kostelnick’s 21:56:32 mark, set in 2016.

The Badwater race, one of the most prestigious and grueling ultras, started Monday at Badwater Basin in Death Valley, the lowest elevation in North America, and ended at Whitney Portal, the trailhead to the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States.

The race covers three mountain ranges, with 14,600 feet of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100 of cumulative descent, according to its website. An ultra is anything longer than the traditional 26.2-mile marathon.

After Ishikawa’s memorable finish and proposal (she said yes), there were plenty of tears.

Last year, Ishikawa, a 31-year-old engineer, won the Spartathlon, tracing the 153-mile route that Pheidippides ran before the battle of Marathon, in 22:54:40.

Patrycja Bereznowska of Poland was the women’s Badwater winner (and second to Ishikawa overall) with a time of 24:13:24 that was more than 90 minutes faster than the record set by Alyson Venti three years ago. Bereznowska also won the Spartathlon, in 2017.

(07/20/2019) ⚡AMP
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Badwater 135

Badwater 135

Recognized globally as "the world’s toughest foot race," this legendary event pits up to 90 of the world’s toughest athletes runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers against one another and the elements. Badwater 135 is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA, the...

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Strong men´s field runners is expected for Cape Town Marathon

While Stephen Mokoka won last year’s Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in record time, the men’s top 10 was once again dominated by east Africans.

Apart from Mokoka, two other South Africans - Benedict Moeng (sixth) and Desmond Mokgobu (10th) - made the top 10.

With the race organisers expecting more international elite athletes for this year’s race taking place on September 15, it would appear the challenge for South Africans to dominate will be all the more tougher.

The organisers are hosting a ‘50 Days To Go’ Countdown event in the Mother City next Wednesday where they are set to announce "the finest elite marathon field ever assembled on African soil".

Expectations are that Mokoka will be back to defend the title he won in fantastic style. Mokoka, participating in a local event for the first time in years, lived up to his star billing when he got home in a fast time of 2:08:31.

But Mokgobu is going to miss this one out as he will be racing the Doha Marathon around that time while Moeng is likely to participate. Mokgobu’s teammate Pharson Magagane, who finished 21st last year will be back in the race.

An interesting participant this year will be Impala’s TK Moshwetsi who came to the fore during the Comrades Marathon. New to the scene, Moshwetsi surprised most when he held the lead in the ultra two and a half hours into the race and looked to be doing well and seemed strong only to stop after the halfway mark at Drummond.

According to his coach Dave Adams, Moshwetsi was never at Comrades to race or even complete it but was rather using it as preparation for the Cape Town Marathon.

No doubt this year’s race will be a hotly-contested affair what with the organisers also looking to impress the IAAF in their application to have the race upgraded from Gold Label Status to Platinum.

(07/18/2019) ⚡AMP
by Matshelane Mamabolo
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Cape Town Marathon

Cape Town Marathon

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

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70-year-old Sandra Brown produced a sparkling performance to break two world records at 10th Energia 24h ultra in Victoria Park

The Dorset woman firstly broke the 100-mile mark in just 21 hours, 15 minutes and 33 seconds - the 204th time she had gone over 100 miles in a race - before going on to beat Shirley Young's long-standing world age-group record for the 24 hours.

By the time the race had finished, Brown had travelled nearly four miles further than Young's record, hitting just over 113 miles (182km), and amazingly she didn't run once, walking the entire distance.

Defying her age, Brown's performance saw her finish in a very impressive 24th place in the overall standings in a field that had 225 runners set off from the starting line.

In all, Brown's record-breaking feats mean that four world records have been set at Victoria Park in the last three years, which has put the Energia24 into the Guinness Book of Records.

At the top of the field, it was an absorbing battle for the three podium places, with three Cork men in the running until the very end.

The women's race there was plenty of drama as Therese Falk of Norway had led for substantial parts of the contest, only to see Finnish competitor Paula Wright finish strongly and take the victory at 136 miles (218km).

Falk did take silver at 135 miles (216km), while Newtownabbey's Louise Smart came home in third at 132 miles (213km).

Rosslare's Lorraine McMahon also eclipsed the 130 mile mark (210km), meaning four women finished in the top-10 of the overall standings.

Meanwhile, the Willowfield quartet of Tim Brownlie, David Proctor, Gary Morrow and Neil Weir smashed the previous team relay record of 193 miles.

The Dublin Bay Running Club record, set at the Mary Peters Track back in 2015, proved no match for the four as they added another 15 miles onto it, finishing at 208 miles (335km), which will likely not be broken for a long time.

(07/17/2019) ⚡AMP
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Cancellation of 2019 Hardrock 100 because the trail is not in good shape because of heavy snow during the winter doesn’t deter ultra community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(07/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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Hardrock 100

Hardrock 100

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

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How ultra running is helping extreme athletes and others in Colorado battle addiction

On an afternoon 25 years ago, Catra Corbett figured her life was over. 

She looked in a mirror and saw purple dashes under her bulging, red eyes, a face painted white, black lipstick and a sad, tired expression that wondered when her next hit was coming. She looked like an extra in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” She was a go-go dancer who sold drugs and danced all night in clubs. She’d been up three days. 

“This sucks,” she thought to herself, but she saw no way to change it. 

But it did change, after the cops broke down her door and arrested her. A judge, knowing this was her first offense, made her a deal: If she gave up drugs, he would give her a clean slate. If she didn’t, she would go to jail. 

One night in jail scared her enough to give up drugs. She returned to her hometown of Fremont, Calif., away from the club and her friends, and moved in with her mom. She was depressed. She was bored. She wondered if she would stay off drugs. And then she entered a 10K. 

Now she is one of the most successful ultrarunners of all time, a woman who completed more than 250 races and ran 100 miles more than 125 times. She is also the most extreme and famous example of the turnaround that extreme sports see in an unusual percentage of its participants. 

She is the most visible example, with pink hair, bright, colorful clothes and tattoos all over her body, but there are many others. Corbett once said she believed that 50 percent of all ultrarunners are addicts.

That figure is likely too high, especially with the boom in ultrarunning and the waves of extraordinary athletes and tough-as-nails competitors dominating the sport now, but there are many examples that suggest it is not only a piece of its history, it is still a part of the sport, a part that ultrarunning or other extreme sports don’t care to hide. 

Timothy Olson, a recovering addict, won the Western States 100, perhaps the most prestigious ultra, in 2012 and 2013 and once held the course record. Charlie Engle, one of the sports best-known extremists, was a crack addict.

Other extreme endurance sports have attracted addicts as well, such as Lionel Sanders, who signed up for the Ironman triathlon in 2010 to help him beat his addiction to drugs and became a star, finishing second in the Ironman World Championships in 2017. Corbett was clean when she began running, but she said it helped her stay that way. 

“It was mostly the running,” she said in an interview. “It gave me a purpose kept me focused.”  

Experts saw the potential link between exercise and fighting addiction and are now using it to help addicts battle their cravings, even if they aren’t running 100 miles to do it. Even a 10-minute walk, one expert said, can stifle the need for a fix. 

Experts have long searched for solutions to the problem of helping people stay sober when little else seems to work. But more are finding that the solution isn’t frog’s breath or a strange hobby or therapy dog. It’s just a matter of moving. 

“It’s not a magic bullet,” said Alex Murphy, behavioral health consultant with North Range Behavioral Health in Greeley who has treated drug addiction. “But there’s a lot of good things that come from it.”

Those good things include dopamine, along with serotonin, which triggers happiness, and norepinephrine, which helps with energy. Those neurotransmitters are released in generous quantities when you work out, especially when you do it outside. 

Many drugs trigger the release of dopamine — even a brisk, 10-minute walk can release a bit and help an addict fight cravings.

“Dopamine drives both motivation and pleasure,” Murphy said. “The more we can find healthy releases of that, the better. It won’t provide the same levels that the drug will, but it can give you a higher baseline and squash some of the cravings.”

Corbett said the natural high — many call it the “runner’s high,” even though many longtime runners say it’s a gross exaggeration — was a key to keeping herself off drugs. 

(07/15/2019) ⚡AMP
by Dan England
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Woman only runs backwards because it’s more fun than forwards says Shantelle Gaston-Hird

We can only imagine the potential for sprained ankles and accidentally tripping over, but one runner loves going backwards instead of forwards. Shantelle Gaston-Hird, 32, even runs backwards while training on the treadmill in the gym. She says she just finds it ‘so much more fun than running forwards. 

As you might imagine, she gets some funny looks while out on her jogs. She said: ‘I get catcalled every time I go out for a run, but when you run backwards all they say is ‘you are going the wrong way’ which is so much nicer than a white van man making inappropriate comments!

”Initially it was a bit of fun, but after researching backwards running I realized that it is a great cross-training exercise, and a great work out for your abs.”

Shantelle first tried running the wrong way as part of a team building exercise in 2013 – but before long she was hooked, and running backwards several times a week. The sport, she says, has a vast amount of benefits not just for physical health but for mental wellbeing and socializing, whilst also being a very accessible sport for anyone who wants to get involved. Shantelle has been running backwards for six years, has competed in competitions and set up a weekly club for any other budding backwards runners to enjoy the sport, coined retro running.

“It’s fun and a great workout,” she says, “the confidence that you obtain from retro running is incredible, I’m an ultra-runner and middle-distance triathlete so it compliments my training really well.

“I now organize the Retro Mile event on the first Saturday of every month so that other people can come and try retro running in a safe environment. 

”I even had a teenage boy tell me that he loved it and asked if we could do another one, his mum was said to me if I can make a teenage boy smile, I must be doing something right.”

(07/13/2019) ⚡AMP
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The Run The World Global 52-week Challenge has finished. The team logged 122,123 miles or 335.5 daily. Michael Wardian was first American and Kenyan's Eliud Esinyen ran the most miles averaging 15.7 miles daily logging 5,738

Run The World Global Challenge is a world-wide celebration of running.  The program was started by Bob Anderson one year ago, July 4, 2018.  Since that time 281 runners around the world ran or walked and then logged 122,123 miles.  This equals 335.5 miles daily or 2,348 miles weekly for 52 weeks which equals 4.9 times around the world. 

"One of the key reasons we started this program," says creator Bob Anderson, My Best Runs and Runner's World magazine founder, "was to motivate people, bring together runners from all over and to run miles all over the world." 

That all happen. Runners from 20 countries participated, miles were run in 75 countries and it certainly motivated many runners to run more miles than they were running before. 

53-year-old James Kalani had not run much over the last few years and then he entered the RTW Challenge.  After getting in good shape over several months, he started pushing it for Challenge #5 which started March 31. Over the last 94 days he ran and logged 1536 miles.  That's 114 miles weekly.  It was not just covering miles, many were quality. On June 16 he ran 30.6 miles at an average pace of 6:41 per mile.

Before the RTW Challenge creator Bob Anderson was running on average 20 miles weekly.  "I got so motivated by this challenge," says Bob.  "I looked forward to running not just one time daily but often I would run two or three times.  I took a photo everyday and posted it in our Runner's Feed.  I also read every post and commented on each for the whole year.  I have been running since 1962 and have run nearly 1,000 races.  I am an addicted runner but I needed something new and this was it."

In the end Bob averaged 5 miles daily or 35 miles weekly for a total of 1830 miles for the year.  With the added miles he also improved his racing performance.  He ran 7:54 pace for 10k and placed third 70 plus at the London 10,000 in May.  A race with nearly 20,000 runners.

The RTW Challenge team did some amazing things during the year.  69-year-old Brent Weigner lives in Cheyenne Wyoming but many of his 2036 miles were run outside of the United States.  In fact Brent ran miles in 30 different countries. 

The most miles were run and logged in the United States.  The top five countries were: United States (64,899 miles), Kenya (24,066 miles), Palau (8,242 miles), India (7,423 miles) and South Africa (6,765).  The amazing story here is that the little country of Palau has less that 22,000 inhabitants and placed third.  Their team leader Aaron Salvador logged 1,584 miles himself and encouraged his team to run and log. 

The team leader for South Africa, Liz Dumon, is the key reason why her country placed fourth.  She herself ran and logged 1000 miles.  Liz encouraged people to sign up.  In fact our youngest members were twins she recruited along with mom and grandma. The 7-year-old twins Jonathan (logged 118 miles) and his sister Michelle (logged 100 miles) had loads of fun and posted regularly in the Runners Feed.  Their dogs joined in on the fun too. (Third photo of twins with Grandma)

Their 56-year-old grandma (Johanna Fourie) logged 672 miles and placed 10th for females.  Right behind her was mom (Erika Fourie) with 625 miles. 

Who said age is just a number? The top three overall females were 65 plus.  Placing first was 68-year-old Kat Powell (USA).  She logged 1271 miles.  Not far back was 69-year-old Linda Robinson (USA) with 1145 miles followed by 65-year-old Carmella DiPippa (PW) with 1040 miles.  Sixth female was 71-year-old Karen Galati (USA) who logged 835 miles.

On the men's side there were so many stars.  35-year-old Kenyan Eliud Esinyen averaged 15.7 miles daily or 110 miles weekly (second photo).  Many times he ran three times daily.  On April 21 he ran a marathon on a tough course at high altitude clocking 2:22:46 which is 5:27/mile pace.  On January 27 he ran a 10k clocking 31:05.  Eliud ran and logged the most with 5,738 miles. 

Kenya's team leader Willie Korir (27) placed second overall with 5195 miles.  He also posted images regularly in the Runners Feed along with comments.  He also wrote several stories for My Best Runs Running News Daily column including finding inside information about the king of the marathon, Eluid Kipchoge.

The first American and third overall was 45-year-old Michael Wardian with 3618 miles (frist photo). This ultra star pulled off many amazing feats during the year.  Most recently on June 29 he ran 89.9 miles around Washington DC.  On May 4th he ran 62.14 miles at 7:14/mile average pace in Sacramento.  He ran the Big Sur Marathon in 2:35:18 making the podium.  He had run the Boston Marathon earlier a little faster clocking 2:33:23.

In March he travelled to Israel and posted the fastest known time on the 631-mile Natoinal Israel Trail.  He covered this distance in 10 days, 16 hours and 36 minutes.  Earlier he not only ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven days (winning them all) he tacked on three more marathons when he got home.  That's ten marathons in ten days.  He is the complete runner with a wide range.  On Feb 10th he ran a 5k in 17:01. 

"Michael is one amazing versatile runner and we were happy when he decided to join our team," says Bob Anderson.

Second American and fifth overall was 75-year-old Frank Bozanich who logged 3523 miles. Frank has run many ultra races over the years and have won many.  Lots of these miles were not real fast compared to what he has done before.  But on July 30th last year he ran 20 miles in Reno in two hours and 43 minutes.  That is an 8:09/mile pace. 

Finishing in seventh place was 72-year-old Paul Shimon who logged 2835.  Like so many of our team, Paul had to deal with a lot of bad weather in Kansas during the winter.  But he layered up and got in the miles.

Michael T Anderson (61)  placed eighth overall logging 2,798 with lots of fast times along the way.   He has run over 130,000 miles in his lifetime so far.  On June 8th he ran 19:13 for 5k in Atlanta where he lives.  On April 28 he clocked 39:25 for 10k.

"The fastest runner on our team was Joel Maina Mwangi," says Bob Anderson.  This 34-year-old Kenyan placed 13th overall with 1,953 miles logged.  On March 10 he ran a 30:14 10k in Torino Italy.   He ran six half marathons under 1:05.  His fastest was run in Aosta, Italy where he clocked 1:02:50 on September 30. 

"There are as many amazing stories," says Bob Anderson. "I am glad our event is helping motivate runners all over the world.  I am looking forward for year two." 

What's next?  Run The World Global Challenge #6 will be a 10-week program.  There is no entry fee.  You just need to have a free My Best Runs (the sponsor of this program) account and sign up for Run The World. 

(07/03/2019) ⚡AMP
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Run The World Global Challenge 7

Run The World Global Challenge 7

Run The World Global Challenge is a world wide celebration of running. Here is he link for the official results of Run The World 52-Week Challenge. Congrats to all our participants. RTW Challenge #7 is a 10 week program starting September 11, 2019 and ending 11:59pm Tuesday November 19, 2019 (California USA time). There is no entry fee. You log...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(07/02/2019) ⚡AMP
by Richard Bolt
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Sinister 7 Ultra is coming up and this ultramarathon continues to test runners strength, endurance, and willpower to keep running when everything in them wants to stop

The sold-out ultra consists of seven legs that wind around the Crowsnest Pass. The course covers 161 km with an elevation gain of 6321 metres.

Each leg features a unique part of Crowsnest Pass. Leg 1 runs through the Frank Slide, and then Leg 2 runs along Hastings Ridge and below Turtle Mountain back to Blairmore. Leg 3 runs around Pass Powderkeg, the local ski hill. Leg 4 summits Saddle Mountain before heading straight to the Visitor Information Centre. Leg 5 runs through the Chinook/Allison area below Mount Tecumseh ending at the McGillivray staging area. Leg 6 is perhaps the most scenic, though it is often run in the dark. This leg is a tour around the iconic Crowsnest Mountain and the Seven Sisters. The course ends with Leg 7, around Wedge Mountain, crossing Nez Pierce Creek and ending at the Coleman Sports Complex. 

The race attracts 1,600 registrants each year, including a few hundred soloists who run the full distance on their own. We have welcomed runners from across Canada, the USA, Europe, and as far away as Australia and Japan.

Many are drawn by the reputation of the race but most simply come for the unique challenge and the stunning scenery around Crowsnest Pass. 

A special thank you goes out to all the volunteers for Sinister 7. This event would not be possible if it wasn’t for the many dedicated volunteers who come out to support the runners. 

(06/28/2019) ⚡AMP
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Sinister 7 Ultra

Sinister 7 Ultra

Welcome to the Sinister 7 Ultra — a race that may be the greatest challenge of your life. The 100 mile (161km) course will take you through the most rugged, remote and beautiful terrain in Alberta's stunning Rocky Mountains. With 6,400m of elevation gain across the course, this race will punish those who are not prepared.The Sinister 7 is open...

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Glenn Sutton is aiming to break Kiwi record at Death Valley

Home to the hottest temperature ever recorded on the planet, Death Valley is not a place many Kiwis would pick for a mid-winter escape.

For Dunedin ultra-marathon runner Glenn Sutton however, he’s picked the soaring desert as the venue for his latest conquest.

Starting on July 15, he’ll run 217 kilometres in temperatures ranging from the low forties to the high fifties.

"They don’t call it the toughest foot race in the world for nothing," he told 1 NEWS.

Sutton will become the first Kiwi to attempt the race for a third time, after finishing it in both 2014 and 2015.

His goal this time though is to become the quickest Kiwi, aiming to cross the finish line in less than 36 hours and 32 minutes.

"If you complete the course in under 48 hours, you get a belt buckle and a t-shirt," he says.

His training involves running a 100km every week. While much of it is outside in the freezing Dunedin winter, a lot of it is done inside his custom-built heat-box.

Sutton powers the heavily-insulated box with three high-powered heaters, with temperatures getting up to the mid-forties.

The Dunedin runner has even managed to draw the attention of one of New Zealand’s biggest breweries, with Emerson’s creating a beer dedicated to Sutton’s mission.

Called - Into The Valley - the company have given the brew a low 2.17 per cent alcohol rating, to match the 217 km journey Sutton will be running.

But with temperatures at last year’s event getting up to an unofficial 58C, Sutton’s first choice of drink at the finish line, might just have to be water.

(06/25/2019) ⚡AMP
by John Mckenzie
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Death Valley Trail Marathon

Death Valley Trail Marathon

This scenic wilderness trail run is on a gravel jeep road from Beatty, NV through the picturesque Titus Canyon, finishing in Death Valley (entire run is in Death Valley National Park). The desert is beautiful this time of year with mild temperatures; lows at night between 30 and 40 degrees and highs during the day from the low-60s to mid-70s....

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Kyle Robidoux is legally blind and will be making history as he takes on the Western States 100 this weekend

When 43-year-old Roxbury, Massachusetts resident Kyle Robidoux sets foot on the starting line at Squaw Valley Saturday morning, he will be making Western States history.

According to Race Director Craig Thornley, Robidoux will be the first known runner in the 45-year existence of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run who is legally blind.

With the help of a team of sighted guides, Robidoux will attempt the 100.2-mile trek from Squaw Valley to Auburn. But he is no stranger to ultra running. Since being declared legally blind at age 19, Robidoux has completed a number of premier running events, including five Boston Marathons.

"I've run in three 100-mile races, all with varied terrain, but Western States by far will be the most challenging," said Robidoux, who is being sponsored by Clif Bar. "There are a variety of conditions, so it'll be important for me to run really hard when terrain is runnable, knowing on climbs I'll have to walk. I'll have to make up my time during the runnable stuff."

Robidoux was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that affects night vision and typically leads to complete blindness, when he was 11. Though he still has an estimated 3 percent field of vision, his eyesight has gradually declined over time.

"I have very extreme tunnel vision, like looking through a paper towel roll," Robidoux said. "I have no peripheral vision, no up or down, no night vision at all. I'm not colorblind but I can't see contrast very well. When I'm running, I can't tell the difference between dirt, rocks or roots. I can't see elevation change and I can't see if I need to step up or down."

That's where his guides come in. Connected through an organization called United in Stride, which helps recruit sighted guides for visually impaired runners and vice versa, Robidoux's guides run side by side with him, bound together by a tether. The guides act as a sight coach throughout the race, giving various verbal cues to the visually impaired runner.

"Their goal is to keep me safe and keep other runners safe during races," Robidoux said. "They keep me moving forward and upright. That puts me in a position where all I have to focus on is running; not if I trip on something or run into someone else."

Among Robidoux's guides is seven-time WSER champion Scott Jurek.

"It will be fun seeing this course in a different light," said Jurek. "It's so cool to have an opportunity to be someone else's eyes."

After getting to know each other over the past several years, Jurek feels Robidoux is up for the challenge.

"Kyle's got a tenacity to him," Jurek said. "He might not be the fastest, but he's got an intense desire, something you have to have for Western States, whether you can see or not."

That desire sprouted from depression. Robidoux's initial resentment toward his diagnosis made him inactive, overweight and on a path toward Type 2 diabetes.

"I essentially dealt with it by not dealing with it," said Robidoux. "I was bitter and angry about my eyesight. I was convinced things were being taken away from me that I loved doing."

With the support of his family, Robidoux began seeing a therapist to help deal more effectively. Soon after, he started running again to improve his health and be able to play with his daughter, Lucy. He dropped 70 pounds and completed his first event – the Maine Half Marathon – by age 34 in 2010.

“I started to realize that things weren’t being taken away from me, I was giving up on them,” Robidoux said. “I still have days when I get really angry and frustrated. It’s a continuing process. There’s a strong likelihood that I’ll lose all of my vision. It’s scary, but I’m learning how to adapt and emotionally prepare for that.”

Robidoux has finished over 25 marathons and ultra marathons and plans to continue for as long as he’s able.

(06/25/2019) ⚡AMP
by Nick Pecoraro
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Western States 100

Western States 100

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

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Cecilia Flori often smiles through pain, but now she’s hoping an injury doesn’t keep her from competing at the 2019 Western States 100-mile race

The gap between elites and amateurs can feel wide indeed, but one area of common ground is an injury that threatens the start line of an important race. That’s the relatable place elite ultrarunner Cecilia Flori finds herself as she struggles with a foot injury a few weeks out from the Western States Endurance Run, the 100-mile race on June 29, from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California.

Expected to be a favorite in this year’s event, Flori arrived in California more than a month before the race, hoping to train on the course. The 38-year-old Italian physicist, who currently calls New Zealand home, earned bib F5 and says she was feeling as fit as ever when her foot began to hurt.

“I’ve been working on my speed by running marathons this year,” she said. “I think the Western course suits my strengths and I was more than ready for it.”

Relatively new to the ultra scene—and running in general—Flori made a big entrance to the sport, nabbing a podium spot at the North Face Endurance 50-miler in Canada in 2015.

“I’ve always loved the outdoors and was a climber before a triathlete friend convinced me to run a half marathon with him,” she said. “I really enjoyed it and I was hooked.”

Flori says the flow of running is what drew her in. “The repetitive motion makes me feel alive,” she said. “It’s a primal feeling—I’m at one with nature when I’m on trails.”

Relocating for her research to scenic New Zealand in 2016, Flori migrated entirely from climbing to running, joining a running club for training. She took on some shorter distance trail races and then won the Taupo 100K. “I started thinking that maybe I was good at endurance,” she says. “In 2017, I entered the Tarawera 100 and took third behind [2008 U.S. Olympic marathoner] Magda Boulet and [2017 Comrades champion] Camille Herron. I was shocked but I realized I could compete on an international level.”

Herron has since become Flori’s coach, and it was that Tarawera race that made Herron take note.

“I watched her run neck-and-neck with Magda Boulet,” Herron said. “What I remember most as I looped around and saw her was the big smile on her face.”

Since then there have been few hiccups in Flori’s ascent to the upper echelons of ultras. She pulled off fifth at last year’s Western States in 19:44 and followed it up with a 10th place finish at the 101K CCC in the French Alps last September, which she admits, tested her. “It was a learning experience,” she said. “I was sick and had to stop at aid stations quite a bit. But I still managed 10th and I’m proud of myself.”

Herron says Flori has a bright future ahead of her. “I saw that same smile on Cecilia’s face at 62 miles into Western last year. For someone to look that good in fifth place tells me she has lots more to give.

(06/24/2019) ⚡AMP
by Amanda Loudin
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Western States 100

Western States 100

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

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New Racing Rules Remove Some Barriers for Transgender Runners

As president of the board of the nonprofit that oversees one of the most prestigious ultradistance races in the country, John Medinger has had to deal with many concerns: sponsors, weather, permits, volunteers.

But it wasn’t until this year that he and his colleagues at the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run were compelled to address an issue few would have envisioned when it was first held in 1974: transgender competitors.

“It’s not something we would have been thinking about back then, that’s for sure,” said Mr. Medinger, 68, who has run Western States five times and has been involved in race management since 1991. “But it’s the nature of society now.”

And it’s something that the world of competitive athletics, including the Olympics, USA Track & Field and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, has been grappling with: how transgender women, in particular, should be entered and scored in competition and whether they have an unfair biological advantage over cisgender women, whose identity reflects the sex they were assigned at birth.

Although the science is mixed on the biology, some people contend that transgender women have an advantage because of size and the presence of testosterone, even though hormone levels change during transition.

But others, most notably the researcher and transgender runner Dr. Joanna Harper, are skeptical that such an edge exists, particularly in endurance sports in which (as opposed to say, sprinting or shot-putting) transgender women appear to have similar cardiovascular measures as cisgender women and thus little or no advantage.

While Western States starts near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, there is no prize money, scholarships or endorsement deals are at stake. 

There are no gold medals, but there is some precious metal involved: a handmade silver belt buckle for those who manage to complete the distance in less than 24 hours.

On June 29 and 30, 369 runners (chosen through a lottery entered by 5,862 runners) will take on the Western States challenge, as they attempt to navigate a mind-and-body-boggling 100 miles of trails and altitude changes from Squaw Valley to Auburn, Calif. The swiftest will be running to finish among the top 10 men or women. Recognition is also given to the top three males and females in five age groups from 30 to over 70.

The question of transgender fairness arose for Western States in December, when Grace Fisher — a transgender runner who is an outstanding ultradistance competitor — was selected through the race’s traditional lottery system.

The event’s management team decided it was time to come up with a policy. “We felt that this was not something we should ignore,” said Diana Fitzpatrick, a board member. “If it turned out that she finished in the top 10, it would be better for her and everyone that we had a policy in place.”

Back in high school in Utah, Ms. Fisher, now 38, was a male-identified track runner. She recalls that when some teammates ran a local marathon their senior year, “I said, ‘I’ll never do that, it’s crazy.’” Eventually, Ms. Fisher began running distances far longer than the marathon. She has completed about 40 ultramarathons, including eight 100-mile races.

She continued running during the years when, she said, “I was figuring things out.” After hormone treatments, she ran her first ultramarathon as a woman in 2015. She said she slowed down since her transition as a result of muscle mass loss, which can be attributed to hormonal treatments.

But Ms. Fisher, who lives in Hancock, Md., ran a personal best time in a 100-miler in Virginia last September of 18 hours 41 minutes. She was the first female finisher and fifth overall in that race.

Ms. Fitzpatrick, 61, a lawyer who is also a runner (she, too, has competed in Western States five times), worked with a committee of four other board members to develop the policy. They looked at existing guidelines from other organizations and races, and spoke to leading figures in transgender sports.

During the process, they were also cognizant that the runner who had sparked their action did not ask for the guidelines.

The guidelines they came up with, and which were announced in March, are being viewed as a model for other participatory running events.

Ms. Fitzpatrick acknowledged that “we really tried to have a `live and let live’ view on this.”

Hence Western State’s guidelines state that “a runner’s self-declared gender at registration will be accepted at face value.” No one need produce a driver’s license or other identification as has been the case for some races.

If, however, a finisher in the top 10 or among the top three in their age group is challenged, race management may ask the runner for documentation that they have undergone medically supervised hormone treatment for gender transition for at least a year before the race.

Even in the event that a transgender runner wins an award or is challenged and the challenge is upheld by race management, the guidelines state that “the runner will be allowed to keep their finisher’s buckle.”

That allowance, Ms. Fitzpatrick says, is to underscore that the new guidelines are “not about punishment.” By contrast, competitors who violate Western States doping policy are stripped of their silver buckle — as well as whatever other award they won.

“Underneath this all are real people with real feelings who have usually had a long, hard journey to get where they are,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. “The last thing they need are additional challenges and hurdles.”

(06/22/2019) ⚡AMP
by New York Times
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Western States 100

Western States 100

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(06/21/2019) ⚡AMP
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Western States 100

Western States 100

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

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Two Words That Can Really Help Your Marathon Training

Believe it or not, there is a method to those runs in a marathon program and these words can make that effort count!

Put simply, those two words are “slow down."  This may sound strange but let’s break down why this is so important!

I have run almost 60 marathons/ultra marathons over the past 12 years and it took me that long to finally reach a goal that I had had from the beginning – to run a sub-3 hour and 30 minute marathon. Part of that reason had to do with the fact that probably 80% of those marathons were not serious efforts and more for the location.

But, I firmly believe that another reason had to do with the training program I was using (Hansons Marathon Program) and the focus on the off-day runs being run at slower paces.

A marathon training program will typically have a few elements – the easy run, the long run, and the speed/tempo runs. The speed runs will include things like tempo runs and repeats.

The long run will get your body conditioned to staying on your feet for longer periods as you prepare for the 26.2 mile distance. Finally, the easy run. These runs are typically to help you get your miles in and to help you aerobically.

Many times, runners attack these slow days as if they need to turn in quality performance runs every time they hit the roads. This means running these slower runs at paces that are between what they should be and the speed workout paces.

This actually does not help in your body recovering between workouts and instead treats these miles and runs as workouts, instead of slow and comfortable paces to help your body and muscles recover while still covering the miles.

There are even a couple of programs that recommend not even doing those slow runs but instead doing cross-training on those days and only running for tempo runs, repeat workouts, and long runs. This is again because those slower runs are meant to help in recovery while still helping your heart and blood flow.

So, while it may seem that running slow on slow days is not very beneficial, it can actually be one of the most important parts of a training program! It allows you to continue to get the benefits of a workout and the mileage while not taxing your body more than it should be for the “easy” day of the program.

I do know this – my last training program was more fun and more productive than any program I had ever used before and I feel that I owe a lot of that to the fact that I actually forced myself to slow down on slow days to a pace that was much slower than I had ever run before on slow days.

Remember – while each run can have a purpose, every run does not have to be fast. Slow down on those easy days and trust your body and the program.

(06/18/2019) ⚡AMP
by Charlie
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Catra was addicted to drugs and now she is addicted to running

At age 27 Catra was arrested and spent the night in a prison cell. That was the worst experience of my life and scared me into getting clean.

“I fell into a bad crowd in high school and started partying hard. I soon got into a relationship with a guy who was doing methamphetamine and I got addicted pretty quickly. Eventually, we got arrested. I was put on a six-month rehab programme where I had to go to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting every day. After six months, I was clean,” says Catra.  

“Now I’ve been clean for 25 years. I started running because I was searching for something to take the place of drugs. I ran a 10k on a whim after seeing a flyer for it and, three months later, I ran my first marathon. Ultras followed soon after.

“I’ve run 100, 200 and 300-mile races. When you finally stop running after that long, it feels great. You’ve accomplished something huge and it’s like, 'Wow!' I definitely get a kind of high. I’m one of about only a dozen people in the world who has run 100 miles (161km) more than 100 times. You could definitely say that I’m addicted to running,” she says with a smile on her face.  

(06/17/2019) ⚡AMP
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Four runners from India are eyeing a place in the 2019 IAU 24-Hour World Ultra Marathon Championship to be held in France in October

Rajasthan's Lallu Lal Meena and Yamini Kothari and Odisha's Pranaya Mohanty are attempting this feat during the 24 Hour Stadium Run at the Mumbai University track, which began at 6pm Saturday and will finish at the same time Sunday.

Sikkim's Shiva Hang Limboo too will aim to make it to the 24-Hour World Ultra Marathon Championship in the 12-Hour category.

The top men will cover close to 200 kilometres (124 miles) during this period while the women should hit 170 km (105 miles). 

The 24-hour Stadium Run tests the endurance as well as mental and physical abilities of athletes.

"I have a great chance of qualifying for the worlds," said Meena.

"I have done it in the past and I am quite confident of making it there once. The criteria for qualification is 205 kilometres and I have come with a target of 220 kilometres.

I'm also attempting to run for 23 hours straight and if my body permits I will do 24 hours without any break," Meena was quoted as saying in a release issued Saturday.

(06/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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Jon Ward is embarking on an expedition to become the first person to run the entire North East 250 tourist trail in Scotland

Corporal Jon Ward, who is posted at RAF Lossiemouth, expects to cover the arduous route in just six days. 

The 33-year-old ultra-marathoner has previously tested his body to the limit on a 216-mile endurance challenge spanning the east and west of Scotland in less than 100 hours.

The serviceman, who is originally from Hereford, set himself the target of becoming the first to run the NE250 to help share his love for the north-east which has developed since he was posted to the region two years ago.

Jon Ward said: “I didn’t really sleep when I did the 216-mile run. When you stop your body goes into a recovery mode – your legs start throbbing and your body just feels less active.

“I’m not really thinking about a fast time for the NE250, I just want to do it. That might make it harder because every day I have to prepare myself for the run, which might be tough if the weather is not nice.”

Over the next six days the runner will scale peaks in the Cairngorms before following the River Spey to the sea and spanning the Aberdeenshire coast before turning towards Deeside ahead of finishing in Braemar on Wednesday.

Along the way, he hopes to stop at the numerous attractions along the route to share his new-found love of the north-east with a wider audience.

(06/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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Keith Roberts, who has run a marathon in every state, last month he was stalked by a bear

Just six miles north of Harrisburg in Raleigh, When 42-year-old Keith  Roberts isn’t spending time with his wife and kids, he’s running marathons or working as a manager in fiber optic installation at Clearwave Communications.

As many have too, Roberts has completes a marathon in all 50 states.

“I have a long-term vision for my health,” said Roberts. “Since I started running all of my back pain has gone away. Physically, I was heading towards a path of diabetes and really poor health, but the diet of running has corrected that.”

Roberts has 56 career marathons under his belt since running his first in 2016 at the Shiprock Marathon in New Mexico. On March 17, Roberts ran in his 50th state when he completed the Big Island International Marathon (Hilo Marathon) in Hawaii.

What comes next after you’ve run around the entire United States map?

“My goal for next year is to run in four 100-milers,” said Roberts. “I definitely see myself running or staying active for the rest of my life, that’s one part of it. The other part is sort of our human nature. I’ve come this far, how far can I go?”

Perhaps Roberts' encounter with a black bear in the mountains of Virginia in a 100K race is the reason he’d like to stay in shape.

“Last month I was stalked by a bear,” said Roberts. "Getting stalked by animals because they’re curious happens all the time to runners, but all I had was a trekking pole in one hand and a water bottle in the other when I looked over my shoulder and saw a little black bear 30 feet behind me.”

“When I started running I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile,” said Roberts. “I worked up a little bit, ran a 5K or two, and decided that I wanted to try running further.”

Roberts has since gone on to run nearly 1500 miles in his marathons alone. That doesn’t include his half marathons, ultramarathons, or any of the miles he has poured into his training.  He once ran eight marathons on eight consecutive days.

Roberts' body has held up for the most part outside of some shin splints, but he says recovery is different than most people would think.

“The recovery is more mental than it is physical,” said Roberts. “After a while your body learns to deal with the aches and the pains, and you can run a marathon on Saturday, a marathon on Sunday, be a little sore when you’re back at work on Monday, and by Tuesday you don’t feel it.”

Roberts' love of running has motivated both of his sons to run cross-country.

“I’m definitely not as disciplined as great runners are,” said Roberts. “As things go I generally finish in the back half of the race. I run a marathon in about 4 hours and 45 minutes, which is probably a good average.

“I will tell you from personal experience that there’s about 15 percent of people who care about speed and everybody else just cares about getting it done.”

The majority of people will never run a marathon, but in three years Roberts has done just that in every single state and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

(06/14/2019) ⚡AMP
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A brand new urban ultra marathon challenge is going to take place in the heart of London

Ultra London, a brand new urban ultra-marathon event, is set to take place on Saturday October5. The multi-distance event will be held on an innovative course, that aims to showcase some of London’s finest viewpoints, whilst crossing many of its lesser known open spaces, nature reserves and Sites of Specific Scientific Interest.

The 55km ultra course starts in Woolwich and finishes in Richmond upon Thames, with participants following large parts of the Capital Ring Walk route across south London. The challenging yet accessible event also includes a 27.5km run or walk starting at Crystal Palace, also finishing in Richmond.

The course, a mix of trails, footpaths, parks, disused railway lines, woodland and more will provide a challenge for participants who will also need to ensure they navigate the correct paths through parts of Falconwood, Grove Park, Crystal Palace, Streatham, Wimbledon and onto Richmond.

Andy Graffin, Director of Product Development at The Great Run Company who are staging the event, said: “We’re excited to be trying something new in the growing area of ultra running. Many of London’s landmarks are world famous of course, yet the Capital Ring is a comparatively little-known gem and we hope this event will provide participants with a suitable challenge and perhaps some surprises along the way, they will pass numerous landmarks and enjoy some breath-taking views of the Capital.

“Being in London, the event is accessible for participants and also for friends, family and supporters who can plan a route using public transport that will allow them to see their runner at numerous points along the course.”

Whilst the inaugural event this year uses the southern half of the Capital Ring there are plans to include the northern half of the route in 2020, where the ultimate challenge for ultra-runners will be to complete the entire 125km circular route in the Ultra London 125.

(06/14/2019) ⚡AMP
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168 mile Al Marmoom Ultramarathon is one of the world’s longest desert ultras

Set in a rugged national conservation area, the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon claims to be one of the longest desert ultra in the world. The 270km (168 mile) route was run over five days in December in temperatures as high as 35C (95F),.

In its inaugural year, 19 runners (15 men and four women) completed the race, with 36-year-old Moroccan Rachid El Morabity -- a six-time Marathon des Sables winner -- crossing the finish line first in 31 hours and 17 minutes. Eleven runners didn't make it, as well as many others in the shorter 100 km and 50 km versions of the race.

Race manager Ole Brom oversaw of the health and wellbeing of the runners.   Running these distances across energy-sapping sand amounts to an extreme sport, the Norwegian told CNN, and "not something that is taken on lightly."

"On the first day after about 40 km, about 12 km from the end, (one athlete) collapsed unconscious," says Brom. "He ignored the signs of dehydration and he suffered the consequences."

Stretches of the race, including one 100-kilometer leg, were only accessible by air for first responders, explained event director Ruth Dickinson. Athletes wore tracking devices and distress beacons and carried anti-venom pumps in case of snake bites.

Running across the dunes was not without its rewards. "(It's) really peaceful," says 45-year-old female race winner Magdalena Boulet, "(you) can't really see anything for miles and miles."

"It's mesmerizing," Brom adds. "On certain routes there were Oryx, there were sand gazelle, mountain gazelles. We saw eagles (and) a lot of different migrating birds." (As a designated conservation area, runners were penalized for dropping trash and required to bury human waste, should nature call.)

There were still smatterings of luxury, with racers provided hot water, tents and massages between stages. Brom says some athletes told him they'd return for the toilets alone.

The Al Marmoom Ultramarathon will join 400-plus local sporting events ranked by the Dubai Sports Council. Acting director of events Ghazi Al Madani says planning for 2019's race is already underway.

Brom believes transit hub Dubai could become a nexus for desert ultra runners, playing host to regular events in its "backyard." "Ten percent of the landmass of Dubai is sand," he adds, "so it makes perfect sense."

(06/13/2019) ⚡AMP
by Tom Page
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Al Marmoom Ultra Marathon

Al Marmoom Ultra Marathon

Launched under the initiative of UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of DubaiHis Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve will host the world's longest desert ultra-run Meraas Al Marmoom Ultramarathon. Meraas Al Marmoom Ultramarathon is a 300km, 100km and 50km race across desert terrain and will be held 11th to 15th December...

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South African Gerda Steyn shattered the course record at Comrades as Camille had to drop out due to hamstring issues

The 94th running of South Africa’s premier Ultra marathon, the Comrades got underway at 5:30am Sunday June 9. 

South African runners Edward Mothibi and Gerda Steyn ended up the 2019 Comrades Marathon champions.  Gerda broke the course record winning one million R ($66,849US) in the process.  

Edward Mothibi won the race after a fourth placed finish in his Comrades debut last year, beating defending champion Bongmusa Mthembu by just 25 seconds.

Local favourite Gerda Steyn stole the show on Sunday as she shattered the women’s record leading the charge with South African athletes produced sterling performances in KwaZulu-Natal.

After breaking clear of the rest of the women’s field shortly before the halfway mark, Steyn gradually extended her lead throughout the second half, crossing the line in 5:58:53 to secure her maiden victory in the 87km race between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

This shattered the up-run record, held by Russian runner Elena Nurgalieva, by more than ten minutes. Steyn became the first woman to run the Comrades up run in less than six hours. Her time was the fourth fastest of all-time for women, the only faster times were notched in down-runs.

The race is run ‘gun to gun’ meaning that contestants have 12 hours in total to complete the course.

This year’s race is an “UP RUN” starting at the City Hall in Durban and finished at the Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg. The race distance is approximately 87km.

28-year-old Gerda Steyn has enjoyed a meteoric rise from amateur to professional in the space of just five years. After finishing as runner-up last year, Steyn took a six-week break from the sport before preparing to tackle the New York Marathon, finishing 13th in a PR of 2:31. The 2018 and 2019 Two Oceans winner made it clear in advance that her goal this year was to win and that is what she did this morning. 

America’s Camille Herron was not able to finished and dropped out.  

Camille’s brother Jack posted this on Facebook.  “My sister Camille Herron ended up dropping out from Comrades due too hamstring issues she’s been dealing with. I’m heart broken for her because this is just such a special event for her and our entire family.

“I understand the whole mentality of getting to race another day... but she trains so hard and we wait all year for her to defend this title she’s earned. I mean, just her single win is enough, but she goes out every time for a win, so when it doesn’t happen... it’s tough.”

Steyn now will shifts her focus away from Ultra marathons in a bid to qualify for the Olympic marathon in Tokyo next year. The Olympic marathon is expected to be run in blistering heat, with the start moved to 06:00 to mitigate potentially dangerous temperatures. Steyn’s ultra experience could make her a real contender for the Olympic crown.

(06/09/2019) ⚡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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