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Hardrock 100 canceled for second time in as many years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Past experience pays off

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

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

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

A loaded field awaits fate

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alternative formats didn’t fit Hardrock’s image

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

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

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

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

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

(05/24/2020) ⚡AMP
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Hardrock 100

Hardrock 100

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old Dominion One Day 100 Mile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exercise wasn't always a priority for Spector.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western States 100

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

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After over 50 hours ultrarunner Mike Wardian runs 63 laps for 422K to win the virtual race Quarantine Backyard Ultra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(04/07/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Western States 100 has been cancelled due to the war the world is in gaged in with the Cornavirus

The decision to cancel the 2020 Western States Endurance Run was a tough one.  In accordance with this decision, we are offering an entry spot for the 2021 race to all runners entered in this year’s race and a wait list spot on the 2021 wait list to all people on this year’s wait list.

The 2020 Memorial Day training runs are cancelled and all registrations for those events will roll over to the 2021 Memorial Day training runs. More details on entry and registration for 2021 events will be provided later.

We have made the decision to cancel after careful deliberation, knowing that our foremost responsibility is to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our 2020 entrants, our volunteers, our broader running community, and society at large.

The current situation in the United States and throughout the world is one of disruption and uncertainty. We feel that moving forward with plans for a race in June is not aligned with what our government, medical experts, and society is asking us to do. While painful to do knowing the hopes and dreams that surround this event, we feel it is the responsible action to take in light of what is going on in the world around us.

(03/27/2020) ⚡AMP
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Western States 100

Western States 100

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(02/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by Runners World
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Ultra runner Jared Hazen, is focused on winning the Vibram Hong Kong 100km ultramarathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vibram Hong Kong 100 Ultra trail

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

(01/16/2020) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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What to do when injury happens

David Roche, author and coach to many top trail runners, dispenses advice on what to do when injury happens.

Even the strongest runners occasionally get injured. If you think you may be injured and this is not something you’ve dealt with before (or even if it is), running coach and The Happy Runner author David Roche of the SWAP Adventure Team (Some Work, All Play) along with Black Canyon 100K winner Matt Daniels has put together a very simple how-to video for Strava on exactly how to approach the situation.

Roche coaches a lot of successful trail runners like OCR badass Amelia Boone, Western States winner Clare Gallagher, Barkley Marathons finisher John Kelly, Canada’s Kat Drew and Canadian Trail Running’s own Tory Scholz, and his approach is holistic–he’s concerned not just that you take care of the injury, but that you remain, well, a happy runner. While injury prevention is important, Roche acknowledges that we can’t always avoid injury entirely. That’s why he formulated these guidelines on what to do when despite your best efforts, something goes wrong with your body. (Roche coaches road runners too, by the way.)

Here are Roche’s Rules for when you think you might be injured.

1. If it hurts to walk, don’t run.- It may seem like basic common sense, but you’d be surprised how may runners routinely ignore it out of a desire to prove how tough they are, or to reassure themselves that they’re not really injured. But if you run on an injury, it will likely get worse.

2. There’s no shame in stopping.- One of Roche’s biggest assets as a coach is that he talks about shame, something that comes up frequently in injured runners who may think they’re wimping out if they don’t finish a workout (or a race) because something hurts. If you ignore rule #1, fine, but don’t ignore rule #2. Stop and take what Roche calls the Walk of Pride (rather than the more traditional Walk of Shame) back to where you started, and “live to fight another day.”

3. Talk to someone.- Confide in someone close to you that you’re injured, someone who cares about you enough to insist that you seek treatment. Many injured runners put off seeking treatment in the hope that whatever it is will get better on its own. (And we all know where that ends.) Whether it’s your family doctor, physiotherapist or chiropractor, getting seen will not only help you get on the road to recovery, it’ll help you cope mentally, too.

Bottom line, you want to get rehabbed so you can get back out there ASAP. If you follow Roche’s three rules, there’s no reason why you can’t do just that.

(12/22/2019) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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15 Mind-Blowing Race Moments From 2019-From Kipchoge to Kosgei and all of the upsets, records, and victories in between, 2019 was a major year for running.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(12/11/2019) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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'I puked, fouled myself and collapsed - it was great': Meet the record-breaking ultra marathon runner fuelled by beer and burritos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(12/07/2019) ⚡AMP
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HOKA ONE ONE have been named as presenting sponsors of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run.

The deal also includes a rebranding of a series of races which allow entry to WSER as the “HOKA ONE ONE Golden Ticket Races”.

The series for 2020 will consist of the Bandera 100km in January, Black Canyon 100km in February, Georgia Death Race in March, Lake Sonoma 50-miler in April and the Canyons 100km in April.

The USA’s most prestigious trail ultra takes place in Olympic Valley, California, and will next be staged on June 27 2020.

Race director Craig Thornley: “We are extremely excited that HOKA has made such a strong commitment to our mission as an organisation, which is to serve the ultra community as one of the thoughtful leaders in our sport and culminates each June with putting on the highest-quality, yet intimate 100-mile experience we can possibly present for all of our runners.”

Mike McManus, director of global sports marketing for HOKA ONE ONE, said: “HOKA was born in the mountains and gained an early foothold in the trail ultrarunning community, so it is only natural that we would help put on the original trail 100-mile race. The Western States Endurance Run is an iconic event with an incredible community behind it, and one where some of the best-known legends of ultrarunning are born. We are beyond thrilled and proud to be the presenting sponsor.”

Registrations for the ballot for the 2020 WSER will open on November 9.

(11/05/2019) ⚡AMP
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Western States 100

Western States 100

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(08/10/2019) ⚡AMP
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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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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

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

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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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Jim Walmsley wins Western States 100 smashing his own course record

Jim Walmsley wins the 2019 Western States 100 in a course record 14:09:28, breaking his own course record of 14:30:04 set last year.

“I made up a lot of time pushing pretty good up Robinson, Devil’s Thumb as well, then things began to relax,” he said on the finish line, adding there were a few aid stations when he was not so fresh. “Things started rolling again when I crossed the river.”

“It was a big goal just to come here and try and win. It’s one thing to win at Western States, it’s a once in a lifetime thing, but to do it twice, puts you a bit more ‘two time guy right here.”

Jared Hazen took second at the 2019 Western States 100 in 14:26:46, also under Jim Walmsley’s previous course record.  

Before this year’s race Walmsley said his mindset and approach to the race have changed little, and with favorable weather and decent course conditions, a push to again break the record could be in play.

“I might kind of pull things back (from) maybe not running as risky, but at the same time, counter to that, there’s pretty good weather predictions right now,” said Walmsley. “This will be my fourth time racing, fourth year in a row, and it’s by far the coolest year. There’s also that tempting side of it of like, ‘I always want to see what I can run here.”

Walmsley was on a record-breaking pace in 2016, but strayed off course with less than 10 miles to go. He fought through exhaustion to finish 20th with a time of 18:45:36. In 2017, which had a similar amount of snow on the course as this year, Walmsley was several minutes ahead of his 2018 record time during the early portions of the course, but as the day wore on, temperatures climbed past 90 degrees and exhaustion knocked him out of the race with a little more than 20 miles to go.

“Ultimately, it’s about listening to my own pace and just putting everything out there regardless,” he said. “As long as I end up giving my best effort and going to the well to get there, I’m always happy with it. Whether it’s the DNF in 2017 or the course record last year. I’m pretty proud of both days and the fact that I know I gave everything at both races. You can always live with that.”

Coming into this year’s race, Walmsley said he feels he’s matured as a runner, which has given him the confidence to overcome the mental and physical hurdles that arise during a 100-mile race.

(06/29/2019) ⚡AMP
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Western States 100

Western States 100

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

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Strong, talented and deepest field at Western States Endurance Run at this year race

More than 350 of the world’s best endurance athletes will emerge from the cold and dark Saturday morning to stand at the start line at Squaw Valley, eager to begin the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run from the resort to Auburn.

This year’s field of runners is one of the deepest in the history of the race, featuring the return of both the men and women’s champions along with several top-10 finishers from last year.

After coming up short in two previous bids to set the course record at Western States, Jim Walmsley, of Flagstaff, Arizona, broke through last year, finishing with a record time of 14 hours, 30 minutes, 4 seconds. Walmsley, 29, is set to defend his title this year against a deep field in the men’s division, which features eight of last year’s top-10 finishers.

Walmsley will make his fourth appearance in the race on Saturday. His attempt to break the course record in 2017 ended due to exhaustion at around mile 78. He rebounded the following year by setting the course record, and said breaking that mark could be in play on Saturday.

Walmsley said he’s also been told the early stages of the course are in better shape than they were in 2017, which had a similarly large snowpack. During 2017’s race he was also several minutes ahead of the record-breaking time he set in 2018.

“Ultimately, it’s about listening to my own pace and just putting everything out there regardless,” he said. “As long as I end up giving my best effort and going to the well to get there, I’m always happy with it. Whether it’s the DNF in 2017 or the course record last year. I’m pretty proud of both days and the fact that I know I gave everything at both races. You can always live with that.”

Among those who could challenge Walmsley will be 2017 Western States winner Ryan Sandes. The 37-year-old South African broke through in his third attempt to win at Western States, and then ran as a pacer during last year’s event.

“I feel like it was a big thing for me to win Western States and a big achievement, so I feel pretty relaxed going into Western States from that point of view, but Western States is still one of the biggest 100 milers in the world, if not the biggest,” said Sandes. “I’ve still got that drive and hunger and I think that’s why I came back here. That’s a big motivating factor and I’m definitely hungry.”

Other top competitors on the men’s side include: Mark Hammond, Ian Sharman, Jeff Browning, Charlie Ware, Kyle Pietari, Paul Giblin and Kris Brown.

On the women’s side, defending champion Courtney Dauwalter, of Golden, Colorado, returns after winning in her first time out.

Dauwalter, 34, finished with the second fastest time ever for a woman last year, reaching Auburn with a time of 17:27:00.

Second-place finisher Katlyn Gerbin, 30, of Issaquah, Washington will also be in the field. Lucy Bartholomew, 23, of Melbourne, Australia, finished third last year and will be in this year’s field as well. Bartholomew has spent the past few weeks training in the area, and running with Truckee-Tahoe athletes at local races.

Kaci Lickteig, 32, of Omaha, Nebraska, who won in 2016, will race as well.

Other returning top-10 finishers from a year ago include: Amanda Basham, Cecilia Flori, Camelia Mayfield, Aliza Lapierre and Corrine Malcolm.

(06/28/2019) ⚡AMP
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Western States 100

Western States 100

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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A Response from a Proud “Lazy Parasite” Trail Runner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(06/09/2019) ⚡AMP
by Stephanie Case for Outside Online
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Wayne Christopherson was the first Michigan runner to complete a renowned series of grueling 100-mile races

With his induction into the Alpena Sports Hall of Fame, Christopherson will become the first marathoner to be enshrined. He’ll be inducted as part of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.

“I’m thankful that the sport of running is being recognized in and of itself. I’m not a multi-sport kind of a person; I run and I’m glad that’s being recognized,”Christopherson said. “I’m proud and honored to be recognized by peers and the community for the accomplishments I’ve had.”

Though he prefers to keep a low profile, Christopherson has gained a reputation as one of Alpena’s best distance runners during his long career.

He was the first Alpena (Michigan) runner to compete in the Boston Marathon and was the first Michigander to complete a renowned series of grueling 100-mile races.

Over the course of his career, Christopherson has completed 259 marathons and ultra-marathons.

“Running, to me, has always been personal, and it was only to test myself and what limits I might have,” he said.

While many athletes develop a passion for different sports at an early age, Christopherson’s love of running was born of inspiration. He watched Frank Shorter win the gold medal in the marathon at the 1972 Summer Olympics, a moment that’s credited with igniting the running boom in the U.S.

Christopherson and other Alpena runners also followed the career of marathoner Bill Rogers, who became a Superman-like figure in the running world in the 1970s. Between 1976 and 1980, Rogers won three consecutive Boston Marathons and four straight New York City Marathons.

What stuck out to Christopherson about Rogers and Shorter, aside from their accomplishments, was that they seemed like everyday people who just happened to be good at running.

“They’re not a whole lot different than us. They’re little, skinny guys and they can run,” Wayne said. “I latched on to, ‘Wow, that’s quite a distance. I wonder if I could.’ The next thing I knew, I was running longer distances and finding out what it was all about.”

It’s something that still drives Christopherson today as he continues to compete at age 70.

In 1986, Christopherson became Alpena’s first runner to compete in the Western States 100 in California, finishing in 23 hours, 17 minutes in his first attempt.

He completed the other three legs of the Big 4 in subsequent years–the Wasatch 100 (in Utah), the Old Dominion 100 (in Virginia) and the Leadville 100 (in Colorado). Christopherson was the first Michigander to complete all four.

Christopherson has never been afraid to challenge himself and his resume includes several other ultra-marathons, 33 Detroit Free Press Marathons, and more than 30 Bayshore Marathons in Traverse City. The Bayshore Marathon is a personal favorite, in part because it’s the site of his personal best time in a marathon: 2:45:13.

(05/07/2019) ⚡AMP
by James Andersen
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Bayshore Marathon

Bayshore Marathon

The Bayshore Marathon has become a “must run” for runners throughout the Midwest and beyond. Many runners return year after year to enjoy the scenic courses which run along the shores of beautiful Grand Traverse Bay. Hosted by Traverse City Track Club, Bayshore features a 10K, half marathon and full marathon. The number of runners in all three races is...

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Western States 100 course record holder Jim Walmsley makes Hong Kong debut

Hong Kong is in peak trail-running season, and one of the world’s champion runners, Jim Walmsley, has flown in for a series of events that will test his legendary speed and stamina.

Walmsley has set records for running across the Grand Canyon, smashed the Western States record, earned back to back titles as Ultrarunner of the Year, and is the world’s top ranked runner on ITRA. Despite this, he sets new goals tirelessly.

He is visiting Hong Kong primarily to compete in the Fast 50 Miles Ultra trail run: a gruelling 80km dash along a single trail from Route Twisk to Shing Mun and around the Shing Mun Reservoir, with about 2,500 meters of elevation.

(02/12/2019) ⚡AMP
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Jim Walmsley said that he could beat a 2:05 marathoner if they were matched up on a trail race

Jim Walmsley ran a 1:04:00 in the Houston Half-Marathon last Sunday (January 20).  Many people have been critical of his race and returned to comparing the trail and road running scenes in a futile attempt to try and identify which discipline is more difficult. 

Walmsley is an ultra and trail runner who’s the Western States 100 course record holder, and was formerly a high school and collegiate track runner (8:41.05 3,000m steeplechaser). Walmsley was ranked 23rd male on Sports Illustrated’s Fittest 50 athletes in 2018 (marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge ranked 21st) and is very well known for his accomplishments on the trails. 

His 1:04:00 at Houston qualified him for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials where he will run his marathon debut. As Walsmley straddles the boundary between ultra-trail runner and road runner, he’s become a focal point for the trail versus road argument.

Walmsley was a guest on the Citius Mag podcast the week following his half-marathon and was asked to address some of the comments. Here’s what he had to say regarding a 2:05 marathoner being thrown into the Western States Endurance Run.

“The way that I attack the downhills, I will break your quads and you won’t be able to jog the flats afterwards. Like, give me a 2:05 guy, a couple hours in the canyon (like at Western States) and I’ll be the first one out.”  

(01/26/2019) ⚡AMP
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Best Racing Moment of 2018 and My Best Runs 2019 World Best 100 Races were announced today

My Best Runs "Best Racing Moment in 2018" and the My Best Runs "2019 World Best 100 Races" were announced today in Mountain View, California at the My Best Runs (MBR) headquarters.

First on the agenda was the announcement of the 2018 Best Racing Moment. MBR founder Bob Anderson stated, "Eluid Kipchoge was all smiles as he crossed the finish line at the Berlin Marathon September 29." 

"He had just smashed the world marathon record clocking 2:01:39.  Eliud ran the last 17k without pacers, pushing himself, taking off one minute and 18 seconds off of Dennis Kimetto's record."

"The world has rarely seen one event so dominated by one man, Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge," says Bob who also was the founder of Runner's World magazine (1966) and publisher for 18 years.

Eliud has won many awards this year including World Athletes of the Year at the IAAF Awards.

Next up on the agenda was the annoucement of the 4th Annual My Best Runs 2019 World Best 100 Races. 

"There are so many good races in the world.  This list could easily be much bigger.  However, as we have done now for four years, we have narrowed it down to the top 100," stated Bob. 

The featured race at 44 of the best 100 are marathons.  There are 20 half marathons and 14 10ks.  There is the Western States 100 miler and the Comrades Ultra marathon in South Africa.

The shortest race is the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile in New York City.  The longest is the 156 mile Marathon Des Sables coming up March 5 in Morocco. 

Most offer prize money totally million of US dollars.  The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon coming up January 26 is offering $1,316,000.  This marathon which was first held in 2000 top four men at the 2018 race all ran under between 2:04:00 and 2:04:06.  Four women ran between 2:19:17 and 2:19:53.

"It is good to see over $21 million (from races MBR are featuring) in prize money being offered runners," says Bob.  "Running is what these runners do and the money is well deserved and important for our sport."

Of course the Berlin Marathon is one of our top 100 but so is the Valencia Half Marathon (Spain) where Abraham Kiptum broke the world half marathon record in the 2018 race by clocking 58:18. 

The Birell 10k Race in Prague, CZE also made the list again for the 4th year. 18-year-old Phonex Kipruto from Kenya clocked 26:46 while Caroline Kipkirui clocked 30:19.  "This is one fast evening race and obviously belongs on our top 100 list," stated Bob.

The list has races from 23 different countries. 

"You can not go wrong in running any of these races," says Bob Anderson. "Your biggest challenge in many of these races will be to be able to be on the starting line. But if you can get in, you will have a blast."

(12/19/2018) ⚡AMP
by My Best Runs
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Britain’s UTMB CCC winner Tom Evans will make his Western States 100 debut next June

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The legendary Rob Krar of Flagstaff, Arizona (originally from Hamilton, Ont.), has won yesterday’s Leadville 100, the 100-mile ultra in the Colorado Rockies. His time was 15:51:57. Krar is only the second person to have run the course in under 16 hours. Ryan Kaiser of Bend, Oregon was second, in 17:37:23, and Seth Kelly of Golden, Colorado was third, in 18:15:29. Started in 1983, the Leadville 100 is a 161K trail race through the Colorado Rockies, hitting 3840-metre peaks, earning it the nickname “the race across the sky.” In 2014, Krar ran Western States, Leadville and Run Rabbit Run in the span of just 11 weeks. He won all three. Krar came within 30 minutes of setting the course record with his 2014 win, finishing in 16:09:32. (08/20/2018) ⚡AMP
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Dave Mackey decided to have his Leg amputated in 2016 and today still runs Ultras

In 2016, Dave Mackey decided to have his own leg amputated so he could continue a remarkable ultrarunning career. On May 23, 2015, Dave Mackey went for one of his regular runs, 13 miles up three mountains that skirt Boulder, Colorado: South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, and Green Mountain. The two-time Ultrarunner of the Year was training for the Western States Endurance Race in California, one of the premier 100-mile races in the country. His ultrarunning resume also includes several course records, and he once set the fastest known time of Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim, a run from one rim of the Grand Canyon to the other, and back, that covers 41 miles and more than 10,000 feet of elevation gain. The run is a bucket list item for many endurance athletes. Around 12 hours is considered an impressive accomplishment — Mackey did it in under seven. On that May run high up on Bear Peak, Mackey stepped on a boulder that dislodged under his foot. He fell from the ridge and the boulder pinned his left leg. Nearby hikers heard Mackey’s calls for help and were able to get the 300-pound boulder off. And though he suffered compound fractures in his left tibia and fibula, it appeared that his leg could be saved. But for the following year and a half, Mackey was waylaid due to constant pain and endless surgeries. Anxious to get back to competing, one of the world’s best runners decided in October 2016 that he would be better off having his leg amputated from the knee down. Mackey, at 48 years old, has come back strong. Since June 15, 2018, he has been competing in the Leadman — a five-event competition that includes a trail marathon, a 100-mile mountain bike ride, a 50-mile trail run or mountain bike ride, a 10-kilometer trail run, and a 100-mile trail run, all on extreme terrain and elevation that exceeds 12,000 feet. On August 18, he is running the Leadville Trail 100 Run.  (08/18/2018) ⚡AMP
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Canadian trail ultrarunner Adam Campbell has withdrawn from the Hardrock 100

Eleven days before the race, Canadian trail ultrarunner Adam Campbell has withdrawn from this year’s Hardrock 100. The celebrated runner had a near-fatal mountain fall in 2016, breaking his back and pelvis and suffering numerous other injuries. This spring, less than two years later, Campbell finished third at the Lijiang Skyview Adventure in China. Campbell says he pulled out for various reasons having to do with a combination of his busy travel schedule, he is leading run clinics in Chamonix and Squamish, the resultant lack of training, and family obligations. “I respect the race too much to do it undertrained,” says Campbell. Campbell’s withdrawal yesterday made it possible for Jeff Browning of Bend, Oregon to move from the waitlist to the start list. Browning was fifth at Western States late last month, and could be a serious contender at Hardrock, certainly in terms of the “double,” for which he holds the record, set in 2016. (07/11/2018) ⚡AMP
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Jim Walmsley breaks the Western States 100 record by over 15 minutes on a baking hot day

We posted on Tuesday that even with the forecasted hot weather, Jim Walmsley was going to break the course record set in 2012 by Timothy Olsen who clocked 14:46:44. 

For two years now, Walmsley’s public declaration that he will not only try and break the famous 100-mile course record but trim more than 45 minutes off it has bought him massive attention. 

Fast forward to this year's race.  Jim hit the 85.2 mile mark in 12 hours 16 minutes.  Could he hold on for 15 more miles? The temperature in Auburn, California where the race finishes at 6pm was 96 degrees. 

That was still a lot of miles in that kind of heat.  At Pointed Rocks (94.3 miles) he was still trying to hold it together.  He ran 10:50 pace for that 3.7 mile split.  It was hot.  Meanwhile Courtney Dauwalter continued to lead the women hitting 79.8 miles in 13 hours 48 minutes. Course records were still possible. 

Jim passed the 96.8 mile check point at No Hands Bridge and ran right on through without stopping.  He was 14 minutes ahead of the course record still. 

Courtney was 33 minutes ahead of course record at mile 80 with Lucy Bartholomew in second place some miles back. Frenchman Francois Dhaene was in second place at 90.7 miles about an hour behind the leader.  

Reliable reports told I Run Far that Jim was delayed for about ten minutes by a bear with cubs along the trail at around 95 miles.  He passed the Robie Point check point (98.9 miles) running 8:11 pace now knowing he was going to finally win the Western States 100 and maybe still set the course record. 

He kept it together and went on to win clocking 14:30:04 on a baking hot day, taking over 15 minutes off the course record.  

(06/23/2018) ⚡AMP
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Is the Western States 100 record going to fall this weekend?

The 2018 Western States 100 kicks off at 5 a.m. PDT on Saturday, June 23rd in Olympic Valley, California before covering the 100 miles to the city of Auburn. Western States is the world’s oldest 100-mile trail race.  In the decades since its inception in 1974, WS has come to represent one of the ultimate endurance tests in the world.  For this year Jim Walmsley plans to go slow and steady, having blown up in the sapping heat last year when chasing the record. “I still think this year I won’t be far from it [the record],” Walmsley told the South China Morning Post. “I am trying to be more conservative, but if there is a special day or special effort than I’ll have to go for it in the end.” For two years now, Walmsley’s public declaration that he will not only try and break the famous 100-mile (161-kilometre) course record but trim more than 45 minutes off it has bought him massive attention. But on the American runner’s 2016 attempt a wrong turn ruined his chances and in 2017 he failed to pace himself correctly in hot conditions.  The current record is held by American Timothy Olson, set in 2012 at 14 hours, 46 minutes and 44 seconds. (06/19/2018) ⚡AMP
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Francois d’Haene, is a favorite at Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run

Present on the Ultra Trail World Tour World Tour since 2014, this ultra-marathon of 161 kilometers and 6,000 vertical meters is one of the main ultrarunning events of the season. The Western States Endurance Run qualifies for the UTWT. But who will win this event?. On the 2018 edition, the names known and recognized will not fail. As favorite François D'Haene  from France 32 years old and Second participation for French on the ultra Californian marathon and he is appearing as the main favorite. In fact, his track record speaks for him: 3 victories on the Ultra-Trail of Mont Blanc, 2 on the Grand Raid and other very prestigious on the Ultra Trail of Mount Fuji, Hong Kong 100 or Madeira Island Ultra Trail. (06/14/2018) ⚡AMP
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Alex Nichols ready for Vibram Hong Kong 100k

Alex Nichols is in Hong Kong! He’s starting his 2018 racing season off early with the Vibram Hong Kong 100k. Alex Nichols of Colorado Springs was second (and top American) at Western States and third at the highly competitive Grand Trail des Templiers in France. He also won the Black Canyon 100K. "The guy puts his head down and puts in one solid performance after the next, all without any hype," says Meghan Hicks (I Run Far website) (01/24/2018) ⚡AMP
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Ultra Running Picture Of the Year 2017

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