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Articles tagged #Western States
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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western States 100

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western States 100

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

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New Racing Rules Remove Some Barriers for Transgender Runners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western States 100

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(06/21/2019) ⚡AMP
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Western States 100

Western States 100

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

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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

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

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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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