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Articles tagged #ultra marathon
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Grandma, Pamela Chapman Markl, 64, is breaking ultra marathons records

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rocky Raccoon 100 mile

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

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Women are not only finishing ultra marathon races they are winning some of them

According to conventional wisdom and most of the sport’s history, women should not win ultraendurance events — ever — when competing against men. But they are.

Three big wins in the past few months have put women’s performance in the longest and most difficult sporting events on the planet firmly in the spotlight. In September, American athlete Sarah Thomas, a cancer survivor, became the first person to swim the English Channel four times without stopping, spending 54 hours in the water and covering 134 miles. In August, German cyclist Fiona Kolbinger won the 2,500-mile nonstop Transcontinental Race across Europe and in January, British runner Jasmin Paris won one of the toughest running races there is, the Spine, a 268-mile jaunt across Britain’s backbone in winter, while breastfeeding her baby.

The proportion of women in ultramarathons was very low at the beginning of the ultrarunning movement. Records began for U.S. 100-mile ultramarathons in the late 1970s, and the proportion of women was basically zero. Now it’s steady at 20 percent. And not only are women running, but they’re winning. 

That’s a record for women in the sport. Still, some prominent ultra gatekeepers don’t think women’s participation will equal success across the board.

Women are winning increasingly frequently. Badwater, the Spine, the Moab 240 — the list of big ultramarathons women have crushed goes on, and it’s not just a matter of winning against a weaker male field than usual. When Paris won the Spine in January, running 268 miles from England to Scotland, she smashed the course record by over 12 hours.

Physically, men hold most of the cards: better V02 Max, which measures the rate at which your body can take in and use oxygen, larger hearts, larger muscle mass, better body mass index ratios and stronger and (usually) longer bones. But women do have some advantages: They’re more efficient than men at converting glycogen to energy. Glycogen is the secondary source of fuel used when glucose levels drop, so basically women can access and burn fat better. They also store fat better, itself an advantage because it means they can draw on those stores during punishing longer races.

Psychologically, too, men don’t have an obvious edge over women. Let’s start with pain: If you’re running long distances, you’re likely to experience pain. Despite a popular myth that women have a higher pain threshold than men, studies show that in fact women feel pain more quickly. This works to their advantage in ultras, as a quick response to pain means that they can locate and treat small problems like the onset of blisters early in the race. Also, when women feel pain, brain studies have shown that they mobilize emotion-processing parts of the brain to deal with it and so can train themselves to overcome it, whereas male brains more often use threat-control circuits, giving them increased adrenaline and awareness — but tiring them out faster.

“Science doesn’t really back up anecdotal theories about childbirth making women stronger endurance runners,” says psychologist and keen marathoner Sian Williams, but she adds that there is evidence that women can be better at pacing themselves. A 2015 analysis of more than 90,000 marathon results for 14 races suggested both sexes slowed by the second half, but men more so than women. The study, published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, suggested that men’s early burst of speed is linked to competitive behavior but causes issues in the latter part of the race. “Perhaps the psychology of ego and risk plays as much a part as physiology in lasting the distance,” Williams concludes.

That psychology of risk emerges also in the way the sexes handle sleep deprivation. Men have the physical advantage: They need less sleep than women by an average of 20 minutes. But men and women have diametrically opposed reactions to lack of sleep: Men’s behavior becomes riskier, and women’s more risk-averse — also an advantage in an ultramarathon, which requires alertness, night navigation and injury management. In what could be the clincher, women have been found to become more selfish and ego-driven with lack of sleep, mimicking typical male behaviors and increasing competitive will, which could give them a final push toward the end of an ultra.

Elisabet Barnes is a two-time women’s champion of the Marathon des Sables, a 251-mile race across the Sahara Desert. She’s also won ultras outright, including Australia’s Big Red Run. For her, the key is less about biology and more about attitude — such runs require “leaving the ego behind, planning all aspects of the race meticulously and having a spiritual presence, leveraging the elements and working with them … rather than fighting the harsh environment,” she says This, she notes, may be easier for female participants.

Though the men have a clear advantage physically, female behaviors can disproportionately benefit them in the long and tough races. That could come in handy for the top ultra women who are setting their sights on that “overall winner” title. Even in the iconic Barkley — where many female running luminaries have tried and failed — 2020 could be the year for that elusive female first.

(11/09/2019) ⚡AMP
by Alice Morrison
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Chris Dunn-Veale, 46, runs 856km, completed nine ultra-marathons, with one race 106km long, seven 100km long, and one 50km

Chris said it felt "really good" to have completed the challenge.

He added: "It was amazing. I still can't quite get over it."Just talking about it doesn't seem real.

"I actually ended up doing 860km, because the last race added an extra 4km due to horrendous weather!".

The feat was part of Chris' wider Challenge 10,000 - which began in 2017 - to raise cash for the charity Epilepsy Research UK, which he is a ambassador of - after losing one of his friends to the condition.

Chris began his ultra marathon challenge back in May on the Isle of Wight, and it saw him traverse some of the toughest running areas of the country, including The Jurassic Coast, parts of the Cotswolds, the Peak District, and Beachy Head.

The final race was last weekend.

Chris also wanted to give a big thanks to Matt Chappell and Charlie Blake, and Evolve Health.

He said: "They have really looked after me so well throughout the challenge, and they were absolutely amazing.

"They really kept me going, they helped me recover and stay fit, and sponsored me throughout.

"I want to thank everyone at Evolve Health, a lot".

Chris's Challenge 10,000 is still running, with the Epilepsy Research Charity Goal Challenge continuing to raise funds.

Clubs across Salisbury, and from as far as Bognor Regis to Weston-super-Mare, will donate £3.50 every time a certain player scores or keeps a clean sheet.

(10/03/2019) ⚡AMP
by Benjamin Paessler
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How Much Do Tennis Players Run Per Match?

How far does a professional tennis player actually run during a match? It sure looks like a lot of work chasing balls back and forth along the baseline.

Well, according to data that IBM and SI.com teamed up to track and publish data from the 2015 Australian Open, it varies depending on playing style.

The research reveals that, among the top men, David Ferrer (photo), who is known for his speed and agility, covers the most distance. Through three rounds of the tournament, Ferrer had run approximately 10,000 meters or 6.2 miles, which is particularly impressive when you consider how tiny a tennis court is (27 feet wide for singles).

On the other end of the spectrum, top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who was forced to stop due to a shoulder injury in this year’s tournament, had covered less than half that distance, somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 meters or about 2.5 to 3.1 miles through three rounds of play.

SI.com reports that this is because Djokovic tends to play closer to the baseline, while Ferrer plays farther back. It’s also worth pointing out that the length of each game, set, and match will affect how long the match goes—the longer the set or match, the more running required.

A similar analysis conducted at the 2014 U.S. Open found that Caroline Wozniacki ran more than twice as far as Serena Williams (9,709 meters or around 6 miles for Wozniacki, and 4,509 meters or 2.8 miles for Williams) to make it to the final. Williams defeated Wozniacki in the 2014 final, but Wozniacki famously put all that running to good use two months later when she ran her first marathon, New York City, in 3:26:33. This year, Williams proves you don’t need to run all that much to win as she advances to the 2019 U.S. Open Women’s Final this weekend.

Wozniacki isn’t the only top tennis player to be marathon-curious. Both Djokovic and Andy Murray have expressed interest in running a marathon after retirement. But for Federer and Williams, it’s a hard pass for now—both feeling that they are not suited for the distance.

Because of the high-intensity of tennis, playing a few matches will help your cardio capacity. “It’s very intense. You are conditioning. It's a very hard workout and allows you to stay in shape,” says Kevin Vincent, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the University of Florida Running Medicine Clinic. Plus, running is an activity performed primarily on the sagittal plane of motion, which includes front-to-back movements like walking. By incorporating tennis into your training, you will benefit from the lateral or side-to-side movements.

That said, your legs still take a beating, and it can cause injury. The biggest risk to worry about? Calf and hamstring injuries, says Darrin Bright, M.D., OhioHealth sports medicine doctor and ultra marathoner. “If your foot catches or you plant wrong, you could get muscle strains. Tennis elbow is common among tennis players, but I primarily see acute muscles strains,” Bright says.

Ultimately. it’s fine to play (not to mention fun!), and may help strengthen your body and balance your leg muscles, just don’t try to rally on long run days or when you do a hard workout.

(09/21/2019) ⚡AMP
by Runners World
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Abbott has announced a new partnership with the Longford Marathon to become the title sponsor for the race in 2019

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

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

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

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

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

(08/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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Longford Marathon

Longford Marathon

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

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Amarjeet Singh Chawla lost his eyesight by age 40 but runs marathons to bring awareness about avoidable blindness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(08/07/2019) ⚡AMP
by Shalaka Shinde
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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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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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Two Words That Can Really Help Your Marathon Training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(06/18/2019) ⚡AMP
by Charlie
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Four runners from India are eyeing a place in the 2019 IAU 24-Hour World Ultra Marathon Championship to be held in France in October

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(06/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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A brand new urban ultra marathon challenge is going to take place in the heart of London

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

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

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

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

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

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

(06/14/2019) ⚡AMP
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South African Gerda Steyn shattered the course record at Comrades as Camille had to drop out due to hamstring issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(06/09/2019) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

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

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William Sichel has become the first person to run the 500 plus miles of Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66

An exhausted former cancer patient from Orkney, Scotland has become the first person to run the 500 plus miles of Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66.

Pensioner William Sichel completed the circular North Coast 500 mile tourist route in northern Scotland when he ran into Inverness at around 2am on Monday.

The route has been hailed as one of the greatest drives in the world but has never been run before.

William started at Inverness Castle in Scotland on April 13, with the goal of finishing the iconic route, solo, in eight days.  His official time was 8 days, 19 hours, 7 minutes and 7 seconds.

It took him to the west coast, up to Cape Wrath, through Caithness, through Tain and then down the east coast, to finally complete the loop in Inverness.

“I completed a recce run on the whole course in November last year when I was driven around the whole route, which is actually 518.7 miles and ran for up to three hours a day to get a feel for the area," William said.

“Following that experience I decided to have a go at running the whole thing.”

“I am completely drained. I haven’t slept for 21 hours but I made it in under nine days,” said William at the end of the run.

“It was incredibly demanding in every sense – mentally and physically. We made it – thanks to the team, it was a team effort. I’m now just looking forward to my bed.

“I was running into head winds at times but overall I got lucky with the weather. I had a lot of support. I was amazed how it caught on with people as I went round. I hadn’t expected that at all.”

William has completed 107 ultra marathons since 1994. Last summer he ran the Self Transcendence 3,100 Mile race in New York – the world’s longest certified footrace.

No one had previously run the North Coast 500 route although cyclist James McCallum, completed the route in 31 hours in 2016.

 

(04/23/2019) ⚡AMP
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3100 Mile Race

3100 Mile Race

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

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Meet Cactus the dog who just ran one of the world’s toughest races, the Marathon des Sables

A dog has become the first canine to cross the finishing line at one of the world’s toughest ultra marathons.

The hound, nicknamed Cactus, wandered onto the course on day two of the Marathon des Sables in Morocco.

He began following competitors in the 251-kilometre, six-day endurance race in the sweltering Sahara Desert.

‘Cactus’ finished the second stage, then the third and fourth. Organisers tweeted on Friday to say he had crossed the finishing line.

Runners welcomed their four-legged competitor and cheered him on as he trudged with them on his self-inflicted jaunt. He also rested with them and ate and drank in their company.

Owner Karen Hadfield took to social media to say that he is a nomad dog and regularly runs 40-km a day in the area.

Pictures emerged on Saturday of organisers and competitors bidding ‘Cactus’ farewell as Karen came to collect him.

(04/14/2019) ⚡AMP
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Marathon Des Sables

Marathon Des Sables

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

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Defending champions Kenyan Justin Kemboi Chesire and local favorite Gerda Steyn are hoping to successfully defend their titles at Two Oceans

A quality field of top local and international elite athletes will take part in this year's Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town on Saturday April 20.

Defending champions Kenyan Justin Kemboi Chesire (3:09:22) and local favourite Gerda Steyn (3:39:32), both from Nedbank Running Club, will be hoping to successfully defend their titles.

Steyn is training with an end goal of Comrades in mind, and with the Easter weekend being that much later this year, it might be a tough task to pull off both wins.

Chesire's training has been going according to plan but he can expect some tough competition from a quality field of ultra runners who have all been training to win.

His fellow countryman Abraham Kiprotich, who boasts the fastest marathon of the entire field (2:10 at the Istanbul Marathon late last year), will be running his first ultra marathon and it will be an interesting test to see how he fares over the last 14km with the Constantia Nek climb part of this last section.

Another popular Maxed Elite runner, Zimbabwean Prodigal Khumalo, is back running after a foot injury had him sidelined since December last year. Khumalo has chosen to run the 24km trail event.

Joining this strong field of male runners is local trail legend Ryan Sandes. He has switched from running the trail event for this year, to running his first 56km ultra event. Sandes is hoping to add the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon to his illustrious list of achievements.

(04/03/2019) ⚡AMP
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Two Oceans Marathon

Two Oceans Marathon

Cape Town’s most prestigious race, the 56km Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, takes athletes on a spectacular course around the Cape Peninsula. It is often voted the most breathtaking course in the world. The event is run under the auspices of the IAAF, Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Western Province Athletics (WPA). The Ultra Marathon celebrates its 50thanniversary in...

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Dave Chamberlain is running the Two Oceans ultra marathon 50 times in 50 days that's 2800km

As if running the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon isn’t an astonishing enough feat, one man has taken on an epic challenge to run it 50 times in the 50 days leading up to the race.

Dave Chamberlain is celebrating the Two Oceans’ 50th anniversary by running the race 50 times over - totalling a mind-blowing 2800km.

He's already clocked up 25 of the 50 runs, putting more than 1400km behind him.  Determination keeps him going.

“I think it’s just pigheaded stubbornness,” Chamberlain said.

“I have a belief that this project is within the realm of most people, so I feel I have to prove it. I’d be disappointed in myself if I didn’t.”

He’s doing the 50-50-50 challenge in aid of BirdLife South Africa, raising funds for the African Penguin Relocation Project.

It is not Chamberlain’s first crazy long-distance challenge.  The Pretoria-born athlete has run the length of Argentina, crossed Canada and run through the Namibian desert to Port Elizabeth.

To tackle this latest endurance adventure, he wakes up every morning at 4.30am, and focuses on eating a carb-rich breakfast before getting his run started at 6am in Newlands.

“I don’t worry about tomorrow or day 30, otherwise I’d do my head in,” he said. “Days 4, 5 and 6 are awful, as your body is getting used to it. Everything is inflamed, and your tendons feel like they want to snap.

“Then the body learns how to adapt and ups its efficiency at dealing with all the waste products.”  Once your body gets used to the demands of running an ultra marathon over and over, he said that each day’s run becomes active recovery from the day before.

“The body actually heals itself while you’re running,” he said.  Approaching the halfway mark this week, Chamberlain said he was feeling physically strong, but running the same loop every day was taking its toll psychologically.

“I feel like my body has adapted to the distance, it’s holding up much better than anticipated,” he said.

“It’s going to be a test of the mind. The boredom is going to be my biggest threat.”

(03/28/2019) ⚡AMP
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Two Oceans Marathon

Two Oceans Marathon

Cape Town’s most prestigious race, the 56km Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, takes athletes on a spectacular course around the Cape Peninsula. It is often voted the most breathtaking course in the world. The event is run under the auspices of the IAAF, Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Western Province Athletics (WPA). The Ultra Marathon celebrates its 50thanniversary in...

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High school student Jack Davison is running the Marathon Des Sables 251-km six-day run, through the African desert in southern Morocco.

Jack Davison is confident taking on this Marathon Des Sables Challenge. Just 15 years old he was the youngest runner to complete two ultras in 2018. 

The first was the Fuerteventura Des Sables half marathon on the Canary Islands in September. Davison really didn’t know whether he could complete the 120k ordeal on the Spanish archipelago, which is just off the African coast but he did. 

“I went in with an open mind,” he said.

“It was an amazing accomplishment.”

It is believed to be a world record for the youngest ultra marathoner. If not, it is certainly a world-class accomplishment.

The terrain was rocky and hilly, “they love to make you run up hills,” and the temperatures were over 100F degrees. 

The wind blew constantly. The organizers furnished the runners with tents, pitched on a sandy beach next to the ocean. However the wind never stopped blowing, and he remembers the sounds of the tents flapping the entire night.

When he got to the Ica Desert in Peru last month, he was more prepared for what lay ahead.

“I knew what to expect, but I always get pretty nervous before a run.”

There were no tourist buses where they were going, and military vehicles transported the runners for about 12 hours before they got to the starting line.

Running in a sandy desert presented its own challenges. Consider that professional athletes run on sand to make their training more challenging. The was one sandy hill, almost a kilometer long, that he won’t soon forget.

“It took me an hour to run up that sand dune,” he recalls.

He enjoyed the social side of running, meeting people from around the world out to conquer the same goal.

Davison wasn’t in the money, but he finished in the top one-quarter – about 350 in Spain and 400-plus in Peru. He was satisfied with that.

“I went there each time just trying to complete it.”

Surprisingly, Davison doesn’t train with a lot of distance running. He is a provincial calibre tennis player, and his main fitness regimen is spending about 25 hours each week running around a court.

But he is no stranger to distance runs.

His father Aaron is also an ultra marathoner. Aaron has completed the full Marathon Des Sables three times, and will attempt it this year at the age of 51. 

Like his father, Jack finds an incredible sense of achievement in these feats of endurance.

At his age, Jack is not even allowed to run in marathons in Canada, where the minimum age is 18. But he didn’t think it hurt him in any way. After the Canary Islands marathon he rested for about a week.

But last month when he got back from Peru, he found his mom had enrolled him in a tennis tournament, so he only had a few days of rest before he was back in action. He finished second in the tourney.

His tennis coach isn’t crazy about his marathoning, but Davison also plans to complete that epic 251k marathon across the Sahara in Morocco April 5. 

“That will be the highlight of my life so far,” he says. 

(01/10/2019) ⚡AMP
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Marathon Des Sables

Marathon Des Sables

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

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My Love Affair with Central Park started 40 years ago tonight - Larry Allen on Running File 5

If you want a useful guide for running in Central Park this isn’t that. There is plenty of concise information available online and all of it will do a far better job telling you exactly how to go for a run in New York City’s favorite 840 acre backyard.

If you want to know about beginning a long term relationship with New York City and running in Central Park, this is my story.

My first run in the park was on December 29, 1978. I was in college on the GI Bill and had taken my slightly unreliable but fun-to-drive MGB from Maine to Florida over Christmas break.

I didn’t want to think about the trip back north. Hitchhiking was still an option in those days if my car gave out but it surely was not what I wanted.

I was already a veteran of two marathons and was ramping up my mileage for the Boston Marathon the following April. I had a glorious couple of weeks of running in the technicolor light and warmth of south Florida and while there even managed to meet Frank Shorter.

I ran twice a day including a couple of two hour runs, went to empty beaches to bask in sunny 60 degree days while bundled up locals looked on, amused and mystified.

All in all it was a great time, went quickly and too soon I was starting the long drive back to Maine.

A couple of uneventful days on the road brought me back to the NJ turnpike two days before New Year Eve. In the fading light of a cold, clear winter afternoon I pulled into a service plaza for gas.

My plan was to continue driving on through the night for the last 500 plus miles vs. spending money I didn’t have for a roadside motel room. A “you are here” map in the foyer of the restroom surprised me with my close proximity to NYC.

The next thing I remember is rummaging through the stuff in my car for an address book with the phone number of a longtime summer friend from Maine who spent the balance of his life on upper west side of New York.

I searched between the seats for change to make a call on a pay phone and was fortunate that my friend even answered. He graciously said I could crash for the night.

I’d never even been into NYC proper and the prospects for the evening were exciting if not a little intimidating.

I finally made it safely down from the high bridge over the Hudson River into the city and found a place to park near Grant’s Tomb on Riverside Drive, a few blocks west of my friend’s apartment not far from Columbia University.

I made the wise choice to schlep all of my stuff to the apartment for fear that the patched convertible top and dodgy locks of my car wouldn’t deter anyone in 1970s NYC, from breaking in looking for anything of value.

I said a quick hello and thank you to my friend on arrival but needed a run before I could eat or do anything else. He understood and gave me directions to Central Park and showed me how to buzz myself back into his high rise building.

Running down Broadway entailed dodging and weaving along hopelessly crowded evening sidewalks, scents from all manner of ethnic food wafting as I made my way through the 20 red lights, one per block, for a mile.

Eventually a left turn, to the east for a few more blocks to enter the park around 100th St at Central Park West.

The park was dark and cold, full of energy but it oddly felt peaceful too. The air was filled with different smells; diesel bus fumes, horse manure, musty fallen leaves, street pretzels, roasted nuts and yes, adrenaline, some of it mine.

Traffic hadn’t been banned from the park drives in the evening yet so it was full of yellow cabs and giant 70s era sedans moving slowly in heavy evening traffic.

I looked around for a landmark, something to remember so I could find my way back out of the park onto the same street in hopes of finding my way back to my friend’s place through what felt like barely contained chaos on the city streets.

I took note of a broken, graffiti covered park bench in this far less than gentrified version of the city. It seemed memorable enough and I guess it was.

Inside the park there was a lane for running. Parallel were two traffic lanes around what I’d been told was a six mile loop circling the park just inside the perimeter.

In spite of the hummock and pot-hole filled streets, particularly in the nearly bankrupt version of the city at the time, I recall the park drives being remarkably smooth pavement.

I turned right, running downtown on the west side.  The rolling hills also seemed more downhill than up too, something I confirmed in years and miles to come.

At first it was a gentle contained pace, working out the stiffness in my legs and back after a day long drive from North Carolina on a bad suspension and the hard seats in my car.

The grade of the rolling hills and gently winding turns in the park seemed worn-in to the landscape. It felt perfect for running, almost carved into the city like the equivalent of glacial wear but from the mass of some number of the eight million city residents using the park day after day.

Making my way down the west side for a mile offered peeks through the leafless trees and scenic overlooks of the lights and architecture of pre war apartment buildings forming what appeared to be a tall, impenetrable wall along the avenue fronting the park.

Periodically there were glimpses further downtown to the iconic skyscrapers in midtown. The Empire State Building and Chrysler Building most familiar amongst a forest of others that seemed just as big if not as well known.

I simply didn’t want to stop running, the pull was almost magnetic, my tempo gradually increasing around the next corner or over the next hill, all just to see what was ahead.

It was all a bit like a party that you didn’t want to leave for fear of missing something good that might happen.

Just before reaching a first opportunity to choose between veering left from the main park drive or continuing straight toward the high rises of midtown; I went by what, in a few years, would be renamed Strawberry Fields.  It was in honor of John Lennon; murdered not far away at the entrance to his building, the Dakota, which overlooks the park here.

The park is a perfect rectangle, slightly off of an exact north to south axis extending from 110th St to 59th St., 2.5 miles on each side and slightly over .75 mile between 5th Avenue on the east side and Central Park West on the other.

Years later I learned that the cutoff (or shortcut) I had seen and gone by at 72nd St and another I hadn’t reached yet at 102nd St made for a seemingly endless variety of options for creating and running multiples of loops of 2, 4, 5 miles and of course the full 6 mile circuit.

The New York Road Runners used the counterclockwise 6+ miles of the full park four times plus the slightly less than two mile loop from the bottom of the park to 72nd St for the 26 miles 385 yards for the 55 finishers of first New York Marathon in 1970.

The marathon still uses the park, but only about half of it for part of the final three miles of the race.

I read somewhere that 20,000 people run in Central Park on an average day. There are days and seasons during the year when that number seems high but other days and times during the year when it is certainly low. I guess that’s what they mean by average.

There are over 30 races in Central Park every year. Most hosted by the New York Road Runners Club and a few by other organizations.

Nearly all have thousands of participants, racing distances ranging from a 1 mile kids race to a 60k ultra marathon. Some with top invited international and American stars, some simply very large competitive local races. Every one a variation in the options for running loops in the park.

I continued running through the park, next past a big open meadow on the left, learning later that it was the 15 acre Sheep’s Meadow.

It has been a historic spot for protests over the past 100 years, up to 30,000 sunbathers on a nice day and 150,000 for a Barbra Streisand concert in the 1960s and yes sheep, from the 1860s until the 1930s.

Adjacent to the finish line of the marathon at Tavern on the Green the meadow also was a post race staging area for a few years.

22 months after my first run in the park I was back here, finishing my first marathon in New York. My last run up the hill to that familiar finish line was 32 years later.

The buildings along the southern edge of the park loom up just a few hundred yards away from the marathon finish. Columbus Circle marks one of the four corners of the park here and is a block from where I lived for 10 years when I finally moved to the city.

Almost every day was a 15 minute walk home from work at MoMA for me, dogs out for a walk and then into the park for an evening run. Sometimes clockwise, up the westside, the opposite direction of my first run.

Often I ran the same counterclockwise direction I was running that night. Across the bottom of the park to the east side, the legendary Plaza Hotel, the Central Park Zoo and the Wollman Skating rink anchoring the corner on that side.

I saw the familiar sign for the Essex House hotel along the way on my first run in the park that night and invariably still take a glance up at it on every run 40 years later.

Turning back north on the east side of the park led me up a gentle hill through dramatic exposed rock outcroppings of Manhattan’s bedrock schist. Apparently something which allowed New York to more easily build foundations for it’s famous skyscrapers over the last century.

I ran past playgrounds, the 100 year old children’s carousel and about a mile beyond Columbus Circle, to the other end of the 72nd St cutoff.

In years ahead it became a familiar corner. Nearby is the start and finish for the New Years Eve 4 mile race in the park, starting at the stroke of midnight with fireworks. 

The corner is also near the start of one of the bigger hills in the park, this one known among local runners as “cat hill”. Midway up the 1/4 mile climb is a sculpture of a life sized and menacing mountain lion, seemingly ready to pounce from a natural stone overhang directly over the runner’s lane.

It was too dark to see the cat that night but is familiar enough now. Cat hill is a popular place for training for some of the dozens of running clubs that meet up and use the park for weekly group training sessions.

A couple of minutes more led me past what I didn’t know at the time was the back of the massive Metropolitan Museum of Art. Around it and closer to 5th Avenue for another half mile brought me near a building I did recognize, Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmark cylindrical Guggenheim Museum.

The nearby entrance to the park would become familiar later as the place where the marathon enters the park for the last 2.5 miles of the race headed back in the direction from which I’d just come.

The summer after my first NY marathon and having entering my 2nd, there was a fundraising appeal in my race confirmation. The NYRR was trying to raise money to purchase a six story Beaux Arts townhouse just opposite the Guggenheim for one million dollars.

They were successful and for 36 years it served as headquarters, clubhouse and place to pick up bibs for their many races. It was listed for sale this past year for 25 million dollars as they apparently need something fancier and/or bigger.

Nearby is a statue of the late, charismatic leader of the NYRR, Fred Lebow. His vision arguably responsible for the explosive growth of urban marathons around the world for decades. His likeness stands looking at a stopwatch, appearing to be silently calling out time splits to runners just inside the park.

The entrance of the 1.5 mile long reservoir running path is there too, named for Jacquelin Kennedy Onassis, a nearby resident for decades, she was known to jog on the scenic cinder path and reportedly was even seen wearing long white formal evening dress gloves on cool days.

At the reservoir it felt like I had run between 5-6 miles, I knew it was six around the park but then maybe 10 minutes more to and from my friends place.

I was moving along briskly, feeling good but thinking I should get back but had reached the point where it made more sense to continue on vs. turning back. Maybe three miles to go.

Just 1/4 mile past the flat straight section along the reservoir the drive started down a hill and turned toward the center of the park from the perimeter. I felt a change. There were fewer street lights, less traffic and not as many people around. It all seemed a bit more ominous.

A half mile further brought me to the 2nd cutoff between the east side and the west. This one at 102nd St. It was very dark, narrow and almost foreboding.

In 1989 this section of the park, down the hill from the reservoir to the 102nd St cutoff became notorious as the site of a series of “wilding” gang assaults on a number of runners and pedestrians over one hour on a frightening night that April. It culminated in the vicious assault and rape of the “Central Park jogger” on the cutoff road I was passing.

Even 11 years prior to that night it felt dangerous. Today most runners and running clubs practice a buddy system when running at night in the park as a result of what happened in 1989.

There is a prominent police presence in this area and thankfully crime in the city and the park has declined precipitously too.

In all of my thousands of miles in the park over the years, many at night, I’ve never personally experienced a threat or even witnessed one and I’m grateful for that.

The almost kaleidoscopic park quickly changes again at the far north end. The park drive quickly snakes through a steep S shaped descent with high bluffs overhead on one side and an open high view of Harlem on the other; the Meer waters and the Conservatory Gardens in the foreground.

The far north end of the park remains the most natural with unspoiled ravines, dramatic rock faces, waterfalls and streams all tucked away.

On runs here I’ve seen families of raccoons crossing the road at night and hawks swoop down for unsuspecting squirrels during the day but nothing of the sort on this particular night.

Midway down the hill brought me past a large skating rink outfitted for youth hockey. I learned later that it does double duty as a community pool in the summer.

Now at the north edge of the park I could see into Harlem. I made the turn, running to the west. Just outside the park were dilapidated tire changing shops, gas stations, boarded up windows, burned out cars and a trash can with a makeshift bonfire offering warmth to a few men huddled around.

Continuing on, anticipating a turn to the south to complete my circuit of the park it quickly became evident that I was going to climb a good hill.

Runners in NY refer to this climb with some dread as THE Harlem Hill, it climbs about 150 ft in half a mile and then just as quickly drops down again. I wasn’t far beyond where it leveled out again and suddenly on my right, there it was!  

The familiar broken, graffiti covered bench that I’d decided to use as part of my trail of bread crumbs when I entered the park.

Not much had changed on the surface. Traffic had lessened somewhat as the evening rush was concluding. The smells were the same but had become permanently imprinted in my brain vs. something new to experience.

I slowed my pace for the few blocks back toward Broadway and a final right turn north for the last mile up toward Columbia.

After less than an hour on foot I felt like I understood New York to some extent....and I liked it. The prospects for the evening seemed exciting enough when I decided to spend the night but I had no idea.

Even before I finished the run one big thing had changed. I knew or at least hoped that I’d spend part of my life in the city. 

My wife, step daughter and I have been fortunate to have lived the last 21 years of our life together in New York and adjacent to Central Park, 10 years on one corner of the park and the last 11 years a few blocks from the far opposite corner. In part, all due to one unforgettable run around Central Park on a cold December night 40 years ago tonight.

(Larry Allen on Running is an exclusive My Best Runs Running News Daily feature.  Additionally Larry is doing the Run The World Challenge for the third time.) 

(12/28/2018) ⚡AMP
by Larry Allen
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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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Marios Giannakou from Greece was the youngest finisher in one of the most difficult races in the world at Al Marmoom

Marios Giannakou is a 26-year-old runner from the city of Drama in Macedonia, Greece. His extraordinary story of perseverance, as he transformed himself from a smoker into an ultra-fit runner, can serve as an inspiration to all.

He was the youngest finisher in one of the most difficult races in the world, the 270-kilometer (168 mile) “Ultra Marathon”, which took place in the deserts of Dubai between December 11–15.

Giannakou wasn’t always a fit athlete who loved challenges. Weighing more than average and a regular smoker, he changed his attitude and life and began running at the age of 22.

Speaking with the Greek Reporter, Giannakou says that he never saw running as a simple athletic competition, or a personal challenge where you try to achieve the fastest time.”It is an activity where you are on your own. You have the time to think and solve problems for yourself,” he says.

His ultra-long distance running adventure began in 2015, when he participated in several competitions in the region of Rhodopi in Greece’s Thrace. He ran distances of 82 kilometers (51 miles) and even 161 kilometers (100 miles) in separate races there.

In early 2018, he decided to run with his friend Chronis in the Arctic for the distance of 150 kilometers (93.2 miles). ”We finished together, we had the same time” he said proudly.

Asked about his decision to participate in Dubai’s Ultra-Marathon, Giannakou laughed.

”We saw the cold, now it was time to see how the desert is” he said, laughing over the extraordinary accomplishments he has had in less than one year.

(12/19/2018) ⚡AMP
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Moroccans won the world’s longest desert Al Marmoom ultra marathon in the men’s division

El Morabity finished the world’s longest desert Al Marmoom ultra marathon of 270 kilometers in under 32 hours (31:17:29), ahead of French runner Muriel Robert and Iranian runner Akbar Najdi Niryan.

In the women’s category, Moroccan Aziza Raji achieved finished second (40:03:20) behind American runner Magdalena Boulet (37:27:59), while Russian Oskana Riyapova finished third (42:17:43).

The sporting event brought together runners from 35 countries who specialize in endurance races.

The victory comes a week after Rachid El Morabity and his brother Mohammed scored Morocco a gold medal during the Oman Desert Marathon. The brothers won first and second places, respectively.

(12/18/2018) ⚡AMP
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The Run The World Challenge 2 team has finished and here are the awards

"We have finished," says Lize Dumon (photo) a RTW Challenge 2 team member from South Africa, "Great achievement! But this morning, going out for my run just felt that little bit harder. I haven't realized how precious this RTW community has become to me. It is like an extended running family, a safe place to share everything running without rolling eyes and sighs from non-runners. It has become a place where I learn so much about running from reading everybody's posts and a place of immense encouragement! I don't want to leave this place... bring it on Challenge 3!" 

Run The World Global Run Challenge is a global event celebrating running, motivating the team, inspiring others and completing the goal.  The 131 member RTW Challenge 2 team ran and logged miles in 24 countries reaching a total of 24,901 miles in 44 days 18 hours 29 minutes.  

"This event is a real motivator. Many of our members (including me) ran many more miles than usual," says Run The World Challenge Team Caption, Bob Anderson. 34-year-old team member Carmen Gair from South Africa posted, "Thank you...for this amazing challenge...thank you...for motivating me to run more than double my usual mileage in this amount of time."

She ran and logged 151 miles in 44 days.  Team members added this challenge to their existing goals and used the Challenge to further motivate them.  

"Here are the special awards for our RTW Challenge 2 team," says Bob Anderson who reached 260.66 miles himself.

For Outstanding achievement: Frank Bozanich age 74 logged 801 miles...

Most Inspiring: Lize Dumon set her goal to reach 200 miles and she did that. She also motivated other team members in South Africa that she recruited to reach their goal as well...

Most Motivating: Aaron L. Salvador from the little country of Palau logged 377.99 miles, recruited others and posted a note and photo everyday...For

Best Performance: Willie Korir (second photo) from Kenya logged the most miles (993.88) which is an average of 22.5 miles per day. This is being shared with Joel Maina Mwangi also from Kenya who not only logged in 610.44 miles but he raced four half marathons during the Challenge period clocking 1:02:52, 1:03:19, 1:02:50 and 1:02:54...

Five Most Inspiring stories: based on their story posted on My Best Runs: (this award goes to the five who received the most views on My Best Runs) Joyce Lee (1178 views), Michael Wardian (851 views), Gloria Nasr (616 views), Joel Maina Mqangi (492 views), Pete Magill (400 views)...

Best Youngest performance: Zander Brister age 11 logged 16.32 miles. He ran one mile in Hollister clocking 6:19 and he also averaged 7:42/mile pace at the Pacific Grove Double Road Race 15k...

Best Oldest performance: Frank Bozanich age 74 logged 801 miles. Shared with 71-year-old Paul Shimon who logged 655.37 miles...

Top Fifteen Spirit awards: (Based on posts on the RTW Feed) Aaron L Salvador, Michael Anderson, Brent Weigner, Danilo Purlia, Larry Allen, Asya Cabral, Lize Dumon, Roger Wright, Geoffrey Smith, Carmen Gair, Annie Conneau, Joseph Brazil, Vince Martignetti, Marnie Margolis, Willie Korir... 

Best Single Run: Michael Wardian when he ran 184.5 miles in 36 hours 48 minutes 14 seconds on the C&O Canal Trail...

Notable Mentions: Boaz Kipyego logged 788.61 miles and came to the United States and placed fourth at the Twin City Marathon. Rosaline Nyawira was first female logging 454.37 miles. Brent Weigner (69) has been running races every weekend including running a marathon in another country Sri Lanka. He logged 258 miles. James Kalani has gotten back into running (this challenge motivating him) and has already run 4 miles at 5:33 pace. He logged 252 miles.

Ultra marathon star Gloria Nasr from France logged 237 miles. Rosaura Tennant ran both the Berlin and Chicago marathon during this Challenge. Becca Pizzi was first woman in the marathon run inside a NFL stadium in Boston...

"Everyone is a winner on our team," says Bob Anderson.  "I can't wait to do this again."  RTW Challenge 3 start Oct 29. 

(10/13/2018) ⚡AMP
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Brian Reynolds is a double amputee and Runs 3:03:23 at the Chicago Marathon

I am so proud of Brian Reynolds, he ran a new personal best, 3:03:22 at the Chicago Marathon this morning.  He is a double amputee and I think this is an American record.  We didn’t make his ultimate goal of going sub 3 however.  We battled Mother Nature all day, a fall(that was on me, I thought I was close enough, I was not) and some cramps but he never wavered and fought till the end. It was inspiring.  During the 22nd mile, though, Reynolds fell, suffering a concussion and knocking his time down significantly. Always one to finish what he started, 30-year-old Reynolds went on to finish.  Brian said, "Despite not reaching my goal today I have still run a personal record in every single one of my marathons," said Reynolds moments after the race. "Even on my worst day I have the motivation, determination and grit to dig deep and get to that finish line.” If you ever have a chance to guide I highly recommend it.  Not sure I will be hired again but if given the chance I am there.  Editor’s note: Michael Wardian is an international know marathoner and ultra marathoner.   (10/07/2018) ⚡AMP
by Michael Wardian
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Six Ideas to help you Get Ready for Your First Ultra Marathon

An ultra marathon is defined as anything longer than a marathon, although many ultra runners would argue the distance starts at 50K.  Here are six ideas to help you get ready for your first Ultra. 1) Do Back to back long runs, estimate your time for finishing the ultra and build up to running those total hours over two days. You want to run the full distance (combining back-to-back days) at least three or four times before the race. 2) Practice your nutrition during training and find out what works best for you. Start drinking before you get thirsty. 3) Practice running efficiently, with as little wasted motion as possible. Try to keep your head as still as possible and raise your feet as little as necessary. However, if the trail is extremely technical, it may be necessary to raise your feet quite a bit to avoid stumbling and tripping. Try to always run quietly. 4) Find socks, clothes and shoes that you love for training and racing. You want to be comfortable.   5) Train on the terrain you'll be racing. If it's a hilly technical trail, train on hilly technical trails. If it's a flat ultra on pavement, train on that at least some of the time. Do a 10K tempo run once a week at a faster pace. Run hills once a week to get strong. 6) If you need them, take recovery days. A typical week could be: Monday - Off Tuesday - 10K tempo Wednesday - Off Thursday - 1 hour hill workout Friday - Off Saturday - 3 hour long run Sunday - 3 hour long run (or a four hour and two hour, or five hour and one hour) Let's say your ultra is at the end of June. You want to be able to run your distance, over two days, by the end of April. Give yourself time to work up to that.   Be sure to enter early, many of the best ultras sell out fast.  One Ultra coming up is the Thailand Ultramarathon set for Nov 17th.  (10/05/2018) ⚡AMP
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Dean Karnazes is once again running the 246K Spartathlon which follows in the footsteps of Pheidippides

The 36th Spartathlon will once again welcome American Dean Karnazes. This year’s Spartathlon race will take place on September 28-29. Some 400 runners from 50 countries around the world, including 60 Greeks, will follow Pheidippides’ steps in the 36-hour long run to reach the statue of ancient King Leonidas in Sparta. In 490 BC, Pheidippides ran for 36 hours straight from Athens to Sparta to seek help in defending Athens from a Persian invasion in the Battle of Marathon. In doing so, he saved the development of Western civilization and inspired the birth of the marathon as we know it. This year’s Spartathlon race will welcome champions of previous events such as Czech athlete Radek Brunner (second in 2017), Greek Nikos Sideridis (third in 2017), Japanese Ishikawa Yoshihiko (fourth last year), Italian Marco Bonfiglio (second in 2016), Protuguese Joao Oliveira (winner in 2013), German Florian Reus (winner in 2015) and Zsuzsanna Maraz (second last year in females) from Hungary. Greek and foreign ultra marathoners will once again gather at the Acropolis in Athens to to begin the 246K (152 miles) marathon journey to Sparta.  That run in 490 BC stands enduringly as one of greatest physical accomplishments in the history of mankind. Dean Karnazes personally honors Pheidippides and his own Greek heritage by recreating this ancient journey in modern times. Dean even abstains from contemporary endurance nutrition like sports drinks and energy gels and only eats what was available in 490 BC, such as figs, olives, and cured meats. (09/12/2018) ⚡AMP
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Ultra marathon mom, stopped to breast feed her baby during the 106-mile Mont-Blanc Trail Race

A British mom has made headlines all over the world after being photographed taking a break to breast feed her baby son during a 43-hour ultra marathon.

Sophie Power, who recently competed in the 106-mile, high-elevation Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc trail run through France, Italy, and Switzerland, has been applauded for showing “motherhood endurance” and “the strength of the human body” in the snap, which was taken by photographer Alexis Berg.

The 36-year-old mother of two and avid runner took time to nurse her 3-month-old infant, Cormac, during the challenging race.

“Cormac usually feeds every three hours, “This isn’t a story about me,” she wrote. “It’s a story about the daily struggle of being a new Mum. A story about the need to nurture our babies the best we can. And the importance to priorities our physical and mental health — to be ourselves as well as be a mother.

“I have been overwhelmed by the positivity and supportive messages. They are for all mothers for we are all in this together.” Despite having to stop to feed her son, Power managed to complete the marathon in 43 hours and 33 minutes. 

She believes that keeping active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy is really important.  She has logged 273 miles on Strava so far this year, 27 races. 

"In a typical race I would get in and out of the aid stations as quickly as possible," she says.  "But here I had to focus on keeping down enough food for me and for Cormac, and resting."

(09/12/2018) ⚡AMP
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Run The World Challenge 2 Profile: Gloria Nasr has run the toughest race on earth already five times

Gloria Nasr was always active as a kid growing up in Lebanon.  She did Kung Fu, worked out at the gym and did bodybuilding.  "Upon arriving in Paris in 1995, I started riding my bike about 50k (31 miles) per day," Gloria remembers.  "Then one day in 2002, a friend who wanted to lose weight asked me to accompany her for a jog. It was love at first sight and since then I have not stopped," she says.  "Running is an integral part of my life. It's my moment of relaxation where I find myself within myself."   As soon as she started running, she had a dream of running from her adopted country France to her homeland in Lebanon.  A Transcontinental race of 4150km. "I realized this dream in 2013," Gloria says. She ran 50km a day across nine countries for three months and 10 days. "Those were the three most beautiful months of my life."  She has also participated five times in the Marathon des Sables of Morocco.  This is a six-day 156 mile ultra marathon which has been called the toughest foot race on earth.  Gloria says, "I am currently preparing a new challenge, a transcontinental race from Paris to Beijing a distance of 10000km (6,214 miles).”  Asked what is her secret to success, she says, “I always say that the most important thing is envy. with envy, courage, perseverance we can succeed many things.  I also do not put pressure on training and despite my love for running, I keep a certain distance. I do not have an addiction to running."   So why did she join our Run The World Challenge?  "It's great to bring runners together from around the world."   Gloria is a doctor, PMR, physical medicine and rehabilitation.  She is French Lebanese, living in Paris.  The 48-year-old has run 40:27 for 10K,  1:24 for 20k, 1:34 half marathon and 3:14 for the marathon. (09/09/2018) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Marshall Ulrich, 67, had to drop out of “world’s toughest foot race” he’s previously won four times

Marshall Ulrich has run 129 ultra marathons and adventure races averaging 125 miles apiece. He started running in 1978, when he was 27, and tackled ultra marathons in his mid-30s. He once ran across the United States, from San Francisco to New York City, averaging almost 60 miles a day. He completed the Badwater 135-miler from Death Valley to the foot of California’s Mount Whitney a record 20 times, winning it four times, also a record. Each time, he continued another 11 miles with an ascent of 6,000 feet to the summit of Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States, at 14,500 feet. But this year, Badwater went badly for Ulrich, three weeks after his 67th birthday in July. On a day when the temperature reached 127 degrees in what is widely considered “the world’s toughest foot race,” the man Outside magazine once dubbed the “Endurance King” missed the mandatory cutoff time at a checkpoint 50 miles into the race and had to drop out. Now, he’s having a hard time facing the realization that his career as one of America’s most iconic endurance athletes may be over because he’s not as fast as he used to be. (09/08/2018) ⚡AMP
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Shabir Hussain of the Ladakh Scouts once again managed to secure first position in the Khardongla Challenge- a 72 km-ultra marathon

Covering a distance of 72 Km from Khardong village to Leh city in 6 hrs 50 minutes and 38 seconds, Shabir got the first position while Tsering Norboo, again from the Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre, with 6 hrs 51 minutes and 15 seconds secured second position. Karma Zopa of the Vikas was on the third position with timing of 7 hrs 6 minutes and 42 seconds. The fresh snowfall on higher reaches of Khardongla reportedly made it difficult for the runners while crossing Khardongla pass. However the runners in spite of such hostile condition covered the distance in good timing. Earlier in the morning Khardong Nambardar and HQ Dy SP Suraj Singh formally flagged off the runners from Khardong village at 3:00 AM. As many as 162 participants from different parts of world took part in the Khardongla Challenge of the Seventh edition 0f Ladakh Marathon. Ladakh annual mega sports event was organised by a local Rimo Expedition with the support of J&K Tourism, LAHDC Leh and Bisleri. The Marathon has been recognised by Association of International Marathon and Distant Races (AIMS). The main Ladakh Marathon will be held on Sunday and roughly seven thousand people from different countries are expected to take part in the event. (09/08/2018) ⚡AMP
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South Africa’s ultra star Gerda Steyn is going to run the New York Marathon

Two Oceans champ Gerda Steyn to run New York Marathon. “So honored to be invited to the Greatest marathon on the earth!” Steyn tweeted on Tuesday. Dubbed the smiling assassin after her breakthrough Two Oceans ultra marathon victory in April to hoist her flag in the South African ultra-running landscape, the 28-year-old continues to improve in her fledgling career. In her first Comrades in 2015, the novice finished an impressive 56th in eight hours 19 minutes and eight seconds. A year later, Steyn was just outside the top-10 taking 14th in 7:08:23. Then in 2017, her phenomenal rise in the race continued with a fourth-place finish in 6:45:45. This year Steyn finished second in 6:15:34, beaten to first place by the phenomenal run of Ann Ashworth who took victory in 6:10:04. Steyn has a 42.2km personal best 2:37:22, and could well improve on that time at the New York Marathon. (08/22/2018) ⚡AMP
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Ultra marathoner Matthew Porter with a life-changing of back neurolical disorder diagnosis is training for the Leadville Trail 100

A St. Charles man faced with a life-changing diagnosis will embark on a challenge that will push his body to the limit. As the sun rises over the Colorado mountains Saturday morning (Aug. 18), Matthew Porter will begin running and will not stop for nearly 30 hours. For two years, Porter has been training for the Leadville Trail 100, an annual ultramarathon that will take him on trails and dirt roads near Leadville, CO through the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Porter's journey to the 100-mile race began eight years ago. He was married with three kids and growing a new company. Porter, admittedly, was not living the healthiest lifestyle. An innocent conversation with his then six-year-old daughter about her wedding day was the turning point for the rest of Porter`s life.'She pokes me in my stomach," he said. "'You have a lot of squishy. I don`t know if you`re going to make it,'" Porter's daughter said to him. The very next day, Porter took the first steps towards changing his life, but it was easier said than done.'Wrong shoes, wrong gear," he remembered. "Got up, went to go run a mile, made it about 100 to 150 feet.' Porter walked the rest of the mile that first day. Each day after, Porter ran a little further. Then a little further. As he ran, the pounds melted away. I look back at who that person looks like, and it almost looks like a different person. Feeling good about the changes he was seeing both physically and mentally, Porter continued running. However, the long-distance runs led to some wear and tear on his body. Three and a half years ago, a doctor ordered an MRI to look into some tension Porter was feeling in his back. That is when the doctor first noticed signs of Multiple Sclerosis. (08/15/2018) ⚡AMP
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Richard Mazungula was born to run but he didn't know it until last year

Richard Mazungula is arguably one of the best athletes in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. The 41-year-old said he used to run in track races in high school, but it’s been years. “Back then, people used to tell me I had talent, but I only ran for fun, not for fame. I don’t know why I started running again. It can only be God’s grace,” he explained. His first venture back on the track was for a 5km race in Forest Hill last year and, to his great surprise, he came first. He’s been running non-stop ever since. Since September last year, Mazungula has run almost 75 races. He is now a proud member of the Nedbank Running Club.  Mazungula has astounded many racing fans by running five ultra marathons this year alone. The first was the Amobia Bay Ultra Marathon in February, followed by the 2018 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the Bruintjieshoogte Marathon. Only four days after the that Marathon he ran the Zwelitsha Mdantsane Ultra Marathon. The last ultra was the 2018 Comrades Marathon. This came as a surprise to him as well as he said he never ran more than 15km races when he was younger. “Most athletes only run one ultra a year. I’ve run five this year alone and I have no pain or injuries. “It must be God’s will. “Some of the guys asked me if I had any help, but I don’t use any supplements or anything like that. We’re tested for those kind of things. I just like to run.” (07/25/2018) ⚡AMP
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Global Run Challenge Profile: Michael Wardian has had very few injuries and here is why

RUN THE WORLD:  "Running is my life and who I am," says 44-year-old Michael Wardian.  "I love running and hope to run till my last days." Michael started running after he stopped playing Lacrosse in college to stay in shape. 

He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and two children.  Michael has accomplished so much. In 2008 he won the US National 100K championships.  In 2006 he won four out of five marathons he raced in 45 days.

He held the world record for the fastest marathon time pushing a baby stroller.  He set a record of running a marathon on an indoor 200-meter track.  He ran the 2012 Olympic Marathon trails clocking 2:21. 

The next day he ran another marathon clocking 2:31.  He ran seven marathons in seven days on 7 continents clocking an average of 2:45 for each marathon (photo). With so many highlights on his resume, I asked him what would be his top two.  

"In 2011 I ran 2:17:49 (PR) at Grandmas Marathon and the same year I placed second at 100k World Championships," Michael said.  He is a vegetarian and works as an International Ship-broker.  

How about injuries?  "I have been very lucky, I have not had many injuries and I think my best secret is to keep moving.  After big events, I do an easy jog, hike or even just walk. It keeps everything moving," says Michael.  

Why did he enter this challenge?  "I think the Run The World Challenge is cool and I hope it gets more people out there," he says.  

He is a professional marathon and ultra marathon runner and has been running since 1996.  He has represented the USA in the 50k and 100k world championships, and has participated in three Olympic Marathon Trials. 

Just recently (July 20-21) Michael placed 11th at the Hardrock 100 clocking 30 hours and 23 minutes for the 100.5 mile very challenging trail race held in Silverton, Colorado.  

(07/24/2018) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Rhonda-Marie Parke a blind runner finishes 500K ultramarathon

Rhonda-Marie Parke will be moving a bit slower, at least for a few days.  On Friday she completed a 500 kilometer ultra marathon in Tennessee. It took her just over eight days to finish the Vol-State. Parke, who is legally blind, also ran the race without a guide. "It's the first time I've taken on something of this nature without a guide...For the most part I've always had someone with me, calling things out." she said. Parke says she had two goals going into the race. "This was my 40th year so I wanted to do something big." she said. "I'm always running for the sake of advocacy for inclusion in sport for disabilities...It seemed like the thing to do to draw attention to the fact that just because there's difference in ability, doesn't mean there's a lack of ability," (07/24/2018) ⚡AMP
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South Africian Bee Keeper Runs Ultra Marathons to bring attention to Honeybees

Running ultra marathons is impressive enough; but running backwards through one is astounding – and that’s exactly what Farai Chinomwe did for the sake of honeybees. The South African beekeeper first discovered his knack for running backwards while returning home from a bee removal and his car broke down—with a crateful of anxious pollinators in the back seat. As Chinomwe pushed his car, he found that he had more strength when he turned around and pushed the vehicle backwards. From that point forward, he realized that his unique penchant for running backwards might be a way to coax people into think about honeybees. Chinomwe has since run dozens of ultra marathons all while facing the wrong way. His peculiar habit has proved surprisingly effective in drawing awareness to the plight of honeybees and how people can help. Chinomwe, who runs a bee removal service called Blessed Bee Africa, uses the attention to educate youngsters on beekeeping and how they can nourish local pollinator populations. Chinomwe has run the Two Oceans and Om die Dam Marathons backwards, and reverse-ran the Comrades Marathon three times. “This is dedicated to us saving bees, because they are under threat as we are talking right now,” Chinomwe says. Although he may be finishing his races the wrong way, he’s taking the future of bees in the right direction. (07/22/2018) ⚡AMP
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Kennol Narayan won the 2018 Island Chill Suva Marathon

Kennol Narayan won the 2018 Island Chill Suva Marathon full marathon in Suva earlier yesterday. He clocked a time of two hours 55 minutes and 40 seconds. “It is a proud moment,” he said. “I will continue to train for the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa. “I have been training in Rakiraki for the last one and half months. I thank all the people who contributed to the win.”  14-year-old Timaima Takape was the lucky winner of the Hyundai I10 Car. Takape ran the full marathon. “My dad was a runner, he represented Fiji in the Ultra Marathon.” This year the marathon recorded its largest number of participants of over 200 thousand runners from around the country. Suva Marathon President Gina Houng Lee says they hope to make the event bigger and better next year. (07/21/2018) ⚡AMP
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Former Army Major has been running extreme marathons to battle depression and post-traumatic stress disorder

Former Army Major Rob Shenton has been coping with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Having served in the military for more than 21 years, he was medically discharged in 2016 - but running has always been one of his coping strategies.  He completed the North Pole marathon in April.  The ultra marathon runner has just taken on the 'Race to the King', 53 miles of the South Downs Way that's just the latest on this ex-military man's growing list of epic marathons.  He's battled with depression for more than 18 years and admits it has hampered his life but running continues to help.  He says, "You end up with coping strategies... It's just a matter of realizing what your triggers are and being able to recognize them and being able to cope. "I enjoy running quite a lot... I run every single day. Even if it's half a mile, I'll put my shorts on and my running shoes and go for a jog because I find it lifts my spirits." Through his running, Rob has raised thousands of pounds for the military charity Help for Heroes, which he says continues to support him.  (07/06/2018) ⚡AMP
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The RUN THE WORLD Global Run Challenge 1 has Started, the team is 175 strong from 15 countries

The time has come for our 175 strong RUN THE WORLD Global team to start logging miles.  The goal is to login 24,901 miles or 40,072k within 30 days.  “We have put together a strong team,” says Bob Anderson, team leader.  “Our runners come with lots of experience to runners who are just getting started.  We have ultra marathoners capable of running 100 miles in a day, world class runners, past Olympians,  middle distance runners, trail runners, 80 plus runners, kid Runners, coaches, Race directors, recreational runners, marathoners, and more,” says Bob.  Some of the team will be logging in five miles a week while others will be logging in over 130 miles weekly.  “It is the type of team we were looking for.  Once the word got out there, we reached 200 easily.”  We established guidelines we needed to follow.  1. A team can not have more than 200 active runners.  2. There has to be at least one member in each age group, 19 and under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 plus.  3. At least 25% of the team must be either male or female (mixed team). 4. There needs to be Runners from at least 10 countries.  The runner can either have a passport from that country or live in that country.  5. The first 200 who log miles are on the team after the start date.  Each member have to set a weekly goal, post a short bio and agree to try to reach their goal and log the miles.   6. Miles can either be running, run/walk or walking miles.  Only “real miles” can be posted.  “Our team meets all these guidelines.  I am so proud of all our team members,” says Bob.  What is the mission? First it is a celebration of running.  Second, to inspire others to include running into their daily life.  (This is why we are publishing inspiration stories about our members).  Third, to motivate (Team members set a weekly goal which they want to reach or more.) Four, to bond (bringing Runners from around the world closer together.  “We are Runners” Five, to educate and inform (our My Best Runs website offers advice and reports on the best, most interesting and unique races in the world). “Our team is excited to finally get this under way.”   (07/03/2018) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Dakota Wagner two years ago was terrified of the marathon, on June 23 he ran the Black Hills 50 Miler

Dakota Wagner hasn't allowed his asthma to stop him from running a ultra marathon. "Two years ago I was sitting on a bus riding to my first marathon and I was terrified," says Dakota. "Today I’m on my way to the start of my first ultra marathon." The former Jamestown (North Dakota) High School and current UJ runner competed in the Black Hills 50 mile race in Sturgis, South Dakota, on June 23. Wagner placed 27th out of 57 finishers with a time of 12 hours, 51 minutes and 39 seconds. "I was pretty battered by the end," Wagner said, a computer science major. "The climbs tired me out but the descending also destroyed my legs. The day after, on Sunday (June 24), I was having difficulties walking, which is typical."Overall, I think it went really well and I trained pretty hard for that race." Coming into the race, Wagner said his strategy was to consume GU energy gels every 30 minutes to intake 200 calories an hour.  About every seven miles there was an aid station to allow Wagner to eat and drink. "Every time I would get to an aid station I would eat real foods like peanut butter and jelly, chips and Coca-Cola," he said. "You're taking in enough fuel to sustain a run." The course featured six major climbs and a couple of smaller ones. Overall, there was an 8,656-foot elevation gain and a 9,990-foot loss. Despite muddy conditions that caused 41 competitors to drop out early in the race, Wagner cruised through the first 20 miles of the race. But at Mile 32, Wagner's legs hit a wall.Wagner managed to rally and finish the remainder of the race, even though his legs were telling him otherwise. Once he crossed the finish line he celebrated with his "crew" of best friend Alphonse Schoeneberger and brother Dustin.  "I learned more about myself and what I was capable of than all my years of running before this moment. For the first time I felt like I completed exactly what I set out to do, and met all of my expectations and more," Dakota posted on Facebook.  (07/02/2018) ⚡AMP
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Global Run Challenge Profile: Abbey had planned to run just one marathon to cross that off her bucket list

RUN THE WORLD: Abbey Cannon started running when she was 28 because she wanted to cross off "run a marathon" off her bucket list.  "While I succeeded, finishing in 4:24 with only 12 weeks of training, it was a painful experience but I was hooked on running," says Abbey.  She now runs because she enjoys it.   "Running keeps me healthy, happy, and sane, and I also like to run for charities."  She is currently training for the Chicago Marathon to raise money for a dog rescue.  After running her first marathon in almost four and half hours the Boston Marathon was not even a consideration. "I never thought that I could qualify for the Boston Marathon, but I did at age 36 and ran it in 2017. I am also proud to say that, even though it was a small crowd, I placed first female in my first ultra marathon at The San Francisco Marathon last year."  38-year-old Abbey is married, a mom of two and has five dogs.  Plus foster dogs.  She is a pediatric nurse living in the San Francisco Bay area.  Asked about this challenge she wrote,  "I think the Run The World Global Run Challenge is great because it shows that even though we are all at different levels and may run for different reasons, we in the running community from all over the globe can all come together to work for the same goal."  (07/02/2018) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Harvey Lewis On Track To Set Record For the 2,189 mile Appalachian Trail

Harvey Sweetland Lewis has covered over 1,370 miles and 60% of the iconic Appalachian Trail since May 30th, and is nearing record setting pace to arrive in Mount Katahdin, Maine on July 14th. This Fastest Known Time (FKT) has become one of the most contested, coveted accolades in ultra running and has been broken in recent years by Scott Jurek and Carl Metzler. Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy set the current record last summer in 45 days, 12 hours and 15 minutes. Harvey’s support team has been led by his 78-year-old dad and includes countless friends, family, fellow ultra runners and strangers who have been encouraging him along the trail and on social media. Road iD has joined Harvey to document his journey. “The man who has no imagination has no wings,” are the words that drive high school teacher Harvey Lewis as he searches within himself to complete the most challenging test of his life. His accomplishments include winning Badwater, the 135-mile ultra marathon in Death Valley, considering by many as The World’s Toughest Race. His latest pilgrimage began in the early morning on May 30th, 2018, with his dad and a small film crew, set out from Springer Mountain in Georgia on waterlogged trails through torrential downpour while navigating several mudslides. For Harvey Lewis these obstacles are opportunities, as he speaks prior to the start, “Pushing yourself to extreme limits, this is when the greatest growth happens.” “When I was dealing my injuries last week, the Achilles pain, the tendinitis, the foot soreness. I was beginning to think these injuries would sideline me,” shared Harvey Lewis as he had just completed one of the most grueling sections of the Appalachian Trail on June 24th. “This has been my toughest ultra and I didn’t quit because I knew there were people counting on me, these amazing friends and strangers have made all the difference. Now, I’m feeling 90% and ready for whatever’s in store.”  Harvey posted on FB before the start.  "The opportunity to have the experience of a lifetime with my father on a journey we never would have imagined. The love of the wilderness and need to push myself to new places has inspired the seed."  Photo: Assistance on the trail comes in many forms.  Here 30 days in with Alann Lopes. (06/28/2018) ⚡AMP
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Global Run Challenge Profile: Good hard training is more important than diet says Ultra legend Frank Bozanich

RUN THE WORLD: "I discovered running as a very young child as play and way to get places. I ran track in HS and College," says 74-year-old Frank Bozanich who currently lives in Reno, Nevada.  His last overall ultra marathon win was when he was 69.  In 1976 he won the AAU National 50 Mile Championship clocking 5 hours 36 minutes.  In all he won three National 50 mile titles, two at 100k.  In 1979 he set the American 100K record clocking six hours 51 minutes.  I asked him about injuries.  "I have been injury free all these years other than a couple hamstring situations when I was sprinting.," Frank says.  "I attribute this to having a strong physical body.  When I was a young lad I was working on crab fishing and salmon fishing boats.  I helped my dad pull in crab pots (traps) by hand. I continue with physical work in wrestling and has a Marine. I have always maintained a strong overall body."  I knew we had found another good Run The World team member.  "I love the idea of the Run The World Challenge. It is fantastic way to join the world together in a different way. It is something we can all do..." Frank enjoys running as much as he did when he was young.  "I understand that age takes a toll on speed and endurance. but I still love running.  I have enjoyed working with and helping new runners and think we should impart what knowledge we have to help others improve and enjoy the sport so they can have a better quality of life in their elder years." How about diet?  "I love eating good fresh Dungeness Crab when I can get it and also fresh wild caught salmon (no farm raised). I also eat whatever I want, no special diet. I eat good and well balanced foods, my wife of 51 years is a great cook."  What is your secret for success?  "The good hard training is more important than the diet," he says.           (06/27/2018) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Global Run Challenge Profile: Ultra Marathoner Giant Roy Pirrung has won 85 National Titles

RUN THE WORLD: 69-year-old Roy Pirrung is looking forward to the Run The World challenge and is looking at posting 75 miles weekly. Ultra Running Magazine wrote this: 

In 1980, at the age of 32, Roy Pirrung was 60 pounds overweight, smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day, and was a self-described binge drinker. He decided to take up running to help change his lifestyle.

Within a year he was 60 pounds lighter, tobacco and alcohol free, and ran his first marathon, in 3:16. Only two years after that his marathon time was down to 2:38.

It would seem he was born to run. In 1985 he ran his first ultra, the Ice Age 50 Mile trail race in Wisconsin, finishing 5th in one of the most competitive trail ultras in the country.

Only four months later he won the Fond du Lac 24-Hour race with just under 138 miles, and found himself ranked #1 American at that event for the year. Yes, he was born to run.

Ultra racing success continued at a brisk pace for Pirrung. In 1987 he became a national champion for the first time, winning the USA 100 Mile Championship in New York City.

A year later he garnered his second national title and his first national record, winning the inaugural USA 24-Hour Championship in Atlanta with a new American Road Record of 145 miles, 1464 yards. Roy Pirrung’s ultra career continued at a world-class level for over two decades, and continues today at a similar level in the Masters age-group categories.

He has raced in almost every state in the USA, and in 26 different countries on five continents. He has run in almost two dozen USA 24-Hour National Championships, has won two of them, and has placed in the top five in 17 of them.

In addition to his three open National Championship gold medals and his three open American Records, he has won over 80 Masters age-group National Championship Titles and has broken over 50 Masters age-group National Records. He is an American Ultrarunning Association Hall of Fame member with over 50 American records and 86 national titles.

Lifetime miles over 100,000. Lifetime races over 1,000.  "We are super excited to have Roy on our team," says Bob Anderson.  Carey Stoneking one of his Facebook friends posted, "OK Roy...But don't over-do it.  They only want to go around the world...Once." 

(06/21/2018) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Ultra Marathon great Don Ritchie has died at age 73

During a long and successful running career Don Ritchie broke numerous world bests over distances from 50km to 200km and in races ranging from six to 24 hours. Born in Aberdeenshire in 1944, Ritchie started out as a 440 yards runner with Aberdeen Amateur Athletic Club in 1962 – the beginning of what would turn into a 48-year running career, alongside a career as a teacher. He later ran for Birchfield Harriers and then Forres Harriers and Moray Road Runners. It was in 1977, aged 33, that Ritchie – whose marathon PB was 2:19:34 – discovered his strength for ultra-distance running. In 1978 at Crystal Palace, Ritchie covered 100km in an incredible 6 hours, 10 minutes and 20 seconds. In 1989 he ran from John O’Groats to Land’s End – 844 miles – in 10 days, 15 hours and 25 minutes, raising money for Cancer Research.   Past editor of Road Runners Club Magazine, Dave Cooper, said: “The quiet man from Elgin has been a great ambassador for the sport for many years and his superb array of world record performances and steely determination on road and track is in sharp contrast to his modest self-effacing demeanour.   (06/17/2018) ⚡AMP
by Athletics Weekly
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South African Runners take Top spots at the Comrades Ultra Marathon

South Africa completed a clean sweep at the Comrades Marathon on Sunday as Bongmusa Mthembu and Ann Ashworth ensured that the coveted titles remained in South Africa. It was a South Africa 1-2 in the two categories with Joseph Mphuthi and Gerda Steyn‚ clinching the runners-up spots. In achieving his feat‚ Mthembu completed a hat-trick of victories (after he won in 2014 and 2017) and in the process became only the second man to do it since Bruce Fordyce won the popular ultra-marathon back to back in 1988. The Arthur Ford runner waded off a strong challenge from Marko Mambo of Zimbabwe‚ who had set the pace for the better part in the second half of the 90km down run. Mthembu made his breakthrough at Cowies Hill‚ some 18km from the finish at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. At this point‚ it was left for the rest of the pack that also had a significant South African presence to jostle for the remaining top ten slots. (06/10/2018) ⚡AMP
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Fung Kam-hung is running a multi-day ultra marathon across Antarctica despite only having one leg

Hong Kong's Fung Kam-hung spiralled into depression following a gruesome accident that robbed him of a leg, but little did he know what fate had in store for him as the seemingly dark day opened him up to love and running. In 1979, Fung became trapped between a motor bike and a tram. He was dragged towards the tram platform and watched as his leg was ripped off. “I knew it was a disaster as soon as I saw it,” said Fung, 65. “I was terrified but it was painless. I was in shock. I couldn’t think of anything but I was cold as I’d lost a lot of blood.” Sport was a central part of Fung’s life – he played anything involving a ball – and he could not imagine giving up his passion. “I had one thought in mind – as long as I can stand and walk, that will be fine,” he said.  Fung rediscovered his positive outlook for life when he fell in love with the nurse who treated him in the hospital, Chong Bing-ying. They are still married to this day. When they started a family they wanted to encourage their children to get into sports – Fung would take his daughter to a local track and they would train by chasing each other. That is how his running habit started, and then he entered a 10K race despite never having run long distances even before his accident. Chong soon followed suit and entered a 30km race. At the age of 65, Fung has now completed two of the 250km multi-day 4 Deserts Race Series in the Gobi and the Atacama with Chong, and this year they will run their third in Antarctica in November. (06/08/2018) ⚡AMP
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Rob Davies biggest challenge is the 58 mile Comrades ultra marathon coming up June 10

Rob Davies will fly to South Africa in preparation for a gruelling challenge that starts on June 10. Rob, 59, will be competing in the Comrades Ultra Marathon, also known as the Ultimate Human Race, a road race with a distance of 58 miles (90.1km). The race starts at Pietermaritzburg and ends in Durban in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province. The race has to be completed in 12 hours, starting at 5.30am where the temperatures can be close to freezing and rising to a possible 80F as the day progresses. The terrain is very hilly, meaning an already extremely challenging race is made even tougher. Mr Davies said: “Family, friends and colleagues know that I 'run a bit', or should I say 'a lot'. I have been fortunate enough, privileged even, to be able to complete 48 marathons, across Wales, England, Ireland, France and Germany but this is by far my biggest challenge to date.” He started his training in December which typically involves 8 to 10 hours running weekly alongside strength and conditioning in the gym. (05/25/2018) ⚡AMP
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Sandy Gage traveling the world running Marathons and Beyond, 101 so far

Sandy Gage got excited about running again, nearly 35 years after she competed with her high school track team.  

Never did she imagine it would lead to traveling the world competing in marathons, 100 in total to be exact. The 61-year-old married mother of four adult children hit the 100-marathon mark April 7, and it wasn’t a standard 26.2-mile race, but a 100-mile ultra marathon at the 4,500-foot elevation mark in the mountains of Idyllwild in Riverside County, California. 

“I wanted to run the 100-mile race to commemorate my 100th marathon,” said Sandy, a senior vice president at Merrill Lynch in Brea. “A lot of my family came out to watch and supported me the entire way.”

She finished the race in about 33 hours, taking a few hours off in the middle of the race to drain some blisters. She has no plans to stop running marathons now that she’s reached the 100-marathon mark. In June, she’ll compete in a standard 26.2-mile marathon in Machu Picchu, Peru, a race that takes runners to an elevation of 17,000 feet in the Andes Mountains.

There are several more on her schedule.   She’s run the Boston Marathon twice, the Los Angeles and Huntington Beach Surf City marathons five times apiece, San Antonio, New York, Chicago, San Francisco marathons and marathons in Tokyo, Great Wall of China, Antartica, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Berlin and London. And there will be many more to come.  

(04/28/2018) ⚡AMP
by Josh Thompson/ Chino-Chino Hills Champion
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85-year-old Bob Emmerson has run 96 marathons and have logged in more than 110,000 miles

Bob Emmerson might have had both hips replaced, but that hasn't stopped him from finishing nearly 200 marathons and ultra-marathons in the last 35 years. Now, Bob has set another personal best and has joined in at the weekly Parkrun and has run the community run 300 times since it kicked off five years ago. Last Saturday (April 7), he crossed the line together with 83-year-old Diana Mary Green as she completed her 250th Park Run. “I insist that 300 is nothing special, it's just to prove my determination to keep going,” says Bob. "The Parkrun has kept me going. I've met so many friends there.” Since he took up running at 49, Bob has run 96 marathons and 96 ultra Marathons from 30 to 60 miles each. He has had both hips replaced since he was 70 and has run the London Marathon 17 times. Through careful log-keeping, he estimates he has run 110,000 miles so far. (04/13/2018) ⚡AMP
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There is Just something about an Ultra Marathon says Arianne Brown

It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was sitting on my couch scrolling through my Instagram news feed. I saw picture after picture of good friends and acquaintances crossing the finish line of the Buffalo Run held on Antelope Island near the Great Salt Lake in Utah. As I did, I could feel the lactic acid in my legs build up and the soreness settle in after a morning spent racing several miles to a second place overall finish. While I should have been feeling the endorphins of a well-fought race, I was wishing I had experienced what my friends had that morning as they trekked those long miles on the island. Several weeks prior I had signed up to run the 50K distance of the Buffalo Run. It had been three years since I ran this particular course, and I was looking forward to doing it again. Sure, there are times when I quite enjoy pounding the pavement and pushing my body to its lactic threshold, using every single muscle in my body at a relentless speed. But today wasn’t one of those days. Today I wanted nothing more than to spend long, slow miles completing an ultra distance race. Because there’s just something about an ultramarathon. There’s nothing quite like the quiet, meandering about before the race as everyone settles in for a slow, methodical start. I love the restraint at the beginning because there are rarely any weekend warriors out there trying to prove a point. We all know that the miles ahead will be long. They will be hard and taxing. And slow and steady does often win the race. (04/06/2018) ⚡AMP
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