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UltraRunning February 2018

  • The Year in Review by John Medinger
  • Female Ultrarunners of the Year
  • Male Ultrarunners of the Year
  • Performances of the Year
  • The Beauty of the Buddy System by Sarah Lavender Smith
  • Camille Herron Interview
  • Jim Walmsley Interview
  • Most Notable FKT’s of 2017 by Buzz Burrell
  • Beast Coast Bucket List by Amy Rusiecki

Featured
The Beauty of the Buddy System
Barely past the halfway point of Run Rabbit Run 100 last September, my legs and feet rebelled. Stiff muscles, achy joints and soles so tender that I winced with each step conspired to abort yet another attempt to run. Dejectedly hiking in the fading light of dusk on a gentle stretch of trail above Steamboat Springs, I said to my pacer, Jacob Kaplan-Moss, “Sorry, this is all I can manage right now.”
Data
2017 Most Competitive Fields
Each year a few races attract a large number of elite runners. In this analysis, we have examined the races in which those who received votes for Runner of the Year competed. Giving the runners of the year 40 points, the runners-up 39 points, and so on, we have devised a system for determining which races had the most competitive fields.
Commentary
Why?
Why? I get that question a lot. Why do I run? Why trail? Why ultras? Why 30, 50, 100 miles? Why now, when running these distances takes me from my young family so much? Why, when pushing these limits can hurt so much?
Destination Unknown: Ultra Friends
I have known Krissy, Hal, and numerous others through the sport, for many years, but the totality of our interactions would likely barely rate ‘acquaintance’ status in most other walks of life. Yet somehow whenever the trails of our lives do intersect, that limited time spent at the junction yields a sum of experience much greater than the timepieces would seem capable of producing.
First Look: Brooks Mazama 2
This first update to the Mazama is generally focused on the upper, while the midsole and outsole remain relatively unchanged. The primary changes include a thinner mesh that has enhanced breathability and improved water drainage compared to the original, as well as a 3D rubber print that provides added structure and targeted stretch regions for improved fit and abrasion resistance.
Jorge Maravilla: Looking Ahead
Some may know Jorge as the General Manager of the San Francisco Running Company, while others have likely raced alongside him at a local ultra or marathon. Making headlines in 2017 as winner of both the San Francisco Marathon and Penghu Cross-Sea Marathon in Taiwan while placing 10th at UTMB CCC, Jorge had a busy year.
Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch
From an activity tracker standpoint, the Ionic is simply impeccable. It combines wrist-based 24/7 heart rate monitoring with calorie tracking and sleep metrics to provide a wealth of fitness analysis. It’s also a full-fledged smart watch, which opens the door to cool add-ons like third party apps.
40th Annual Avalon 50K/50M Benefit Run
While most people were bundled up in their cozy beds on this cold and windy Saturday morning, a few intrepid men and women laced up their running shoes to participate in the 40th annual Avalon 50K/50M Benefit Run on Catalina Island, California.
2017 #1 FKT of the Year – Appalachian Trail & John Muir Trail
The AT has a long history of very strong efforts with the men including David Horton ’91, Pete Palmer ’99, Andrew Thompson ’05, Scott Jurek ’15, and Karl Meltzer ’16, all supported. Joe McConaughy bettered them all while going Self-Supported, being 10 hours faster than “Speedgoat” from the previous year.
2017 #2 FKT of the Year – John Muir Trail & Grand Canyon R2R2R
François D’Haene smashed the previous supported JMT FKT by over 12 hours, running the route northbound, and was the first person to complete the route under 3 days. His approach was unusual in that by choosing to run in mid-October he gave up daylight in exchange for cooler temperatures and easier access to hiking permits for the area. He also had pacers the entire way, probably a first.
Destination Unknown: In Hiding
The line of ultrarunners that have come forward over the years to speak openly about their battles with depression is long and illustrious; and that darkness is often confusing when held against the light of their accomplishments and the boundless energy and enthusiasm permeating this sport. And it is impossible to ignore the implications; it seems no kind or amount of success or communal recognition affords illimitable immunity.
2017 #3 FKT of the Year – Ozark Highlands Trail & Nolan’s 14
Ashley Nordell has the fastest time Overall (Women & Men) on the Ozark Highlands Trail. The previous best was also by a woman, Jenny Foster, 2d 14h 25m (2009). Iker Karrera bested Andrew Hamilton’s time from June on the Nolan’s 14 by 6h, 2m, including significant time spent being lost.
2017 #4 FKT of the Year
The California Coastal Trail combines wilderness, beach, and urban running/hiking for 1,200 miles along the coast of CA. An OKT (Only Known Time), Larson’s self-supported trip was an adventure in every sense, and was documented by satellite tracking and an evocative, complete report.
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