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Finger Lakes 50s: Wetter than Ever

Now in its 29th year, the Finger Lakes 50s Trail Races is one of the oldest ultramarathons in New York State. The course loops around the Finger Lakes National Forest, winding through lush beds of pines, exposed cow pastures with expansive countryside views, shaded equestrian trails, and some rolling hills through the woods.

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Stumbling through Rocksylvania at Eastern States 100

Somewhere I’ve seen Eastern States referred to as a “Massanutten 100 on Steroids.” The course is a work of art: one giant loop through the Tiadaghton State Forest with a scenic lakeside finish area in Little Pine State Park. Pine Creek Gorge, the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania,” cuts through the center.

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Exploring the Psychological Aspect of Ultrarunning

Five years ago, two important aspects of my life converged: my career path as a clinical psychologist, and my long-time passion for running. A year into graduate school, I faced the decision of choosing a topic for my dissertation. I opted for something I had long been curious about: the psychological side of ultrarunning; that “90% mental” behind the old adage.

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Kunkel, Howard, Brave Humidity to Win 50-Mile Titles at Mountainback

Deep in the central Pennsylvania forest, past mile 20 where the route scuffs 1,300 feet upward across 3+ miles, a hanging fog thrust into the canopies of turning leaves adding an air of mystery. But it was here that steady tracks would burn away any uncertainty about who would dominate the action in the quest for top honors in the USA 50-Mile Road Championships.

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The Running Bag

I was sick and tired of trying to carry all my running essentials out to the car in one load. I needed to carry a bag of some type. I’ve got everything in the bag and take it anywhere knowing I am well prepared to handle anything I encounter on any adventure.

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To Care and Not to Care

Because Patsy’s focus in training and racing was not on the numbers, the splits or the race plan, but rather on the health and well-being of others, she surpassed previously held notions of her own personal limits. Because she knew that as the only woman from Puerto Rico to have ever run 100 miles, that she could inspire her people to endure and come together, Patsy was able to run better than ever.

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Chasing After My Triple Crown of 200s Dream

Last August, I completed Bigfoot 200 and could not conceive of how my friends were going on to complete Tahoe 200 just three weeks later. The idea of doing back-to-back 200s seemed impossible to me at the time. Throwing in a third once seemed inconceivable. Several months later, I found myself feeling inquisitive and eager to find out if it was possible for me to accomplish the Triple Crown of 200s.

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Why I Run Ultras

The most valuable thing that arises from what we do cannot be displayed or hung around our necks. It is the relationships with others chasing the same goals, fighting the same demons, striving for the same acceptance and love that we want.

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The Bear 100: Fall Colors on Display

The Bear 100, with its stunning scenery, lack of pavement, abundance of singletrack, and just plain difficulty has proven to be one of the most popular and compelling 100s in the nation. Fall colors are one of the race’s mainstays.

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Grit

What is grit? Wikipedia defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” But where does it come from? Are we born with a certain allotment of grit? If it’s a skill, how do we develop it?

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Siskiyou Out Back: Finding Unity

My Siskiyou Out Back experience was characterized by an overwhelming sense of unity. Not only was I with my lifelong hometown friends, but my mom and two college friends also joined me, and I have never felt closer to them than when we reunited at the finish line.

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Why?

A friend asked me, “Why would you enter a 100-mile ultramarathon? It just seems so outlandish for an otherwise rational thinking person to wish to endure such torture.” My answer was long and he seemed to understand when I was finished. It is my soul that I am searching for out there in the midst of what you called torture.

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Sheep Mountain: 50 Miles Up High

Only the legendary San Juan Solstice has a higher average elevation for 50 miles, making Sheep Mountain the second highest 50-mile endurance run in America. The course has been described by its runners as “beautifully difficult.” How else could one describe a 50-mile course near 11,000 feet average elevation with around 10,000 feet of elevation gain?

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AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Headphones

If you’re like me and prefer to run with a soundtrack, you likely have a drawer full of various headphones that didn’t quite work out. I heard about the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium, a bone-conducting Bluetooth headphone that, at first glance, would solve many of my problems with standard-issue earbuds.

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A Primer on MUT and USATF

Participation in mountain, ultra and trail (MUT) races continues to grow by leaps and bounds each year. However, many people in the sport have little understanding of the role that USA Track & Field (USATF) plays in the MUT world. As a MUT representative with USATF and a member of multiple US Teams for World Championships, my goal with this article is to shed some light on that relationship and its history, as well as the history and structure of various World Championships in MUT.

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Solo, No Crew

“3-2-1… Have Fun!” Without a crew or a pacer ahead, I am able to just run along. There was a spreadsheet, but I don’t need it now – I’m not going to be late for anyone.

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