At age 62, having just completed a grueling 100-mile mountain race in which he finished first in his age group, Fred Brooks died suddenly when his car crashed on an interstate highway just hours after the race was completed. He was in the second year of a comeback to ultrarunning after a six-year hiatus.
Author Karl Hoagland
Here at UltraRunning, we get all sorts of race reports, and they have always been a key part of the magazine. Amongst our team, we read and edit each one at least five times in all—so we really appreciate the good ones. The stories that entertain, inform and educate.
We want to bring the races alive for you, and inspire you to get out there and get after it yourself—to overcome challenges and have life-changing experiences you can only find at ultras. Nothing fits that bill like a great race report and photos.
An ultrarunning adage says that after you start the sport, you improve for seven consecutive years. Your body and mind need that much time to figure it all out and go from “just” completing the distances to racing them at peak levels. For me, this has held very true—2010 was my seventh year, and that’s when I had by far my best races at all distances, with personal bests in all six of them.
Of all the important relationships in life, my relationship with the trails is one of the most complex and profound of all. Some days running the trail is like a magic carpet ride—every step easy and flowing and I’m one with the world. At times like this the trail allows me to connect with nature, know myself and be truly present. But other times the trail is a punishing taskmaster, with every rut, root, rock and impediment a massive hurdle.
When I was facing a huge life decision, my mom encouraged me to choose my destiny over my fate. I really didn’t know what she was talking about and when I looked the words up in the dictionary they were basically synonymous. More research revealed that the differences are subtle, but huge.
A recent Wall Street Journal article looked at the use of marijuana to mitigate the challenges of ultrarunning and enhance performance. The point was that THC is a banned performance-enhancing drug, so to use it during competition is cheating. Of course it is. Thank you, Rupert Murdoch.
Last week Cory and I were in Austin, Texas for The Running Event, a tradeshow geared for running specialty retailers. A focal part of the show is the exhibition hall which featured over 100 different running products, services and brands catering to the running market.
If we avoid injury for many years, at some point, time and age catch up to us, and a decade later, something gives out. For me, this was my left ankle, and the real culprit was excessive abuse in my teens and 20s at other sports. But ultimately after a few DNFs and pain with every step I opted for surgery on April 23, 2013, a day I’ll never forget.
One of the greatest things about our sport is its spirit of collective effort. At ultramarathons it’s as if we are racing with, not against, each other. Maybe it’s because running so far is so daunting that people “pull together” to overcome the challenge. Or maybe it’s simply that the nature and values of people attracted to this sport selfselects for friendly, helpful people.
The 25-year anniversary of the iconic Way Too Cool 50k was a smashing success, with an exact 1,000 finishers, the…