In our very first episode, we talk with Erika Hoagland – an amazingly talented ultrarunner and author of the column, I Am an Ultrarunner in URM. We sit down to chat about her race plans (pre-COVID), training for 100-milers while being a mom, the experience of fastpacking around Lake Tahoe on her honeymoon, and what (and where) she hopes to run in the future.
At last, I found a race held in the shadow of the COVID-19 lockdown, and there was no series of ominous email warnings followed by a reluctant cancellation notice. The Loco Challenge race series held in parts of the Lassen National Forest on June 6 in north central California.
It had been three days post-Quarantine Backyard Ultra when Mike Wardian and I got on the phone. I am half expecting to hear him talk about all the sleep he has gotten, but then again, it’s Wardian. He is actually walking around his neighborhood, which does not surprise me.
For a company that innovates as frequently as HOKA, it’s a testament to the success of the original Torrent shoe that they left it untouched for two full years. The Torrent was often described as “The HOKA shoe for people who don’t like HOKAs.”
With virtually all races canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we “organized” a FatAss 50K for runners to celebrate on the day that Western States would have been run. Completely tongue-in-cheek, we called it the “Not Exactly Western States FatAss 50K,” (or NEWS 50K) run entirely on the Arizona Trail just north of Flagstaff, Arizona.
We caught up with Kevin Youngblood last week in the midst of what he considers to be the most pivotal moment of his life. “I’m in a truck on the Ice Age Trail at 2:30 a.m. answering questions to be featured in UltraRunning Magazine,” just as he was one day away from finishing a three-plus-week trip following Coree Woltering as he set a new FKT on the trail in 21 days, 13 hours and 35 minutes.
The UltrAspire Synaptic 2.0 and Speedgoat 3.0 Waist Belts impressed us with their comfort and efficiency. They are nearly identical in design with the only difference being fluid capacity – the Synaptic 2.0 holds a single 550mL bottle while the Speedgoat 3.0 carries two.
I ran Land Between the Lakes in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, for the first time back in 2014—it was my first trail race ever. I keep going back because LBL is more than a trail. I go back to be among friends and family who continue to believe in me, support me and encourage me.
In lieu of racing Western States this year due to its cancellation, I’ve renewed my general commitments and made my own backyard running goals. If I follow through, I think the payoffs will be much greater than finishing any race. I hope the following list inspires you to make your own set of goals.
With the recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, it is clear that systemic racism continues to exist in our society. We condemn these acts of brutal violence, and believe that racism, bigotry and discrimination in our country is a major problem and needs to be eradicated.
When the pandemic erased the motivator of ultras from our calendars, we had to reconnect with deeper reasons why we run long. Personally, I desperately needed to re-establish and fortify my bread-and-butter weekly running routine for reasons that have little to do with preparing for ultras.
Ten years ago, Robert Gantz had just arrived at the Little Rock Air Force Base for C-130 airplane training and his mentor and best friend, “Seabass,” asked him if he’d like to run a 10k the next day. Always up for a challenge, Robert said “Let’s do it.” He ended up placing third in his age group, and the fire was lit.
The inaugural Sugar Badger 50/50 and Half Marathon was supposed to take place on May 30 on the Badger Trail in Wisconsin, but the universe had other plans. Not surprisingly, the race couldn’t proceed as an in-person event due to coronavirus restrictions, so Ten Junk Miles Racing converted it to a virtual version.
In 1910 Eugene Estoppey of Venice, California ran 1 mile every hour for 41-1/2 days. 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours for a $1,000 bet.
With virtually all springtime races canceled due to COVID-19, my wife and I ruminated about what races would look like when the restrictions were lifted. “Hey, we could do something like that! Just make everyone run solo.” With that, we hatched the concept of the MayDay! Solo 50K, to be run Fat Ass style on May 1 in Sedona, Arizona.
Picking the right sunglasses can be tricky. In addition to personal preferences for frame style and lens size, sometimes the right choice depends on where and how you’re running. We’ve been testing a handful of new styles in a variety of conditions, at a variety of prices points for your budget.
Mount Shasta Trail Runs, to be held on June 20, appears to be the first sanctioned race of any kind to take place in California since the Pioneer Spirit 50 Miler went off on March 14, just five days prior to Governor Gavin Newsom’s statewide stay-at-home order to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Like several runners in the trail running community, I decided that this was the perfect time to go after an FKT. I settled on the Shawnee State Forest Backpack Loop, a 38-mile trail loop in southern Ohio that has over 8,000 ft of vert – enough elevation that Shawnee State Forest is known as Ohio’s “Little Smokies.”
It’s not often that you find a dehydrated and perhaps, still hallucinating ultrarunner who just spent a full day running 100 miles rushing off to clean up in order to get back to the finish line and cheer on other racers. Arguably even less frequently, do you find the outright winner of a 100-miler hustling to get his camera to snap shots of runners coming through the final chute of glory as the “golden hour” of the race approaches.
Ultrarunner Jared Campbell started the Running Up for Air timed event at Grandeur Peak (Outside of Salt Lake City) to raise awareness and money to fight air pollution in his hometown region. He saw and felt the effects of the winter inversion layer firsthand on daily training runs up Grandeur Peak.