When life or health issues get in the way, one of the hardest choices runners must make is whether or not to run a race. Sometimes it’s for logistical reasons that are out of your control, such as starting a new job or the timing of a new baby. But when it’s due to injury or not being well-prepared, it’s tough to make the right call.
Burning Man is about creating a community that’s about sharing. It’s about an experiment in being who you are, who you really want to be, who you can be, in an environment of complete freedom. It’s a place of participation and a place of no spectators. So of course, I had to create an ultramarathon.
The crux of the race, aside from the sustained altitude, is going over Hope Pass at 12,600 feet, twice — once at mile 43.5, and again at mile 56.5. Several finishers that I had spoken with imparted the wisdom that if I could make it over Hope Pass the second time, I’d finish.
It’s no surprise, given Brett Farrell’s background in psychology and running, that he’s created a business which not only sells clothing, but promotes a lifestyle that revolves around the beauty of running using films, photography and stories about trail runners from all over the country.
When Rod Farvard crossed the finish line last fall at the Cuyamaca 100K in Julian, California, not only had he just finished his first 100k (his third ultramarathon), won the race and set a new course record in the process, but he thought he’d just punched his ticket to the 2019 Western States Endurance Run. Quite literally a dream come true for this 23-year-old from San Francisco.
Last year, Topo Athletic filled out the max-cushioned end of their trail shoe lineup with the Ultraventure. This fall, they fill the same slot in their road lineup with the Phantom, a new maximum-cushion shoe that has the same stack heights and geometry as the Ultraventure, with a lighter and more breathable upper that is well-suited for road running.
Set against the twin backdrops of the Saint Croix River and Afton State Park, the 25K course (repeated for the 50K) winds through a virtual guidebook of picturesque Minnesota trail running, from twisty single track to long, rock-covered climbs to wide prairies.
By 2001, his life was spiraling out of control. Jon tried to commit suicide by taking a bottle of sleeping pills. “I fell asleep and woke up a couple days later in the hospital. The doctor said, ‘You should believe in God, because you shouldn’t be alive.’” It was a major turning point in his life.
Ruperto Romero had won the AC100 again, this time at 55 years old, long past the age ultrarunners are expected to remain competitive. As I looked at Ruperto, wrapped in the Mexican flag and swarmed by cameras and adoring fans, I smiled to myself. After everything I’d seen him accomplish outside the spotlight, he was finally receiving the recognition he deserved.
Pumpkin doughnuts. That’s all it took to get me to sign up for a scramble in the fall – one of my first official trail races. Held on a Friday afternoon in October, the course took runners through golden aspens, splashing across a creek, climbing up a steep embankment (hence, the “scramble”) and along buttery single track for just a few short miles.
As the intensity of training peaks and races conclude for the season, the allure of sitting down with a good book can’t be denied. Fortunately, there are a number of new ultrarunning-inspired books that will keep even the most exhausted runners entertained and dreaming about a future race. Here are a few of our staff picks from this summer.
Burning River has always been a race with a heart of irony. The race celebrates health, strength, vitality, natural beauty and of course, the Cuyahoga River. Yet 50 years ago, the actual events that led to the Cuyahoga earning the name “burning river” were tragic and ugly.
We tested UltrAspire’s new Lumen 650 Oculus Headlamp along with an update to a popular favorite, the Lumen 600 Waist Light, which has been streamlined with an improved fit.
When my son, Kyle, proudly grasped his diploma and pumped his fist in triumph during his high school graduation this past June, I cheered loudly while infused with feelings of relief, happiness and love. As odd as it might be to think of ultrarunning during that emotional milestone as a parent, the “golden hour” of the Western States finish line flashed through my mind.
As race week approached, I evaluated my year-long goal of running TRT in less than 24 hours, flip-flopping on whether or not it should be my goal. I had earned a silver buckle the year before for finishing the course in under 30 hours and now, I wanted that sub-24 gold.
I often get asked if there’s a secret to maintaining consistency. This question usually has the undertone of having your cake and eating it too, i.e. doing excessive training and getting away with it. Yet, it’s a fairly simple formula that I instill in those I coach, as well as in my own racing.
Carnage. That is the only word to describe the effects of the heatwave which enveloped the east coast. Dreams were destroyed. Months of training, unless they included sauna work, were essentially for naught. Hell, organizers cancelled the New York City Triathlon due to extreme heat advisories that same weekend.
The format at Forbidden Forest is not the usual 100-mile race with a 30-hour cutoff. It’s a no-one-DNFs 30-hour run with the win going to whomever runs the farthest, and special buckles for everyone that manages 45 laps of the 2.23 mile loop, or 100.35 miles. Consequently, the race was a mix of runners with widely varying goals and dreams.
This film from Tony Hill captures the magic of the 2019 Silverheels 100-Mile Endurance Run. Running at an average elevation of 11,000 feet with over 17,000 feet of gain, the race is second only to The Hardrock 100, in average elevation across the 100-mile course, and starts and finishes in Fairplay, Colorado.
Several of the fifty 24-Hour runners hoped to put up a performance worthy of garnering a spot on a National 24-Hour team. Competition for a spot on the US Men’s 24-Hour team was intense, as a handful of runners vied for the honor of representing their country in Albi, France this coming October.
After picking up our fabulous medals at the raucous finish line, we were treated to a great spread of beer, pizza, rice, beans, pork and assorted goodies. The course was difficult but accessible and the volunteers were plentiful and enthusiastic, which adds up to one hell of a great event.