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.
After finishing your long run, hard effort workout or morning run that lasts over 90 minutes, what’s the first thing you think about? Let’s all admit that unless you’ve developed a good routine, getting in a balanced meal or recovery drink is sometimes not the first priority.
A lightweight, fully waterproof and windproof shell that stuffs into its chest pocket for easy storage. Fit is slim through the torso, and well-proportioned at the waist and arms. The incorporated hood is especially useful for versatile protection without getting in the way.
The views from nearly every trail in the Lake Tahoe region are nothing short of breathtaking. This marked the inaugural year of the Big Chief 50K where for the first time, runners would be able to link a number of trails on one single 50k loop while experiencing every type of terrain with unparalleled views of Lake Tahoe along the way.
As the father of a two-year-old, I spend multiple days at home trying to balance work and training while also taking care of a tiny human. Here are a few creative exercises I have developed that allow me to incorporate my child into training, while also getting some quality time together.
We had a very snowy, wet winter in St. Louis. Couple that with epic amounts of snow up north, and you end up with the perfect storm. So, for the first time in six years (and the first time since I’ve been RD), we had to invoke the beloved “Quadruple Bypass” route.
Manitou’s Revenge is run through some sections of the Catskills designated as wilderness areas. By the time runners reach their drop bags, they’ve already run a 50k. What follows is an unholy mess – the Devil’s Path – featuring steep and technical climbs and descents over four of its peaks, some of them more than a bit sketchy.
Built in collaboration with Rob Krar and Stephanie Howe Violett, Nathan’s VaporKrar and VaporHowe pack lineup offers a minimalist 4L option for traveling light, and a larger 12L pack for longer durations or conditions that require a greater assortment of clothing and gear.
It seems to me that ultrarunners pack all of their insecurities into a drop bag. Running really long distances through rugged terrain at all hours of the day can be daunting, and as such, drop bags can get unwieldy. It’s easy to forget that all bags must be transported and carried by volunteers.
Social running apps like Strava provide tremendous benefits for runners, but especially ultrarunners. When it comes to finding specific information about trails, race courses and training data, the app has a plethora of details. Here are some ways to help you get the most out of Strava and allow you to meet new friends along the way.
In 2017, the last finisher to round the track at Western States was Karen Bonnett-Natraj. The crowd erupted in cheers as she entered the stadium, and everyone was on their feet glancing at their watches as if that would help Karen make it to the finish line under the 30-hour cutoff. With just 9 seconds to spare, she became the oldest finisher that year at age 61.
I ran the first edition of Rock The Ridge (RTR) in 2013, and the race has grown into the largest annual fundraiser for the Mohonk Preserve, a private, non-profit land trust that maintains over 7,000 acres of open space in the Shawangunk Mountains in New York.
Merrell’s newly released short film features Anna Frost — elite ultrarunner and Merrell Ambassador — as she navigates a whole new adventure in her life: pregnancy and motherhood.
The Prairie Spirit Trail Ultra 100 Mile in eastern Kansas is a rails-to-trails course that follows an old route of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad through the small town of Garnett. A brick depot building, built in 1934, serves as a key aid station halfway between the race start in Ottawa and Iola.
The second member of the COROS global watch family (along with the Pace), the Apex is best known for its hefty battery life. Compared to the Pace, the Apex has been given a facelift sporting a sleek new design in addition to new features such as navigation, fitness tracking, and sleep tracking.
The scene in the finish area of the Ice Age Trail 50 is a living expression of what most of us love about the ultrarunning community. Runners and spectators alike welcome the finishers – and those who didn’t make it – as they would a friend or family member. If you’re wearing a bib, someone is looking after you.
In the past, the MT has been equally comfortable on the road or trail, but updates to the new version shift it more squarely into the trail category. Two key trail-specific updates are additional cushioning in the midsole, and a redesigned upper with increased durability and drainage capacity.