A decade ago, at 42, Kami Semick reached the pinnacle of ultrarunning. She won every race she entered in 2009, including two world championship events in the 100K and 50K, and earned UltraRunning’s Ultrarunner of the Year title for the second year in a row. But five years later, she called it quits and disappeared from the sport.
As with many ultrarunner origin stories, Brandon Miller’s running career started as a cross country speed demon in his home town of Barrie, Ontario. After high school, as he began a demanding college course load in Mechanical Engineering at Queens University in Ontario, priorities shifted and running took a far second to his studies.
With each passing year, it’s a race we know we shouldn’t be running. But often, against our better judgment, knowing full well the runner we were last year, or 10 years ago, or 20 years ago could be far different from who we are today, we run it anyway.
When the whole picture is taken into account, Walmsley’s story starts to make more sense. In 2014, when he started to dabble in trail and ultra races, he was also working 24-hour shifts underground in an Air Force base in Great Falls, MT.
In late 2015, Devon Yanko returned to the top of the ultrarunning ranks in style at the Javelina Jundred. She finished the 100-mile race through the desert in a blazing 14:52:06, first woman and second place overall. This was also the third-fastest trail 100 mile ever run by an American woman.
Junko’s inherent courage has led her to a life of taking on challenges that others have often advised against. In 2015, the brave 52-year-old two-time cancer survivor tackled something that no one else had ever done, completing the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning and the Leadwoman series in the same calendar year.
There are certain women in our sport who can go by their first names. Ann, Ellie, Kami, Darcy – these are just a few of our Madonnas of ultrarunning, if you will. Nikki, Rory, Liza – the list goes on – Pam, Anna and Camille.
Now, If you find yourself saying, Camille who?, you certainly won’t be for long.