Happy Wednesday, everyone! My name is Clint McKnight and I live and run around the trails and roads in central Oklahoma. If you are curious and want to learn more about a few of my misadventures, I post some over on my blog. I am helping compile some news for you a couple of times in the next few weeks while Eric works on his tan.
This is unfortunate. A UK man runs his first ultra and finishes in first place, but a wrong turn at mile 57 of a 100K race adds a mile to his effort and results in a DQ. I know that rules are rules but the added twist to this one is it seems he was told he would still be fine after asking specifically if his wrong turn would DQ him. Thoughts?
A tragic story and I certainly don’t want to cause more pain for folks but I think it is important to have conversations around nutrition, food regulations, self-image, and just what you are putting into your body. This mom says her daughter’s protein-packed diet contributed to unexpected death.
Speaking from experience from my last race that involved lost of heat, humidity, and a healthy dose of humility, I learned the value of staying cool while racing. Here is an iRunFar article on some cooling techniques.
I can’t get enough of Western States! Tim Lambert (previous URP podcast guest) did a great job of talking about his States experience. His report has everything – trains, germaphobia moments, Gordy, Scott Jurek, and Craig Thornley fanboy fun, nosebleeds, and oh yeah he talks about running a really long way and battling through pain while fighting cutoffs. Look do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes reading it here. Just a little taste from the report: “it has become increasingly clear to me that this isn’t about the race, its about the place”. Seriously get clicking and read it! Also if you haven’t listened to Tim’s podcast episode you should give that a listen too. Check that out here.
Keep your bear spray handy! Officials explain approval of controversial Whitefish ultra marathon.
Mornin’ y’all. I’m Laura Parson, an ultrarunner and professor HQ’ed in Auburn, Alabama, where I replace altitude training training with summer mid-day humidity training. You can read my writing at Salty Running where I mostly write race reports and talk about my FKT attempts to raise money for Girls on the Run. I’ll be taking over the news here a few times while Eric is on vacation.
Let’s do this.
In case you missed it, the Fast Women newsletter has updates from across the running world. This week’s edition includes updates on Katie Arnold’s New York Times article on her Leadville win last year and directs attention to the updated “geeks only” section of the Leadville website with updated splits from the 2019 event.
Promoting a healthy body image – In light of Amelia’s post about her struggles with an eating disorder, and the prevalence of EDs across genders in running, Blair talks about how (not) to promote a healthy body image in response to a reader question. It’s a tough issue for sure, but we can start by disconnecting appearance from performance (and value). In that same theme, TrainingPeaks posted an article about how to prevent Relative Energy Deficiency In Sport (RED-S) from a coaching perspective. I find the conflation of sex and gender in the article problematic and suggest that isolating and targeting women athletes contributes to the stigma, but there are some good tips and thoughts.
Keep it slow: More goodness from David Roche on the importance of keeping your easy days easy. Seriously, though, stop comparing easy day stats on Strava (unless you’re competing for slowest pace while still maintaining forward motion).
Need some summer reads? Check out the list of Adventure books (most published since 2000). What books are missing from the list?
Eric is off gallivanting across the globe for the next month, and today is the first of a series of guest authors. I’m Brad Bishop, from Fort Collins, CO. I’m co-Race Director for Gnar Runners, Hardrock’s Aid Station Director, and on a personal quest for 10 lifetime Grand Slams (2 down, 8 to go).
IRF/Mock: Results from the ultramarathon and trail racing scene. With the summer racing season fully underway, results are coming in by the bucketload. A few thoughts: -Nice to see solid national and international representation at this weekend’s pair of Silverton races – Kendall Mountain and Silverton Alpine. Even with the cancellation of Hardrock, there’s a good sized crowd in town. -Coming in after Justin’s publication deadline, Greg Armstrong won his fourth King of the Road at the Last Annual Vol State Road Race, and now holds both the Crewed and Screwed course records. (And if you haven’t been reading the entrancing prose of laz’s twice-daily race updates – BOOM – there goes your next hour.) -Badwater starts tonight, continuing the recent move to a night start after the 2014 debacle when new park management denied it and several other Death Valley races permits while they conducted an abrupt “safety assessment”
I haven’t seen it mentioned elsewhere, but one race into the 2019 Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, Gediminas Grinius sits over a half hour ahead of the record pace set by Ian Sharman in his epic 2013 battle with Nick Clark. Leg 2 (for Grinius) is this coming weekend at Vermont.
Davy Crockett of Ultrarunning History has been on a Tarahumara kick recently, with his usual well-researched stories about a 100 mile trail race in 1867 (more than century before Western States was founded) and women marathoners in 1927 (well before Kathrine Switzer’s heroic Boston run in 1967).
Despite the lack of its main event, Camp Hardrock is in full swing, with over 20 events in Silverton, CO this week. I’m organizing Thursday afternoon’s softball game – come on by!
Speaking of Hardrock, fantastic profile by Garrett Graubins of some of the veterans legends of the run – Kirk Apt, the Betsys, Roch Horton, Blake Wood, Billy Simpson and many more. If you want a terrific sense of the Hardrock community but can’t make it to Silverton this year, read this.
Koop/CTS: The right way to train for downhill running.
In the immediate aftermath I’m OK with the decision not to start another loop. Could I have staggered through one or two more? Maybe. But that wasn’t getting me anywhere. I saw no signs of cracking from Sean; he really looked as if he could go forever.
Jay Friedman: Dr. Jay writes about first run at the last-man-standing format Mountain Lakes Backyard Ultra.
UltraSpire: Great video and commentary on Ian Sharman’s incredible 10th Western States finish. Ian’s one of the most respected people in the sport and this video shows why.
Weather is getting hot! If you need a handmade ice bandana, consider grabbing one from this Etsy shop. Proceeds will go to caring for 10yo Troy–the son of a URP reader/listener–and towards research to find a cure for his potentially fatal Mitochondrial Disease.
TrailRunner: Mt Marcy looks like a cool peak. I’m assuming it’s technical as hell? (And yes, in my hell, all trails are rooty, slippery, and technical.)
NYT: How 2018 Leadville champ–and author—and mom—and wife—Katie Arnold fits it all in. (Here’s our chat with Katie from last year.)
I asked John Onate, MD to co-host the show with me this week, and I’m happy it worked out well. So you want to hear a story of tragedy, resilience, and all around toughness? (And by toughness I mean running-with-grizzly bears,-surviving-a-suicide-attempt,-finishing-an-ultra-with-a-broken-ankle,-and-opening-up-your-frozen-tracheotomy-with-a-freaking-key-toughness) Here’s our interview with Carol Seppilu. Check it out.
TrailSisters: Katie writes about shifting expectations and mental strategies mid-race.
Amelia Boone: Honesty and candor about her decades-long battle with eating disorders. Finding the right balance on body positivity seems like an impossible task in our culture right now and it scares the heck out of me to think about what my kids will endure. Any advice appreciated.
Manitou Incline: I’ve never seen a video of the actual trail/steps all the way up. Thanks Schuyler!
We’re each only taking one backpack (no checked luggage) for our five week vacation this summer, so trying to squeeze in all the mandatory gear for Andorra Ultra Trail ain’t much fun. Since the rest of our trip will be in Portugal, I’ll be ditching most of my clothes and gear in the Pyrenees. (And here’s to hoping that the US market and RDs resists the gear requirements forever. )
Carol Seppilu lives in Nome Alaska, a town 500+ miles north of Anchorage where residents celebrate their Eskimo heritage and culture.
Carol participating in her other passion: Traditional Eskimo dancing.
When she was a teenager, Carol attempted suicide after drinking, then went through 15 years of surgeries, therapy, weight gain, and depression. We talk about her attempt and what could have been done to prevent it and the miraculous change of events in her life over the past few years.
Heads up: You’ll have to be patient with the audio. Between her remote location and tracheotomy, John and I struggled to understand some of Carol’s answers and conversation and you’ll have to listen hard to understand portions. I did my best to clean up the audio file, but there are parts that couldn’t be improved.
Then, inspired by a friend a few years ago, Carol started running and has found the ultra trail community a group that helps her push her limits, brighten her life, and ultimately, accept her for who she is. She wears a medical mask to cover the facial injuries and breathes through a tracheotomy, but like many others out on the trail, Carol’s not allowing her past to define who she is now. Hers is a powerful story.
Butchering a seal mid-run. Badass, defined.
2013 vs 2019
Carol shares stories of freezing temperatures (and frozen tracheotomies!), animal encounters (grizzlies!), and what it’s like butchering a seal mid-run. She’s also attempting an ultramarathon in all fifty states and shares her goals and reasoning behind this project.
“Every pain I’ve felt (while running) is a lot less painful than what I’ve been through.”
After our talk, Gear Editor Ben joins us to talk about some of his new favorite trail shoes. I’ve linked to those below.
Carol Seppilu finishing Broken Arrow Skyrace.
Carol Seppilu Episode Notes:
IRF/Mock: Results from the ultramarathon and trail racing scene. I’ve been fascinated with Mt. Marathon for years, and this year was no exception. A few things: Billy Yang said it best when he described men’s winner Max King as a “human Swiss Army knife” that can do anything. And let’s remember…Max is almost 40 and still winning extremely competitive events. Also, Hannah LaFleur! I’m hoping some footage of her descent comes to light, because she made up more ground (70 sec back at the top, and she won by 30 sec) on her way back to Seward than anyone out there. Unfortunately, the camera crew didn’t notice her until the very end so we didn’t get to see her effort. Bummed the junior race was cancelled due to air quality. It’s always neat to see what these tough Alaskan kids can do! And…as always, the production crew did a great job capturing the excitement of the day with a well-produced television broadcast.
Fast Women: All the results from road, track, and trail results from women this past weekend.
Semi-Rad: It could be worse. Though a fictional conversation between climbers, “it could be worse” is always a good mantra to repeat during a tough run.
First and most importantly, condolences to the Meza family. They lost a husband, a dad, a grandfather, a brother, and an uncle. From articles I’ve seen, they believe he was unjustly targeted and just want Frank back, and that’s heartbreaking.
Over the next few weeks and months, I’m hoping this discussion blossoms into real talk about our culture–both in an away from running–and how to be kinder to each other. Yes, he cheated at races, and yes, he apparently had more personal pride and worth tied into his running accomplishments than we’d thought, but I know that I’ve been in positions when I’ve dug myself deep into a hole and have been unable to see a way out. Luckily, I didn’t have the public pressure of social media bearing down on me. This is a tragic example of how one–or fine, many–mistakes ballooned into a man losing his life. No “rules” can be mandated that’ll prevent this sort of thing in the future, so it’ll take simple understanding and compassion within the running community to navigate these waters.
Going forward, what’s the public or media expected to do when someone is caught cheating? Simply look the other way out of fear the accused may later take their own life? Would the LAM have awarded the legitimate winner his award if this has been kept a private matter? How can this be handled better in the future?
I feel for Derek Murphy from Marathon Investigation. The emotional toll and guilt he must feel (justified or not, doesn’t matter) is something I certainly don’t envy. I don’t believe it’s Derek’s fault, but his involvement must weigh on him tremendously.
Much of the blame and attention I’m seeing is focused on Marathon Investigation and the articles that outlined Meza’s finishes. I followed the posts pretty closely and while they were thorough, I found them to also be respectful and don’t see why MI is being blamed while the LetsRun forums are being largely ignored. It was those posters who were attempting to contact his patients, harass his family, and attempting to sabotage him at work, and that is wildly inappropriate. (Seems most of those posts have been scrubbed from the forums.)
Please share your opinion, but keep it respectful and civil. I had to block a few members of the Woke Police over the weekend and don’t want to do that anymore. Gracias.
Runners World: Pavel Tovopov does a great job highliting UTMB champ Yao Miao’s life and accomplishments. What an incredible story!
Deseret News: Woman runs off trail and finds herself lost in the Utah mountains. Good lessons in here, folks.
Vol State is starting on Thursday. Looking for a fun interview with a race veteran, be sure to check out our chat with Alan Abbs.
I’ve seen ridiculous posts on Twitter about people “ignoring” the women’s World Cup victory. Listen, some of us just don’t watch soccer, regardless of who’s on the field. Good on the US ladies, but I was competing in an all ages Nerf battle yesterday.
Run Spirited: Henry talks with Frayah Wasmund about her battles with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders, until she finally found solace and positive living on the trails.
Cycling: Some describe it as a “ban”, while others see it as simple manners.
Finalizing production on an episode I’ll release today. You’ll have to be patient with the audio…my guest is way way up in northern Alaska and speaks with a tracheotomy, but her story is well worth the effort to listen. I promise.
Merrell: Yes it’s an advertorial, but it’s got some decent information. Only issue I have is putting Barkley in the same category as Spartan Trail races. (Fun stat: Barkley’s entry fee is 8% of what Spartan charges family members to watch the race.)
Meeeoooww: Montana trail runners and MTBers…be careful out there.
More on High Lonesome 100’s new entry policy. If the goal is to make two equal races (male race and female race) that run concurrently, then awesome. I really want to see more women racing, this is a great way to do it, and I expect other races will follow.
A few weeks ago I wrote about YouTuber Logan Paul challenging any other YouTuber to a race for $100k. The responses to his tweet were overwhelming (I dared him to race Nick Symonds in a steeplechase) and now he’s putting on a track meet–with big money–next month. As Mario smartly pointed out in his Morning Shakeout, how is it that some asshat kid can put on a well-funded track meet within a month, but the T&F organizing bodies can’t figure it out with far greater resources, time, and experience?
WS100 stats are in and despite plenty of carnage, the race saw the highest percentage of finishers in the modern era. The favorable weather certainly played a role, but what are the other factors? Better access to training information? Gear? More competition in qualifying races?
I’ve got a pretty great group of people who’ll be curating and compiling the Daily News for me when I’m gone: Different geographic regions, different viewpoints and different perspectives. If you’d like to help compile the Daily News, shoot me an email with DAILY NEWS in the subject line and I’ll get you on the calendar. Thanks so much everyone.
SCMP asks if elite runners should be required to carry the same mandatory gear as everyone else. (My opinion: No one should be required to carry anything, but I leave those rules up to the RDs.)
Magness: Did you just have a breakthrough performance? What now? Push harder to the next level, or ease off the throttle a bit?
Industry: Well this’ll be interesting. The former head of USA Triathlon is now leading the Iditarod which has had it’s own share of problems. Hope he’s able to bring the event back to where it once was. And yes, there’s a Susan Lucci reference.
Interesting: Nike pulls the plug on an American flag shoe, so Arizona Governor pulls the plug on corporate incentives for their new AZ factory. Who do you think will blink?
This is the fourth year of the Broken Arrow Skyrace (BASR) in Squaw Valley, and the fourth year I’ve gone up the hill to help out. It’s a highlight of my summer, a great time for my family, and a race I expect will be a part of my life–and the greater ultra scene–for years to come. (For transparency, they comp me a hotel room, but that’s it…I’m just a volunteer otherwise.)
Here are my quick thoughts from what turned out to be a fantastic weekend with picture perfect weather.
I was announcing the race finish all weekend and had a blast. My apologies if you came by and tried to say hi…it gets pretty crazy trying to announce every name! Pic by Myke Hermemeyer.
The elite field assembled for BASR was once again pretty incredible. Max King, Megan Kimmel, David Laney, Morgan Arritola, Coree Woltering, Rea Kolbl, Hayden Hawks, Taylor Nowlin, Mike Wardian, Joelle Vaught, Aaron Newll, Anne-Marie Madden…the list was extensive and–I’ll get to this in a minute–a harbinger of a trend that I’m happy to see.
Broken Arrow is stacked with elites, but it’s also a race that saves plenty of focus and energy for the mid and back of the pack runners. Every single finisher is celebrated with just the same amount of enthusiasm as the first and that feeling imbues the entire weekend. From Hayden Hawks to Myrna Valerio, there was no shortage of enthusiasm for each runner.
Because the race is right before Western States, there’s also a large contingent of elite athletes around waiting for the start of The Big Dance.
An example: Right before the start of the 52k, a few guys from Ontario, Canada were near the start line waiting for course instructions when a young lady tapped one of them on the shoulder and offered to help get his laces tucked into his Salomons. It was Lucy Bartholomew and she was there watching her dad Ash run the race (and prep for WS) but offered up her help and guidance to a stranger simply because they needed it. This is our community. (And isn’t there a joke in there somewhere…”How many guys does it take to tie a shoe?” or something…)
That’s Lucy Bartholomew, Steve Palmer, and Mike Nash.
Up until four years ago, I used trail racing and Skyracing synonymously, figuring, cynically, that the latter was just a trademarked version of the former. Boy, was I wrong. Broken Arrow takes competitors on ridge lines, up and down ski runs, snow and fixed ladders, and every other type of terrain possible. The race starts at 6600′ and caps out around 8800′ on Squaw Ridge.
Paddy O’Leary sharing the mountain with a skier. Pic from Broken Arrow Skyrace.
Snow was once again a factor this year. Most estimates I heard was that runners ran on snow about 1/3 of the race, sometimes light, and sometimes allowing runners to slide down toboggan runs on the butts.
Hayden Hawks and Megan Kimmel crushed the 52k course (4:25 and 5:09, respectively) and showed what kind of shape they’re each in. Yowza! I didn’t expect those time from anyone before the race started, but the word from the course was that they were each flying…and they kept it up!
Max King once again won the VK, with Joe Gray taking a DNS with an ankle injury. I would have loved to see those two race this year. For the women’s VK, Morgan Arritola was 4th overall, first woman, in an event that she makes looks fun and easy. Second place was 18yo Tahoe local Sofia Sanchez who I’m expecting to see at more sub-ultra trail races..she’s got the energy for sure.
The 26k was a surprise, with OCR stud Lindsay Webster (more on that below) taking the win from Olympic XC skier and trail champ Morgan Arritola. Beating Morgan on this type of course takes a special performance and Lindsay showed us what she had! Andrew Douglas (HOKA) from Scotland won the men’s race by ten minutes. WOW.
Jonathan Levitt at Broken Arrow Skyrace 52k - YouTube
Obstacle Course Racing and trail running have had crossover athletes for awhile, but this year’s field seemed to have more than usual, and that’s great news! Top OCR athletes Matt Newell (2nd in VK, 15th in 52k, 11th in 26k), Nicole Mericle (F20 in 26k), Lindsay Webster (F1 in 26k), Steve Hammond (Race management), Rea Kolbl (F2 in 52k), and Johnny Luna Lima all ran and showed what excitement these athletes bring to more traditional trail running.
The kids race is still growing and it’s great to see. They get a real start and a bib and they blast out towards the same mountains their parents ran…but only for about a kilometer. They go out under the funitel, climb a decent hill, then come flying down the fire road and (try to) ring the bell at the finish. Tons of fun to watch and an excellent way to get kids interested in this sport. Best part? I didn’t hear one kid wine about a shirt or SWAG. Next year we’ll get better at announcing their names…it was tough this year.
Broken Arrow Kids Race
We got the (kind of) OK from Sunny’s doc that she could run the 11k (I believe I carefully and vaguely asked “can she run?” with no mention of where or what) so we worked to find a female for her to run the 11k with. Why doesn’t my wife or I run with her? Check the Ladia link below for my explanation.
Stephanie Violett and Sunny warming up.
Stephanie Howe Violett is still on the mend from an achilles surgery, but she volunteered to run with Sunny and keep her safe on the trail. I begged, pled, and threatened Sunny to NOT run the downhills, (she’s in a full arm cast with some nerve damage and we’re leaving for Europe in three weeks), but every picture or video I’ve seen, she and Stephanie are flying downhill, squealing and hooting with delight. Hey, I tried.
Stephanie Violett and Sunny Schranz at Broken Arrow Skyrace - YouTube
Sunny and Stephanie being followed by Anna Mae Flynn’s dogs. Video courtesy of Jonathan Levitt.
Like Ladia’s run with Sunny last year, this is something that is important to. Sam and I as parents and to someone who wants to see more girls in the sport. Can you imagine the impact these moments have on kids and how these little acts of kindness will affect the future? Sunny wore her baggy “Courtney shorts” (her words) and Pixie Ninja socks, strapped on the only vest that’ll fit her (the UD Half Marathon), talked a lot and hopefully learned a ton, and that enthusiasm is contagious. Big huge thanks to Stephanie and the other women (Anna Mae Flynn and Caroline Boller) who had offered to run with her. Next year she says she’s running the VK and 26k.
More girls running trails –> More women running trails.
Big huge shoutout to La Sportiva for making a kids-centric trail shoe! The Jynx is finally available in the US and her 2.5 foot fits perfectly. This is a real mountain shoe–not a “kids” shoe that’s made to look tough, and that’s important. NFI, I just like to recognize brands that make gear for the next generation of trail runners.