Self Promotion of Yourself

1995 Leadville champion trophy for sale

1995 Leadville champion trophy for sale

1995 Leadville champions trophy up for sale. Promoting yourself as though you’re a professional athlete and, in contrast, real pros who are very quiet. Getting waxed for a 50k XC ski race. Movie screening was a big hit. Weather.

We got it all (and, some may argue, nothing).

Self Promotion of Yourself

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Reviews of Elevation Trail – Get RAW

Don’t forget to write your review of Elevation Trail. We’ll read some of them this week on the show Thursday. You can either write the review on your blog (give us the link!) or email it to us at tim @ elevationtrail . com

We value your feedback – you can serve as a creative influence on the direction of ET! (or at least give us something fun to talk about).

Do you want the shows to be ALL about running? Do you like other topics? Which sports and activities should we cover? Are the shows too long? Does Tim say “um” too many times? Does Gary talk too much? Do you wish there were more production skills (i.e. inserted music for effect, clips of conversations inserted, etc)? Are the shows too frequent? Would you like two or more a week? Do you prefer when we interview guests or just have the two of use chatting away? What are some of your favorite things about the show? Things you don’t like?

Tell us! Make this a give and take community. We’re obviously not that worried about pleasing everyone but we would like to know how certain things work and don’t work for ET Mob.

Oh, and buy a fuckin’ hat. I have a box of them sitting here.

Weekend Wrap at Inside Trail: Mackey 3-Peats and Slickrock Circus

There was a good assortment of ultra races over the weekend.  From the soft, rolling hills in the Bay Area of California, to undulating and abruptly jagged desert trails in Moab, Utah, to ankle crushing rock-lined, steep descents of Virginia, there was variety in both the race terrain and the weather accompanying the events.  The weather played the biggest role at the Slickrock 100 (50 mile and 50k), where the recent heavy rains washed out dirt roads and created quicksand circumstances that actually swallowed the race director’s 4×4 vehicle up to the windows.  Both the 100 mile and 50 mile courses were changed substantially at the last minute to avoid the dangerous areas.  More on that in a bit.

Dave Mackey's well deserved bib number

First, let’s start with the Dick Collins Firetrails 50 Mile.  Dave Mackey made it three years in a row with his win in 6:34 (Hi, Ultra Runner Of the Year, meet Mr. Mackey).  He now owns 3 of the fastest 5 times ever run in this 29 year old event.  In a repeat of their last race, Chris Calzetta and Jean Pommier had a sprint to the finish with Calzetta (7:02:54) reaching the line one second in front of the speedy 47 year old Pommier (they tied for 1st at the Skyline 50k in August!).   For the women, Roxanne Woodhouse lead all day and crossed the line first in 8:00.  Jennifer Benna methodically picked off people all day, moving up to 2nd where she finished in 8:09.  Bree Lambert held on for 3rd in 8:26.

The transfer of race management to NorCal Ultras was seamless.  Lots of good feedback from participants commenting on the well-marked course, post race food, and terrific weather, albeit a bit chilly at the start.

6pm start of the 2011 Grindstone 100. Photo: Scott Livingston

The Grindstone 100 saw Neal Gorman take the lead early and run alone at the front for 93 miles, finishing in 19:41 (second fastest time on this course).  David Ruttum and Frank Gonzalez battled all day with David edging away in the final hours to take 2nd in 20:28 and Frank coming in just 9 minutes later in 20:36.  Debbie Livingston took the ladies’ win in 24:58, nearly two hours slower than last year’s winning time and course record but she got it done with style and a win is a win.  Kerry Owens came in second with a 28:43 finishing time and Zsuzsanna Carlson (Interesting use of the “Z”s?) nabbed 3rd in 29:31.

Though the finish times suggest the women’s race was without excitement, Debbie had a race on her hands and didn’t take the lead until the second half.  Her husband, Scott Livingston, said, “Debbie overcame a 25 minute deficit to Katherine Dowson at the 51 mile mark (turnaround), by coming on strong in the second half. Unfortunately Dowson succumbed to the course and dropped at the Dowells Draft Aid Station at mile 66.”  Scott also points out that many of the participants complained of quad pain.  With the climbs and descents of this monster mixed in with warmer temps, I’m can imagine the pain!

Both of the previous races are managed and run like a fine engine, everything in sync and predictable.  Unfortunately, for the participants, the Slickrock 100 had some backfires and sputtering and then just sort of died.  Weather was uncooperative, causing the race director (in consultation with Search And Rescue) to reroute the 100 mile and 50 mile course, which lead to all sorts of problems from leader (and eventual winner) Ben Hian running off course for 6 miles early in the race to other front runners getting lost after running 90 miles and dropping in the middle of the night due to long periods without food and lack of warm clothing.  I made the choice to switch to the “50k” (which ended up being 65k; the real course was long at 35.5 miles and I was directed by an aid station person to continue on for “4-5 miles” past the correct turn around) and officially came in second just 4 minutes behind the winner, but technically I ran 5 miles further than he did, so…  I’m just happy I switched races and wasn’t out on a wild goose chase “fun run” course that could have been anywhere from 90 to 105 miles, nobody knows for sure and nobody ran the same course.  It can be fun having some uncertainty in a race but not with 100 milers in the cold rainy weather.

The best info I’ve received has the top four in the 100 mile as:

  1. Ben Hian
  2. Rhonda Claridge
  3. Chris Boyack
  4. Leila DeGrave

There will likely be some fallout from this event.  Brendan T. was there to crew and support a runner and wrote, “Yeah it’s an inaugural event and he was dealt a bad hand with the weather — but zero communication to racers and volunteers about what the hell was going on?? Negligent and dangerous.  I don’t think the SR100 was received too well and wil be surprised if Grand County issues him another event permit in the near future.”

In a comment on my personal running blog (footfeathers.com) Jeremy Humphrey wrote,

Glen Redpath and I led by 30 mins to 1 hour for 80+ miles (after a 6 mile detour by Ben Hian). They made the course up as we went, thus rerouting us back toward the start/finish for another quick loop to add distance. Glen and I hit the last aid before the s/f and was instructed by aid staff on how to proceed. We proceeded as such and got incredibly lost coming to a stop 9+ miles off route and staring into a 1000′ canyon. Several hours without food and inadequate clothing forced the drop. Managed 91+ miles. My first DNF.

I can sympathize with the RD, Aaron.  It’s a very difficult job to begin with but all of the problems could have been avoided with better planning.  I have many thoughts and opinions on this specific event and poorly managed events in general but I would be grateful to hear from readers about their past experiences with mismanaged events and thoughts on this race.

Weekend Wrap at Inside Trail (Sept 23-25)

Lizzy Hawker breaking the 24 hour world record. Photo: CMUDC

Though Inside Trail’s passion lies with off-road competition and adventure, we cannot overlook outstanding performances in our cousin sport, road racing.  First, congratulations to Lizzy Hawker in her jaw-dropping run at the 2011 Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Running Championships 24 hour race in Llandudno (North Wales).  Just four weeks after winning the grueling UTMB, Lizzy covered 246.4 km (just over 153 miles) in the 24 hours, breaking the 18 year old world record held by Germany’s Sigrid Lomsky by three kilometers.  Of course, we must also tip our trail hats to Patrick Makau (Kenya) for setting the new marathon world record with his 2:03:38 run in Berlin, beating Haile Gebrselassie’s record by 21 seconds.  Also racing in Berlin, Haile must have instinctively sensed that Makau was having a special day because after Makau made his move, Haile backed off, bent over, then resumed running and finished.

Photo: Davy Crockett

Here in the US, the Bear 100 trail race continues to evolve into one of the classic hard-nose races on the 100 mile calendar.  An exciting race from the start saw a group of eight pull away on the initial 4,000+ ft climb to the first aid station in just over two hours.  As contenders dropped away from the steady Nick Pedatella, Ben Lewis and Gary Gellin, who seemed to focus more on tactical racing than pure speed with each of them also getting lost at times.  In fact, near the end of the race, Pedatella ran off course, allowing Ben Lewis to take the lead.  Pedatella recovered the correct course and the lead, winning in 20:55.  Lewis came in shortly thereafter in 21:18, and Kelly Lance put in a breakout performance and a study of perfect pacing to take third in 21:29.  Remarkably, both Lewis and Lance had never run a 100 miler previous to Bear.

For the women’s race, Nikki Kimball dominated from the start en route to a substantial new course record in 22:19.  Jane Larkindale, in her first 100 miler since her 2010 San Diego 100 win, came in fresh and obviously well-trained to take 2nd in 23:25 and Ellen Parker rounded out the top three with a solid 23:53, also earning the Wolverine Club sub 24 hour buckle.  Full results here.

A happy and triumphant Geoff Roes. Photo: Justin Radley

The UROC (Ultra Race Of Champions) took place this weekend and though many elites were not in attendance, it didn’t stop the ones there from having an exciting race.  Huge congratulations to Geoff Roes and Ragan Petrie on their wins.

Men:

  1. Geoff Roes – 8:58:04
  2. Michael Wardian – 9:20:01
  3. Matt Flaherty – 9:22:42
Women:
  1. Ragan Petrie – 10:11:05
  2. Devon Crosby-Helms – 10:25:50
  3. Anne Riddle Lundblad – 11:01:44

The noticeably low-key, at least in terms of exposure, USATF 50k National Trail Championships took place Saturday in Bend, Oregon with recently crowned World Trail Champion Max King taking the men’s title by a comfortable margin in 3:27.  In a more tightly contested race, Stephanie Howe took the women’s national title in 4:19.  Both King and Howe live in Bend, OR.

Mike Morton tearing through the miles at Hinson Lake 24

On the East Coast Mike Morton braved the 90 degree heat index in North Carolina to win at the Hinson Lake 24 hour event.  The final mileage and results are not posted yet but another competitor, Brett Welborn, had this to say,

“Mike was at 156+ miles but was still moving well with 1 hour left…I would estimate he had sped back up and was doing 8 minute miles. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at 163-164 miles when the final results are posted…within just a few miles of the American Record (which are typically chased on flat pavement with much fewer runners in the way, and in better temperatures).

His first 25 miles was ~2h58m. He hit 50 miles ~6h15m. He went through 100 miles ~13h10m.”

Welborn goes on in reference to Ultra Performance of the Year,

“A lot of people have been talking about Ian Sharman’s 12h44m Rocky Raccoon 100 as Ultrarunning’s performance of the year. But I think after this weekend some folks should take a look at Mike. It was 40F warmer at Hinson Lake. So yea, his 100 was ~20-25 minutes slower, but then he ran ANOTHER 63-64 miles in < 11 hours ON TOP OF THAT. AND it was on a 1.5 mile loop trail, so he had to contend with constantly passing 250+ other runners.”

And finally, check out Go Trail Magazine’s October issue, released today.  Inside Trail has a monthly column beginning this month.  The magazine is top notch with terrific articles and stunning photos.  Hope you enjoy it!

2011 Wasatch 100, WMRC and IAU 100K World Championship Results and Wrap

A rare moment off his feet. Evan Honeyfield fueling to victory at Wasatch 100. Photo Duncan Callahan

At the Wasatch 100 the weather held with warmer than typical temperatures and Timmy Parr took it out hot himself, running splits that nearly matched Geoff Roes’ course record pace.  Unfortunately, the speedster faded with a sour stomach and low energy, eventually dropping at mile 62.  Evan Honeyfield capitalized on Parr’s falter and made his move.  Eschewing the “Lamb’s Canyon Rule” (leader at Lamb’s doesn’t win the race), Honeyfield pressed on and held the lead over hard charging Luke Nelson and ageless Karl Meltzer for the win in 19:31, the third fastest time in the history of the 32 year old race.  Meltzer surprized everyone with his appearance at the start after dealing with a back injury from Hardrock and then food poisoning/flu last week.

In the women’s race, Becky Wheeler shot off the start and ran in 1st all the way to the finish for the most part non-contended.

1st Evan Honeyfield – 19:31

2nd Luke Nelson – 19:52

3rd Karl Meltzer – 20:59

Women

1st Becky Wheeler – 25:53

2nd Emily Judd – 26:46

3rd Jody Aslett – 27:39

Full results found here.

________________________________________________________________________________

Via Matt at Inside Trail‘s Euro Bureau:  Americans feeling this globalization bug that’s going around.

@twitter/usmrt

To reiterate:  What a spectacular weekend for Americans in Europe.  Max King and Kasie Enman shocked the world on Sunday (yeah even the loyal teammate, coach, prescient prognosticator, grandma or cousin Vinnie was fairly surprised) with individual gold medals at the 27th World Mountain Running Championships in Tirana, Albania.  Although the men’s and women’s teams both finished fourth, just missing the podium, it’s safe to say  the USMRT and most racing fans can appreciate this .  On the men’s side, Joe Gray finished 11th, Ryan Woods 49th and Matt Byrne 51stInside Trail had a little preview and more or less overlooked the Americans.  Why?  A) take a look at results from previous WMRC trophy events, especially the last couple of years, which have been dominated by the Africans (Ugandan, Kenyan, and Eritrean runners to be specific) and Europeans;  B) have a gander at some of the recent race results of our two ringers, Max King and Joe Gray; and C) refer to the 12.47k  course, which set-up for more of “A”.

Although some certainly had their eye on Enman because of her return to health and consistent form, and her U.S. mountain running title at the Cranmore Hill Climb in New Hampshire, still this individual gold shattered her and her team’s expectations, especially considering she’s the first U.S. women’s world champ ever, not to mention her first participation in the WMRC.  Megan Lund-Lizotte finished 12th and Michelle Suszek ran into 21st for the American squad.

King’s result is also simply awesome.  Like Enman, he beat all comers at the Cranmore Hill Climb.  And he too delivered individual gold in Albania.  Max (52:06) was joined on the podium by Ahmet Arslan (52:41) from Turkey and one of the Italian Dematteis twins, Martin (52:57).  His brother Bernard (54:16) and Sierre-Zinal winner Marco De Gasperi (54:33) round-out the top 5.  So, what happened?  Since 2009 the Africans have largely smothered the top 10.  Not this year.  King actually recalls seeing one of the Ugandan runners late:  “[He] was 30 seconds ahead of me at the top of the third

photo: usmrt.com

climb and I passed him with about 800 meters to go. ”  Despite the pre-race odds, a little parity transpired in Tirana.

@twitter/usmrt

Quick spin: the course set-up was described as a mix of grass, dirt and single-track among a fairly typical amount of up and down (based on other WMRC trophy courses).  The rub was the less technical terrain;the faster African runners would enjoy the speedier conditions.  However, that sounds like a course that King might enjoy, as well.  “It was a good course for me having both the hard technical uphill and the fast and somewhat technical downhill. I had no idea I was in the lead until I crossed the finish line,” said King, who happens to be a seasoned and successful cross-country athlete.

What about his Sierre-Zinal 20th, or his DNS at Pikes Ascent?  Those (who know him or) perhaps caught Nick Clark’s interview of King prior to Sierre-Zinal might recall he talked about wanting to be ready for Worlds in September, despite sounding under the weather, maybe a bit uninspired.  To the contrary,  maybe he was simply finding his way to the WMRC start, a runner who had an A race focus, who executed to perfection, becoming the first American man to win the gold since Jay Johnson in 1987.

WMRC men’s and women’s results when they become available.

Either way, we have a couple of runners who knew exactly what was possible in Albania on that particular course,  in the face of so much international dominance.  Brilliant and inspired goods.  Congrats to Mr. King and Kasi Enman and American mountain running at large.  Let this inspire others to administer like carnage on the global stage.

Likewise, in the Netherlands Michael Wardian (6:42:49) and Andy Henshaw (6:44:35) ran 2nd and 3rd throughout most of the 2011 IAU 100k World Championships, trailing only Italy’s Giorgio Calcaterra (6:27:32), who also won this race in 2008.  Wardian and Henshaw, along with Matt Wood’s sixth place in 6:50:23, propelled the Americans to a team gold.  World travel at its finest.

The women’s team secured silver, highlighted by the incredible work of 50 year-old Meghan Arbogast’s 5th place in 7:51:10, Annette Bednosky’s 6th place in 7:54:59 and an 11th place finish from Amy Sproston in 8:10:11.  What are they smoking over there?  Especially Ms. Arbogast, who simply knows something the rest of the world is missing out on.  Congrats, ladies!  The race was won by Russia’s Marina Bychkova in 7:27:19.  Unfortunately, Ellie Greenwood recorded a DNF and was not able to repeat her victory from 2010, which shouldn’t dim her spectacular 2011 race season much at all, having already won the Frozen Ass 50, Chuckanut 50k, American River 50, Western States 100 and Powderface 42.

2011 Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc Aftermath

Like a cog train steadily grinding up one of many summits, the Salomon team gets the job done. (photo: The North Face)

Tim:  First, believe it or not, there were other events taking place this weekend, besides UTMB.  I have to mention Cascade Crest 100, where Rod Bien broke the course record set last year by fellow Oregonian, Jeff Browning.  Rod finished in 18:27.  Top woman finisher was Shawna Thompkins in 21:15.  Big props to those solid runners.

Nick Pedatella fueling up en route to 14th place overall (photo: Meghan Hicks)

However, if you listened carefully anytime on Saturday, you could hear a rumbling, like an approaching double, sometimes triple, engine train.  That would be the Salomon Express at the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, roaring over single track trails, leading some 2,300 runners over France, Italy, and Switzerland.  The difficulty of the race is evident in part of an email I received from my friend, Nick Pedatella, 14th place finisher, “The course is brutal, unbelievably steep climbs and downhills. The rerouted course had 34-35k of climb so definitely was pretty beat by the end.”  The rerouted course was necessary due to storms that also delayed the start until 11:30pm local race time.  For those with short attention spans, the two big stories that lie before us post race are Salomon’s dominance and the startling number of Americans who dropped from the race (DNF).

Lizzy Hawker finishing her dominating run (photo: The North Face)

It wasn’t all Salomon.  In fact, arguably the most impressive run of the day came from The North Face’s Lizzy Hawker, who took the lead early and continually built on it, finishing in 25:02 (13th overall).  The 2nd place woman, Nerea Martinez (Salomon), wouldn’t cross the finish line for nearly three hours afterward (27:55).  Pearl Izumi’s and top female American, Darcy Africa took the third step on the podium in 28:30.  For the men it was the Salomon two engine train of “King” Kilian Jornet covering the lengthened course in 20:36, Salomon teammate, Iker Karrera 2nd, and Sebastien Chaigneau rounding out the podium in 20:55.

Matt: There were other “events”?  Definitely, congrats to Mr. Bien.  Nice to see him continue his very productive season.  He seemed like a pretty cool customer at this year’s hot SD100 where he finished tied for second.  A nod to team Patagonia.  And, of course, we haven’t forgotten about the Trans Rockies.  Last year Max King (and Andy Martin) of Team Bend outlasted Jason Wolfe (and Eric Bohn) of Goretex/Salomon/Run Flagstaff.  This year Wolfe equalized with a solid win in the men’s open division with new partner Mike Smith, the pair representing Run Flagstaff.  They beat King and his new partner Ryan Bak, still of Team Bend.  Someone might want to tell Jason Wolfe to try his craft on the ultra circuit, the one that has a kind of consensus world championship starting and finishing in Chamonix, France.  Tracy Garneau and Nikki Kimball of The North Face won the women’s open at Trans Rockies and Rickey Gates and Anna Frost of Salomon won the mixed division.  So, some solid runners certainly had fun out there in what one competitor called a “great time.”  Mr. Teisher went on to say that the race actually, “felt more like a hash weekend with a few epic ballbuster trails than an actual race.”

On that note, let’s turn to the business at hand.  There’s so much that still needs to be flushed-out on blogs and internet rags, etc.  But the superficial “results” are in, and their pretty consistent with what we started talking about last week.  Only the news is worse than expected.  Last week, we simply remarked that a few trends are developing on the mountain/ultra running circuit.  I pointed-out Salomon Running’s dominance here in the states.  I also wondered what American runners might be ready to competitively meet this considerable collection of (primarily) European elite mountain runners over the next several years.

Going-in to TNFUTMB 2011, I picked Geoff Roes to win.  Indeed, I need to accentuate that.  I picked Roes.  I absolutely wanted the excitement of an American bucking this international trend, of that low-key Alaskan ultra spirit rising up and unleashing serious carnage on the world’s best around Mont Blanc.  Definitely this was a wild card and nothing of the sort transpired.  I’ll just get it out of the way here: the perception of American ultra running continues to take a digger.  Denying this is silly.  Granted, the world is not ending, nor does one even have to invest in the very competitive vibe that surrounds the sport (focusing instead on the love of mountainous exhaustion in the heart of nature’s fierce beauty); but for those paying attention, the trend is undeniable.

The blogs are on fire with this competitive banter, and some of it’s become down-right nasty.  So, let’s do the right thing, here and now, and remind ourselves that there’s more racing on the horizon.  Our elite’s just need to get back to work, shake it off, have a beer, and onward and upward.  TNF50 San Francisco in December is a great place to start (or end, however you want to look at it since that’s where it all started).  That’s where the Salomon reign began; let’s stop the bleeding there, regardless of whom shows-up.  Yes, this is only getting started, readers, and we’re not just talking about Inside Trail.

Tim:  I hear you on the hopeful pick in your preview.  We’ve seen a range of emotions and shoot from the hip comments either bashing Americans for burying their heads in the ground or looking for reasons (excuses) for dropping out of a race most knew would be brutally competitive.  The blaming of race organization is not the way to go.  The winners and the ones who finished ran the same course under the same rules.  The complaining and sandbagging (as you know) is a sour spot with me.  I’m tired of reading that “I have jet lag.”  “I’m a little tired.”  “My training hasn’t been perfect.”  I have noticed that many of the international runners (specifically, Miguel, Kilian, Julien and Ryan) we’re talking about seem to be pretty upbeat, admit they are ready and excited, never complain.  It’s like it’s become a chore to race for some of the American runners we follow.  If you’re not into it, then don’t bother showing up.  It’s harsh, but as a runner and fan it’s aggravating when you want to get behind these guys and support them and they drop from the most competitive race they’ve been pining for all year.  Sure there are legitimate reasons in some cases to drop, but the list of “elite” American DNFs at UTMB is pretty incredible.

On a bright note, I want to call out to my buddy, Nick Pedatella who moved up throughout the race, starting in about 100th position and finishing in 14th overall.  Same goes for Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe who grinded it out with the top 20 and flirted with top ten finishes.  And, what about Hal Koerner?  39 hours to finish.  Got it done and deserves respect.  Jack Pilla, 52 years old and finishes in 27:35, dominating the V2 (over 50 category) by three hours.

Matt:  That’s right; there are some great results from some runners that unfortunately weren’t in the spot-light, per se.  Nick Pedatella and Mike Foote are fantastic outcomes for the Americans.  Jack Pilla finished 22nd!  Darcy Africa podiumed and finished 31st overall.  Congrats to perennial stud Scott Jaime (40th), Helen Cospolich (51st), Jason Poole (81st), Hal and Rock, Todd Hoover and Rob Stafford, Colleen Ihnken, Mark Christopherson, Chad Piala.  Of course much respect to all who participated, who got themselves into position to face the music under some pretty severe conditions.  It appears that these conditions had something to do with the DNF bug that took a bite out of the American squad; that’s what has the blogosphere a buzz, for sure.  Geoff Roes, Scott Jurek, Joe Grant, Nick Clark, Dakota Jones, and Krissy Moehl come to mind.  On the surface it’s very disappointing because the American contingent seemed very well represented.  These runners make headlines all over the 50 states in ultra results that garner tons of praise and accolades.  Fierce competitors, all of them.  And now the fall-out of a different kind of trend.

This is huge debate, the DNF, whether or not finishing a race like this hurts a runner’s trail cred.  We talked about this when I brought-up the idea of mountain ethos on another blog and how maybe if conditions get too risky like in HR100 2011, a DNF might be absolutely acceptable (to even the hardcore enthusiast) because continuing on is a literal health hazard (breathing problems, stage 5 rapids, lightning storms, etc.).  I finally reconciled that by saying that dying on the mountain is probably what the true hardcore mountaineers include in their approach to adventure objectives.  The real mountain genre, so to speak.  There’s a bit of humor in that, but also a genuine read on much of the “logic” that develops in the wild.

The answer to the question of what’s right or wrong about DNFs can be answered and debated all day and night.  There are great anecdotes and race reports that probably best put this thing in perspective.  The Matt Carpenter 2004 Leadville report is one way of looking at it.  Here’s a runner with tons of pride, much success in his running career to that point (2004).  He decides to take a break from Pikes and take a shot a 100.  At his first attempt, he fails.  He suffers and feels a lot of embarrassment crossing the finish line, wrecked, humiliated.  He could have quit.  He had every reason to DNF; this isn’t for me, fuck it, back to Pikes and some 50 milers.  But he endured and I have read him say that finishing 2004 (no DNF) fueled his epic CR in 2005.  At the same time, you’ve heard stories about DNFs fueling redemptive comebacks, as well.  To each his own.

Be that as it may, the number of DNFs on the American side is just going to linger for a few fans and athletes who follow this sport.  There is the amateur comic that someone linked in the comments on this very site, yesterday (it seems to be surfacing in several places).  I call that a drive-by, meaning it’s only meant to hurt, is pretty cheap, and who knows who orchestrated that cheap-shot.

No way does Inside Trail condone those kinds of views.  However, we do support the open and honest discourse about this sport we love.  And it’s those kinds of views that can fuel the competitive juices we’re all looking for in some future epic trail races.

Tim: I like the focus on the future.  But to do that you have to understand the past.  Ezra Pound wrote, “Make strong old dreams; lest this, our own world, lose heart.”  DNFs are a separate issue than the dominance of non-American runners this year (beginning late last year).  I’ve personally DNF’d and felt disgusting afterward for quite a while.  I feel that ego has a lot to do with it.  For some reason, both voting in the Ultra Runner of the Year and sites like ultrasignup.com don’t seem to value DNFs in gaging performance.  Say a runner wins 4 races and drops out of 2 others; ultrasignup has his “score” or ranking as 100%.  It’s like DNFs don’t exist.  Of course, a valid reason to drop, like a serious health issue is understandable for most.  Simply because you’re getting manhandled in a race is not a valid reason to drop, in my opinion.  Moving on…

Kilian’s new name needs to be King Kilian.  Those who don’t like it can try to take him down from his throne (good luck with that task).  Really, the performances of him, Iker, and Sebastien are special.  Business-like, with heart, twisting the valve of training depth to full-on.  Regardless what backwoods view some may have that “them damn foreigners are takin’ over the sport,” these guys and gals are tremendous athletes who have the focus and training to perform when it counts.  There are no excuses for those who want to compete but don’t for some reason or another.  They need to shut up, look at what works, and emulate the process.  Jogging around in the woods when you feel like it isn’t going to get it done against these guys who are showing us how to do it at every race.  Give credit where and when it’s due.  And it is due, now.

Matt: I agree with you on the credit that is due.  But let’s reiterate: these results and even the subsequent trash talking should only spur the competitive fire in our elites.  At the same time, since there really isn’t a solid, organized race circuit, or even an official championship, you’ll have runners focusing on their own goals.  That’s where this is definitely different from much more organized sports where defined rivalries can develop through scheduled competitions.  Who knows who gets in to many of the lottery-based races.  And something tells me that UROC won’t quite have the feel of a championship race.

To finish with some thoughts on the UTMB (what many are calling a kind of mountain ultra world championship), big props to Mr. Jornet.  His desire to run seems only matched by his natural talent.  One of the comments from yesterday mentioned Kilian’s seeming denial of a taper, of a willingness to “rest;” he just loves to run, literally “training” or running right through organized races.  Granted, it does appear that the young king of the sport is running amok all over everyone’s previous perceptions of what is typical of a competitive mountain short and long course athlete, but we should assure ourselves that his program is organized and being executed to perfection.  I don’t think Salomon would have it any other way.

His win this weekend along with his WS100 win has to raise questions about the UROY award as it’s now defined.  The sport is clearly international (there is no need to have to explain that).  So, why have an award that only recognizes a North American man and woman?  But I digress.

Iker Karrera Aranbaru’s incredible 2nd has to be keeping the Salomon grin shiny, as well, especially given the quite tumultuous Mont Blanc race that saw so many runners fall off the front for good or DNF.  Karrera’s 2011 results at the Transvulcania, Citadelles and Zugspitz ultras had many believing in this guy.  Salomon’s Miguel Heras succumbed to knee issues, but Karrera was able to stay with Jornet for the entire race.  The pictures blasted across the interwebs often showed 2-4 runners in Salomon white galloping off the front.  Karrera only adds to that team’s international supremacy.  And kudos to Tony Krupicka who really sold Karrera’s stock going into the weekend’s festivities.  Of course, the Frenchman Sebastien Chaigneau’s 3rd just enhances his UTMB portfolio and certainly makes The North Face team proud.  This year’s brilliance adds to his 2nd to Kilian in 2009.  Hungarian Nemeth Csaba did well for himself, too, by improving upon his UTMB 7th in ’09 to finish 4th.  Again, congrats to all of the runners and fans who certainly witnessed quite a mountain running scene full of volatile weather, massive culture and the unbelievable beauty of the 2011 Chamonix Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc.

Where do we go from here?

Left to right: Sebastien, Kilian, Iker. (photo: The North Face)