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Monthly Archives - December 2018

IRUN4ULTRA’s 2018 Recap

What an amazing year 2018 has been as the race gods have graced us with dramatic outcomes, with stories of tremendous triumphs, impressive personal bests as well as heartbreaking defeats. Lets do a quick refresher of the 2018 and relive some of those moments.

Hurt 100

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The year kicked off with Hurt 100 in January. Set in beautiful Honolulu Hawaii, Hurt is one of the worlds toughest 100 mile races, with less than 50% of the participants finishing every year. In 2018, in addition to the extremely difficult course, physical and mental challenges, the race saw early drama in the form of the “Nuclear Missile Threat”. While the threat turned out to be a dud, what shone through was the perseverance of the runners who didn’t let the fear of a mere nuclear missile get between them and the trails. This year was Avery Collin’s year. A favorite from the start, Avery finished with an impressive 21:44:00 followed by Guillaume Calmettes coming in second and Masazumi Fujioka third with 24:00:35 and 24:03:34. For the women, Darcy Piceu came first and finished strong with 25:48:27. Becky Bates was second with 27:33:07 and Sabrina Stanley with 29:45:04 . But other than that, this race is special because of the special Hurt Ohana. The people who make up the race who are there to encourage you and help you push through even when you are ready to give up.

kley 100

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In Frozen Head State Park, in Tennessee, runners from around the world line up before the Barkley Marathon to test not only their physical strength but also their mental capacity. Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell makes the race extra challenging by with no maps provided, clues to solve and navigate along the way, treacherous forests with unpredictable weather, torrential rain and fog means that the runners don’t really compete against each other….they take on the course and this year the course won. None of the runner could complete the five 20 miles loop. Garry Robbins (23:05:35) came the closest completing 2 loops on time. Only four others including Guillaume Calmettes and Ally Beaven, a mountain runner from Scotland started a third loop along with Robbins. Many other ntable trail runners like Amelia Boone, ultrarunner Jamil Coury, and Michael Wardian did not manage to finish the second loop.

Black Canyon

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On Feb 16th, Aravaipa Running’s Black Canyon 100K, a WS golden ticket qualifier took pace in in the foothills of Bradshaw Mountains. For the men 2018 was Tim Ferrick’s year – 8:53:33, followed by Juan Moran 8:53:35 and Kanoa King – 9:10:38. The women put forth and impressive performance as well with Ailsa MacDonald taking the win with 8:53:33 and Courtney Dauwalter taking silver with 9:18:33. 2018 was Courtney’s year and we see much more from her as time goes by.

Lake Sonoma 50K

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Next came Lake Sonoma 50K. This extremely popular 50K was blessed with gorgeous sunny weather typical of California. The race is 86% single track and 9% dirt roads which were dominated by Jim Walmsley (5:51:16) and Keely Henninger (7:13:55) who were ahead of the pack from the get go. While Jim set a new course record, Keely narrowly missed the women’s course record. This race is also the final race in the Altra Golden Ticket Series where entries can be earned into the Western States 100. In addition to Jim and Keeny…Jared Hazen (6:18:10), Taylor Nowlin (7:44:52) and Camelia Mayfield (7:45:55) accepted their golden tickets.

Western States 2018

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Western States 2018 was Jim Walmsley’s year. After a couple of failed attempts to win, Jim not only won but shattered previous race records with a time of 14:30:04, refusing to listen to people’s advice on pacing. In his usual breakneck speed from the get go, Jim enthralled all following this historic race. Francois Dhaene (15:54:53) and

Mark Hammond (16:08:59) to take 2nd and third. The women’s race was dramatic as well, Courtney Duawalter came first for women and over 12th with a time of 17:27:00. Kaytlyn Gerbin (18:40:19) and young Australian Lucy Bartholomew (18:59:45) took the gold and silver. This year was was witness to amazing performances, new records, hot weather and fast times!

Hardrock 100

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This was the silver Jubilee for Hardrock 100. Hailed as one of the most fun filled races, it doesn’t disappoint with the course, difficulty or drama. This year saw the first DQ of front runner Xavier Thévenard for receiving aid outside an aid station. Resulting in Jeff Browning  (26:20:21) snatching the gold. Jeff Rome (26:34:33) and Troy Howard (27:09:39) took the next two spots. For the women, Sabrina Stanley put forth an impressive performance the whole race. It was her year for sure! Nikki Kimball ( 32:18:35) and Darla Askew (32:52:30) followed fo second and third place.

Badwater Salton Sea

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2018’s Badwater Salton sea saw 36 teams participate. This 81 mile track tests the best and this year Walker Higgins emerged victorious and Dan McHugh came second, both with the time of 15:36:00. For the women, Patsy Ramirez-Arroyo killed it with a time of 18:27:00 and took first place.

Badwater 135

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Badwater 135 is regarded as one of the world toughest footraces covering 135 miles non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA. This demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet and this year Michele Graglia (24:51:47) and Brenda Guajardo (28:23:10) beat the elements to come first. Jared Fetterolf and Don Reichet plus Pam Smith and Micah Morgan took second and third for the men and women respectively.

Penyagolosa 2018

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Penyagolosa 2018 Trail World Championships gold went to Spain’s Luis Alberto
Hernando 8:38:35 and The Netherlands’s Ragna Debats  9:55:00. The race began in Castellón de la Plana, Spain and featured some unique and mixed terrain. Two time defending champ Luis initially shadowed the front of the pack in the first half, only to dominate in the second while Ragna dominated the whole way.

Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2018

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Elite and amateur trail runners from all over the world compete for 5,800-meter elevation gain departing from Corso, Italia. Magnificent and Dolomite landscapes make the Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2018 a race to behold. This year USA’s Hayden Hawks 12:16:20 won, but it wasn’t easy by any means. He crossed the finish line and his discomfort and pain finally took over. Pau Capell 12:20:22 and Tim Tollefson 12:44:44 took second and third respectively. For the women Kelly Wolf (USA) 14:37:00, Miao Yao (CHN) 14:52:04 and Kathrin Götz (SUI) 15:03:04 won gold silver and bronze.

IAU 100k World Championships

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This year the Croatian town of Sveti Martin na Muri hosted the 2018 IAU 100k World Championships.  Japan’s Hideaki Yamauchi became the two time Champion with a time of 6:28:05. In the women’s race, Croatia’s Nikolina Šustić won with a steady pace and time of 7:20:34. This year the race was not flat like is has been in the past, but the runners got to experience te gorgeous Croatian hill landscape. Second and third places were earned by Takehiko Gyoba – 6:32:51 and Bongmusa Mthembu  – 6:33:47 for the men and Nele Alder-Baerens (Germany) – 7:22:41 and Mai Fujisawa (Japan) – 7:39:07 for the women.
Tor des Géants
TDG is a 330k multi day race with difficult steep elevation. This race takes place all over the Aosta Valley, Italyfinishes at Courmayeur France. The  course must be completed in less than 150 hours and this year Franco Colle (74:03:00), Galen Reynolds (74:40:36), and Peter Kienzl (77:31:11) took the top three positions in a hard fought race. Women’s Silvia Trigueros (87h50m) displayed great form and won in a dominating style. Silvia is alsothe first woman to take TDG gold.

UTMB

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The Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc (UTMB)

UTMB is by far one of the most beautiful, challenging and dynamic races we have, having the runner cross 3 countries through the Alps. This year France’s Xavier Thévenard  – 20:44:16 took home his third gold while Italy’s Francesca Canepa – 26:03:48
scored her first win at UTMB 2018. Romanian runner Robert Hajnal -21:31:37 had had a great performance and took second, while Spain’s Jordi Gamito took third with 21:57:01. For the women Uxue Fraile returned from a major injury – 26:08:07
to take second and France’s Jocelyne Pauly, after a hard fought battle came a close third with 26:15:11.

Kodiak 100

In its 7th year, Kodiak 100 takes place in in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California at an elevation of 7,000. With epic views and tremendous climbs, runners get to challenge themselves while enjoying the scenery. Robby Hass came first with 9:31:09 for men and Rachel Hallum-Montes for twomen with a time of 10:52:48.

Javelina Jundred

Javelina Jundred

A bunny hops by on the Javelina 2018 trail.

Click here to Javelina Jundred movie

The Javelina Jundred is a costumed 100 mile trail run party that appropriately takes place around halloween. In its 17th edition the race is held on a 20 mile rolling single track trail course comprised mostly of the Pemberton Trail in beautiful McDowell Mountain Regional Park near Fountain Hills, Arizona. In 2018 this social run was won by Patrick Reagan (15:39:33) for men and Darcy Piceu (18:49:06) for women.

Cappadocia

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Cappadocia, Turkey is a unique natural wonder with fairy chimneys and unique historical and cultural heritage of the silk roads for trade. Now this site host a unique ultra that leave runners spellbound by the beauty. This year Cappadocia Ultra-TrailAndrea MACCHI came first with 11:12:34 followed by Marcus SCOTNEY 11:31:34 and Harry JONES 12:18:40. For the women the podium was earned by Maria MITEVA NIKOLOVA 13:14:29, Kalanova ALEXANDRA 13:25:28 and Francesca CANEPA 13:42:15.

Big’s Backyard Ultra

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Another race put on by Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell, it stays true to the torturous nature he is known for. 100 runners running a single loop measuring 4.16 miles in an hour over and over again till there is just one left. This year that was  Johan Steene, 40, of Stockholm, Sweden completing 283.335 miles. But Courtney Dauwalters performance is worth mentioning as she came second with 270.83 miles. Cruel race yes, but addictive for sure!

Desert Solstice

Click Here to Desert Solstice Movie

This year was Camille Herron’s year! Not only did she smash records wit her performance, but she did it with style. Herron broke the Women’s World Record for 24 Hours with a distance of 162.9 miles, the event’s best performance. Herron also claimed the 100 mile American Track Record for Women, with a time of 13:25:00. Herron also gave IRUN4Ultra an interview where she talked about her performance and her desire to run at a fast past. Other notable performances include Oswaldo Lopez, who has established a new 24 Hour Men’s Record for Mexico with a distance of 139.6 miles, and Andrew Snopes, who ran 144 miles barefoot. Greg Armstrong, coming in third, also completed his 155 mile run in Teva sandals! Some notable participants had to call it early for injury and fatigue, such as Courtney Dauwalter and Zach Bitter.

Limone Skyrunning

Link to Limone Skyrunning

This race sees 29K of real skyrunning with a 2.500 meter vertical climb.Starting and finishing in the beautiful Lungolago Marconi in Limone sul Garda does not disappoint with its difficulty. For the men it was Davide Magnini (ITA) – 2h59’24”, Rémi Bonnet (SUI) – 3h0414” and Oriol Cardona Coll (ESP) – 3h06’07” for top three. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) – 3h31’36”, Ragna Debats (NED) – 3h40’07” and Sheila Avilés (ESP) – 3h45’28 took the podium for the women.

ZEGAMA AIZKORRI 2018

Zegama is part of the golden trail series and this year was its most competitive by far! This year was exceptionally steep and muddy and Ida Nilsson (Sweden) won with 4:38 win.Second-place Laura Orgué  (Spain) followed in 4:45, and Ruth Croft (New Zealand) was third in 4:48.  For the men Rémi Bonnet (Switzerland) ousted defending champ and course-record holder Stian Angermund (Norway) to win. 23 year old Bonnet finished in 3:53, beating Angermund’s 3:55 by exactly 90 seconds for a nailbitting finish!

Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run

Click Here to Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run clip

Taking place in California’s Angeles National Forest, the course was originally designed to be a challenging 30-hour course, but due to its difficulty, the official cut-off time is set to 33 hours. This year was Rene Dorantes year, winning with a time of 19:23:04. Darcy Piceu won the women’s with 22:17:41. This has been a good year for Darcy with multiple wins under her belt.

JFK 50

First held in 1963, JFK 50 Mile was a 50 mile event held as part of President John F. Kennedy’s push to bring the country back to physical fitness. In that tradition it continues today starting in the town of Boonsboro, Maryland, and heads east out of town toward the South Mountain Inn. This year Jared Hazen (5:34:21) won for the men and Kate Pallardy (6:40:34) for the women. Zach Miller came second. The current course records are held by Jim Walmsley (5:21:29) for men and Ellie Greenwood (6:12:00) for women.

All in all it was a great 2018 for us here at IRUN4ULTRA. We covered many races, saw many hearts break with losses and a larger number of triumphant wins, on and off the podium. Can’t wait to see that 2019 has in store for us. Happy trails!

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Is Sugar A Problem? A Runner’s Diet Guide

Runner’s Diet: To Carb Or Not To Carb?

In the general canon of nutrition science, sugars have long ago been pinpointed as an area for caution. Refined sugars, in particular, are treated as a scourge, especially here in health-crazed California, where candy ephemera are treated with a general, miserly suspicion.

Let’s clear the air with a general conclusion: sugars are not bad for you and Runner’s Diet . And from a biochemical perspective, the perceived quality of the sugar-containing nutrient is never at issue; that $8 fresh-pressed juice may indeed be worse for you than, say, a glass of milk. For all carbohydrates –– sugars, simple and complex, cheap or luxuriant –– break down into glucose, that vital energy source that keeps us moving.

Long distance Runner’s Diet plan

Depending on how complex their structure, different carbohydrates break down at entirely different rates. Refined sugar will flood your bloodstream with glucose in one go, while a fruit or vegetable will trickle its dose at a leisurely pace, as your body breaks down the complex carbohydrates through digestion.

There are hidden troves of sugar in such varying foods: Granola, Pasta Sauce, Soup…these are foods that belie their glucose content, foods whose palette and tenor suggest a dearth of sugar. And yet, be ever aware of the nutrition label.
Undercover glucose is a major concern in the modern American diet, especially for the time-crunched worker, whose
quick-fix diet is plagued with processed nutrients brimming with flavor-inducing sugars.

Both diabetes and obesity, global epidemics in their own right, have strong correlations to sugar-rich diets. Yet don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself; as with many things, glucose intake is a question of moderation, and not elimination.

And as for us runners? Well, sugars are indispensable to our method of exercise, and even especially so. Those fast-acting sugars in gels, sports drinks, and candies offer crucial support in maintaining energy throughout a long race, and invigorating our muscles.

To improve recovery and maintain stamina, it’s important to start a workout with a ready store of available glucose. Some toast, granola, or fruit will offer a digestively mild source of energy pre-workout. For a brief run or a jog, such vital fuel should keep you rolling, and will contribute to a healthy mental state during your run. Carb-loading is a common practice among many long-distance runners, but we’ll save that for another post.

Foregoing a fuel source could leave you with low blood sugar, which is unhealthy, even if its effects make the workout feel more intensive. If you ever feel shaky and lightheaded after a run on an empty stomach, you’re probably experiencing low blood sugar.

Please, my fellow runner’s diet, be cautious in fasting before a long run. Although fasting may help you burn fat more efficiently, this practice should be incorporated with care. Having low blood sugar (Hypoglycemia) for too long can lead to seizures, loss of consciousness, and even brain damage. And actually, under fueling is more likely to cause you issues down the line than having that extra doughnut on Sunday night.

If your run is longer than two hours, it’s important to top off your glucose stores to prevent fatigue. Consuming 200-300 calories in simple sugars (energy drinks, gels, candy, trail mix, etc.) will keep your mind and muscles in the game. And consuming carbs and proteins after your run will help you recover more smoothly, too.

In short, carbs are the runner’s friend.

Certain apostles of the Ketogenic Diet will disagree about importance of carbohydrates, and I here acknowledge their perspective, although the jury is still out on whether or not Keto improves endurance performance.

In short, Keto is a high fats diet that restricts carb intake. With a deficit in energy-rich glucose, the body goes into Ketosis, whereby the liver beings to produce ketones, chemicals produced in the liver that offer surrogate energy. The Keto diet is a fat burning diet that some suggest offers enhanced performance at distance. Yet the transition into Ketosis, whereby glucose intake is subsumed, can be a long and painful process.

Thus, for the everyday runner, we suggest a  runner’s diet that includes various sources of glucose, consisting of both complex and simple carbohydrates. Every individual, through trial error, can find a nutritional balance that works for them.

And, as ever, running is neither a valid excuse, nor a suitable counterbalance, for a poor runner’s diet 🙂

Leave a comment or question, and we will continue the conversation!

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Beet Juice: The Endurance Elixir

Is an endurance elixir beyond imagination, does such an aid border too close to fantasy?

Perhaps. But while the human system absolutely faces fundamental constraints, certain nutritional aids will boost your performance in an appreciable manner. The limiting factor central to running activity is oxygen availability –– when our muscles cannot receive oxygen at an adequate level due to high level activity, we become fatigued, and experience diminishing performance.

Nitric Oxide (NO) is at the biological root of muscular vasodilation. This messenger molecule tells muscular veins to increase blood flow, and helps regulate muscle contraction. One of the best sources of dietary nitrates is beetroot, that redish and earthy vegetable we seldom encounter. Who knew such a prodigiously modest food could harbor such massive potential? Olympic athletes have become major consumers of the stuff, mostly in juiced form.

A beet salad with a nice tart dressing is a nice way to retain the vegetable’s hearty fiber.

The irony is elite athletes, of anyone, are least likely to experience marked improvements in performance, as their physiology is already operating near peak. Then again, if beet juice holds the key to a minor improvement in split time or any competitive betterment more generally, it is absolutely worth the effort for these folks.

Especially for more casual runners, whose oxygen conversion is nowhere near perfect, the difference in terms of endurance is more palpable. Opinions differ from study to study, but the generally agreed upon benefits are:

a) Reduced oxygen cost for motion, which translates to an increase in general efficiency

b) Enhanced muscle metabolic function, or less muscle fatigue

In other words, drinking four to six ounces of beet juice could make for some marginal improvements in your running performance. But even if the changes aren’t tangible, beet juice is incredibly healthy, and is a known combatant of hypertension and inflammation. So even if the experience of the jog doesn’t change markedly.

Beet juice will have your body feeling better and healthier

Beets can be juiced by hand, by pressing out the liquid nutrients forcefully.

We recommend beet juice especially for those training to run at altitude. Mountain trails have their special place in the canon of running, giving way to some of the best scenery and most technical climbing around. But anyone who has dashed at altitude can attest to the cardiovascular difficulties that come with the territory. There is less oxygen available in the air at high altitudes, and this translates to rapid exhaustion with even minimally intensive exercises.

Training for altitude is a long and arduous process of acclamation. Your body adjusts to the requirements by improving red blood cell formation, and thus increasing oxygen delivery. Beet juice will help because it enhances vascular performance, leading to better cardiovascular efficiency. Nitrate intake also improves exercise tolerance and might reduce lactate accumulation, which at least means you’ll be feeling less pained as you summit that mountain.

There is no general consensus on what role beets play in improving athletic performance or cardiovascular health, but many studies do find promising results. And beyond being incredibly nutritious, beets can taste quite delicious. If you find they taste too earthy alone, try them in smoothies, juiced with orange juice, on pizza, or on hamburgers.

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Camille Herron

Desert Solstice 2018 Re-Cap

World class runners, unconstrained
Camille Herron has smashed the records with her performance at Desert Solstice this Saturday. Herron broke the Women’s World Record for 24 Hours with a distance of 162.9 miles, the event’s best performance. Herron also claimed the 100 mile American Track Record for Women, with a time of 13:25:00. Herron exhibited blazing speed day and night, and this performance marks an important addition to her already extraordinary trove of awards and achievements.

Desert Solstice 2018 Re-Cap

The Desert Solstice Track Invitational played host to 33 world class runners, who looped endlessly in unison.

Desert Solstice was a cache of stellar performance on the whole. 24 Hour distances beyond the 150 mile milestone are already incredibly rare; there were merely a couple in all the preceding months of this year. Yet, five runners from the Solstice roster surpassed that tormenting marker, going 150 miles or more.
These are stunning results from a stacked field. Although trail events may offer more dramatic enticements in terrain and scenery, track based events such as Solstice oblige some world class runners to put on the best performances of their lives. 11 world records have been set here. And 60 national records, too. Such achievements speak to how important records-based events such as Solstice can be.

Andrew Snope, barefoot, loops around the Desert Solstice track.

Other notable performances include Oswaldo Lopez, who has established a new 24 Hour Men’s Record for Mexico with a distance of 139.6 miles, and Andrew Snope, who ran 144 miles barefoot. Greg Armstrong, coming in third, also completed his 155 mile run in Teva sandals!
Some notable participants had to call it early for injury and fatigue, such as Courtney Dauwalter and Zach Bitter. Such impediments are endemic to such long distances, and comprise the central struggle of such events. We are excited for these athletes’ performances to come, in the 2019 season.
The Desert Solstice race consists of only 33 participants, and is a qualifier for the National 24 Hour Team. The race offers prizes for Men’s and Women’s 100 mile and 24 Hour performances, but records for 12 Hour are noted as well; Herron also set the Women’s World Record for 12 Hour last year with a performance of 149,130 meters.

Serious road damage on Andres Snope.

Some may find such events too detached from running’s primal character, from the experience of trekking real land as our ancestors once did. Yet the constrained arena of track ultra performances fosters its own necessity. By evening the runners’ experience of the racing environment, replacing rocky paths with rubber, we gain a more accurate measure of athletes’ performances.
This is the case not only from runner to runner, but also from year to year. While natural path conditions can alter drastically with temperature and humidity, the rubber track retains a consistent foothold from season to season. Events such as Desert Solstice, then, offer us a site to reflect on more neutral measures of endurance, and on running performances across the years. Of course, subjective influences such as pain and digestion can never be eliminated, as attested by the top rank early drop outs this year, but that’s just part of the sport. Cheers to all participants!

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desert solstice

This Weekend: Desert Solstice 2018

World class runners, unconstrained

This Saturday, December 8th, is the Desert Solstice Track Invitational, hosted at Central High School’s 400m all-weather track in Phoenix, AZ.

Although trail events may offer more dramatic enticements in terrain and scenery, track based events such as Solstice oblige some world class runners to put on the best performances of their lives.

This is pure, unconstrained running. Absolute endurance.

11 world records have been set here. And 60 national records, too.

The Desert Solstice race consists of only 30 participants, and is a qualifier for the National 24 Hour Team. The roster has some of the most lauded runners in the world: Courtney Dauwalter, Camille Herron, Zach Bitter, among many others.

The Desert Solstice race offers prizes for Men’s and Women’s 100 mile and 24 Hour performances, but records for 12 Hour are noted as well; Herron set the Women’s World Record for 12 Hour last year with a performance of 149,130 meters. Just for a sense of the tempo Desert Solstice: the qualification standard is at least 124 miles in 24 hours, or a hundred miles in under 17:30. These are top rank prerequisites.

Some may find such events too detached from running’s primal character, from the experience of trekking real land as our ancestors once did. Yet the constrained arena of track ultra performances fosters its own necessity. By evening the runners’ experience of the racing environment, replacing rocky paths with rubber, we gain a more accurate measure of athletes’ performances.

This is the case not only from runner to runner, but also from year to year. While natural path conditions can alter drastically with temperature and humidity, the rubber track retains a consistent foothold from season to season. Events such as Desert Solstice, then, offer us a site to reflect on more neutral measures of endurance, and on running performances across the years. Of course, subjective influences such as health and diet can never be eliminated, but that’s just part of the sport!desert solstice

Keep your eyes peels for our live stream this weekend, and click here to view the race participants or for more information.

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