Scott Jurek – Leadville 100 pre race interview

Image taken from scottjurek.com ©scottjurek

Image taken from scottjurek.com ©scottjurek

Scott Jurek, Leadville 100 2013, pre race interview

It has been some years since Scott Jurek lined up on a 100-mile start line, but he is back! After some time away from competitive running, Scott has recently got married, wrote a book and successfully promoted that book all over the world. He will be 40 in October and although he admits that he may not race competitively for too much longer, he does say he has some good racing left in him…

IC – I am joined by Scott Jurek just days ahead of Leadville 100. Welcome back Scott.

SJ – Thanks Ian it is great to be here.

IC – Scott Jurek lining up on a 100-mile start line causes some interest and we are all wondering what is tempting you back. What is bringing you back to a 100-mile start line again?

SJ – I always had it in the back of my mind to come back to Leadville after I ran here in 2004 as part of the ‘Grand Slam’. Now that I live in Colorado it made perfect sense to run the home course so to speak. I am looking forward to getting back in the swing. I have been very busy for a few years with my book and I had a ton of effort prior to its release to get that done. It has been fun training hard and getting up high again. Leadville is a great race. It has lots of excitement around it. I have done Western States so many times that it made sense to come back to a race that I had not been at for almost a decade.

IC – Is Leadville the start of something new or is this is a one-off?

SJ – Laughs, new as in racing 100’s again?

IC – Exactly.

SJ – I have mentioned before that I will retire. I turn 40 in October. I have a few more goals and I know many people would love to see Scott Jurek race forever. I love to race, I love the sport, and you know it is almost twenty years now since I started. At some point, maybe next year I will wind things down. I have goals, particularly the 24-hour, I want the American record back and I am interested in the world record. We have so many great races now that it is hard to know what to do. I have a few more in me and I want to give it a go!

IC – You mentioned twenty years in the sport. We look back at your career, nobody questions your ability, multiple wins at Western States, in many ways you have created the community and the sport, not single-handed, other people obviously were influential. Do you feel the sport has moved on, although 40 is not old do you feel that at 40 you can’t be competitive anymore?

SJ – It’s a great question. Look at Western States this year! Mike Morton came back after a long hiatus and he was up at the front, he is in his 40’s. He had an incredible race. I believe that we only have so many great races and great years. I want to continue to have a great taste for the sport. I don’t want to burnt out. I want to be involved, help out and run for fun as a mid-packer. From a competition point of view, I would be lying, particularly if you look at research that it is hard to be at the top of the game. My body feels great but mentally it is hard to get out of the door sometimes. Day after day, month after month, particularly if you want to win. You come to a point, maybe it’s physical or mental, but we know muscles and nerves don’t react as quick, so, it’s definitely one of those things. I don’t limit myself but it does get harder, Scott Jurek is getting older and the field is getting younger and younger. I started in my 20’s; it is different to starting in your 30’s.

IC – Yes, you must look back now over you’re career and think to yourself that you are in a great place. You were setting the standard, you have seen the sport grow and expand. Ultra has never been stronger. We have never had so many races. We have never witnessed so many new CR’s. It must be satisfying?

SJ – It’s great. I came into the sport and I remember the old timers saying, ‘things are changing, we need to keep it the same’. I think like anything we have evolution and change, it’s a great thing for the sport. Of course we have some issues. Races are harder to get into. Twenty years ago you could enter Leadville at the last minute, not now! We have drawbacks but we have so many benefits. People are inspired and have great life experiences. We need to share what we have. Obviously we hold on to tradition and the simple aspects of the sport that make it special. More changes will come; prize money, competition and hopefully we will see more drug testing. At the core the sport will remain the same. I want to be involved in that even if I am not racing at the top level. It is something I have life experience with and I want to make sure that is passed on.

IC – I posted on Facebook asking, were people excited Scott Jurek was racing at Leadville. Of course we had great comments and support. Funnily enough, within twenty-four hours I found out that Ann Trason was toeing a 100-mile start line in September, so there is hope you may continue… we never thought Ann would run again.

SJ – I have known Ann for years particularly in her peak. She retired through injury. I think from what I have heard that Ann has a great attitude. She was even pacing at Western States this year randomly. That is a true champion. I am not sure what her goals are. Will she race or is she racing for fun? She may want to be part of the community. She was a competitive force. It’s just great to see her back out in the community. She also race directed for a few years. It’s a great sign; it is what the sport is about. It is about giving back. We all love to see champs come back and win but maybe Ann does not have that desire, it’s just super to see her back.

IC – One thing I did say when I posted was that as far as I was concerned, it didn’t matter if Ann was first or last. What was important was that she was back racing. That was all that counted. You mentioned that you personally don’t want to stop running and that you are more than happy to be a mid-packer. Do you think that Scott Jurek can ever be a mid-packer?

SJ – Definitely. I have gone to races and paced, I have helped at races. I have run an event for the fun; I have run with my wife. For me I have the right approach to it. It is hard sometimes to be a top athlete and not be pushing for the win. It is healthy for me though. It is nice to cruise along, hang out at feed stations and have fun. I am at the point that I can turn off the competitive juices as and when I want to. I am looking forward to doing the events that I haven’t been able to do. I want to do lower key events and that includes International races. It’s a good place to be and it is a good lesson for all, it is not always about goals and PR’s.

Image taken from scottjurek.com ©scottjurek

Image taken from scottjurek.com ©scottjurek

IC – Absolutely.

SJ – You can get bogged down. Just go out and embrace the experience. That is why we do it isn’t it? Experiences are what count.

IC – You mention competitive juices and Leadville 100 is about to take place. An out and back course in the Colorado Rockies with plenty of altitude and Hope Pass the highest point. Are you going into this to win?

SJ – You bet! I am here to do whatever it takes to run my best time and ideally win this race. I have put in the training. I am mentally prepared. My goal is to win… Ryan Sandes is here from South Africa, he and I ran together a few weeks back. Nick Clark and Ian Sharman are doing the Grand Slam; they may be a little tired. Nick is a Colorado guy, used to altitude and is tough. Mike Aish dropped last year but he may put it right this year. Leadville has no qualifier, you can literally have never run a 10k and sign up. This can throw up some surprises. Someone may turn up and pull it off. It is an exciting race. Many people don’t realize it is our biggest race, 1200 people will toe the line on Saturday. It has loads of excitement and fun because of the out and back; 50 out, 50 back.

Image taken from scottjurek.com ©scottjurek

Image taken from scottjurek.com ©scottjurek

IC – Of course you will get to see how the race unfolds on the out and back too. In the past you have paced Anton Krupicka at Leadville, earlier this year you paced Seb Chaigneau at Hardrock 100. Who will pace you at Leadville?

(Laughs)

SJ – Well my old buddy Justin will pace, he has paced and crewed for me at Badwater, and Spartathlon he has seen me in some high moments and some low moments. It’s great to have him back. I have a surprise pacer; I wont release that info just yet. It’s a secret. You’ll see at Hope Pass. I went old school with my pacers, guys who have been around for a few years…

IC – Is Ann Trason going to pop up and pace?

(Laughter)

SJ – I will give you a clue, not Ann Trason! You have to remember at Leadville you can ‘mule’. Pacers can carry bottles and food and whatever may be required. It is in recognition of the miners who used to use mules. So, a pacer may be carrying three bottles. It’s kind of unique. It makes it harder for the pacer…

IC – Sounds like you have got it easy Scott. The pacer has the tough job.

(Laughter)

SJ – Maybe in some respects but they only need to do 25 miles.

IC – Awesome. I am going to let you go. I am taking up precious recovery time getting ready for the race. We will catch up with you after the race and get the lowdown on the action. Obviously on behalf of everyone I would like to wish you all the best. It’s great to see you back on a 100-mile start again.

SJ – I am looking forward to it. It’s gonna be fun and we will catch up after!

LINKS:

Scott Jurek website HERE 

Brooks HERE

Eat and Run HERE

scotts_book_big

A way of life

The TAA (The African Attachment) boys once again coming up with some wonderful footage for Salomon Running TV S2 episode 08 ‘A way of life’ featuring the ISF Skyrunning race Pikes Peak and some footage of Leaville 100.

Great to hear Tony Krupicka say that the important thing is to run…. racing is a bonus.

Leadville 100

What a weekend of racing ahead! Leadville 100, Waldo 100k and Pikes Peak Marathon. Three classic races that contain some ‘classic runners’. Timmy Olson and Hal Koerner are heading to Waldo and Kilian Jornet and Sage Canaday are going to be going head to head at Pikes Peak. But what about Leadville?

For me, Leadville is the ‘real’ one to watch this weekend (no disrespect to Waldo or Pikes) but we all know from results this year that Timmy, Hal, Kilian and Sage are in form; no doubt. Although these races will be great showdowns the one person that we all have great interest in is Tony Krupicka.

Tony returned to racing after an 18 month lay off due to injury at Speedgoat 50k, didn’t have a great race (his words) and still placed up at the front of the race, However, Leadville and 100 miles will hopefully re establish him and confirm that he is back on the scene.

In the words of John Colley, Race Director:

2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the first Leadville Trail 100 “Race Across the Sky.”

Things were a lot different back then. The course description was basically word of mouth, with only four or five major turns actually marked for racers. Search and Rescue consisted of a little plastic whistle included in the racer packets. You were truly on your own. Running through the pack of 50 to 100 racers seemed like a lot of work. Through the years, there have been a lot of changes. Nutrition has evolved, training has become more scientific and our athletes are evolving. Cell phones and Internet give people a sense of security in the backcountry. Aid stations are now stocked with everything you need to complete your race. Rather than spending lonely miles secluded in your own thoughts, you will now be cheered on by hundreds of excited fans spread over the entire race. Some of the most important elements of this race have not changed, however. The course is still offering the same monumental challenge it always has, and Ken and Merilee still welcome you home at the finish line. As the innovators of this wonderful event, Ken and Merilee have helped thousands of athletes commit to and achieve a common goal. As in the past, they continue to be here for each and every one of you. Your Leadville experience is their highest priority.

The will of the athletes has transformed Leadville into what we see today. Year after year we welcome a group of the most dedicated racers to gather on 6th Street and put everything  on the line. There is no stopping their positive attitudes and desire for success. This race has the power to change lives and mold personalities. I have experienced this myself as a past Leadville competitor. I can’t imagine Leadville without this race, or this race without Leadville. It is great to see our past champions continue to be involved in our races while the new crop of young athletes are eager to write their names in the record books.

As the start grows near, there is an excitement in the thin air. The llama crews are hauling supplies up to the Hope Pass aid station. Your personal journey is approaching, and your buckles are here waiting for you.

Leadville_Run_Course_2011

2012 Race

MEN

The mens race has Tony Krupicka at the top of the pre race favourites. Lets face it how can you not tip Tony for a top slot… he won the race back to back in 2006 and 2007 but the big question on everyones mind is will he go for Matt Carpenter’s record?

Troy Howard has performed well at Hardrock 100 and certainly Leadville will hold no fear for him. He has run just over 26 hours at Hardrock with the 5th fastest time. He will be up at the front for sure.

Nick Clark from the UK can never be ruled out of the 100 mile distance. He is tenacious and tough. For me his two third places two weeks apart in 2011 at Western States and then Hardrock show what an athlete he is. At Western States this year he went through a bad patch and seemed to go off pace but he rallied and then moved up the field to podium once again for third. Something that looked unlikely earlier.

Salomon athtlete, Thomas Lorblanchet will be representing Europe and is having a great season so far.He was fith at Speedgoat, raced will at Transvulcania La Palma and has also placed highly in Salomon 4 Trails.

Mike Aish  I guess is somewhat of an unknown . Mike is from New Zealand and is a fast marathon runner and comes to Leadville as a 2 x Olympian over the 5000 and 10000m distance. To learn the ropes of ultra endurance, he’s befriended Frank Bozanich, a 44 time ultra-marathon winner. To improve on his hiking skills, Mike gave his ear to Ben Clark, who has spent the past 10 years pioneering routes up the tallest mountains in the Himalayas. In July, Mike finished first overall in the Leadville Silver Rush 50, a grinding warm-up to the main event so although the 100 distance will be new to the New Zealander, one can’t help think he may surprise us!

Mike Aish credit The Runners Tribe

At Leadville we also have a race within a race with Grand Slam runners, Australian Mike Le Roux and Paul Terranova going head to head for honours. Mike currently leads but these guys have been churning out some quick 100’s and with the tough Wasatch 100 to follow this could be anyones race.

LADIES

Darcy Africa, Liza Howard and Aliza Lapierre have to be the three names that jump of the page for the Ladies race. Lynette Clemens the defending Leadville champion who ran 19:50:06 in 2011 would be the ‘hot tip’ for the race win but rumours are abound that the local lady will not be on the start.

Darcy has won Leadville in 2006 and 2009 which confirms her ability on the tough terrain but Liza won the race in 2010 and is fast over the 100 mile distance. If Lynette Clemens doesn’t turn up I would place my money on Liza.

Aliza Lapierre will be up at the front and should Darcy or Liza have a bad day or should Aliza have a great day, she may well top the podium. In real terms I see her placing 3rd.

Liza Howard, New Balance credit McDowell MountainMan

Fresh from a second place behind Anna Frost (Frosty) at Speedgoat 50k is Salomon Athlete, Kerrie Bruxvoort. She is un-tested over the distance but may be one to watch!

FACTS about Leadville

But how much do you really know about Leadville? Here are some fast facts. We can’t give you a buckle for knowing this stuff, but it will take your mind off those hundred miles.

  • Leadville has multiple nicknames, including Cloud City, Magic City and Two- Mile-High City.
  • Leadville is North America’s highest incorporated city.
  • Even though Leadville was founded during the Silver Boom, there were too many other cities around that same time with “silver” in their names, so founders decided to name it after the ore.
  • Leadville was founded in 1877 by mine owners Horace Tabor and August Meyer.
  • Leadville’s population at the height of the mining boom is said to have been close to 30,000. Leadville’s population today is 2,700.
  • Leadville’s past was filled with legends, eccentrics, entrepreneurs, dreamers, and other characters famously euphemized as “colorful,” including Horace and Baby Doe Tabor, Molly Brown, Texas Jack, Frank and Jesse James, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.
  • Leadville is one square mile and its 70 square blocks of Victorian architecture have been designated a National Historic Landmark District.
  • Leadville had the highest unemployment in the nation when Ken Chlouber, determined to bring Leadville back from the brink, organized the inaugural Leadville Trail 100 Run in 1983. The mountain bike race was added 11 years later.
  • The Climax Molybdenum mine, shuttered in the 1980s, is set to officially reopen this summer and employ 300 people.A live race feed will be available from iRunFar