Michael Wardian never stops…. He is a real life Forest Gump. Just recently he ran 400km in the Gobi Desert, a first for him! Wardian though started the year with a world record running 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents, you can listen to an in-depth interviewer with him HERE about this incredible feat.
It’s a dangerous question asking Wardian, ‘So, what is next?’
It is never a one word answer.
For example, in a few days, October 14th, he will toe the line at Hartford Marathon Charity Chase. Followed by the Marine Corps Marathon on the 22nd. November brings NYC Marathon, JFK 50 Miler, Flanigan’s 10km… do I need to go on? You get the picture!
In 2014, Wardian toed the line at The Coastal Challenge and had a great race winning and at the time setting a new CR ahead of quality runners such Philipp Reiter, Martin Gaffuri and Nick Clark.
Wardian promised he would return and in 2018, he will once again arrive on Costa Rican soil for a race that he loves.
1. Michael, you run and run, race and race. It seems a weekend never passes without you racing at least one race and more often than not, two or three… How do you keep the enthusiasm to race/ run so much?
MRW: I definitely enjoy toeing the line and throwing down. The thrill of racing is this something that is internal and I believe keeps me fresh and focused. I love seeing what I am capable of and I hope I inspire people to do a bit more than they think they can.
2. This amount of racing and running must take a toll on you and your body – how do you avoid injury?
MRW: I do race a lot and ask my body and mind to perform at the highest levels repeatedly but I think instead of causing injury it actually avoids injury a bit because my body is continually adapting and evolving and always improving. That said since my injuries in 2012, I am super mindful to error on the side of less miles and more recovery if something seems off. I also take massage often, foam roll, stretch and work with a personal trainer to get strong and avoid imbalances and injuries.
3. You have had an incredible 2017 with a full calendar – what are the highlights?
MRW: 2017, has definitely been a banner year, some events that comes to mind are:
1) 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents, average pace of 2:45, new World Record
2) Big Sur Marathon Champion
3) Kauai Marathon Champion
4) Leadville 100 miler/ Pikes Peak Marathon double break Marshall Ulrich record from 1993
5) Ultragobi 400k finish, new personal record for distance and time.
4. You have raced TCC before, you won it! What is bringing you back to Costa Rica?
MRW: I loved TCC, when I won it a few years ago and have been wanting to come back since but with scheduling it didn’t work out but as soon as the schedule permitted I knew I would come back if the opportunity was there. I loved the organization, culture and nature.
5. When you won the race, at times you struggled with some of the technical terrain. You used your run speed to close gaps and seize an advantage – any new plans or strategies for 2018?
MRW: I think I got pretty lucky last time to win the TCC, I was was just getting my fitness back and used what has always been my strength faster road running but since 2014, I have really focused on trails and feel much improved so looking forward to putting those earned skills to use in 2018.
6. You placed 3rd at Marathon des Sables some year’s ago and this year, Tom Evans matched this. Are you excited to race toe-to-toe and see who is the better on Costa Rican soil?
MRW: I am very excited to race Tom Evans but even more excited to get to run with and know the guys and girls racing. I love connecting with people and making new friends so hoping we get to push each other during the race and become friendly after. I am also excited for my family to meet some of the top athletes in the sport on a personal level and see who is causing me to suffer everyday.
7. Chema Martinez will return to TCC and the UK’s Marcus Scotney will run, do you know much about them and do you have any strategies to get the edge for victory?
MRW: I just heard of Chema Martinez from my buddy Paul during the 400k UltraGobi, he sounds strong and exciting to get to race with him. I don’t know Marcus Scotney but I am sitting with some English guys and they said he is very strong and on the English 100k World Team…I think I just need to stay in the hunt and run hard when I sense an opportunity.
8. Heat, humidity, a variety of terrain and stunning views – what excites you most about coming back to TCC and for those new to the race, what three tips can you provide that will make the 2018 experience a special one?
MRW: I definitely think you should be ready for heat, humidity mixed terrain, the views are spectacular and I am super excited about them. A few tips are be ready to run hard because the pace can be fast especially for early in the year, there are legit climbs and some parts can get technical. Also, there is a little altitude that I didn’t expect the first time.
9. You are bringing family to TCC this year, does this make it extra special?
MRW: I am definitely excited to share TCC with Jennifer, Pierce and Grant and it will be super special as none of my family have gotten to experience the Tica hospitality. I think they will be as blown away as I have been by the nature, beauty and landscape but most particularly the people.
10. Finally, TCC is in February, dare I ask what the rest of 2018 holds for you?
MRW: 2018, should be super interesting, I am trying to decide exactly where to race right now and would like to do some new events in different and unique places. If you know anything cool please let me know or your audience.
The 2018 edition of TCC is already looking like a stunning race. Two-time MDS champion Elisabet Barnes will return to Costa Rica and the UK’s Marcus Scotney who won the Cape Wrath Ultra and the Dragons Back Race has his first TCC experience ahead of him. – read HERE.
In addition, the UK’s Tom Evans will also run the 2018 TCC, read HERE.
TCC as it is affectionately known is a multi-day race starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. It is an ultimate multi-day running experience that offers a new challenge even to the most experienced runner. Taking place over 6-days, the race hugs the coastline of Costa Rica, traveling in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range. Even the strongest competitors are reduced to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line due to the combination of technical trails, dense forest, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beach, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains.
You can read and view images from the 2017 edition HERE
The Coastal Challenge
Website (UK) HERE
Website (Global) HERE
I caught up with Ryan Sandes for the latest episode of TALK ULTRA podcast (you can listen HERE) episode 107.
We discussed at length Ryan’s career, his difficult 2015 season and of course his book, TRAIL BLAZER (available on Amazon here).
In the interview, Ryan asked a question, ‘what was the second desert race I won?’
To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of the book, please comment below with an answer. All correct answers will be added to a hat and a winner drawn in April.
Very excited to be heading out to Northern Minnesota in September later this year to work on and photograph the Superior 100.
Superior 100 has an incredibly history, it is one of the oldest 100 mile trail races in the country; founded in 1991 by a man named Harry Sloan from Minnesota. Harry had participated in 12 Western States, his first in 1983. When he began the Superior 100 (later renamed to the Sawtooth 100 then changed back to Superior 100) there were only about 10 or 12 other 100 mile trail races in the country.
The race course is just hours North of where Scott Jurek was born, raised and ran his first ultras! Minnesota has a long and proud ultra running history. Superior 100 is on the rise and I feel really honoured to be heading out to experience the buzz.
Are you running the race or have you run the race? I would love to hear from you.
History and Race
The Superior 100 Mile Trail Race is a point-to-point (100% trail) ultramarathon which traverses the Sawtooth Mountain Range on the Superior Hiking Trail in the far reaches northern Minnesota . The course parallels the north-shore of Lake Superior, the greatest freshwater lake in the world, climbs to near 2000′ peaks with breath-taking vistas of the lake and inland forests and crosses countless whitewater rivers and serene streams and meanders through mystic Boreal forests. The race starts at the Gooseberry Falls State Park Visitors’ Center, MN, and finishes at Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen, MN. Runners will have access to thirteen aid stations between the start and finish, and will never go more than 10 miles without an opportunity for aid. Founded in 1991 if you wanted to run a 100, you had choices like Western States, Hardrock, Leadville, Wasatch, Cascade Crest, Umstead, Massanutten and Superior. Superior quickly earned it’s reputation of its namesake today – Rugged, Relentless and Remote and is known as one of the toughest 100 mile trail races in the world! Superior lives on now as one of the “legacy 100 milers” and is considered by many to be one of the most challenging, prestigious and beautiful 100 mile trail races in the country. None of the history or tradition of this race has been lost and is a great event for those looking for a world-class event with a low-key, old-school 100 miler feel. The Superior Trail Race is put on by ultrarunners for ultrarunners.
Got to say, I just can’t wait to be a part of it and experience it for myself…
Images ©Superior Endurance Runs (Fall Races)
Episode 44 of Talk Ultra and on this weeks show we have a long distance theme. We have an interview with Nickademus Hollon who just recently placed 7th overall at Tor des Geants. We also have an in-depth chat with Ian Sharman about his incredible summer running the Grand Slam. We also speak to Nick Clark in his regular Grand Slam slot, Clarky’s Corner. We speak to Brit, Emma Clayton about her silver medal in the WMRA worlds in Poland. The news, Talk Training, a blog, up and coming races and of course, Speedgoat Karl.
Run Rabbit Run
- Jason Schlarb 17:15:20
- Karl Meltzer 18:32:07
- Jeff Browning 18:52:00
- Josh Arthur
- Timothy Olson
- Michele Yates 20:16:54
- Nikki Kimball 20:59:13
- Rhonda Claridge 21:45:05
- Becky Wheeler
- Pam Smith
- Nick Clark 20:24:26
- Ian Sharman 21:01:30
- Rod Bien 22:01:58
00:15:08 INTERVIEW Ian Sharman Grand Slam Interview
- Sarah Evan McCloskey 24:31:19
- Andrea Martinez 26:21:17
- Paulette J Zilmer 27:15:02
Tor des Geants
- Iker Karrera 70:04:15
- Oscar Perez 70:29:41
- Franco Colle 72:05:23
- Francesca Canepa 88:12:17
- Nerea Martinez 91:01:42
- Emanuela Tonetti 94:45:59
1. Geoffrey Gikuni Ndungu 2:50:28
2. Petro Mamo 2:52:49
3. Viktor Röthlin 2:53:21
4. Robert Krupicka 3:00:48
5. Hosea Tuei 3:02:12
1. Andrea Mayr 3:20:20
2. Aline Camboulives 3:25:08
3. Martina Strähl 3:25:23
4. Sabine Reiner 3:25:59
5. Stevie Kremer 3:27:09
The North Face Endurance Challenge (Wisconsin) 50mile and 50K
Nicholas Wied emailed in… The 50 Mile
1. Tyler Sigl (Green Bay, WI) 5:38:49;
2. Brian Condon (Madison, WI) 5:55:43;
3. Adam Condit 6:08:38.
This is crazy because Ian Sharman set the CR last year at 5:55.
This is Tyler’s 1st ultra, he is a 2:15 marathon guy who works a full time job and trains on the side. He lowered Ian’s record by almost 20 minutes, INSANE!
Another note, Brian Condon running his 3rd ultra and 2nd 50 miler (he also took 2nd behind David Riddle at Ice Age 50) ran the same time as Ian’s CR.
1.Molly Culver 7:51:12;
2.Wendy Lilly 8:20:03;
3. Holly Fearing 8:32:42.
1.Andy Nesheim 4:01, 2. Brian Udovich 4:08, 3. Andrew Hollatz 4:14.
1. Lorena Campos (Chile) 4:21, 2. rin Seffrood 4:38, 3. Bri Famera 4:40.
Kilian & Emelie – rescued
On a final note, in the Sun Newspaper (not that I read the Sun) a snippet said, “Rab Lee from Bowness and pal, Mark Howlett set a new World Record for running 68.2 miles – three legged, non stop in 24 hours at the Glenmore24 – BONKERS
Kilian Jornet – http://www.kilianjornet.cat/en/blog
“This is a warning that the mountain is a hard and dangerous place, even when precautions are taken. One must be humble in the mountains, because a high price can be paid for our failures, especially when travelling light. We must accept and be aware of the risks that we are prepared to take individually and with the people who accompany us, depending on our physical and technical skill and also our experience.”
01:31:14 15 MIN OF FAME with Brit Emma Clayton
01:43:09 TALK TRAINING – Marc Laithwaite
This week’s interview is with Nickademus Hollon. Nick is not your normal runner… he seeks out the tough and the extreme. We interviewed Nick earlier this year when he became the youngest and one of only 14 people to finish the Barkley. Just recently, he took on the Tor des Geants in Italy.
03:04:05 MELTZER MOMENT
and Ugly –
03:09:15 SMILESandMILES with Emelie Forsberg – email@example.com
03:34:42 CLARKY’S CORNER – discusses Wasatch and his summer on the trails going head-to-head with Ian Sharman
03:51:48 Up & Coming RACES for the next two weeks
Figeac – St-Cirq-Lapopie – Conques : du 20 au 24 septembre 2013 | 208 kilometers | September 20, 2013 | website
The North Face Endurance Challenge-Georgia Gore-Tex® 50 Mile | 50 miles | September 28, 2013 | website
Did you read the script for the 2013 men’s Leadville 100? It went something like this…
2011 winner, Ryan Sandes would return fired up for victory after missing Western States due to injury. Ryan, the outright favorite would be pushed by Ultra legend, Scott Jurek. Scott after a few years away from competitive running would return to the 100-mile distance and push for the win. Mike Aish, fast man from New Zealand would learn lessons from his 2012 blow up and contend for the podium. A race within the race would continue with Grand Slam leaders, Ian Sharman and Nick Clark would push each other to the limits racing the third 100 in seven weeks but due to added fatigue would not contend for the podium!
So how did I think the race would pan out? Well, I thought Aish would take the lead relatively early on. Using his natural speed he would gain a gap and then spend much of the first half of the race looking behind him… Ryan Sandes and Scott Jurek would match each other stride for stride all the way to Hope Pass and then the race would start. They would pick up pacers and then Sandes would slowly move away, catch Aish, move past and then Jurek would pursue. In the process Aish would blow but not enough to stop the race. With Jurek in second place, Sharman and Clark would now pursue. They would both catch Aish and Clark would move away and reduce some of his time gap on Sharman and thus making the final race in the ‘Slam’ a really exciting nail biter. The podium would be Sandes, Jurek and Clark.
Well, you may as well rip that script up. The race is done and what a race. What initially appeared to be a race with very few surprises up at the front end, it actually turned into a really exciting nail biter and it just goes to show that the 100-mile distance and in particular, those that race the distance can never be counted on for being predictable.
With a 0400 start, the early pace was steady. However, at May Queen, mile 13.5 a lone Ian Sharman was in the lead by just under two minutes with all the main contenders chasing. Wasn’t Sharman supposed to be a little tired? This was his third 100n in seven weeks… either he knew something that we didn’t or he was on a suicide mission.
At mile 22 ‘Powerline’ we got back on script with Mike Aish taking the lead. He was alone and out in front. That’s more like it. We are back on prediction and this race is settling nicely.
Behind Aish the chasers had fragmented a little but we had no big surprises, well, no big surprises other than Scott Jurek was a little further back than expected, but with less than 25% of the race done, this was surely the experience of a master of his craft keeping calm.
Aish continued to push and at Twin Lakes he was 10 minutes inside Matt Carpenter’s CR split. Okay, we started to ask the question, how much had Aish learnt from his blow up in 2012 and were we about to witness and incredible performance? When second place arrived, Aish had an eighteen-minute lead. Wow, this was getting exciting.
It was early days but at 40-miles of the Leadville course covered and Aish having a commanding lead of approximately twenty minutes over Sandes, Sharman, Clark, Jurek, Catalano and so on, a counter move was going to need to come or Aish was going to need to slow.
At Hopeless Pass, mile 44.5 signs of fatigue started to show on Aish. Sandes, Clark and Sharman had closed to within fifteen minutes. The big news here came from Scott Jurek; he was thirty-four mins down on Aish and although in sixth place was obviously struggling. The pre race script was starting to be rewritten.
Winfield and the 50-mile turn point. A key moment in the race and an opportunity for runners to collect pacers. Of course, the other big advantage here is that you get an opportunity to look at the gaps between runners and also how they look. Sharman arrived in second place and had closed to within eleven minutes of Aish. Clark arrived five minutes after Sharman and the news came that Ryan Sandes was dropping from the race. He was in severe hip and back pain and took the wise choice to retire. It was a sad moment for Ryan, his 2012 season was incredible and 2013 has been plagued by problems. Ryan sent me a message; “I have had some bad luck the last few months. Never nice to DNF but was hobbling with my back …. Getting old;) thanks for all.” Of course, Ryan will be back and his decision to drop without doubt is the best long-term decision.
Scott Jurek was now in fifth place and just under thirty minutes behind Sharman. Were we going to witness a classic Jurek comeback?
Returning through Hopeless AS at mile 55.5, Sharman had closed to within six minutes of Aish. Was it really possible that Sharman and Clark racing the third 100 in seven weeks would contend the top slot at Leadville?
At mile 60, Aish and Sharman were together, Clark was third and Jurek was fourth fifty-five minutes back. The 2013 Leadville 100 was turning into an epic race and of course, we had the race within the race for the Grand Slam.
Returning to Half Pipe at mile 70, Sharman had taken the lead, Clark was second 16.5 minutes in arrears and Aish was third and obviously paying for his early efforts. We know had a scenario that in all reality, I had not anticipated. Of course Sharman and Clark had every possibility of winning Leadville but not during the Grand Slam with tired bodies. Would we really see these two battle it out?
At Half Pipe, Aish rested for fourteen minutes. Yes, fourteen minutes. I suppose the luxury of his time gap of Jurek allowed for this and the pace of Sharman and Clark made him realize he was fighting for third.
With twenty miles to go, Clark was just under seventeen minutes behind Sharman. It was all to play for… twenty miles is a long with eighty miles in tired legs.
May Queen, mile 86,5 and Clark had closed a little, the gap was just under fifteen minutes. Armed with the news, Sharman dug deep pushed, he later said on twitter, “Thank you everyone for all the messages. Overwhelmed by the responses about #LT100. Hurt like hell at the end.”
At the finish, a victorious Ian Sharman crossed the line in 16:30. He had opened up his gap on Nick Clark by thirty-three minutes. Mike Aish most definitely had learnt from his 2012 experience and held on for third.
It was an incredible race and I need to give huge credit to Bryon Powell and the iRunFar team for providing the step-by-step action via twitter.
I wouldn’t normally write such a detailed account about a race that I had not attended, but the action that unfolded in Leadville may well turn out to be one of those iconic races we all remember. To see two runners, Sharman and Clark, perform at such a high level when so far into the Grand Slam is inspirational. In addition, it also provides a lesson for us all. A 100-miles is a long way, anything can happen and no matter how we think a race may unfold, every now and again, the book gets thrown out of the window and we are treated to an inspiring and iconic race. In addition, Mike Aish also showed that taking a break to recoup and recharge is no bad thing, his fourteen-minute break did him no harm and he still made the podium.
Many congratulations to all.
Attention now turns to final race in the Grand Slam, Wasatch. It will only take Ian Sharman to have a so, so day and for Nick to be flying… exciting!
I will be catching up with Nick for the next episode of Talk Ultra so make sure you check out Episode 42 out on Friday 23rd August.
What is the Grand Slam?
The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning award is recognition for those who complete four of the oldest 100 mile trail runs in the U.S. The “Slam” consists of officially finishing the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run and the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run all in the same year. The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning Award was established in 1986, when Tom Green was the first finisher.
- Ian Sharman 16:30 (4th fastest time)
- Nick Clark 17:06
- Mike Aish 18:28
- Kyle Pietari 18:37
- Andrew Catalano 18:43
- Timo Meyer 19:04
- Eric Sullivan 19:17
- Scott Jurek 19:21
- Bob Africa 19:38
- Javier Montero 19:45
- Ashley Arnold 20:25
- Saheen Sattar 22:42
- Keila Merino 22:47
- Katrin Silva 23:16
- Becca Hall 23:43
- Kara Henry 23:50
- Abby Mcqueeney Menamonte 24:06
- Maddy Hribar 24:24
- Nicole Struder 24:25
- Maggie Nelson 24:37
Leadville 100 kicks off at 0400 on Saturday morning and although the field may not be ‘stacked’, what it does have is the return of Ryan Sandes, the 2011 winner and the return of ultra running legend, Scott Jurek.
If you had doubts about how exciting this race may be, take a read of what Scott Jurek said in my re race interview, “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…”
So, there you have it. If nobody else turned up to race, a Sandes/ Jurek smack down would be an interesting prospect by any body’s standards.
The Leadville 100 course is a 50-mile out and back all undertaken at high altitude with Hope Pass being the highest point on the course. When a race is almost 2-miles above sea level, the one thing you need to be sure of is the ability to run and race at altitude. Pacers are allowed and importantly they are allowed to ‘mule’ for the runner, a homage to the old mining days.
So, how will this race unfold?
Ryan Sandes is without doubt the number one favorite. After placing second at Western States last year, he was without doubt very excited at returning in 2013 and attempting to go one place higher. However, a sprained ankle in the build up ruled him out and he had no option to rest and recover. He refocused and placed his emphasis on Leadville. Ryan, like his teammate, Julien Chorier, does not do race after race. He focuses, prepares and turns up with the ‘A’ game switched on. Ryan is here to win Leadville and without doubt he is the hot tip for the race.
Scott Jurek has been away from competitive running for a few years. Many of us thought that his writing, love and promotion of vegetarian food and his work with Chris McDougall would keep him away from running competitively and therefore a new chapter in his life had started. Apparently not! For sure, he is in the latter years of his racing career and for many of us we had no real idea what his intentions would be. However in my pre race interview with him he made it apparently clear, he is here to race and win! Awesome. We are all excited to have Scott back on a 100-mile start line and it sounds as though Ryan and all the other contenders have a ‘race on’ with a legend of the sport. I can’t wait! To clarify, Scott can in this race, no doubt! Interview with Scott Jurek here
We have a race within a race at Leadville as Nick Clark and Ian Sharman line up for the third 100-miler in the four race ‘Grand Slam’. Now of course, if Nick or Ian were fresh, you would include them as potential winners of this race, particularly Nick who is used to the high altitude. Both of these guys are without doubt podium potential, of course, they are going to be little jaded and therefore this removes them from the top slot. However, you never know… it only needs other contenders to have a mediocre or bad day and Nick or Ian to have a great day.
Mike Aish ran Leadville in 2012 and was without doubt a dark horse. He was very clear pre race that he would run up front and see what happened. He warned it could go either way, victory or blow up. As it happened, he blew up! One year on he is wiser and older. He has changed his training and done more miles.
Michael Arnstein has ‘Sharmanesque’ speed on the flatter and faster courses. Leadville is a race suits him, he has experience with Leadville, eighth in 2012 and his best performance came in 2011 with fourth. He will need to be in great shape and in fine form to make the podium.
Mike Le Roux ran the Grand Slam last year and that puts him in a good place for this year. With just one race to concentrate on, he will be able to focus and race fresh. He placed third at Vermont 100 last year and as mentioned, this was part of the ‘slam’, so he is what it takes to most definitely get in the top ten and if all goes well, claw at the podium.
Nick Pedatella is also racing the Grand Slam but is some way behind Nick and Ian. His 23rd at Vermont and 28th at Western States are solid performances, but with two 100’s in the legs, the third can only be a little more jaded. Having said that, he will probably place in the top twenty.
Other names to watch:
Timo Meyer was sixth at Tarawera earlier in 2013, Craig Howie placed top ten at Leadville in 2012 and Andrew Catalano placed sixth in 2012.
Leadville is the biggest ultra in the US and therefore with no qualification criteria, the 1200 start list can throw up a few surprises.
The ladies race is wide open. In many respects, like the men’s race we have a few clear favorites but then the front-end competition drops off quite quickly. Tina Lewis, the 2012 champion is undecided if she will run. She has had a foot injury and only yesterday she posted on social media, “Alright, I have about 30 minutes to make the call – Pikes Peak Marathon or Leadville 100!!! Leaning towards being a dreamer, hopeful and taking chances!!” I don’t need to tell you, Leadville and Pikes Peak are a world apart and this is not a great sign for Tina’s mental approach, so, if she decides to run her performance is unpredictable. However, she is the defending champ and therefore the nod goes in Tina’s direction.
*update on Tina – “I am healthy and rested just not perfectly trained for the distance. Don’t we do this because we love it and Leadville is in my heart. I can just go out and try my best, right? I will aim to be smart and stop if my foot hurts.”
Denise Bourassa placed eighth at the 2013 Western States and therefore she is my hot tip for the win. She has had consistently good performances and the only question mark may come if WSER has left Denise a little jaded.
Ashley Arnold placed third at Leadville in 2010 and so therefore she is a tip for the top of the podium. She has all the experience required to run well.
Who else? Well, to be honest, it is wide open. One or two names shine out as contenders for the top ten but as stated, in a field of 1200 I think we will see many ladies names that we have not seen before.
Leadville 100 website HERE
Athlete Tracking HERE
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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!
Scott Jurek website HERE
Eat and Run HERE
Ryan Sandes is a modest and extremely giving person. Modest about his ability, one almost has to laugh when he says, “An impulsive decision one Sunday afternoon completely changed my life back in 2008. Could I run 250km, self-supported through a Desert? Without another thought, I maxed out my credit card and entered a race I knew almost nothing about. The lead up to the Gobi Desert Race consumed me but most importantly it enabled me to dream.”
Dream he did and look what has happened. He has won races on all continents, he is unbeaten in the four deserts, he has won Leadville 100, he was second at Western States 2012, beating Geoff Roes CR and loosing out to a flying Timothy Olson.
It is an incredible journey.
Ryan says, “I have worked damn hard to achieve my dreams, but I have always been in a fortunate position. What about the people who do not have the opportunities to make their dreams a reality?”
Way back when Ryan’s journey started, long time friends Dean Leslie and Greg Fell (The African Attachment) asked if they could document his story. What a coup. Nobody would have thought that a fil project called ‘Wandering Fever’ would actually document the rise of somebody to the pinnacle of the sport.
Now Wandering Fever has been a long term project, Dean, Leslie and Ryan have said many times… it won’t be long! Well, finally, it looks like the latter half of 2013 may well see the release of this highly anticipated film.
Ryan is extremely appreciative of his success and he wants to give back.
“I want to provide a base, a launching pad for people to reach out and grab their dreams with both hands and change their lives. I have decided to set up a Fund which will be distributed to individuals, charities or worthwhile causes, enabling people to LIVE their dreams.”
It is all about givingback to the community, and I for one am so pleased to here of this initiative.
“The “Wandering Fever Fund” is currently being setup and will be kick-started by 50% of all the profit made from the documentary Wandering Fever (which is due to be completed later this year). Wandering Fever has been a very raw and personal project for Dean, Greg (The African Attachment) and myself, and we all feel very strongly about giving back to the community that has given me so much.”
Ryan finishes off by saying, “It is up to us more fortunate people to share our opportunities with those less fortunate. If I could help only one person live their dream, then that in itself would be a dream come true for me.”
Ryan Sandes HERE
Wandering Fever HERE
“I’m good Ryan, it’s great to finally meet up”
Ryan Sandes in Europe is quite a treat and for sure, the runners on Gran Canaria appreciate it.
Our first meeting is in a secluded mountain campsite. Ryan has arrived from South African heat so the chill in the air is noticeable by the several layers he is wearing. Our initial chat is purely a catch up about mutual friends and who is doing what. But then over dinner we discuss the season ahead and what it holds.
We discuss the pitfalls of too much racing and too much training and Ryan explains that the end of February, beginning of March is still VERY EARLY in the season. His decision therefore to move from the 119km race and enter the 83km seems logical.
Ryan very much carves his own niche in the ultra world. Maybe the ‘isolation’ of South Africa allows him to do this? But what is for sure is that this guy nows exactly his strengths and weaknesses and knows how to maximise what he has.
“My first marathon was like teenage sex… it wasn’t pretty”
Ryan explains at a talk/ video presentation at the H10 hotel in Meloneras on the southern coast of the island. He has a great story, an ex rugby player who stopped growing and decided to move sports… He ran a marathon, it wasn’t pretty but somehow picked up the bug. He wanted a challenge and thought big! So big he chose a multi stage race in the Gobi desert.
Why did he choose it?
“Well the Gobi desert sounded like a cool place to go but to be honest, I didn’t even know where it was let alone a multi day race. But I gave myself six months, trained hard and amazed myself by winning the race”
Quite amazing. That natural ability came through and he then went on to win all the ‘four’ desserts.
2010 4 DESERT CHAMPION AND ONLY COMPETITOR TO WIN EVERY STAGE OF EACH OF THE 4 DESERT RACES (www.4deserts.com)
Always looking for a challenge he needed to test himself against the best in the world, at the time this ‘stage’ for ultra running was America. Paced by team mate, Anna Frost, Ryan ran Leadville 100 in 2011 and won it! Suddenly the North American runners started to take notice.
2011 The North Face 100 Australia – 3rd
2011 The Salomon Zugspitz Ultra – 4th
2011 Leadville 100 Mile Trail Run – 1st in 3rd fastest time in history
In 2012 all attention was focused on Ryan as he moved to the ‘Big Dance’ Western States 100. After a win at Vibram Hong Kong 100km Ultra (new record) and The North Face 100 in Australia what would Ryan do… many thought that ok, yes, he won Leadvillie and yes, no doubt he is a good runner. But this is Western Sates!
An usually cold year at the Big Dance produced the fastest year on record with Timothy Olson setting a new bar for the 100 mile race. But pushing him all the way was Ryan. Ryan crossed the line in 2nd place also breaking the old course record set by Geoff Roes.
2012 Vibram Hong Kong 100km Ultra – 1st in new record
2012 The North Face 100 Australia – 1st
2012 Western States 100 Miler USA – 2nd in 2nd fastest time in history
2012 Fish River Canyon Trail – 6h 57min ( record time )
The Fish River Canyon was a personal project… a fastest known time attempt. He had tried the ‘fish’ before and as he explained at his talk;
“I looked at the distance and thought, no problem. I just wasn’t prepared for the severity of the course. It chewed me up and spat me out”
Returning to the Canyon in 2012 he put the demons to rest and as his video shows, he tamed the beast that had chewed him up.
The Beauty of the Irrational
So how will Ryan perform at Trans Gran Canaria in 2013? Well for sure, he is going to be competitive. However, he does have ‘Wonder Kid’ Philipp Reiter to race against plus plenty of other talent. Very often in these events the focus is on the ‘main’ event. At Trans Gran Canaria that is the 119km race. With Sebastien Chaigneau and Miguel Heras on the start line of the 119km, a classic race is in the making, but don’t forget the little brother, I think this year spectators and followers of ultra racing are going to get a 2 for 1 deal.
You can see images from my photo shoot with Ryan HERE
Ryan Sandes website HERE
You can check out the race website HERE
Follow the race on Facebook HERE