Showing posts with label Ultramarathon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ultramarathon. Show all posts

Video: 72-Year Old Ultrarunner Completes Western States 100

And now for your daily dose of inspiration. In this amazing video, we meet 72-year old ultrarunner Wally Hesseltine, who set out to not only run a 100-mile (160 km) race, but perhaps the best known ultramarathon of them all – the famed Western States 100. He managed to finish that epic run in 30 hours, but that isn't the entire story. Watch the short film below and then go put on your running shoes. Amazing.

Thirty Hours from alex on Vimeo.

Video: A Look at the Hardrock 100 Trail Race

The Hardrock 100 is one of the toughest running races in the world, covering 100 miles (160 km) of tough trail and featuring 33,000 feet (10,058 meters) of climbing. It runs from Silverton to Telluride in Colorado, crossing the San Juan Mountain Range in the process. In this video, we get a good profile of the event, which holds a special place in the hearts of many endurance runners from around the world. After watching this, you'l start to understand why.

Video: Impossible - Running a 333 km Ultramarathon in the Himalaya

There are some very difficult ultramarathons held all over the world each year, but few can compare with La Ultra - The High. The race is held in the Indian Himalaya, and features a course that is 333 km (206 miles) in length. Competitors must cover the distance in just 72 hours, starting  at the base of the Karakoram Range in Nubra Valley and continuing on over mountain passes and through deep valleys.

Due to its extreme length, dramatic elevation gains, and incredibly tough trails, The High has been called the "world's cruelest ultra." Don't believe me? Have a look at the video below, which is a trailer for a full length documentary on the race. You'll catch a glimpse of some of the suffering that comes along with this race, and gain even more respect for the men and women who run it.

IMPOSSIBLE - Trailer from UPSLOPE PRODUCTIONS on Vimeo.

Video: Ultrarunning - The Pleasure and the Pain

"If you're going to be an ultrarunner you need to embrace suffering." So says 65-year old ultrarunner Errol "The Rocket" Jones, the subject of this excellent video from REI. In the 5-minute clip we get to meet Errol, learn about his philosophy of running, and watch him as he trains on the spectacular Bay Area Ridge Trail near San Francisco. Over the years, he has picked up quite a bit of wisdom about the sport, and it can serve as inspiration for the rest of us, even if we're running more modest distances. This is a story of perseverance and persistence, which can see you through just about any challenge in life.

Video: Official Trailer for Kissing the Rock - Documentary About the Hardrock 100 Endurance Race

The Hardrock 100 is considered one of the toughest ultramarathons to take place in the U.S. each year. It is run on a 100 mile (160 km) loop through Colorado's San Juan Mountains that is well known for its difficulty. Because of this, the race has garnered quite a following, with many endurance athletes seeing it as a bit of a throwback event that requires more grit and determination to overcome.

The video below is a trailer for a new film called Kissing the Rock that is scheduled for release in early 2016. The documentary will take us behind the scenes of the Hardrock, giving us insights into its origins, what it takes to run the event, and what makes it special. Judging from the trailer, this film is going to be special too.

Video: Running the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc with Luís Alberto Hernando

The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is widely recognized as one of the toughest ultra-marathons in the world. Circling the iconic mountain from which it derives its name, it challenges runners to cover more than 166 km (103 miles), passing through three different countries in the process. This year, Spanish endurance athlete Luís Alberto Hernando set out to run the UTMB for the first time. It would be his first race of that distance, and it would end up testing him in new ways. This short documentary takes us out on the trail with Luís as he runs through the Alps, learning more about himself and what he is capable of along the way. Most of us will never run these kinds of distances, but there are still good things to be learned here.

Nuevos Pasos - Historias en los senderos from Outdoor Live on Vimeo.

Video: The Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun in South Africa and Namibia

The Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun is a five-day long, stage race that takes place in a remote region of South Africa each year. The 2016 edition of the race actually crossed the border into Namibia as well, covering some 200 km (124 miles) along a course that was both incredibly difficult and beautiful at the same time. American ultrarunner Nikki Kimball used the race as a tune-up for the Western States, which is another race that is legendary for its level of difficulty. In this video, you'll get a chance to see what the Richtersveld is all about, as we go out onto the course with runners who are pushing themselves to cross some of the toughest terrain imaginable.

The 2015 Badwater Ultramarathon is Underway

The 2015 edition of the Badwater Ultramarathon got underway yesterday with 90 runners setting out from the tiny town of Badwater in Death Valley. The classic race takes endurance athletes across 135 miles (217 km) of some of the harshest environments imaginable as they run to the Mt. Whitney Portals in temperatures in excess of 100ºF/37ºC.

As with most ultramarathons, the distance is a big part of the challenge. But with the Badwater, it is also about the vertical gain. The race starts 280 feet (85 meters) below sea level, and rises to 8300 feet (2530 meters) above sea level at the finish line. Along the way, runners must negotiate their way across demanding desert landscapes, through difficult valleys, and up mountain passes. Those that complete the grueling run will end up with a cumulative vertical gain of more than 14,600 feet (4450 meters), with the fastest runners completing the run in less than 24 hours.

The runners departed last night in three different waves, with the first setting out around 8:00 PM local time. The second set of athletes took to the course at 9:30 PM, with the final wave hitting the road at 11:00 PM. Traveling at night helps to lessen their exposure to the heat, but today temperatures are expected to hit 113ºF/45ºC out on the course.

If you have followed the Badwater over the past couple of years, you probably remember that in 2014 the race was forced to take an alternate route because the National Park Service had implemented a bad on endurance events taking place within national parks while it evaluated safety requirements. This year, the Park Service allowed the runners back in, but mandated the overnight start to help mitigate the danger.

Some critics have said that this could put the athletes under more stress however, as now they'll be heading into the hottest part of the day already fatigued. In the past, runners would start fresh, but take on the heat early, with the cooler temperatures arriving just at the most opportune time to refresh the runners. That won't be the case this year however, as they'll now be 50 miles (80 km) into the race when things really start to get hot. How this impacts the results remains to be seen.

If things go according to form, the first runners should reach the finish line as early as this 7:00 or 8:00 PM this evening. Others will stagger in over the next day or two. As always, it'll be interesting to see how things play out in an event that has been called "the toughest footrace on Earth."

Extreme Running News: North Pole Marathon Tests Runners, Sir Ran Completes Marathon des Sables

After a delayed start last week due to weather and a damaged aircraft at the Barneo Ice Camp, the 2015 North Pole Marathon finally took place over the weekend. This year there were 22 countries represented in the race with, with 45 total competitors, traveling to the top of the world to run in some of the most grueling conditions imaginable.

At the start of the race, temperatures hovered around -29ºC/-20ºF. Setting off across the pack ice, the runners knew they had quite a challenge in front of them, but not everyone knew exactly how difficult it would be. Apparently several athletes had to be treated for hypothermia after prolonged exposure to the cold, as the final competitors didn't reach the finish line until after they spent 15 hours running the route. That is an awfully long time to be out in those conditions.

The winner of the race was Petr Vabrousek of the Czech Republic. He finished in 4 hours, 22 minutes, 24 seconds, which is an impressive time all things considered. Second place went to Doug Wilson of Australia with a time of 5 hours, 1 minute, 38 seconds. Daniel Palko rounded out the podium with a time of 5 hours, 8 minutes, 56 seconds.

For the ladies it was Heather Hawkins of Australia taking the top honors with a time of 6 hours, 57 minutes, 39 seconds. She was followed by Alice Burch of the U.K. at 7 hours, 4 minutes, 42 seconds, and Jennifer Cheung of China/Hong Kong, who finished with a time of 7 hours, 6 minutes, 6 seconds.


According to race officials, the competitors were all rounded up and flown back Longyearbyen in Norway yesterday. The race is over for another year, and the competitors are now making their way back home.

Meanwhile, in the Sahara Desert another group of runners faced completely different conditions while competing in the Marathon des Sables over the weekend. The 256 km (159 mile), 6-day ultramarathon wrapped up on Saturday with runners struggling with temperatures that soared up to 48.8ºC/120ºF. Amongst them was Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who struggled to reach the finish line in an event that he called "more hellish than hell."

The 71-year old, who has been called the "World's Greatest Living Explorer," suffered alarming heart palpitations last Thursday when he completed the most grueling leg of the race. For a time, it looked like he would have to pull out altogether, but he managed to rally through his pain and complete the race. Fiennes, who has had two heart attacks in the past, as well as double bypass surgery, spent 30 hours out on the course at one point, as he covered a 90 km (56 mile) stage on just one hour of sleep.

The famed British explorer wasn't the only one making headlines at the Marathon des Sables. Fellow countryman Davey Heeley became the first blindman to complete the race as well. The 57-year old father of three is an incredibly fit runner who competes in marathons regularly, but had never done anything like the MdS before. He reached the finish line on Saturday as well, completing the final stage of the race in Morocco with the other competitors.

Some pretty inspiring stories of runners pushing themselves to the limits in extreme conditions. I'll think about these athletes when I go out for my run today in more modest temperatures.

Video: The Barkely Marathons - The Toughest Race in the World?

I've written a bit about the Barkely Marathons before, but not nearly enough. It is an incredibly tough ultramarathon that takes place in my backyard here in Tennessee each year. At 100 miles (160 km) in length, it doesn't seem any more challenging than other races of this length, but the course is a difficult one. Racers are required to complete 5 laps around a 20 mile (32 km) course that is as rough and rugged as any. Over the entire length of the ultra runners face 60,000 feet (18,288 meters) of vertical gain, in a grueling test of endurance that has only seen 10 people ever finish.

The video below serves as a bit of an introduction to the race. It is a trailer for a film called The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Easts Its Young. The documentary made the rounds at last year's film festivals and received some acclaim for its depiction of this epic event.

By the way, the 2015 edition of the Barkley Marathons took place a few weeks back, and not a single entrant was able to finish. The tradition continues at what could be the hardest race on the planet.

Video: Trail Fighter - From Mixed Martial Arts to Ultrarunning

The subject of this video is a man named Kyle Dietz, who was once a professional mixed martial arts fighter, but has now transitioned into becoming an ultrarunner instead. The clip gives us insights into what drives Kyle as he trains for the RUT50k, an ultramarathon held in Big Sky, Montana. As he prepares you get a sense that the same traits that helped him succeed in the ring – dedication, determination, and focus – will also prove valuable in his new endeavor as well. Beautifully shot, and compelling to watch, this is a fantastic short film for anyone looking for inspiration.

Thanks to the Gear Junkie for sharing.

Trail Fighter Official Video from Fitsok on Vimeo.

Video: Running the Ultra-Trail Cape Town 100k Race

A few weeks back the inaugural Ultra-Trail Cape Town 100 km race took place in South Africa, drawing top endurance runners from across the planet. The event challenged those athletes to not only cover that daunting distance, but deal with more than 4400 meters (14,435 ft) of elevation gain along the way. The stunning South African landscapes made for a dramatic backdrop, to this grueling race, which looks to be a fantastic new event.

The video below is a ten-minute short film that gives viewers a glimpse of what the Ultra-Trail Cape Town is all about. It is a great piece of work that not only shows off the event, but also some of the fantastic adventure opportunities that South Africa has to offer. Registration for this year's event opens on January 27.

Sign-Up for the Inaugural TransArabia Ultramarathon, Get a Discounted Entry into the TransPyrenea 895 Too!

Ultrarunners who had been hoping to take part in the 2015 TransPyrenea 895 race, but found themselves missing the cutoff for registration may just have a second chance to get in on the adventure. The race reached its 300 person cap weeks ago, leaving some of the top endurance athletes in the world on the outside looking in. But now, organizers of the TransPyrenea have announced that they will accept the next ten people who enter TransArabia ultramarathon as well, allowing them join the ranks of competitors at their event. And to sweeten the incentive even further, they're willing to provide a €500 (roughly $620) discount off the entry fee as well.

Organizers for these two great events have teamed up to give ultrarunners the ultimate challenge for 2015 – run a stunning course through the deserts of Jordan, and another through the breathtaking Pyrenees of France. The first of those races will take place starting on February 22, when runners will set off from the shores of the Dead Sea on a 300 km (186 mile) race that will take them through ancient villages, past the lost city of Petra, and into the very heart of Wadi Rum. Then, later in the year, they'll also take on the demanding 895 km (556 mile) TransPyrenea route that will test their legs with more than 52,000 meters (170,600 ft) of vertical gain in the Pyrenees. Both races promise to be incredibly demanding, pushing the competitors to their absolute physical limits.

 For someone who had been hoping to run the TransPyrenea but found themselves missing the entry cut-off, this is a bit of a reprieve. These ten entrants will get to race two of the most exciting ultra events on the calendar for 2015, with more to follow. The two race management teams also promise a big announcement that will be coming soon, with a sister race for the TransPyenea being announced for 2016. Those who race in both events in 2015 will be on the fast track for entrance to those races the following year as well.

If you were hoping to run a major ultra race next year, but just haven't gotten around to registering for one yet, this must might be the opportunity you've been looking for. But act fast, as these ten entries are likely to go quickly, particularly since they now involve not one, but two races, and a discount as well.

Good luck to all the runners in both of these amazing events.

Badwater Ultramarathon Returning to Death Valley

One of the big stories from the ultrarunning world earlier this year was the news that the Badwater Ultramarathon had been barred from taking place in its traditional environment – Death Valley National Park. In an effort to increase safety throughout the park, a comprehensive review of all events taking place within Death Vally was conducted, which included a number of running and cycling competitions. While that review was taking place, the Badwater was forced to use an alternate route for the 2014 event, and for a time it looked like that route could become permanent. Last week however, it was announced that the race will return to its traditional route in 2015, with only a few minor changes to operations.

In August, a report on the findings for the safety review in Death Valley indicated that sporting events taking place in the month of July – when the Badwater traditionally is run – could be permanently banned. That's when the temperatures in the park are at their hottest, and conditions are most dangerous for those participating. At the time the report was released, the future of the ultramarathon continuing in Death Valley looked grim, and it seemed it wouldn't even be able to start in the small town from which is garnered its name.

But now it seems the Park Service has granted the Badwater a reprieve, and the event will take place more or less as usual. The 2015 edition of the race will be held July 28-30, with a route that begins in Badwater Basin, 86 meters (282 feet) below sea level, and ends at the Mt. Whitney Portals located at 2530 metes (8300 ft). Along the way, it covers some 217 km (135 miles) through one of the harshest, driest environments on the planet.

Race officials indicated that the Badwater would have a three-wave start, with runners setting off in the evening. They indicated that participants wouldn't notice any other significant changes to the event, although behind the scenes there has been more bureaucracy and expense taken on by the AdventureCORPS team that puts on the race. Other than that however, it is business as usual for the ultra-event.

It's good to see the Badwater return to its traditional home and route. The event was never in danger of going away, but for decades it has been run along the route from the basin to Mt. Whitney, and it is nice to see it able to continue along that path. I commend the National Park Service for taking safety seriously, but the AdventureCORPS team has been running this race for a long time, and they have proven time and again that they know what they are doing. Safety remains a chief concern of all involved, and will continue to do so as long as the Badwater continues to operate.

Video: Running the UTMB with Anton Krupicka

A few weeks back, hundreds of runners lined up to take on the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, a grueling run around Mont Blanc that crosses through France, Italy, and Switzerland. It is widely considered to be amongst the toughest foot races in the world, and a true test for ultra-runners. The video below takes us through that amazing event with runner Anton (Tony) Krupicka, who is a member of the Buff Pro Team. The 5+ minute clip gives us some insights into the mind of these runners, while also sharing some fantastic images from the race itself.

Anton (Tony) Krupicka UTMB 2014 - BUFF® PRO TEAM from Víctor Rins on Vimeo.

Badwater Ultramarathon Banned From Death Valley

Update: It has been pointed out to me that this ban is leveled at events that take place in Death Valley during July, and isn't for every event that takes place in the park. The text below has been updated to reflect this.

The Badwater Ultramarathon is one of the toughest races on the planet, thanks in no small part due to the fact that much of its 135 miles (217 km) length crosses through the desert in Death Valley National Park. For years, the race started in the town of Badwater and ended at the Mt. Whitney Portals, drawing some of the best endurance runners from around the world to compete. But now, the National Park Service has banned the event from taking place inside the park altogether, changing the very fabric of this iconic event.

The news of the ban came a few weeks back, creating disappointment within the ultra-running community, even if it wasn't necessarily a complete surprise. Earlier in the year, the Park Service instituted a temporary ban on events taking place within national parks in order to evaluate them for safety. That forced the 2014 Badwater Ultra to create a new route that didn't put race organizers and runners in conflict with the NPS. When this year's event took place back in July however, there was still hope that the ban would eventually be lifted. This new ruling – signed by Death Valley National Park Superintendent Kathy Billings – makes it permanent.

The primary reason for the ban is concerns about safety issues. Death Valley is one of the hottest locations on the planet, with temperatures in the summer routinely exceeding 110ºF/43.3ºC. Prolonged exposure to that kind of heat can put any visitor to the park in danger, let alone athletes attempting to cover more than 100 miles during the hottest time of the year. There also appeared to be some concerns that the Badwater would take part at night, when visibility was low and there were fewer park service staff members on duty to deal with potential issues. Responding to calls for assistance could be greatly delayed, raising the questions about overall safety even further.

It should be noted that this ban isn't just leveled agains the Badwater Ultra. Death Valley has hosted between 10 and 14 sporting events each year, and any of them scheduled to take place in July, when the heat is at its worst, will not be allowed to take place. Of those, the Badwater is probably the most well known, but others could be affected by this ruling too.

This year, the race started in Lone Pine, and followed the edge of Death Valley towards the regular route up Mt. Whitney. The new route added some further challenges with more climbs, but the spirit of the race remained the same. It is possible that this route will now become the one that is used moving forward. The race will likely continue to keep its name, even though it will no longer begin in Badwater as well.