As race reports and articles come across the wires, a clearer picture is coming into view; but that doesn’t mean that additional questions aren’t raised. The difficulty of the scheduling changes, the course reroutes, the way in which organizers communicate to participants can cause frustration at varying levels. Some handled it well (exceptionally well), like Lizzy Hawker, Darcy Africa, Mike Foote, and Nick Pedatella. Some, like Scott Jaime, handled it the best they could and grinded through the course, teeth gnashing, legs burning. Others, like Hal Koerner and Roch Horton, had the shell of their pride torn away and made it to the finish in nearly twice the time of the winner, thus revealing a brighter and bigger sense of pride and due respect.
Here are some of the writings that have emerged in the few days following last weekend’s epic race.
Geoff Roes, UTMB DNF Team Montrail
Geoff Roes’ year has been a stark contrast to last season. Not finishing the two biggest ultras this year leaves one wondering whether it’s a matter of being tired, physically run-down, or something more mentally derived. He’s raced and run harder and more in past seasons and dominated. It’s difficult to speculate from what he’s written in his report but we certainly hope the best for him.
Nick Clark, UTMB DNF Team Pearl Izumi
When I heard Nick Clark had dropped from UTMB, I assumed one (or both) of his legs had simply detached and fallen off. Aside from Dave Mackey, I consider Nick the toughest guy out there. This is one person I’m certain will rebound quickly and, frankly, I feel sorry for the competitors at the next event in which he chooses to race. What made UTMB different for him?
CCC 2nd place, Adam Campbell, Canadian Team Salomon
Adam Campbell might not be a name recognized by many in the ultra world, but he is the Canadian 50 mile national champion, running 5:44 for the distance. The CCC (98k) was the first run he’s done longer than six hours. He captures the culture and energy of this particular European event well in his report.
There are some good points in this article. It’s nice to see that Americans aren’t the only ones who sometimes have narrow or limited views of other cultures’ approaches, athletes, and venues. Matt and I both have trouble with a couple of this article’s major points. We’re interested in what others have to say about it.
Dave Mackey, Waldo 100k Win and CR Team Hoka
Even though it took place last week, we want to reference Dave’s run at Waldo as an example of an American ultrarunner with both race day laser focus and season race scheduling focus. Dave chooses his races carefully, and rarely, if ever, “jumps into” any event longer than a half marathon. With course record splits written on his arm, he surgically picked the course and the competition apart to break Erik Skaggs’ CR from 2009. It’s also worth mentioning that Dave is 15 years older than Skaggs was when he set the record. Speaking of Mackey, SF Bay area resident and impressive adventurist Leor Pantilat ran and dominated another trail 50k at the Tamalpa Headlands though he came-up short of one of DM’s many CRs. Reference to the question we posed last week, will we see another runner like Mackey dominate the way he has (variety and longevity)? By the way, we see Mackey’s stock going up here at the end of 2011 and surging through 2012.
The runners who dropped at UTMB knew early in the season they’d be competing there. Did they take it too lightly? Did they assume that fitness from the first part of the season would carry them across the finish in Chamonix? What is the key to performing well there for Americans?
We’ve been thinking about the attrition at UTMB and have come to a couple of distinct conclusions, which we’re happy to share, but we’d like to hear some other opinions from fans.
Tomorrow we’ll share an interesting write-up and interview we did with a trail industry insider. Stay-tuned!