Ultramarathon Daily News | Mon, July 8

IRF/Mock: Results from the ultramarathon and trail racing scene. I’ve been fascinated with Mt. Marathon for years, and this year was no exception. A few things: Billy Yang said it best when he described men’s winner Max King as a “human Swiss Army knife” that can do anything. And let’s remember…Max is almost 40 and still winning extremely competitive events.
Also, Hannah LaFleur! I’m hoping some footage of her descent comes to light, because she made up more ground (70 sec back at the top, and she won by 30 sec) on her way back to Seward than anyone out there. Unfortunately, the camera crew didn’t notice her until the very end so we didn’t get to see her effort.
Bummed the junior race was cancelled due to air quality. It’s always neat to see what these tough Alaskan kids can do!
And…as always, the production crew did a great job capturing the excitement of the day with a well-produced television broadcast.

Fast Women: All the results from road, track, and trail results from women this past weekend.

Semi-Rad: It could be worse. Though a fictional conversation between climbers, “it could be worse” is always a good mantra to repeat during a tough run.

Tragedy: Frank Meza apparently took his own life last week. Meza had recently been profiled on Marathon Investigation and LetsRun for his cheating at various races and had been subsequently disqualified from many of them. There’s a lot to discuss here, and that’s one reason Twitter was such a lousy place for me to attempt a discussion on Saturday.
A few points:

  • First and most importantly, condolences to the Meza family. They lost a husband, a dad, a grandfather, a brother, and an uncle. From articles I’ve seen, they believe he was unjustly targeted and just want Frank back, and that’s heartbreaking.
  • Over the next few weeks and months, I’m hoping this discussion blossoms into real talk about our culture–both in an away from running–and how to be kinder to each other. Yes, he cheated at races, and yes, he apparently had more personal pride and worth tied into his running accomplishments than we’d thought, but I know that I’ve been in positions when I’ve dug myself deep into a hole and have been unable to see a way out. Luckily, I didn’t have the public pressure of social media bearing down on me. This is a tragic example of how one–or fine, many–mistakes ballooned into a man losing his life. No “rules” can be mandated that’ll prevent this sort of thing in the future, so it’ll take simple understanding and compassion within the running community to navigate these waters.
  • Going forward, what’s the public or media expected to do when someone is caught cheating? Simply look the other way out of fear the accused may later take their own life? Would the LAM have awarded the legitimate winner his award if this has been kept a private matter? How can this be handled better in the future?
  • I feel for Derek Murphy from Marathon Investigation. The emotional toll and guilt he must feel (justified or not, doesn’t matter) is something I certainly don’t envy. I don’t believe it’s Derek’s fault, but his involvement must weigh on him tremendously.
  • Much of the blame and attention I’m seeing is focused on Marathon Investigation and the articles that outlined Meza’s finishes. I followed the posts pretty closely and while they were thorough, I found them to also be respectful and don’t see why MI is being blamed while the LetsRun forums are being largely ignored. It was those posters who were attempting to contact his patients, harass his family, and attempting to sabotage him at work, and that is wildly inappropriate. (Seems most of those posts have been scrubbed from the forums.)
  • Please share your opinion, but keep it respectful and civil. I had to block a few members of the Woke Police over the weekend and don’t want to do that anymore. Gracias.

Runners World: Pavel Tovopov does a great job highliting UTMB champ Yao Miao’s life and accomplishments. What an incredible story!

Deseret News: Woman runs off trail and finds herself lost in the Utah mountains. Good lessons in here, folks.

Vol State is starting on Thursday. Looking for a fun interview with a race veteran, be sure to check out our chat with Alan Abbs.

I’ve seen ridiculous posts on Twitter about people “ignoring” the women’s World Cup victory. Listen, some of us just don’t watch soccer, regardless of who’s on the field. Good on the US ladies, but I was competing in an all ages Nerf battle yesterday. 🙂

Run Spirited: Henry talks with Frayah Wasmund about her battles with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders, until she finally found solace and positive living on the trails.

Cycling: Some describe it as a “ban”, while others see it as simple manners.

This’ll be a good barometer to check the lunacy of our sport: Will a race that runs through a freaking grizzly bear habitat sell out?
(Of course it will.)

Finalizing production on an episode I’ll release today. You’ll have to be patient with the audio…my guest is way way up in northern Alaska and speaks with a tracheotomy, but her story is well worth the effort to listen. I promise.

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