My notes from Desert Solstice:
- The race was run perfectly by Jamil’s incredible (and huge!) team and RD Hayley Pollack under almost ideal conditions. We got a little bit warm (high 60s) for a few hours on Saturday, but then chilly at night and no wind at all.
- There’s a reason the race now holds the World Records for both male and female 12 hours (Zach Bitter and Camille Herron) and female 24 hours (Camille Herron). I think we can all agree Yiannis’ 24 hour ain’t going anywhere
soonever. That record, let’s remember, is the one in which he ran an 11:57 hundred miler, then kept WR pace for another 12 hours.
- Patrick Reagan has the most efficient and beautiful stride I think I’ve ever seen, and he held it perfectly until he stepped off the track after 130 miles. Can’t wait to see him at Western.
- Micah Morgan needed 140 miles and pushed hard towards that number. The final six or eight hours were tough. No smiles, no nods, just a grimaced and steely determination on her face as her husband relayed her lap splits to her every 400m. Micah passed the timing mat at 139.93, ran the straight away and a few steps into the first turn when the gun blew. Was a straightaway and a couple meters .07 miles long? Did she make it? After the wheel was brought out, it turns out that she ran 140.000 miles. One extra stop, one additional bad lap, or the slightest hesitation in her resolve and she would’ve come up short.
- Courtney was looking good but ultimately admitted to running too much this year and after a few attempts to rebound, ultimately called it a day. She hung out, helped out, and ended up crewing another runner for the entire rest of the race. Courtney is the epitome of the selfless and humble runner our sport is made of. She’ll be taking some time off before her next race at Tarawera in New Zealand, then her big year consisting of Western, Hardrock, UTMB, and 24 Hr World Championships. Whoa.
- Interested in what shoes everyone was wearing or where the runners were at every hour split? Patrick Carron was there geeking out and taking notes.
- I’d never seen Bob Hearn run a 24 before, and now I know why he’s considered the King of Pacing. He’s got a system he’s worked on over the past decade and executes it perfectly.
- Prior to race start, a coupla British fellas noticed my Green Silence shoes and asked me about them. We got to talking and it ended up being James Elson and his coach, fellow endurance junkie Robbie Britton. James stepped off the track in the night time but both came back to watch the incredible finish before heading back home to the UK and Chamonix, respectively. It’s always nice to put a face and a handshake with a name. Robbie is studying and writing about the formula for what makes an effective coach–is it academics, experience, or soft skills, and at what ratio–and I hope to share some of his work soon.
- Now I’ve seen a cueball rigged to a cordless jigsaw used at an aid station. It looked like somewhere between a tickling torture device and a sex toy, but was instead used to “massage” the legs of runners. Yeah.
- Camille’s gait is painful and awkward to watch, but somehow it works for her, and it works well. We’d heard she was going to step off the track after 100, but she kept going and ended up executing a great race. This is the discipline she should stick to. (edit: See my comment below for clarification as to what I meant here.) I’ve got a feeling you’ll hear about it on social media. Just a hunch.
- Connie Gardner is someone I’d heard about for years but never seen run. Amazing woman with grit, sass, and endurance.
- The battle between Nick Coury (Jamil’s brother, interview here) and Greg Armstrong was nuts. Both guys going for a higher spot on the 24 hour team battled it out in the final 30 minutes of the race. Both were on the same lap, with Greg 250m ahead. Then 230. Next lap, 200m ahead. Nick was pushing hard at 7 minus pace but was still 150m behind, then 120, then…the gun rang and both collapsed on the track, having given every single bit of their energy to the race. Spectators and RDs were crying, Greg’s saddled feet were lacerated and bleeding, and the track at Central High School looked like a war zone with piles of people lying around, not moving.
- Pete Kostelnick could convince me he’s African American. Dude got a pretty good tan after running across the continent.
- If I’m ever looking for a crew chief for a big 24 hour push, I’m asking Pam Smith. She’s got experience (AR holder), she’s a physician, and she kept Maggie’s spirits up the whole way.
- Photographer Howie Stern was there getting real shots and Billy Yang was with us with video, so stay tuned…
How did I miss this? Pro triathlete Alyssa Godesky’s FKT on the Vermont Long Trail.
Outside has a pretty decent–and short–list of 2018’s Most Accomplished Athletes. Just my opinion, by Courtney deserves to be on that list too.
If you only watch one video today, watch this one: Girls XC championships. Hart ran a bold first 2.5 miles, but Masciarelli had the determination and total belief in herself—to….ahhh, watch it for yourself.
Advice: Don’t try to travel with a hole punched in your drivers license. While my new M-Class license is being sent in the mail, the DMV punched a hole in my existing license, which invalidates it. The results? Major headaches at TSA and getting the full monty search in front of everyone at both airports.
And if you only read one report today, make it this one. RW contributor Caleb writes about the importance of a recent TARC race that helped put his mind at peace, amidst family turmoil that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
I don’t know enough about the physiological effects to have a strong opinion, but injecting young Japanese runners with iron doesn’t seem like a good idea.
Very cool: Meb an integral part of the group that bought the iconic Carlsbad5000 back from Ironman, giving it “back to the people of San Diego.”
No ultramarathon content, but an interesting article on how/if/when to prioritize which mammalian species to save.