303Triathlon caught up with 4-time Kona Champion and recent Ironman Hall of Fame Inductee, Chrissie Wellington to talk about them passionate nature of Colorado athletes, academics and environmentalists! She touches on her new passion for ultra running and the legacy she hopes to leave.
It isn’t typical of Bryan Williams to devour Snickers candy bars or jog in his skivvies. But it also isn’t typical to hear of someone running the 490-mile Colorado Trail in record time, like he did.
The 42-year-old Erie endurance runner crushed the supported record for the fastest known time, or FKT, running the Colorado Trail on his own in eight days and 30 minutes. He started at 5 a.m. Aug. 26 in Durango and finished at 5:30 a.m. Sept. 3 in Denver.
“To jump to a 500-mile project was pretty huge,” Williams said Monday after returning to work as the general manager of AOV Inc. in Boulder. “A lot of people have asked, ‘Well, how did you prepare training for that?’ and I can answer that quickly, but it’s like, man, I don’t know. I think we just got lucky.”
Williams and his crew shaved off seven hours from the last supported record held by Scott Jaime, of Highlands Ranch — a professional runner Williams said he admires — who set it in 2013 at eight days, seven hours, 40 minutes, according to records.
The trail traverses the Continental Divide in Colorado, with backcountry lakes and creeks, six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges topping out at 13,271 feet, according to the trail’s website. Travelers include hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers and long-distance runners.
“It’s amazing all the things people are doing out there,” Williams said. “This is just one little piece, one state.”
Seven years ago, Williams committed to his first full marathon — 26.2 miles. He said he was seeking change — going through a divorce and becoming a single dad, struggling with weight, living with his parents and facing debt — and rather than buying a ski pass, he decided to save money by running instead.
“In the early stages of running, it was the only thing I felt like I had control over,” he said. ” … Running can be very meditative. It’s something I’ve developed a passion for, something I always look forward to. It’s my daily dose of adventure.”
Among those adventures, he said he has run nine 100-mile races and 21 other ultra races, not to mention the hours and mileage as part of training for each.
Leadville, Colorado probably isn’t on your tourist destination list this summer. This one street town popular for mining and its lawless past lost its fizzle in the 50’s and ultimately pittered out in the early 80’s. That’s when Ken Chlouber came up with the now infamous Leadville Trail 100. Regardless of what sport you are in, even if you aren’t in running or can barely move at all, chances are you’ve heard of “THE Leadville”. They’ve created their own niche of events including mountain biking and ranging distances from a 10K to marathon to a 50 miler, you know, in case you weren’t feeling like signing up for a hundred. This past weekend, concluded the Silver Rush 50. A race the website claims “will leave your lungs burning, heart pounding and eyes completely amazed!” Well, I’m here to tell you it lived up to its description.
What I love most about Leadville besides the “Oh and Ah!” of the surrounding mountains, is the people. Nothing is more bone chilling than hearing Ken and Merilee, the original founders of the race, come say their epic spiel of how “you’re stronger than you think you are, and you can do more than you think!” At the end of it they scream at you to “dig deep!!!” and then gun goes off! I’ve heard this 3 times now and it still gets to me. Mind you, they come to every race and recite this motivating speech. That’s pretty amazing. There’s as many volunteers as they can dig up that are out there all day, all darn day! They’re feeding you, watering you, taking off your disgusting shoes to bandage your even more disgusting feet, they spray you with sunblock, and tell you everything is going to be ok! One aid station even had amazing eighties music blaring and men in neon tights! Serious dedication right there.
There’s more than that though. It’s the moment when you really do feel like your heart is about to beat through your chest over the last climb, and you come into a beautiful meadow of columbine flowers and your body relaxes and your heart calms down as you take in the view. Then you trip over your own feet and fall into a small stream and laugh your butt off about it cause it’s just so darn pretty out here nothing matters (sorry to the person behind me as this happened, I’m not crazy I was just giggle high!). It’s when you’ve hit the turn around and it dawns on you you’ve still got twenty five more miles to go, and someone comes up behind you tells you how strong you look! And you’re like “really?! I’m about to barf all over myself! But awesome, I’ll keep going!”
It’s that dreadful moment you don’t think you can really go any farther, and you remember a conversation you’ve had early on with a stranger. A conversation I will never forget. A young woman asked me if it was my first time doing this and I said it was, and it was hers as well. She was nervous as she had been pregnant and sick and hadn’t trained but only 5 weeks. I was slightly confused and asked about the baby. She had lost it unfortunately 5 weeks ago, that’s why she didn’t have time to train. “This can’t be as painful as burying my baby” she said to me. I immediately teared up and embraced her. If this doesn’t bring you to your knees and put things into perspective I don’t know what will. Her words echoed in my head all day. I saw her again around mile 40, she told me how fresh I looked and I yelled at her that I better see her at the finish. Which I did, as I was leaving, she probably had a dozen or so family with her to support her. One of the most amazing memories I will cherish forever. And that’s why we are all out here, to prove to ourselves we have the discipline, the determination and the desire to finish something like this, that we are able to dig deep.
At the end of the day we all are suffering. Whether you’re in the lead chasing that course record, or you’re struggling to put one foot in front of the other… it’s going to hurt. What makes ultra running, is the community. It’s that connection you share with someone even for a moment of mutual pain, a swap of your life story, a high five, an “Are you ok?!”. What makes Leadville special is coming in to that finish line and getting your medal and a huge embrace from Merliee, as if she’s your own mother, who’s also been there all day hugging 335 other finishers. And that’s the Leadville experience. What we all chase… a finish.
From Runners World Western States Endurance Run Will Have Drug Testing at 2017 Race – Runner’s World
Athletes who are lining up for the 2017 Western States Endurance Run, the country’s prestigious 100-mile race that starts on June 24, in Squaw Valley, California, better brush up on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) banned substance list. Officials announced Wednesday that they will be drug testing at the Placer High School finish line for the first time this year.
The Western States board of directors has been working on creating a policy and approved a protocol that the organization is comfortable executing and can afford, said John Medinger, board president, during a phone interview with Runner’s World .
“It’s been kicking around for a while,” he said. “The activity of people in the sport and the number of sponsored athletes has gone up. There’s been more and more discussion, concern, and chatter among the athletes wanting to make sure that they’re competing on a level playing field.”
U.S. ultra and trail running has been grappling with a shifting environment for several years. The once laid-back, no frills culture has given way to one in which more corporate brands are offering sponsorship opportunities for top talent, thereby attracting faster athletes, some of whom come with road or track racing pedigrees. With the potential for financial gain also comes the temptation to cheat…
A US age-group triathlete banned for four years for doping is now competing in ultra marathons under her maiden name.
Holly Balogh, 46, a Kona qualifier and Ironman All World Athlete champion in 2014 and 2015, tested positive for exogenous testosterone after winning her age-group at Ironman Texas last summer.
The mum-of-two from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, trained under the highly reputable purplepatch Fitness, headed up by British coach Matt Dixon. It is believed a whistleblower alerted the drug enforcement agency USADA..
However, despite the ban, Balogh is now entered under her maiden name Hancock for the Old Pueblo ultra, a 50-mile race taking place this weekend in Sonoita, Arizona. The race is not thought to be governed by World Anti-Doping Association rules, and the organiser has not yet replied to requests for comment.
The use of any exogenous anabolic androgenic steroid is prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Code and Balogh did not apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).
“It is unfortunate that Ms. Balogh chose to disregard the education, advice and knowledge she had regarding anti-doping and instead competed in violation of the Ironman Anti-Doping Rules,” said Kate Mittelstadt, Director of the Ironman Anti-Doping Program. “We applaud the decisions of the athlete support personnel to step forward, first to report Ms. Balogh’s use with disregard to their advice, and also for the conviction to include anti-doping awareness in their coaching. They each recognised the importance of honoring their obligations under the anti-doping rules and cooperated with Ironman’s investigation.”
Balogh initially challenged the verdict, before later dropping her case. A source who did not want to be named said: “To cut a long story short, she’s a type A person who became more obsessive through triathlon.
“She was a mid-level triathlete with a dream to go to Kona and a strong work ethic, but something changed around 2013. She injured herself through overtraining, but raced too soon and re-fractured her leg. She found a doctor who told her there is a pharmaceutical cure to her problem, when the problem is a mental one: she just can’t rest.
“It sounds like this new coaching group either saw something in her performance or she told them what she was doing. I suspect the latter because she was not terribly shy about this claiming it was for ‘medical reasons’.”
Balogh, a real estate manager who trained up to 25 hours a week, said finishing the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 2014 was “the coolest experience of my life. That gets me a little emotional when I think about.”
Her failed samples from Texas comprised her only drug test of 2016. For comparison, Tim O’Donnell, the professional Ironman, was the most tested triathlete by USADA (15 times), with professionals responsible for the lionshare of tests.
Matt Dixon, head coach of purplepatch, said, “purplepatch has a very clear policy on any use of PED, as well as what we would see as potential ‘abuse’ of TUE with the aim of gaining a performance advantage. We make it clear to each athlete, beginning with a set of commitments with our professional team, as well as information and education to all the amateurs who utilize our coaching services. … This global purplepatch policy applies to every athlete we help, and we find that establishing this policy ahead of time, and revisiting periodically, allows our primary focus to be channeled to our passion, namely, to help athletes improve and flourish.”
I asked Balogh via her new Twitter account whether she thought it was morally right to race in an ultra event while serving a doping suspension. I cited her tweet: ‘Interesting times right now, I will begin anew now, today, despite the insanity around me.’ Her response was to block me from following her or viewing her tweets.
Following news that Boulder trail runner Dave Mackey had chosen to have his left leg amputated below the knee — a decision that follows more than a year of struggle and recovery since it was crushed by a 300-pound boulder during a run — friends and family from the local running community filled the Flatirons Running store Monday night to celebrate the unique occasion.
The mood Monday matched the night’s unconventional purpose — the specialty running store was converted into a makeshift dance hall, with friends and family dressed in various costumes honoring Halloween and bidding Mackey well before surgery.
With a mix of dancing, drinking and an obligatory signing of the leg that was slated to be amputated Tuesday, the night resembled what some of Mackey’s friends referred to as a “Viking funeral of sorts.”
“I think I’m in a good space,” Mackey said Monday night. “I’ve been talking about possibilities. I thought I was out of the woods, but I never really blocked out the possibility.
“Emotionally, it’s tough. It’s going to be tough tomorrow when I wake up without my leg and probably the days after, but that’s only short term.”
Mackey injured his leg May 23, 2015, while running on a trail toward Bear Peak. He stepped on a loose rock and fell, and the boulder rolled onto his lower leg, pinning him.
Doctors were able to save his leg, but in the 16 months since the injury, Mackey said he’s dealt with constant pain.
Champion trail runner Dave Mackey posted some dramatic news today on his Facebook page about his long recovery from his well-documented trail running accident in May 2015. After more than 16 months of surgeries, physical therapy and continued complications, the 46-year-old trail runner announced that he’s decided to have his lower left leg amputated below the knee.
During what was expected to be a routine trail run in the mountains that frame the western edge of Boulder, Colo., Mackey fell off a rock and tumbled more than 20 feet, badly breaking his left leg in the process. After seven surgeries during a three-week hospital stay, Mackey returned home with his injured leg intact, albeit with an external bracing system and crutches to help him get around. Although he recovered enough to walk with a significant limp over the next year, he still had mobility issues, internal infections and constant pain.
Several more surgeries—including his most recent procedure about three months ago—helped him walk without a cane. But continued complications with the repaired leg put him in the tough place of opting for more surgeries or permanently amputating his lower left leg. He talked through the scenarios with numerous doctors, as well as family and friends, and decided that he will have the amputation surgery on Nov. 1.