Colorado Springs Engineer Stephen VanGampleare qualifies for Olympic Marathon Trials

From the Masses, an Elite Emerges at Boston

From Runners World
By Sarah Lorge Butler

Photo credit: MARATHONFOTO

Stephen VanGampleare, an engineer from Colorado, ran negative splits on his way to an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time.

The night before the 2019 Boston Marathon, Stephen VanGampleare slept on a buddy’s couch, in a studio apartment across from Fenway Park. The 28-year-old’s feet might have hung off the end—he’s 5-foot-10—but he was too grateful for the hospitality to admit it if he was the slightest bit uncomfortable.

“I don’t have much of a problem sleeping on a couch,” he said.

On Monday morning, he got up, met a few other runner friends at 5:45 a.m., and took the T down to baggage check for the race. From there, they boarded a yellow school bus out to the athletes’ village near the marathon start in Hopkinton. He ate a bagel with peanut butter, a banana, a crunchy peanut butter flavor Clif bar. He got comfortable on a plastic trash bag in the soggy grass, waiting until it was time to walk the 0.7 miles to the start. On the way, he stopped in the CVS parking lot on Main Street and changed into dry shoes and socks.

And from that mundane marathon morning routine—one that resembled the ritual thousands of other runners went through on the same day—he took his place at the front of wave 1, corral 1, and ran 2:18:40. Wearing bib No. 143, he qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials.

Read the full article here

Columbine Survivors to Run the Boston Marathon

From Runners World
By Andrew Dawson

Sisters Who Survived Columbine Will Run Boston Together 20 Years After Tragedy

They are running to show that anyone can overcome anything.

Photo by Sarah Bush

Almost 20 years to the day, two survivors of the Columbine High School massacre will run the Boston Marathon.

The lives of sisters Laura Hall, 34, and Sarah Bush, 36, changed forever that day in 1999 in Columbine, Colorado, when two gunmen killed 12 students and one teacher. It is a day they, and the rest of the country, will never forget.

In the immediate aftermath, they didn’t know how to heal. But since they grew up in a running family—participating in and volunteering at races like Bolder Boulder each year—lacing up would become an unexpected coping mechanism.

For Bush, who was a sophomore on the track and field team at the time of the incident, running was a way to overcome any challenge. It was a reminder that she wasn’t a victim; she was capable of doing and being anything, like a marathoner.

That was Bush’s goal in college: She wanted to run a marathon before she turned 20. Bush was on track to do that until IT band syndrome crept up on her while training. She felt defeated when she went to the doctor. But she was angry and determined when she left.

“The sports therapist said to me, ‘Some people aren’t meant to run ’” Bush told Runner’s World. “I was really mad. Nobody can tell me I can’t do something, and I proven him wrong, because this Boston will be my 11th marathon.”

For seven years after the tragedy, Hall—who was a freshman when the tragedy occurred—struggled to cope until she embraced running as a form of therapy.

The moment this sunk in arrived as she trained for her first marathon in 2006.

“It is so important to choose to be hopeful, and whatever you choose, whether that’s running or sewing, there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Hall told Runner’s World. “Both Sarah and I have been in that tunnel, and we live happy and fulfilling lives, and running is a huge part of that.”

Read the full article here

American and Team USA Olympian Ben Kanute Wins IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside

From Triathlete.com

Ironman 70.3 Oceanside
Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image

Ben Kanute (USA) and Daniela Ryf (SUI) battled an impressive field of triathletes to win the 2019 Ironman 70.3 Oceanside triathlon on Saturday. Kanute narrowly edged the rest of the field to earn the overall victory with a time 3:49:25. Ryf produced another signature dominating performance, setting a new course best with a time of 4:09:19 (breaking Anne Haug’s time of 4:12:03 from the previous year) in her debut performance on U.S. soil outside of championship events.

Rodolphe Von Berg (USA) placed second trailing Kanute by only 12 seconds with a time of 3:49:37 and Adam Bowden (GBR) rounded out the men’s podium in third with a time of 3:53:53. Holly Lawrence (GBR) battled her way to a second place finish in the women’s field with a time of 4:14:06 followed by Ellie Salthouse (AUS) who finished in third with a time of 4:16:41.

Read the full post here

Zen and the Art of Winning Leadville

From Elevation Outdoors

By Katie Arnold

Photo by Glen Delman

Two years after breaking her leg and a doctor telling her she had to quit running, this Zen athlete took first place in one of the hardest endurance races on the planet. All it took was a little bit of Whitesnake and an understanding that winning is nothing more than the river beneath your feet

The day before the start of the Leadville Trail 100 Run, I was walking down the mining town’s main drag when I passed a dilapidated white Victorian. It had peeling gingerbread trim and two sun-faded whitewater kayaks beached on the front-porch railing. The front door looked fused shut, as if it hadn’t been opened in years. Painted above a window was a sign that read “Cosmology Energy Museum.” And above that “Divine Spirit Over Matter.”

I stopped in my tracks. In less than 24 hours, I’d toe the line of my first 100-mile race. I had no idea what lay ahead, but I understood that in order to make it through the mountains to the finish, I’d need more than physical stamina and sheer willpower. I’d need heart and humility, a little bit of luck and a lot of grace. I’d need divine spirit over matter.

Two years earlier, I’d broken my left leg in a whitewater rafting accident. My orthopedist had advised me never to run again. “Find a new hobby,” he said dismissively. He put in a piece of metal the shape of a baking spatula just below my knee that you could see through my skin. I was 46 years old. The farthest I’d ever run before was 62 miles. I didn’t have a coach or a training plan. All I had were the Sangre de Cristo Mountains out my back door and a copy of the book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, written in 1971 by the Japanese Zen master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. My friend, the well-known Zen writer Natalie Goldberg, had given it to me—with a caveat. “It’s a classic,” she told me, “but you might not understand it.” Buddhism, by definition, is beyond definition, sometimes even explanation.

The minute I started reading, though, I understood everything. Not with my brain, but in my body. I understood Zen Mind because I understood running. Suzuki Roshi was writing about sitting, but I realized that if I replaced “sitting” with running, he and I were speaking the same language. After all, the tenets of Zen—form, repetition, stamina and suffering—aren’t so different from the principles of ultra running. If I could apply his teachings to my running, maybe I could train my mind and spirit to be as strong as my body. Maybe even stronger.

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Read the full article here.

Here’s a Unique Chance to Compete in a World Championship (That’s Not Kona)

From Triathlete.com
By Sarah Wassner Flynn

The 2020 ITU World Championships will take place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada—a quick trip for U.S.-based triathletes.

Next summer, thousands of the world’s fittest triathletes will descend upon Edmonton, Canada for the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. This five-day event, running from August 20 to 23, 2020, encompasses world championship races for elites, paratriathletes, and age-groupers in Olympic- and sprint-distance triathlon. Held in Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park, the largest urban park in North America, the venue showcases the stunning beauty of Western Canada right in the heart of a bustling city. Athletes will swim in the pristine waters of Lake Hawrelak, cycle through downtown Edmonton, and complete a run through the park in the shadows of soaring pine trees before finishing in a stadium bowl set up exclusively for the event.

“This isn’t your typical location for a triathlon,” says Edmonton Triathlon general manager Stephen Bourdeau. “We offer a unique setting while keeping a hometown feel. The whole city gets behind the event, and we take great pride in showcasing everything that Edmonton has to offer.”

Any U.S. triathlete who is at least 17 years old has a chance to qualify for to compete for Team USA in Edmonton. But there are specific steps you must take in order to do so.

Read the full article here to find out how-to.

Try a Mini Triathlon!

By JB Tobin

The Epic Mini Triathlon was created to fill a need: a lack of road triathlons anywhere in Fort Collins! Being set in such a vibrant athletic & outdoor city this event feels right at home to athletes at any level.

The short distance (450 meter pool swim | 10 mile 2.5 loop bike | 2 mile run) is very beginner friendly but also short enough to allow seasoned triathlete’s a chance to test their speed-skills limits.

The 50 meter pool at Edora Pool & Ice Center (yes, EPIC) provides some of the best swimming in the city. Athletes will start in whatever time wave they are most comfortable, chosen during registration, and snake their way through 9 lengths before hopping out and heading to transition just 50 feet away. The best part – no wetsuit!

The bike course is a fun 2.5 laps that has less than 300 ft of total elevation gain. No mega hills to climb and no lengthy course routes to memorize. Wide lane shoulders, lots of cones and plenty of volunteers help create a great bike experience.

The power line trail is closed just for us during this race. The out and back loops keeps athletes off of any public roads and allows for TONS of high fives from your fellow athletes along the way.

Watch this video to check out a bike/run course preview:

Lots of smiles, high fives and pancake breakfast options at the finish line! Not to mention some fun sponsors & vendors.

For complete race information visit: https://breakawayathleticevents.com/epic-mini-triathlon/

To register, click here

Young Cancer Survivor Inspires Local Athletes

Eight-year-old Connor was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just 1.5-years-old. He underwent chemo for 3 years and 3 months and celebrated his last dose with a family party. For the next couple of years Connor endured several finger pokes for routine blood tests. Sadly, his family learned in February 2017 that his leukemia came back.

Connor’s mom, Jen, shared, “He didn’t even feel sick but the doctors said he had to fight the bad guys in his blood and start taking chemo again. This second time the chemo was a lot harder- it made him really sick and he had to stay in the hospital a lot.”

Connor had a bone marrow transplant on August 1, 2017, from his sister Chloe. His health continued to improve but he couldn’t be around people or go to public places because of germs. He spent most of his time at home and was homeschooled to stay on track with his school work. Connor was able to FaceTime with his class.

One year after his bone marrow transplant, a biopsy revealed that his leukemia was back for a third time. He spent over a month at Children’s Hospital Colorado getting chemo in preparation for CAR T-cell immunotherapy.

CAR-T personalized cellular therapy is a revolutionary approach to treating cancer by using genetic engineering to reprogram the patient’s own immune T cells to find and kill cancer cells. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For the past two decades, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has invested more than $40 million in CAR-T research and development. Connor was the sixth person at Children’s Hospital Colorado to receive CAR-T.

Connor had a check-up 34 days after his CAR-T infusion and again most recently during the holiday season at 61 days post-treatment. The results were positive, showing no signs of leukemia. Jen shared, “This was the BEST Christmas present ever for our family!!! His fight isn’t over but this is a huge victory and we are soooo very thankful!”

You can click here to learn more about CAR T-cell immunotherapy.

Connor has been an inspiration to Denver-area teammates training for the Wildflower Experience and other endurance events through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, the world’s largest and most successful endurance sports fundraising and training program. Team In Training (TNT) offers a lineup of innovative high caliber domestic and international events, and prepares teammates for marathons, half marathons, and triathlons, as well as cycling, climbing and hiking experiences.

Since its inception in 1988, Team In Training has raised more than $1.5 billion, trained more than 650,000 people and helped LLS invest more than $1.2 billion in blood cancer research such as CAR T-cell immunotherapy.

“We all come to TNT with different our own personal stories and reasons for being involved with LLS,” shared Heather Collins, Team Captain for Team In Training Fundraising Team Connor McStrong. “Coming together to support our Honored Hero is what makes us a team. You realize that what you are a part of is bigger than just you, and your goals and your training. Watching Connor and his family go through the different stages of his treatment really brings the LLS mission to life and continually inspires me to keep doing this kind of work.”

Training for the Wildflower Experience begins on February 2, 2019. Team In Training will get you to the finish line with experienced coaches, training resources and a supportive community of athletes of all skill levels. Teammates also have access to world-class fundraising tools to help them reach their goal to fund blood cancer research.

“Before I joined Team in Training, all of my training was ‘solo’,” shared Heather. “I was hesitant about running with a team. Now I can’t imagine anything else! The encouragement and support from day one of training through event weekend helps me stay motivated. Instead of going into the event weekend nervous and uncertain, I now know I’ll have TNT Staff, coaches, supporters and teammates there to help me through. I find as much joy in cheering on my teammates as I do crossing that finish line myself!”

Join the team for the Wildflower Experience. To learn more, click here. Use code 303TRI for free Team In Training registration ($100 value, expires 1/31/19).

Meet a new triathlon race company

Breakaway Athletic Events | www.BREAKAWAYATHLETICEVENTS.com

What led you to create Breakaway?
I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for nearly 15 years and a triathlete for ten. Throughout this time, I’ve completed multiple triathlons and run races including everything from a sprint to a full distance and 5k’s to a marathon – even some fun half-marathon trail races. I’ve been involved in the race world in a variety of roles, including as an athlete, a “pro” spectator (my wife gets much more credit there), a volunteer & as a staff member helping to organize and execute race days. There’s a high energy, such excitement and anticipation in the air and sense of accomplishment that comes with these races. But I felt there was a lack of multisport events in the northern Colorado area, specifically in and around Fort Collins. This realization, combined with my passion for these sports, led to the creation of Breakaway Athletic Events.

How is Breakaway different?
I think one characteristic that sets us apart is that we are athletes first. We’ve experienced race days, the adrenaline, the passion for and pursuit of a podium finish. I know what frustrates me on race morning and also what motivates me. Our goal is to use this insight and knowledge to enhance the overall athlete experience. We’re doing this by paying attention to the details and all the race aspects we’ve found bothersome over the years. For example, our events will be as eco-friendly as possible. This means occasionally ditching the traditional aid station model and having athletes focus on reusing their bike water bottles (vs hundreds of half used plastic water refill bottles). Another example, is that our athlete meals will be plant-based. Why? It’s super healthy, less harsh on the planet and much better in terms of food safety. In addition, our clearly marked and detailed course maps and layouts allow for awesome spectator fun and support for athletes as the athletes pass spectator areas multiple times throughout their race, not just once or twice all day. These are just a few of the many examples we are implementing. Our primary goals are strong community support through local businesses & sponsors and an awesome athlete experience with attention to race details, safety & spectator fun .

What specific races will you have?
We are working to shed the mold of traditional event creators by creating more unique races. We’re always working to create races that fill a space that might not have existed before. One example of this is our Epic Mini Triathlon in Fort Collins. We haven’t had any road triathlons in Fort Collins for years. This short distance race has a well laid out course, highly organized transition area & fun beginner-friendly pool swim. It’s intimate and inviting, something that can be tough to find at the larger scale events.

Our specific calendar is always available at breakawayathleticevents.com/races. But briefly, for 2019, we have seven events in the works including an off-road ride & run, the Epic Mini (mentioned above), and a great destination triathlon. We have also worked into the schedule a multisport race festival! It’s an awesome multi-race event happening at a great location. There will be music, a beer-garden and a youth series race as well so the whole family can get involved – ten races in total. We’ll announce more on new events as the details get confirmed. We’re excited about each and every one! 🙂

What is the multisport festival you mentioned above about?
The Boyd Lake Bash Multisport Festival takes place at a great venue and will include ten individual events all in one day. Sitting on the east side of Loveland and southeast of Fort Collins, this close-to-home multisport race event will have a festival feel that’s intimate, fun and mildly challenging. The course layouts make race morning packed with spectator cheering and multiple athlete flybys. Every race takes place within the park. This creates a safer and more exciting race for all of the athletes. We have a youth splash and dash series taking place that morning as well. Fun for the whole family! With ON-SITE camping options, make a weekend out of this event and plan some extra relaxation time.

Some race companies have a discounted entry or free entry program if you volunteer. Does Breakaway offer this as well?
Yes! Volunteers help make races happen. Not only can volunteers earn discounted race entry, they also get to experience a race event from a unique perspective and with much less pressure. This often leads to them having a great race of their own on that same course whenever they are ready to tackle it in future years to come.

What are the biggest challenges to organizing a new event especially in a new venue?
Any event, whether new or an annual recurrence, takes a lot of planning. I find the largest challenge to putting a new race event in place is navigating the permits process, as well as finding unique ways to promote the event on a large scale. Dreaming up a fast bike course or a wicked run challenge can be easy. But going through the permits process, which often requires a lot of paperwork and time spent waiting to hear back can be a challenge, though I do enjoy getting to connect with the local permitting agencies and area managers. After the hurdles of permitting and venue approval, it’s on to registration and thinking about ways to reach people who may be interested in our events. It’s all about getting the word out!

What do you think the future holds for Breakaway?
We’re excited for a strong first event season and plan on adding new races each year as we grow and connect with more athletes, staff & volunteers. We look forward to growing our audience and participant numbers, involving local businesses and getting youth involved in athletics and group physical activity. We hope to increase our contributions to local charity groups with each passing year and anticipate our events will help to promote our local parks and open spaces, as well.

Champions Collide at 23rd XTERRA Worlds in Maui on Sunday

From XTERRA News

Kapalua, Maui (October 22, 2018) – The 23rd annual XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon scheduled for Sunday, October 28, 2018 in Kapalua, Maui boasts the most competitive elite men’s field ever assembled.

It’s a bold statement, but easy to support considering the past four winners, and second-place finishers, are on the start list.

Bradley Weiss from South Africa won last year, Mauricio Mendez from Mexico was second.  Mendez won in 2016, and Ruben Ruzafa from Spain was second.  Josiah Middaugh from the U.S. won in 2015, with Ruzafa finishing second, and Ruzafa won in 2014, the year Middaugh placed second.

And that’s the story, all these men have gotten the better of each other at one time or another, and they’ve all remained at the top of their game.

“I think that Maui always shows us that there is more than one favorite,” said Ruzafa, who has been first off the bike at XTERRA Worlds each of the last five years.  He won two of those races, in 2013 and 2014, but got chased down by Middaugh in 2015, Mendez in 2016, and Weiss in 2017.

“This year, for the first time since 2014, I’ve done altitude training to prepare for Maui and I’ve changed things in my run and bike training,” said Ruzafa, who has won Maui three times and captured four of the last five ITU Cross Tri World Titles since 2014.  “I was in the Sierra Nevada for two weeks at the end of September, and since then at my home in Spain. The course is so hard, and different every year because of the weather.  We always have to wait until the last moment to see what the terrain conditions will be like.”

No matter what the conditions are like on Sunday, you can count on the reigning champ Brad Weiss to be in the mix.

“The goal is always to win, and I will be disappointed with anything less than defending my title,” said Weiss, who won the XTERRA Asia-Pacific and European Championships this year. “Saying that, the caliber of athletes racing continues to improve and there is a long list of contenders working hard to dethrone me. I welcome the challenge and look forward to facing it come race day, and at the risk of sounding arrogant, I will say I am the favorite. I proved I can win on this course in 2017 and plan to do the same in 2018. The course suits me well and I look forward to maximizing those advantages come race day.”

If experience means anything, give the advantage to Middaugh, who will be racing in his 18th straight XTERRA World Championship fresh off a win at the XTERRA Pan Am Champs last month against Weiss and Mendez.

Read the full article

Madeline McKeever, of Denver, Captures Women’s Age Group Title at 2018 IM 70.3 Worlds

NELSON MANDELA BAY, South Africa (Sept. 7, 2018) – Madeline McKeever, 31, of Denver, Colorado captured the world championship title in the women’s 30-34 age-group at the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship triathlon in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa on Saturday, September 1. Approximately 1,600 women were registered to compete in Nelson Mandela Bay as the Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship came to the African continent for the first time.

Photo credit: FinisherPix

McKeever completed the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship event in 04:36:56 (swim: 32:41; bike: 02:32:15; run: 01:25:11), beating out the top athletes in her age group. The race encompassed a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim that started at King’s Beach and proceeded with an open-water swim in the Indian Ocean, followed by a one-loop, 56-mile (90 km) bike course that took athletes around the Nelson Mandela Bay area. The event capped off with a two-lap, 13.1-mile (21 km) run as athletes finished to energetic crowds at Hobie Beach.

The two-day Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship saw approximately 4,500 registered athletes from 48 U.S. States and 102 countries, regions and territories compete in this world-renowned event, marking the largest field of any IRONMAN or IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon to-date. Athletes ranged in age from 18 to 78. The world championship event is the culmination of over 100 global events in the IRONMAN 70.3 series where more than 185,000 age-group athletes vied for slots to compete in the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. Qualification is already underway for the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship which will rotate to Nice, France.

Read the complete article here.