TRAIL SPECIAL FOCUS ON PUBLIC LANDS p 34
SEPTEMBER 2017 / ISSUE 122
DISCOVER! 8 TOP TRAIL MECCAS
ONE DIRTY MAGAZINE
ON POST-RACE DEPRESSION, AND THE MEANING OF LIFE
IS HIGH-MILEAGE TRAINING SUSTAINABLE? WHY ELECTROLYTES ARE KEY TO TRAIL PERFORMANCE CHOOSING THE RIGHT SOCK FOR YOU
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Observation Point Trail ZION NATIONAL PARK, UTAH PHOTO BY FRED MARMSATER RUNNER: Joe Grant, 34, of Gold Hill, Colorado BETA: Observation Point is a spectacular trail located in the heart of Zion National Park. The high point sits at 6,508 feet, with 2,100 feet of elevation gain from the Weeping Rock Trailhead. The trail climbs steadily from the start, up a number of switchbacks. It can be sandy in spots, but is mostly paved, making for good footing and efficient upward progress. (Do not be deterred by the pavement, as it is broken up and blends quite naturally with the surrounding environment.) One of the highlights of the ascent is Echo Canyon, a soaring, red-rock-lined slot canyon. If water is running, take a quick (refreshing!) dip to stave off the heat on this otherwise exposed run. Bring lots of water as sources on the trail are unreliable and, if available, need to be treated or filtered. PRO TIP: Bring a headlamp and time your run for sunset at Observation Point, which will offer incredible views and light looking back toward Angels Landing, a jutting fin of sandstone in the center of the canyon. Running back down the trail at night is a unique experience, but watch your footing, particularly on the upper sections above cliffs. DISTANCE: Eight miles, round trip. SEASON: Year round but preferable in early spring or fall. The summers can get very hot and crowded. Remember to plan your return around the shuttle schedule, or tack on some flat cruiser miles to get back to your vehicle. INFORMATION: Between April 1 and October 30, the Weeping Rock Trailhead is accessed via shuttle. You can drive to the trailhead the rest of the year, although you will likely encounter snow and ice on the trail during the winter months. www.zionnational-park.com/zion-observation-pointtrail.htm
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Top Trail Meccas
8 regions for year-round trail running. By Eric Senseman and Meghan M. Hicks
Why Westerners disagree on protecting public lands. By Paul Cuno-Booth
F E AT U R E S
SEPTEMBER 2017 / ISSUE 122
Vietnam veteran Rich Hooper reinvents himself through trail running.
By Ariella Gintzler
By Doug Mayer
No Free Lunch
Are trail runners freeloading on public lands? By Mike Foote
Running Bears Ears
Why the newest U.S. National Monument is worth preserving. By Morgan Sjogren
COVER: Loyola Marymount University runner Koby Pederson gets a taste of the trails on The Crown, Elk Mountains, Colorado. PHOTO BY RANDALL LEVENSALER
Why a good pair of socks is a necessity.
Race-course sweepers see it all.
By Claire Walla
By Ariella Gintzler
Lessons learned from a trail-running shooter.
take your mark
Under Armour Mountain Running Series kicks off.
By Emily McIlroy
How to safely sustain high-mileage training. By David Roche
Electrolyte replenishment is key to trail performance. By Reagan Colyer
THIS PAGE: Mike Foote running a mountain-goat trail during a high traverse through the Lewis Range, Glacier National Park, Montana. PHOTO BY STEVEN GNAM
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The Battle Heats Up
Stand up for your public lands
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“Take a second to think about your last long trail run. Instead of focusing on the pace, the views or that nagging injury you’ve held at bay all spring, picture the land under your feet,” writes accomplished ultrarunner Mike Foote in “No Free Lunch” (see page 38). “For most of you, I’m betting that land was public land.” Indeed, my last trail run was in Colorado’s Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness in the White River National Forest, lands designated as wilderness way back in the original Wilderness Act of 1964. I’ve run in those hills and neighboring wilderness areas, national forests, BLM lands and other public lands for 30-some years now. While I’ve certainly appreciated running wild in these mountains, have I taken that opportunity for granted? The answer would have to be yes. In fact, I’ve always smugly considered the Wilderness Act—which offers perhaps the highest protection designation—to be sacrosanct. But as threats to our public lands are becoming commonplace and more emboldened, and coming from many different angles, that attitude needs to change for me, and all of us trail runners. Just today, I learned about Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s recent order to expedite issuing drilling and mining permits on public lands. The decision is puzzling, since the impediments to oil and gas development are few. Many companies aren’t even developing the leases they already hold. More development means potentially less access for public-lands users, not to mention degraded air and water quality. In this issue, our special Focus on Public Lands section addresses some of the issues public-lands users are facing and how we can counter them. Foote’s piece chides trail runners for riding the coattails of other public-lands users, and encourages us to become better advocates. In “Running the Bears Ears,” Morgan Sjogren writes from first-hand experience about Utah’s massive and wild Bears Ears National Monument, one of the 27 national monuments under review by the Department of the Interior for possible revocation or alteration. While most of us trail runners feel strongly in favor of keeping federal public lands public and protected, in “Monumental Controversy,” Paul Cuno-Booth explores reasons not all users may share that perspective. So, while we can, let’s raise a toast to the wonderful publiclands legacy here in the United States, and vow to join the battle to safeguard those treasures. TR 6
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MAKING TR ACKS
QA What appeals to you about trail running? I like the training for it. I like watching a whole day go by on the trails.
BY MEGAN JANSSEN
Going Deep with David Laney
On post-race depression, the meaning of life and running with no pants
t’s a chilly October morning in southern Oregon. I’m clinging to a mug of coffee and staring blankly through the window when David Laney runs past. A sense of peace overcomes me. It could be his praying mantis body, the ’80s neon wrapping his sinew or the immaculate mustache, fit only for legends like himself, Tom Selleck and John Oates. There’s something comforting about his dedication to his craft—you could set your watch to his routine. As a lamplighter toils in the dark of night or a Buddhist monk sits silently on a hill, David Laney puts in the kind of work myths are made of. 8
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How do you feel after finishing a big 100-miler? After UTMB, I moved to Seattle with my friend and didn’t do anything that whole autumn. I started coaching cross country so I’d work like two hours a day. Then I’d go to the park near Lake Union and just sit on a grassy hill for hours. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I tried to run five miles a day even though I didn’t want to. But if I didn’t go then I’d feel even worse. During a race, I know it’s uncomfortable and it doesn’t feel good but I remember there’s always a finish line. But after the race, I don’t have a finish line. I think people don’t realize how bad these races are for your body. They do extensive damage; you are running hard for such a long time. Your brain chemicals get really out of whack after doing something that hard. How do you deal with these episodes? It’s not getting easier, but
now I know what to expect. After my first couple hundreds, I thought something was really wrong with me. Generally, I try to sleep as much as possible and just chill as hard as I trained for about a week. Does that make you want to do it less? Not really. It’s a lovehate relationship. How do you deal with your life outside of training—a life with no “finish line”? A big reason I run is that it provides direction. If I have a race in four months, I live everyday preparing for that race. The training directs my eating, my sleeping, my coaching, my life. It’s really clear and allows me to have a simple answer when people ask me what I’m doing. I just say, “Training for a 100-mile footrace.” Unfortunately it’s a pretty self-centered direction. While I still love [competitive training], I really hope to transition to something different in the next year. I really want to get my hands dirty helping people. But it’s hard to get off the treadmill, so I’m still trying to find another deliberate direction. If you could go back to your 11-year-old self, what advice would you give? In middle school and high school, I didn’t talk to anyone. My grandma would
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MAKING TR ACKS
come over on Friday nights. That was great because I got to hang with her, but I didn’t spend time with anyone my age. I probably should have done a better job hanging out with kids, but I was terribly shy. At some point I just figured out that nobody really cares. I still don’t talk to that many people, but I’m more social than I used to be. What is your most embarrassing running moment? When I was a little kid I forgot my pants at a race. It was a road race in Portland. All my brothers and sisters were running. The shirts for the race were extra large and some-
how I dressed myself that morning. My sister went to tuck in my shirt and then was like, “You don’t have pants on.” I was really embarrassed for the first part of the race but by the end I didn’t care. We did that race every year. What advice do you have for burgeoning runners? You have to have patience and realize it’s a process. If you have a bad race, it doesn’t matter that much. Just learn from it, figure out what the problem is and do a better job next time. Once I started being more flexible with my training, I was way less stressed.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Laney grew up in a running household. His dad was a marathoner, and often led him and his three siblings on long hikes. As a young boy he remembers watching a PBS special about the Western States Endurance Run and thinking, “I’m going to do this race one day.” He kept to the track through high school and college, moving to the mountains of southern Oregon after graduating in 2007. In 2012 he met Erik Skaggs, former Waldo 100K course-record holder, and Hal Koerner, two-time Western States champ, who showed him the ropes of mountain running. He was hooked. Of the 24 races he’s completed since then, he’s stood on the podium for 17. In 2015, he finished UTMB 3rd and joined the ranks of only four other American men to have podium-finished at the race. That same year, he was crowned Ultrarunner Of The Year–the youngest ever, at 27. “Laney is the most exciting person to follow in trail running,” says elite trail and ultra runner Jenn Shelton. “His races leave you on the edge of your seat. He also has my favorite sense of humor, maybe of anyone in the world. He’s basically like the male Ellen, when it comes to humor.” Indeed, when I talked to him one morning in January, he told me he had just lathered his mustache with lavender soap and simply couldn’t stop smelling his upper lip: “It’s like springtime,” he said. But Laney isn’t all ’80s pluck and lavender wash. After major races, utterly exhausted in body and mind, Laney experiences post-achievement depression, leaving him aimless. “Most of the time I’m just kind of empty after a long race,” he says. “I always think I can anticipate how it’s going to be, and I never can.” TR
MAKING TR ACKS
FKT and OKT action Huayhuashed
Over June 10-11, 2017, Darcy Piceu (above), 42, of Boulder, Colorado, set a new supported fastest-known time (FKT) on Peru’s Cordillera Huayhuash circuit of 29 hours 15 minutes. Located in west-central Peru, the Huayhuash is a sub-range of the Andes, 30 miles in length. The Cordillera Huayhuash circuit, which circumnavigates the range, runs 85 miles with more than 25,000 feet of climbing amid jutting 21,000-foot peaks. The range is remote and Piceu’s support team was only able to meet with her once, about midway through the rugged route.
In early July, in the Issaquah Alps east of Seattle, Ras Vaughan, 45, of Whibdey Island, Washington, and Seth Wolpin, 45, of Seattle, Washington, completed an OKT on the so-called Harvey Manning Peak Challenge, a 95-mile linkup of 18 peaks with roughly 40,000 feet of elevation gain. Vaughan and Wolpin took 78 hours 36 minutes to complete the route, which had apparently seen a couple of previous attempts and was conceived by Seattle-ite George Orozco. “It ran the gamut from picturesque Pacific Northwest trail to Forest Service roads to boulderfield scrambles,” says Vaughan. “And some crazy, nasty bushwhacking. [In some spots] the evergreens were so tight, it took a few minutes to move just a few feet.”
During the first week in July, Andrew Hamilton, 42, of Denver, Colorado, set two FKTs in a single run on Nolan’s 14, an approximately 100-mile linkup of 14 14-thousand-foot peaks in Colorado’s Sawatch Range. Hamilton tacked 14,005-foot Mount of the Holy Cross onto the Nolan’s 14 route, completing an Only Known Time (OKT) on what has been dubbed “Holy Nolan’s,” adding 30 extra miles, in a total time of 72 hours flat. Coincidentally, Hamilton also set the (supported) record for Nolan’s 14 in the south-north direction, in 53 hours 42 minutes. Hamilton currently holds the overall record (53 hours 39 minutes) on Nolan’s 14, which he set in 2015, unsupported, north to south, just 10 weeks after setting the FKT for linking all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks—9 days 21 hours 51 minutes.
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RU N A M O K
BY DOUG MAYER
Posers’ Delight Lessons learned from a trail-running shooter
Dan tells me, “You’re missing a leg.” “I’m missing a leg?” “Yeah. Here, look. See? You’re an amputee. Try it again.” I am with the mountain-sport photographers Dan and Janine Patitucci, and I am flunking trail-running photo school. Badly. We are in Switzerland’s Jungfrau region, where there’s something like 500 miles of the best flowy singletrack in the world, and I am stuck in a 100-yard recursive trail-running loop. Working with Dan and Janine is like being in prison with two of the nicest people you could possibly imagine. I am in the photo equivalent of Groundhog Day. I make another pass on our alpine runway. I hear the shutter on Dan’s Sony a7rII whirring. I stop, and Dan stares intently at the camera’s screen, flying through something like 30 images in 10 seconds. “I don’t have it,” Dan says. “We need it.” Dan, I realize, is one part tweaker, one part Kilian Jornet, one part Dalai Lama. He has a heart of gold, and he is fully capable of accidentally grinding fellow runners into the dirt. But if he doesn’t get the shot he craves, he mopes. I am not helping. I move through the mountains like a worn Sherman tank, every inch of ground hard-fought. There’s someone nimble inside, but he hardly ever appears. Most of my surfaces have battle scars. Yet the power of imagery is such that it’s all worth the effort. Single images have changed people’s lives, mine included. Years ago, I saw a photo of a climber in British Columbia’s Bugaboos. He was happily dangling his feet off a ledge, the forest incomprehensibly far below. “One way or another,” I told myself, “I am going to do that.” A climbing and mountaineering life ensued, with celebrations atop remote peaks, funerals so soul-crushing my eyes still mist at the memories and many 12
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deeply fulfilling experiences between those poles. In my life’s slideshow, Dan and Janine’s trail-running images have supplanted the one of that climber. They have been everywhere I looked, from the Patagonia catalog to Rock and Ice to this magazine. So, when I needed photographs of trail running in the Alps for an idea that would become an improbable career, I hopped a train to their corner of the Alps, Switzerland’s ridiculously dramatic Jungfrau region. We talked for a few hours at their local pub, but not once about work. I caught the last train home feeling like a transfer in grade school who had found his new best friends. Everyone knows them, and everybody loves them. Just mentioning Dan and Janine creates an unspoken bond. In Colorado, a bartender once overheard my conversation and blocked me as I headed for the door, pleading, “Tell Dan and Janine Kathy from Silverton says hi.” One of these days, when I need a place to crash for the night, I’m going to head for the nearest brewery in the nearest mountain town and yell, “Dan
Dan, I realize, is one part tweaker, one part Kilian Jornet, one part Dalai Lama. and Janine said I might be able to crash with one of you guys.” The door will open to someone’s spare bedroom. The last few summers, I have been training new trailrunning guides, who will lead running trips on which, of course, many clients will take photos. I try to convey what I learned from Dan and Janine: technical tips, bodymovement insights, advice on clothing choices. But something’s always been missing. Last fall, I realized what it was. We were trail running the Tour du Mont-Blanc, and found ourselves high on the col between Switzerland and Italy long after the season’s tourists had come and gone. The day was winding down. Hungry, we coasted through tilted pastures towards dinner in the Swiss border village of Ferret. Rounding a corner, we intruded on a scene that has played out in that spot for centuries—a shepherd, her flock, dog at her side. Dan was first through, and he captured a scene both beautiful and timeless. We were there, I realized, for the simple reason that he and Janine get out. A lot. They are there when beautiful things happen. Over and over, day after day, over the course of years. The important thing, as Kilian Jornet says, is to keep moving. Dan and Janine do. These days, I still lumber along. I wear clothing that’s not quite colorful enough, and I can barely remember the photographer’s rule of thirds. But I always think of their example: Get up early, grab your shoes, run through town and head into the hills while others are reaching for their first cup of coffee. Be the one who’s there. Doug Mayer is not sure if he lives in Chamonix, France, or Randolph, New Hampshire. But he thinks he might be a trail-running model in a future life. T R AILRUNNERMAG.COM
FA C E S
Hooper out for a head-clearing jaunt near his home in Basalt, Colorado.
BY ARIELLA GINTZLER
Putting Away the Pain Fifty years after returning from war, Vietnam veteran Rich Hooper reinvents himself through trail running
friend of mine saw three bears here last week,” Rich Hooper says by way of introducing me to his favorite trail, a steep, rocky loop above his hometown of Basalt, Colorado. He usually runs it alone, but he’s made an exception today, so I huff quietly and do my best to keep up.
“If you see poop with a bit of fur in it, that’s coyote,” he says, slowing down briefly to point out shriveled scat. Noting a broken sage branch a few feet away, he adds, “I see something like this, and wonder what broke it off.” He gazes off into the forest, craning to hear or smell the bear that must have passed this way. Hooper, 67, is around five-foot-five, with a square jaw, sizeable calves and a 14
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Hooper grew up in Elizabethtown, New York, and was drafted in 1968, when he was 19. After 11 months and six days in the Ia Drang Valley, he returned home with major hearing loss in both ears and type II diabetes, which a study by the National Academy of Sciences would later link to Agent Orange exposure. Worse were the bursts of rage that would seize him at the slightest provocation—a joke that rubbed him the wrong way, a smell, a song. “I was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” he says. “No one understood why I was like that. I didn’t understand why I was like that.” In reality, Hooper was experiencing PTSD, a condition that would not be named, or recognized as a medical diagnosis, for over a decade. The stress of combat had left him hypersensitive to potential threats, even where there were none. In crowded rooms, he stood with his back against a wall, for fear of someone sneaking up from behind. One morning, his mother tapped him on the shoulder to wake him up, rather than kicking him in the foot as was customary in the military, and he grabbed her by the throat. Hooper coped by drinking, which T R AILRUNNERMAG.COM
sturdy build. His close-cut silvery hair and beard frame leathery wrinkles and gray-blue eyes that sparkle mischievously every time he says something sarcastic, which is often. “Psh,” he’ll say, when someone claims to be too tired, busy or injured to run. “You’re weak. I take no prisoners.” Hooper served as a sergeant in Vietnam, from 1969 to 1970, and, like many veterans, suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder. For decades, he had no idea what was wrong with him and no way to deal with it, until he was finally diagnosed in 2009. Four years ago he discovered trail running. Now he is finally learning what it means to be at peace. “I can think more clearly when I’m on the trails,” says Hooper. He speaks softly, measuring each syllable with precision. “Other times, I just think about nothing. It’s almost like being back in the war again, the way you go down deep inside your own mind, put the pain away, get rid of all your feelings and just go.”
FA C E S
“I ran some of my first ‘ultras’ ... wearing cotton fatigues ... and a pack full of ammunition that weighed more than I did.” fueled his anger and risk taking. He got into fights. He drunkenly drove his Plymouth Hemi Cuda at 140 miles per hour on steep, winding roads. He wandered through the woods and snuck up behind hunters, exhilarated by the thought that they might shoot if he caught them by surprise. “Friends of mine, guys twice my size, have told me that they were scared of me, because of who I became when I was drunk,” he says now. “It was that bad.” Despite his struggles, Hooper earned a degree in Outdoor Recreation Education. Over the course of the next 17 years, he moved from New York to Colorado, divorced three times and once tried to commit suicide. By 2002 he had grown estranged from his 12-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn, and become a single parent to his 10-year-old son, Keegan. He was working as a property manager at a chapel in Snowmass, Colorado when he met Houston Cowan, the CEO of Challenge Aspen, a local nonprofit that specializes in recreation for people with disabilities. Cowan invited Hooper to join their annual marathon fundraiser. “It was clear that Rich was proud of his service,” says Cowan. “But whenever you brought up anything about the military, he would get very quiet. You could tell that whatever had gone on in his past, he was trying to bury it.” Ramping up from zero miles to a marathon wasn’t easy or painless. Hooper routinely woke up at 4 a.m. to run while his son was still asleep, and by race day he had developed plantar fasciitis. “It wasn’t difficult,” Hooper says. “I just made up my mind to do it, no excuses.” In 2012, Dina Belmonte, a Challenge
Aspen teammate, introduced Hooper to a trail loop behind her house. “I was, and still am, amazed at his agility and his awareness of everything around him on the trail,” says Belmonte. But to Hooper, it just made sense. “I ran some of my first ‘ultras’ in the jungle, wearing cotton fatigues, a long-sleeved shirt, combat boots and a pack full of ammunition that weighed more than I did,” he says. In Vietnam, he navigated with a compass and maps that could be off by several hundred yards—“not an issue until the enemy starts shooting howitzers at your position”—and relied on oddly shaped leaves or fallen branches to remember the path back to base. No one stopped when temperatures soared over 110 degrees and water canteens ran dry, when sunburned blisters burst and soaked their shirts with puss or when a soldier had jungle rot and chunks of flesh were falling off his feet. For most of his life, Hooper has struggled to maintain interpersonal relationships —“You went [to Vietnam] as an individual, and for the most part you covered your own ass. There was no room for emotion.” But with running as an outlet, he has become happier, more relaxed and more fulfilled—and more social. He invites other people to run with him and makes sure they are comfortable with the pace and terrain. If someone trips and falls during a race, he stops to help. He spends several hours a week volunteering for Challenge Aspen. He hasn’t relapsed to heavy drinking in seven years. Most importantly, he has reconnected with his daughter. When he ran his first 50-miler, the Grand Mesa 50 in Grand Junction, Colorado, in July 2015, Kaitlyn and her husband came out to crew for him. While trail running is a far cry from war, Hooper finds it calls upon a similar blend of endurance and adrenaline. “It’s not that I am reliving my war memories when I am out on the trail,” he says. “But being here, pushing my physical and mental limits again, it feels good.” Ariella Gintzler is the assistant editor at Trail Runner. SEPTEMBER 2017
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UNDER ARMOUR MOUNTAIN RUNNING SERIES
All events include a 50K, Marathon, Half-Marathon, Marathon-Relay, 10K, 5K and Vertical Challenge
Mount Bachelor, Oregon July 22, 2017
Kicking off the Under Armour Mountain Running Series
ome may argue that trail races are always a party. However, the inaugural Under Armour Mountain Running Series hopes to give that term a whole new meaning. This three-race series is focused on trail-racing festivities for the whole family, with seven different race distances—50K, marathon, marathonrelay, half-marathon, 10K, 5K and Vertical Challenge—at three iconic mountain resorts in Oregon, Colorado and Vermont. The 50K events are set to attract top talent, with prize purses of $1,500, $750 and $250 for male and female podium finishers. Signups so far include two-time Lake Sonoma 50-Mile champion YiOu Wang and 2017 U.S. World Trail Championship team member Cody Reed.
Ski Resorts in the Summer?
Mountain resorts are not only great places to ski and snowboard in the winter. The expansive views, extensive trail systems and built-in amenities create perfect environments for weekend-long running events. The series begins on July 22 at Mount 16
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Bachelor, the biggest ski resort in the Cascade Mountains. “[The terrain] is typical Central Oregon. [It] goes from fine volcanic dirt to rocky volcanic basalt,” says Bend trail legend Max King. “Most of the trails around the base are smooth, buffed-out singletrack. Higher, they get really rocky and rough.” The Vertical Challenge, which will take place at twilight, begins at the base of the mountain and takes the most direct route to the summit. From the top of Mount Bachelor, racers will gaze south to 9,184-foot Mount Thielsen and Diamond Peak, a shield volcano. To the north lie the third-, fourth- and fifth-highest peaks in
ELEVATION GAIN 50K: 4,802 ft Marathon: 4,206 ft Half-Marathon: 2,103 ft 10K: 1,150 ft 5K: 575 ft Vertical Challenge: 1,388 ft in 1.77 miles
Killington, Vermont August 19, 2017
ELEVATION GAIN 50K: 10,075 ft Marathon: 9,578 ft Half-Marathon: 4,789 ft 10K: 2,649 ft 5K: 837 ft Vertical Challenge: 1,552 ft in 1.25 miles
Copper Mountain, Colorado September 9, 2017 ELEVATION GAIN 50K: 7,346 ft Marathon: 6,478 ft Half-Marathon: 2,277 ft 10K: 1,757 ft 5K: 983 ft Vertical Challenge: 819 ft in 0.77 miles
T R AILRUNNERMAG.COM
UNDER ARMOUR MOUNTAIN RUNNING SERIES
BY EMILY MCILROY
the state, the Three Sisters. The second stop of the series, is Killington, Vermont, in mid-August. Often referred to as “The Beast of the East,” the 4,241-foot peak is the second highest summit in the lush, rolling Green Mountains. “The race on Killington is going to be very tough,” says Reed, who is signed up for the 50K at both Killington and Mount Bachelor. “It has about the same amount of climbing as the world champs in Italy—and that kicked my ass!” The last event of the series takes place at Colorado’s Copper Mountain, which will feature phenomenal fall foliage and rugged alpine terrain. “Copper is a hidden gem for running in Colorado,” says accomplished local trail runner Helen Cospolich. “The views to the east and the rugged, rocky Ten Mile Range are spectacular.” Thin air will be an added challenge for athletes, with the summit of Copper Mountain hitting 12,313 feet.
A Running Festival for All
Aside from running, the weekendlong events feature local beer, food and live music, a dunk tank, lawn games, vendors and what Under Armour hopes will be “a fun festival vibe.” The Mount Bachelor event highlights local beer from 10 Barrel Brewing based in nearby Bend, a place perhaps best known for its beer culture. “With over 20 breweries, it’s hard to find a favorite,” says King. “And [the breweries] take pride in crafting something that gets people excited to visit Bend.” As for Colorado, “The vibe of Copper is laid back and outdoorsy,” says Cospolich. “Trail-running shoes and a pair of jeans or yoga pants is acceptable attire day and night … And dogs are everywhere.” One of the main goals of the series is to encourage all levels of runners to celebrate together. “We really think that the shorter distance will appeal to that aspiring trail runner,” says Topher Gaylord, general manager at Under Armour, “or that crossover road runner who is looking for a mountain trail experience.” TR
No uses exc IT UN W R T X E OUR N STINGER Y L E FU HONE Y
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EXPLORE E VEEVREYRMYAMNA’ SN ’ESXEPXOPSOESDE D EXPLORE
Summertime! Taylor Mae strides out on the rolling, green foothills outside Boulder, Colorado. PHOTO BY JOSHUA ADDISON
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ONE DIR T Y M A G A ZINE
ANYTIME EXPANSES > PLACES FOR YEAR-ROUND TRAIL RUNNNING
Top Trail Meccas >
WILLAMETTE VALLEY, OREGON
NORTHERN MARIN COUNT Y, CALIFORNIA
COCONINO COUNT Y, ARIZONA
CANYON COUNTRY, UTAH
BLUFF COUNTRY, MISSOURI
WASHINGTON, D.C. METROPOLITAN AREA
THE PORT, SOUTH CAROLINA
HILL COUNTRY, TEX AS
From the Grand Canyon to Humphreys Peak, Coconino County, Arizona, hits five ecosystems .
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Gone are the old days of trail running where we took a real off season, much like we did in track and cross country. Sure, we still laced up our shoes and trained when winter weather battered, but we broke from racing itself. These days, it can be 24, 7, 365, all the time. We know you want the option to trail run and race your brains out no matter the month. We’ve got you covered because, this year, our annual top-trail-“towns” feature highlights eight places—towns, counties or full-on geographic regions—that make great trail-running and racing destinations all 12 months of the year.
B Y ER I C S EN S EM A N A ND ME G H A N M . HI C K S
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trails FOREST PARK / At 5,100 acres, Forest Park is one of the country’s largest urban forest reserves. Nestled in the Tualatin Mountains, just west of downtown Portland, the park includes roughly 70 miles of trails, and runners are greeted with views of the Willamette River after ascending more than 1,000 feet to a ridgeline. The park’s varied terrain includes smooth, rolling singletrack trail as well as steep, muddy, root-filled climbs. SILVER FALLS STATE PARK / Located about 40 miles south of Portland and 20 miles east-southeast of Salem, in Silverton, this stunning 9,000acre landscape contains many waterfalls, including its biggest, South Falls, at 177 feet. The park includes over 40 miles of multi-use trails, some of which wind behind waterfalls. Try the seven-ishmile Trail of Ten Falls loop to see 10 of the park’s cascades in a single run.
BULL OF THE WOODS WILDERNESS / This wilderness area resides just east of Willamette Valley proper. Established in 1984, the 37,000-plus-acre expanse showcases dozens of lakes, creeks and streams, and a 5,558-foot highpoint at the Battle Ax summit. The area also contains over 60 miles of trails.
If you’re into running past waterfalls, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is the place. Pictured: Abiqua Falls.
Pacific Northwest, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Ripe with Trails
Willamette Valley was created when colossal floods inundated the region during the last glacial period, creating a vast lake more than 300-feet deep. As the floodwater slowly drained to the Pacific, it left the Willamette River, which runs the length of the north-south valley, in its wake. In the shadows of the towering Cascade Range to the east, and the Oregon Coast Range to the west, the valley houses roughly 2.9 million of Oregon’s four million residents and welcomes many more visitors each year to its collection of wineries and waterfalls. But beyond wine tastings and cascading waters, the 150-mile expanse stretching from Portland south to Eugene is filled with accessible urban and state parks, and sprawling wilderness. The winter rainy season, from mid-November to mid-March, when the region can receive as much as 10 inches of rain per month, shouldn’t dampen year-round exploration, as temperatures in the valley remain mild, and trails, though sometimes wet, stay open for business.
+ Insider Info : “Doubletrack and gravel fire roads can be a good option in winter over narrow, non-draining, singletrack trail, so rail trails and multi-use paths, though with less varied terrain, are often the ticket during rainy season.” —Willie McBride, a co-founder of Wy’East Wolfpack, a personal training and coaching service based in Portland
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The number of wineries in Willamette Valley
The population of Willamette Valley, in millions, which includes Portland, Eugene and Salem
Average annual rainfall, in inches, in the city of Eugene
races PORTLAND TRAIL SERIES / This is a low-key, five-race series held in Forest Park in each of the spring, summer and fall seasons, and distances range from four to seven miles. Info: Gobeyondracing.com/races TRAIL FACTOR 50K / This Memorial Day weekend event, also held in Forest Park, includes a half-marathon and 50K. Be sure to stay around for the postrace barbeque. Info: Gobeyondracing.com/races SILVER FALLS TRAIL RUNS / Held in November near Salem in Silver Falls State Park, this two-day event offers a seven-miler, half-marathon, marathon and 50K. The 50K course covers nearly every major attraction in Oregon’s largest state park, and each course offers nearly constant up-and-down terrain with creek crossings and waterfall views. Info: Silverfallsmarathon.com
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trails POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE / The seashore is the main gig for trail running in north Marin County. The area envelops most of the Point Reyes Peninsula, a chunk of land protecting most of mainland Marin County from the ocean with miles of beaches and rising to a north-south ridge some 1,400 feet tall. Almost 150 miles of trails await here, from oceanside doubletrack to singletrack switchbacking through redwood forests—and among poison oak, watch out! Perhaps the most bang for your buck can be had on the 9.5-ish-mile out-andback on the Tomales Point Trail, which travels to the peninsula’s northern tip.
KAARE IVERSON / TANDEMSTOCK.COM; EMILY POLAR / TANDEMSTOCK.COM
GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL RECREATION AREA / This recreation area extends from southern Marin County northward. Its northern extension contains the rightfully famous 11-mile Bolinas Ridge Trail. Run this point-to-point or create an eight-mile loop out of it and the Randall, McCurdy and Olema Valley trails, which involves a steep ascent onto and off of Bolinas Ridge, but gets you onto arguably the ridge’s best miles. Bolinas Ridge tops out at over 1,600 feet and will offer you big views from its grassy top in good weather. In the spring, the ridge is also famous for its wildflowers. TOMALES BAY STATE PARK / This state park sits in the eastern shadow of the Point Reyes Peninsula, at sea level on Tomales Bay and under the peninsula’s protective ridge. The park is mostly used for its quiet and protected beach access, but the trails leading to the beaches offer gorgeous forest running. Start where the park road ends, and run all the trails to all the beaches, racking up about 10 miles of running total. Pick a weekday and there’s a decent chance you won’t see anyone else the whole time. SAMUEL P. TAYLOR STATE PARK / This small state park is named after a 19th-century entrepreneur of the same name who previously owned the land. Make the six-mile loop with about 1,500 feet of climb to the park’s high point, Barnabe Peak, via the Barnabe Fire Road, a wide, doubletrack dirt road, and the paved Cross Marin Trail. The views onto the Point Reyes Peninsula from high on the mountain are superb as is the forest that you’ll climb and descend through.
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Sunset jaunt on Mount Tamalpais, Marin County, California.
The amount of public lands in Marin County, in square miles, about 27 percent of the county’s total land area
The number of bird species that have been spotted in Point Reyes National Seashore— nearly half of all of North America’s bird species
The number of Coast Miwok Native American sites discovered in Marin and neighboring Sonoma Counties, marking 6,000plus years of history
West Coast, Northern Marin County, California
Marin’s Quiet Side The southern finger of Marin County, containing the town of Mill Valley and the public lands of the Marin Headlands and Mount Tamalpais, gets all the trail-running action. But if you check out a county map, you’ll see that this area represents a tiny part of the open space and trail systems available in the north. The main hotspot is Point Reyes National Seashore. There, you’ll find quiet, curvy roads through grassy greenscapes, restaurants cooking fresh oysters … and hundreds of miles of singletrack all to yourself.
+ Insider Info : “Running in [north] west Marin offers a wonderful mix of dense forest, open grasslands and ocean views. The trails tend to be a bit less crowded and not quite as steep as those surrounding Mount Tamalpais [in southern Marin County].” —M agda Boulet, an accomplished trail runner who lives in the East Bay of San Francisco
races MIWOK 100K / The Miwok 100K bridges the gap between southern and northern Marin County. It’s also a race that bridges the past, present and future of ultrarunning. Started in 1996, this race is something of a NorCal icon in that it preceded the trail and ultra boom that has led to literally hundreds of NorCal trail races. NorCal kids, you have this race and the people behind it as starters of your culture! Tia Bodington is the current and long-time race director and she puts a lot of love and her decades of ultra experience into this special event. Info: Miwok100.com
trails GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK / Grand Canyon National Park’s south entrance is a scenic hour-anda-half drive from downtown Flagstaff. From the rim, it’s straight down into the belly of the canyon via Bright Angel or South Kaibab trails. Proceed with caution as you descend and temperatures rise—the only way out is to climb back up. MOUNT HUMPHREYS / Arizona’s highest point and part of the San Francisco Peaks mountain range, Mount Humphreys tops out at 12,633 feet. The fivemile Humphreys Trail ascends more than 3,000 feet from the base of Snowbowl Ski Resort to the summit. The steep, rooty and rocky trail winds through pines and aspens, then from Agassiz Saddle at 11,800 feet continues another mile along the ridge to the summit.
FLAGSTAFF URBAN TRAILS / For easy runs around the Flagstaff area with five-star views of Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks, hop on the doubletrack, crushed-gravel trails in the Flagstaff Urban Trails System (FUTS), which connects to myriad and more challenging trail systems.
Fall magic in the Coconino National Forest above Flagstaff Arizona.
A Varied Landscape
Coconino County is a land of plateaus, mesas, canyons and peaks—and very little in between. Around these parts, you’re either running on flat, runnable dirt trails, or straight up or down steep and often-rocky mountain terrain. Variety abounds. The Grand Canyon alone—a fraction of Coconino Count y—encompasses f ive ecosystems, the same number found between Canada and Mexico. Trail systems navigate high desert through aspens and roll along treacherous ridges above treeline; they switchback into canyons and meander next to creek beds. Elevations in Coconino County dip down to 2,480 feet, at the base of the Grand Canyon, and soar to 12,633 feet, at the summit of Humphreys Peak. And due to the varied landscape, a temperate running environment offers yearround running.
+ Insider Info: “In Flagstaff, when you’re snowed in, you
can drive 40 minutes and be running on dry rock and dirt in Sedona. When it gets really hot in Sedona—triple digits—you can go up to Flagstaff and run in aspens and 70-degree temps.”
—I an Torrence, race director, ultrarunner and Flagstaff local
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Difference in elevation, in feet, between the bottom of the Grand Canyon and the top of Humphreys Peak, just 90 miles or so apart
The county’s total area in square miles, making it the second-largest county in the United States
Number of plant species in the Grand Canyon alone
races FLAGSTAFF TO GRAND CANYON STAGECOACH LINE RACES / You can tackle the 55K, 100-miler or a fraction of those distances with a relay team at these high-altitude races in September. The scenic courses largely run on the Arizona Trail in the shadow of Humphreys Peak. Info: Aztrail.org/ultrarun RUN FLAGSTAFF SUMMER SERIES / From May through August, the Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association hosts seven races, from one mile to a half-marathon, showcasing the area’s mesas, aspens and plethora of city parks. Info: Flagstaffsummerseries.com FLAGSTAFF SKY RACE / Aravaipa Running, a stalwart race organization in the Arizona trail and ultrarunning scene, plays host to the U.S. Skyrunner Series finale in October with these brutally difficult races. The two-day event offers a Vertical Kilometer, 39K and 55K. The 39K and 55K start at the base of Flagstaff’s Mount Elden and top out at over 11,000 feet. Info: Aravaiparunning. com/network/flagstaff
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NORTHERN SEDONA / A breathtaking 45-minute drive south of Flagstaff, Sedona is located at the southern border of Coconino County, and is ripe with trails in every direction. The 18-mile Three Passes Loop is a locals’ choice. Climbing a total of 3,800 feet, the loop offers sweeping views of red-rock and ochre-colored plateaus and trailside desert cacti.
Southwest, Coconino County, Arizona
Utah’s Canyon Country offers high-desert to high-mountain options—pick your season.
JAY GOODRICH / TANDEMSTOCK.COM; BEN HERNDON / TANDEMSTOCK.COM
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK / With 337,000plus acres divided into four districts, there’s plenty to explore. Start in the park’s most accessible Island in the Sky District on the 11-ish-mile Murphy Loop, a lollipop that drops off the ‘island in the sky’ and climbs back up on it again. Move up to advanced-level backcountry trail running in the park’s more remote Needles District. Salt Creek, Horse and Lavender canyons are remote and contain hidden archaeological wonders if you’re willing to slow things down and search hard. LA SAL MOUNTAINS / Most peoples’ Canyon Country photos will have the snowcapped La Sal Mountains in the background, but few people venture into the vertiginous range itself. Go big or go home by summiting its tallest peak, Mount Peale (12,726 feet), a six-mile roundtrip outing with 2,500 feet of gain from La Sal Pass. The Whole Enchilada is a 34-mile route that tops out at over 11,000 feet in the La Sals and ends in Moab, offering a couple of hours of alpine bliss, a breeze through the pinyons and junipers in the middle elevations and ledge-y red rocks in the low country. BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT / Established in late 2016 and protecting 1.3-plus-million acres all within Utah’s San Juan County, this new national monument is named after an eponymous rock formation resembling a set of bears ears. Cedar Mesa may be the most accessible way to experience the Native American history it protects; drop down into any number of canyons, such as Bullet Canyon, Grand Gulch or the Fish and Owl Canyons loop, and explore. Most archeological ruins aren’t noted on maps, so finding them requires you to engage your spidey senses.
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The size in square miles of Canyon Country, which encompasses Utah’s Grand and San Juan counties
The number of peaks over 12,000 feet in Canyon Country, all in the La Sal Mountains
The population density of Canyon Country in persons per square mile, making it among the least-populated areas of the lower-48 states
Mountain West, Canyon Country, Utah
A Southeast Utah Secret Yeah, you know Moab, Utah, known to many as a winter respite for snow-less running. Indeed, the surrounding socalled Canyon Country of southeast Utah is a massive tract of public lands featuring intricate canyon systems. From the depths of Canyonlands National Park’s four districts, to the high-altitude La Sal Mountains, to the spanking-new Bears Ears National Monument (see “Running Bears Ears,” page 44), multiple lifetimes of trail-running exploration await you here.
+ Insider Info : “No matter how similar the innumerable
canyons and mesas appear, each has a unique spirit and identity. To continue down one canyon and up the next is to experience two worlds.” —Bryon Powell, Canyon-Country local and Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar.com
races MOAB RED HOT 33K AND 55K / This Moab springtime classic will ring in its 12th year in 2018. Both distances offer a mix of dirt-road and techy-slickrock running. Unless you’re running for the win, carry a camera, for Pete’s sake. Info: Grassrootsevents.net/moab-red-hot MOAB TRAIL MARATHON / This ain’t no beginner marathon! With former international-caliber adventure racer Danelle Ballengee as race director, expect a big adventure. Slickrock expanses, running straight through a creek, clambering along fixed ropes and a real obstacle course late in the race, the Moab Trail Marathon is a full-body workout taking place in November. 5K and half-marathon distances are also available. Info: Moabtrailmarathon.com DEADORSE ULTRA / This event hosts 30K, 50K and 50-mile races in November on the trails and dirt roads located in Canyon Country’s northwest sector. This part of Canyon Country is probably its most runnable, but don’t be fooled by a flat course profile as deep sand and plenty of slickrock make this a race of strength, too. Info: Madmooseevents.com/dead-horse-ultra
trails KLAUS PARK / Just four miles north of downtown Cape Girardeau, Klaus Park offers conveniently accessible dirt paths and root-infested switchbacks. Try the park’s 3.2-mile, multi-use outer loop, which averages a mellow 90 feet of ascent per mile. The trails here are popular on summer nights and weekends. HAWN STATE PARK / Nestled in the hills outside of Ste. Genevieve, about an hour’s drive north of Cape Girardeau, the park houses about 15 miles of trails with “plenty of elevation and creek crossings, combined with moderate-to-technical terrain,” says Kelpe. The rugged, 10-mile Whispering Pines Trail loops through pines and moss and across creeks. TRAIL OF TEARS STATE PARK / Hugging the mighty Mississippi River, the park memorializes the thousands of Cherokee Native Americans who perished during their forced removal by the American government from their homelands in the winter of 1838 to 1839. The park’s four trails total 15 miles. Burly climbs lead to the top of bluffs, where you can take in uninterrupted views of the river and southern Illinois. Located just a 15-minute drive north of Cape Girardeau.
The “flatlands” of the Midwest can surprise you with short ups and downs that add up.
Midwest, Bluff Country, Missouri
Bluffs of Plenty Cape Girardeau, a running hub for the quad-state region including Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas and Kentucky, is located along the Mississippi River, about halfway between St. Louis and Memphis, and is surrounded by state forests and parks, national recreation areas and national wildlife refuges—all within an hour’s drive. The climbs around here are short, but steep and punishing, often covering 200 or 300 rocky and root-y vertical feet within a mile, and made even more difficult with the area’s humid air and thick vegetation. The fall and winter seasons—when temperatures are mild and dense forests thin—are an especially opportune time to visit, but the bluffs and their views are worth exploring all year.
+ Insider Info : “For ‘flatlanders’ training for the mountains,
there are tough, steep, runnable trails here to train on yearround. But wooded areas may occasionally get some poison ivy or ticks during the summer, so be ready.” —Bryan K elpe, co-owner of Missouri Running Company, a local running store that hosts several events in the area
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The number of historical landmarks in Cape Girardeau that are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, many of which date back to the 1700s
Record high temperature, in Fahrenheit, during the hottest month in the region, July
Size, in acres, of Trail of Tears State Park
BERRYMAN TRAIL RACES / The St. Louis Ultrarunners Group (SLUGS) hosts the Berryman Trail Races every May, with marathon and 50mile distances. Located in Mark Twain National Forest near Potosi, Missouri, these courses roll through the highlands of the Ozarks. The 24-mile looped trail has about 3,000 feet of climbing, with some rocky sections but overall relatively quick terrain, resulting in course records of 6:33:27 for 50 miles and 3:05:18 for the marathon. Info: Stlouisultrarunnersgroup.net MEANDERING TURKEY 4.5 MILE / “No whimps, whiners or crybabies.” That’s the witty slogan for this regional favorite held the Sunday before Thanksgiving in Klaus Park, and it sells out quickly. The root-y and hilly singletrack course challenges runners of all abilities. The post-race cookout, with homemade chili and craft beer, is a perk you won’t want to miss. Info: Moruncocape.com ONDESSONK TRAIL RACES / Shawnee National Forest, located in Illinois, 60 miles east of Cape Girardeau, contains seven wilderness areas within its 280,000 acres. This rolling glaciercarved landscape is home to the Ondessonk Trail Races each May, with 5K, half-marathon and 50K distances. The races utilize the Moccasin Gap Trail, a challenging 10-mile trail that passes Cedar Falls (the highest freefalling waterfall in Illinois), crests ridges and follows creeks. Info: Ondessonktrailraces.com
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trails ROCK CREEK PARK / A go-to park for hundreds of local runners daily, the trails meander along the creek toward the Potomac River. Go all in and make a nine-plus-mile loop that includes the Valley and Western Ridge trails, which are mostly dirt. Take note, the park has a lot of social trails not found on maps and you might briefly meander off course. Don’t worry, you’re in the middle of a city so you won’t be ‘lost’ for long! “Many parks close in the evenings, so it’s best to check before you make the trip,” advises Rick Amernick, President of the local DC Capital Striders Running Group.
06 You can run through history on the diverse trails in D.C.
POTOMAC HERITAGE TRAIL / The nine-mile trail lies on the Potomac’s west side, and offers frequent access points via parking lots and side feeder trails. Remarkably technical at its outset from downtown D.C., you will run among boulders and rock outcrops, in and out of side drainages and up and down bluffs. Go in the early morning for solo time. BULL RUN-OCCOQUAN TRAIL / This 19.6-mile trail traces Bull Run and the Occoquan River tributaries to the Potomac River, in Fairfax County, Virginia. Designated in 2006 as a National Recreation Trail, it ranges from perfectly smooth singletrack in places to technical in others with roots, rocks and brief steep climbs and descents.
RON KOEBERER / TANDEMSTOCK.COM; ISTOCKPHOTO
races BULL RUN RUN 50 MILE / Held on the 19.6-mile Bull Run-Occoquan Trail, it has two out-and-backs with a couple of additional small loops and is hosted by the spirited Virginia Happy Trails Running Club, specifically race directors Alisa Springman and Jim Daniels. The Bull Run Run has been running since 1993, and takes place in April. Info: Vhtrc.org/brr THE NORTH FACE ENDURANCE CHALLENGE SERIES—WASHINGTON, D.C. / Starting and finishing at Algonkian Regional Park on the Potomac River and utilizing the Potomac Heritage Trail and the trails of Great Falls Park, this April event offers loads of distances ranging from 5K to 50 miles in length. Info: Thenorthface.com/get-outdoors/endurancechallenge/washington-dc.html
ONE DIR T Y M A G A ZINE
Number of people in the Washington, D.C. metro area, the sixth-largest metro area in the U.S.
Percentage of workers in Washington, D.C. proper who are federalgovernment employees
The year Washington D.C. was established as the U.S. capitol
Mid-Atlantic, Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area
Running Past Politics While known as hub of the American political sphere for some 225-plus years, Washington, D.C. is lesser known for its trail running. But courtesy of a long histor y of local, state and federal land managers preserving green spaces, there are plenty of places for trail runners to play. The area’s parks tend to follow watercourses, and around D.C. that means the mighty Potomac River and its tributaries. In this mosaic of developed and wild places, you can run past U.S. history while dodging rocks and roots.
+ Insider Info : “Here’s our well-guarded secret:
Washington, D.C. trails are copious and not crowded. They run in and out of neighborhoods, along roads and under highways, connecting the city. They can be fast and flat, and rocky and steep. One mile you can bomb down singletrack and another be at The White House. There’s only one place in the world where such a run is possible.” —Michael Wardian, globetrotting runner and D.C.-metro-area resident
trails LAUREL HILL COUNTY PARK / Located about 15 miles northeast of Charleston in Mount Pleasant, the 745-acre park contains more than 10 miles of mellow trails that wind through open meadows, past oaks and by a small pond. These shaded dirt paths are an urban favorite for runners trying to escape the summer’s heat. NORTH CHARLESTON WANNAMAKER COUNTY PARK / Roughly 19 miles north of Charleston and next to Charleston Southern University, this park has more than 15 miles of trails through woodlands and wetlands. The northeast section of the Wannamaker Trail features technical and challenging terrain.
THE PALMETTO TRAIL / The 350-mile trail (soon to be 500 miles) was established in 1994. Located about 30 miles northeast of Charleston, the mountain-to-sea trail’s coastal terminus is at Awendaw Passage, an easy seven-ish-mile stretch of the trail along the coast. Much longer adventures await, as the trail provides access to the Blue Ridge Mountains, on the western side of the state.
From casual beach runs to ultra distances on the Palemetto Trail, the low country of South Carolina promises year-round variety.
Southeast, The Port, South Carolina
The low country is a region along the coast of southeast South Carolina that includes many towns, including Charleston. This area offers something that mountainous regions usually can’t: guaranteed year-round running. You won’t find low-country trails closed due to snow. Instead, you’ll find a refreshing ocean breeze, accessible, sea-level running trails, warm southern hospitality and scenic waterways cutting through historic, centuries-old, port towns, marked by cobblestone streets, antebellum houses and new-age restaurants. When it comes to trail running, the Palmetto Trail, which passes through the Francis Marion and Sumter national forests north of Charleston, is the gem of the region. But whether you’re looking to run a few easy trail miles in an urban setting, catch a coastal breeze on an ocean-side trail or escape into the woods for a lengthy adventure, the low country of South Carolina has you covered in any season.
+ Insider Info : “The trails here are surprisingly flat yet unforgiving, and most of them are on the remains of plantations from the 1700s, so there’s lots of history all around you. The local phrase to remember is ‘dirt, sweat, bugs.’ Bring bug spray with you from spring until winter.” —Chad Huffa, CEO of Eagle Endurance, which puts on nine trail events in the area
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Number of Sea Islands—a chain of more than 100 barrier islands stretching from South Carolina down to Florida—in Charleston County
Length, in feet, of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, which extends over the Cooper River, the third longest cablestayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere
The population of Charleston County, making it the third most populous county in South Carolina
races PEYTON’S WILD AND WACKY ULTRA / Laurel Hill County Park opens its gates every March to host a 5K and 50K in honor of Peyton Johnson Moore, a lover of the outdoors and member of several running clubs, who passed away in 2013. Since the course’s 5K dirt loop is flat and fast, the course is perfect for your next personal best. Info: Run4p.com DELIRIUM ULTRA 6, 12, AND 24-HOUR RACE / If you’re looking to run far, take a trip down to Ridgeland, some 80 miles southwest of Charleston, in October. Participants can run the course’s wooded 1.69-mile loop in South Carolina’s low country. A well-stocked aid station provides hamburgers, pizza and pancakes throughout the long day. Info: Groundedrunning.com/delirium HOMESTEAD 10 X 5K SERIES / This April 50K features a unique race format, which has participants run a 5K every hour, on the hour, for 10 straight hours. The faster you finish the loop, the more time you have to rest before the next one. If you’re not on the start line at the top of each hour, you’re out. How cool is that? Info: Groundedrunning.com/homestead
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Joe Grant | zion, ut | fred marmsater photo
h2o gps bpm fkt the spin
trails COLORADO BEND STATE PARK / Hugging the Colorado River, northwest of Austin, is this 5,300-plus-acre state park and its 35 miles of trails. Don’t miss the greenscape of the Gorman Falls Trail, and be ready for a big dose of rocks and spiny plants along the way.
South, Hill Country, Texas
Rough and Tumble Texas outdoor enthusiasts lovingly say that everything in their state stings, scratches or bites. Texas is a rough-and-tumble state and the Hill Country region, which refers to the hilly uplands in the central part of the state that includes the major cities of San Antonio and Austin, is not an exception. Abundant trail-running opportunities exist throughout the Hill Country, mostly on state-park lands and some private land open for public use, but they generally aren’t for the faint of heart.
+ I nsider I nfo : “It’s hard to beat being able to comfortably
run in a tank top through the winter! The heat and humidity do scare people out of signing up for summer trail races, but the coolest thing is (pun partially intended) that we constantly wade through cold springfed water at creek crossings.” —Chris McWatters, Tejas Trails co-owner
Eric Senseman is a freelance writer with publications at numerous websites and magazines. He calls the American West home and explores its many peaks, canyons and valleys for business and pleasure. Meghan M. Hicks is iRunFar.com’s Senior Editor and a Contributing Editor for Trail Runner. She lives in Utah’s Canyon Country and loves using trail running as a means to explore the USA. 30
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The number of Texas counties that make up what’s colloquially called Hill Country
The year in which many German citizens left Europe in revolution, with some emigrating to the U.S. via Texas, and settling in what’s now Hill Country, leading to the strong German influence still felt there
Texas Hill Country American Viticultural Area’s size, in millions of acres, which is the U.S.’s second largest wine-making region, containing over 50 wineries
PEDERNALES FALLS STATE PARK / Straddling the Pedernales River, this gorgeous park offers meandering, rocky singletrack with decent amounts of shade. You can run an ultramarathon distance on trails here without repeating any terrain—don’t miss a recovery soak in the river afterward. HILL COUNTRY STATE NATURAL AREA / Located southwest of Bandera, this 5,300-plus-acre park has a primitive feel and plenty of Hill-Countrystyle rugged and rocky trails on which to get lost. Highlights are the Vista Ridge and Ice Cream trails.
races BANDERA ENDURANCE RUN / This 25K, 50K and 100K event, which has frequently served as the USATF 100K Trail National Championships, takes place in Hill Country State Natural Area in February, and exudes the essence of Hill Country trail running: rocky and rugged trails, brief-but-steep climbs and descents, spiny plants everywhere and a passel of local trail runners who are as friendly as they are tough. Info: Tejastrails.com/bandera CACTUS ROSE ULTRA TRAIL RUN AND RELAY / This mega-tough, unsupported event features a relay, 25-mile, 50-mile and 100-mile races in the Hill Country State Natural Area. Info: Tejastrails. com/#/cactus LIGHTHOUSE HILL RANCH TRAIL RUN / Run on the private Lighthouse Hill Ranch located south of Johnson City, which contains quintessential Hill County rocks and punchy hills. The event hosts 10-mile, 20-mile and 50K races in September. Info: Runintexas.com/lighthouse
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Dodging a puddle atop Enchanted Rock in the Texas Hill Country, a massive trail mecca in the central part of the state.
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Why Westerners disagree on protecting public lands
By Paul Cuno-Booth
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Teague Hatfield says public lands have made Bend, Oregon, what it is. “The reason we’ve gone from 32,000 people to 80,000 people in the last 20 years is because of the fact that we’re a recreational mecca,” says the owner of the local FootZone running store. “That and beer,” he adds after a beat. Bend’s story will be familiar to residents of many small and medium-size towns in scenic locales across the West. Outdoor amenities—trail systems, ski slopes, raftable rapids and the like—draw tourists as well as entrepreneurs and knowledge-economy workers, which all gradually accretes into a diverse and vibrant local economy. Public lands—especially protected tracts, like wilderness areas and national parks—form the foundation of that economy. “There are a lot of examples of tech industries that have relocated to Bend,” Hatfield says. “A lot of those are lifestyle-driven choices, whether it’s single-person operations or small firms.” The majestic peaks to the west of Bend, the sweeping desert to its east—it’s hard to imagine such sublime and imposing landscapes ever changing.
But, despite their importance to places like Bend—and
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to trail runners the world over—public lands occupy a contentious place in our politics. To Hatfield, those public lands’ continued existence is more tenuous than it might seem. “I believe strongly that if we don’t protect the things that are just invaluable in our Western landscapes,” he says, “that those things can and will be taken away from us.” Recent years have seen a renewed push by some— though by no means all—Republican politicians to reduce the federal government’s role in land stewardship. Utah lawmakers have led the way in advocating for a “transfer” of federal holdings to state or local governments, a move opponents say would result in a massive sell-off due to those agencies’ inability to manage the lands. Meanwhile, recent national-monument designations have come under fire. Keeping public lands public, and wild lands wild, may seem like a no-brainer. Outdoor-industry
—Idaho runner and race director Luke Nelson
entrepreneurs like Hatfield see the economic benefits public lands provide. And trail runners who spend their days exploring national-forest singletrack know the intrinsic value of accessible open spaces. But that perspective is not universal. Some factions in the rural West have sincere concerns about federal management. More importantly, they distrust the very intentions of bureaucrats, environmentalists and outdoor-industry groups.
Federal-land management has been controversial for as long as the federal government has managed land. Through most of the 19th century, public lands were simply as-yet-unclaimed parcels awaiting settlement or development. That began to change in the latter half of the century. Congress granted Yosemite Valley to the state of California in 1864, on the condition that it remain a (mostly) undeveloped park. As the wilderness historian Roderick Frazier Nash writes, “The legal preservation of part of the public domain for scenic and recreational values created a significant precedent.” Eight years later, Congress set aside “a certain tract of land lying near the headwaters of the Yellowstone River” as the country’s first national park, protecting its “timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, [and] wonders.” Those early acts of preservation were not without controversy. “The best thing the Government could do with the Yellowstone National Park,” a Kansas senator declared in 1883, “is to survey it and sell it as other public lands are sold.” A decade later, the creation of the first “forest reserves”—later to become national forests—withdrew still more acreage from
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“Not Just Randomly Managed”
Malheur County, Oregon, lies 200 miles southwest of Bend. It’s sagebrush country, literally and figuratively. The landscape of deep volcanic-rock canyons is known as the Owyhee Canyonlands. Writing in this magazine in September 2016, ultrarunner Jeff Browning called it “an untamed chunk of the American West larger than Yellowstone.” Though largely federal land, the area lacks official protection. Worried about mining or other development, conservation groups—including the Oregon Natural Desert Association, on whose board Hatfield serves—sought to change that by advocating for a national-monument designation. The 1906 Antiquities Act empowers the president to unilaterally protect “ historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” on public land as national monuments. Though prompted by concerns over discrete archaeological sites, the language allowed for a broader interpretation. President Theodore Roosevelt established the precedent of using the Antiquities Act to protect whole landscapes when, in 1908, he created the 800,000-acre Grand Canyon National Monument. In 1996, President Bill Clinton created the 1.7-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. Local officials opposed it vociferously. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah called it “the mother of all land grabs.” Par t of the problem was procedura l. The Clinton administration deliberated and decided in secret, without public input—a process even some monument supporters took issue with. But it also affirmed a suspicion, deeply held in parts of the West, of a heavy-handed federal government that didn’t have the best interests of local communities at heart. In this case, opponents could even point to a tangible example—a planned
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“I think there’s a really tremendous opportunity for race directors to become the central educators. As an event director, if I don’t have public lands, I don’t have an event.”
the survey-and-sell pool. Wilderness advocates, like the writer John Muir, hoped the reserves would remain untouched. But in the end, adherents of so-called “wise-use” conservation—the idea that forests should be harvested sustainably, rather than logged destructively—prevailed. However, by the mid-20th century, the preservationist movement had gained steam, helped along by the growth in outdoor recreation. After decades of piecemeal protections—a national park or monument here, a “primitive area” designation there—a raft of legislation in the 1960s and 1970s redefined federal land-management priorities. The 1964 Wilderness Act famously created a national system of protected areas in which “man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Other acts created a parallel arrangement for undeveloped rivers; established a system of national recreation, scenic and historic trails; required environmental assessments of federal decision making; and codified the multiple-use mandates under which the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management balance resource development and grazing with recreation and preservation. By the late 1970s, though, shifting federal priorities had sparked a backlash in some parts of the West—the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion.
Public Lands a brief history
1862: Homestead Act promises 160 acres of federal land to each Western settler. 1864: Yosemite Valley is granted to California, on the condition it remain a public park. (The valley later returns to federal ownership as part of Yosemite National Park.) 1868: John Muir arrives in San Francisco. Over the next several decades, his writings popularize the notion of wilderness. 1872: Congress designates Yellowstone the country’s first national park, stipulating that it be “set apart as a public park
or pleasuring-ground” and that its “timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, [and] wonders” be protected. 1891: The first federal “forest reserves” (later renamed national forests) are created. Wilderness enthusiasts like Muir and proponents of “wise use”—scientific, sustainable forestry—disagree on how they should be managed. 1905: U.S. Forest Service is established. 1906: Antiquities Act authorizes the president to preserve archaeological, historical or otherwise significant sites as national monuments.
“Public land is not just Glacier National Park and the Grand Canyon. It’s city parks, it’s that one little grassy hill on the edge of town that is accessible to the public.”
—Montana runner and race director Mike Foote
coal mine, expected to create hundreds of jobs, that the monument effectively shut down. Grand Staircase-Escalante remains a touchstone in monument debates—including in the Owyhee. In a March 2016 nonbinding resolution, 90 percent of Malheur County voters opposed a national-monument designation. One of those opponents was local rancher Elias Eiguren. “The history of national monuments has not been good,” he says. “Ones on this scale that affect the management of this size of a landscape have not been good to local communities.” Eiguren grazes his cattle on BLM land that abuts his ranch, and local residents pitch in to fight fires and noxious weeds on public lands. He worries the added restrictions of a national monument could hamper that work, and have impacts on the local agriculture economy. “The land out here, it’s not just randomly managed,” he says. He and his neighbors are “stewards of the land with dirt under
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1916: National Park Service is established.
impacts of their decisions, among other things.
1934: Taylor Grazing Act establishes the basis for grazing regulations on public lands.
Late 1970s: Changing land-use laws spark a backlash among some in the West—the so-called “Sagebrush Rebels”—who call for greater local autonomy in landmanagement decisions.
1937: The Appalachian Trail, first proposed in 1921, is completed. Federal protection as a national scenic trail comes in 1968. 1946: Bureau of Land Management is established. 1960s-’70s: A wave of environmental legislation establishes multiple-use mandates for the Forest Service and BLM; creates national systems for preserving wilderness and wild rivers; and requires federal agencies to consider the environmental
1980: Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act creates over 100-million acres of national parks, preserves and forests in the state, including 56-million acres of wilderness. 1996: Bill Clinton creates Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. 2016: Barack Obama creates Bears Ears National Monument in Utah (see page 44).
our fingernails and doing the work every day here.” In fact, national-monument designations are less restrictive than wilderness, for one. Recent monuments have tended to allow continued grazing, and the proclamation establishing Bears Ears National Monument states that the designation won’t have an impact on “emergency response activities within the monument, including wildland fire response.” Moreover, protected public lands are generally a boon to a regional economy—whether in Bend or Malheur. Though every place is unique, rural Western counties with more protected federal lands generally outpace their peers in key economic indicators, according to research from Headwaters Economics, a nonpartisan institute. Another Headwaters study found no evidence that 17 national monuments designated between 1982 and 2001— including Grand Staircase-Escalante—impeded economic growth in nearby communities. And, unlike in the case of Grand Staircase-Escalante, the Obama administration conducted lengthy public processes before issuing its decisions But that’s kind of beside the point. Federal assurances and economic data won’t sway someone from a deeply felt truth. And in the case of monument opponents like Eiguren, it seems the mistrust is profound. “Whatever happens to be written into [a monument] designation is what the land has to be managed for, and nobody knows what that is going to be until the president makes a decree, basically,” he says. “We don’t have an opportunity to have any say in that. It’s really a shoot-first-ask-questions-later type of approach.” Paul Cuno-Booth is a newspaper reporter and freelance writer living in Keene, New Hampshire.
No Free Lunch
Take a second to think about your last long trail run. Instead of focusing on the pace, the views or that nagging injury youâ€™ve held at bay all spring, picture the land under your feet. For most of you, Iâ€™m betting that land was public land. If so, was it a city open space, state park, wilderness area or even a national park? Most trail runners utilize public lands in some form on a daily basis. The author pauses to take in his surroundings while on a long run in Glacier National Park, Montana.
Are trail runners freeloading on public lands?
BY MIKE FOOTE
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“All of the trails we run on are the product of environmental stewards before us who ensured these lands were preserved for recreational access.”
No Tension Leads to Inattention
We trail runners are a fortunate bunch. As a recreation group, we encounter few, if any, regulations when it comes to enjoying and accessing our public lands. The only public
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The author explores the alpine ridge lines of Yellow Mountain in Glacier National Park, which have been protected public lands since 1910.
FIVE WAYS TO GET INVOLVED 1. EDUCATE YOURSELF Find reliable news sources. Learn about the history and the current issues the public lands and trails in your area may face.
Make your voice heard!
Give, either financially or with sweat equity, to the organizations in your area that maintain and protect the public lands and trails you love and utilize.
4. WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVES
Let them know the value public lands have for you.
5. GO RUN
The more you get out and develop a relationship with a place, the more you will be motivated to fight for its protection.
spaces we can’t run through are the hallways of our schools. State parks, national monuments, wilderness areas, BLM land and national parks are all fair game. Let’s be honest, the biggest threats to limiting our access to public lands are our overuse injuries. Yes, we are light on the land, and leave only footprints in the wild places we love, but could this lack of conflict be lulling us into complacency? While we blissfully tackle miles of singletrack, are we ignorant to movements currently working hard to sell off the trails from under our feet? I asked Governor Bullock about the issue, since he hears regularly from all groups interested in public-lands issues. The governor is also a trail runner who gets out five days a week and has even completed a 50K, earning ultrarunner status. “The only trail runners that have ever spoken to me about the importance of our trail systems are typically the people I already know from the running community,” he said. “I hear from snowmobilers more than I hear from trail runners. In a positive way [trail runners] are standing on the shoulders of these other groups. The less positive way to perceive it, though, is that they are freeloading off of everybody that is actually working on a daily basis to protect our public lands and public spaces.”
Recreation Groups to Learn From
If trail runners are lax in contacting their policy makers, then which groups are ensuring their voices are heard in issues surrounding public lands?
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In 2016 and 2017, the future of our public lands has been hotly debated due to numerous bills introduced in federal and state legislation that have been perceived by many as a direct threat to the places we love to recreate. One bill in particular, HB621, introduced by US Representative Jason Chaffetz, called for the selling off of 3.3 million acres of federal lands. This raised the hackles of outdoor-recreation groups across the country and prompted public-lands rallies in various states of the American West. One such rally was held in my home state of Montana. Over a thousand concerned citizens gathered in January to storm the state capitol to share their unease with the bill and underlying sentiment they perceived could be the tip of the iceberg in the jettisoning of public lands. They chanted, “Public lands in public hands!” bookending impassioned speeches by leaders in the fly-fishing industry, mountaineering legend Conrad Anker and even Montana Governor Steve Bullock, who has positioned himself as a fierce proponent of public-lands protection. As an avid user of public lands in my trailrunning endeavors I, too, attended that rally and was blown away by the diversity of folks who showed up to demonstrate their support. Young college students in bright-colored puffy coats stood next to old timers decked out in camouflage and hunter’s orange. I saw city-council members and local land-trust representatives, as well as advocates from hunting, fishing, kayaking and mountainbiking groups. It was an inspiring spectacle of democracy in action. However, as I wandered through the crowds that day, I noticed an absence of the outdoor group I identified with most. Where were all the trail runners?
ORGANIZING FOR ACTION INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN BIKING ASSOCIATION
Established: 1988 Number of Members: 40,000 Accomplishments: Mission to maintain access for mountain biking on public lands. IMBA leverages over 200 organization chapters for local trail-building programs and to create a unified voice for mountain-bike and publiclands advocacy.
ACCESS FUND Mountain bikers and rock climbers are two groups that, in recent decades, have mobilized for public-lands access and protection in a major way. In response to an increase in participation and access issues, rock climbers created the Access Fund, a national organization focused on education, conservation, stewardship and increasing public-land access. Mountain bikers, too, founded the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), which is dedicated to mountain-bike advocacy, education, public-lands access and trail building. These organizations have both succeeded in providing powerful platforms for previously unorganized groups of outdoor recreationalists. Indisputably, though, the most wellorganized groups of public-lands users are hunters and anglers. Their alliances make sense if you take a look at the history of hunting and fishing in the United States. For over a century these groups have encountered public-access issues and increased regulation. The result? There are now dozens of national groups who work to inform public policy, while other groups specialize in raising funds to conserve large tracts of wildlife habitat. The “hook-and-bullet” crowd is indeed a behemoth in the public-lands conservation and protection arenas. Due to the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, they even pay an 11-percent excise tax on arms, ammunition, archery and fishing equipment. Since its inception, this program has raised billions of dollars in funding, which is diverted from the US Treasury and doled
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Established: 1991 Number of Members: 15,705 Accomplishments: Completed 112 conservation projects in 2016, improving trailheads, building trails and placing signage at climbing areas all over the country. Access Fund also uses educational events to instill a conservation ethic within the climbing community.
BACKCOUNTRY HUNTERS & ANGLERS Established: 2004 Number of Members: 13,000 Accomplishments: Highly effective in educating and mobilizing its membership to stand up in support for publiclands access and conservation. BHA and other hunter and angler organizations were instrumental in stopping H.B. 621.
Year Established: 2017 Number of Members: Not a membership-based organization. Accomplishments: Run Wild has utilized social media as a tool to elevate a discussion within the trail-running community about public lands and the issues they face.
out to the states by the Secretary of Interior to go toward wildlife management, research projects and even the acquisition of land to preserve wildlife habitat. As users of public lands, and appreciators of aesthetic and pristine open spaces (i.e. good wildlife habitat), trail runners directly benefit from this program yet we do not pay into it. To discuss this lack of participation, I contacted Land Tawney, the Executive Director of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection of public lands and public-lands access. Not one to beat around the bush, he bluntly stated, “Trail runners don’t pay to play.”
According to a 2016 report published by the Outdoor Foundation, trail-running participation in the U.S. has nearly doubled from 4.2 to 8.1 million people since 2006. Just like mountain biking and climbing did in the 1980s and 1990s, trail running is now reaching a tipping point. As history has shown, with growth inevitably comes conflict. As our community expands, we should acknowledge the effects we have on public lands and how other groups who utilize public lands view us. We have already seen conflict arise. Trail runners in Grand Canyon National Park, for example, have received significant criticism in recent years. The hundreds of runners who attempt the rim-to-rim crossing on a busy weekend have been cited for lacking etiquette on the trail, spooking mule trains, littering and being inconsiderate to other users. In response, the park now requires permits for organized groups attempting the crossing. Also, friction between trail runners and other public-lands users has stemmed from the meteoric rise of the FKT movement. The collateral damage of our desire to move quickly through these wild places is a building perception that trail runners prioritize speed with little regard to other users or the land itself. Additionally, with an influx of money from outdoor brands supporting some of these record attempts, such as Scott Jurek’s Appalachian Trail FKT in 2015, public debates have emerged arguing the place of commercialism in wilderness. Finally, with bills recently introduced into the US House that would sell off federal lands, and the Secretary of Interior’s recommendation to reduce the size of the recently established Bears Ears National Monument, the outdoor community is facing a threat that directly
I have a dream. That one day, due to our unified voice and engagement, a politician who is championing a public lands cause will post a photo of themselves in short shorts and dusty trail shoes claiming they are doing it because they love long runs on singletrack trails. It can happen.
impacts not just hunters, anglers, climbers and mountain bikers, but trail runners as well. Governor Bullock likened the issue to running injuries. “I got plantar fasciitis,” he said. “I had spent my whole life taking for granted the fact that I can have my bit of sanity by going out and running. What happens on that day when all of a sudden you can’t?”
Trail-Running Communities Get Involved
Despite the reputation we may have earned as nihilists, there are indeed examples of trail runners engaging in stewarding our public lands. One major example is the mandatory completion of a day of trail work in order to compete in many 100-mile races. This has instilled an investment and ownership in our trails and has significantly impacted our trail systems for the better through thousands of hours of volunteer work. Runners are also putting up money for land conservation. In Missoula, Montana, the running club Run Wild Missoula made local headlines when it announced the donation of $55,000 to a local land trust toward the conservation of a 4,000-acre parcel of land adjacent to town. The group will work with the community to develop a multiple-use trail network on the land. Additionally, just this year, a national organization Run Wild was founded to bring the trail-running community together around public-lands issues and protection. When I asked Run Wild co-founder, Hallie Fax, what spurred the group to form, she said, “The trail-running community, to date, has not been super involved or united around these issues. Trail running, as a sport, is on the rise, and there’s real potential to bring together people who already have an inherent love and appreciation for public lands.” When asked how our community can be more engaged in the public process Governor Bullock emphasized that the first step is simply showing up. Furthermore, he said that we need to do a better job of sharing our story. “I fundamentally believe that public policy is made through anecdotes and personal relationships,” he said. “The way to get in an elected representative’s mind is to make that connection. If trail runners are not a part of telling their story and making that connection, then they are missing a big element.”
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Hallie Fax suggested better educating ourselves. “We can all do more to learn about our own local areas,” she said. “All of the trails we run on are the product of environmental stewards before us who ensured these lands were preserved for recreational access.” Land Tawney of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers shared that they found success in engaging their community through multiple channels. “Social media is huge. We also use podcasting, events and storytelling nights and publishing a print magazine to educate and mobilize our membership base.” By effectively using these tools, BHA has enjoyed membership growth of over 400 percent in the last year alone.
We trail runners take pride in the strength of our community and the quality of the individuals that comprise it. As we celebrate and utilize our public lands, it is also worth taking pride in working together to protect the common ground under our feet. Together we can be a force.
So, will we organize and fully leverage our 8.1-million members to stand up for public-lands protection and access? Or will we wait until we are forced to react to a threat that limits our ability to explore the places we love like so many others before us? We have successes to inspire us. Congressman Chaffetz, who introduced the controversial bill to sell off federal lands, pulled it after major backlash from the outdoor-recreation community, specifically hunters and anglers. He announced the bill’s withdrawal on his instagram feed with a picture of himself outdoors wearing camouflage and holding his dog with a big smile on his face, saying, “I’m a proud gun owner, hunter and I love our public lands.” He was speaking directly to the constituency that had most engaged with him on this issue. I have a dream. That one day, due to our unified voice and engagement, a politician who is championing a public lands cause will post a photo of themselves in short shorts and dusty trail shoes claiming they are doing it because they love long runs on singletrack trails. It can happen. The North Face ultrarunner Mike Foote is the co-founder of the popular Rut Mountain Runs. He is also a board member of Five Valleys Land Trust, an organization whose mission is to protect the open spaces near his hometown of Missoula, Montana.
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Montana Governor Steve Bullock gives an impassioned speech to supporters at a public-lands rally in the state-capitol building last January.
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RUNNING BEARS EARS Why the newest U.S. national monument is worth preserving
By Morgan Sjogren
The author cruises past the House on Fire ruin, Mule Canyon, Bears Ears National Monument, Utah.
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“All of the trails we run on are the product of environmental stewards before us who ensured these lands were preserved for recreational access.” Way back in 1943, western historian David Lavender described the area in his book One Man’s West as “a million and a quarter acres of staggering desolation between the San Juan and Colorado rivers, a vast triangle of land that even today is not completely mapped.” Indeed, while the area has been mapped and roads have been built, it remains one of the last truly wild areas in the West, one that offers both a respite from civilization and a lifetime’s worth of running in untrammeled backcountry.
On an eight-degree February morning,
as snow flurries began to fall, I loaded up my pack and readied myself for a full day of mountain running and exploring in Bears Ears National Monument. The general forecast did not call for a storm that day, but then again, the Cedar Mesa plateau, resting at 7,000-feet elevation, is too remote to be included on any specific weather reports. When I finally began my steep, winding climb toward Bears Ears pass, up a Jeep road coated in feet of hardpacked snow, a blizzard had developed and strong winds slapped me in the face. While the pass sits smack between the actual “Bears Ears”—the 8,929- and 9,058-foot peaks for which the monument is named—I could no longer see the redsandstone-capped buttes. My lungs burned, my toes froze and my mood felt bleak as if as if the Bears Ears ceased to exist at all—a dark thought that felt too close for comfort at this moment in history. I had set out for Bears Ears spurred by a sense of urgency due to recent government threats to rescind or shrink the protected status of 27 United States national monuments. The newest monument in the line-up, Bears Ears is a huge swath of public land 75 miles south of Moab, Utah, and bordering the more-well-known Canyonlands National Park, but without the amenities, mapped trails, campgrounds and visitor’s centers. For the next several months, living out of my Jeep, I was able to readily access and run through the region’s remote desert canyons, mountains, imposing sandstone towers and pristine ancient artifacts, ranging in elevation from 3,700 to 11,300 feet.
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In December 2016, former President Barrack Obama designated Bears Ears National Monument to be managed jointly by the Bureau of Land Management and National Forest Service. The move protected 1.35-million acres of wilderness. “Rising from the center of the southeastern Utah landscape and visible from every direction are twin buttes so distinctive that in each of the native languages of the region their name is the same ‘Bears Ears,’” said Obama in his designation speech. “For hundreds of generations, native peoples lived in the surrounding deep sandstone canyons, desert mesas and meadow mountaintops, which constitute one of the densest and most significant cultural landscapes in the United States. Abundant rock art, ancient cliff dwellings, ceremonial sites and countless other artifacts provide an extraordinary archaeological and cultural record that is important to us all, but most notably the land is profoundly sacred to many Native American tribes.” In fact Bears Ears continues to be used by over 20 regional tribes, including the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni and Ute Indian Tribe (comprising the Bear’s Ears Tribal Coalition), for tribal rituals, hunting and gathering of medicinal herbs and firewood. In April 2017, President Donald Trump passed an executive order for the Interior Department to review the status of the Bears Ears for 45 days. As of June, the proposed action looks to drastically shrink and alter the boundaries within the area of protection. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke suggests that a final decision be reached once the department reviews the status of 26 other monuments that have been created since 1996, sometime in late August. Public-lands advocates contend the ultimate objective is to open up Bears Ears for the modern-day ritual of gathering fossil fuels and other valuable minerals buried beneath the soil. Trump’s actions have sparked a public outcry especially amongst the outdoor industry, which accounts for $887 billion in consumer spending annually
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WHY DOES IT MATTER?
a nd 7.6 m i l l ion A mer ica n jobs (according to the 2017 Outdoor Industry Association), and stands to be drastically affected in reduced public access to wilderness areas. As a result, the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow, the premier bi-annual gathering for the entire outdoor industry (bringing in over 20,000 people and $45 million in revenue to Salt Lake City) has decided to pu ll its event from the state to protest the actions of the Utah government, which leans heavily towa rd rescind ing or shrin k ing the monument. The decision came after several large brands, including Patagonia and Arc’Teryx, announced that they would boycott the event due to the Utah government’s current stance on Bears Ears, public lands and the environment. Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, shared in an op-ed for the brand, “Governor Herbert (of Utah) ... should show the outdoor industry he wants our business—and that he supports thousands of his constituents of all political persuasions who work in jobs supported by recreation on public lands. We love Utah, but Patagonia’s choice to return for future shows will depend on the Governor’s actions.”
A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRAIL RUNNING
While the Bears Ears area is not known for its trail running (yet), Amanda Podmore, the assistant director at the non-profit Friends of Cedar Mesa is excited about the potential. “Trail running is a great fit for the Bears Ears National Monument, because you can experience a vast, diverse terrain of canyons, mesa tops and valleys with a low-impact activity,” she says. “Like other visitors, you have the opportunity to respectfully visit its abundance of rock art, cliff dwellings and other historic sites.” Surprisingly, there are few established trails, giving curious and adventurous runners a blank canvas to chart new territory. If you’re looking for Strava stats, FKTs and easily marked routes with signage, then Bears Ears may not be for you—this is a wild place.
ONE DIR T Y M A G A ZINE
RECOMMENDED RUNS Bears Ears
To run the Bears Ears Pass (and beyond), take County Road 263 out of Blanding to Highway 95 until you see the sign to go right for Bears Ears. Park at a pullout and prepare to climb and grind—the views will be worth it!
North Six Shooter
The iconic North Sixth Shooter Peak in the Indian Creek region (known for its world-class rock climbing) is a delight to stare up at as you log miles. For a flat, easy eight-mile out-andback, take State Route 211 to the Jeep road for Davis/ Lavender Canyon, which leads to the base of the tower. You may extend the run to include the tower’s climbing approach from the south end of the feature, which involves negotiating talus and scree fields, for dramatic views of the Indian Creek and the Canyonlands Needles District.
From County Road 263, take Texas Flat Road past the parking lot and look for the small trailhead sign on the left. The House On Fire Ruin is only one mile in from the trailhead, but the Mule Canyon’s singletrack trail continues along the creek for a possible nine-mile out-and-back run. Keep your eyes open for more ancient sites. Get to The House on Fire by midmorning to experience the ideal lighting for its roof to truly look ablaze.
To create my running routes, I gleaned beta the oldfashioned way, by word of mouth—with a Navajo jewelry maker, the owner of a trading post in nearby Bluff, Utah, a mountain-bike adventurer, an archaeologist and fellow trail runner Luke Nelson (who completed a massive 150mile loop in Bears Ears this spring). While everyone gave me incredible leads for locations to begin my runs, the magic theme of Bears Ears seemed to be in the unique challenges of being able to safely handle the area’s convoluted terrain and often-extreme climate. Danger and difficult access is the most limiting factor for trail running in Bears Ears, according to archaeologist R.E. Burillo, whom I met at a coffee shop. “The iconic cliff dwellings of the Bears Ears area were intentionally built high up in the deep narrow cliffs,” he says, “for difficult access and defense to protect their food sources during a period of climate change and overpopulation.” How does this translate for runners looking to tour Bears Ears on foot? Be prepared to encounter rock scrambling, technical down climbs, dead ends and harsh weather (including deadly flash flooding) on any given visit. Says Nelson, “Do your homework before you go. Look up well-known backpacking routes. There are lifetimes of 25-mile day routes to explore.” The variety of trails, climates, wildlife and elevation ranges in Bears Ears is mind blowing. Cedar Mesa is perhaps the most varied and intricate region of all, with
Bears Ears Beta: For information, permits and local beta, visit the Kane Gulch Ranger Station (managed by BLM) in southwestern Utah along Highway 261, near Natural Bridges National Monument. Essential topomap zones include the Cedar Mesa/Grand Gulch, Manti-La Sal Forest and CanyonlandsNeedles District.
David Lavender described the area in his book One Man’s West as “a million and a quarter acres of staggering desolation between the San Juan and Colorado rivers, a vast triangle of land that even today is not completely mapped.” terrain ranging from deep canyons like Grand Gulch, filled with ancient artifacts, to the dramatic 80-mile-long, slickrock Comb Ridge that juts along the edge of the mesa. The Bears Ears are perched atop Cedar Mesa’s high point and intersect with the mountainous Elk Ridge, which contains the Dark Canyon wilderness—a portal to Bears Ears’ most remote, primitive and technical canyon landscapes. The 11,000-foot Abajo Mountains are visible from nearly every vantage point and are lined with aspen groves, and offer views of the sandstone cliffs and desert towers of nearby Indian Creek.
DISCOVERING BEARS EARS
In ea rly May, I headed into the rugged backcountry of the Dark Canyon Wilderness. The sing letrack trai l descended quick ly
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Know Before You Go: Bears Ears is primitive. There are no services in the region, no cell reception and water is scarce. Check the weather and know your game plan ahead of time. Arrive prepared with extra water, emergency gear and a full gas tank. Stop in Blanding, Utah, on the east side of the monument, to fuel up and carbo-load with a smothered burrito at Pop’s Burritos.
Respect the Land: Amanda Podmore of Friends of Cedar Mesa suggests that trail runners consider removing packs so they do not accidently brush against walls and sensitive areas when approaching a cultural site, and to not run or walk too close to the base of structures to avoid eroding the foundation. And leave all artifacts in place.
When to Run: Spring and fall are the ideal seasons. Locals profess that the high country (including the Bears Ears) is notorious for snow as late as May or June (but summer temperatures can be scorching). Flash floods are always a serious concern, especially in the canyons. Keep an eye on weather, and with any wilderness trail run be prepared to adjust your plans for the conditions.
from 8,000 to 5,000 feet along a flowing stream shaded by pine and aspen trees that hid the red-sandstone canyon walls until I reached the canyon floor. Once in Woodenshoe Canyon, the sun exposure gave way to a dramatic temperature rise—one of the more unique features of Bears Ears are its plethora of microclimate zones, which is a point of caution for runners. I focused my gaze on dancing over the rocky terrain and hopping over washes flowing from a wet spring. I only occasionally scanned the high canyon walls, and through a small opening in the trees, I spotted a cliff dwelling—walls of artfully crafted sandstone bricks built directly into the rock walls—with windows and wooden beams still intact. I diverted my route from the trail and scrambled up slickrock ledges to pay homage to this portal into the past. Looking through the home’s ancient brick window, I soaked in the lush canyon, blue skies, magnitude, sacredness and beauty of Bears Ears. Another day, I circumnavigated the iconic North Six Shooter—a 350-foot Wingate-Sandstone butte resembling an upward-pointing revolver atop a huge talus cone—in Indian Creek. On other runs, I crossed barren dry washes on 90-degree days, slogged over sand dunes that filled my shoes with fine red silt, did steep hill repeats up and down the slickrock ridges of Comb Wash with Luke Nelson, ran through box canyons lined with stunning arches, pranced through the aspen groves at 10,000 feet in the Abajo mountains and encountered deer in lush green meadows still scattered with late-spring snow. Eventually, on a warm, sunny Easter morning I returned to Bears Ears Pass for a redemption run. The six-mile, 2000-foot climb started in a canyon full of high-desert shrubs before ascending through dense piñon-juniper forests. Once between the two buttes I was swept away in panoramic views of deep and winding whitewashed canyons in Natural Bridges National Monument, Monument Valley’s iconic redrock formations, Comb Ridge, the nearby aspen-covered Abajo Mountains and the more distant La Sal Mountains and La Plata Mountains. Behind me laid the vast pine-covered region of Elk Ridge and Dark Canyon Wilderness. My mind dreamed up endless new-route ideas and adventures, before I turned around and ran back down the mountain. TR
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TRAILHEAD: BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT, UTAH
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With thanks as big as the mountains we run through to everyone who made this yearâ€™s Hardrock special.
TR AIL TESTED
BY ARIELLA GINTZLER
The Lowdown on Socks ven in a sport as simple as running, it’s easy to get carried away with gear. Yet one of the most vital pieces of running gear is, likely, the cheapest: socks. Socks may be one of the leastvisible pieces of your running kit, and as a result they are often overlooked. But anyone who has ever had blistered or chafed feet can attest that a good sock is a necessity. So, what exactly makes a good sock? Here’s our breakdown.
MATT TRAPPE / TANDEM STOCK.COM
Why Are Socks So Important? The main purpose of running socks is to protect your feet against blisters, which form because of friction between your foot and your shoe (the top layer of skin separates from deeper layers, and the space in between fills with fluid). Socks provide a cushioned layer between your skin and the rough interior of the shoe. Just as important: socks wick moisture to help keep your feet dry, to further prevent blisters. A wet sock is useless because a) wet skin is more prone to blister formation, and b) wet socks are more abrasive and create more friction. Blisters aside, socks can also add a bit of extra support to fatigue-prone areas of the feet, through compression and cushion. ONE DIR T Y M A G A ZINE
What to look for in a technical running sock FIT / Think of socks like your skin— you don’t want any wrinkles or loose, saggy bits. A loose-fitting sock will likely breed blisters and discomfort. CUSHION / Cushion can help absorb impact forces. Most good running socks lay the cushioning out in specific, high-impact areas like the heel and the ball of the foot. How much or little cushion you prefer is entirely a personal choice. THICKNESS / You may prefer a thicker sock in cold weather,
or for long runs that involve a lot of pounding. A thinner sock might work best in warmer temps or on particularly wet runs. Our advice: try out a few different styles and figure out what works best for you in various conditions. MATERIALS / Any running sock worth its salt will be made of some kind of wicking material—either synthetic fibers like nylon or polyester, or natural fibers like merino wool—that carries moisture away from your skin as you sweat, and dries quickly.
SEAMS / Before committing to a pair of socks, try them on to make sure they don’t have any seams that will rub you the wrong way. SUPPORT / Do your arches get tired? Do your ankles swell in the heat? Foot-mapping and compression materials, placed strategically throughout some socks, can help add support and promote blood flow to fatigued muscles.
• brought to you by Injinji and Drymax
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INJINJI TRAIL MIDWEIGHT MINI-CREW
DRYMAX SPEEDGOAT LITE TRAIL RUNNING MINI CREW SOCK
The Trail Midweight Mini-Crew is engineered for the uneven and unpredictable terrain by allowing the entire foot to perform naturally. Toesocks are anatomically designed to your foot, while the five-toe sleeve design allows your toes to splay naturally and align properly, enabling greater stability and more comfort. With each toe separated, all skin-on-skin contact between the toes is eliminated, preventing blisters. The Trail Midweight Mini-Crew features a double cuff providing a snug fit around the ankle to keep dirt and debris out. The terry cushion on the foot bed provides durability and protection for the heel and metatarsal.
Designed in collaboration with legendary Ultrarunner and All Time 100 Mile winner Karl Meltzer to get him through his iconic 2,189 mile Appalachian Trail FKT Through Hike in just 45 days 22 hours and 38 minutes. The Drymax dual layer moisture management technology kept Karl’s feet virtually unscathed while he averaged 47 miles per day. The Speedgoat has a plush terry loop foot bed, mini crew leg height and colors which compliment today’s most popular trail running shoes. Available only in Royal/Anthracite/Sublime color combination. www.drymaxsports.com/product/speedgoat-sock-mini-crew/
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GEAR KARL MELTZER SPEEDGOAT Sock TM
Karl Meltzer, aka Speedgoat, is the winningest trail 100 miler of all time, with 38 victories, including five at the iconic Hard Rock 100. Most recently, Karl set the iconic Thru Hike record of the 2,189 mile Appalachian Trail in a stunning time of 45 days 22 hours and 38 minutes and averaged approximately 47 miles per day. Meltzer’s time beats the previous record by more than 10 hours, which was set by Scott Jurek in 2015. The 2017 Edition of the Speedgoat sock celebrates his achievement with ‘2189 MILES’ knit into the foot of the sock. Meltzer, who has been wearing drymax socks since 2008, helped to design this version of the Lite Trail Mini Crew Running sock to his exacting standards and for your own adventure.
DRYMAX TRAIL RUNNING QUARTER CREW with Turn Down Leg
This rough and tumble sock is a heavy duty work horse for the most challenging conditions the trail can dish out. The proprietary dual layer moisture management system coupled with dense padding under foot and no vents to let gravel and sand against the foot assure the best protection for the foot. Drymax also created the exclusive Turn Down Leg which creating the flexibility to convert the leg height from quarter crew to mini crew giving additional padding at the ankle, diverting trail debris from entering the shoe and a different look just by folding down the leg of the sock. Available in Black/Gray, Sublime/Gray/Black and Pink/Gray/Black. www.drymaxsports.com/product/ trail-running-1-4-crew-turn-down/
How to manage them PREVENTION The most important part of blister prevention is keeping your feet cool and dry. Warm and/or wet skin is much more susceptible to blistering. If you know you tend to get blisters in a certain area, cover the area with medical tape or duct tape to proactively protect against rubbing. TREATING HOT SPOTS An area that is on its way to becoming a blister is called a hot spot. These areas may look red or feel tender or irritated to the touch. Apply lubricant to reduce the friction and prevent the hot spot from worsening into a blister. Also consider drying your feet and changing into fresh socks. TREATING BLISTERS Opinions range on whether or not to pop a blister. Often, during a race or long run, it is best to pop the blister in a clean and controlled way, rather than risking infection if it pops in your shoe and gets dirty. Use an alcohol swab to clean the blistered area. Poke a small hole in the blister with a sterile needle and squeeze out the fluid. Leave the skin flap of the drained blister intact, as it will help to protect the area while new skin grows underneath. Bandage the blister before putting your shoe back on, so dirt can’t get in. If you don’t want to pop your blister, consider creating a raised ring of Moleskin around it, to prevent more rubbing. TR SEPTEMBER 2017
Trail Running 1/4 crew
The ¼ crew Turn Down leg gives you the choice of a ¼ crew or mini crew height and two different colors.
Drymax is the Official Sock of:
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Five OTS Warning Signals
1. Abnormal difficulty walking up stairs or running up hills.
Jim Walmsley has become famous for running in excess of 130 miles per week.
BY DAVID ROCHE
The Weekly Mileage Race
How can runners avoid going too far? Right now, on the digital-training-tracker Strava, you can see what happens when focus and hard work meet talent. Training for the 2017 Western States 100 Miler, Kaci Lickteig averaged 116 miles per week with a long run over 30 miles most weeks. Jim Walmsley, seeking to avenge his wrong turn in 2016, averaged over 130 miles per week, generating GPS files that defy imagination. To keep up with the Lickteigs and the Walmsleys of the running world, others are deciding to go all-in, too. In January 2017, 31-year old Chris Mocko left his tech job to pursue running full time. Through 130-to 150-mile weeks, in 2017, Mocko has already finished 2nd at the Way Too Cool 50K, 3rd at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile and 1st at the Ultra Race of Champions. But extreme high-mileage weeks can wreak havoc on the body, usually in the form of Overtraining Syndrome (OTS). Anton Krupicka, who burst onto the scene a decade ago by winning the Leadville 100, still suffers chronic injuries after years of 200-mile weeks. Trail star Geoff Roes was beset by overtraining shortly after winning the 2010 Western States 100. Anna Frost, who won skyrunning championships all over the world, took more than a year to come back from a bought of Overtraining Syndrome in 2014.
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OTS combines deteriorating physical and neurological systems in a way that can cause feelings of weakness and pain. If you find yourself struggling unusually on hills and stairs, consider backing off training.
2. Disrupted sleep cycles, or legs that involuntarily clench at night. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is usually high when an athlete’s stress exceeds his or her ability to adapt. Because cortisol plays a role in sleep cycles, too much of it can lead to difficulty falling asleep or waking up. Anecdotal evidence ties OTS with involuntary leg spasm at night.
3. “Puffy” cheeks. Elevated cortisol can cause changes in body composition.
Athletes should be on the lookout for abnormal changes in appearance, like more rounded cheeks, that could be due to a surplus of stress hormones.
4. Elevated resting heart rate or noticeable awareness of heart beating.
When an athlete trains hard, his/her resting heart rate can increase—that is normal. But if the elevated heart rate persists for more than a few days, it is likely due to long-term rebuilding processes that need to be given time. Athletes who are at risk for OTS may also see their max heart rates decrease, so their heart-rate ranges narrow on both ends. Anecdotally, athletes often describe a “tell-tale heart,” where they are overly conscious of their heart beating in their temples at rest, especially in bed.
5. Reduced libido or changing sex characteristics.
During OTS, the body goes into “fightor-flight” mode, prioritizing some functions (coping with stress) over others (reproduction). Any abnormal change in libido or menstrual cycle concurring with hard training could be an early warning sign for OTS.
T R AILRUNNERMAG.COM
Sometimes, you need to touch the stove to realize that it’s hot. In breaking down conversations with athletes training at their limit, a few “hot-stove” warning signs jump out that could be precursors to OTS. Take heed if any of these signals lasts more than a few days.
PERFORM What Is OTS?
As described in a 2012 article in the Journal of Sport Health, “OTS appears to be a maladapted response to excessive exercise without adequate rest, resulting in perturbations of multiple body systems (neurologic, endocrinologic, immunologic) coupled with mood changes.” So how can a trail runner optimize his or her potential without getting cut by the doubleedged sword of hard training? A joint 2013 statement by the European College of Sport Science and the American College of Sports Medicine outlines three main avenues used to treat overtraining: controlling intensity, quantifying stress and proper fueling.
Too much intensity is the culprit of most overtraining-like symptoms. Trail runners are especially vulnerable, because it’s easy to let your heart rate tick up with the elevation. It’s easy to get caught up on beautiful, rolling singletrack, until the
body often decides it has had enough. Intensity generally corresponds to a moderate to hard effort that exceeds aerobic threshold. Keep at least 80-percent of training volume easy, at a conversational pace. “I would recommend that if you fall into that trap [of too much intensity], get off the social-GPS world, hire a coach, or find someone you can hold yourself accountable to,” says Lickteig, who has managed consistent progression with few setbacks, by controlling her overall effort.
As described in the 2013 joint consensus statement, overtraining can be caused by “training and/or non-training stress.” If your total stress—training, work, personal life—exceeds your body’s ability to adapt, overtraining results. Are you a new parent waking up at 2 a.m. each night? Are you leading a big project at work? Decrease your training stress accordingly.
Mocko credits his recent success to improved rest and recovery. “Are there still stresses in my life [as a full time runner]? Shockingly, yes! But now I have all day, everyday to focus on reducing the effects these stresses have on my life.”
In general, diets high in fat are best for preventing overtraining, but don’t skimp on the protein or carbs. When in doubt, all food is good food. Mocko is famous for courting Costco as a sponsor because his grocery bills are so high. Training hard is a risk. But it’s a risk that many runners have mastered in the past. You can too, whether you are running 100 miles a week or building mileage in scale with your personal goals. TR Editor’s Note: As this issue goes to press, Western States has passed. The conditions were among the most difficult in the history of the race. Walmsley, Lickteig and Mocko did not perform as anticipated.
YO U R B R A I N
upid collide t s d n a le ib s Where sen You don’t have one brain —you have three... your ancient Chimp brain, your modern Professor brain, and your Computer brain. They fight all the time and bad things happen; pre-race nerves, choking under pressure, quitting, dumb mistakes.
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Natural Electrolyte Sources Since cooking can damage vegetable cells and decrease nutrient concentration, opt for quick roasting or stir-frying and avoid boiling. POTASSIUM: Bananas, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, yogurt, raisins, pistachios.
BY REAGAN COLYER
Sweat the Small Stuff Rehydrating after a summer run is only the beginning
Summer is here: time for dry trails, shorts and T-shirts ... and dehydration. Warm running is great, but drink less water than you’ve sweated out and you can end up not only dehydrated but also under-recovered. But water consumption isn’t the only problem. You also sweat out vital electrolytes that are essential for your body’s functioning. Plentiful in sports drinks, supplements and gels, electrolytes are a group of minerals that serve a wide variety of physiological functions, from maintaining blood volume and bloodnutrient concentration to assisting with energy production and ensuring optimal fuel levels for muscles.
SODIUM: Strawberries, celery, asparagus, kale. CALCIUM: Dairy, salmon, sardines, leafy greens like spinach and chard. MAGNESIUM: Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews (and most other nuts), yogurt, wholegrain breads.
CHLORIDE: Found in table salt and the water you drink, but can also be eaten in celery, tomatoes and olives. DOUBLE DUTY: Several whole foods double as sources of multiple electrolytes, including tomatoes, bananas, greens, nuts and seeds. > PRO TIP: Add nuts and tomatoes to a spinach salad or whirl bananas, strawberries, chia seeds, yogurt and a handful of spinach in a smoothie to make sure you’re getting the full electrolyte gamut after warmweather workouts. Add to blender, turn on. It’s that simple.
rising blood pressure, and, in extreme cases, bone and muscle weakness.
What Are Electrolytes?
Calcium is most often found in bones, but it also helps regulate blood pressure and facilitate clotting. Plus, it’s essential for breaking down glycogen, which fuels muscle contractions. Calcium deficiency can be hard to detect, so it’s important to be proactive about keeping your calcium intake high to keep your bones strong and prevent injury.
Chloride is one of the electrolytes lost fastest through sweating. It regulates the movement of fluid through the body, and is an essential element of stomach acid. Not adequately replenishing your chloride stores may lead to gastrointestinal distress.
Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar, facilitate protein synthesis and metabolize the calories in your food, and works alongside calcium for effective muscle contractions and blood clotting. Low magnesium levels can exacerbate hypertension and muscle inflammation, so replacing it can help you recover better after runs.
Sodium is one of the more finicky electrolytes, as it can be easy to go overboard with. You can’t just get your sodium fill by adding extra salt to your diet. (Because the sodium concentration in salt is very high, it’s easy to overdose). The natural sodium in certain fruits and veggies helps avoid the adverse effects of too much salt (see sidebar). Sodium helps maintain both blood volume and acidity. Sodium deficiency—called hyponatremia—can cause headaches, fatigue and poor recovery after hot-weather long runs.
Potassium works within cell walls. It can help lower blood pressure by keeping arteries flexible. The effects of potassium deficiency are more long-term, and include 56
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IAN SHIVE / TANDEMSTOCK.COM
Since most electrolytes are lost through sweat, trying to “pre-load” before a run won’t help much. As for that postrun electrolyte depression: since most whole foods contain at least one of the “big-5” electrolytes, it’s not hard to get optimal levels of them from a balanced diet. The National Academy of Medicine recommends Adequate Daily Intakes (AIs) of: • 1000mg of calcium • 400mg of magnesium • 4700mg of potassium • 1500mg of sodium • 2300mg of chloride. One avocado, for example, contains nearly 600mg of potassium. One cup of bok choi (Chinese cabbage) has over 150mg of natural calcium and an ear of corn packs 227mg of sodium. A quarter cup of roasted almonds has nearly 100mg of magnesium. Chloride is the trickiest one, as natural sources are usually trace. But beneficial levels
are usually found in drinking water (no more than 250mg per liter—a limit set by the EPA, as excess chloride can result in salty-tasting water). Try to incorporate as many electrolyterich ingredients into your diet as possible, to ensure that you get enough of all electrolytes.
In runs or races that last more than a few hours, the negative side effects of electrolyte depletion kick in long before you’re able to go home and eat a full meal. So, you have to replenish on the go. The electrolyte balance in sweat can vary widely from runner to runner, but research shows that sodium should be the primary focus for everyone, since it is lost so fast via sweating. For an easy electrolyte fix, many athletes turn to supplemental tablets or drink mixes, which typically contain a mixture of the “big-5” electrolytes, in
different ratios. If you’re drinking your electrolytes, aim to get a few ounces in every 30 minutes or so, starting an hour into your run. But, what if you drop your only electrolyte tablet, or forget to bring enough drink mix? Get creative: sub in high-electrolyte whole foods from aid stations. Mashed sweet potatoes (45mg sodium per half cup) and honeydew melon (32mg per cup) make easily digestible replacements, although they aren’t as concentrated as the tablets, which usually contain around 200mg each. If you opt for solid foods, break them up into small bites and eat three or four ever 30 minutes. But remember: your body needs water to break down electrolytes. On their own, they will do little good. Reagan Colyer is currently pursuing her Masters in Journalism at the University of Montana.
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BY CLAIRE WALLA
What the Sweeper Knows Tales from the back of the back of the pack
ehind the elites, in back of the mid-pack, past the back-of-the-packers and beyond the cut-off fighters … There’s the sweeper.
The broom of the trails, the Zamboni of the ultra world, this is the person who follows behind all the runners, collecting confidence ribbons and Gu wrappers, erasing all evidence of the race. It’s all simple, in theory: pick up trash, log some miles, call it a day. But as with all things ultra, it’s never as simple as it seems. This became clear to me two miles into a ninemile sweep. The pink sky turned deep blue as I started up a big climb. I soon found myself alone in the dark above Malibu Creek State Park with a 30-gallon trash bag, hobbling along like Santa without a sleigh. Pairs of glowing green eyes emerged from the shadows and stared, silently mocking my aloneness and ineptitude. Then a horrific sound pierced the night sky. Hooooaaaahhhhggg!! Not having been on the course long enough to consider “banshee” a real possibility, I assumed it was the last runner. And I got worried. We were three miles, all uphill, from the next aid station, and a man was exorcising demons from the depths of his soul. I wondered how I would convince him to keep moving. As a sweeper, I’m the person nobody wants to see on the course. Baltasar Estrada, one of my fellow SoCal sweepers, was once sweeping a section of Angeles Crest 100 when he came upon two runners asleep on the trail. It was 3 a.m. at mile 70, one of them was injured and they were both past the cut-off time. The delirious dozers shooed him away. 62
S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7
“We’ve done this before!” they protested. His heartfelt pleas to keep moving met indignation: “Who are you, the police?!” Ultimately, it took him seven hours to sweep six miles. My friend Gretchen Walla (no relation) once swept 30 miles in the Salmon River Mountains of Idaho. By the time she hit the trail—around 1:30 a.m.— temperatures had dropped to near-freezing, fog had thickened around her and wind whipped across the trail. She eventually made it to an aid station under an old army tent on an exposed ridgeline, and found, she said, “carnage.” Runners were cold, hungry and dropping from the race like flies. As they waited for rides back to the start line, Gretchen— who was unable to feel her own fingertips—watched enviously as they sat, covered in warm blankets, sipping hot soup. She lamented the 20 miles she had left to go. But, as a sweeper, she had no option to drop. Now, under the inky shadows of Malibu Creek, I asked cautiously, “Do you need anything?” “I’m so sorry,” he said, now somewhat composed after his bout of dry heaving. “I didn’t want anyone to see me like this.” I smiled and told him I’d seen it all. Dry heaves, salt-crusted faces, gooey snot rags, cascading projectile vomit. I was happy to help. He stood up with all the strength he could muster and started plodding up the trail, like Frankenstein with a hydration pack. “At least it’s a beautiful night!” I added in an attempt to lighten the mood. It was true. The air was cool, and we could see the lights of Los Angeles in the distance. People often assume running is inherently individualistic. And it can be—but not on the trail. The trail demands that you put your own wants and desires behind the needs of the environment around you. Sweeping brings this aspect of running into sharp focus. Matt Stebbins, avid sweeper and co-founder of the conservation group Endless Trails, remembers a time he was sweeping a race through the Colville National Forest in Washington. It was late, shadows were thick and wind screeched through the trees as he caught up to the last runner: “At one point [she] turned to me and said something along the lines of, ‘You can’t tell anyone, but I’m scared, and I know I’m not going very fast, and I don’t want to let my team down, so would you hold my hand?’” He held her hand for two miles. I didn’t hold my runner’s hand, but for three miles we talked about running, family, life in L.A. and how lucky we were to be on that trail, hiking through the dark. Dry heaves, garbage bags and all. Claire Walla runs, writes and sweeps in Los Angeles.
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He stood up with all the strength he could muster and started plodding up the trail, like Frankenstein with a hydration pack.
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