The Best Of iRunFar In 2015

While we’ve certainly got our eyes on a bright future as a publication, we think it’s important to close out each year with a reflection on the best parts of iRunFar’s annual body of work. We are proud of and grateful for our editors, columnists, contributors, and volunteers–what we do is truly a team effort. Together the team published a certifiably ridiculous 603 articles in 2015. With this article, we highlight the year’s best of the best, from our live race coverage to our running-destination reviews, from our in-depth athlete profiles to our detailed gear reviews, and from our resources for running faster to articles showing you how to stay injury-free.

Before we dig in deep, Bryon Powell and I want to a moment to thank all of you for supporting iRunFar this year. Thank you to everyone who followed our race coverage, read our articles, and left great comments. It’s because of you–your running, your excitement about our sport, and this community–that we’re here.

Now, onward to 2016 and beyond! Happy New Year!

Running Resources

We want to help you run long, fast, happy, healthy, or whatever floats your boat in our sport. This year, we endeavored to provide you with the information that helps you do this with a couple-dozen in-depth resource articles. Here are a few of our favorites:

Training and General Well-Being

Try Something New — Ian Torrence spells out shorter-distance trail running training methodology and urges us to give it a try.

What Every Trail Runner Needs To Know About Time In The Wilderness, Part 1, Safety, and Part 2, Ethics — Gretchen Brugman put together this super solid two-part piece on how to be a safe and ethical trail runner. Her work is a must-read-again-and-again for anyone who spends significant time in the backcountry.

Elite Feet: Strong Strides Start At The Foot — Joe Uhan convinces us all that strong and healthy feet are the foundation of sustainable trail running.

2015 Medicine & Science in Ultra-Endurance Sports Conference Report — Tracy Høeg debriefs the ultrarunning-specific research discussed at the Medicine & Science in Ultra-Endurance Sports Conference held before the Western States 100. It’s all good stuff to know if you’re interested in a long-term, sustainable relationship with our sport.

Listen To Your Heart: Tips for Navigating Heart-Rate Training — Joe Uhan explains the basics behind heart-rate training as it applies to trail and ultrarunning.

Travel and Adventure

Trail Running In Thailand — Yes, please. Local Vern Lovic scoops on what it’s like to trail run in Thai tropical paradise. Running destination vaca, anyone?

Trail Running In South Africa — Local trail runners Rebecca Johansson and Sean Cowgill give us the lowdown on where and how to happily and safely run in South Africa.

General Editorial Articles

Members of the iRunFar writing team are now located all over planet Earth and number in the dozens. Our body of work covered the trail and ultrarunning gamut, but endeavored to genuinely, deeply, and truthfully reflect the sport and its community to the best of our team’s abilities. Here are some of the most meaningful articles to emerge from the editorial fray this past year:

Bigger-Picture Issues

On Running And Privilege — Joe Grant gently ponders running as an act of physical, emotional, and temporal privilege.

‘Finding Traction’ Film Review — On its most simplistic level, Finding Traction is a film about Nikki Kimball’s women’s speed record on the 272-mile Long Trail in Vermont. At the film’s heart, however, is an inquiry into and a celebration of how running helps Nikki healthfully deal with depression.

Sponsorship And Prize Money: Gender Inequality In Endurance Sports — This excerpt from Vanessa Runs’s book Daughters of Distance talks about gender inequality in cycling. The ideas transfer well to trail running, and the excerpt spawned a good conversation.

Evolve Or Die — Geoff Roes writes about the, at times, paradoxical trajectory of ultrarunning as it modernizes.

Weight And The Accompanying Head Games — The Trail Sisters, Gina Lucrezi, Pam Smith, and Liza Howard, wrote about body image in female runners. The dialogue their words produced was heartwrenching but perhaps necessary.

‘Langtang’ Film Review — This film is about Kilian Jornet and his friends helping with post-earthquake cleanup in Nepal. More importantly, Kilian is using the film and his platform as an iconic athlete to raise money to rebuild houses destroyed by the earthquake.

Creative

Twenty Words For Freezing — A playful lil’ essay by Andrew Titus dedicated to the long-suffering winter runner.

Self-Propelled — Joe Grant narrates a self-propelled day of playing in the mountains.

Other

The Pleasure of Flow — AJW writes about the act of finding flow when running and how to celebrate the moment when it happens.

A Thank You Letter — Dakota Jones thanks the people who’ve helped him get to where he is today, including Panic! At The Disco. I know, right? It’s a heartfelt, humorous, and endearing piece.

Race Coverage

This year, the iRunFar team brought you live race coverage from 27 of the world’s most competitive ultramarathons in 12 different countries!

We are proud of how we told each race’s story: from before the start to after the finish, with robust front-of-the-pack play-by-play, including information about the environments and communities that played race host, and doing all of this in as unobtrusive manner as we could for both the runners and the environment.

Here are some of our favorite stories to emerge from our race coverage in 2015:

Race-Related Articles

This year, Justin Mock restarted iRunFar’s dormant ‘This Week in Running’ column with the goal of highlighting the world trail-racing scene. Fifty articles and hundreds of races later, he’s probably wondering what he’s gotten himself into. Justin and TWIR have proven an excellent resource for documenting strong performances and an ever-expanding trail-racing scene.

In Memory Of Races No Longer With Us — AJW memorializes races that, for various reasons, no longer take place. The article provides context on where our sport has been and where it’s headed.

Peneda-Gerês Trail Adventure Photo Gallery — Photographer Kirsten Kortebein shot this multi-day stage race in Portugal for us. The weather stormed just about all week long but somehow the photos still make us want to hop a plane to Portugal for some running right this second.

2015 Diagonale Des Fous: You’d Better Play Chess! — Réunion Island local Thierry Caro tells the fascinating history of the Diagonale Des Fous.

Video and Written Interviews

Nicole Studer, American 100-Mile Trail Record Holder, Interview — Like clockwork, Nicole Studer nabs an American 100-mile trail record at the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile, and then talks about her 14:22:18 finish like it’s NBD.

Gunhild Swanson Post-2015 Western States 100 Interview — Gunhild Swanson became the first woman in her 70s to finish the Western States 100, and she did so with just six seconds to spare on the end-of-race cutoff. A couple hours after her in-the-nick-of-time finish, she gave us this remarkably uplifting interview.

Kilian Jornet won the Mount Marathon Race one week and the Hardrock 100 the next–and set course records in each.  Re-watch this interview, the morning after Mount Marathon and after a night of celebrating into the Alaskan midnight sun, as well as his on-the-Hardrock-finish-line interview, where he chats it up after strolling casually over the finish line of one of the world’s hardest 100 milers.

Allie Ostrander Post-2015 Mount Marathon Race Interview — The Alaskan high schooler finished second at the Mount Marathon Race and then answered interview questions like she’s about a decade older than she really is. (This is mostly a reminder for us all to keep following this young woman’s running career. She pretty much just tore up the NCAA Division I cross-country season, as a freshman.)

Camille Herron, 2015 IAU 100k World Champion, Interview — Camille kicked the heck out of the IAU 100k World Championships. Understandably, she’s pretty amped in her post-race interview.

Mira Rai Post-2015 Ultra Pirineu Interview — After growing up in an extremely poor family and in a culture where women rarely participate in athletics, Nepal’s Mira Rai takes second at Ultra Pirineu, emerges onto the global racing scene, and breaks all kinds of barriers.

Race-Coverage Outtakes and Moments to Remember

Alex Varner, 2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Champion, Interview — Alex Varner won Lake Sonoma. After that some words were exchanged. A lot of words. Over beverages. A lot of beverages.

Zach Miller Pre-2015 Transvulcania Ultramarathon Interview — Zach Miller shows up for an interview wearing a golf shirt, bow tie, a tail (in his hair), and a pair of running shorts. Hilarity ensues.

Remember that time when we were covering the Hardrock 100 and members of our team witnessed Brendan Trimboli choke on watermelon, receive the Heimlich maneuver, and run off to continue the race? We’ve seen and experienced a lot of remarkable things while covering races live around the world, but this might be the most remarkable of all:

Anna Frost, 2015 Hardrock 100 Champion, Interview — Anna Frost wins Hardrock and then gives her post-race interview while laying on a couch, drinking wine.

Rory Bosio Pre-2015 TNF EC 50 Mile Interview — Rory Bosio comes out of the woodwork for an interview before the TNF EC 50 Mile in San Francisco. The dialogue is Just. So. Rory.

The Personal: Profiles and Race Reports

The human side is, in iRunFar’s opinion, our sport’s best side. We believe that, at our core, we are are a community of good, similarly minded, supportive, strong humans. We efforted this year to turn a mirror upon the people who make up our sport, to tell the stories of who we are. These are a few of those stories:

Profiles and Interviews

WeRunFar Profile: Terry Rhodes — Terry Rhodes went from being a fit ultrarunner to almost losing her life in an accident. Her return to health and, more importantly, her spirit are part of a tale we all should know. Terry’s story is told by Jessica Campbell.

The Art Of Living: An Interview With Megan Kimmel — Robbie Lawless interviews Megan Kimmel and finds out that, aside from having a wicked 2015 season, the woman really knows how to, well, live.

The Gamer: A Profile Of Andy Wacker — Eric Senseman profiles short-distance trail runner Andy Wacker and his ability to adapt with success to whatever he tries with running.

WeRunFar Profile: Bob Hayes — Bob Hayes, in his late 80s, still regularly trail runs and races, and still lives a fairly traditional Montana lifestyle. Uh, life goals much? Jessica Campbell authors Bob’s profile.

Seth In Motion: An Interview with Seth Swanson — Seth Swanson has rocketed himself onto the global ultra map in the last 18 or so months. Full stop. Robbie Lawless interviews him to find out a little more about Seth’s story.

Race Reports

iRunFar’s Editor-in Chief Bryon Powell ran the inaugural Ultra-Trail Gobi Race, a 400k non-stop race in China’s Gobi Desert. It’s prolly’ a race worthy of being called epic for at least its length. Bryon’s two-part tome on his gear selection and logistics and his personal experiences is also worth such a vocabulary word.

Zach Bitter’s Track 100-Mile American Record Report — Zach Bitter is just so dam$ nonchalant about running 11:40:55 for 100 miles on a track.

Non-Race/FKT Stuff

Scott Jurek Post-Appalachian Trail Speed Record Interview — Scott Jurek sets a supported speed record on the Appalachian Trail, garners a huuuuuuge amount of attention, and then gives us this super laid back, super detailed interview about what went down.

Anna Frost And Missy Gosney Post-Nolan’s 14 Interview — Missy Gosney and Anna Frost became the first women to complete the burly Nolan’s 14 line in Colorado on foot. Here’s their morning-after interview, sleep-deprivation hangovers and all.

Heather Anderson Post-Appalachian Trail Speed Record Interview — Heather Anderson set a self-supported FKT on the Appalachian Trail and offered up this incredibly deep and introspective look into her experience.

Gear Reviews

We are selective of the gear about which we publish reviews. iRunFar reviews what we think is the best and most influential shoes and gear that hit the trail and ultra market each year. Here are a couple of those reviews:

Shoes

Nike Zoom Wildhorse 3 Review — Tom Caughlin reviews the Nike trail workhorse, the Wildhorse 3.

Gear

Craft Winter Apparel Review — Kristin Zosel tests Nordic-to-trail-running-clothes-making convert Craft’s goods.

Call for Comments

  • What were your favorite on-camera interviews this year? And your favorite moments in those interviews?
  • Which races did you most enjoy following on iRunFar? Are there moments from within the race coverage that you remember most?
  • What were your favorite iRunFar articles this year?
  • What would you like to see or see more of next year?
Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Senior Editor, the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,' and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places. For more information on Meghan and her adventures, please visit her personal website.

There are 5 comments

  1. Johnny

    Am I the only one having issues browsing the website lately? I think all the video ads are freezing and/or slowing down my web browser.

      1. Johnny

        There's a Motors Digest one that's advertising Mercedes-Benz one and a "LACHAPELLISM" video. And just saw a Lysol commercial video playing. Maybe it's just my computer, though. If I'm the only one who is having issues. I don't know.

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