The Best Of iRunFar In 2016

Well, well, well, we’ve just rung in 2017! We are busy at the iRunFar headquarters making plans for a big, bright year and we hope you’ve got your eyes set on one, too. As we close out 2016, we think it’s important to reflect on the best parts of iRunFar’s annual body of work. We remember, we laugh a lot, we occasionally cringe, we fix typos that got left along the way, and we use where we’ve been to help dream up where we want to take this publication next.

We are so proud of and grateful for our editors, columnists, contributors, and volunteers–what iRunFar does is truly a team effort. Here are a few stats from this year which exemplify this:

  • Together our team of editors, columnists, and contributing writers published an amazing 522 articles.
  • We covered 18 of the most globally competitive races in 10 different countries, and conducted 166 interviews with top runners at those races.
  • We were supported by 131 volunteers who donated several thousand hours collectively to help bring you our live race coverage from remote mountaintops, villages, and other obscure locations all over planet Earth.

With this article, we highlight the year’s best of the best: from our columnists’ thoughtful efforts to the most interesting reader-driven discussions, from our race-related interviews and live coverage to our coaches’ recommendations for healthy and happy running, and from our reviews of the best trail running gear out there to trail running how-tos which make this sport accessible to everyone.

Before we continue, Bryon Powell and I want to thank all of you for supporting iRunFar in 2016. Thank you to everyone who followed our race coverage, read our articles, and left great comments. This sport’s incredible community is our team’s inspiration.

Now, onward to 2017 and beyond! Happy New Year!

You can also check out our best-of articles from 20102012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

PS. In case you didn’t know, iRunFar is an independent media source. Consider supporting us. Thank you!

Running Resources

We want to help you run far, fast, healthy, full of happiness, or whatever else drives you in this sport. This year, our team of experts wrote several-dozen articles about training, physical therapy, mental health, and general well-being. These are our favorites among their work:

Training and Physical Health

Hard Facts For Fast Plantar-Faciitis Recovery — Almost every runner is plagued with plantar fasciitis at one time or another. In this article, columnist Joe Uhan, a physical therapist, breaks down his four-part process for healing this injury.

This Is Not About Menstruation — The Trail Sisters–made up of columnists Gina Lucrezi, Liza Howard, and Pam Smith–address menstruation and how it affects trail runners.

“If You Can’t Do This Exercise, You Will Get Hurt:” Hip Stability And Alignment For Trail Runners — Joe Uhan introduces exercises for hip stability and alignment, important requisites of sustainable and injury-free running.

Race-Specific Training: The Biggest Bang For Your Buck — Columnist and coach Ian Torrence reminds us of the importance of race-specific training and discusses how to design it for various kinds of races.

Tackling New Terrain: Basic Trail Running Techniques — Columnist Rhielle Widders breaks down the basic techniques for uphill, downhill, and flat trail running. This article is of particular use to runners hitting the trail for the first time as well as runners of all abilities seeking to improve their run technique.

Do You Really Have Adrenal Fatigue? — Pam Smith, a medical doctor, writes in the Trail Sisters column about the misnomer of adrenal fatigue.

General Well-Being and Mental Health

Guilt And The Long-Distance Runner — Columnist Andy Jones-Wilkins writes about the guilt runners sometimes feel when taking time away from the rest of life to run.

Running And Waiting — AJW writes about how patience often rewards distance runners, how modern life does less so, and how to rectify this disparity.

Overcoming Anxiety: Tips For Getting Out The Door — iRunFar Editor-in-Chief Bryon Powell opens up about anxiety and shares his tips for getting out the door when anxiety affects his running.

The Mountain. The Teacher. — Columnist Joe Grant describes the mountains as teachers to us outdoor enthusiasts if we are open to learning from them.

Travel and Adventure

2016 Zolkan 4 Days Photo Gallery — This playful photo essay by photographer Kirsten Kortebein documents the 2016 Zolkan 4 Days race in Chile.

The Space Between The Race: Mustang Trail Race 2015 — Bryon Powell ran the 2015 Mustang Trail Race in Nepal, and wrote about it in 2016. Of particular note to this story, the race was taking place when Nepal’s devastating earthquake occurred.

Surrealist Realism: The 2016 Trans Atlas Marathon — iRunFar Senior Editor Meghan Hicks participated in the 2016 Trans Atlas Marathon in Morocco while photographer Kirsten Kortebein documented it in images. After the race, Meghan and Kirsten created this combination of words and photos.

Balancing Act — In the summer of 2016, Joe Grant successfully completed his Tour de 14ers, wherein he climbed all of Colorado’s 14ers and biked the distances between each of them. After the project, he wrote about how the experience filtered out life’s distractions.

General Editorial Articles

iRunFar’s 2016 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

The Women’s Race Within The Race — In distance running, two separate races are usually held contemporaneously, a women’s race and a men’s race. The Trail Sisters discuss how simultaneous racing changes the women’s race dynamic, challenges fans’ ability to support the women’s race, and possibly impedes the development of women’s racing.

Though You Have Considered The Facts — With both lighthearted playfulness and deeper contemplation, columnist Zach Miller writes about some of the fundamental sources of joy in humans.

A Trail Runner’s Primer On Public Lands — The United States is made up of many kinds of public lands, which afford varying levels of protection and allow for many different uses. In this important article, Ian Torrence explains the different kinds of public lands and what it means for trail runners in the U.S.

The Risk — In 2016, Adam Campbell was severely injured in a climbing accident in Canada. Columnist Dakota Jones, who was with Adam during his accident, writes about how the incident encouraged him to learn how to better mitigate and manage risk in the mountains.

Creative

Is Impossible Nothing? — Contributing writer Andrew Titus writes creatively about using physical movement to aid our passage through life’s challenges.

Hardcore… Or Soft? — This is a creative essay about the value of pliability and adaptability in trail running by contributing writer Sandy Stott.

Humor

The Hypocrite’s Guide To Truck Camping — The #vanlife is something to lust after, right? Enjoy Dakota Jones’s satirical take on the realities of living out of your truck.

Race Coverage

This was our seventh full year of covering races around the world. 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 from our 2016 race coverage:

Race-Related Articles

Hardrocking: Sharing The Lode — Meghan Hicks spent a couple years digging deep into the hardrock-mining history of the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and connecting it with the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run. This article is the result of her efforts.

2016 The North Face 50 Mile Photo Gallery — A vibrant photo gallery from the 2016 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships by photographer Kirsten Kortebein.

Almost every Monday in 2016, Justin Mock authored iRunFar’s This Week in Running column. His job is challenging: every Sunday evening, while others enjoy their remaining weekend hours, Justin scours the internet for news of the weekend’s racing. As a result, TWIR operates as a fantastic race-news clearinghouse, bringing far-flung results and stories from the global trail and ultramarathon race scene to you.

Video and Written Interviews

Jim Walmsley, 2016 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Champion, Interview — Jim Walmsley had a helluva’ race at the 2016 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile in setting a new course record with an aggressive run in foul weather. This interview is a fun re-watch, especially given the outlandishly successful 2016 of racing and adventuring Jim continued to have.

Anna Frost Pre-2016 Transvulcania Ultramarathon Interview — Anna Frost has been at the pinnacle of mountain running for years, and she’s beginning a transition to a new part of life. In this interview, she speaks openly and honestly about being at the cusp of her transition.

Kaci Lickteig, 2016 Western States 100 Champion, Interview — Kaci Lickteig used all-day consistency, speed, and incredible inner calmness to win this year’s 2016 Western States 100. This interview shows many parts of Kaci, from her fierce inner competitiveness to how hard she works to meet her goals.

Andrew Miller, 2016 Western States 100 Champion, Interview — Amongst a chaotic men’s race, Andrew Miller ran with with even speed and an even keel to win the 2016 Western States. In this interview, Andrew fascinatingly recounts how his effort went.

Meghan Arbogast Post-2016 Western States 100 Interview — At the age of 55, Meghan Arbogast finished Western States for the 10th time, and she finished in sixth place. Meghan explains what it took to accomplish this feat.

Jason Schlarb and Kilian Jornet tied for the win at the 2016 Hardrock 100, one of the most interesting races–and finishes–iRunFar observed this year. Relive their races with Jason and Kilian’s post-race interviews.

Dylan Bowman joined iRunFar for our pre-2016 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships interviews and we experimented with a show-like interview format. Re-watch our women’s pre-race interview show and men’s pre-race interview show.

Zach Miller, 2016 The North Face 50 Mile Champion, Interview — Zach Miller ran the race of his life to capture the 2016 TNF 50 win, and then he gave the interview of his life in recapping the race.

Gina Slaby, 100-Mile World-Record Holder, Interview — At the 2016 Desert Solstice, Gina Slaby quietly and methodically hammered out a new 100-mile world record. Read as Gina explains how it went down.

The Personal Side of Trail and Ultrarunning

Our human side is one of the fascinating aspects of our sport. We believe that, at our core, we are are a community of good, similarly minded, supportive, strong humans. This year iRunFar tried 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: Rich Benyo And Jan Seeley — Rich Benyo and Jan Seeley published Marathon & Beyond for almost 20 years before shuttering the publication in late 2015. Columnist Jessica Campbell profiled the pair.

The Desert Express: A Profile Of Mohamad Ahansal — Moroccan ultrarunner and race director Mohamad Ahansal has helped put Morocco to the global trail and ultrarunning map through his high-level performances at the Marathon des Sables, the development of his own trail races in Morocco which bring in international runners, and his support of other Moroccan runners. This profile of Mohamad is penned by contributing writer Alice Morrison.

WeRunFar Profile: Merilee Maupin And Ken Chlouber — Our profile by Jessica Campbell of Merilee Maupin and Ken Chlouber, who helped found the Leadville Trail 100 Mile, bring new life to a folded Colorado mining town, and develop a strong Rocky Mountain trail running community.

Adventures Of Hillygoat: An Interview With Hillary Allen — Columnist Eric Senseman interviews Hillary Allen, and we get a glorious glimpse of her intelligence, expressiveness, and passion for the great outdoors.

An In-Depth Interview With ‘That’ Dakota Jones — Despite his strong public presence in our community, there’s a lot we don’t know about Dakota Jones. In this interview with Eric Senseman, Dakota opens up to us in a new way.

Race Reports

Down To The Very Marrow: My 2016 Hardrock 100 — AJW had a physically and mentally painful experience in finishing the 2016 Hardrock 100. Here he shares his experience.

Vella Shpringa — Zach Miller finished sixth at the 2016 UTMB via racing aggressively, bonking hard, and hanging on for a finish. He writes about all the people who motivated him when the race got really difficult.

Non-Race/FKT Stuff

In 2016, Meghan Hicks completed the Nolan’s 14 line in Colorado and set a women’s FKT in doing so. Watch the interview with Meghan after her completion and read her report.

Karl Meltzer 2016 Appalachian Trail FKT Interview — After multiple years of trying, Karl Meltzer set a new supported speed record for the Appalachian Trail in 2016. This is a long video interview, but every minute is fun watch.

Jim Walmsley’s Grand Canyon R2R2R (And R2R!) FKT Report — This is Jim Walmsley’s super-detailed report from his Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim and Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim FKTs, which he set in October of 2016.

Pete Kostelnick 2016 Transcontinental Run Record Interview — In 2016, Pete Kostelnick set the U.S. transcontinental run record, a record that has been untouchable since 1980. Read this interview with Pete after his effort.

Other

Dr. Bob Lind – Rest In Peace — Dr. Bob Lind of Western States fame passed away this year, and AJW memorialized him with this beautiful essay.

Remembering Todd Ragsdale — Ian Torrence remembers Oregon trail runner Todd Ragsdale who died while trail running in early 2016.

Timber — Columnist Aliza Lapierre’s trail running and adventure dog, Timber, passed away this year and Aliza’s compassionate tribute will be appreciated by anyone who has loved and lost a pet companion.

Gear Reviews

We are selective of the gear about which we publish reviews. iRunFar reviews what we think are some of the best and most important shoes and gear to hit the trail and ultra market each year, after testing a great deal more products. Here are a couple of those reviews:

Shoes

Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra Review — This is our review of the Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra by stalwart iRunFar reviewer Tom Caughlan.

Vasque Constant Velocity Review — An in-depth review of the Vasque Constant Velocity, part of Vasque’s new trail shoe line, by contributing writer Kristin Zosel.

Gear

Spring Featherweight Jacket Review — This is a review of lightweight trail running jackets by Tom Caughlan.

Call for Comments

  • What were your favorite iRunFar articles this year and why?
  • What were your favorite video and written interviews this year? And your favorite moments from those interviews?
  • Which races did you most enjoy following on iRunFar? Are there moments from within the race coverage that you remember most?
  • What would you like to see or see more of from iRunFar 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 10 comments

  1. Chris Wristen

    Congrats on another year of fantastic coverage, excellent journalism, and lots of inspired writing! Looking forward to more great reading on irunfar in 2017! Thank you for sharing your passion for the sport with us!

  2. Bob

    Happy New Year! and thanks for the old one!
    iRunFar is part of my daily routine, so looking forward to more of your great work!

    bob

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  4. dan miller

    thanks for all the great coverage this past year . When my wife and I cant get to zach’s races its the next best thing to follow online

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