2012 Speedgoat 50k Results

Speedgoat 50kThis year’s Speedgoat 50k was a scorcher with six men going under the old course record. Kilian Jornet crossed the finish first and is the winner, but the prize money will drop down to Rickey Gates (2nd – $2,500), Max King (3rd – $1,000), and Anton Krupicka (4th – $500) as Kilian repeatedly cut switchbacks, which is not allowed in American trail racing. Rickey Gates also won the $1,000 prime to the top and is credited with the course record, which is good for another $500, giving Gates a $4,000 payday! Update: You can now watch Karl give an explanation on his ruling as well as read the International Skyrunning Federation’s response.

Anna Frost (post-race interview) dominated the women’s race, winning by half an hour. She also won the $1,000 Queen of the Mountain prime for a $3,500 haul. Frost did not best Keri Nelson’s course record of 6:20. Brand new Salomon runner Kerrie Bruxvoort was second while local runners Sarah Evans and Emily Sullivan where third and fourth, respectively.

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2012 Speedgoat 50k Men’s Unofficial Results

  1. Kilian Jornet (Salomon) – 5:14:10
  2. Rickey Gates (Salomon) – 5:18:27
  3. Max King (Montrail) – 5:23:10
  4. Anton Krupicka (New Balance) – 5:23:36
  5. Thomas Lorblanchet (Salomon) – 5:38:51
  6. Philipp Reiter (Salomon) – 5:40:11
  7. Jason Schlarb (Hoka One One) – 5:44:26
  8. Dylan Bowman (Pearl Izumi) – 5:47:39
  9. Jason Loutitt (The North Face) – 5:49:10
  10. Nick Clark (Pearl Izumi) – 5:53:20

Full results.

Kilian Jornet - 2012 Speedgoat 50k

Kilian Jornet on his way to winning the Speedgoat 50k. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

2012 Speedgoat 50k Women’s Unofficial Results

  1. Anna Frost (Salomon) – 6:26:23
  2. Kerrie Bruxvoort (Salomon) 6:56:33
  3. Sarah Evans – 6:58:51
  4. Emily Sullivan – 7:10:03
  5. Denise Bourassa (Patagonia) – 7:31:54
  6. Silke Koester – 7:31:59
  7. Jen Benna – 7:34:07
  8. Mindy Campbell – 7:45:13
  9. Gina Lucrezi – 7:48:56
  10. Missy Gosney – 7:51:17

Full results.

Anna Frost - 2012 Speedgoat 50k

Anna Frost en route to winning the Speedgoat 50k. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

2012 Speedgoat 50k Articles, Race Reports, and More

Race Reports



There are 292 comments

  1. the runner

    I'm with snurfer, and I didn't think this was a Major League sport. I guess it's adios to the grassroots that keeps trail running real.

  2. Speedgoatkarl

    Because in Skyrunning, it is allowed to cut switchbacks, and that's how they do things, I did not disqualify KJ for cutting them, it's how the Skyracing people are allowed to race.

    I don't allow that here, but let it slide this year, because in my course rules section, it does not say cutting switchbacks is not allowed, (it was the first thing I checked before Killian even finished) It is assumed here in the US that it is not allowed, in Europe, that's not so. If I had that in my rules I would have DQ'd him totally,but it wasn't, so I let him run to the finish, then make a decision. When I heard he was told he's not supposed to cut switchbacks, around mile 20, he continued to do so on his final descent. He knew, he cheated, therefore, he can't win the money in my race, but can still take points for the Skyrunning World series, cuz' in their rules, he didn't cheat.

    It was treated like two seperate races. Follow my course, you win the cash, run for points in a world series and can win the series.

    All in all, it was a very hard decision to make, my race was flawless this year in terms of efficiency and control. Then I had to deal with this, it kinda ruined my day. :-) -Karl

    We could break a record with comments…..Now go run!

    1. emmanuel

      Hi all,

      I'm french, and I like to follow races in other countries, it is a way to discover different landscapes, spirits, … and work my english ! So big thanks to IRunFar.

      Then should Kilian be disqualified or not ? my feelings are mixed, the situation and rules were so confused… First, I agree with people saying runners have to stay on the lane when it exists, it seems natural for me and I would like this to be the rule for any races, even in sky running series.

      I'm not shocked with Kilian being disqualified, but I find the word "Cheater" about him a bit strong. In my opinion, and I hope it is true, Kilian was more an ignorant than a cheater. During the race, did he really understand the situation and the critisms about the cut ? I imagine myself at his place, I can read and write english quite well I hope, but listening and really understanding english native speaking people, besides running (and fast !), is another matter ! I am not sure I could, especially if complicated words like "switchback" and "snowbird" were used (I have yet to understand what snowbird really is, a plant or an animal ?). So I'm doubtful Kilian could.

      1. chad

        Cheater does seem like a strong word especially since when I race I can never make out what people on the sideline are yelling and I'm a native English speaker.

        1. Speedgoatkarl

          Cheater may be a little harsh. Fair enough, I could have used a differnt word, but it ultimately comes down to him knowing he was not supposed to cut switchbacks, and was told during the race from a "source". I will not reveal the name. If he stopped doing it after that, my decision may have been different.

          1. Roger Soto

            You are assuming he heard it and you are assuming he understood it. You are also giving this "source" complete confidence, something you might do but others may not… (I don't have any clue who the source is).

            Also, I think the word cheater is not just harsh, it plain inappropiate to apply to someone who has SHOWN and PROOF many times how much of a straightforward and honest person he is. And, honestly, I think he has also proved he doesn't need to cheat at all to win anyone in any type of race, and even in different sports.

            That said, I personally think all this was just a huge misunderstanding and there were no bad intentions on any side. Just be carefull with the wording, as someone may also use the words "jealousy" and "revenge" from the other side of the discussion (and don't get me wrong, those would be as inapprotiate as the cheating one)

            1. Roger Soto

              Re-reading my comment maybe it was a bit harsh also, it's just that I see in some comments (not in yours Karl) a bit of unrevelled anger towards Kilian that I can't understand, specially seeing the respect and love he has shown towards ultrarunning in general, and in particular to the US ultrarunning scene.

              Anyway, let's leave this.

              Karl, you are a heck of a runner and RD, keep it up! And hopefully we'll see another Human Express endeavour which I did really enjoy!

              And Bryon and iRunFar's team, as always, amazing coverage and many thanks for your effort!

          2. Jordi

            hehe just as emmanuel says, i bet he didn't understand that person, otherwise he would have stopped cutting those things called "switchbacks"… It's actually funny to picture kilian thinking 'what did this man mean?… not allowed what? switch-what? what was exactly the meaning of 'allowed' anyway… hahah

    2. Anom

      …"When I heard he was told he’s not supposed to cut switchbacks, around mile 20, he continued to do so on his final descent…" BUT WHO TOLD IT!!! So, someone told you something that it is supposed to be part of the unwritten rules and you EXPECT runners to trust!!!!

      1. Bryon Powell

        I don't think the person needs to be named. I know who told Kilian and it's someone he should trust to a very high degree. It was not a random person or even a random volunteer on the course.

        1. Justin

          If it aint writen it aint so.

          If it was not in the rules it was Karl's fault.

          Sorry, rules cannot be told for the first time and then enforced during a race.

          I don't care if it was Karl himself who told Kilian during the race.

          1. Justin

            And I will add that it was NOT in the rules.

            This was Karl's oversight and he has had to learn a hard lesson. But I'm sure the lesson has been learned.

          2. Bryon Powell

            I disagree that if it's not written, it ain't so. For the past millenia (at least), common law has supplemented civil code throughout the countries that adhere to an English legal system. Under that system, a standard need not be published as a law or posted publicly to have the full force of the law. There are countless other contexts in which the same principle applies. Indeed, "laws" certainly predate the written word as mores and customs. In the US, it is our custom and ethic not to cut switchbacks in races. This difference between American and continental European trail customs is very well know in the US and, given previous controversy on big stages regarding the issue of switchback cutting by Europeans in American races, I suspect that the relevant people would at least be aware of the issue. Regardless of awareness, ignorance of the law (written or not) is no defense.

            Yes, Karl now knows that it would have been better for everyone had he explicitly published the rule on his website, but that doesn't mean the rule did not exist before the race.

            1. Justin

              But that same arguement could be used in the opposite way. Because it was a Skyrace and there was no writen rule saying that cutting was not allowed one could reasonably assume that it was.

  3. Speedy

    I have photos of the Baldy cut and Rickey staying on course. Not sure about any of the others. Great run by both and the others regardless.

    1. Dave Klein

      I checked the flyover course map and it looks like the course follows the traditional ridgeline up baldy, however the event course was clearly marked to the west don't know where Kilian went. We straightlined the screeslope below the road to Prove last year when it was on snow, up and down, but that was the marked course I think.

      Thats to bad for Kilian and we probably need to clarify things in the US. It's on the runner to know the customs/rules of the land, we don't cut trails in the US for environmental reasons I'm surprised that is not true in Europe. That being said Carl's judgment seems more than fair.

      Back when they ran the Rowdy Run to the top of Hidden Peak it was stated 'first to the top wins' with an emphasis on Rowdy, three of us decided to take 'em up on that. We asked at the the starting line "if it was really 'first to the top wins' and were told yes. I was first up with the fasted time to the top and what would have been a course record – except it wasn't because it did not count. We cut the course and a lot of distance. That was fair.

  4. Roger

    Can't believe the amount of fanboying and hating going on around this outcome. Even on the other side of the world, this has been a fairly hot topic on forums/Facebook/etc.

    Karl did a great job bringing together a really exciting field where a fast race was guaranteed and there was no certain prediction of the final 5. In itself that's an achievement when so often even major ultras with fields of 400 have relatively predictable podiums. And it was a racer's race – tough course, fast front end, sweet purse.

    Course improvisation and taking fastest lines is also exciting, so what do you do? I've never heard any Race Director relish the prospect of cutting or penalising a runner, even when it's as clear a case as a runner missing the cutoffs on course.

    It would have been a sad compromise both to reach and to hear for Karl and Kilian respectively, but it's not sad for the sport that trail ultra is having to make some big decisions akin to working through growing pains.

    It looked like a great event, and surely Anton Krupicka's return to competitive form after a challenging 18 months is the most exciting headline in all of this.

  5. Davide

    I did the check in at UTMB next to Kilian: he had each single item requested from race rules. Same goes for Geoff Roes, which had an even smaller pack probably. I witnessed firsthand they had EVERYTHING.

    Great race and terrific performances, by the way.

      1. Davide

        Yup, but I keep hearing how Kilian (and the rest of the elite) could have stocked everything in such a small pack: it is possible, actually, expecially if you're crewed.

        But you're right, anybody could have discarded something once on the way: it is just an assumption but it's definitely possible.

  6. Phillip Lowry

    Majo, la ley es la ley, y por tu conducto ya nos escrudina aun mas el gobierno federal. Debes comunicarselo al mundo y al gobierno federal y estatal por dejar tu "victoria" y hacerte "DQ". Eso seria un acto de valor y de caballero, y seria un sacrificio por el deporte. Hay otras leyes que aplican y tienes la obligacion de cononcerlas. La ignorancia no se minima la culpabilidad, pero bueno, parece que en esta caso la ignorancia no esta. Por la pinta se parece.

  7. Phillip Lowry

    Let's just shut down ultrarunning on public land. That's what this thread is demonstrating. The defenders of Kilian are in DENIAL.

    THERE IS NO DEBATE. It was illegal. I am so pissed off with where some of you are going with this that I am starting to see why there are haters of our sport in the federal government. Those of you defending Kilian are no better than the SUVers who drive across meadows. Yup. "It's public land, I can do what I want!"

    Keep it up. You'll shut us down.

    But who is "us" anyway? If people give any more credence to this thread than I might as well spare us a slow death caused by the transformation of the sport into a lawless free-for-all. I'll just call my fellow federal government attorney who is the forest service solicitor and he can push this down to the district rangers, and soon, most western ultras, including the beloved Western States, will be history.

    Holy. Freak.

    1. chad

      You have to cut someone a little slack if they don't know it is illegal. Now he knows and I'm sure he will never make the same mistake again. Lesson learned on Kilian's end and I'm sure Karl will make things clear on his end so this never happens again.

      1. Phillip Lowry

        Chad, I have been trying cases a long time. I don't find that argument credible. Not after what happened on Pike's. I already posted to Kilian, in Castellano (I lived in Spain for two years) that the proper thing to do would be to forfeit. This would go a long way to help forest officials who are defending us from their more radical colleagues. To understand my frustration, right now I am an Army lawyer in Afghanistan. My colleagues work for months and years to build trust, and then some Joe burns a Koran. Poof. Literally. All that work–shot.

        1. Justin

          Why should we assume Kilian had any knowledge of what happend at Pikes? That seems like a huge stretch. As a lawyer you know that such things need to be specified in the rules. They were not. Karl has admitted that. With no such rule specified it seems reasonable to Kilian to assume that the general Skyrunning rules would apply.

          BTW – Thank you so much for your service. I can't imagine what it must be like to be doing what you are doing. You have my gratitude and my respect. My best wished for a safe return.

    2. guest

      I agree except it seems the fault is Karl's for not putting it more clearly in the written race rules nor emphasizing it at pre-race meetings. He pretty much admits this allowed for the possibility that KJ was following other Skyrace rules and thus made him have to think 2x about a full out DQ. I do not sense anyone here suggesting that it a good thing to allow or overlook cutting switbacks as a general policy in races or beyond. Next year will be very different I am sure and other RD's can learn from this as well.

  8. Anom

    Hey SpeedGoat organizers, you are crappy, more runners did the switchbacks, Rickey included… Kilian vente para Europa…

  9. Yeti

    I can accept that Killian did not understand the rules and an honest mistake is worth forgiving. BUT…Karl stated Killian was seen cutting switchbacks and told to stop but continued to do so later on in the race. That's not confusion anymore, that's flat out cheating. He was knowingly breaking the rules after he was warned. In my opinion, a DQ and an explanation from Killian why he continued to cut switchbacks AFTER he was told to stop are certainly in order.

    1. Anom

      No, the rules must be written not told during the race in the middle of the downhill… remember, Kilian is the man who said "More kilometers, more fun" and these guys said that he did switchbacks like a poor runner…

      1. Justin

        Agreed. Karl cannot rely of some volunteer or anyone else yelling out NEW rules when the race is underway. No reason Kilian or anyone else should believe them or understand what they are saying.

        I say NEW because they were not included in the official races rules.

        Karl's fault, period.

  10. MtUnpaved

    Here's my 2 cents;

    * It was an excellent and exciting race to follow on IRunfar, Thanks Bryon & Crew.

    * It was disheartening to see the bashing going on about some of the runners during the race. We as a group should be better than that.

    * Karl had to make a very hard decision but based on what he has said and what I have read it seems that he tried to be fair with all parties involved.

    It's always easier to cast judgement when your NOT the one forced to make the hard decisions.

  11. Phillip Lowry

    Ja, gehst du dort. Wir, die Amerikaner, sind zu unhoflich und nie lernen die Sprache von Europa. Und, leider, wir nie euer Rechte lernen. Y eso, mis majos europeos, es la verdad. Bien sur, n'est pas? Io credo che si. Isso e uma vergonca, e verdade.

    1. Jordi

      Phillip, it wasn't 'stop' the word he didn't understand, was it? or are you suggesting that that mysterious but trustful person told him to actually stop?. That would shed light on things indeed ;)

  12. Chris

    Let's not talk about the time saved when cutting switchbacks, but the damage that does to our natural environment. I hate to see anyone cutting trails anywhere. It causes erosion and the hard work our volunteers put into trail building is taken out. As runners we need to be ambassadors to trail use. Please do NOT cut any trails to get there faster.

  13. David T

    "Was allowed" I mean. Depending on assumed knowledge is a dangerous thing as this case highlights. Especially true as races become more international. You just cannot assume that everyone has the same knowledge when you are cross international boundaries.

  14. David T

    Sorry, Justin. I meant "you mean" and I don't mean to assume that I know what you are talking about but it just seemed like you did not finish your thought. It seemed like it was making some sense and I agree with it. Although I do get Bryon's point (he kind of knows what he it talking about being an attorney and all)

  15. JimS

    "Let's just shut down ultrarunning on public land…" what the heck??? I'm sure you're familiar with the area, no doubt more than I am. You do realize it's a ski area with big towers and that the runners pass by massive new concrete foundations and big holes obviously dug by big machines, don't you? Let's keep a little perspective here. Tis isn't an undisturbed wilderness area.

    1. Phillip Lowry

      This is not a wilderness debate. Our worst resource degradation caused by trail cutting occurs in the urban interface, not wilderness. It is a huge problem for the FS. For them this whole thing is about the same as poaching a moose and the guide telling the fish cop, "Hey, he didn't know the law." It really pisses the government off. So, their reaction is, "Well, we have to put up with the ski resorts, but we certainly aren't going to allow foot races with all the crap they pull." BTW–much of the Speedgoat traverses public land, and many Utah resorts lease from the FS. Please don't morph the facts to fit an ethos not shared by those in power.

      1. JimS

        "…about the same as poaching a moose…" Isn't this another bit of an exaggeration? I'm not making this a "wilderness debate, just trying to keep some sort f realistic perspective here.

        "please don't morph the facts…" and what is equating the FS attitude toward poaching wildife with cutting a switchback? is this really true? You know it's not.

  16. Mt.Mutt

    Stress easy Phillip?Please don't call all your higher up friends to shut down races,we should all agree on your view,no debates,so that we all can get along,beers are on me.

  17. JimS

    Yeah, I was wondering if Killian was the only one who cut any switchbacks, and how much and how often this occurred, both by Killian and by any other runners.

  18. jenn

    Wow, this thread really blew up! Re Kilian, actually I didn't notice much 'unrevelled anger' toward him at all. A few grumpy folks, but most confused about what happened and/or defending the need to stay on the trail. He's quite liked and respected on this side of the pond, from what I can tell. Can we just chalk this up as a learning experience and move on? He and other runners now know about switchbacks in North America, and Karl and other race directors now know they have to be absolutely explicit about such things. I have a crew instruction manual that gets longer every year, as I cope with things that happened the previous season – sometimes its because some entirely new issue has cropped up, but others its because I've thought something has been unmistakably clear, and then find out it isn't! Can we just drink a toast to the universality of human fallibility, and head out for a run? Cheers, everyone!

    1. Anonymous

      " I have a crew instruction manual that gets longer every year, as I cope with things that happened the previous season…" yes, you are admitting that the problem is not the runner but the instructions, no problem thanks for the race anyway, but leave the award and the money to Kilian.

    2. Roger Soto

      Jenn, I really hope so, as in this (mine, the EU one) side of the pond we also do admire quite a lot of your amazing runners, AK, Scott J, Geoff Roes, Timmy Olson, Dajota J., The Man Koerner (I think what he did last year in UTMB is THE most amazing performance of any top-dog I have ever seen, stick to a bad day and carry on! No surrender! Just like we, mid-back of the packers do -or try to do- every race!). I wouldn't like this amazing sport of ours to be dirtied by some stupid nationalist/continental crap, real life has enough of that!!

        1. Roger Soto

          That's exactly what I was talking about!! :-)

          This is our sport: run until you can't run more, then drink! hehehe (and in iRunFar we have both, plenty of ideas for running long and plenty of beer suggestion thanks to AJW!)

  19. MS

    Wow, lots of pent up energy here! … Hopefully it's just from too much tapering …. if so, I'm looking forward to seeing all the fast times in the near future!

    Thanks Bryon! Great entertainment pre, during and post race …

    Awesome event Karl! … hope to make it next year to see the field of amazing runners! Can I take a ski lift to the top?

  20. Phillip Lowry

    Thanks, Justin. With a good's night rest I am more reflective, but consider: do we now have to have a book of rules for our races? The rules list get longer every year because of one dude who is stupid. This sport has been spared long rule books. I see the end of an era, of our innocence. And it sucks.

  21. Mountain Lover

    I agree!!

    But I love nature even more than you, because I hate seeing trails of any kind on mountains. Humans should stay off completely! Let nature live. Let the mountains live without human impact! I don't see how cutting a permanent trail through a mountain is any better than a few people (or a hundred people…whatever) going 'off trail.'

    1. Chris

      I am torn on this as well. I believe in responsible use of our wild places. Keep a certain amount free of human impact and manage a certain amount for us to enjoy. (the percentage is up for debate ;)

      We protect and promote natural spaces because we've experienced them. If we take away that experience, we will ultimately lose the passion.

  22. Chris

    Looks like some cultural differences here. Perhaps even within the US.

    Rule 1 for me: Stay on the trail. Do not skirt around mud. Run through it. Do not run around puddles, run through them. Only go to the edge to pass or be passed. NEVER cut a trail. That defeats the purpose.

    I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, so we are very passionate about keeping it that way. I am sure many feel the same. We do not mean to come off as angry.

    1. Scott

      I think the "don't cut the trail; save nature" argument is getting a bit silly.

      Of course we want to 'protect' nature and be ambassadors of the mountain, but let's not fool ourselves: we've built hundreds of thousands of miles of trail through our wildernesses…and that's not to mention the millions of miles of roads we've built through our national forests.

      Certainly cutting a switchback, going off trail to poop, or walking around a mud puddle are hysterically insignificant compared to the permanent damage done by all the trails we've built.

      We've made the choice as a nation that access – however limited – to these wild places is more important to us than actually keeping humans from walking on a delicate flower. Yes, I'm an advocate of the 'don't do more damage to the mountain than necessary' mindset, but let's try to keep things in perspective. :)

  23. Nicole W

    I'm new to ultrarunning and not very knowledgeable on race sanctioning and course certification, but maybe that's the direction ultrarunning needs to head if the sport is going to continue its growth trajectory ?

    1. Speedgoatkarl

      Nicole, sanctioning is pretty much a joke because in trail races, such as the Speedgoat, noone "wheel measures" any course. WE make the route on trails, folks follow em'. the Speedgoat was "sanctioned" by the USATF, but it's not like they come out and check on it, they just take the check for insurance…..because they sanctioned it. It's a crazy circle. :-)

      My course is certified….by me, that's about it.

  24. Roger Soto

    Phillip, who is the stupid one?? I do respect Byron and the work he puts on this website too much to really type what my gut tells me to, so I'll just say: in around 250 comments yours are the only ones are not adding any value to the discussion, please be respectful.

  25. Drew

    If you were fast and someone wanted to pay for your equipment and race fee, you wouldn't let them? of course you would.

    1. Aaron

      I'm not sure I would. I don't even like wearing clothes with obvious logos. Taking a sponsorship would be too much like whoring myself out. I've done enough of that in my life to know how dirty if feels.

    2. Guest

      I am sure most of us would jump at that, but one who has not is Mike Morton, winner of Badwater and one who has run three 13:xx 100 milers and 163 miles in 24-hours over the last year. In the podcast below he talks about turning down sponsorship so that he can run the races when and where he wants to run them. Morton is old school and an absolute beast of a runner.


      1. Dave

        "Whoring"… umm a little dramatic, Aaron?

        Having been sponsored for awhile, I have never felt pressure from sponsors to run any particular race or any unreasonable expectations. It is almost without exception a mutually beneficial relationship and feel honored to have such excellent positive support from sponsors.

  26. Chris

    I do not accept the argument that since we've already put trails and roads through our national forests and wilderness areas we are fine to cut trails, widen trails and do what we want. That simply doesn't hold water in my book.

    Pouring a barrell of oil in your backyard is insignificant compared to the amount of oil the Exxon Valdez dumped, right?

    Why do you need to cut a switchback? Why do you need to walk around muddy areas?

    Utterly and very respectfully! I think this is a great discussion for trail runners to have.

    1. Van Horn

      You forget about the 2010 Gulf oil spill already? Sheesh. Cutting a few switchbacks is not going to cause any damage. (If a moose is on the trail, I am going to cut a freaking switcback.)That is not the issue here. It is that Kilian ran a few feet shorter than everyone else. Boo hoo. Karl's decision is absolutely correct.

      1. Chris

        Sorry to see you lower the discourse. People have gotten to used to seeing politicians debate. Here are a couple of good groups out trying to do the right thing.

        http://www.backcountryattitude.com/switchbacks.hthttps://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/willamette/recreation/?cid=fseprd536796 http://www.trailrunner.com/news/trail_etiquette.h

        That's it from me. I'll just continue to think one is lazy if they cut switchbacks or trails and think one is a roadie if they are hopping off trail to avoid mud.

  27. Adam W. Chase

    Bryon, not to be snarky here, but ISF is a European organization and they tend to follow the rule of law established by that little French dude who kicked ass over there a long time ago. Having had to pass the Louisiana bar, I became familiar with the Napoleonic Code and, since this is essentially a jurisdictional controversy, if we apply those principles to our Speedgoat situation, I believe we arrive at the decision stated by Marino Giacometti in his support for Karl's resolution. In the future, of course, we'll adopt the rule of law of another little dude:

    "I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. And I'm asking you sir, at the top of my lungs – stay on the marked trail without fail."

    –Another little dude, Adam W. Chase, President of the American Trail Running Association

    1. Bryon Powell

      Not snarky at all. Guess we have to break out the conflict of laws textbook to see which set governs. ;-)

      My primary point was that rules or governing principles need not always be written.

  28. Adam W. Chase

    Don't go pulling an Erie v. Tompkins on me, Honor Goat. I've got the Lorax on my side and he can be rather vicious when provoked.

  29. Mary Ellen

    This is a pretty basic thought process, but all runners in a race should run the same course. It would never cross my mind to lop off a piece of trail. It would be cheating, and I personally would not feel good about myself if I did that. I think KJ is an awesome athlete, and perhaps he still would have won, but since he did not stay on course, all you can say is that he ran fast, and he certainly did not officially beat the also very fast second place runner who did stay on course.

  30. Andrew

    Wow, that's a strange attitude. I run orienteering races all summer, and even put on an orienteering meet once a year. I live in the US. So going by your rule for yourself, you must think orienteering competitors are bad people because we run mostly off trails in natural areas?

    As a member of an O-club, we even try to slow the construction of new trails in our orienteering areas/maps and make public comments requesting leaving untrailed natural areas, especially on terrain that is good for orienteering, because trails break up good orienteering areas and make it difficult or impossible to set up the more advanced courses. We do this so we can run off trail! We must be bad people…

    1. Chris

      Orienteering is a great sport Andrew. There is no one-size fits all thing here. The difference here is that a well used trail that has more people travelling on it. If you cut that trail, more people cut it, thereby creating a negative impact.

      With orienteering you have a small number of people going through new areas: OK

      In trail running you have hundreds or thousands of runners/hikers per year and once a new shortcut starts, it gets used over and over: NOT OK

      I've no problem with exploring the woods. But when there is a congo line of people trampling through, stay on trail…

      One other negative impact of shortcutting is that you lose trail flow. Wanna see the impact of people not caring? Walnut Creek Park in Austin. Great park but the trails are what I call a spaghetti bowl.

      Hope this helps explain my position here. It's a complicated issue and not black and white….

  31. Stevie Ray

    Here's what I don't understand.

    It has been repeated in various places that switchback cutting is a-ok in Skyrunning events. And that this was (sort of?) a Skyrunning event. And that there might be more Skyrunning events in the states.

    How in the wide, wide world of sports did the USFS, Parks Service, and whoever else permit this event where cutting switchbacks is sanctioned? And why are we wanting more of this??

    Whether JK knew or not, should have done it or not, won or not, got DQed or not, yes, ok… but… I don't get it.

    I am 110% sure this thing wouldn't have gotten permitted and similar events won't if switchback cutting is encouraged. At least not in a place like that.

    1. Chris

      Time for more wilderness areas. If ultrarunning continues to move toward 'skyrunning', I see us losing a lot more access to trail races. Let's be sure to follow the guidelines of proper trail use or else. Being a former mountain biker, I can tell you that we will lose if we take the attitude that we can do whatever we want.

      I envision race limitations so that even the smallest of trail races are hard to get into. I envision the park service cutting access to santioned races if we allow this.

      I used to think trail runners were THE stewards of the trails and friends of the Forest Service….hmmm….starting to wonder….

  32. James

    Bizarre. Seems that the unnamed person is Ricky Gates. Would explain the strange coverage here as well as the lack of post race interviews with the men.

  33. Andrew

    I'm mainly calling you out on your "NEVER cut a trail" statement that is too absolute. Like you are finally saying now, it's not black and white. Circumstances matter a lot, and I would agree that in many circumstances staying on the trail is the best policy.

    In orienteering you can have thousands of people in a single running through the woods in an event – witness the big night-O events in other countries(see youtube). My local club even gets up to 120+ people out for some of our weekly events when there is good weather.

    "Wanna see the impact of people not caring? Walnut Creek Park in Austin. Great park but the trails are what I call a spaghetti bowl." I don't know of this place, but it sounds, at least in part, like the trails were poorly designed (or not designed). It's not like people behave on other trails, but suddenly don't for that particular park.

  34. Chris

    I'd give you a dollar for those thoughts! I feel the exact same way. If we start looking the other way on this or allowing it, we will lose our races. Most races are already capped to minimize impact to the environment. If this community starts thinking they can do whatever they want, things will change. We trail runners need to be Advocates for proper trail use. I am totally dismayed by those who think cutting switchbacks is OK. Those are the attitudes that will hurt our sport.

  35. Speedgoatkarl

    Chris, all races here in the US will be like "local rules" in golf. Follow our route, or you lose. I wouldn't worry about losing permits because some ONE guy cut a course.

    Sanctioning, essentially means nothing, it's just a way to make races "official", which also means nothing. :-)

    1. Chris

      Thanks Karl. First, you did the RIGHT thing and I respect the heck out of you. I was speaking in terms of 'if' we as a communicty accept course cutting as OK. I've seen quite a few people say cutting switchbacks is no big deal. I am worried that a flippant attitude by runners will hurt our sport. Many parks limit the number of participants and one local park that allows races has told the organizers that ANY litter found on the course will result in the park closing to future races…

  36. amg

    A lot of people here throwing in their two cents: "He cheated", "No he didn't", "He should've been DQ'ed", "The rules were unclear" etc etc. It seems that we, the general public, dont have all the facts, and nor should we. The race director had to make a decision, and he did, and everyone should respect that. Lessons learned. Move on.

    I can't imagine how sick Karl must've felt being put in the position he was in. The effort to organise any event is immense, and to have that soured would suck big time. The displeasure etc exhibited by some of the commentors here is trivial compared to that.

  37. Anonimous

    I don't understand why he wasn't DQ'ed?

    Lesser runners are often DQ'ed from events and they just come back next year to clear the record. And these DQs that I speak of are after 10, 15 and 20 hours of running.

    It makes me and others wonder how much time this Spain guy "cuts" off the clock at UT Mont Blanc via switchbacks. Are those record times and finishes 'manufacturered'?

    Up for debate.

  38. Danni

    I think it is the responsibility of every participant in event to know the rules, and thus think a DQ would have been correct.

    Having said that, I also know the RD job is difficult, and this particular RD has more than earned the highest respect from me – not just in his own running ability, but the way he has conducted himself in races and challenges – and all that is enough for me to respect his decision without further question.

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