The Best of iRunFar in 2018

Happy New Year! As we march into 2019, we take a few moments to reflect on what last year looked like for iRunFar.

Bryon Powell and I are honored to work with iRunFar’s team of editors, columnists, contributors, and volunteers. We also thank all of you who followed our race coverage, read our articles, and left great comments. Thank you to those of you who support iRunFar financially. This sport’s community is our team’s greatest inspiration.

Here are some basic statistics on what 2018 looked like at iRunFar:

  • Our 20-person team of writers and editors created 461 articles. We far exceeded our goal of publishing one article every weekday!
  • We presented comprehensive coverage of nine of the most globally competitive races, and conducted 123 interviews with top runners at those races.
  •  Sixty-six volunteers donated a couple hundred hours of time to help bring you iRunFar’s live race coverage from random and remote locations all over the world.

With this article, we highlight iRunFar’s editorial and race-coverage year. From the articles which hopefully educated and inspired our community to some of the funniest and most fascinating moments in racing, here is the best of iRunFar in 2018.

PS. You can also check out our best-of articles from 20102012, 2013, 201420152016, and 2017.

Support iRunFar in 2019

Join iRunFar on PatreonWe invite you to join the growing group of readers who support iRunFar financially. You can join the iRunFar Patreon family with a monthly pledge, or support us in other ways, such as via monthly or one-time donations on PayPal or by purchasing iRunFar-branded gear from the iRunFar store.

In case you didn’t know, iRunFar is an independent media outlet, which means that no parent company or brand tells us what to publish, who to interview, or what races to cover. We are committed to iRunFar’s editorial independence.

We are proud of what iRunFar is and does today, and we dream of taking iRunFar far into the future. Thanks for considering your support of iRunFar!

Best Educational Articles

Education is a core element of iRunFar’s mission. We want you to be as happy, healthy, and informed a runner as you can be. Our team created dozens of education-focused articles this year, and here are a few of our best:

Best Writing

The other core element of iRunFar’s mission is inspiration. We endeavor to help you create an inspired running practice and we hope some of that inspiration finds its way into the rest of your life. Here is some of the most inspired writing our team created in 2018:

  • In ‘Joy in the Storm,’ Sabrina Little writes about choosing to be joyful even when there is reason to not be in both running and life.
  • ‘Ten Years On’ is Dakota Jones’s narrative about how his relationship with his father and their shared explorations of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains when he was younger shaped him as a person and athlete.
  • In the essay ‘Birds, Cats, and Dogs,’ Joe Grant writes about the restorative power of nature.
  • Zach Miller’s ‘That Old Ford Truck’ is a reflection on how our lives and memories become tied up in a favorite vehicle or piece of gear.
  • ‘Running and the Busy Trap’ is Andy Jones-Wilkins’s reminder that we can use running to both give our lives structure and prevent us from falling into the trap of feeling too busy to do what’s most important.
  • Bryon Powell’s potent essay ‘Better Than You Found It’ asks each of us to leave our world a little better than we found it.

Best Interviews

We interview a lot of athletes each year as part of our race coverage, and some turn out to be really funny or insightful. Here are a couple of our favorite interviews this year:

  • Jim Walmsley set a course record at the revered Western States 100. He dissects the details of his record-setting performance in this post-race interview.
  • It’s fair to say that Romania’s Robert Hajnal surprised almost everyone with his second-place finish at the stacked 2018 UTMB. Learn about Robert in his post-race interview, our first with him.
  • Germany’s Nele Alder-Baerens took second at the IAU 100k World Championships, despite being a person with multiple physical disabilities. In this celebratory post-race interview, she shares her relief and happiness for her performance as well as what she thinks of being a part of the ultrarunning community.

Best Photos

Photos have the ability to transport you into a single moment in time better than almost any other art medium. Here are three images from 2018 that we think do just that:

Photojournalist Kirsten Kortebein captures a moment of shared jubilation at the 2018 UTMB finish line. Photo: iRunFar/Kirsten Kortebein

A hawk and its piercing eye in flight. Photo: Joe Grant

Lucy Bartholomew’s third place at the 2018 Western States 100 gives us all something to celebrate. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Best Memories

Three-hundred-and-sixty-five days is both a lot of time and a little time, and, wow, did iRunFar’s year fly by! The iRunFar editors share some special moments from this year:

iRunFar’s Best Blooper

You don’t get a chance to interview Kilian Jornet very often anymore, with him being such a popular public figure. iRunFar’s Bryon Powell managed a couple minutes with him at the Skyrunning World Championships after Kilian won the Ring of Steall Skyrace. It was solo interview for Bryon… in the rain… with a quick set-up… in a brief moment of availability. The camera started to lean, Kilian noticed it, Bryon fixed it as best as he could solo and on the fly, and the interview went on. It’s not only an interesting interview, but the scene is pretty funny.

Bryon Powell’s Favorite Personal Moment

I don’t think I can top tying the knot with Meghan for moment of the year. Even iRunFar moment of the year. It was simple and anti-climactic and just how we wanted it to be. Hands down… the best!

Meghan Hicks - Bryon Powell - Married Dove Creek Colorado

Wedding photo in front of Dove Creek’s leading location.

Meghan Hicks’s Funniest iRunFar Moment

Early in 2018, I traveled for 3.5 weeks to cover the Hong Kong 100k and the Tarawera Ultramarathon. The races took place two weekends apart on the other side of the world from where I live, so I stayed ‘over there’ for the eight days between when I finished working in Hong Kong and started working in New Zealand. This amounted to a three-legged voyage on seven different airlines. Our work is functionally paralyzed if our gear gets lost or delayed in transport, so in these situations, I travel with only carry-on luggage. When you travel with only carryons, you sometimes sacrifice taking the best gear for the most packable stuff.

This is how I ended up with only ultralight rain gear while covering Tarawera as the remnants of a tropical storm rained down for basically the entire race. My ultralight kit wetted out within a couple hours–especially because my transport between coverage locations was aided by boats traveling at high speeds through the weather. I always carry a trash bag when I’m trail running or covering trail running races, and was forced to wear it for something like eight hours of race coverage. (I’ll leave it to Liza Howard in her First Aid on the Run article about hypothermia to describe why we all should carry a back-up trash bag.)

It wasn’t pretty, and pretty much everyone laughed at me. But it worked: I stayed warm enough, my electronics survived the storm, and iRunFar’s Tarawera race coverage lived on.

Trash-bag-style Tarawera race coverage. Photo: Arnaud Cailloux

In Memory of Bill Dooper

This year, the ultrarunning community said goodbye to ultrarunning superfan Bill Dooper, who passed away in April at 83 years of age after a series of strokes. We missed him so much on the sidelines of his favorite races this year, but we know that Bill’s passion for the trail running and ultrarunning community lives on in each of us.

Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Call for Comments

  • What were your favorite iRunFar articles this year and why?
  • What were your favorite 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?
Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Managing Editor and the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running.' The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.

There are 6 comments

  1. Alex

    Stupendous year, you guys. I’m proud to be a supporter, and looking forward to all the great running articles you will bring us in 2019.

  2. scott

    Hey! Ultralight doesn’t mean bad. A good rain jacket doesn’t need to weigh more than 5oz (especially sized for female) and if yours failed it wasn’t because it was “ultralight,” it was just a bad jacket (or not seam sealed, most likely).

    Trash compactor bags can save a trip though!

    1. Meghan Hicks

      That’s not what I said at all! :-) I use and depend on a lot of ultralight gear for safety and comfort in backcountry travel and running, and I’ve used this rain kit in a lot of bad weather. However, almost all ultralight kit has a max handling capacity, and the great volume of rain which fell nonstop all day as well as high-speed boat travel through the weather exceeded this kit’s.

  3. david Leeke

    You guys are the Best! Thank you for all you do. My running wouldn’t be the same without you two.
    Congratulations
    And Happy New Year

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