The Best of iRunFar in 2019

The next decade of trail running and ultrarunning is upon us! The iRunFar team is ready, are you? While we’re so excited to head toward 2020 and beyond, we also want to take a few moments to reflect on where we’ve been this year.

First things first, thank you! Thank you so much to the writing, editing, and volunteer team that helps make iRunFar happen. Thank you to all of you for reading iRunFar, following our race coverage, and participating in community discussions on the website. And a massive thanks to those of you who support iRunFar financially.

Here are the basic statistics for iRunFar this past year:

  • Our 20-person writing and editing team created 441 articles. We maintained (and far exceeded) our one-article-per-weekday goal!
  • We presented comprehensive coverage of nine of the most globally competitive races. This included 122 interviews with top runners at those races.
  •  Eighty 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 the rest of this article, we dig into iRunFar’s editorial and race-coverage year. From the articles which hopefully educated and inspired our community to some of the most fascinating moments in racing, here is the best of iRunFar in 2019.

PS. Enjoy a time-machine visit to the past by checking out our best-of articles from 20102012, 2013, 201420152016, 2017, and 2018.

Support iRunFar in 2020

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 at the heart of iRunFar’s mission. Our team created dozens of education-focused articles this year to help you be the best version of yourself on the trails and roads. Here are our top education articles of 2019:

  • Physical therapist Joe Uhan wrote ‘The Whole Person: Multi-Dimensional Injury Treatment’ about how everything in our body is connected and how our whole system must be considered as we try to heal injuries and stay healthy.
  • In the year-long “Trail First Aid” series published in 2018 and 2019, coach Liza Howard and graphic artist Brendan Leonard collaborated on how-tos for first-aid incidents on the trail. Their important overhydration article addressed this common and extremely dangerous health issue for runners.
  • Whoa, bone stress injuries, more common runner maladies. Dr. Tracy Høeg went super in-depth on the science of how and where in our bodies they generally occur as well as how we go about preventing and healing them.
  • Coach Corrine Malcolm’s deep dive into the current science of staying cool while running in the heat should both help you feel good and perform better. Even if it’s winter where you are now, bookmark this must-read for summer.
  • Coach Ian Torrence retired his long-time iRunFar column mid-year. Thank you Ian for your seven incredible years of educating iRunFar readers! Before concluding his column, he wrote about a common conundrum, how to train for mountainous races when we don’t live near the mountains.

Best Storytelling

Another part 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. These articles represent iRunFar’s most compelling written and visual storytelling of 2019:

  • In philosopher Sabrina Little’s essay ‘Just Stay: Reflections on Acedia,’ she writes about the value–and challenge–of staying present for all aspects of life.
  • Managing Editor Meghan Hicks traveled to Bekoji, Ethiopia to observe Girls Gotta Run, a nonprofit organization that supports young female Ethiopian runners in their run training, education, and home life. Afterward, she wrote this feature article.
  • You have to hand it to Andy Jones-Wilkins, as he’s been writing “AJW’s Taproom” for more than eight years! That adds up to 418 articles and counting. This year, he dedicated several articles to reviewing the past transcendent seasons of top ultrarunners. A favorite among them is his redux of Kilian Jornet’s 2010 ultrarunning season, where Kilian’s career vaulted big time.
  • Need a dose of inspiration today? Zach Miller’s essay ‘Giants’ is about waking the giants inside of us to help bring out the best in ourselves.
  • Joe Grant wrote a monthly column for iRunFar for over six years, and he retired it this month. Thank you so much, Joe! His article ‘The Conquest of Paradise’ is about having reverence for the wild.

Best Interviews and Profiles

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

  • In his column “The Long Game,” journalist Damian Hall interviewed Caroline Chaverot about her successful career in trail ultrarunning as well as her fall from health and retirement from competitive racing. Honestly, it’s a tough read, but Caroline’s honesty and Damian’s storytelling makes it worth it.
  • Ladia Albertson-Junkans debuted in the 100-mile distance at this year’s Western States 100, just a few weeks after her friend and running-community idol Gabe Grunewald passed away. The perspective Ladia shares in this pre-race interview should be seen by anyone who uses running to navigate love and loss.
  • It’s not over until it’s over, even in racing ultras! At this year’s Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, Anna Mae Flynn moved into the race lead within sight of the finish line. Her post-race interview is a pretty fun watch.
  • Morgan Tilton pens our “WeRunFar” column, which tells the stories of community members who go above and beyond to support our community. Her profile of Mexican-American runner Noé Castañón documents Noe’s impassioned life so well.
  • Guest contributor Sarah Lavender Smith wrote a truly moving feature story about Nick and Jade de la Rosa, their journey with mental and physical health, and how running has been both a detriment and healing force in their lives.

Best Imagery

Imagery has the ability to transport you into a single moment in time. Here are a few images that crossed the pages of iRunFar in 2019 which do just that:

A bird over water looks like grace and peace visually manifested. Photo: Joe Grant

In June, France’s Julien Rancon took second at the 2019 Trail World Championships. Here, he lets the emotion out. Photo: Kirsten Kortebein

Sun, color, and energy, the 2019 Western States 100 finish line captured in one image. Photo: Michael Lebowitz

Courtney Dauwalter after winning the 2019 UTMB. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Best Memories

The iRunFar editors share some special moments from this year:

Bryon Powell’s Favorite Memory

My favorite iRunFar memory from 2019 was an ‘a-ha moment’ in late November when, on the heels of our great coverage of the The North Face 50 Mile Championships, I realized we’d just published a string of tremendous articles on iRunFar. While I’m quite proud of how we share some of the world’s most competitive trail and ultra races with our community, I’m even prouder of the quality articles we publish every weekday. In this case, a few astounding articles in a short span crystalized this thought.

Meghan Hicks’s Favorite Memories

Choosing one memory is impossible this year! Basically, I am enamored with our team members. Whether it’s working with a writer to develop a story, getting to know a new volunteer who’s joined our race-coverage team for the first time, or reuniting with a returning volunteer, I so enjoy these times. And things get even better when we can connect socially–after the work is done! There were meals, runs, sipping beer at bars, and trying local desserts in foreign countries with members of the iRunFar team. And there was that roving after party in Chamonix with lots of shenanigans… now that was unforgettable!

Call for Comments

  • What were your favorite iRunFar articles this year and why?
  • What were your favorite interviews? 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 5 comments

  1. AJW

    Dear Bryon and Meghan, thanks so much for this trip down memory lane! There is so much fantastic content on irunfar sometimes it blows me away. Thanks, as well, for giving me an outlet for my writing over these past eight years. I love being a small part of what is, to many, the pre-eminent voice in ultra running.

  2. ANDREW BLOCK

    I vote for best pic of the one I took for the site of Courtney taking a beer after dropping out of Western States 100. Pure class to go from the disappointment of not finishing to cheering on Kaci and relaxing with a beer

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