Addie Bracy took the 2019 The North Face 50 Mile Championships out hard and hung tough to take third. In this interview, Addy talks about how she chose to race aggressively early, how she was working with other women in the middle of the race, and how she was forced to work really hard late to maintain her podium position
Read our results article to find out what else happened at the front of the race.
Addie Bracy Post-2019 TNF 50 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, I’m with Addie Bracy. She’s the third-place finisher at the 2019 That North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. Wow, it looked like you had to work for that?
Addie Bracy: I did yeah, I think I was in second until basically right before the bridge and I could see Anne-Marie [Madden]finishing as I was turning the curve. Not an awesome way to get third, but, yeah, I fought for that and that’s all I had in me so I’m happy with it.
iRunFar: Let’s back up to the early part of the race, you guys were a pack of ladies running pretty hard through the dark in the fog.
Bracy: Yeah, we were out hot today. Very fast, a little faster than I probably would have wanted. I think a lot of people paid for it; myself included. So, you know, we talked earlier in the race or before it started, Anna Mae [Flynn] and I. I kind of said, I’m willing to take some risks today if that’s what happens, that’s why we are here to run fast and there’s not anything on the line where I should play it safe, so I went for an don’t know if I would do at the same because it was painful.
iRunFar: What was there in the early miles, who are you with, who were you seeing?
Bracy: Clare [Gallagher], Abby [Hall], Clare was there for a bit and then she kind of fell off.
iRunFar: Abby Hall?
Bracy: Both actually, Abby Hall and Abby Levene, Annie Mae, and myself were altogether. For a pretty long time and YiOu was kind of, she would fall back and come back up. And then people kind of fell off one by one. YiOu, Anna Mae, and myself were pretty close together for a while. But I would say the first 10 to 15 miles were pretty fast. Had a couple sub-sixes in there I think unless my watch was wrong, I hope it was.
iRunFar: Looking at your watch going, whoa.
Bracy: I literally did that. Ouch.
iRunFar: Sub-sixes and a hilly 50 miler.
iRunFar: Okay, so the middle miles I think our kind of some of the deciding miles, there are some steep uphills and some steep down hills when you’re going through Muir Woods. Well down to Stinson, up into Muir Woods.
Bracy: Yeah, I agree, I think the first portion and the last portion – last portion didn’t feel easy I think because I was so tired from the first but yeah, that middle section I agree was very challenging and just some really steep uphills and some steep down hills that just weren’t that runnable.
Bracy: Yeah, that’s actually also – it’s hard to call everything technical here, but that’s the most technical part.
iRunFar: The technical portion right, which – not super technical but having some fatigue in my legs that I definitely had to be a little bit careful in that section, but that middle portion was tough for sure and I think that kind of spread some people out.
iRunFar: Okay. When did – I don’t know what the right way to put this is, when did it become like you pretty much settled into a podium position and now you kind of have to fight to keep it?
Bracy: I never really honestly felt that I had it locked in. Just because I felt so bad and I knew that I was slowing down had some like puking and a lot of walking.
iRunFar: You puked?
Bracy: Yeah. Pretty early actually. And whoever was on the trail with me when I was dry heaving for 10 minutes I apologize, it was really gross. I felt pretty bad so I kind of kept expecting people to come up and when Anne-Marie passed me I still was like, oh shoot I hope I can hold on the third and Abby Hall actually wasn’t that far behind me so I would say I never really felt like I had it locked in.
iRunFar: So our last spotter was on the far side of the bridge and I think you are just 15 minutes – 15 seconds behind Anne-Marie. Did you, I mean were you looking forward at that point or were you looking behind?
Bracy: A little of both but regardless I was moving as fast as I could and even as I finish someone was like, she was right there, I could see her cross the finish line when I was there, literally may be 100 yards, why didn’t you kick? I had nothing in me that was all I had. So just kept moving as fast as I could and hope that I held on to third.
iRunFar: Now, I’m always curious about people like you who come into ultrarunning from shorter distance stuff, from mountain running, like how weird is ultrarunning? It’s so weird isn’t it?
Bracy: It is weird, yeah. I mean there’s a lot of things that I like more about it.
Bracy: I mean a race like today feel similar in some ways because you’re racing from line to line and it doesn’t always feel like that. But I think you know, there’s probably some advantages I have like pack running doesn’t bother me. I like to compete; you know I don’t mind running with people and pushing myself in that way and having a lot of bodies around me.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your third-place finish.
Bracy: Thank you.
iRunFar: Also that third-place check.
Bracy: Yes, always nice.
iRunFar: And I hope you enjoy at least a bit of an off-season.
Bracy: Yeah, at least a short one for the holidays.
iRunFar: Awesome. Congrats.
Bracy: Thank you.
iRunFar: Oh but I have to ask a bonus question. We are in San Francisco, it’s like the city of great food, what are you going to enjoy post race?
Bracy: Oh my gosh. Right now the only thing that sounds good is just like broth or something, I feel terrible. Maybe some pizza? Pizza and a beer.
iRunFar: Pizza and beer, it’s the perfect post race meal. Congrats, Addie.
Bracy: Thank you.