iRunFar Holiday Run Challenge on Strava

iRunFar Holiday Challenge

Get out and run 50 miles from December 24 through January 1.

Hey iRunFar Readers,

Bryon here with a challenge for you over the busiest part of the holiday season. Run 50 miles or more (we’d love to see what you can log) from December 24th through January 1st. Yeah, that’s nine days… but nine days filled with gravy and grandma, football and feasts, presents and parties. Amidst all of that, get out there and make some time for yourself and your running!

We’ve partnered with Strava to provide a public platform for the iRunFar Holiday Run Challenge. A little community (and pride) are great for motivating one to get out there for a run when it’s cold, you’ve stuffed yourself silly, and you still have 83 presents to wrap. You can do it! As a bit of extra motivation, we’ll be giving 10 entrants (all you need to do is sign up) their choice of an iRunFar hat or visor. Now get out there and run this holiday season – I know I will be!

Happy trails (and holidays),


Ps. It’d be awesome if you left comments with accounts of some of your eventful or meaningful holidays season runs. Pictures are great, too!

How to Use Strava and Join the Challenge

You’ve never been on Strava?  No problem, it’s easy. Sign up for free at with your email address or go to the iOS or Android app store and download the Strava Run app. You’ll need to either use a Garmin device or the app to record your runs for them to count.

For a Garmin device, once you’ve completed your run simply plug it in to your computer (make sure you’ve downloaded the Garmin plug-in!) and click the ‘Upload Activity’ button. Strava will recognize the device and then the activities to sync them with the website.

From the Strava app, start a run, put the phone in your pocket and when you’re done, hit finish!  You’re all set.

Once you’ve joined the Challenge all your runs logged will automatically be updated on the leaderboard.

Need more info? Check out How It Works.

To make it even more fun? Find your friends on Strava using the Explore feature, follow them and then show them what you’ve got. Maybe give them kudos, maybe say something or maybe just stalk their activities so you’re motivated to go just a little bit further.

There are 97 comments

  1. RFSQL

    Great idea. Sadly nobody else on Strava will be running up the same obscure hill in Northern Scotland I'll be logging all these miles on. (Google "Fyrish Hill Evanton" if you're curious.) Happy trailsmas!

  2. Alex

    I'm waaaaaay too behind the times, in terms of technology, to participate with this formally. (And I'm 24, so I don't have an excuse.) But it's a good target to hit nonetheless, so I'll put in my miles anyway.

  3. Jeff Faulkner

    Sounds interesting, I was planning on doing that much or more anyways. I don't normally carry my iphone with me on my runs though, that'll take some getting used to.

    1. Eric Ahern

      There's a Nathan handheld water bottle with a pocket that fits the iPhone. I run with that and it's quite convenient for tracking runs. Just be careful when filling the bottle!

  4. Jimmy Mac

    I'm into this, I gotta do a 20 and a 10 next weekend (29th & 30th) so that's 60% of the total (and I'm sure I can fit in another 20 miles somewhere).

    It's on, thanks Bryon!

      1. Michelle

        Thanks, love the challenge. Just enough to do a little bit more and not too much to say yeah right. I was using run keeper for the days I left my garmin home on the mid day office run but didn't like that I couldn't import garmin data. Thanks for helping me find a good iPhone app.

  5. André Lambert

    Hey Bryon,

    I am a long time Strava fan. Your challenge is not showing on the Challenges page. I had to find it through your link in order to join it. Is it restricted to the US?

    1. Larissa

      Hi Andre,

      It's not restricted to the US, but it's just not promoted on Strava since we put it together quickly. It's available to anyone!

    2. Bryon Powell

      André, This is iRunFar's first go on Strava… so we're keeping this a "hidden challenge" for now. Maybe if there's enough interest, I can get Strava to bump it up to the main challenge page! ;-)

      Anyone can join the iRunFar HR Challenge. No country restrictions.

  6. John Knotts

    I was planning on being somewhat traditional and laying low until the 1st, so I'll have to get going a bit early to make it happen. But mostly I'm stoked to see iRunFar working with Strava. I love Strava and it'll be great to see more ultra runners over there.

  7. Buzz

    I may or may not reach 50, and will not try to do so – the Winter Solstice is when I rest and let go – but signed up anyway, because it's fun to see what my friends are up to, and I love Strava.

  8. Eric

    That's what I needed for this season, an original challenge. I usually run 25 miles a week, then I can work endurance. I will take up this challenge in Belgium. Merry Christmas to the team irunfar and faithful readers. Thank you for 2012.

  9. J.Xander

    I'm in and I've got the tech but, it has been -10 to -15 degrees here everyday! My phone has been shutting down at these temps. It's not projected to get warmer. If my gear freezes can I still play?

  10. Miriam Gilbert

    I don't own any of that fancy technology, but what a great idea…I'm in and will log my miles the old-fashioned way – paper and pencil!

  11. Andy

    Sadly, I'm with Alex and Kristin, i.e., no technology, though all this talk about Strava has me curious. I could pick up a Garmin as a holiday gift to self. If only I can shake this flu and get out on the trail by tomorrow, which is not looking promising …

  12. Gary Gellin

    I would like to one up the challenge by sponsoring the outlaw StravaMan/StravaWoman competition. Join and complete both the iRunFar 50 mile challenge and the Rapha Festive 500k cycling challenge which began today, December 24. The winner will receive a free batch of my famous homemade energy bars. Famous? not really, but they did go to Mt. Everest and also have Scott Jurek's endorsement. Winner must reside in U.S. Total miles will be added up with one running mile equal to five cycling miles. And you need to submit your results directly to me garygellin at gmail dot com.

  13. Jeff Faulkner

    Thanks Eric, I DO have 2 Nathan bottles that have pockets big enough to carry my iphone. Neat. And my dear wife got me a Nathan HPL 020 for Christmas so now I've really no excuse to leave my phone at home.

    2 runs logged so far, just a tad under 13 miles. I need to do better.

  14. nancy stedman

    What I would do with a new pair of Salomom Sense Mantras is simple – I would do more of my running on trails, and make it a point to expand my geographic reach! We have an excellent trail system here in Tallahassee, FL, both flat and hilly. However, after having done the JFK 50 this past November (to celebrate being 50), I am thinking it is an apt goal to keep going on trails beyond where I normally get to – I have some sections of the AT I would like to run aside from the limited areas I have done. I would also like to get out west… you never know what you can do until you try, even if you are over 50!!

  15. Sam Winebaum

    Tried Strava on the Basin Recreation Track in Park City. Sadly it quit somewhere along the way and I relaunched. I did about 6.2 and it said 5.3 'cause it took a nap for a while. Guess I'll have to double and do some Round Valley in the snow to keep in the game. Teaches me to run inside! 2 days of tele and no run has me behind.

  16. Larissa

    Hi Andre – you will have to go to settings and display preferences and change your default sport to running. I can do it for you if you tell me your strava account name (I work there!). Let me know if you have any other issues. (larissa at strava dot com)

  17. Erik Bahnsen

    I've signed up and have been logging my miles but my name never appears though.So far 19 miles.

    Does going to Leadville and running at 10,000 feet decrease my needed miles?

    1. Larissa

      Hi Erik,

      You'll need to log the miles either via a Garmin watch or the iPhone/Android Strava Run app for it to count. Let me know if you have any questions about how it works. Thanks!

  18. Erik Bahnsen

    Thanks Larissa,

    So my manual entry wont count? Oh well it doesn't really matter, I am enjoying the challenge.

    I have an old phone with no apps, a timex GPS watch, and training peaks account.


  19. pdc

    Not on the list Byron. I'm all about the technical. The list: Maryland/Loudoun heights scramble; lamb knoll AT; old rag; sugarloaf mtn blue&white; Frederick watershed; greenbrier lake & AT; billy goat trail; lambs knoll reprise. Today its the rag…god help me

  20. Ron Jones

    I just stumbled upon this challenge today. I joined Strava a couple of weeks ago for tracking my cycling and running. Currently, I'm using an old computer so I can only upload from my Garmin once a week when I visit my wife's family with a fancy Mac that supports Garmin's software. I am three days behind on the challenge. It definitely looks like I will be running New Year's Day as well.

    I hope to see more of these in the future. It's a fun way to "meet" fellow runners across the country and world.

  21. Ron Jones

    HI, Larissa,

    I use Strava to track my cycling and running for triathlon training. Do I need to change my default sport every time I want to upload running and cycling individually? I have been converting the bikes to runs later just by selecting the lowest distance activities. Speaking of Tri, are there plans to add swimming distance?

    1. Larissa

      Hi Ron,

      You shouldn't have to in that we have an algorithm for that very reason which is supposed to recognize whether it is a ride or run. You might just be running too fast :-). If it keeps coming up, send a ticket to our support team ( and they can probably help you out.

      We do have plans to pursue triathlons down the road and if you have a GPS device that can go in the water (the Garmin 910XT does) we have a swim option. I can't vouch for the accuracy but I know others who use it.

  22. Bryon Powell

    Yeah, Martin, this scope of the Challenge has far exceeded my expectations! At this point, I'm hoping that we have over 1,000 actual participants and well over 30,000 miles by the time this wraps up.

    1. Martin from Italy


      It certainly helped me ramp up some good base miles over this week. Presently sitting at 59 miles and aiming to reach 80.

      65 runners have already reached the 50 mile target and plenty more look as though they will reach the target in the next 3 days.

  23. Erik Bahnsen

    Ok I only have 14 miles to go and 2 days. Just spent the last few in Leadville. So much respect for flatlanders who come out and race at this elevation. I ran/walk around town and got my ass kicked. My twins were up all night puking,coughing talking in there sleep from elevation also.

  24. Michael Gildea

    I love the challenge. It gave me the motivation to run extra miles yesterday just so I could get closer to the 50 mile goal. Running the VHTRC Redeye tomorrow at Prince William Forest Park. I hope this puts me over the top.

  25. Erik Bahnsen

    Ok getting ready to go out and run my last 4 miles. It will put me just a blip over the 50 mile mark. I manually uploaded my activities to Strava which I know won't count . It has been fun regardless, a great way to stay focused over the holidays. Next year lets do a challenge between Thanksgiving and New Year.

    Happy New Year,


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