Michael Wardian UROC 2011 Post-Race Interview

I’ve known Michael Wardian for the better part of a decade. I’ve trained him when I lived near Washington, DC and was teammates with him at the Marathon des Sables (first American team to ever podium). I’ve also interviewed him from afar numerous times. That said, I’d never interviewed him in person until after his second place finish at the 2011 Trail Runner Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) 100k. In the interview he talks about his race, getting lost, and his training in which he’s been addressing his “weaknesses.” We also caught up on his silver medal (team gold) performance at the IAU 100k World championships run two weeks prior and where we might see him next.

There are 28 comments

  1. Bob C

    Now I see where he got off course. Everyone thought he missed the split to head up to the Slacks Overlook parking. He made that, but he was supposed to exit the parking lot and cross the parkway to the White Rock Falls trail. Instead he got on a second short spur trail that does back to the Slacks trail from the parking lot. Ideally you'd block off that other trail, but I don't think the park service allows that.

    This 360 picture shows the lot: http://www.virtualblueridge.com/parkway_tour/over
    If you pan around, the course comes up near where that dark green SUV is parked. It is supposed to exit the lot behind the white pickup with the camper top. Instead, he picked up a trail near the station wagon.

    It's about a mile down to the bottom of the hill, plus however far he went on the White Rock trail towards Sherando.

    Sounds like Mike didn't really hit any low spots or rough patches, other than what he must've felt when he found out he had to make a big climb just to get back on course.

  2. Brett

    I was on those trails in May and its a spiderweb right there with a trail going both up from Slacks to the ridge and down from Slacks towards Sherando Lake, the parking lot to connect them, a scrubby trail behind the parking lot connecting those two trails, and then of course the trail across the street that bombs down the side.

  3. Scott Keeps Running

    He has to be ultrarunner of the year…right? What he's done this year is amazing. Comrades, Badwater, 100k championships, UROC, etc. etc. etc. Hopefully the voters will recognize this and won't treat the award as the de-facto "best trail 100 ultrarunner."

    1. Brett

      Scott, I was just thinking of this too. NF50 in San Fran that he's done before, so he should do well there gain.

      Of course, UROY voters will have to ignore his 17 first place marathons this year. :)

      Also, Finneas and Ferb is the best show ever. I could watch that even without my kids.

      1. Scott Keeps Running

        (For the sake of argument)

        Why can't we consider all the marathons he runs and wins (some on back-to-back days)? As much as he runs at every distance and on every surface, and as high a level as he competes on a weekly basis…now that's ultrarunning at it purest imho. He might be the truest ultrarunner out there. And every week he is winning or at least challenging for the win.

        1. CraigR

          Yeah, unfortunately they don't consider 26.2 an ultra distance. Although I do consider the Pikes Peak Marathon an ultra type race because you have to climb a 14'er on trail. Just like they don't take into consideration speed records like running the AT.

        2. Tom

          Couldn't agree with Scott more. In my opinion, Wardian is the definition of ultrarunning. He will race anybody, at any time, at any place.

          A few weeks ago I would have completely agreed that Mackey or Clark had UROY wrapped up. Had Clark finished out UTMB or Mackey finished well at UROC I'd probably still be saying the same thing. But now, looking at the body of work Wardian has put together I think he definitely deserves serious consideration. I think it can be argued that the results that Wardian has put up have been in more talented and deeper fields.

          1. CraigR

            Guess we'll have to wait and see what happens at TNF50-San Fran. I believe Mackey and Wardian will be there. Clark I am not sure. This could be the show down people have been looking for. Throw Roes, the Salomon runners and a slew of other talent into the mix and you've got a championship race for the ages. Who knows, maybe even Carpenter and Steidl show up, but I highly doubt Krupicka will coming off the injury. Anything can happen I guess.

  4. CraigR

    Wow! That was an awesome from the heart interview. Wardian is a sure class act. The guy is so humble it is unbelievable. The incredible thing is that there really is no one out there on the "scene" who can come close to what he does on a weekly basis. This guy rocks. My hope is that he finally comes through at TNF50-San Fran in December. Thanks for the interview Bryon!

  5. Flaherty

    Good interview Bryon. And thanks for all the coverage the last week. Good stuff!

    Interesting to hear where Mike actually got off course. It had seemed odd that it was the point everyone thought, because no one else seemed to have an issue there. But a bit up the trail, at the parking lot makes more sense. I was lucky to have Dave James (and others) there when I popped out of the trail, so I didn't even have to think… was just pointed in the right direction. Can't say I wouldn't have had the same issue as Mike otherwise.

    Either way, congrats to Mike on showing great mental fortitude in coming back on us after the extra distance and climb. Also impressed with his ability to run fast roads all day. I think he's the only one who was able to do that.

    1. CraigR

      However, this guy takes the cake. Two 100 Milers 13 days apart and he finished 3rd at both of them.

      Nick Clark:

      Western States 100M – 15:50 – 3rd OA

      HardRock 100M – 27:43 – 3rd OA (Arguably the tougest 100M on the planet)

      1. Hone


        We get it…we get it. This post is about Wardian. The guy is a stud. People complimenting Mike on a post about him doesnt take anything away from your idols or their accomplishments.

        1. CraigR

          They aren't my idols, but I do respect them. Which goes back to my original comment about Mike.

          "Wow! That was an awesome from the heart interview. Wardian is a sure class act. The guy is so humble it is unbelievable. The incredible thing is that there really is no one out there on the “scene” who can come close to what he does on a weekly basis. This guy rocks. My hope is that he finally comes through at TNF50-San Fran in December. Thanks for the interview Bryon!"

          Betcha get it now :)

  6. go longer

    It's awesome that Wardian is so open to competing against the best, even when it is not on his ideal terrain. Just the fact that UTMB is of interest to him is impressive. No fear of taking on the absolute best trail guys in their element.

    Will Roes, Clark, Anotn K, and other trail-centric guys ever meet Wardian in his backyard of a road 50 mile or 100 km? Hope so.

  7. Brett

    Mike Wardian is the Boise State football team of running. He will compete against anybody, anytime, anywhere.

    Love Karl's comment, lol. Yea no matter what, he loves running so much I doubt for anything at all he would ever tape for a few weeks, lol.

  8. Tony Mollica

    Great interview Bryon! I love the interviews where you both look like you're having fun.

    Is there a more versatile distance runner in the country than Michael? I can't think of one.

  9. Justin

    Mike was asking for some feed back in the interview about the length of the course. My Garmin 310xt registered the following:

    Distance: 64.70 mi

    Elevation Gain: 10,158 ft

    Elevation Loss: 10,155 ft

    Another great interview, keep'em comin'


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