‘Tis the season to celebrate a year’s accomplishments, and what a year it has been at iRunFar! We’re incredibly proud of what our ever-growing team of editors, columnists, contributors, and volunteers has put together for our readers and fans in 2014. In the balance of this article, we highlight the year’s best of the best, from video interviews to creative writing, from in-depth interviews to profiles of far-off running destinations, and from resources to help you improve your running to inspiration for getting out the door.
Before we begin, Bryon Powell and I want to THANK YOU for supporting iRunFar in 2014. Thank you to everyone who followed our race coverage, read our articles, and left great comments. It’s because of you–your running, your excitement about our sport, and this community–that we’re here. We’re as excited as you are about where 2015 will take us!
In 2014, iRunFar brought you live race coverage from 23 of the world’s most competitive ultramarathons in 11 different countries! We are proud of the manner in which we’ve conducted our coverage: storytelling the race from before the start to after the finish, bringing alive the vibrant environments and communities through which races travel, highlighting front-of-the-pack performances, and doing all of this in as unobtrusive manner as we can for both the runners and the environment. We are committed to bringing you the best of the trail and ultrarunning international race scene again in 2015.
- 2014 Marathon des Sables Photo Gallery — Photographer Kirsten Kortebein assembled this photo gallery from the visually stunning Marathon des Sables.
- We Dream The Same Dreams: Rehabbing The Western States Trail After The American Fire — The American Fire devastated a portion of the Western States 100 course, and John Trent details the labor of love that went into its rehabilitation. This is probably the best race-related article iRunFar has published, ever.
- 2014 Western States 100 Women’s Podium Video Finishes — Watch the magic of Stephanie Howe, Larisa Dannis, and Nathalie Mauclair finishing first, second, and third at Western States all over again.
- 2014 Western States 100 Men’s Podium Video Finishes — Watch Rob Krar, Seth Swanson, and Dylan Bowman go one, two, three at Western States.
- Between A Hardrock And A Place — With this super piece of writing, Leon Lutz puts words to the history and experience of the Hardrock 100.
- 2014 Hardrock 100 Finisher Videos — Watch champs Kilian Jornet and Darc Piceu win Hardrock one more time!
- The Tale Of Two Races: Rob Krar And Tom Green At The 2014 Leadville 100 — Andy Jones-Wilkins talks to Rob Krar and Tom Green, the first and last finishers of the Leadville Trail 100.
- Mike Foote Post-2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji Interview — Mike Foote took third at the 2014 UTMF, but he DNFed his first attempt at a post-race interview before succeeding at his second. Funny stuff.
- Zach Miller, 2014 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Champ, Interview — Zach Miller is simultaneously funny, articulate, fast talking, and random in this post-race interview. Let’s put it this way, you learn a lot about the guy in a short period of time.
- Chris Vargo and Joe Uhan Pre-2014 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Interview — Chris Vargo and Joe Uhan love to hate each other. So we made them do an interview together.
- Andy Jones-Wilkins Post-2014 Western States 100 Interview — AJW may very well be obsessed with Western States, but rightfully so. This summer he earned his 10th sub-24-hour, silver buckle. AJW and Bryon Powell talk for over an hour in this interview about the 2014 race, but every minute is worth watching. (You should also drink beer along with these guys.)
- Kilian Jornet, 2014 Hardrock 100 Champion, Finish-Line Interview — A slightly awkward but super-endearing and enjoyable interview between the ‘press’ and Kilian Jornet right after his course-record Hardrock win.
- Kilian Jornet, 2014 Hardrock 100 Champion, Interview — Our post-race interview with the course-record setter.
- Adam Campbell Post-2014 Hardrock 100 Interview — Adam Campbell was struck by a glancing lightning blow during Hardrock, and still finished third. Adam recaps the race (and that terrifying experience) in this long, glorious interview.
- Rory Bosio, 2014 TNF UTMB Champion, Interview — She’s super casual and quirky in this interview after winning the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc for the second time.
- Max King, 2014 IAU 100k World Champion, Interview — Max won the IAU 100k World Championships and set a new North American 100k record in the process. This post-race interview is as solid as his performance, but Max is sore enough that he has to do it sitting down.
General Editorial Articles
We’ve brought you a diversity of stories from dozens of dedicated editors, columnists, and contributors who hail from all over this earth, and the rest of this article is dedicated to highlighting the best of these from 2014. We endeavor to turn a mirror upon the trail and ultrarunning community, to tell a complete story–however short, long, quirky, powerful, awkward, endearing, or off-the-wall it is–and to write with high quality every time. In all, iRunFar’s writers published 578 articles this year, and we promise to deliver as best as we are able in 2015.
- The Hunt — Mike Wolfe writes about the equally ethereal and tangible connection between running and hunting. [Author’s Note: This link discusses hunting intimately and contains photos of an elk carcass as well as incidental blood from a hunt. The images are a great deal less gory than most modern horror films, but we’re letting you know in case you might be uncomfortable with them.]
- Untethered — Joe Grant explores the notion of feeling free and untethered in running and other sports.
- What Makes A Classic? — Andy Jones-Wilkins examines the qualities of a ‘classic’ ultramarathon.
- Rules — Tropical John Medinger philosophizes about the challenges of creating and enforcing rules for a sport as diverse and off-beat as ultrarunning.
- All Too Human Powers — Andrew Titus’s poetic treatment of the human side of running.
- Beautiful Misery: Meghan Hicks’s 2014 Tor Des Géants Report — Meghan Hicks finished the 206-mile Tor des Géants in the Italian Alps, and writes about what it means to suffer.
The Obscure and Humorous
- Putting My Best Foot Forward — Pam Smith details her permanent toenail removal.
- Of Buffs, Lycra, And Being Well-Coiffed: Tips For Trail Running In Switzerland — Doug Mayer’s fashion survival guide for an American running in Europe.
- Coming To America: Tips For The European Trail Runner Headed To The New World — To bring his Euro versus American trail-fashion comparisons full circle, Doug Mayer provides a hilarious how-to for Euros looking to fit in the American trail scene.
- “Dejame Vivir” Film Review — Meghan Hicks reviews iRunFar’s pick for the best trail running film of 2014, “Dejame Vivir.”
- The Perfect Run — Geoff Roes tries to put words to what the perfect run feels like.
- Trail Running In Bulgaria — Trail running is a booming sport worldwide, and our guide to the trails, races, and runners of Bulgaria by Gancho Slavov is one example of this.
- Ultrarunning And The Future — Andy Jones-Wilkins’s teenage son, Logan, takes on the future of ultrarunning. You may not agree with where he thinks we should go, but you’ll appreciate his ability to rationally approach our changing sport and he’ll probably get you thinking, too.
- “Western Time” Film Review — Meghan Hicks reviews “Western Time,” a moving trail running film by Billy Yang about Sally McRae’s story, which transcends our sport.
Resources on Running
- Metabolic Concepts In Return To Running — Joe Uhan tackles metabolic stress’s influences on injury recovery.
- Your Ultra-Training Bag Of Tricks: A Newbie’s Guide To Ultramarathons — Ian Torrence makes recommendations for new ultrarunners using his own experience and that of other top athletes.
- Strength Training For Runners — Stephanie Howe offers up some runner-specific strength training.
- 2014 Medicine & Science In Ultra-Endurance Sports Conference Report — Tracy Beth Høeg, MD, reviews the findings presented at this conference, which took place before Western States.
- Learning To Embrace The Pain — Running fast and/or long inevitably involves suffering, and Ian Torrence instructs us on how to suffer as easily as possible.
- Motivation NOT To Run — The Trail Sisters, Gina Lucrezi and Ashley Arnold, tackle the challenge of how to motivate yourself to not run when your body needs rest and recovery.
- The Definitive Guide To Fastpacking — Meghan Hicks provides an encyclopedic take on fastpacking.
The Personal: Profiles and Race Reports
- Ann Trason: The Pioneer Returns — This past year marked ultra icon Ann Trason’s return to the ultra scene after a decade hiatus. Ann granted Meghan Hicks one of her first interviews in years, and what resulted from it was this intimate profile of Ann’s compassion, tenacity, and grace.
- WeRunFar Profile: Gary Knipling — Jessica Campbell profiles Gary Knipling, who has long brought his humor, volunteerism, and, uh, booze to the Eastern ultra scene.
- Emma Roca: A Force Of Nature — Robbie Lawless’s awesome in-depth profile of Catalan ultrarunner and mother Emma Roca.
- WeRunFar Profile: Scotty Mills — If you’re a fan of ultrarunning, you should be fan of Scotty Mills. Here’s your chance to get to know him in this profile by Jessica Campbell.
- ParkLife: An Interview With Anton Krupicka — Robbie Lawless gets in real deep with this profile of Anton Krupicka.
- Starting From Scratch: Ellie Greenwood’s 2014 Chuckanut 50k Report — Ellie Greenwood won the Chuckanut 50k after almost one year of injury. Her race report will inspire anyone on the comeback trail.
- Silver Linings At The Barkley Marathons: Jared Campbell’s 2014 Report — Jared Campbell finished The Barkley Marathons. His no-nonsense, glass-half-full report shows us that he is one of the toughest runners in our biz.
- Anna Frost’s 2014 Transvulcania Report — Anna Frost won the 2014 Transvulcania Ultramarathon after a long injury layoff. Her report on winning Transvulcania is infectiously jubilant.
- Dakota Jones’s 2014 Transvulcania Report — Dakota Jones didn’t have the race he wanted at Transvulcania, but his report is gripping and metaphoric.
- Never, Ever Give Up: Ellie Greenwood’s 2014 Comrades Report — Ellie Greenwood won her dream race, the Comrades Marathon, and she takes us along on her journey, which is a cliffhanger to the very end.
- An Experiment In Exuberance: Bryon Powell’s 2014 Bear 100 — Bryon Powell took a five-hour nap during The Bear 100, and still finished happy. His report is a lesson on not taking ultrarunning too seriously.
- Clear Your Mind Of Can’t: Larisa Dannis’s USATF 50-Mile Road National Championships Report — Larisa Dannis’s report is simple, but simply moving.
- Ryan Sandes & Ryno Griesel Drakensberg Grand Traverse FKT Interview — Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel discuss the gritty details of their Drakensberg Grand Traverse Fastest Known Time with Meghan Hicks.
- Leor Pantilat’s Supported John Muir Trail FKT Report — Leor Pantilat re-set the already super solid Supported John Muir Trail Fastest Known Time, and then penned this fascinating window into the mental and physical toughness as well as the logistics he called upon to pull it off.
- Dreaming Bigger Than Big: Joe McConaughy’s Pacific Crest Trail Supported FKT — Eric Senseman profiles the flexible and committed Joe McConaughy after he re-set the Pacific Crest Trail Supported Fastest Known Time.
- Bear And Back Again: Ty Draney’s 200-Mile Journey — Leon Lutz chronicles Ty Draney’s long and meaningful Double Bear 100 journey.
- Inov-8 Race Ultra 290 Review — Kristin Zosel’s in-depth review of her miles in these shoes.
- Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Softground Review — Tom Caughlin kicks around a shoe made for gripping soft, slippery terrain.
- Altra Lone Peak 2.0 Review — Altra updates one of their trustworthy steads, and Tom Caughlin gives us his take on the shoe and its updates.
- New Balance MT110v2 Review — New Balance releases a new version of one of their flagship trail shoes, and here’s Tom Caughlin’s in-depth treatment of it.
- Nike Terra Kiger 2 Review — Nike and its Terra Kiger are changing the trail-shoe scene, and Tom Caughlin reviews its second version.
- Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta Review — Kristin Zosel gives the once over to this women’s hydration pack.
- Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20 Review — Meghan Hicks reviews this larger-volume pack made for multi-day fastpacking adventures.
Call for Comments
- What were your favorite on-camera interviews?
- Which races did you most enjoy following on iRunFar?
- What were your favorite iRunFar articles of 2014?