Hello and happy new year — almost! We’re closing out 2022 as is tradition for iRunFar, and looking back at this past year on the website and among the iRunFar family.
iRunFar’s mission is simple. We aim to provide runners with the information and inspiration they can use to explore our sport — and the world. Our work, every day of the year, is to serve you!
As iRunFar’s managing editor, my job’s responsibilities call upon me to simultaneously see iRunFar through the experience of you, our incredible readers, as well as through the experience of our team, the folks working behind the scenes to make iRunFar happen.
While I get to see our team’s daily, hard work, iRunFar’s readers generally do not. Instead, you see their polished, shiny products. Thus, I create this article at the end of each year so that we can all celebrate the team that is iRunFar.
Thank you so much to everyone who made iRunFar happen in 2022! It’s a privilege to work with every member of our team.
Thank you to all of you for reading iRunFar, following our race coverage, and participating in community discussions on the website. We are here for you!
And thanks so much to the individuals and companies who support iRunFar financially. Supporting iRunFar financially helps us continue to expand our coverage of the sport we all love.
With the rest of this article, we dig into and celebrate iRunFar’s 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 2022.
iRunFar in 2022, by the Numbers
For those who enjoy details, here are the basic statistics for iRunFar this past year:
- iRunFar is now a 39-person team, composed of editors, columnists, writers, a copy editor, transcriptionists, administrative assistants, gear reviewers, and race coverage managers. This doesn’t account for the additional administrative team members who do the website development, accounting and payroll, community management, and sales and partnerships for iRunFar and its sister websites that are all a part of our parent company, AllGear Digital.
- The team created 520 articles for you to enjoy.
- We presented on-site coverage of five of the most globally competitive races, including the Canyons by UTMB 100k, Western States 100, Hardrock 100, UTMB, and the Trail World Championships 80k. This included 111 video interviews with top runners at these races.
- Forty-two volunteers donated several hundred hours of their time to help bring you iRunFar’s live race coverage from random and remote locations all over the world.
- The iRunFar team continues to grow and evolve. Our team grew in size by 13. We experienced evolution in our team’s makeup, including saying hello to our full-time editor Sarah Brady, part-time editors Alli Hartz and Eszter Horanyi, and columnists Mallory Richard and Ian Torrence. We also said goodbye to our full-time editor Alex Potter and long-time columnists Liza Howard and Corrine Malcolm.
Education is the heart of iRunFar’s mission. We want to help you be the best version of yourself as you run. These were our top education articles of 2022:
- The way I see it, This Week in Running columnist Justin Mock has to be the most underappreciated chap in the running media landscape. Week in, week out, 51 times in 2022, and for eight years running, he spends hours scouring the outer reaches of trail running and ultrarunning to bring your Monday morning fix of race results and news about our sport. That kind of perpetual dedication is rare, and we are so grateful to you.
- Physiotherapist Joe Uhan’s column Stay the Course, in its 11th year, literally stays the course in its journey to help you with your running. Each month Joe offers tools for maintaining and repairing your running health and overall well-being. A lot of you read a lot of his articles this year, but his article about understanding and treating knee pain hit home for many of you.
- Coach Ian Torrence is back on iRunFar! For years, Ian was at the helm of our monthly coaching column before retiring it to focus on, you guessed it, his coaching business. Back in the day, he wrote some incredible articles about the fundamentals of endurance run training that have stood the test of time. And beginning in 2022, Ian is working together with our editorial team to bring the best of those articles back to the modern pages of iRunFar, refreshed and anew.
- Data analyst and ultrarunner Mallory Richard joined the iRunFar team in 2022 to help us all understand running through an analytical lens. With trail running and ultrarunning so niche, we often lean on anecdote and instinct to understand and interpret what’s happening in our sport. Mallory is showing us, however, that we have plenty of data to objectively analyze what’s happening around us. Her analysis of how extending race cutoffs increases sport diversity is fascinating.
- From 2017 through this past fall, Corrine Malcolm wrote about the science of running on iRunFar. An article we know you loved from Corrine in 2022 was her article on the science of if, when, and why it gets too cold to run outside. In fact, given that the Northern Hemisphere experienced a deep freeze in the final weeks of 2022, a lot of you are still looking to this article for advice.
- We have something like a small village bringing you objective reviews and buyer’s guides of the best running gear currently available — I can’t possibly mention everyone working on this part of iRunFar! We take this part of our education mission seriously so that you have the information you need to select the right item for you — one that’ll perform highly, last a long time, and has a reasonable cost — when it’s time to make a gear purchase.
If education is our mission’s heart, then inspiration is iRunFar’s soul. Every runner deserves an inspired running practice, and here are a few articles which hopefully helped you get out the door and run with joy this year:
- It is sometimes said that in every distance runner is a philosopher, given that we spend so many hours running, with only our feet and our thoughts guiding us. As such, I really don’t know what the running community would do without philosopher and ultrarunner Sabrina Little, who writes excellently about many of the thoughts which rile up within us while we run. I know many of you read Taking Happiness Seriously and took Sabrina’s ruminations to heart.
- Zach Miller offered iRunFar readers another great year of Friday inspiration articles, but perhaps the one we all enjoyed the most was Runspired, where Zach talks about how sometimes you need to go looking for inspiration if you can’t find it naturally around you.
- Hannah Green might be the most adventurous trail runner and ultrarunner I know, and that’s saying something because there are a lot of amazing people doing fascinating adventures out there. Not only does she adventure well, but she commands your attention when she shares her written and photographic reflections of those adventures. In the spring of 2022, Hannah became one of the few known folks to hike the full length of the Grand Canyon, which was a 41-day journey. While something of that length cannot fully be captured, she brought us into a few moments with her article The Darkroom.
- AJW’s Taproom is iRunFar’s longest-running column, created by Andy Jones-Wilkins. Since 2011 and some 40 times per year, AJW sends us off with something to think about on our weekend-long run. Readers enjoyed AJW’s Unforgettable Moments in Ultrarunning series from this past year, especially his look at how ultrarunning changed courtesy of Ann Trason and Tarahumara runners at the 1994 Leadville 100 Mile.
- Our Editor-in-Chief, Bryon Powell, is another really underappreciated member of the running media. Most of the hours of the day, Bryon is buried under a large to-do list that keeps the iRunFar ship afloat, doing tasks that no one can see but are essential to our smooth operations. Once a month, he comes out from behind the scenes to pen his column reflecting on his relationship with and adventures in running. His essay, which looked at how missing a goal race was a lens for finding one’s running priorities, was one with which many of you identified.
- Sam Anderson has been a writer for iRunFar since 2021, mostly covering trail running and ultrarunning news stories. I was wonderfully surprised when he took the story of the nonprofit Free to Run — its work with women runners in Afghanistan and elsewhere — and ran with it, creating an in-depth article about what’s happened for women, girls, and the nonprofit since the Taliban’s takeover in 2021. It’s a moving article and, if you haven’t read it, now is the time.
- Our Community Voices column is created by you, our readers! We published a number of your stories and images this year, so head on over for a look.
Interviews and Profiles
We interview and create profiles of a lot of runners here on iRunFar — and there’s a reason for that. Creating connections among all members of the community is a goal of iRunFar, and these types of articles allow us to grow a little closer with each other. Here are some outstanding articles in this category from 2022:
- In December, Morgan Tilton finished her fourth year at the helm of our WeRunFar column, a column that aims to recognize runners working to support their community and those with important stories. While Morgan has written a lot of incredible articles in her tenure, her profile of Mark and Travis Macy, the father-son trail running, ultrarunning, and adventure racing duo, was so tender in its telling of the pair’s lifetime journey with the sport.
- Editor Sarah Brady joined the iRunFar team early this year, and has quickly made herself indispensable. She is boss lady to two columns each month. In her top runners column, she interviews runners at the pinnacle of the sport and those closely approaching it. Your favorite top runners article thus far was her conversation with none other than Adam Peterman. Her other column, called It Takes a Village, recognizes the communities around the world that are serving trail runners and ultrarunners. Readers especially enjoyed the profile of Ryan Montgomery and the organization Out Trails, both of which are working to make trail running a sport of inclusivity and diversity.
- Liza Howard penned the Age-Old Runners column from 2019 until the first half of this year. Her interview with Pam Smith about Pam’s journey from injury to high-level masters running will inspire anyone facing a recovery from injury, and especially masters runners.
- We are living in a golden age of ultrarunning with the once-in-a-lifetime type of runner Aleksandr Sorokin. In 2022 alone, he set world records for 100 miles, 12 hours, 100 kilometers, and 24 hours. Sarah Brady and I interviewed him after each of those incredible performances: interview after his 100-mile and 12 hour word records, post-100-kilometer world record interview, and post-24-hour world record interview.
- Sarah interviewed CJ Albertson after his 50-kilometer world record performance this fall.
- Ida Nilsson, circa 2017 to 2019, was among the best in the world in trail ultrarunning. She suffered serious injuries which took her out of competition for several years. In November, Ida took second at the Trail World Championships 80k. Her post-race video interview with me was wonderful for the way she so openly shared this whole journey.
If interviewing runners helps us to connect with each other, then we think photos help us to connect with the wider world by transporting us into a particular moment in time. Here are a few images that crossed the pages of iRunFar in 2022:
Editor-in-Chief Bryon Powell’s Favorite Memory
The strange winds of fate saw me become the international advisor for Camp 1 during the inaugural Snowman Race in Bhutan. Supporting 30 athletes high in the Himalaya took me out of my comfort zone in the most rewarding way.
Among the countless memories I made in those days, I’ll never forget the quiet, calm, and stunning beauty found at 16,200 feet in the minutes before waking the runners for the start of Day 2 of their adventure.
Editor Sarah Brady’s Favorite Memory
I’ve only been part of the amazing iRunFar team for the past eight months and already there have been too many pinch-me moments to list here, but one that I found really special was chatting to Mike Wardian on the phone as he completed his run across the U.S. We spoke twice at different stages of his journey. On the first occasion, I was brought along with him on his run as he narrated to me that he had gone off course and was headed up somebody’s driveway.
On the second occasion, nearing the end, he relayed to me a few anecdotes that stood out to him from the course of his unforgettable journey and listed off the music he’d listened to along the way. For me, thousands of miles away in Dublin, Ireland, getting to be a fly on the wall for someone doing something so incredible felt like a great privilege.
Gear Writer and Editor Alli Hartz’s Favorite Memory
One of the biggest highlights of the year for me was going to Europe last April. A couple of things contributed to make this trip extra special. First, my husband, Aaron, and I originally booked this trip for late March 2020 as our honeymoon trip. Our flights got canceled right as the world went into COVID-19 lockdown — so it was a long time coming when we finally boarded flights to Geneva, Switzerland, to spend a few weeks in the Alps with our ski gear.
Additionally, we built this trip around skiing the Haute Route, a ski mountaineering route that we followed for six days from Chamonix, France, to Zermatt, Switzerland. It blew my mind to be skiing across such huge terrain. Coming from Oregon, where the volcanoes dotting the skyline are unique and distinctive, I was in awe of the enormity of the landscape and the challenge of keeping my bearings.
And then, one of the highlights that came out of this experience was that my time there inspired me to come back and run, which I did in September, first in the Italian Dolomites and then in the Swiss Alps, including my first European trail race, Wildstrubel by UTMB 100k. The race was just a valley or two over from Zermatt, and when the clouds broke during the first few miles, I caught a glimpse of the Matterhorn and was flooded with happy memories from the prior spring. In some ways, it felt like the two experiences came full circle.
Columnist Sabrina Little’s Favorite Memory
This year has been very full. I moved to Virginia, started a new university position, and welcomed my second daughter, Frances, into the world. Frances and I ran nearly 3,000 miles together before she was born, and I am looking forward to being able to show her all of the places she ran with me when she is big enough to ride in the running stroller.
Columnist Justin Mock’s Favorite Memory
I hadn’t been in Colorado for six months, and then somehow found myself in Aspen two weekends in a row in September. The first weekend was for the Jazz Aspen Snowmass music festival and, let me tell ya’, three straight nights of Leon Bridges, Chris Stapleton, and Stevie Nicks was soooo fun.
The second weekend’s plans didn’t entirely work out, though, and so going back to Denver from Aspen early, and passing Georgetown a little before sunset, I made a last-minute rip up Guanella Pass. I had basic gear with me. I mean, a decade-old pair of Skechers, a cellphone flashlight, and a big wish for some clear-headedness.
The peaks off Guanella Pass aren’t technical, and not to minimize the challenge and risk of weather, but it’s so fun to be the last one on top of a mountain before sunset. And that’s what I did, and then came back down 13,794-foot Square Top Mountain with my cellphone flashlight on.
It was my first summit in almost a year, and I loved it so much that I went back the next weekend and linked up five peaks on a longer route. I’ve been on an airplane 38 times this year and gone to 10 countries, but Colorado sure feels great and I can’t wait for some 2023 adventures.
Managing Editor Meghan Hicks’s Favorite Memory
My favorite professional memory from 2022 is not of a specific moment, but rather a feeling.
These days, I am often asked what my job is and if I still work for iRunFar. We all want to feel seen by our peers, so when this first started happening, I was sad that people did not or could not see me. With some reflection, I realize that my relative invisibility makes logical sense and I have developed great pride in the fact that you, the reader, see the many other members of our team rather than me.
In the old days, I edited everything you saw on the website and wrote something like a quarter of it. This is to say that you saw a whole lot of me in iRunFar. But as iRunFar has grown and professionalized, we’ve become a larger team. I am now a manager of the internal processes and of the people that lead to the external experiences you have with this website. If everything is going well, you shouldn’t see much of me!
So, what I’ll remember most from my work with iRunFar in 2022 is how it made me feel to watch our team members come together to create what you see on the website. We work with fluidity, mostly pretty efficiently, we tell jokes and laugh, we encourage each other to do good work, and then we leave our darn computer screens and go run.
You know that flow state we all seek in running? That rare, dueling sensation of being both right in the moment while also feeling like you could run forever? That’s what I professionally felt in being a part of the iRunFar team this past year, and I’m grateful to the whole team for enabling this.
Support iRunFar in 2023
We are proud of what iRunFar is and does today, and the iRunFar team is running strong into the future.
We’d love it if you considered supporting iRunFar in 2023!
Call for Comments
- What were your favorite iRunFar articles this year?
- Did anything else happen on iRunFar that you really enjoyed?
- Leave a comment to share your own moment from either running or life that you’re taking away from 2022!