The Best of iRunFar in 2023

A look at the best of iRunFar in 2023.

By on December 29, 2023 | Comments

iRunFar logo - square with taglineAs 2023 draws to a close, many of us will reflect on our own personal year of highs, lows, and standout moments. Here at iRunFar we are no different, and to follow our end-of-year tradition, we share this article to showcase some of the best of iRunFar for 2023, and to recap a big year in the journey and evolution of the website and its people.

Although we think change is good, and are forever looking for new ways to better serve you, our readers, our core mission remains the same — to be a voice for the sport of trail running and ultrarunning and to educate and inspire you in all its aspects.

This year, founder Bryon Powell stepped back from the helm after 14 years as full-time Editor-in-Chief. Meghan Hicks stepped up to the role, has risen to the challenge, and continues to lead iRunFar confidently into the future in a changing sport and media landscape. I in turn graduated to Managing Editor, and have relished the opportunity to take a little more responsibility in the labor of love that is our site.

The other biggest organizational change that happened for us this year was the appointment of Nathan Allen as Affiliate Managing Editor, to steer our growing buyer’s guide division, with the support of editors Eszter Horanyi and Alli Hartz, and a team of writers.

We are grateful to each of our team members for making iRunFar happen this year — every one of you brings something unique to the site.

Thanks especially to you, our readers, for without you there would be no iRunFar. We are grateful for your engagement, your feedback, and for the conversations we get to facilitate in our comments sections — the passion which many of you feel for the sport is plain to see.

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.

Read on for a few highlights from iRunFar in 2023, and do let us know in the comments section what your standout iRunFar picks are for the year.

P.S.: You can also see our best-of articles from 2010201220132014201520162017201820192020, 2021, and 2022.

July 2023 - Red Mountain - Prospect Gulch

Prospect Gulch, in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

 iRunFar in 2023, by the Numbers

For those who enjoy a data dive, here are the basic numbers for iRunFar this past year:

  • iRunFar is a 38-person team, including writers, editors, gear reviewers, transcriptionists, race coverage crew, and more.
  • The team created 513 articles for you to enjoy this year.
  • We presented live race coverage of four of the most competitive trail ultramarathons in the world for 2023, namely the Trail World Championships 80k, Western States 100, Hardrock 100, and UTMB. This included 64 video interviews with top runners.
  • We had the help of 44 volunteers from around the world to deliver our live race coverage.


Education is part of what iRunFar is here for. We aim to provide content that will enlighten, and help you in your own training and with staying healthy. These are some of the top picks from the educational material we published this year:

  • Mallory Richards’s Running the Numbers column is a staple in iRunFar’s monthly offerings and readers love her deep dives into aspects of the sport, and her highlighting of performances better appreciated through the lens of data. Her most popular column of the year was The Increasing Competitiveness of Women’s Ultrarunning.
  • Joe Uhan’s Stay the Course column continues to be a fan favorite, bringing you tangible advice from a trained professional every month, on how to steer clear of injury and stay on track with running healthy. His article Advice to My Younger Self: Five Lessons From a Physiotherapist for a Lifetime of Sustainable Running particularly resonated with a lot of you.
  • Back in 2022, we began the project of updating and republishing the best of Ian Torrence’s coaching articles, many of which have stood the test of time, and can be equally useful to newcomers to the sport and experienced runners looking to optimize their training. The most read article of 2023 was Ultramarathon Training Volume, which many of you found useful. His article on High Altitude Training and Racing was also very interesting and enlightening.
  • Justin Mock continues to start the iRunFar week off right, with his weekly This Week in Running column, which brings together results from around the world, taking in a mix of high-profile events and smaller, no-frills races that we love to celebrate.
  • Adrian Stott has become a regular contributor to iRunFar, and has filled a gap in expertise on road and track ultrarunning. Many of you enjoyed his article on the History and Evolution of the 24-Hour World Records.
  • Our gear testing team, composed of one editor and eight gear testers, brings you iRunFar’s quality, in-depth, and objective gear reviews a couple times each week. We hope their efforts help you make wise choices when it’s time for a new piece of gear.
  • There was a lot of change and growth in our buyer’s guide publishing this past year, with the appointment of Nathan Allen at its helm. Our regularly updated guide, Best Trail Shoes, continues to be one of our most read articles, and many of you consulted Best GPS Running Watches to help you decide on one of running’s most significant gear investments.


Inspirational writing is also a huge part of what we do at iRunFar. Where the educational pieces help to show us “how,” our inspirational pieces can help us find the “why.” Here’s some of what inspired us in 2023:

  • We love Zach Miller’s monthly contemplative pieces. Often for the first few paragraphs, the reader is found wondering, where is he going with this?, as he cleverly uses daily anecdotes to leave us with a lasting lesson to mull over on our next run. His article Off Course, but Right on Track offered a great lesson for running and for life.
  • Ultrarunner and philosopher Sabrina Little continues to wow us with her thoughtful words and grounding advice. Her article Virtue and Competition: Getting it Right provided great food for thought.
  • When we talked among ourselves about team members’ favorite content on the site recently, Hannah Green’s column Notes from the Trail shone out as being well-loved. Hannah’s artful prose, honest reflections, and beautiful photography are a combination many of us look forward to each month. This year, her most popular article was Daydreaming of Good Knees.
  • iRunFar’s founder Bryon Powell keeps us updated on his life and running through his monthly editorial, and 2023 was a very big year for Bryon, stepping down as Editor-in-Chief after so many years of diligently steering the iRunFar ship. Many of you tuned in to his article New Journeys at iRunFar where he broke the news, and kindly wished him well in the comments. I really enjoyed An Alaskan Sabbatical’s Most Memorable Runs, and learning about the great experiences he is cramming into his newfound free time.
  • Now 12 years into writing his column AJW’s Taproom, Andy Jones-Wilkins still manages to come up with something new for his thrice-monthly column. This year, readers really enjoyed his Race Director Chronicles series — celebrating race directors, the unsung heroes of the sport — and his article Running and Aging: From Strength to Strength resonated with many of you.
  • Our Community Voices column brings a monthly offering written by you, our readers. We had many great pieces this year and both the team in-house and our readers really loved Ishmael Burdeau’s insightful and informative piece, The Rise of Autistic Ultrarunners.
Hannah Green - view from truck

Hannah Green’s morning view after a night out in her truck. Photo: Hannah Green

Interviews and Profiles

We do a lot of interviews and profiles on iRunFar, lending a voice to people within the community, and affording insight into the inner workings of your favorite athletes. Here are some of the highlights from 2023:

  • Morgan Tilton has been bringing us the popular WeRunFar column for five years now, and 2023 saw another great year of profiles. The column highlights individuals or small organizations who are making a difference in the sport or who have an interesting story to tell. This year’s most popular article in the column was a profile of race director, environmental advocate, and healthcare practitioner Luke Nelson.
  • As part of my role, I pen two columns each month. The Long Game, a longstanding iRunFar column which I picked up where former editor Alex Potter left off, profiles someone at the top of the sport each month. This year, many of you enjoyed the profile of Taylor Nowlin — covering how she combines elite level trail running with a busy nursing career — and I found Jon Albon’s interview particularly inspiring for his humble and understated attitude. It Takes a Village is my other column, which profiles different running communities around the world. Many of you tuned in to read about, an online coaching community helping thousands of runners to achieve their goals, and many of you also enjoyed reading the story of the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club.
  • Few runners are quite so forthright about their goals, and so doggedly determined even if they take years to achieve, as Jim Walmsley. As many ultrarunning fans know, he went to the lengths of relocating to France in pursuit of his dream of winning UTMB. The year 2023 was when it happened, and his post-race interview with Meghan had us all enthralled.
  • There were a lot of big achievements in 2023, but Harvey Lewis’s new 108-hour backyard world record has to be one of the most mind-bending. I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview Harvey following his accomplishment, and it was amazing to hear about the run from his perspective, as a great example of the otherworldly lengths humans are capable of pushing themselves to.
  • Courtney Dauwalter made ultrarunning history in 2023 with her triple crown of victories at the Western States 100, Hardrock 100, and UTMB — and we were there to see it all unfold. We published before and after interviews with Courtney at each event, and Meghan’s interview with her post-Hardrock 100 offered a great insight into her struggles in that race, and the mindset that drives her to achieve all she does.
Harvey Lewis - 2023 Big Dog's Backyard ultra

Harvey Lewis during the 2023 Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra. Photo: Keith Knipling


One of the best parts of trail running and ultrarunning is how it takes us to beautiful places. Photography is hugely important to iRunFar, to highlight those places and the faces of the sport. Here are a few examples of pictures that tell a thousand words, that appeared on the pages of iRunFar in 2023:

2023 Hardrock 100 - Island Lake

A super-blue Island Lake, located on the Hardrock 100 course in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Best Ultralight Tents - tent set up on a ridgeline

iRunFar’s Meghan Hicks watches a sunrise during a fall fastpacking trip in Utah. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

2023 UTMB photo gallery - Jim Walmsley

Jim Walmsley waves to the crowds as he toes the start line at the 2023 UTMB. Photo: iRunFar/Kirsten Kortebein

2023 UTMB photo gallery - Courtney Dauwalter - Les Contamines

Courtney Dauwalter takes a last long swig from her water bottle before heading out of Les Contamines aid station, about 32 kilometers into the 2023 UTMB. Photo: iRunFar/Kirsten Kortebein

Zach Miller - 2023 Trail World Championships 80k - finish

Zach Miller reaches the finish of the 2023 Trail World Championships 80k. Photo: Peter Maksimow

The 2023 World Mountain Running Championships Uphill women's top three

The 2023 World Mountain Running Championships Uphill race women’s podium (l-to-r): 2. Philaries Kisang, 1. Andrea Mayr, and 3. Grayson Murphy. Photo: Marco Gulberti

Hannah Green - rafts - Grand Canyon

Rafts moving through the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Photo: Hannah Green

Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz - 2023 Diagonale des Fous men's winner

Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz celebrates winning the 2023 Diagonale des Fous. Photo: CANAL GRAND RAID

Claire Bannwarth and Annie Hughes - 2023 Hardrock 100 - Maggie gulch

Claire Bannwarth (left) and Annie Hughes share early miles in the 2023 Hardrock 100. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

2023 Western States 100 - Leah Yingling - Eszter Csillag - Meghan Morgan

Leah Yingling (left), Eszter Csillag (middle), and Meghan Morgan running together at Robinson Flat, around mile 30 of the 2023 Western States 100. Photo: iRunFar/Jaja Ferrer Capili

2023 Western States 100 - Tom Evans - Dakota Jones - Michigan Bluff

Tom Evans (left) and Dakota Jones locked in a duel climbing to Michigan Bluff at just over halfway through the 2023 Western States 100. Photo: iRunFar/Jaja Ferrer Capili

2023 Swiss Alps 100 Vertical - glacier

The Aletsch Glacier (Grosser Aletschgletscher) viewed from the top of the Swiss Alps 100 Vertical route in Switzerland. Photo: Garth McGimpsey

Jack Kuenzle during Bob Graham Round

Jack Kuenzle during his Bob Graham Round speed record in the Lake District of England. Photo: Andy Berry


Finally, as we close off another year, a few members of the iRunFar team share a highlight from their work, life, and/or running in 2023:

Bryon Powell

Heaps of emotions still flood up when I think of stepping down as Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar back in June, more than a decade and a half after founding the site. In the end, one emotion rises above the others: relief.

In all honesty, I’m relieved to have ended my near-constant sprint to keep iRunFar running and afloat for the 14 years I led it full-time. Those were hugely rewarding years, no doubt, but also thoroughly exhausting!

Just as important, I was and am relieved to be able to pass the baton along to Meghan Hicks, who’d already dedicated herself to making iRunFar the best it could be for over a decade. While, as her life partner, it has been hard to watch her take up that burden, it’s also been fantastic to see her thrive in the role and start to evolve the site to her vision of success.

Admittedly, that “moment” has a long wake as I continue to adjust to my life after leading iRunFar. Between the actual transition of roles, summer race coverage, my two-month Alaskabattical, catching up after it, and, now, a few months in New Zealand — I still don’t feel like I’ve fully found my new normal, and that’s okay.

Regardless, the past six months have shown me that I still have as much desire for adventure as I ever had and, now, a bit more time to do so. Fortunately, the change in roles has also left me with more energy and focus for what I continue to do at iRunFar.

Bryon Powell - packrafting in New Zealand, 2023

Bryon tramping through the New Zealand bush during a 5-day packrafting and backpacking mission on the South Island. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Meghan Hicks

My favorite memory of 2023 was watching with admiration as the iRunFar team and readers supported iRunFar through its year of great change, with its founder Bryon Powell transitioning away from the leadership role he’d occupied for so many years. Change is a constant of life, but change can still be challenging, and I was awed by how well the iRunFar family supported this evolution.

Another favorite series of memories I have from 2023 are the small celebrations members of the iRunFar team shared after several of our largest produced events, such as our spring photo shoot, which created many of the images you have seen on the pages of iRunFar this year, our coverage of the Hardrock 100, and our coverage of UTMB. It’s always so fun to work hard and then play as hard afterward with a celebratory run, food, or drinks!

Nathan Allen

It’s not hyperbole to say, the book “Once a Runner,” by John L. Parker, changed my life. I first read it in college, almost 30 years after it was originally published, and immediately identified with many aspects of the fictional cult classic. Now, about 15 years after I first found refuge in those words and pages, one line, in particular, still sticks with me: “The trial of miles; miles of trials.”

My favorite running-related memory of 2023 is not an acute one, but the culmination of another year of thousands of miles run. It was the runs with friends and family in the mountains, along the bike path in the U.S. Midwestern town I grew up in, and the intense workouts with training partners on the trails outside my doorstep in Southern California’s coastal mountains. It was the runs in rain, snow, and sun.

And it was the realization that even as my body ages and hard workouts and long runs take longer and longer to recover from, I can still get out daily — and sometimes twice daily — for the trial of miles; miles of trials. For that, I’m immensely grateful. Grind on, my friends.

Joe Uhan

Personal success in ultrarunning was sparse for me in 2023, but I had my share of great times, both trail-side and on-course, at some big races this year. In July I ran the first five and final 10 miles, in reverse, into the leaders of this year’s Hardrock 100, encouraging both the winners and a great deal of my friends and former competitors in the top 10.

June included a double medical shift at the Western States 100, working the miles 30 (Robinson Flat) and 62 (Foresthill) aid stations. My experience as a medical professional — and struggling ultrarunner — helped get one gentleman, Nick Eldridge, out of a cot and on toward the finish line in Auburn, California.

This was already after watching Courtney Dauwalter crush both the Western States 100 course record, and my personal best there, on the incredible iRunFar live coverage.

Sarah Brady

The year 2023 was big for me personally and professionally. I had the opportunity to run for Ireland at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, and to step into the role of Managing Editor at iRunFar — both in the same month!

While there are a lot of memories to choose from, a special one was running the Kendall Mountain Run in Silverton, Colorado, in July, while there to produce our Hardrock 100 coverage. I heard about the race some three days previously, over a beer with Bryon Powell and Meghan Hicks — when Bryon pointed to the towering 13,340-foot peak of Kendall Mountain and said, “There is a race to the top of that this weekend.”

The good people at Aravaipa Running were kind enough to offer me a late entry, and it felt really special to be immersed in the local running culture and community as an outsider. The sustained climb to the summit played to my strengths, but I lost a couple of places on the descent, finishing in eighth place. There was a nice welcome at the finish, and I sat in the sun for a while chatting to some locals who I’d met during the race.

The month-long trip to work at the Western States 100 and Hardrock 100 was my first time visiting the U.S., but this was just one of many times over the course of that month when — nearly 5,000 miles away from where I live in Ireland — I was made to feel fully at home.

Sarah Brady - 2023 Kendall Mountain Run

A summit selfie during the 2023 Kendall Mountain Run. Photo: iRunFar/Sarah Brady

Support iRunFar in 2024

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 2024!

Call for Comments

  • What about you? What was your favorite article from iRunFar this year?
  • What would you like to see more of on the pages of iRunFar in 2024?
Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is Managing Editor at iRunFar. She’s been working in an editorial capacity for ten years and has been a trail runner for almost as long. Aside from iRunFar, she’s worked as an editor for various educational publishers and written race previews for Apex Running, UK, and RAW Ultra, Ireland. Based in Belfast, Ireland, Sarah is an avid mountain runner and ultrarunner and competes at distances from under 10k to over 100k. When not running, she enjoys reading, socializing, and hanging out with her dog, Angie, and cat, Judy.