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  • Born to Run

    Just finished reading Born to Run: A Supertribe, Hidden Athletes, and the Greatest Race Nobody's Ever Seen by Christopher McDougall. Pretty nice read about the Tarahumara Indians and ultra-running, about which I know very little. Lot of great characters in the book - Barefoot Ted, who runs ultras barefoot; Jenn "Bjurita" "Too Wild for Rugby Parties" Shelton, who is quite wild; Caballo Blanco, a free spirit who left a girl and a job in California to move to Mexico and live among the Tarahumara; Ann Trason and Scott Jurek, apparently great ultra runners I did not know of, and several unknown great Tarahumara runners. Interesting read with a lot of stuff in there about training techniques - Joe Vigiil, Bowerman, and Arthur Lydiard all discussed at some length. Put in this board, as I had no idea where it actually fit.

  • #2
    Nice ! That just hit my "must read" list... I have read a little of the Tarahumaras, but somehow missed out on the "too wild for rugby parties" gal... must be a new and interesting species...

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    • #3
      Re: Born to Run

      By coincidence, I read an article about Jenn Shelton in Outside magazine a few days ago. If Squackee wasn't married, I thought she'd be the perfect girl for him!

      "Shelton drank like a teamster and, hungover along with her then-boyfriend, Billy "Bonehead" Barnett, got lost on a training run three days before the 50-mile race. They were crying and drinking from a mud puddle when we stumbled upon them near dusk, by sheer luck.

      On race day, she showed up literally six seconds before the starting gun. Fifteen miles in, she tripped on a gnarly descent and crashed face first on the rocks. As she lay there, stunned and bleeding, five Tara­humara runners hurdled her one by one and disappeared down the trail. Serves me right, the sunburned, trail-weary Shelton thought. It was yet another fiasco. And then, just as Nikki Kimball fears could happen at Western States, Shelton struggled to her feet, wiped the blood off her face, and ran them all down."


      http://outside.away.com/outside/culture ... hon-1.html

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      • #4
        Ann Trason was a decent high school runner (Pacific Grove, Ca).. in '78 ran 9:58.2 (3K) and 35:11.2, which at the time made her the No. 2 prep ever (on a very fledgling list).

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        • #5
          What is ultra running? another name for long distance running?

          This video kind of reminds me of the whole tribal thing that was mentioned in the first post.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VS98y4FopI

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Haskell45
            What is ultra running? another name for long distance running?
            Running longer than a marathon.

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            • #7
              Sounds hardcore.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Haskell45
                Sounds hardcore.
                Ultra-runners are a breed apart. We have had several around this area, and Al Howie is the King.....google him.... you won't believe it...
                His diet during his ultras was mostly fish and chips and beer...
                He once ran across Canada in 72 days, an average of 103 k. / day....
                2 1/2 marathons per day for 72 days.... And you thought Gerry L. was out there ?

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                • #9
                  My college campus once hosted a 50-mile ultramarathon when I was there. They marked out a 1-mile loop, and the runners would complete 50 laps. One guy ran it wearing a blazer and boots (but running shorts, not trousers). You have to be a complete running addict to train for and compete in those events.

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                  • #10
                    what is the running pace like for one of these, slower than a typical marathon?
                    I am not a marathon fan, though i like sprint events, but since the other day i have been looking on the distance running. Its something everyone can get into.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Born to Run

                      Originally posted by marknhj
                      By coincidence, I read an article about Jenn Shelton in Outside magazine a few days ago. If Squackee wasn't married, I thought she'd be the perfect girl for him!

                      "Shelton drank like a teamster and, hungover along with her then-boyfriend, Billy "Bonehead" Barnett, got lost on a training run three days before the 50-mile race. They were crying and drinking from a mud puddle when we stumbled upon them near dusk, by sheer luck.

                      On race day, she showed up literally six seconds before the starting gun. Fifteen miles in, she tripped on a gnarly descent and crashed face first on the rocks. As she lay there, stunned and bleeding, five Tara­humara runners hurdled her one by one and disappeared down the trail. Serves me right, the sunburned, trail-weary Shelton thought. It was yet another fiasco. And then, just as Nikki Kimball fears could happen at Western States, Shelton struggled to her feet, wiped the blood off her face, and ran them all down."


                      http://outside.away.com/outside/culture ... hon-1.html
                      That's an excerpt from the book.

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                      • #12
                        Wendy let me in, I want to be your friend, I want to guard your dreams and visions.
                        Just wrap your legs 'round these velvet rims and strap your hands across my engines.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Haskell45
                          what is the running pace like for one of these, slower than a typical marathon?
                          I am not a marathon fan, though i like sprint events, but since the other day i have been looking on the distance running. Its something everyone can get into.
                          The Wiki article is OK -- perhaps more than anyone on here might want to know about ultras:
                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultramarathon

                          Perhaps the best sense of running pace (at the front, I mean -- like all open entry athletic events, performances have a very wide range; moreover, ultras are run on many sorts of surfaces/terrain, and under a wide range of conditions -- less concern among organizers about optimizing times; more interest in creating "challenging" courses) is gained from looking at the 100km WR/world best times -- this is an IAAF sanctioned event -- and from looking at the course records at the Comrades Marathon, which is 90km/55.9miles. I would say that these are the two most competitive events which are also run on roads and thus have accurate measurement.

                          The 100km WR/best is Takahiro Sunada's 6:13:33, which is ~6:01/mile pace. 100km for women is Tomoe Abe's 6:33:11, which is ~6:20/mile.

                          At Comrades, the course records are Leonid Shvetsov's 5:20.49 (~5:45/mile) and Frith van der Merwe's 5:54:43 (~6:21/mile). Both of these were on Comrades' "down" course, which is faster (but the course is challenging either way).

                          The top 100mile ultras are trail runs, eg, Western States, which have great amounts of elevation change, extreme weather conditions, etc. Paces are thus, much slower.

                          As a person with some experience in the ultra world -- I have run short distance ultras (50km-60km) and trained with and crewed for much more accomplished ultra runners who compete at the 50mile-100km-100mile distances -- I can suggest that top performers in these events are somewhat different creatures than top marahoners. (I don't just mean that they are somehow "crazier" -- trying to be the best in the world at many of the athletic pursuits we discuss on these boards is outside the norm.) Rather, ultrarunning places demands on the body that are significantly different that marathon running. I offer this because it is easy to underestimate the quality of the WRs/bests in these events. No doubt that if some elite marathoners were "incentivized" to pursue the 100km, or run Comrades, these best times would come down, but I doubt if the times would drop as much as one might expect. Once you get even a few miles past 26.2, it's a different world...

                          Sunada and Abe are/were relatively accomplished marathoners: Sunada ran 2:10.07, but was already an accomplished ultra runner at that point. Abe's transition to the 100km was more traditional -- she was the WC bronze medalist in the marathon in 93, and has a PR of 2:26, moving up later to the 100km. Regarding the Comrades' record holders, Frith van der Merwe's marathon PR is 2:27; Leonid Shvetsov's PR is 2:09:16.

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                          • #14
                            Salazar ran and won the Comrades race in 1994. I don't recall his time. Of course, this was a decade after he was one of the best marathoners in the world, but he was only 35 or 36 at the time.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DecFan
                              Salazar ran and won the Comrades race in 1994. I don't recall his time. Of course, this was a decade after he was one of the best marathoners in the world, but he was only 35 or 36 at the time.
                              Salazar's time in 94 was 5:38:39.

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