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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Elite-ification of Ultrarunning



Ultra running faces many huge problems because of the rising popularity of the sport.  Doping, cheating and cash prizes at races are likely to further compliment all of this.

For elites 

If you follow ultra running at all your feed has been filled with panic stricken posts and articles about the state of our sport.  People like Ian Sharman (http://www.irunfar.com/2015/12/doping-and-the-effect-on-ultra-and-trail-running-what-to-do-about-cheaters.html), Ethan Veneklasen, Sage Canaday (http://sagecanaday.com/dopinginmutrunning/) and Katie DeSplinter have posted or blogged about it.


Two things brought this into the forefront currently: 

1) an Italian elite runner who was convicted of doping in 2009 (and served a 2 year ban) lined up at the North Face 50 in San Francisco (and failed to finish) http://running.competitor.com/2015/12/news/ultrarunning-at-a-crossroads-is-there-a-growing-doping-problem_141321 ; and 

2) Lance Armstrong won a trail race (corrected....I previously indicated it was a fatass event...that was incorrect).  http://running.competitor.com/2015/12/news/lance-armstrong-wins-35k-trail-running-race-in-california_141905 .

While reading all of the alarm on social media and the pleas that we keep our sport clean I couldn't help but feel like Lance and Elisa were treated a little unfairly and that the general ultra running population was tricked into thinking they should care as much as the elites do about this problem. Which caused me to reflect a bit on the following.

1.     Everyone deserves a second chance.  I've not made it a secret that I'm a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.  That means that for a significant period of my life I lied, cheated, stole and generally mistreated everyone that loved me.  I'm glad that when I decided to right the ship people accepted my apology and let me try to make it up to them.  It would have been easy to say I am out of their lives forever.  What is hard, is allowing for the possibility that people can and do change.

2.     I don't stay up at night worrying about whether the top runners are cheating.  There's always been cheaters.  there always will be cheaters,.  Course cutters, PED users, etc.  There always will be, no matter how much testing is done (unless everyone is tested for every race, as well as outside of racing, which is impossible).  Cheating sucks.  It's bad.  I mean really bad.  I also feel sorry for the person that came in second.  I wish we could live in a world without cheating.

That being said, PED use in ultra running (while totally dumb because there is no money or fame in ultra running) only really impacts elite runners, for now.  So Sage or Ian gets second to a cheater.  The rest of us remain placed at somewhere between 30-400 and although the best athlete might not have won, in an overwhelming number of cases they don't care about us much at all (unless we buy their book, training plan, follow their blog, watch their youtube videos, buy their special gear, etc. etc. etc.)  Moreover, who is going to pay for this testing and regulation??  We all are.  In the form of increased race fees.

3.     Our sport isn't mainstream, becoming mainstram, or anything of the like.  Think on this: ESPN has 3-6 channels dedicated to sports around the clock.  They broadcast the entire hot dog eating championship from Coney Island.  They don't mention Western States.  Mention.  It's a fringe sport, with no prize money, which most people know nothing about.

4.     PED users have an unfair advantage.  True.  So do rich people, people that live at altitude, people with more talent, etc. etc.  Everyone has advantages.  This isn't about leveling the playing field.  Athletes do everything they can to tilt the playing field in their favor.  I don't have a cabin in the mountains.  Some people can't use caffeine, marijuana, some people are lactose intolerant, gluten sensitive, peanut allergy, etc. etc.  The use of PED's is the only avenue in which this level playing field argument comes up.

5.     The integrity of our sport is at risk?  I think not.  Two years ago I went to the Leadville 100 to crew and pace.  I saw Jimmy Dean Freeman running down the trail and come upon a girl that was struggling with her pack.  He stopped to help.  I attended the funeral of my best friend this summer who died of ALS.  You know who was there?  All the ultra runners.  We clean up trails and raise money for causes.  I don't know what it means for the sport to have integrity.  But whatever that is supposed to mean, believe me, ultra running has it.


This discussion brings up a much broader issue that I can't for the life of me figure out.  Why are we, as a sport, so obsessed with elites?  How did we become so convinced that what they do and say, the products they plug, the races they do, matters to the average runner?  True, some of these people are extremely cool and interesting people that are sometimes fun to follow.  Sometimes a neck and neck race between two athletes battling can be exciting to watch.  But social media has us convinced that they are the real interesting thing about this sport.  I think that's wrong.  I think a large percentage of us got into this sport to enjoy a nice easy run in a pretty place with our friends.  We tell stories.  We struggle through scenarios.  We see sunrises and sunsets and, or sad occasions, put each other to rest.

I didn't get into this sport because of [insert famous runner].  I don't really care what place I came in for my age group.  I couldn't name 10 elite marathoners.  Why is it that I can name at least 100 elite ultra runners??

The fact that the sport is moving from the everyday runner to the elite runner is exemplified by what has happened to our media.  Remember when Ultrarunning Magazine used to put all the results in the back of each issue.? Wasn't it cool to see your name and result?  That's gone.  Instead, you can get another coaching article from another coach who is sponsored by the company that sells your shoes, pack, watch or hydration pack. You can learn about someone who can run 50 miles twice as fast as you...including the details of what they eat and how they train.  You can learn about their latest book. You can go to irunfar and read articles by elites, for elites about issues that are important to elites and/or interviews with elites....or....when that gets old ....you can hear them being interviewed on a podcast about how awesome they are.



I'm tired of it.  The competitive, elite, famous, outrage, panic.  I want the focus of my ultra running to return to the reason I came here in the first place.  To jog some easy miles with my friends in pretty places.

49 comments:

  1. Great post. However, I would like to take issue with one small thing you said about irunfar. I do not believe it to be the case that everything on the website is focused on elites. Much is, certainly, but the werunfar series, the gear reviews, and the Taproom are not necessarily elite-centric. Do you agree?

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    1. AJW: I agree. And to be clear, I like iRunFar and Bryon a lot, although I think their coverage is much more about the elites than not. For example, the great coverage of Hardrock last year kinda stopped after the first quarter of the field. I was watching along and hoping for an update on Billy Simpson or Edward Sandor and wast able to get one. And I understand why, resources, etc. etc. But at the end of the day I don't see iRunFar as a resource for everyday runners as much as a news outlet regarding the front of the pack. But you are correct, it's not exclusive and there are good reasons for it.

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    2. Is EVERYthing on iRunFar focused on the elites? No.. not EVERYthing.. but 90% or more certainly is. No doubt about it. When I heard about the weRunFar segment, I hopped in to read a bit.. and all I've seen is a new focus on the "POPULAR" runners out there instead of the Elite.. and honestly, there isn't much of a difference.

      I read the TapRoom because of AJW's focus, as it isn't elite-centric. I feel his writing is the most personal and important on the site. Gear Reviews are hardly ever 100% honest and read more like advertisements. So I'm not interested in that.. I want people to be honest with me 100% about a product.. not just paint it in gold and then hand me a few of the silver pieces around the back.

      I agree with Scott's sentiments in his above comment on coverage. I too get that resources are an important part... but hey.. A LOT of people are left out of the predictions prior to races. The heavily sponsored and covered athletes are the ones who continue to get the coverage and placed on the podium before the race even starts. Meanwhile, there are others out there who could run toe to toe with some of the greats and they hardly get a mention (Ex: Ryan Smith Prior to WS100 in 2015.. while he fell short Seth Kelly from Boulder, CO came in 12th. (Do some research on these guys and you'll see why iRunFar missed the mark).

      I also don't see iRunFar as a resource for everyday runners and I hardly ever recommend anyone ever go there for that reason. For a site that claims to be an authority on the sport.. it falls short. More runners care less about the Front of the pack than those that do. Just look at the outpouring of support for blog posts like this one on Facebook, the Ultra List, etc.. there's more agreeing (BY FAR) than those who are not on these types of sentiments about the mid-and-back of the pack, community, and other not elite related discussions.

      However.. I will certainly acknowledge that there are many who love to follow the elite, they geek out over them, etc.. and iRunFar is a site for those folks. I get it.. they're out there.. but this sport is so much more than just THAT.

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  2. SPOT THE F ON!! I'm sharing this everywhere...
    I sat down last night to write a similar piece but just couldn't put it into words.. You hit the nail on the head. #BackToOurRoots!!

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    1. Roots are all-well-and-good, but...

      Without "elites" or at least sponsored runners the trail RACING community (from which you gain a modest income) will see increased fees because of loss of corporate sponsorship. Increased fees would *likely* cause lower participation. You yourself point out that race fees are already too high for most events, even with said sponsorship and underwriting.

      This entire subject is why I haven't raced since high school in the late 1970s. Trail running for me remains a hobby undertaken for my entertainment. It says something about me that were I to race again the entertainment aspect would be ruined.

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    2. The argument here has no basis in reality. For one, "back to our roots" implies more low-frills events, which cost much less to put on. There are many great grass-roots events that range from super cheap to moderately priced. It is entirely possible to put on a good race without charging much, with or without elite runners. But second, sponsors currently do, and will still, sponsor races regardless of elite participation. They want to sell their products to the 99.9% of the market that isn't elite runners. Sponsoring builds goodwill, gets some name recognition, gets sample products in people's hand, etc. etc. Sponsors currently sponsor all kinds of races that don't have any elites running in them. I can't imagine any factual or even theoretical basis for thinking there's a connection between low fees and elite participation. Indeed, the races that draw serious competition are often the ones that are most expensive.

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    3. I normally don't post anonymous comments, but in this case I think anonymous dialogue is OK. But just for the record, I don't read as closely or give as much credit to anonymous posts. I always assume there's something fishy about someone that won't put their name next to something they write.

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    4. Apis...

      Modest Income? I'll give you some full transparency

      $56,675 = HPRS Total Income Year to Date.
      This number includes all sales: Race Entries, Membership Fees, the 20% I get from online Shirt sales, the $2.00 made from sticker sales, fees paid to me to do online coaching for folks, and any time someone paid by check or credit for a clinic I put on.

      $13,159 = My pay check.
      This number represents the amount of money I have paid myself for the work I've done.

      $3,390 = The total amount of money lost/given away on discounted and comped race entries. Not included in this number is free coaching/training, ambassador membership discounts, and ambassador gear discounts.

      So.. What I'm saying is this... I think "Modest" isn't even accurate as I pay myself a less than moderate bit for my work as an RD at current.. and gave away 25% of what I pay myself.

      With that said.. HPRS has been built without a single financial sponsor. I've been able to keep my races entry fees reasonable, without financial sponsors and keeping fees below average. I know exactly how much I'd make if I kept things as is and sold out the series.. The correlation you speak of between sponsor dollars and entry fees is not accurate. Also.. increased fees is NOT causing lower participation. From a business perspective.. if you charge more there is a higher perceived value of your product. A good example would be the Grand Circle Race Series who has raised their fees quite a bit, yet still sell their races out. Same with WS100, Lottery fees for Hardrock and Leadville. People will pay whatever they need to pay for certain events. Supply and demand.

      I've often asked myself... what would having an "elite" do for my race? Increase visibility for a year? Encourage others to come out the following year? Other than that... the Elites will have no basis on my price points. Those who know me and attend my events, will testify to you 100% that my focus is on the community first and the business last.

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    5. I'm the anonymous commenter above. Thanks for permitting it. I wasn't trying to hide anything. I'm just not very adept at the log in options.

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  3. Pretty interesting read. I've been talking about it for a while, and have even lost some friends because of if. Going back to the Midwest quite often the past couple of months made me realize how different it is out here. Besides for the HPRS series, ultrarunning out here isn't a sport anymore, its a business- to me that is pretty sad. Sure they'll always be low key races and groups, but I don't think ultrarunning will ever be the same.

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    1. Dude this is Nic Wied, Man U r welcome to come back home any time, I'll even pace you on the ice age trail and you can yell at me some more for eating meat ;)! Just kidding man, can't wait to catch up, r u coming back for holidays? Maybe a run w LPTR?

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  4. re: Armstrong: 35k is not an ultra. Its a sub-marathon. Yes, his interest in ultras is disturbing, given that it has weak to non-existent doping protocols. Its too damned expensive for the races, and he knows it. That's parasitical.

    That said, over the years there have been flurries of excitement as various tri-geeks strap on a 50k w great fanfare, then quietly disappear after their first 50mi flameout. As Bill Rogers commented on a 1997 CBS "Eye On Sports" Leadville 100 feature: "Its 12+hours, and most of the runners aren't even half done yet. In an Ironman, most would be heading for the finish by now"

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    1. Let's get on thing clear, it's only disturbing to you and a vocal minority of elites. He wants to run on trails and be outside. It has no impact on most of us. Also, I don't think he's exactly some typical tri-geek who might flame out as easily as you're predicting.

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    2. He should be able to run whatever races he qualifies for but he should not be able to compete. Why should somebody who is a proven cheater, who may still be cheating and who is almost certainly continuing to reap the physiological benefits of years of cheating be given the chance to compete against runners who, simply put, have not and would not cheat.

      Just because (as examples) Ian and Sage work their asses off and have genetic gifts above and beyond what many are willing, able or capable of, it doesn't mean that they deserve to be cheated of the rewards of their hard work and focus.

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    3. Why? Because I used to lie and steal to get money so I could snort morphine off a rusty dishwasher....and now I spend my life helping victims of civil rights abuses, abandoned animals and the ultra running community.

      Why? Because people can and do change and because we believe in second chances.

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    4. Like the article mentioned, PED use is the only thing anyone on social media cares about. Sage is awesome. He doesn't have a job, lives in the mountains, is sponsored, and has genetic gifts. I don't think its fair that I have to compete with him. Stop all the bullshit. We just need to run. Period. If lance wants to run with us the more the frickin merrier.

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  5. No sympathy at all for the elites? In a sport with hardly any prize money like you mention, some of them have learned how to carve out a full-time existence via sponsorship, coaching, and YouTube hits. Sage Canaday doesn't need work part-time customer service at Otterbox anymore, for example. It sounds like there is some resentment here to this new model and that some would prefer that the elites sustain themselves outside the sport, a la Tim Twietmeyer or Jurek doing PT like he used to. Anyway, if these modern elites lose a hotly contested race to a juiced-up runner, I could see this affecting their income stream. Sure, this doesn't affect back-of-the-packers like myself but I am sympathetic to the career that the elites have built if PEDs move in and destroy their livelihood.

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    1. Fair and true points. Nonetheless, I've looked at Sage's web/Facebook pages and Instagram. He's traveling the world, going to exotic races, has the best gear, a beer sponsor, and enjoying Boulder sunsets and the like. If at some point he takes second to a cheater (which he may have already for all we know) I don't think that is in the universe of tragedies. Do I want him to lose to a cheater? No. Do I think it is wrong? Yes. Do I think this is a huge problem in society and that race fees should go up so we can drug test everyone to make sure this doesn't happen? Sorry, no.

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    2. 100% agree that ultra entry fees should not go up, to support drug testing for elites, except possibly for the elites themselves (which their sponsors would pick up anyway). I didn't see Sharman or Canaday calling for that unless I missed it. It would be interesting to find out how the Pikes Peak Marathon/Ascent funds their testing.

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    3. So I'm "enjoying Boulder sunsets and the like.." now? Hey Scott, I apologize if I've somehow offended you in anyway but you seem to know more about my personal life than I do! I don't even remember the last time I've enjoyed a Boulder sunset. I've worked really hard in running, gaining sponsorships, and building an online brand for my coaching business. Perhaps I am judging Lance unfairly, but perhaps you are also judging "elites" a bit unfairly as well? Thank you and I wish you the best in everything. Sincerely, Sage Canaday

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    4. You may be right, and that's a fair criticism of me. I'm formulating my opinion of you based on what I see on social media (and you unfriending me for having a differing opinion). Some day may we will meet and I'm sure that opinion will change because admittedly, most people speak highly of you. "Sunsets" was being used somewhat metaphorically. We've run Comrades. We've seen people with real problems. You know neither you nor I have them. We're somewhat privileged people arguing about an expensive, fringe sport. I don't wish you ill will and I'm sorry I used you as an example. And if you ever want to come on Ten Junk Miles and talk about any of this you are welcome anytime. You were very good on Breaking the Stigma.

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    5. Hey Scott no worries. I appreciate your comment and agree with the "real-world important problems" vs the minor details of PEDs/Lance and running "issues." As for the unfriending on Facebook I apologize....but please don't take it personally (although if you don't like to see a of sponsor product plugs/posts or rants about Maffetone it might not be a good idea to follow me!). I would be honored to be on "Ten Junk Miles" and will take you up on that offer. Shoot me an email: sage@vo2maxproductions.com . All the best, Sage

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  6. Nicely written, Scott. While I don't necessarily agree with every point you made, I relate to your point of view.

    I'm a fan of the top end of all the sports I follow, especially the *very* obscure ones that boast participation numbers in the double digits (winter ultra-endurance bicycle racing? It might be over 100 per year now. But only just.) Still, I can't take sport that seriously. Of course cheating is bad and dopers take away from everyone, but how much outrage do we really need to expend on this? When so much of it is beyond clear-cut controls, and as you correctly pointed out, affects a relative few? And when there are so many real and pressing issues to be outraged about, that affect all of humanity, and not just a small segment of a privileged population.

    But of course, I've been reading the articles and commenting ever since I learned Lance Armstrong ran the same race as I did on Sunday, so that means I'm invested. Lance said "good job" to me as he ran past. Tee-hee. I was a big fan in the day and it's difficult not to be a little starstruck even though I do believe the current popular consensus that he was a liar, a chauvinist, and a life-wrecking tyrant. So while I'm also torn on the issue of "should Lance compete in the local fun runs?" — I think it should be left up to the race directors, whose customers can vote with their dollars. I still believe trail running is for everyone.

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    1. Great points too! If it was a clear cut issue I bet less people would be writing about it. And to be fair, I'd give my eye teeth for lunch with a certain Beat guy, so I am also a fan of the sport, including the top of the pack. And I think Race Directors can set whatever rules they want. If a race like Western States becomes really expensive because of the costs of drug testing we will all have to put our money where our mouths are.

      It is sad that winter racing (pull and bike) doesn't get its due. Sue Lucas won the Tuscobia 150 outright, was 1F in Arrowhead and set the course record and finished the Actif Epica to be the first woman and 7th person to join the Order of the Hrimthurs by finishing all three in one season. She'll get 0 votes for female ultra runner of the year.

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    2. I wholeheartedly agree. Back in 2011 I wrote a letter to Ultrarunning Magazine about why I thought Tim Hewitt deserved at least a nomination for Performance of the Year. Crickets. Same goes with Dave Johnston's 350 record. I'm in awe of it, beyond anything that happens in Western States or Hardrock. But I recognize that I'm a tiny, tiny minority, and I'm okay with that. :)

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    3. Agree on Hewitt (loved and read your book....my god!) and David Johnston winning and setting course records in Susanna AND ITI350 in the course a few weeks. Not saying he has to win. Just saying he should be in the conversation. But I've dragged a sled in -20...so I'm biased.

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  7. What's your beef with Sage Canaday? Did I miss something?

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    1. Well, I used him as an example, but you would have to listen to Ten Junk Miles to get the joke. He unfriended me recently. I've never been a big fan. We crossed paths in an article where he was criticizing Dr. Tim Noakes and Phil Maffatone. I have issue with young fast guys being the authority on things like training and nutrition over people that have spent their lives learning, teaching and coaching. I mean, I get it, he's a vegan. He's fast. He has a book. And a beer sponsor. Just not a fan.

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    3. If you're not a fan of Sage, why were you facebook friends with him? That's weird.

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  8. Also, I wanted to add that if Lance had run the 50K Woodside Ramble at the same pace, he would have placed 4th. Woodside Ramble isn't a fat-ass, but it isn't a big event by any stretch. Clearly he was running for fun, but how much of a threat to serious ultrarunners could he realistically become?

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  9. Did you see/hear anything James Varner has been saying (Rainshadow Running). He basically made the declaration that anyone who is a known cheater is not welcome at his races. On the face of it, I agree; it's his race, he has every right and who likes cheaters. What I take issue with is the way he went about it. He's freaking polarized the entire community (so far as he has reach) with his vitriol and chest-thumping. A simple rule-change, without all the fanfare and drum-beating would have accomplished so much more, without all the fuss. It's called, professionalism.

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    1. Uh-Oh. Have a policy, but no need to be self righteous about it.

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  10. Also, are we going to start seeing races popping up that ban top-finishers; "Power to the people"? Or sponsored runner - bans? #theressomebraincandy

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  11. Definitely some good points and the main aim of ultra running is to enjoy running in interesting places with cool people. That's still very much part of the experience for everyone, as far as I can see. But I just hate cheaters and the reason for my article wasn't anything in the ultra world (although there have been high profile doping cases at Comrades and Two Oceans which have huge prize purses with winners getting up to around US$100k if they hit all the bonuses possible!). It was the endemic doping within athletics, the big brother to our sport with the banner event of the Olympics. I LOVE the Olympics (and have zero chance to compete there) but am hugely saddened to see the credibility of the sport disappearing, both as a fan and for the athletes I know who do aim to compete there. My thoughts are much more focused on avoiding that than whether some loser cyclist runs a local trail race.

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  12. Scott, some of my sentiments exactly. No doubt Lance is a controversial figure and has some done bad things. I understand not allowing him to earn prize $ or a podium spot at certain races. However, the vehement calls to ban him from all trail races or statements along the lines of "he can enjoy trails, just not compete with me" are not in the spirit of this community. While we all run for different reasons, some for healing and redemption, and others simply to be outside, the key is that everyone gets to enjoy the trails.

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  13. At the heart of this piece is a message that rings home with me: You just wanna run. For me, after a personally disappointing year of zero significant runs due to an injury, I could not care less about so called elites, controversies about what distance is an ultra, who doped, who cheated, etc. I just want to run,far,too;and I'm getting back there. If I was going to care about a running issue,it would be an issue related to elitism in our sport from those who nitpick distances, times, races, other racers, etc.as if we're all vying to be top trail runner of the universe. I am more disturbed by forgetting our sport's roots and trailblazers than I am about Lance racing. I run for me. Trail running is at times sublime and other times not so much but in the end, If I come in last but still make time...I still ran the same distance and race everyone else did and that makes me happy.

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  14. At the heart of this piece is a message that rings home with me: You just wanna run. For me, after a personally disappointing year of zero significant runs due to an injury, I could not care less about so called elites, controversies about what distance is an ultra, who doped, who cheated, etc. I just want to run,far,too;and I'm getting back there. If I was going to care about a running issue,it would be an issue related to elitism in our sport from those who nitpick distances, times, races, other racers, etc.as if we're all vying to be top trail runner of the universe. I am more disturbed by forgetting our sport's roots and trailblazers than I am about Lance racing. I run for me. Trail running is at times sublime and other times not so much but in the end, If I come in last but still make time...I still ran the same distance and race everyone else did and that makes me happy.

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    1. So sorry ou haven't had the bst year running-wise. I feel you. I went 1-4 in 100 milers and buried my best running friend who lost his battle with ALS. I am keenly aware that there are a lot of people that would give anything to take a nice easy run in he woods. Have an attitude of gratitude and don't take any runs for granted. Here's to an awesome 2016!!

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  15. Great Blog as always Scott. You hit the nail on the head. By the way, who is that charming women in the picture at the end of your blog? She looks fun, and also hungry.

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  16. Mr. Kummer & Dovi:

    Well reasoned and written piece. Thoughtful insight to be sure. It serves to raise consciousness for the sport, and is bringing about debate. Debate is rarely a bad thing.

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  17. Hi Ultra-runners!

    We are the race directors of the Thailand Ultramarathon TU100 (100km).

    We would love you to be a part of our next race, on Nov 19 2016.

    The Thailand Ultramarathon has unusually generous prize money of £1,000 each for the male and female winners, which we believe will attract some of the top runners in Asia. The total prize money is £5,000, to males and females up to third place (the women's prize money is conditional of at least 20 women competing).

    The race is held in the forest/jungle of far north west of Thailand. The course is very a challenging, stunningly beautiful, remote 50km loop, with 2,500m of climbing, and 13 stream crossings per loop. The race HQ and all CP's are in local hill tribe villages.

    We have a great community element to the race - almost all our race day staff are local hill tribers, and we hold several activity days in local schools prior to the race.

    We have set a limit of 200 runners for the TU100 to keep the unique character and vibe of the event.

    The previous winner of the TU100 (in 2014) was the quitely awesome Salvador Calvo Redondo.

    The race is also a 3 point UTMB qualifier.

    More information is available on our website: www.thailandultramarathon.com

    Please let us know if you are interested in taking part. Entries open very soon - on 20th December 2015. Places are limited to 200 for each event (50 km and 100 km on consecutive weekends). As we have started to attract elite runners we expect all the entries to fill up rapidly.

    Hope you will join us for one of the toughest and friendliest ultras in Asia.

    Best wishes

    Julie Stapleton and Marcus Philpott
    stapletonjulie@hotmail.com

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  18. Hey Scott, I really enjoyed this blog post. I found myself nodding and agreeing quite a bit.

    Just for the record, I'm not "anti-elite". But your comments about being disappointed with all the focus on elites in media really resonated with me --particularly the bit about how it used to be so cool to see the full list of finishers in UltraRunningMagazine, but now it's just a bunch of articles from sponsored runners/coaches.

    I am really glad that there are voices like yours in our sport as a counter point to the elites like Ian Sharman and Sage Canaday who seem to be making the most noise and dominating the conversation, even though elites are just a small minority in our larger community of ultra runners and trail runners.

    Keep up the great work!

    John

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    1. Thanks alot man....I really liked your piece too. And I'm not pro Lance or Pro doping or anti elite either. I'm starting to understand their point of view as this discussion continues. That being said, the other 95% of ultra/trail running should have a voice too (this was a big reason for starting my podcast). Although I think it's cool to talk about what Sage and Ian are up to I think we can also learn a lot from people like Juli Aistars and John Morelock and Larry Gassan. But I'm a fan of the sport, and after reading your post, a fan of you.

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  19. Whats an elite? I hear you- I dont care; not because of apathy but because my experience is unrelated to what happens elsewhere in the race.

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  20. http://humanpotentialrunning.com/race-policies/

    We have a drug policy. Let's all just calm down and smoke some herb huh?

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  21. Well written. https://runeatandtravel.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/running-forward/

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