Summer of Grand Slamming

By Denise Bourassa

It’s hard to believe that it is done… I am done. On Sept 6th I successfully completed the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning a mere 10 weeks after I began this amazing adventure.  

My last race report, a rather sad story, was truly my lowest point of the Slam. I wondered when, where, and how it would feel to hit a low point and Vermont was it. Not that I felt that I could go much lower, you never, ever know. There are never any guarantees in Ultrarunning. Having said that, put away your tissue, there will be no tears shed in reading the rest of my Slam story!

Read Denise’s full race report on her blog

Big congrats to Denise for becoming the 43rd female to complete the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning with the 4th fastest combined time. 

Grand Slam / Western States 100 — 1 down 3 To Go!

Denise Bourassa recaps her performance at the Western States 100, the first leg of the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning.

"So, added to my excitement of running Western States for the 3rd year in a row is the beginning of an epic adventure, an adventure that will challenge my mind, body and soul in ways I am unable to even imagine.  Some call me crazy and possibly in need of medication, but for me this is living!"

Read the post at The Bourassa Blog

Next up for Denise, the Vermont 100 on July 19th. Good luck!

Photos: Facchino Photography

To The Ashes - Winning Bighorn 100

By Luke Nelson

Sometimes things do not go to plan, sometimes they do. The only thing that you can plan on when running 100 miles is that things will not go to plan. It had been a couple of years since I had toed the line to run a hundred miler and, to be totally honest, I was not sure I was prepared.

After getting home from Transvulcania I had a hard time getting back in the groove. It seemed as though I needed a lot of time to recover fully from the race. Just when I thought I was getting my form back, it was derailed by race directing the Scout Mountain Ultra. During that month, I often chose to recover more and train less, which left me wondering how the Bighorn would actually go.

My plan from the start was to follow the advice of the course record holder, ”Just run fast and take chances, save a little for the climb from footbridge, and bury yourself on the road to the finish.” Now, you may be thinking that this sounds like a horrible idea for a 100 miler, but I decided that I would try to go out hard and see where it took me…

Read Luke’s race report at Challenge of Balance

Congrats on the win Luke!

A Barnburner on La Palma: Transvulcania 2014

Words and photos by Luke Nelson

I am not sure there is any other finish in the world that is as amazing as the finish of Transvulcania. Thousands of people line the street cheering in each runner…

Read Luke’s full race report on his blog

Krissy Moehl & Darcy Africa - Fastest known time on the Wonderland Trail

Want to cover the 93 wild and rugged miles of the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier in a fastest known time? It pays be prepared—and to have fast friends.

Darcy Africa and Krissy Moehl are longtime friends, training partners and veteran 100-mile competitors. It would be easy to say they’d paid their dues and would best the women’s supported record, but scoring a fastest known time is never easy.

The Wonderland Trail has around 48,000 feet of cumulative elevation change, with six notable climbs in the opening miles. Darcy and Krissy cruisied through the climbs—and their water supply—faster than intended. Hunting for good water sources forced them to give back some of the time they had gained. 

Starting out at 1:00 p.m. so they would run the most beautiful sections of trail in the light of the following day meant that darkness came quickly. Night miles often drag and are notorious for sapping psyche. Darcy and Krissy took turns pulling at the front through the night: whoever felt best would set the pace. “My stomach would tighten up and slow me down during the climbs. I didn’t want to eat. Darcy stayed strong on the climbs and it motivated me to keep pace rather than slip into walking.”

Motivation, a steady pace and excellent crew support put Darcy and Krissy ahead of their expectations by the time they were rolling through the closing miles to Longmire—well under the goal sub-24 hour mark. But sometimes the time warp of running in good company just makes things go better than expected.

#SufferBetter - Share your story

Photos: Fredrik Marmsater

Read Krissy’s recap of the run on her personal blog

Not giving them another thought as I passed, I quickly heard running footsteps. As this registered in my mind, I glanced over my shoulder to find one of the dudes had decided to give chase. He was bigger than me and coming up quickly, maybe 20 yards back and closing fast. Bam! Enter the true fight or flight response that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts try to mimic…
Jeff Browning from Dustin’ the Drunk Dude in Drake Park

From Our Ambassadors