This week, we talk about registration for several marathons including Chicago Marathon and Marine Corps Marathon opening soon for their 2015 events. Big Sur Marathon registration goes to a lottery process for 2016. Changes to the World Marathon Majors Championship scoring started with the recent Tokyo Marathon. Runners go off course at the Birmingham Mercedes-Benz half marathon. Little Rock Marathon and Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon come up with creative solutions for their race merchandise being caught up in shipping delays. We saw McFarland, USA and it was a great movie, you need to see it. Mark trains for the Eugene Marathon and Elena is halfway through her training for the Boston Marathon.
It’s no secret that I am a fan of Hoka’s. So it’s not surprise I picked up a pair of the Hoka Challenger ATR trail shoes when they first came out. Some describe the shoe as the trail version of the Hoka Clifton, which is a fair comparison. The shoe features the usual Hoka rocker geometry and a no sew upper. It has a 5mm drop, 29mm heel and 24mm forefoot. Weighs in at 8.6 oz and has 4mm lugs on the bottom. It has the same EVA midsole as the Clifton however this shoe is stiffer. The shoe is true to size for me and feels slightly more comfortable in the heel then the Clifton. This is a shoe that is light and responsive for the amount of cushioning that you get. They feel agile enough for me and still feel connected to the trail. They are a smooth fun ride. Traction has been surprisingly good even on some especially muddy days. But probably not the best option on very technical terrain. So far I have had no issues with the durability although some other wearers have had some concerns. I even really like the look of these, and there are more colors coming next month. These have actually been my favorite trail shoes ever, so much better then the last trail shoes from Hoka that I had – the Rapa Nui. The Challenger began as an exclusive for REI stores, but come March you should begin to see them everywhere including Hoka’s own website. The shoe retails for $130.
This week, we talk about a dramatic finish at the Austin Marathon. Some races with great swag, including one with an apple pie. McFarland, USA comes out this weekend so go see it at a theater near you. RaceReady is back. And our week in training.
Trails in Motion Film Festival is a compilation of short films related to trail running. The film tour started off in South Africa and is now in its third edition. We were fortunate to be there for its first US showing of 2015. There are nine films that range from three minutes to 56 minutes in duration. With the featured film “Finding Traction” being the longest. This particular film features the great ultrarunner Nikki Kimball as she goes for an FKT (Fastest Known Time) on the 273 mile Long Trail in Vermont. Nikki Kimball is a long time endurance athlete and very successful ultrarunner, having won Western States Endurance Run three times and most recently winning the 150 mile Marathon de Sables in 2014. The film follows Nikki as she prepares for this endeavor and through her ups and downs while out on the trail. Aside from going for an FKT on American’s oldest trail, she also had the goal of raising awareness of trail running and other outdoor activities with this venture. With this goal in mind she partnered with Girls on the Run in Vermont and She Can! in Montana to raise money for the work these groups do with children and young adults in exploring nature and participating in endurance sports. The film captured our attention right from the beginning and kept us enthralled the entire time. The films are international, coming from countries such as Japan, Mexico and New Zealand. They take viewers to places we may have heard of but have not been able to experience in person such as southern Patagonia in the film “Around Patagonia” featuring Jason Schlarb and Jeremy Wolfe. One of the goals of the film festival is to bring people together from around the globe to enjoy the sport of trail running and I think they are doing a good job at accomplishing that goal. “Triple Corona” gives us a peek into the toughest mountain trail running circuit in Mexico that is ‘only for savages’. It’s a challenging trilogy of races over difficult terrain and accompanied by some amazing views. One of the films “Why We Run” really makes you think. It makes you think about running, about trail running, about life. It features biologist and ultrarunner Bernd Heinrich who has written a book by the same title, although originally it was titled “Racing the Antelope”. The book deals with our primal drive to win and how that relates to humans being a running species. The 15 minute film includes insights from Bernd about what running has meant to him and the role it continues to play in his life. After watching the first couple of films I was ready to go out on the trails and run and I’m sure others felt the same. However I don’t recommend leaving early as you will miss out on some great films. With the film tour being international there are opportunites for many people to catch a viewing. I recommend checking their website for a showing near you.
This week, the Trails In Motion Film Festival that includes great films such as Finding Traction with Nikki Kimball and Why We Run with Bernd Heinrich. An owl going after runners. Dylan Bowman and Ruby Muir win the Tarawera Ultramarathon in New Zealand this weekend. And our week in training.
This week, we talk about the new medal for Ragnar Trail races. Our race plans for 2015 are coming together. Under Armour has acquired MyFitnessPal and Endomondo. The “dangers” of running too much. Gorillas running in Austin. The cost of a running shoe per mile. And our week in training.
As you all know we are excited that Ragnar Trail Tahoe is back this year. But there is more exciting news to share. They released the design for this years’ medal and it is awesome! If you do any Ragnar Trail Relay event this year you will get this amazing medal.
You know how interested we are in our race “bling”, even having a category for the best race bling during our year end wrap up episodes so it’s only natural that we would write about this.
Historically Ragnar Relay Series, the parent company for Ragnar Trail, is known for some great medals. Medals for their road relays typically double as a bottle opener. Their double medals awarded for running two specific races in their series are unique, big and have great designs. With the series expanding to the trails the last couple of years as Ragnar Trail Relay they have had wooden medals the last two years, more in line with trail running.
The new medal design this year is unique. Unlike previous trail medals it is made entirely of metal and is actually a multi-tool. Staying true to what their medals are known for, it does incorporate a bottle opener. However it also includes a nut and bolt wrench, a flex wrench, a serrated edge labeled as a saw and more! It even has their new catchphrase etched on the back “find your inner wild”.
Who knows if the TSA will let you take this on the plane. But if they don’t, put it in your checked lugagge or your other option is to use one of the envelopes Ragnar Trail will have available at each venue to ship the medal home to yourself.
You’ll definitely want to get this medal and make your friends jealous so register now for any or many Ragnar Trail races. We are fortunate enough to have a discount code to share with the Embrace Running community for the Tahoe event that will be taking place August 14-15. The code is TT15MCOSTA for $50 off of a team entry. See you there.