Sunday, August 28, 2011


Much to say about this race that I will do so in time but this came across my desk and raised my eyebrows today:

Not sure what to think about that but it sure is mean.



Brent said...

Andy, I think that by calling it mean and posting its web address on your blog (though no link -- kudos for that), you're giving that collage more teeth than it deserves. To me, it's childish, ridiculous and unfair.

I won't speculate as to who created it, but I will note that the flags and Salomon logo clearly indicate that it is both pro-Salomon and anti-U.S.

As to its message, let's start from the top. Geoff has clearly spoken out and called for a championship-style race that will foster competition and (hopefully) build the sport of ultrarunning. Kudos to him for that, and his work with the upcoming UROC is a great start.

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with DNFing UTMB. Geoff obviously loves to run and I think he has the self-confidence to DNF when it's not his day. He's not out there to test whether he can complete the course or not. He's out there to push himself to the limit, and that's a dangerous game... it can go wrong in a hurry and it doesn't always work out.

I have no idea why Dakota and Jurek are included in that top photo as I haven't seen either of them complain about any of that stuff, but maybe I've just missed it (I'm a major ultra geek, though, so it's unlikely).

Moving down the graphic, the jab at Anton for breaking his leg is the most childish part of the whole thing. It's obvious that Anton derives a huge amount of joy and emotional sustenance from his running. Clearly, he didn't break his leg to dodge the competition at UTMB, which is what seems to be vaguely implied. Mystifying.

Regarding the jabs at Nick Clark, how does the author determine what "too much" racing is. Obviously, Clark raced too much to come to UTMB optimally-prepared and fully-rested. But that's because he had other goals and interests this year and he had to balance those against UTMB. To take a jab at him because he had higher priorities than UTMB this season is ridiculous. And regarding his complaints about the race organization on his blog, I thought his gripes were presented fairly, and he placed the bulk of his downfall squarely on his own shoulders, acknowledging that he came apart mentally after learning that the course had been extended many hours into the race.

Finally, the bottom of the collage highlights the Salomon runners who won Western States, Hardrock, Leadville and UTMB (Kilian, Chorier and Sandes). And these three are certainly impressive and praiseworthy. Major props to them for outstanding performances that speak to the hard training they've put in to prepare. But to celebrate that they "shut up and train" before winning seems an odd thing to celebrate (were it even true). I, for one, love elite athletes who are forthcoming and willing to share their journey with those of us who are interested. I love it when the stars of our sport weigh in on the issues near and dear to the ultrarunning community or share a sliver of their lives and thoughts with us. To discourage this is a shame.

I, for one, would like to personally congratulate Anton on his return to daily activity (running or otherwise) and each of the other athletes pictured for getting out there, getting after it, and sharing a piece of the journey with the rest of us. I love competition and its ability to bring more out of you than you knew you had within. And I'm certainly not one who thinks that we're all winners and it doesn't matter who finishes first. To me, winning is a great achievement and the culmination of untold hours of hard work and sacrifice that should be acknowledged and celebrated. But I'm no fair-weather fan.

To the competitors out there training, racing and trying to win (including all those pictured), I say this: win or lose, whether it's your day to shine, DNF, or walk it in, I respect you greatly. And please, keep training, but don't shut up.

John said...

My thoughts are...somebody has too much time on their hands and should probably chill out a bit. The internet seems to be great for allowing people to take anonymous digs at others. One of the worst parts about it really...

That being was definitely a disappointing UTMB for a lot of folks. That race seems crazy difficult.

GZ said...

Pretty much complete bullshit. The sad part is I am sure the person who created it is just a troll looking to stir the pot and is nowhere close in ability, performance, worth ethic to any of those guys.

Jim Bruening said...

Aren't we propagating the negativity by re-publishing this nonsense? It seems out of place on a stellar blog.

Kurt said...

Well if the idea is to pit the different runners against one another that seems silly as I think most people have seen how all those runners seem to be buddy buddy with each other. It is funny how some person behind a computer is such a tuff guy huh.

Brad Mitchell said...

WOW - WTF! Someone needs a hobby.

Viper said...

this has to be purely humor.

and.e.aitch said...

I think that the American's poor showing at UTMB is awesome. Knowing what I know about those guys, something like this will only serve to make them that much more driven. With the elites of our sport ( in N. America) pushing themselves more, there can only be positive repercussions, no?

As for the silly collage, it's silly. I highly doubt that it's creator did any better this weekend.

Mike Place said...

A little bit of Googling suggests to me that the image probably originated here:

Completely childish behavior, as many others have already said. That said, it's a run-of-the-mill Internet troll and the more that we can all ignore him/her, the better.

Zac B-S said...

It was obviously childish etc, but there is one nugget of gold in there:
Elite European mountain/ultrarunners are faster than their US counterparts. Fact.

mtnrunner2 said...

Guess ultrarunning must be coming of age now that it has its own trolls.

Brent said...

Zac, are you serious? Fact? End of discussion? Must I point out that the course records at Western States, Hardrock AND Leadville are all held by U.S. runners?

If the Euros are so much faster, then why didn't they set course records while winning those three races this year? All we know is that the Euro & African winners highlighted in the collage were faster on those courses, on the days those races were run this past year. On other days, U.S. runners have been even faster on those courses. And on future days some U.S. runner will no doubt be faster still.

Scott Dunlap said...

You can always count on the Internet to find a few haters. Perhaps it should be forwarded to Salomon for comment. ;-)

Zac B-S said...

Key word: ARE. Indicates the PRESENT. If I wanted to talk about past performances, I would have used the word WERE.
At this point in time, the Euros are quicker.
I don't think that you can say that on other days the yanks would have been quicker when no US runner made the top ten, and most 'elite' US runners dropped out or were simply outclassed by their European counterparts.
I can't be bothered testing, but it's probably statistically significant. There's no need for patriotism to fly in the face of reason.