In recounting the past year and looking forward to the next, there is more to my imagination than Krar, Roes, Mackey and Morton, but that’s a fine way to contemplate the end and the advent. Each of those runners, in his own way, rose above the rest and reminds us of why we do this, why this is so much fun – running, getting fit, living high and low, and taking a shit (nice). These guys, by the way, I am sure scare the shit out of their race day competition. Again, let’s raise a mug in hopes that these four can carry-on their health, their sport and its growing fans in this same way into the 2014 fray.
I have commented enough on the “culture” of MUT, or more specifically “ultra.” Ultimately, my problem is it has very little to do with the athletics, the real sport of which is the interest here on this site. The only possible consideration might (might) include some point (which I’ve made) about the lack of organization undermining athletes’ health and race performance. Blah blah blah. Who says any of these “underachievers” want to race well? Dakota Jones (bless his soul) eloquently states: “In America, trail running came out of a culture of hiking and mountain climbing that has its roots in solitude and escape. When Americans race, they are almost afraid to say they are racing, because they don’t want to betray traditional values about the purity of the sport” (iancorless.org). This is the final word, imho, on the cultural matter. The sport is international and every significant race now has international presence. This is not the Olympics or some Commonwealth Games. These are races. Since I have always been more concerned with the competitions, we focus on the podium, the way a race unfolds, how an athlete’s performance stacks-up for him/her personally or historically. For whatever reasons, if an individual is not racing, they are not racing. The end. Jones’ comment is a perfect insight on the entire cultural discussion. Another popular (beside the point) discussion is race organization. As for the race organization, hopefully no runners are being tackled or shot at.
And if ever I have strayed from my mission, it was done to address some point of the competition. As far as I’m concerned, I left that cocktail party, the one rambling about this or that cultural element, a while ago. Given my only possible trace of OCD, I will have to address and reconcile certain contradictions or hypocrisies as I carry-on. One, off the top of my head, might be one of my renderings of Anton Krupicka. There is nothing confusing, at all, about this cat. He’s a mountain runner. Next.
Who has more ultra promise? Sage Canaday or Xavier Thevenard? We’ll never know since one uses the dry mountain trail to cross-train during off-season. Thevenard won the CCC at 22 and UTMB at 25 and holds the later’s CR. Canaday is a burgeoning ultra talent yet to realize his dreams, which I suppose include trail domination, product endorsement/development and film making. Let’s keep our eyes on the trail accomplishments of these two.
Funny that despite Sage’s massive success so far, he seems to lack that big win ala Transvulcania or UROC. In other words, each time he comes-up short, I get more interested in seeing his next race because you know how important this is to him, how determined he is to succeed. A great 2013 but I predict and even better 2014.
You know, speaking of Anton and resurrections, here’s my brief letter to Anton: become what you’ve always been meant to be: a great adventurer (ala Nolans) and 50 miler. What’s his record in 50milers, 5-0? That’s his distance. Get it done! Also, speaking of Anton crossing a finish line in first, I’m calling a return to the trail for Kyle Skaggs. It’s been six naked years since he’s decorated our iMUTgination. It’s all happening this year: Anton gets off some fantastic results in Europe and here at home, and Kyle beats-up another pair of minimalist kicks.
There are so many athletes and parts of the racing calendar to be explored (and I would appreciate any suggestions). Joe Gray and Max King really interest me because of their duel mountain and cross country credentials. I can’t wait to see what these two are up to, as well as others that follow some of that track to trail lead. Ben Bruce comes to mind.
Indeed, there are too many story-lines. To be honest, the one I perhaps look most forward to following is that of Young Money. He’s got a lot of smarts, which might actually get in the way of his racing. Of them all, he might have some of the best mountain chops anywhere. And like Canaday, despite kegs of success, there is some sense that he too is missing some of those giant results you know he’s running toward. True, it’s tough to ignore Transvulcania ’12, but besting Matt Carpenter’s SJS CR last year, amongst other feathers. . . this bird’s gonna fly in 2014.
Finally, for now, I’ve got $100 that says Kilian and Emelie honneymoon somewhere in the snow. I know, so ultra. But seriously, I’m on the lookout for Kilian’s next quest: Kilian Shoots the Moon. He’s done with MUT, no? The great days of De Gasperi v Kilian are over, youngsters like Luis Hernando and Thevenard (both probably older than the KJ) are nipping at his Skyrunning heels and the Americans are boning-up on ultra speed. Do he and Jono face-off in made for TV European mountain racing? I posit he’ll push the Spanish economy to such great heights, they’ll develop a space program and he’ll be the first Spanish lunar ambassador. Wait, who am I kidding: Salomon will build his space station.