Errrrr….I guess I should say 5 Ultra Men Over 40 I’m Following Right Now, but I was trying to stay fair and consistent with my post from Friday. You get the picture.
Just like the ladies I told you about on Friday, these men are rock stars in the Ultra world. They have each taken our sport to another level, and I am fascinated by how they train and how they race.
1. Scott Jurek. If you have never heard of Scott Jurek, then you must be spending too much time at the mall. Or on Mars. Scott, who will be 40 in a few months so I’m including him on this list, is THE ultrarunner of the decade. He has won Western States 100 seven times, Badwater, Spartathlon, Hardrock, and most recently, set an American Record in the 24 Hour event with 165.7 miles!! He’s been given every running award there is, so I’m not going to list them all here. Just know, that Scott probably had to rent out a storage unit just for his awards. And I’m just sayin’ (and name dropping), Scott was my coach when I first started running ultras :).
2. Dean Karnazes. I know, I know, everyone has an opinion about Dean K. But I don’t care, I like him! First of all, it was he who inspired me to run ultras in the first place – I saw him on some documentary running and running, and he looked so cool. Second, he has won a ton of races, including a recent win at Vermont 100. Third, we were on the US National Team together one year, and he was fun to run with. Fourth, he just keeps on running, taking on new challenges every year. And finally, he has probably inspired more people to run than any other person in the country!
3. Ray Krolewicz. More commonly known as Ray K, this man has run over 400 marathons (winning more than 80), broken countless records, and held the American Record in the 48 Hour event for several years. At 56, Ray continues to run about 21 ultras a year, still as a top contender. But more importantly, Ray has taken on the role of mentor to the younger generation of ultrarunners, preaching the “there are no such thing as junk miles” creed that I ascribe to emphatically. Ray is often seen at races, coaching young runners, helping them reach their potential, pushing and cheering simultaneously. His generous spirit, as well as his unstoppable talent, puts him on any list of top ultrarunners.
4. Phil McCarthy. I’ve written about Phil before because he is one of the most talented runners on the scene today, especially at the fixed-time road races. Phil, age 43, has been on the US National 24 Hour Team for 5 years, and most recently, set the American Record in the 48 Hour event with 257.34 miles (no, that is not a typo). I crewed for Phil at Badwater in 2010 and he was simply phenomenal to watch. He stayed focused and poised, not an easy thing to do when it is 120 degrees and you are running 135 miles through Death Valley. He is the true definition of grace under pressure, which is why he seems to consistently perform at the top of his game.
5. Howard Nippert. I have to admit that I have never met Howard in person, but last summer, when I tore my hamstring/adductor severely and was forced to withdraw from the National Championships, Howard was the man I called. Why would I call a complete stranger? Because Howard has a well-deserved reputation for being “the coach to the champions.” Not only has he been on the US 100k National Team 10 times(!), but he has also coached many of the other runners on it. He knows the ins and outs of National Team qualification, so I knew he was the one to ask (or whine to): What do I do? And even though Howard was not my coach, or even a friend, he spent 30 minutes on the phone with me, talking me down from the ledge and assuring me I had plenty of time to race even if I couldn’t compete at the National Championships. And he did it just because. Now that is a runner’s runner.
Yay for the guys!