Written by Nancy Hobbs, MUT Executive Chairperson
The International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU), will stage an event pitting athletes from national federations against one another as they run a 6-hour virtual challenge later this month. In their call to action for this event, the IAU stated, “Athletes need to have some motivation to train and compete during these difficult times but need to do so safely. The majority of our ultrarunning federations have been drastically affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Regretfully, we have needed to cancel most of our championships this year which has led to athletes losing their goals and short-term ambitions. In the spirit of universal camaraderie and uplifting of the morale, we have planned a virtual ‘IAU 6 Hour Global Solidarity Run’ for our ultrarunning family to engender athletic interest and friendly global fun.”
The 6-Hour Run can be done on either August 29, or August 30. Athletes can run indoors or outdoors and will record their performances on one of the many mileage tracking platforms like Strava or Garmin and then sent to a centralized location for compilation. Team coordinator Lin Gentling wrote this to the athletes participating for Team USA, “This is a solidarity run and as such, there are no prizes handed out and participation is the most important element of this event. We are grateful for your desire and expect no more than for you to have fun, run within the rules and regulations of your locality, and take this for what it is meant to be….unity, fun, and a chance to get ‘out there’ and just run.”
Introducing Team USA including their ages and hometowns along with their comments on the competition.
Cole Crosby, 31, Princeton, NJ – Happy to be on such a stellar team with such incredible athletes! With everything going on in the world, as runners, I think we all have been searching to find new ways to stay motivated and train well. It’s been a challenge! Anytime you get to represent your country, it’s truly such an honor and one to help add some new motivation! My plan for the run will probably be on a road course. I ran a 50 mile time trial in early April and had some very windy conditions so I’m hoping I can put together a run that will be a great effort for the US and in the process run a PR for 50 miles.
Kallin Khan, 23, Lisle, IL – I will likely be doing this run in the mountains of Colorado, where I will be moving to for the next few months.
David Kilgore, 28, New York, NY – Stoked to be roped into this amazing group and to be representing the USA in this 6Hr Global Solidarity run. The opportunity is much appreciated. It’s always an honor to be a part of this group, and to represent the country. I’m definitely going to hit this 6HR run on some East Coast trails, still deciding on the exact spot, but it will definitely be a doozie. Mother Nature never fails to impress. I will be cruising along with a crew of some awesome people and will have some live updates along the way. Follow along @davidkilgore on my IG, chat with me or some of my funny friends, and enjoy some gorgeous scenery while you’re at it!
Jon Olsen 45, Modesto, CA – I, like everyone else, am super excited to be a part of this team/event. I plan on running the 29th as of now and will let you know if that changes. I’m going to keep it local and run the six hours on a two mile loop in my neighborhood:) I’d like to run 50+ miles, but since I haven’t run an all-out effort at this distance in a while, I’m curious to see what I end up with.
Michael Wardian 45, Arlington, VA – I’m excited to represent and I really appreciate the opportunity. Let’s crush. I think I might just run on all the surfaces, but will decide as it gets closer.
Sam Skeels, 42, Adrian, MI – I’m feeling a whole bunch of humility, empathy, and gratitude for this amazing opportunity during such a challenging time on earth. I’m so excited to join you all and represent the USA doing something we love in the name of global solidarity! I know we will make a positive impact on the lives of others through our efforts as a team. I’ll be running on the roads, trails, and possibly the track around my home in Michigan. Good luck to everyone on all the awesome things you’re up to at the moment, and I’m looking forward to the continued connections as we approach “race day.”
Emily Harrison Torrence, 34, Flagstaff, AZ – I’m excited to represent the USA in showing our support for the Global Solidarity Run! I’m still figuring out where I’m going to do the 6 hours and trying to see if I can get off altitude and out of the heat. I’m aiming for a road loop or route and over 40 miles.
Sabrina Little, 34, Morehead, KY – I am looking forward to this. It’s always special to represent the country and to do so with such amazing athletes. Frankly, I’m not going to be race sharp on August 29th because I just had a baby, but I am getting pretty fit within the limitations of new pandemic parenthood. If the goal of this IAU event is global solidarity with other athletes who are just doing their best, wherever they are, and being edified by the spirit of competition regardless of the current hand they’ve been dealt, then this very well describes my mindset for the event—both in the pandemic and as a new parent. I will run a mix of hilly roads and trails in rural Kentucky and aim to hit between 40-50 miles, or just do the best I can that day. Happy to run with you guys! I’ve long admired many of you from afar.
Elizabeth Northern, 33, Fort Worth, TX – I’m thrilled to enter “into the unknown” of time and distance through this event. Yes, that’s a Frozen 2 reference. But, I also have not run farther than a 50K, so I am very much looking forward to this challenge! I’m excited to feel the thrill of “racing” once again. I’ll be running on a ~1.25mi road loop in a flat and more shaded neighborhood close to my home in Fort Worth, TX. I’ll likely be starting around 2-2:30AM, so to finish before the temps become unbearable. My shoot for the moon goal is as close to 50 miles as I can get. We’ll see! I’m terrified of how those last two hours will feel.
Courtney Olsen, 33, Bellingham, WA – I’m highly motivated by teamwork – I look forward to keeping track of all of you and how we stack up against other participating countries. I’ve spent the spring and summer focusing on the mile – 5k distance, working on speed for eventual marathons and 50k race opps (lol). Was really looking forward to shooting for the 50k AR with Liz at the IAU 50k WC in Jordan this fall, but I assume it’ll be cancelled, thus, when this opportunity arose, it freaked me out, so I said ‘Yes.’ Since I’ve never run further than the 50k distance, I’m not entirely qualified to predict distance, but I’d love to get as close as I can to 50 miles. I plan to run Saturday, 8/29 really early to beat the heat and I’m thinking about using the Burke Gilman trail in Seattle, WA (it’s road/footpath), back and forth. Proud to be on a team with all of you!
Emily Schmitz, 39, Wauwatosa, WI – I will be running on a dirt track and seeing how many loops I can do in 6 hours 🙂 also I am not in the US right now (was going to fly home but things got slightly complicated…) so I will be doing it in Bogotá, Colombia. We are at about 8,660 feet but the good news is that it is not very hot here right now! The more races that have been cancelled, the more I have realized how much I miss these events and especially team races like this, so thank you all again!! Looking forward to racing together:)
Trisha Steidl, 43, Seattle, WA – Big thanks to Lin and for this opportunity to represent our country alongside such an incredible group of runners! This is going to be a fun challenge! I will be running wearing a bib on my pack that saya, “Black Lives Matter,” “I Run With Maud,” “Undo Indigenous Erasure,” and, of course, “In Memory of Bill Roe.” Covering such a long distance affords me time to think about these important topics and people. Doing so on well-travelled paths in the greater Seattle area gives me the great opportunity to also spark thought – and hopefully also conversation – in others along the way. I look forward to seeing where each person on the team chooses to run! While I won’t be able to make it all the way around in six hours, I’ve been wanting to run around Lake Washington for years and this is a great excuse to finally (mostly) do it! Maybe I’ll run into you, Courtney! The northern part of my route hits the BGT. That’ll be near the end of my run, so that sure would be a perfect time to see a teammate also getting after it!