north face logoNFCE 50 + 2013 Review

2013 ended pretty nicely with The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile run in Marin, north of San Francisco. With the UTMB in particular (and 100s of miles of mountain running) 2013 has been a great running year for me. The TNF50 was a good cherry on the cake since it was a beautiful cold day in the Marin Headlands and I also got a PR on that course (by 1 hour and 25 minutes no less!).

I first ran the course in 2011 and it was my first ultra marathon. It was fantastic and although I was a little slow (and I was hurting at the end quite a bit!) I pledged to come back. I went back in 2012 and the weather was so awful that they shortened the course to 46 miles.

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oec cover


This summer I decided to plan for my next level of outdoor emergency care.\I was faced with the choice of taking a WFR (Wilderness First Responder) course or OEC course (Outdoor Emergency Care). I have always been interested in volunteering in a ski patrol I opted for OEC. It also seemed that the training was similar in nature to WFR. OEC is the National Ski Patrol mandated course, meaning that all NSP ski patrollers need to be OEC certified (some are EMTs it’s the same training, standard of care).

After looking for a class on the NSP site I found that the patrol I wanted to join in Mammoth did offer a class in Burbank and it seemed very convenient except that I was going to be out of town for too many classes (running UTMB for instance) and I wasn’t sure I could commit to two nights a week (and teaching also two nights a week).

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UTMB Video Summary

UTMB Video Summary: Watch a 15 min video condensing 42 hours of running in the mountains around the Mont Blanc in Europe. 

There was a lot of footage shot on a GoPro during the race. I wish I could have included more parts of the race. You can always read the race report which is quite more detailed and includes still photos. I tried to keep the segment under 15 minutes and since I spent two nights in the mountains it was also challenging to shoot at night. There are however night segments that are probably the less fun of the whole piece.

If I had time I would definitely include the volunteers and the other runners or even a video of the finish or more footage of before and after the race. Commenting on this almost 10 years later it still seems it was yesterday. I need to comment because it’s a video page and the SEO plug in is telling me I don’t have enough words on this page which makes sense since it’s just a video page. 

utmb video summary

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“It is not a pristine mountain experience, but rather, it’s a spectacle of the sport of mountain ultra running. I happen to like this aspect of the race. For a sport that is often niche and very grassroots and an activity that I spent a vast majority of my time doing alone, almost everything about the race is an over-the top, at times kitschy, experience; a true celebratory event.” — Adam Campbell

While it’s always fun and beneficial to write a report after every event I run, doing so for the UTMB seems just as daunting as finishing the course. It’s definitely the hardest ultra marathon I ever ran. 105 miles (168 km) in high mountains, 31,000 feet of steep climbing and descending, semi-autonomous mode. Video here!

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UTMB Newscast Logo


I was hoping to post some nifty video podcasts to cover the pre-race week in Chamonix. Not really happening for a couple of reasons: the bandwidth at my hotel is very limited, there is really not that much going on. I’m spending a fair amount of time resting and getting last details sorted out. I also did a try with my GoPro and I sounded like a total idiot. So here’s more of a journal format. It seems a little more humble… UTMB Newscast 02!

It is a treat to spend time here in Chamonix. During the last three days I’ve established a routine: get up at 8:30, have a huge breakfast at the hotel, go for a one hour run on the nearby trails in the woods (so green) or an hour swim at the magnificent Chamonix Olympic pool looking at the Mont-Blanc. Then lunch in town, shopping for last race essentials, socialize a bit (the town is full of runners so it’s easy to just pick a victim and chat!). 

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