Introduction by Chris Cloyd, Assistant Course Director, Canyons Endurance Runs:
The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB have grown up a lot over the last few years. New distances, more entrants, and a lot more exposure in the running community have all accompanied this growth, and the race is now a grand stage for trail racers in the US. The fields are getting deeper and the competition is getting tighter. Adam Kimble toed the line this year at the 100 mile race and enjoyed a long day of a lot of ups and downs (trail running pun intended). Through it all – with the help of his crew and his family – he persevered and finished in the top ten of a very elite field and earned himself a ticket to UTMB next year. Entries into this coveted race are hard to come by, and an automatic entry offered to the first 10 men and first 10 women to finish the 100 miler brought out a ton of fast runners. A successful hundred miler is a massive accomplishment in its own right, but earning an entry to UTMB is a special thing and worth celebrating in and of itself. I continue to be inspired by Adam’s running, and look forward to cheering him on as he trains for the race next year.
It’s so neat to have the Western States Endurance Run here in our little slice of the Sierra, and to be able to connect with all of the history that race brings with it. Holding the Canyons races on many of the same trails and being able to showcase this area to so many runners from all over the world is extremely cool. Many runners from France came over to compete and see these historic places, and to spend time on these trails – as close as it gets to visiting cathedrals as it gets in trail racing. Next year Adam will get to go test himself in what is possibly Europe’s greatest trail racing cathedral, the Mont Blanc massif. His story and these races remind me of the fantastic places trail running can take you, and inspire me to use my strides to explore new zones and see new places in an effort to broaden my perspective.
Race Report by Adam Kimble:
After completing the Canyons by UTMB 100-mile race last Saturday, my friend Jenelle told me a funny story. She overheard the following conversation when I came through the Mile 83 aid station:
Volunteer 1: “Adam looked chipper.”
Volunteer 2: “When has Adam ever NOT looked chipper?”
Volunteer 1: Oh, I saw Adam with the slightest hint of fatigue one time.”
Volunteer 2: “…but I bet he was still chipper.”
Hearing this story made my day. It was an illustration of something I have always strive for in life: living joyfully in everything that I do! We don’t have control over everything, but we do have control over how we direct our energy and the outlook that we bring to every situation.
In this instance, the context of the compliment meant even more. The Canyons by UTMB race began on Friday morning at 9am, and by the middle of Friday afternoon the temperatures were already over 90 degrees. From miles 30-50, I was experiencing the worst cramping I’ve ever experienced during a race. My body continually seized up and made it difficult to run during that period of time. I was continually having thoughts of dropping from the race because it seemed like my body wasn’t going to be able to recover from the muscular issues. In spite of that, I told myself to show gratitude, smile and live joyfully during every encounter I had with other people at the race. Whether it was other runners, my crew, volunteers, photographers, or spectators, I wanted to be able to reflect on the race later and be proud of who I was during my worst moments in the race. Ultimately, thanks to the help of my incredible crew, I was able to spend some extra time at aid stations and course correct (no pun intended) so that my body rebounded and I finished in 19 hours, 18 minutes, and 33 seconds. That was good for 7th place overall in a very competitive field!
Looking back on this race, I thought I would be most proud of the problem-solving I did with my crew. We had some major obstacles to overcome with the cramping issues, and together we made it happen. However, after hearing this story, I was actually more proud of what was said about me at the Mile 83 aid station. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and it’s up to us to decide how we want to respond to that. And sometimes you’re in a ton of pain, and all you can do is smile through the pain!