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The Road to UTMB - Timothy Olson, Rory Bosio and Hal Koerner

by Editor
Friday 29th August 2014
 
 

Video vignette on three contenders in the 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc - meet The North Face team members Timothy Olson, Rory Bosio and Hal Koerner:

Timothy Olson: Finding Healing in the Hills

In 2012 when The North Face ultrarunner Timothy Olson set the still-standing course record at the prestigious Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in California, it marked the beginning of an era during which Olson commanded a lead as perhaps one of the best ultrarunners in the sport.

And yet, his life wasn’t always like this. A decade ago he was addicted to alcohol and drugs and was living a life he didn’t want. In a personal narrative published on iRunFar (HERE) in 2012, Timothy wrote: “I basically wanted my life to end. … I wanted to die, but still deep, deep inside there was this internal battle that would not let me give in. I felt like I needed to prove the world wrong, and myself. I had this moment of satori/awakening when I decided to stop being weak and to start living!”

Through ultrarunning that’s exactly what he did. And not only has the sport offered him a deeper connection with himself, but it has also provided him with a means to be happy and to finally enjoy life.

“Ultrarunning makes the subtle things in life beautiful,” Timothy affirms. “When I go for a long, ultrarun, I find out what’s really inside. I feel like I don’t do it from a place of anger or trying to win, but I do it out of love and out of feeling really grateful for my life.”

And so, it is with a gratuitous attitude that Timothy will line up for the 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc at the end of August in Chamonix, France — because for Olson, the race will not be against other runners in the field, but rather against himself and symbiotically with the landscape around him.

 

The Best Training Advice You’ll Ever Receive: Have Fun!

Whether you’re the women’s Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc record holder or the last finisher across the line, UTMB is one heck of a race. Circumnavigating the glaciated Mont Blanc with a start and finish in the historic mountain town of Chamonix, France, the course takes participants on an unpredictable roller coaster of a race through three different countries en route to a 168-kilometer finish after more than 32,000 feet of both elevation gain and loss.

In short, no matter how you slice it, UTMB is hard. Very hard.And not only that, but it’s also unforgiving — relentless even. It’s a distance and a race demanding nothing less than respect from any participant who endeavors to finish. In fact, perhaps the only way to cross the finish line is to purely want  it enough. No amount of training will get you there if you’re heart isn’t in it.

The North Face ultrarunner Rory Bosio just happens to be the reigning UTMB women’s champion and current course record holder. And as Rory will tell you herself, her success lies in her ability to let go and just have fun running (read: playing) in the mountains. The laid-back approach, for which Rory is known so well, allows her to get in big miles on tough terrain in a low-stress way, which is a key factor for good performance.

“If you’re not having fun, something is wrong,” Rory says when speaking about training.

Indeed, we should all take a bit of Rory’s advice, because when you find yourself immersed in enjoyingthe sport you love, you will no doubt surprise yourself with untapped potential you never knew you had.

 

Hal Koerner’s Final Preperations

It’s rare — and actually rather difficult — to spot The North Face ultrarunner Hal Koerner not smiling. Who wouldn’t want to show off teeth that white all the time, right? But in all seriousness, one can’t avoid the truth that Hal is often smiling because, well, he’s happy. He’s happy because he’s living a life built around something he absolutely loves: running ultramarathons.

So when it came to training for this year’s Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, which is now exactly one week away, you better believe Hal had fun.

And in fact, Hal’s lighthearted approach — in a 2013 interview with Outside magazine that was coincidentally all about how happy he is, Koerner noted, “I’m notorious for being late. A couple of times I’ve pulled into the parking lot at the start line and the racers have already left. But I don’t get too worked up about it. I figure I have 100 miles to catch up.” — actually speaks to his character in the face of adversity. It shows his ability to just roll with it and keep moving. And that, along with his infectious smile, is undoubtedly a critical part of his running success.

Follow the race live at utmb.livetrail.net

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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