As 2022 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on a year that’s now in the rearview mirror. As editor, I’m always looking back, while trying to look ahead and forecast what’s on the horizon. And after spending a weekend at the Javelina Jundred in Arizona this year, I came home with a full heart and optimism for the future of ultrarunning. Here are the reasons why.
The ultrarunning community is alive and thriving. Supportive crews lined the final quarter mile of Javelina’s looped race course, and the energy was contagious. Day and night, as runners returned from each loop, they were cheered on by crews who had set up camp next to the trail. It’s a finish line like no other, and a good reminder that these people are there because they care about the community.
Volunteers at Javelina’s aid stations were always assisting runners with hydration, fuel, medical issues and more. Their smiles and humor brightened my day and lifted me from the lowest points throughout my 100k. They showed kindness and support for the ultrarunning community, which will keep many coming back year after year.
The ultrarunning community is alive and thriving. Supportive crews lined the final quarter mile of Javelina’s looped race course, and the energy was contagious.
With recent headlines of runners not returning from their trail runs, emphasis on safety is at an all-time high. As the sport continues to see growth, combined with weather extremes, ultrarunners must look out for one another. There were numerous runners throughout Javelina who were sidelined by cramps and other heat-related issues. Each individual I witnesssed, who was either stopped on the side of the trail or obviously in distress, was being tended to by fellow runners. No one was left alone or ignored, and that is where we stand out. Being on the trail for hours makes this a sport where safety must come first—during races and training runs.
Ultrarunning has a unique culture. If you’re new to the sport, you’ve likely experienced others passing on the trail with a greeting of “good job” or “nice work,” or you’ve seen runners who pick up trash on the trail and carry it in their pack so someone behind them won’t have to. And staying at the finish line to cheer on other finishers—this is seen as one of the defining parts of our sport. Aravaipa cultivates this culture at Javelina with their leadership, volunteers and spirit.
In this issue, we offer tips for the off season, with Ian Sharman discussing failure and how to learn from past mistakes, on page 10. Sean Meissner relives his “off season” adventure ride across the US from coast to coast, on page 12. Nick Tiller, MRES, PhD, answers questions about training intensity, altitude and recovering with beer on page 14. And our final issue of the year wouldn’t be complete without Our Favorite Things—an annual guide to gifts for your favorite ultrarunner (or yourself), on page 22.
Participating in an event like Javelina was an opportunity to witness ultrarunners, both old and new, achieve goals they set out to conquer at the end of the season. There was no shortage of inspiration in the desert during the last weekend in October. I walked away with enthusiasm for the start of a new year and incredibly grateful for my ultrarunning experiences over the past 12 months.
Finally, all of us at UltraRunning want to thank you for your continued support over the last 41 years. We are consistently amazed, inspired and motivated by our readers, and wish you a safe and healthy year ahead.