Articles by Jeff Kozak

Trail Names and Training Camps

My head leaned heavily against the window of a teammate’s car as he drove several of us back to campus after another sweltering South Carolina afternoon cross country practice. Piling out of the vehicle, someone pointed...

Evolution of the JMT and SHR

Long before Theodore Solomons envisioned a continuous trail paralleling the granite crest of the Sierra Nevada while gazing eastward from the Central Valley lowlands in May of 1884, the range had been well-traveled by...

Bust A Move

There was a period of time, several years ago, when Weird Al Yankovic would join me on most of my easy runs. Okay – not literally – but his characteristic long curly hair, porn star mustache and Coke bottle glasses we...

Fit to Continue

On paper, a 20:41 100-mile finish time would be the obvious performance choice over a 21:57 result at the same race. Both of these efforts led to second place showings, at the 1988 and 1987 Western States 100, respect...

The Muse of Movement

Running has been a steadfast tread on the path my life has travelled since discovering track in junior high. In high school I became a devoted disciple of the sport, falling in love with the year-round cycle of cross cou...

Adventure Running and “Stuff”

George Carlin did this outrageous stand-up bit in the mid-80s about the dilemma of deciding what to bring when packing for small situational snippets of our lives: from home to vacation rental, from rental to quick weeke...

Following in The Footsteps of Latimer

Darkness had barely laid its full cloak upon the Quarry Road aid station (mile 90.7 of the Western States 100 course) and Hal Koerner was chatting, almost casually, with a runner that had just arrived. The guy looked lik...

A Single-Track Gem: The Ruby Crest Trail

The suburbs of Cincinnati were a good place to grow up, I suppose. That is, unless you felt the deepest stirrings of your soul when surrounded by mountains and big sky country. Those soul-meets-landscape connections were...

Summer Goals In Spring

Regardless of whether the December lotteries brought additional holiday cheer, or a wild-hair moment finally forced a hesitant Ultrasignup hand, a summer ultra can seem infinitely far away when viewed from the dark reces...

Tips for Surviving Winter

If you’re an endless summer runner at heart – one whom can’t help but secretly cringe at crisp fall color because you know it means a dark, cold and potentially wet blanket is about to suffocate your ambition – take sola...

It Runs in the Family

It’s difficult to discern nature versus nurture with 16-year-old Sierra Burror. But when it comes to a passion for endurance activities and the outdoors, perhaps it’s irrelevant as she brings both sides of the behavioral...

Siskiyou Out Back

The low point of the course turned out to be my low point as well. Downtown Ashland, at 1,950 feet, looked disturbingly close considering I was at mile 40ish and still had to get back over the summit shoulder of Mt. Ashl...

A Confederacy of Deuces

“Did you hear what happened?”I was the first one out to the rendezvous point after assisting with the freshly dismantled Brown’s Bar aid station (mile 90.7) at this year’s Western States, and was eagerly anticipating cat...

The Granite Womb of FKT

Not all adventure runs are Fastest Known Time (FKT) attempts, but all FKTs are surely adventure runs. Long before Peter Bakwin and Buzz Burrell’s FKT-concept-birthing adventure run on the John Muir Trail (JMT) in 2000 (l...

FKT

DESTINATION UNKNOWN Liquid Magic

When Pikes Peak Marathon record-holder and high altitude running phenom, Matt Carpenter, roared across the finish line of the Leadville 100 in 2005 to set the course record of 15:42:59, he took 282 sips of a uniquely con...

Another Kind of Vertical Gain

Contrary to popular belief, climbing is significantly more about deliberate footwork, body position, maximizing leg power and economy of motion than it is about brute upper body strength. Much of what is often recommende...