Words from the Winners

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Last weekend, big races and strong performances took place all over the world with athletes from Wisconsin to Sweden, Illinois to Spain. Trail Runner found podium finishers from the Trail World Championships in Spain, the Quicksilver 100 and 50K in California, the Transvulcania on the Canary Islands of Spain and the Ultra Race of Champions in Virginia to ask them about their training, what they find inspiring and how they get out of the pain cave.

amanda basham
Photo by Justin Keefe

AMANDA BASHAM, 28, Logan Utah
Ultra Race Of Champions (UROC) female champion (third overall), 10:40. UROC 100K is held in Skylark, Virginia and features about 12,000 feet of gain.

Where do you go in your mind when you’re in the pain cave?
My mental strength is definitely where I’ve struggled in the longer races. This year things have gone really well, though. When I was in the pain cave during UROC, I asked myself, “What’s wrong and what do I need to do to fix it?” I kept reminding myself to not freak out when things went wrong.

You coach other runners … How do you coach yourself?
I am very science based but I combine that with real life. I always create an overview of my yearly plan and then update the details of each day one-to-two weeks at a time.

I have a full-time job outside of running. On top of that, I have my coaching business and a house to take care of. Adjustments are constantly being made. That’s important for keeping it enjoyable.

What has helped your racing nutrition-wise?
GU hydration tabs. I just started racing with them this year and they’ve kept my legs from cramping.


coree woltering rob krar
Coree Woltering and Rob Krar in sync. Photo by Paul King

COREE WOLTERING, 28 age, Ottawa, Illinois
Quicksilver 50K second place, 4:05.
The Quicksilver 50 and 100K are held in San Jose, California and feature 6,000 and 12,000 feet of gain, respectively.

What was the strangest part of your race?
The most unusual part was probably how comfortable I felt on extended climbs and descents. A great sign for Western States!

If your training for Western States had a theme song, what would it be?
“I Remember,” by A Day to Remember.

Who are you most inspired by right now?
At the moment it’ probably Stevie Nicks—long career, amazingly talented and fabulous.

ida nilsson
Ida Nilsson makes her way up significant vertical. Photo courtesy by Martina Vallmosoi

IDA NILSSON, 36, Sweden
Transvulcania female champion, 8:40 (third consecutive win).
The 74K Transvulcania is held on the Canary Islands in Spain and features about 14,000 feet of gain.

Did you know you could win number three?
Of course, I knew I had the chance and I was supposed to win, but I didn’t feel very confident in my preparations this year. I was actually really happy and relieved to just be on the starting line.

Do you have a coach?
No, I coach myself.

How do you prepare the morning of a race?
The start of an ultra is always so early, so I just to get up in the middle of the night—I never manage to sleep the night before anyway—and eat something light and have some coffee. Before the start, I do 15 minutes of jogging and some stretches. Then I’m ready to go.

tyler sigl
Tyler Sigl claiming victory at UROC. Photo courtesy of UROC.


TYLER SIGL, 32, of Seymour, Wisconsin
UROC 100K male champion, 10:08.
UROC 100K is held in Skylark, Virginia and features about 12,000 feet of gain.

To what can you attribute your continued fitness and speed?
Having a smart and efficient training plan. With having a full-time job [Sigl is a mechanical engineer], two young kids and two high-energy dogs, I don’t have time to get lots of miles in, so the miles that I run are quality.

I peak at 85 miles a week. Each week I get in one long run of 22 to 35 miles, one hill workout (usually on the treadmill as there isn’t much for hills in the Green Bay area, and I can watch the kids), one tempo run and some cruise runs plus off days for recovery. The main part is listening to my body and knowing what days to crank up the intensity and when to take some down time to recuperate.

What was the hardest part of the race for you?
Dealing with the heat. I was not heat-acclimated for the race. Thirty miles in, I started packing ice into my water bladder and an ice bandana to stay cool. Around mile 56, there is a two-mile climb and all of my ice was melted; it was all I could do to just hike the climb.

What’s your favorite thing about trail running?
Exploring the natural wonders that earth has to offer. From wide-open prairies to dense forests, the midland plains to rugged mountains, there’s always views to take in.

RAGNA DEBATS, 39, Netherlands
Trail World Championships female winner, 9:55.
The 85K Trail World Championships took place in Castellón de la Plana, Spain and featured 16,000 feet of gain.

What is your favorite thing about trail racing?
I love the traveling, discovering new mountains and places and meeting new people. And I love racing!

You did some really hard training blocks before this race. How did you manage being a mom during this time?
That’s the difficult part. During the week, I trained while my daughter was at preschool, and on the weekends her grandparents or friends helped out. Often, we spent the whole weekend in the mountains. We’re lucky that she enjoys being in nature, too!

ROB KRAR, 41, Flagstaff Arizona
Quicksilver 50K champion, 4:01.
The Quicksilver 50 and 100K are held in San Jose, California and feature 6,000 and 12,000 feet of gain, respectively.

What was the highlight of the race for you?
After major knee surgery last year, the highlight of the race was crossing the finish line healthy and uninjured. I’m not out of the woods yet, but it was immensely satisfying to move my body for 50 kilometers and soak up the energy with everyone afterward.

What was the most unusual part of the race for you?
Stumbling upon a wild turkey and wondering what large animal was making so much noise just out of sight. It wasn’t lost upon me that I was a guest in mountain-lion territory.

Who is the most inspiring to you right now?
Kit Deslauriers has long been an inspiration to me. Beyond being one of the most accomplished ski mountaineers and adventurers in the world, she leverages the platform she has earned to fight for the causes closest to her heart.

The men’s podium at UROC. Photo courtesy of UROC.

JEFF COLT, 27, Carbondale, Colorado
UROC second place, 10:40
UROC 100K is held in Skylark, Virginia and features about 12,000 feet of gain.

What’s the best advice you’ve received from your coach (Cody Reed)?
He put nutrition into perspective for me by saying, “Jeff, ultras are eating contests that take place over many miles while running.”

What is your favorite thing, specifically, about trail running?
The community. We’re all attracted to this sport for our own reasons. I love the personal challenge, short shorts and flowing trails. But when we are all together at events, our collective oddities really shine through.

If you could make a soundtrack for the day, what song would have been playing at the finish line?
“My Shot,” from the Hamilton Soundtrack.

Who is the most inspiring person in your life right now?
My stepfather has been struggling with an unknown degenerative illness that has taken his ability to walk or maneuver with ease. The uncertainty he deals with must be debilitating in its own respect, but he approaches every day as a new challenge and keeps his head high. He amazes me.

CAT BRADLEY, 26, Boulder, Colorado
Quicksilver 100K female champion (7th overall), 11:15
The Quicksilver 50 and 100K are held in San Jose, California and feature 6,000 and 12,000 feet of gain, respectively.

What do you struggle with, when running in general?
Running, although wonderful, is a continuous struggle. But if I had to pick one thing, I’d have to say balance. It’s a fine line between training hard and adopting unhealthy behaviors.

If your race had a soundtrack to it, what would the theme song be?
I had “Fuel” by Metallica stuck in my head all day, which was not representative of the day but, lacking fire and fuel all day sure made it appropriate.

Do you find either one to be more important: pre-race nutrition vs race-day nutrition?
This is tough, but I think race-day nutrition. As long as you eat a lot the day before the race, you’re going to be fine. But nailing how to take in calories while overheated, tired, sore, grumpy, nauseous is nothing short of an art form.

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