Justin/IRF's week of ultramarathon and trail results. If you haven't watched the story of 72 year old Wally Hazeltine's WS (non)finish recently, do so now. Such a great story. Physical fitness is the basis for all other forms of excellence. –JFK If ...


Ultramarathon Daily News, President’s Day Edition and more...

Ultramarathon Daily News, President’s Day Edition

Justin/IRF’s week of ultramarathon and trail results.

If you haven’t watched the story of 72 year old Wally Hazeltine’s WS (non)finish recently, do so now. Such a great story.

Physical fitness is the basis for all other forms of excellence.  –JFK

If you dread the weekly long run, these tips are for you, you’re probably not reading this page right now.

I was up at the USATF Trail Championships held at the FOURmidable 50k on Saturday.  Course was a slop-fest, but the rain held off for most of the day.  Andy Wacker bailed around mile 4 and DNFed (7 stitches in his knee), and Megan Roche didn’t start due to a sick pup.  Max King and Cole Watson battled for first (after David Roche lost his shoe in a mud pit) until Max pulled away around mile 20.  YiOu Wang and Addie Bracy were together through 24 until YiOu pushed hard for the win (and the cash!)  YiOu tells me she’ll decide on Way Too Cool or Chuckanut, depending on how she feels in the next few weeks.  Great organization and lots of fun with preliminary results right here.  Here’s Jean Pommier’s report from first master/top ten.  Here are two funny collages that show Max and Cole running through the same stream, 2:15 apart, though with the same Oregon style:

ultramarathon river

You don’t have to have the ideal body to call yourself a runner.

The next pseudo-science craze is all about….genetics!

Quiz: Which shoe brand was the only company to post gains in January?  Answer right this way. Surprised?  I wish “major shoe brands” was defined…does that include Hoka? Altra?

517km of Ultraman madness in three days…barefoot.  

Short news day…what did I miss???

Heads up: Massive storms expected in Northern CA and power outages likely.  If there’s no news tomorrow, send a boat full of beer to my house please.

Baseball practice has been cancelled in our area due to the rain, but track workouts go on! Teaching these kids that you keep going, regardless of conditions and excuses.

Sunny and Presly Oak Hill
Sunny and Presly, Oak Hill Athletics.

Camelbak Ultra Pro Vest Review

Camelbak Ultra Pro Vest Review

The Camelbak Ultra Pro Vest is the latest minimalist pack offered by Camelbak, with a 1 liter storage reservoir, one large zippered pocket, two large front fuel pockets for Quick Stow Flasks or gels, and two smaller pockets on the right hand side of the chest.

While the vest is minimal, the small pockets are a wise use of space for keys, salt pills, and other items that tend to go missing in larger spaces. The Quick Stow Flasks, which come with the pack, are a great option for runners who dislike the sloshing of water bladders and the pain of refilling during a hard effort or race. 

camelbak ultra pro review

Overall Thoughts

This minimalistic pack is light, bright, and great for medium to long runs and races. The mesh back provides breathability, while the Quick Stow Flasks are a nice change from using a reservoir/water bladder with straw. While fitted properly, the flasks tend to bounce a bit. This can be remedied by keeping weight in the back, such as extra bars, jackets, etc. The silicone bite valve works without unnecessary twisting or pulling, and the caps screw on without fuss. The color of the vest, though bright, ensures safety while the reflective tape on both the front and back is an added bonus. Overall a fairly clean, minimalistic-looking pack.

camelbak ultra pro vest review

Camelbak Ultra Pro Vest Specifics

Price: $120

User: Unisex

Hydration Capacity: 1L/34 fl oz

Gear Capacity: 3.5L/200 cu in

Pack Weight: 180 g/0 lb 6oz

Dimensions: 35 x 24 x 12.5 cm/13.8 x 9.4 x 4.9 in

Number of Exterior Pockets: 9

Quick Stow Flasks (hydration capacity): 500 mL/17 oz

More info on the Camelbak page right here.

camelbak ultra pro vest



The 2017 Ultra Pro Vest doesn’t look vastly different from the 2017 Circuit Vest, which is nice–it means the same features the Circuit Vest has been lauded for (versatile, low-profile, and with good storage) are in the Ultra Pro Vest–with better upgrades. Also, despite the storage available, the Ultra Pro Vest is very, very light.

The 2017 Ultra Pro Vest weighs in at a mere 6 ounces, compared to the similarly sized Nathan Sports’ Women’s Intensity Hydration Vest (14.6 ounces) and Ultimate Direction’s Ultra Vesta (8.6 ounces).

I received the Lime Punch/Silver color, which was a bit bright for my liking, though it serves a dual purpose for early morning runs when wearing something easily seen for safety reasons is necessary. I immediately liked the storage available with the front two fuel/gel pockets, in addition to the two small pouches that sit on the right sternum. There are also two pockets on either side of the vest, although these are left open and thus probably impractical for keeping items safe and secure. These side pouches, which connect the back of the pack to the front vest straps, are one of the additions that separate the Ultra Pro Vest from the Circuit Vest. 

camelbak ultra pro vest review

The Quick Stow Flasks are blue (which, in my opinion, is a better color than white or clear that can look pretty funky following a long race…) and collapsible. For what they are, they look fine.


I’m often dubious of unisex sizing, especially when it comes to hydration packs. I am 5’5 and 108 pounds with broader shoulders and narrow hips, but this size small pack fit snug against my body. The two sternum straps fit below and above my chest, although I can imagine that bigger busted women might have difficulty with the unisex fitting here. While the vest stayed secure even when moving at a fast clip downhill, the Quick Stow Flasks bounced against me and the vest straps rose up when no weight was placed in the back. No rubbing or chafing so to speak, which can sometimes be an issue for me around my armpits and atop my shoulders.

camelbak ultra pro vest review back


This pack is pretty ideal for most distances, although for those who prefer running with extra food, headlamps, or gear, it might be too small. The zippered phone pocket is handy for those who like running with their phone or iPods, while the Quick Stow Flasks are designed well to decrease bulk and weight, flattening to lay smooth across one’s chest.

Consider this a great 50K to elite 100-mile vest, or for a lightweight option when running at night or in the early morning. For runners who prefer longer ventures or tend to be back-of-the-pack runners, this vest won’t meet your hydration requirements. 

The Quick Stow Flasks are a nice concept, and I prefer them over typical hard-plastic bottles. While a bit awkward to fill, the bite valve works well. Bonus that the flasks can be run through the dishwasher. 

When filled to near-capacity, I was able to carry (in addition to the two 500 mL Quick Stow Flasks): two gels, several bars, a jacket, gloves, a Samsung Galaxy S6, salt tablets, electrolyte tablets, a headlamp, with enough room for an extra gel or two. That said, would I run like this? No. The items didn’t feel secure enough in my pack, and the gels in the side pockets would have likely fallen out. Can it be done, albeit uncomfortably? Yes, indeed.


I was fairly surprised at how much I liked this vest overall. I wasn’t previously aware of Camelbak’s popularity in the ultra/trail running world but can see why this is one of their most popular options. I’d love if the vest came in a quieter color (other options are Black/Atomic Blue) and would prefer that the flasks be usable without having to add items into the back (at least on my body). 

camelbak ultra pro vest

Recommended for…

Runners looking for a light, bright, and comfortable pack. The Quick Stow Flasks are nice for runners who prefer bottles over bladders while also eschewing the typical bulk of empty bottles. I would likely purchase this for myself if looking for a very minimalistic-type pack, but I would more likely buy it for the Quick Stow Flasks themselves, which I found to be a nice change from the water bladder and the slow task of refilling during a race. Similar packs include Nathan Sports’ Women’s Intensity Hydration Vest ($99.99), Ultimate Direction’s Ultra Vesta ($134.95), and UltrAspire’s Spry 2.0 ($69.99). 

camelbak ultra pro vest review back run

Purchase Info:

If you’re interested in purchasing this pack, please first check availability at your local, independently owned running specialty store. They need your business and are a great resource for the community.

If that’s not an option, please consider using this link for Amazon.  The return policy is great, and it’ll drop a few nickels into URP bucket if you decide to keep it.  Thank You!

Meet Your Reviewer:

Jade BelzbergThis review was written by Jade Belzberg from San Diego, California.   She has seven ultra finishes from 2016 and is preparing for Orcas Island 100 in late February.

 Jade appeared on URP in this interview about her first hundred miler, wrote this review for rabbit apparel on URP, and blogs/writes on her eponymous website right here.

Disclaimer: This pack was provided to URP/Jade for review purposes. No payment was made, and all words are Jade’s.



Ultramarathon Daily News, Fri, Feb 17

Read this: A guest blog from John Muir*. Beautiful.

I’m still so excited about the shirt we all helped design for rabbit that celebrates the transformative women in this sport.  What started as a simple email turned into something really cool!  So here it is!  Pre-order info exclusive to you all!  Sounds like the fellas’ version will be available soon.  Thanks again to Monica and everyone at rabbit for making this happen.

Don’t even think about crowdfunding your race costs. And if you’re asking for money for a fundraising run, please provide info on how the money will be spent.

An exhaustive list of good city runs around the world.  Is your big city on there?

Running Way Too Cool in a few weeks? Better check this out first.  The good news is that the Auburn/Cool area has a solid crew of trail volunteers who’ll likely fix the erosion quickly.  Thank You for all you do!


Science in the 70s: Too much exercise can kill you.  “Wrong” says the dudes from the Breakfast Club.

Sounds like Zach Miller is struggling with the decision not many of us are faced with:  UTMB or Hardrock this summer?  Which would you choose?

From ABBA to vikings to IKEA to Absolut and fartleks, Sweden is pretty freaking awesome.  So it’s no surprise that an endurance event started over drinks is something I desperately want to do.  Please, someone start one of these in the states!

Triathlons don’t usually excite me, but a trail version on the beaches and jungles of Thailand…does.  

I’ll see some of you tomorrow at the wet and wild Fourmidable 50k USATF Trail Championships in Auburn.  That course is going to be gnarly!

Watch this: Latest edition of the Mountain Outhouse.  Lots of great news including how to properly pronounce FKTOY, Camille’s new beer sponsor, and the idea for an elimination ultra.

First Utah lost OR, now it’s losing Interbike too.  Either the governor is making a very poor decision, or the outdoor industry thinks it’s a lot bigger than it really is.  

You read about “nerve gliding” last week on these pages.  Here’s Jay’s report from Rocky Raccoon…how’d it work out for him???

If you were interested or inspired by Stephanie Case’s interview last week (one of my favorites, for sure), be sure to check out Sarah’s campaign to raise money for her Free to Run campaign.

I’ve got a few emails asking about trekking pole stowage on packs.  My experience is limited (though I did find the UD bungee system helpful), but what do you use?

Happy 25th anniversary, AJW. We’ve all learned a lot from your 1/4 century of ultramarathon wisdom.

So, what do you think of the Spike Free bars? Helping avoid the dreaded bonk and spike?


Ultramarathon Daily News on What the Hell? I’m 42?!?

Motivation contagion: Running with others to boost your morale and fitness.  A question though: What motivates you more? A running group or new gear to try out?

Megan Hicks and Karl Meltzer named #3 FKTOY for 2016.  Good choices for sure.

Interesting: The chia seed industry has had a huge impact on the Tarahumara and a longer shelf-life than Vibrams.  More here.

Best workout songs from all sorts of fitness-type folks, including yours truly.  What should be on the list?

I understand RD have their own policies and I respect them.  This seems strange though: The Nut 100k (Oregon) runners received this email after recent storms.

We have some important news to share with you about this year’s NUT 100K & 50K. The North Umpqua Trail has sustained some serious damage already this winter and the Forest Service doesn’t expect to be able to repair the trail or perform the needed maintenance in time for the race. 
We do not want to cancel the race, so instead we are moving it out to August. The new race date is Saturday, August 19. 

We understand that this new date will not work for some who have already registered (while others may be cheering the extra training time). Our policy is to provide a 50% credit, but if you cannot run on this new day, we have a few options for you:

  1. Cancel your registration and receive a 100% credit toward another Go Beyond Racing event. This credit is good for one year.
  2. Cancel your registration and receive a 50% refund of the race registration fee.

Seems to me that with the race so far out, a full refund should be an option.  What do you think?  Any RDs want to weigh in?

Morgan Elliot is another post-collegiate dude with tons of leg speed and ambition who’s starting to make an impact on the ultramarathon trail scene. More here from Paul Cuno Booth.

Interesting: With WalMart’s recent purchase of MooseJaw, some of your favorite outdoor brands may be showing up on the shelves of the retail giant.

Ladies: Eight things to know about running and your breasts.

Canada sure is an interesting place.  Now it’s got safaris.

Endurance: Polish dude sets the 24 hour for swimming in a 25m pool.  Old record was 54k, he did 96k!  imagine the number of flip turns!  Article is in Polish, but the google translate machine works well.

Meanwhile, this dude was making a solo trek of Antarctica that took him 57 days and during which he was partially aided by kites. 

Shoe and biomechanics geeks head over here for a new study that show (or may not show, ah hell, I can’t tell any more) the benefits of mid foot striking.

Ian Corless’ Running Beyond is an amazing book and effective motivator to get back on the trails.  Such great pics and information, now I just need a million airline miles.

And this BeastCoast Trail Film Fest trailer is making me want to head east!

Here’s the first installment of what we’ll be calling Returning to the Trailhead.  If you heard the interview with Scotty Sandow last week, you’ll want to follow along with his progress in this weekly columns.

I’m getting a kick out of these Frozen Bros video snippets. Tough looking trail running dudes talking about…laundry detergent?

No ultramarathon news whatsoever, just a feel good story that shows how awesome people can be.


Returning to the Trailhead: Week 1 with Scotty Sandow

Howdy! It’s been a long time.

I can’t express enough how happy I am to be back contributing to URP.

Before I get started, I first need to share my gratitude to Eric and rest of the URP clan – I simply love their dedication to this crazy sport.

Dedication. That’s a good starting point.

If you listened to my interview (If you haven’t – go here, now. We’ll wait.)

scotty sandow
I’m waiting…

Aaaand we’re back.

As I was saying – if you listened to my interview you know that I have fallen away from the ultra running / trail running scene and am dedicating the next nine months to training for and running my first hundo.

Most of you must be thinking, “Oh my God. Who the hell cares!” And you’d be right. I mean, who really cares what I’m up to, especially a band of people who’ve been there, done that? This stuff is child’s play – right?

I’m hoping this regular column will continue URP’s mission to inform and entertain – a nine month long “training log” experience. The column will cover my training, diet, race reports, gear reviews, trail encounters, tips, failures, life experiences and above all – an honest account of going from zero to 100.

So, that brings us to my rocket-sled ride to zero.


Since I left URP, years ago, I have lost my way from the trail running community. While I have competed at a few races from California’s East Bay to the Sierra, I haven’t been consistent.

Truth be told, leaving URP was more difficult that I thought it would be. Reading race reports or news stories about running were reminders of how much I loved being part of the URP experience. I left URP to get back to running for my mental and physical wellbeing – but my running potential was never fully realized.

Toss in a divorce, losing my best friend (my Dad) to cancer and switching new jobs – life’s priorities and hurdles began to change. Fitting running into my schedule didn’t come easy – at least that’s the excuse I started to believe.

In November of 2015 I got a hip bursitis which is still with me – running now seemed to be fading away even further. I haven’t run consistently for nine months.


On a personal note, things really could not be better. I met the love of my life. We are raising three beautiful children in a great community. Although I may be divorced, my ex and I could and should write a book about healthy co-parenting, and I landed the best-job-ever located about two miles from the Western States finish line.

My fitness level…sucks. My eating habits really went into self-destruct mode. Recently, I was having conversations with myself on accepting the fact that I was going to be a doughy-couch-potato. NO offense to having extra cushion. The fact is, having extra weight and being happy with your body image is totally sexy. My fitness level was subterranean and I saw no way of getting my mojo back.

And there is it. My mojo is gone. Running is an important component to making me, me.

If you listened to the interview you know my sources of inspiration to run the hundo
(Again, if you haven’t listened, get to it!)


With the help of Coach David Roche, URP, supportive family and the most excellent of friends, I am going after my first buckle at the Rio Del Lago 100.

The race is perfect for me. The start line is 4 miles from my house and I’ve run every mile of the course. I know I can get it done. Its just a matter of how long it will take me.

I have the right coach, right frame of mind and knowledge to get me to my goal. It is time to put all I have learned from URP episode one and beyond to the test and embrace the trail running community that I love so very much.

My days of being zero are numbered.

Follow me on Strava and be unimpressed, here.

Be impressed and check out my running coach, David Roche, here.

I love music and find a lot of motivation from a wide array of music. My hope is to add a new song to my playlist with every blog entry and have a kick-ass soundtrack for my buckle quest. Check-out my Returning to the Trail Head playlist on Spotify, here.

My song pick: Living by Bakermat

scotty sandow

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