For those of us who have been following the ups, downs and dramas of the international ultra running scene this year will not have failed to see a common theme appearing on the winners podiums on all continents. And that is someone dressed head to toe in Salomon gear ! We love to bang on about the talents of Kilian and co, but this weekend the superstars of the sport, who have put it all on the line in 2011 return to where it all began in San Francisco.
At last years TNF50 Mile Endurance Championships on the Marin headlands a guy by the name of Miguel Heras of Spain and a girl called Anna Frost of New Zealand started a seismic shift in what has become the SalomonSlam snaring titles of some of the sports most iconic races.
Our good friends at iRunFar have reviewed the Mens and Womens fields and quite frankly, it doesn’t get better than this. So this weekend whilst you are fretting over which wave you maybe allocated for the 2012 Six Foot Track Marathon or what backpack to wear for TNF100 in May, spare a thought to what is being thrown down over the other side of the Pacific.
I was lucky to get a few words with womens defending champion and Salomon International athlete Anna Frost on how well her preparation has gone to defending what will undoubtedly be one of her toughest ever races.
Marcus: So Anna, how are you feeling in the lead up to the race?
Anna: I am feeling really excited. I have done all I can in training and that is all that can be expected of me in getting to the start line in shape.
Marcus: How has your taper gone?
Anna: I am not very good at tapering, especially when it involves being in a new place or foreign country as I love to get out and explore! The great news is that I have been reunited with the excellent Salomon family so I have been hitting the trails with Devon Crosby-Helms and co.
Marcus: Have you made any changes to your training this year compared to last year ?
Anna: Not really, I have picked up a couple of injuries this year and so the constancy has not been there. But a solid and heavy mileage November training block brings me to the start in good shape. At the end of the day, this race will be won by the athlete who can suffer the most for the longest !
Marcus: Who do you see as your main threat this year?
Anna: I am not really an ultra specialist, and this is only my second 50 miler so I don’t really know the main female athletes on the scene. But of course UK runners Lizzy Hawker and Ellie Greenwood standout as two athletes dominating the ultra scene at the moment.
Marcus: And the mens field is stacked! Who are you tipping?
Anna: My money and my heart tell me to go with my fellow Salomon athlete and great mate Rickey Gates
Marcus: Give a quick insight into this years course conditions?
Anna: It is very varied. There are some dry grassy sections, tough technical trail, boggy sections and wide open fire trails. Coupled with ever changing weather conditions including heat and humidity and both wet and dry weather forecast.
We wish Anna and all the athletes competing this weekend the best of luck and check back in for the results and follow up interviews with some of the competitors.