Two mates, two very different athletes, one very tough race. Dakota Jones and Cameron Clayton coming off the back of two great results at UROC give a tongue in cheek interview with our US correspondent Reese Ruland as they fly out to Japan.
Over to you Reese!
This sunday sees the running of the Hasetsune Ultra near Tokyo in Japan – a race won last year by US athlete Dakota Jones. The race has a remarkable history as follows:-
Mr. Tsuneo HASEGAWA, born in 1947, was one of the top Alpine Climbers, who is well-known for the World’s first winter solo ascent of the “Great North Faces of the Alpes” (Matterhorn in 1977, Eiger in 1978, Grandes Jorasses in 1979) and World’s first winter solo ascent of the South Face of Aconcagua in 1981. He lost his life by avalanche while he was climbing Ultar Peak inPakistan on the 10th of October, 1991. Mr. Hasegawa belonged to the Tokyo Mountaineering Federation (TMF). To commemorate his work, TMF began to hold Japan Mountain Endurance Race or
“HASETSUNE CUP” exactly one year after his death. HASETSUNE CUP is now regarded as one of the top trail running races in Japan.
Below is a real conversation between Dakota and I. It took place a few days ago after I returned from work. I was exhausted and ready for a relaxing evening, but Dakota had other plans. He insisted that I interview him for Ultra168. He told me that if I loved him or cared at all about his career, I would do this for him. And make him dinner, cut his hair and clean the truck.
Glad that I ran into you while you’re lying on my hammock. You look pretty comfy and vulnerable. Mind if we talk about your upcoming race in Japan? Thats actually a rhetorical question. I’m going to ask you about it whether you like it or not. You’ve been to this race before correct? Tell us a little bit about the race and how you did last year.
Up, down, win, I rule. NEXT QUESTION.
Wow you won. You’re pretty much a celebrity. I didn’t really think of Tokyo as place that could host a trail ultra. How do you feel about the late start time of the race? How long do you expect to be running at night?
I feel like I’m about to freak the hell out. I certainly don’t worry about things like start times. I haven’t worried about running at night ever. If this wasn’t Tokyo I’d be doing it in Colorado, or Bangkok, or Australia. But I’m here in Japan, and so it’s time to do it Asian style – quickly and efficiently, with a kind manner.
Didn’t you just run a little podunk race a few weekends ago? (UROC) Are you feeling fresh for this race? How did you recover? I know you enjoy a bike ride or two. On our bikes you tend to push me out of the way and race me. Ever think of duathalons?
Ever think of maybe being more discreet about my training plans? You know as well as I do that my competitive nature is what sets me apart. That’s why I have to beat you every time we go anywhere. That’s why I have to come up next to you while riding down a hill, grab your handlebars and look you in the eye while I tell you that you’ll never beat me in anything and you simply aren’t good enough. So maybe that caused you to crash several times, once even into traffic. That’s the price you have to pay for my successes. I need to be in the zone Reese. Always.
I think the readers really want to know if you plan on bringing me back some loose leaf tea… your thoughts? What else do you plan on purchasing over there?
Well, as everyone knows, the best things in life are free. That’s why I made a list of the top ten best things to steal in Tokyo. Here it is:
- Loose leaf tea for Reese.
- Loose leaf farmland for my empire.
- Loose women for my peonys
- Small plastic representations of food that accompany every street-level menu in the city
- A ten-story-tall advertisement
- A giant flashing neon version of the one Japanese character I know: 日の出山. Hinode-Yama – Mountain of the Rising Sun.
- Every donut from the Krispy Kreme shop that is right outside my hotel’s front door. Failing that, every donut from any of the three others within a mile radius.
- Money. Just money. From people, stores, ATMs – you know the drill.
- Poached whale. And that’s not a style of cooking.
Tokyo is a long way from Denver- how do you occupy yourself during the flight?
I listen to grindcore music and read People magazine. Then when people talk to me I look contemptuously in their direction and laugh derisively. If they continue to talk to me I start screaming. Just screaming. Nobody talks to me.
Give us some thoughts on the city of Tokyo. How does it compare to places like Silverton, CO or Chamonix?
Well, whereas Silverton and Chamonix are cool towns with big mountains and cool mountain town cultures, Tokyo is one of the biggest cities on the planet. It is home to more than ten million people. It’s what is called an “urban heat island”, meaning that the city has so much glass and metal and asphalt that it creates an unbelievable amount of heat within itself that radiates outward. It’s really cultural.
Seems like a lot of young stars are having mental breakdowns (Miley? Justin?) Do you plan on having a public meltdown soon? If so, can Ultra168 be the first to interview you and/or get a scandalous photoshoot deal?
I’d love to work with you on this, but…..you’re a little late. When I realized last night that I ate something with eyes that were still looking at me (ice fish), I sort of panicked and went out and won the nearest ultramarathon. Yeah, that’s how I freak out – I go win things. Other people who freak out and shave their heads or yell at strangers or spend all their money on failed charity events for for-profit companies are weak. Also, I’m about to go host a charity concert for Krispy Kreme. I want to lay in a bathtub full of donuts. I want to be covered in glaze. Sometimes, I’ll admit it, I wish I was a donut.
A Donut Eh? You are what you eat right? ANYWAY. Cam Clayton will be running the race- nervous? Do you plan on practicing some mindfulness before the race to help prepare?
I plan on practicing some beat-the-hell-out-of-Cameron-with-a-traditional-Japanese-Katana before the race, if that’s what you mean.
Being that you are in the fashion district in Tokyo, I have to ask about the sunglasses. You’ve worn 2 distinct sunglasses- 1 at Transvulcania in 2012 and another pair at UROC. Where do you see your career going now?
One word….phrase: space helmet.
Thats very vogue of you. What are your plans for the rest of the year? Who is your competition at these races?
My plans are to use my winnings to finish gold plating the rims on your Jeep. And also to run the Hasetsune Cup in Japan on October 13 with Cameron Clayton and EVERYONE in Japan, and then to run another 50 mile race in December against all the competition. Yes, all of it.
If you win TNF50 in December, would you like to put that huge cash prize towards my Ferrari fund?
Another Ferrari? I thought you said you only wanted the one…..
Justin Bieber’s fans are called Beliebers.. what would you call your fans?
Dakota’s Organic and Professional Extreme Runner Squad (DOPERS)
With a monicker like that you might be able to get a book deal. Title it, “The Ultra Secret Race.” Think about that. Thanks for taking time out of your busy hammock lounging to answer some of my questions. Anything you would like to add? Any sponsors or races that you direct that you’d care to shamelessly promote?
Buy things from my sponsors.
Wow Mr. Jones. This interview has been enlightening. I wish you the best of luck this Saturday. May the wind be at your back and the donuts quicken your pace.
Now we turn our attention to the ever respectful and equally talented Cameron Clayton
Cam, may I call you that? Or do you prefer Danger Clayton? Now that we are on that topic, how did you get that moniker in the first place? Are you some kind of bandit? Convict?
You may certainly not! Unless you really want to, then Cam is cool. The moniker rather is a self-given title, although I do wish I could have wrangled the adjective as a middle name. When facebook went through puberty and needed a name for the URL, Cameron Clayton was already taken, so I decided to add some spice. I hope to one day live up to the title!
Interesting. Perhaps you could cut some switchbacks or something, that;s bandit like. I digress. Anyway, you are running a fun little ultra this weekend in Japan. Can you tell us a little about the race?
Well first you go up, and then down, then up and down. For about 71k, and a prodigious 6000m of elevation gain, although we’ll let the Suunto have the final word on it. Just outside of Tokyo, we’ll start an hour past high noon, and run briefly into the night — hopefully. I wish I knew more Japanese competitors, but as this is my first time to the Far East I’m afraid I’m largely ignorant of the other runners. And I guess there’s Dakota, but that’s just a side note.
Dakota who? Sounds like a mythological creature to me- like unicorns or properly working governments. You’ve been running a lot this year.. how are you feeling for this race? Planning on setting a wicked fast record?
It’s supposed to be hot! Well, for Colorado hot. UROC had a high of 51, Saturday there is supposed to be 84! Anything under 7:30 will be considered amazing in my book. All the better to be under 7:22.
When you aren’t running 45 miles and getting lost in Tokyo, how do you hope to spend your time there?
Checking out the fish market! And the technology district! Learning more about the Japanese tea ceremony maybe…seeing some shrines and conjuring up a little bit of the language. Oh and trying to shed jet lag.
Do you think you’ll go to a traditional tea house there? If so, what kind of tea to you plan on buying for me?
What does Miss Ruland drink? I’ll probably bring you some Lipton or something like that. Experiencing a tea house would be exquisite, they’ll be zero indolence permitted on the trip, I’ll have to be an industrious bee to see as much as possible. Experiencing a traditional sake house wouldn’t be bad either.
Lipton? Get real, I don’t drink bath water. Tell us, Danger, what does the rest of you year look like? Racing wise, I’m honestly not concerned with the weather, your social life or anything of that nature. I mean, do tell if you feel like it, but definitely talk about your races.
Hmm, I mean to throw down a mean turkey trot late in November. The main focus is TNF50 in December and I have the wonderful gift of six uninterrupted weeks to train for it.
How tall are you? Like 7’3?
8’gangley. Or 6’silly, I forget which one.
What are you most looking forward to on this trip? Besides the long flight?
I do love those 12 hours of sitting in a chair…in one spot…doesn’t everyone? If I had a list, it’d go like this: culture, racing, sushi, crosswalks and devices, tea and sake, shrines, fashion and meeting new people. It doesn’t necessarily follow that order.
I’m hoping to hear more about your adventures. Do you prefer instagram or twitter?
The good old fashioned telegraph.
Ah yes, the telegraph. Practical machine indeed. Also, I heard that you are becoming quite the duolingo pro. What languages are you learning?
French…I’m afraid I’m well behind others in this race…but if I could speak it pretty well by next April that will be a great success!
Anything else you want to add? Would you like to shamelessly promote yourself or sponsors in any way right now?
Is Ducati looking for a new ultrarunning athlete to market how awesome the two go hand in hand? I could do that.
Score me one if you can. Thanks for putting up with my shenanigans. It’s been decent corresponding with you.