Here’s a list of my 2015 Trail and Ultra Running predictions, what’s going to be hot and what’s not!
1) The Death of the Ultra Beard.
It’s been widely acknowledged that to become a fully ordained member of the church of ultra running you need a beard. Next year we will see the end of this requirement, for one thing it’s a bit tough on the girls. At the end of September Anton Krupika, the Legend Beard, shaved. Whether or not this ends up as permanent or just a beard “reset” one thing is sure, the resulting pressure wave of temporary non-beardiness will gust through the ultra community leaving no grisly face untouched. Beards are so 2013 and everyone copies Anton.
2) The Rise of the Ultra Tash.
in the void left by the death of the ultra beard we will see the rise of the “Ultra Tash,” and that’s great news for some of the girls too. As there are only at best one or two precedents set so far the “look” will be hotly debated over – there are myriad moustache designs available, which one will come out on top? That’s beyond my soothsaying abilities. Mine will probably be a bit like Al Swearengen off Deadwood – I like the Tash and stubble look, but I would also consider a “Magnum”…
3) Bags will just keep on getting bigger and bigger and bigger…
Ultra Runners will need larger storage options. To be able to run or train for an ultra in 2015, runners will need to be able to carry the following items:
Food, drinks, GPS, GPS watch, “smart” phone, spare pair of shorts and tights, coat, hat, gloves, scarf (yes an ultra scarf), three buffs, sun cream, ice cream, sun glasses, reading glasses, spare batteries, 9 volt battery pack with solar charger option (to keep GPS watch running for more than 6 hours), pair of “maximal shoes” (to change into after 20 miles of minimal shoe use), camera, sports video camera, spare trucker hat, spare beard (for those that still think that beards are cool), 2 head torches, spare head torch batteries, plasters (or Bandaids for Americans) duct tape (or Duck tape for those that say it proper like), electrolytes, gels, space blankets, multi tools, sweat bands, rope, chainsaw, map, compass and a tub of Vaseline.
Obviously some of us will be racing in events with “drop bags” but for the majority, larger storage solutions will be required. I predict the arrival of the “Race Trolleytm” an articulated rugged off road trolley that can be pulled or pushed and has bottles on the front. They’ll retail at about 600 €/£/$ and everyone will be debating whether the UD one is better than the Inov-8 or if pushing is more efficient than pulling. Facebook will be alight with “Which trolley posts?” and inevitably many “Trolley Trolls” will be drawn to the comments section of these threads.
4) Minimalism and Maximalist have a really big fight.
In 2015 we’ll have the final showdown as the last remaining minimal shoes go in to battle in an attempt to quash the evil Maximalist Empire. The resulting clash may not play well for the minimalist rebels, – out gunned, out manned and out cushioned I fear that the forces led by Darth Hoka will stomp out the final insurgency for good.
5) Everyone’s diet will change.
A new diet will emerge blending the best bits from all of the diets. It’ll take the vegetables and grains from “Vegan” The meat and coconut oil from “Paleo” Fruit and smoothies from “RawPower” The fat from “Low Carb High Fat” The carbs from “High Carbs Low Fat” The chocolate and croissants from “Nigella Lawson” and the burgers from “Supersize me” It will combine all of the best bits of these diets under the new name “The Normal Stuff That Most People Eat Diet” or the more catchy TNSTMPE. It may even be given the snazzy title of “protocol” rather than diet to make it sound more sciencey.
6) Becoming a more efficient carb burner will be the next BIG thing.
Ultra runners will swing back to the idea that to be a good runner you may need to eat shit loads of carbs and that cooking everything in coconut oil or bacon fat and drinking coffee with butter is not only pointless and stupid but rather expensive too. This will ultimately lead to the burning question, “how do I become carb adapted.” Leading sports nutritionists will clamber over each other in the fight to be the new carb authrority. Books will be released with titles such as “The great carb myth” and Tim Noakes in an effort to distance himself from the Paleos, will write the definitive volume of his carrier entitled “Fatlogged.”
7) Races will get longer, runners will run more.
Old sage ultra runners used to get by off the back of a couple of 100 mile race anecdotes. Pfft! their days of wowing dinner guests and boring normal people in the pub are now over. Everyone’s doing 1er’s! They’ll have no option but to up the ante, either going for longer harder back to back races or increasing the distance beyond the 500 mile mark, because really 500 milers are for pussies. We’ll see a new breed of 1000 mile runners emerging towards the end of 2015 dropping smug little quips such as “A thousand miles isn’t that far.” Everyone will want to do one.
8) Races will get shorter, runners don’t need to run as much as they used to.
As witnessed on a popular US based trail and ultra running Facebook page, runners like everyone else need instant gratification and validation. Many people want so desperately to become an “ultra” runner as it sounds so much cooler than just “runner.” It seems that some are even searching out the flattest, easiest 50kms in order to “get the job done.” 2015 will see this get even easier with the introduction of the 27 miler or the 43.2km “You’re An Official Ultra Runner” qualifying race. Because anything over a marathon means you are no longer just a “runner.” Congratulations! You’re in the club, now line up over there so we can get you measured up for your race vest and buff. No, the other queue is for the Hokas, you’ll need them when you do a 50 miler. Okay? Great.
9) Greater compression options.
Now that the benefits of compression are so clear and proven by real scientists, running companies will seek out even more ingenious ways to compress an ever mounting list of body parts. Throughout next year we will see new and exciting products released on the market – Here’s what I think we’ll see…
Nose & ear compression – you’ve seen how some people get very red extremities, obviously this is a waste of blood and it needs to be coerced back towards the rest of the blood. From summer next year if you run in to anyone that looks like a wannabe trail ninja, then they are most probably wearing the latest in ear/nose compression wear and should not at all be given a wide berth. Obviously we’ll see more and more “Pinpoint compression” garments in the shape of finger sleeves, wrist, ankle and head bands. We’ll also get to address an age old problem with micro toenail sleeves and not forgetting my personal favourite special graduated contact lenses.
I really can’t wait! Happy rest of 2014! And if you liked this blog don’t forget to share it all over the damn internet.