Posted 4th December 2015

Brave the elements

Winter is coming, the first snow has fallen, the days are getting shorter and your usual running track is getting wet and dirty. But no need to stop running, says Mary Beth Ellis, Ironman athlete and one of the toughest triathletes in the world. 

“There is nothing that I love more than a trail run in the snow. Some days I just don’t want it to end!”, MB says, and decided to take part in the North Face Endurance Challenge Series, where she will run 50 miles of fast paced dirt trails with portions of technical single tracks, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and an occasional glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sounds tough? Not for MB: “Braving the wind, snow, and frigid temperatures is a magical experience.  In the snow, the trails are quiet and I find the experience very peaceful and invigorating.  However without the right equipment, it can be a miserable experience”.

You know what she’s talking about: freezing temperatures, cold and wet feet…not a combination we exceptionally like. But with the Cloudrunner Winter Edition, MB found her perfect companion to prepare for the Challenge this upcoming weekend. “The Cloudrunner Winter Edition is perfect for all my trainings in the extreme weather conditions. In the past, I have struggled to keep my feet warm and dry in sub zero temperatures and on wet snowy trail condition. But the Winter Edition has completely eliminated this issue. This shoe is perfect for any conditions and essential for runs over 2 hours in the cold – or 8 hours, like on Sunday! In addition, when trails are covered with snow and hidden obstacles, the stiff upper of the shoes keeps my feet safe and the sticky tough tread underfoot makes getting and keeping purchase in slippery conditions a cinch”.

In the spirit of off-season adventure seeking, MB is tackling the daunting 50 mile trail ultra marathon with over 3000 meters of climbing. To prepare, she’s been out on the trails for hours and hours. Her weekly mileage has increased dramatically and she has added in long runs of up to 4 hours with as much elevation gain as possible.  While she still integrates some swimming and biking, these sports have both taken a back seat to her running focus since the Ironman in Kona back in October.  But where does the change in training come from? “I was needed a short mental and physical break from the myopic focus of triathlon training. In my hiatus from the tri-world, I hoped to find a new challenge that spoke to my heart. As soon as I heard about the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile race, I immediately wanted to enter. The trails are north of San Francisco with amazing views of the ocean, bay, city, and of course the Golden Gate Bridge. But as soon as I entered, I questioned my sanity ever briefly as who enters a 50 mile hilly trail race as their fun off-season activity. But now, with only a few days to go until the race, I am excited for the challenge and can’t wait to run on the amazing trails. My number one goal is to finish with a smile on my face!”.

Did we mention that MB is one of the toughest triathletes in the world yet? We are sure that she will cross the finish line with the big smile of hers! May you run on clouds, MB!

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