Welcome! The intent of Anecdotes from the Trail is to share my experiences while trail running or racing (occasionally on the road too.) And to feature other trail runners and their accomplishments. You may see the occasional gear review or even contest. Please visit from time to time. Happy trails!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Trail runner Spotlight: Hal Koerner

The North Face sponsored ultrarunner, Hal Koerner
A week or so ago I received an email from The North Face asking me if I would be interested in asking Hal Koerner a few questions for my blog. After pondering this for a moment (more like a nanosecond), I said, "Interview Hal?! This year's Hardrock 100 winner and all out ultrarunning living legend? Duh, hell yes!" I was flattered and honored for the opportunity. I didn't waste any time in typing up a few questions and I forwarded them on. I waited patiently to get the email back with the answers and I was excited to see the email today with Hal's responses. Below's my Q&A with Hal…enjoy!

Congrats on your Hardrock 100 win this year! Will you briefly share how that experience went for you and what it meant to you to win that race?

Hardrock is such a special race, it takes a ton of commitment both physically and mentally.  The extremes are unlike anything in ultrarunning and with that, the highs and lows become incised like no other endurance event I know. It was really special for me to head back to Colorado, where I grew up and cut my teeth as far as trail running is concerned, and then to have my family and friends there to experience it well that is what ultrarunning is all about.     

I was reading on your blog that you've had some time to rest and recharge. How are you feeling going into The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 in Georgia?

Hal refueling at the Western States 100
(photo: ultrarunnerpodcast.com)
Funny that you mention that, I’m actually writing you from Utah where I’ll be competing at the Bear 100 this weekend.  I’ll have to get at the recovery side of things here on Monday, but I always look forward to the shorter distances after a hundred. They just seem to fly by.  At The North Face EC race in Georgia, I would like to run faster this year, because I was out there for a long time last year and I do enjoy the finish line festival. 

You ran and won this race last year. What do you recall of running the Pine Mountain trail last year and what would you advise to someone running the course for the first time this year?

It’s deceivingly long in that you would think a first rate effort for a seemingly “flat” course would take much less time. That being said, I think folks need to take it easy and prepare for being out there a long time.  Execution will be key, take the time to stay up on nutrition and hydration as well as pacing. Then, when you think you have nothing left you can tap into a little bit of that ultrarunning grit to get you across the finish line. Also, watch out footing wise. It’s a rather technical, windy/weaving course that doesn’t allow for much speed. Knowing that will keep you from burning out on the front end.    

As far as racing is concerned, what's left for you in 2012 besides the TNFEC Georgia and what do you have planned for 2013?

My oh my, I’m still trying to figure all that out.  I would like to run in New Zealand this year as well as take a stab at UTMB one more time.  I’m looking into some cool expeditions with my TNF teammates like traversing the Wind River Range in Wyoming as well as attempting a speed record on the John Muir Trail in California.  I’m sure I’ll find a few other things as well.  

Seems that running the fastest Grand Slam in history is a goal for several top ultramarathoners next year. Is that something that appeals to you and would we ever see Hal Koerner running the ultramarathon Grand Slam?

Definitely, although I don’t think it’ll be next year.  I want to be really competitive at Leadville 100 and Wasatch still and that’s an impossibility considering the SLAM.  I like the idea of running well at Western States too, but it’s a quick summer when you start running a 100 every few weeks.  More power to them, I hope they set the bar high.

Last question, can you hook me up with a Rogue Valley Runners sticker?

Sure, it's in the mail. Ha, ha!

Thanks Hal and good luck at Bear 100!


Hal tackles the Bear 100 in Utah this weekend before making his way to Georgia in a couple of weeks for The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Miler on Saturday, October 13th. You can follow Hal on Twitter at @HalKoerner and you can follow his blog at http://halkoerner.com/. Visit his The North Face team profile page at http://www.thenorthface.com/en_US/exploration/athletes/4-hal-koerner/.

You can toe the line with Hal at The North Face Endurance Challenge Georgia which takes place at Pine Mountain, GA on October 13-14 weekend. Register at http://tnf.ec/0o and follow @TheNorthFaceECS on Twitter. 

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