Up to now, AXA’s criterion to exclude companies planning more than 3GW left the insurer free to invest in companies planning 44% of the world new coal pipeline, which Unfriend Coal said was equivalent to the combined capacity of all India and South Africa’s power plants. More: SCOR & AXA commit to more coal exclusions Unfriend Coal noted that, unlike Hannover Re and Munich Re, SCOR has ruled out the possibility of supporting new coal projects in certain countries, and instead joins Swiss Re in excluding all coal plants. However, neither SCOR nor AXA committed to follow Allianz’s 2018 commitment to fully phase out coal underwriting and investment by 2040, in line with climate science and the Paris Agreement climate targets. Similarly, AXA committed to apply its 2017 divestment policies to all third-party assets managed by AXA IM by the end of the year, and said it would consider strengthening its exclusion of coal plant developers. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reinsurance News: SCOR said that it would no longer provide stand-alone coverage to new coal plants in an update to its 2017 policy, which excluded direct reinsurance for new coal mines and new and existing lignite plants and mines, but not new hard coal plants. French insurers tighten rules regarding coal plant development French re/insurers SCOR and AXA have both committed to strengthening their coal exclusion policies in an effort to limit the effects of climate change, according to environmental campaigners at Unfriend Coal. A representative from the activist group questioned the companies at their annual general meetings this week, who both claimed to have taken steps to limit their coal exposures.
Photo: Matt DaltonSpringtime in the Blue Ridge is a spectacular time. Water levels are primed for the many rivers of the area, and mountain bike trails are running tacky and fast since the fall leaves have had time to clear out.Here are a few events this spring that are worth checking out in the area. I’m not sure if I’ll make all of them, but I’m certainly going to do my best.Alabama Mountain Games (March 16-18)This event is a great opportunity for paddlers, bikers, and outdoors folks from all over to rally to an area that you may not otherwise visit and compete. It used to be only a paddling event, but has transformed to include a number of other sports and activities. Get ready for an infusion of Alabama culture too!http://alabamamountaingames.com/wordpress/Watauga Gorge Race (March 31… or the next Saturday with enough water)The Watauga River near Boone, NC is an amazing whitewater river with sections that cater to a variety of different skill levels. This race is for class IV to V boaters, and it is a good one!40+ paddlers will line up in ascending order at the putin according to boat length… shortest to longest. The heavy hitters are then put in the back of the pack so that they have to battle through every single other paddler for a chance at the victory. The paddlers battle through 3+ miles of challenging whitewater and finish at 13 foot Stateline Falls in front of spectators.http://www.boatertalk.comETSU Nationals Qualifiers (April 14)The ETSU boys are known as a rowdy bunch of downhill, cross country and dual slalom athletes who know how to go fast AND have a good time. These races will also serve as a qualifier for the National Championships, and are held a stone’s throw from campus.The downhill track is fast and flowy, and is very well suited to an aggressive all mountain or smaller travel freeride bike. The dual slalom track is definitely one of the best in the region, and is always running fast with large features to separate the pack.http://www.facebook.com/events/221773121252396/Tallulah Fest (April 14-15)The Tallulah River is an amazing place that needs to be experienced by any class IV+ paddler. This river is a pilgrimage every spring and fall when the waters are released for five weekends of recreational use. This year there will be a full-on festival to reunite with paddlers after the long winter, share some beverages and tell lies about how hard-core you are.http://www.bbbpaddling.com/Details.phpNOC Shootout and Demo Days (April 20-22)Nantahala Outdoor Center is a mainstay in the paddling world, and always hosts a number of great events for paddlers of all ability levels. The Shootout and Demo Days is an opportunity to watch some of the world’s best compete, paddle the class II-III Nantahala River, and try out the top gear in the industry.http://www.noc.com/noccom/festivals-a-events/noc-freestyle-shootout/Jerry’s Baddle (April 28)This is definitely one of my favorite events of the year. This event was originally started in honour of Mr. Jerry Beckwith, an incredible individual who loved life in his kayak and on his bike, and who eventually passed away after a battle with ALS.The competition lives on after a number of years, and represents one of the most fun biathlons that you could possibly compete in. It involves a class V kayak blast through the steepest sections of the Green River Narrows, and then a 26 mile bike ride through the surrounding mountains and the town of Saluda. This is a great one because it often involves biker/kayaker tag teams, and features great food and beer afterwards.http://jerrysbaddle.org/I hope to see you at some of these events, and good lines in the meantime!
The best outdoor video clips from around the internet for the week that was:1. Save of the YearWe’ll start off with a bang. Here are some extreme kayakers getting extreme in the Pacific Northwest, when disaster strikes. Watch as both the rescuer and the rescued use calm precision to extract themselves. And then the rescuer goes ahead and drops the 60-footer. If this vid doesn’t get your heart pounding, I don’t know what will.Kayaker saved just before swimming over a 60 foot waterfall!! from David Fusilli on Vimeo.2. Surf the New RiverHere is a nice little vid of play boating and surfing the New River Gorge and the New River Dries, and takes a turn toward the hilarious toward the end. Did you know geese can surf?New River Keep on Surfing from Shane Groves on Vimeo.3. Beer, It’s All Around YouSweet vid on the expanding craft brew scene in Asheville. Bonus BRO-TV vid of the expanding craft brew scene in Virginia.Blue Ridge Brews from Blue Ridge Outdoors on Vimeo.5. Low Country on the FlyI want to fish for reds. Bad.High Hangin’ Fruit from Lowcountry Journal (Doug Roland) on Vimeo.
It’s time again for the Big Muddy Challenge in Richmond, Virginia. There’s still time to get your tickets, and if you’ve never been, it’s the perfect time to start. Anyone six and over is welcome, so the whole family can participate.For those of you who haven’t heard, the event was created by a group of active individuals who found that having children meant they had a lot less free time. They also noticed it was difficult to find endurance events that their kids could enjoy. Thus the Big Muddy Challenge was born — an event designed specifically for parents and children to experience a fun run together.If you’re looking to volunteer, there’s a bunch of different roles you can perform from registration to supervising the course, and everything in between. You’ll get a free t-shirt and food for the day, plus a free parent/child registration.This year the event is being held August 2 at Ashland Berry Farm just a little north of Richmond. There’ll be a wide variety of vendors, from food trucks to bands, and race sponsors at the event for you to peruse before or after your race. It’s a truly family event so there’s something for everyone.
Photo Courtesy of Göran HöglundAfter a devastating earthquake rattled Nepal on April 25, killing thousands and triggering an avalanche that obliterated an Everest base camp, prominent people within the Mount Everest climbing community have called for a reprieve. Those calls were amplified this week when another powerful earthquake struck the tiny Asian country not far from the epicenter of the original, killing dozens more.Some of these voices, like that of Mission 14 Founder Nick Cienski, who was present at Base Camp at the time of the avalanche that killed as many as 18 climbers, are requesting that people refrain from tackling Everest for the remainder of the year.Cienski says that attempting to climb Everest is just too dangerous right now because the mountain is too volatile and unpredictable.This video shows raw and disturbing footage of the avalanche that killed as many as 17 people at Everest Base Camp.“The thinking here is that a lot of stuff got shaken, but it didn’t all fall,” he told Jayme Moye for an article published in Men’s Journal. “Whether it falls today, tomorrow, or next month, no one knows. Even though there are not massive avalanches in the Icefall right now, the feeling is that everything is just more teetering than it was.”Cienski also pointed to those effected in Nepal and said that the efforts of his crew members should be directed at them rather than another summiting of the world’s tallest mountain.“The pivotal moment came when we learned that our partner organization had suffered damage to their building,” he told Moye. “It was a safe house where women had been rescued from brothels in India. After that, we thought, ‘what are we doing here? We want to climb this based on what?’ It made infinitely more sense to pack it up and get our butts to Kathmandu and help those organizations we’d pledged to help.”While Cienski calls for a temporary closure of Everest in response to the recent chain of natural disasters, others are pointing to a more permanent solution.Jan Morris was present at the base of Everest in 1953 when Sir Edmund Hillary and sherpa Tenzing Norway arrived after completing the first ever summit of the 29,000 foot peak. She says that the sanctity of Everest has been compromised since the days of Hillary and Norgay, and believes the mountain should be closed to climbing altogether.“It (Everest) reminded me of some magnificent wild beast, dressed up for a circus performance or a TV show,” she said, in an article published in the NewStatesman. “And in the course of this display, people lost their lives – Sherpas, climbers and tourists alike – to remind us now and then that it was not all make-believe.”Morris is not the first to voice such concerns. As the popularity of climbing Everest has increased, so has the amount of garbage strewn about it’s valleys and the corpses of climbers who died trying to make the summit—many of which can never be removed due to limited aerial access. All of this makes you wonder if Jan Morris has a point. Should Everest be closed forever?
Native Knowledge:“If you’re the disc golfing type, Richmond is a great place to live. I like to head to Gillie’s Creek, Bryan Park, and University of Richmond to play but my favorite course is at Dorey Park. It’s all in the woods and just an overall beautiful place.” –Ryan Crenshaw, Whitewater rafting guide and owner of guitar repair shop“Richmond is awesome because you can eat at just about any place you can imagine, explore amplitudes of breweries, be on the water all day hitting class IV rapids, work as a river guide and not be in some secluded small town living in a camp, and be in the city one minute and completely immersed in nature the next.” –Ben Moore, Paddleboard Instructor at Riverside Outfitters, ACA Instructor, and Professional paddle board racer—All Photos Courtesy of Richmond Region Tourism Outdoor highlights in Richmond include paddling the James River, mountain biking the historic Belle Isle, and road biking Riverside Drive. The area also provides access to public lands like Pocahontas State Park, the Dutch Gap Conservation Area, and the Appomattox River Conservation Area. Use this guide to ’48 Hours in Richmond’ when planning your next trip to this adventurous southern city.Day One:Run, hike, or mountain bike in Forest Hill ParkWith origins as a quarry, an estate, and then an amusement park, Forest Hill Park is now home to over 100-acres of green fields and wooded areas. It’s the ideal place to go for a picnic, a walk, or to put your mountain biking skills to the test. The technically challenging and narrow single track at Forest Hill features a few steep climbs and downhill sections as well as zig zagging switchbacks. Though not as difficult as the highly strenuous and challenging Buttermilk trail in Richmond, Forest Hill trails will leave you sweaty and smiling.On Saturdays be sure to check out the enormous farmer’s market which features nearly 100 different farmers and artisans selling locally grown produce and other handmade crafts. For those with a sweet tooth, satisfy your sugar craving with home made donuts.Paddle the James RiverNot far from Forest Hill Avenue you will see Riverside Outfitter’s welcoming old building decorated from head to toe with retired adventurer’s gear that is sure to have stories of past times on the river. Besides the usual kayak and canoe rentals found at most river outfitters, they offer the unique opportunities of not only urban whitewater rafting, but guided paddleboarding down the upper section of the James River. As the largest whitewater paddleboarding program in the world, these experienced and knowledgeable instructors teach people of all skill level the safety and technique they need before heading out on the water to tackle a rare and thrilling adventure.Reach the top at Peak ExperiencesOne of the largest indoor rock climbing centers in the United States, Peak Experiences is just a few miles west of downtown Richmond. From beginner to avid climber, you’ll be sure to find a climbing route that suits your taste. A friendly and professional staff, not lacking in climbing experience, is ready to belay you to one of more than 120 top-rope routes that reach heights up to 50 feet. If your arms and legs aren’t too shaky after top-rope or lead climbing, head to the bouldering wall to work on your skills and technique.Day Two:Explore the scenic and historical Belle IsleWith a city skyline as your backdrop, you might find yourself in shock once you walk across a hanging footbridge onto the beautiful island filled with nature’s bounty. Belle Isle was a prison during the Civil War, but now it’s one of the most popular locations for locals looking to hang out on the rocks and watch paddlers take on the dangerous rapids engulfing the island. Walk or bike the short loop around the island to explore the surrounding river, small cliffs, and old buildings of the once running hydraulic power plant.Something for everyone at Maymont ParkPet the goats, frolic through the Japanese and Italian gardens, tour the historic mansion, and walk amongst the many animals living indoors in the nature center or outdoors at the farm. Maymont’s 100 acres offers something for everyone and every age. When the weather is warm, you can usually catch a concert on the grounds from rising jazz musicians to big names like Old Crow Medicine Show.Food:The Daily– Located in the Carytown District, this kitchen and bar offers a wide selection of unique vegetarian and vegan foods, many that include organic and local produce.Millie’s Diner– Where one local told me he would eat his last meal, Millie’s has some of the tastiest and tantalizing foods you have ever heard of. Head there for brunch and check out the mouthwatering lump crab and scrambled egg enchilada.Galley– After a guided paddling trip with Riverside Outfitters, head across the street and grab one of five sizzling burgers named after rapids on the James River. One example is the Lulu burger piled with brie cheese and juicy apple slices.Legend Brewing Co. – With a scenic deck that sits alongside the river and plenty of tasty lagers and ales to quench the beer savvy tongue, Legend is a popular location to locals and tourists alike.Ginger Juice– Mainly found at farmer’s markets and other local events, this refreshing juice bar offers cold pressed, all natural juice. Cool down with a refreshing green apple, pear, and mint juice.Nightlife:The National: A renovated old theater has transformed into the best location in Richmond to see big name bands all while being so close and personal that you might feel the sweat dropping off of their faces.The Camel: Open all week long, The Camel hosts a variety of live music and smaller bands that will play their hearts’ out while you enjoy a full menu of delicious foods for brunch or dinner.Hardywood Park Craft Brewery: Catch them on a Thursday evening to chow down from one of sixteen different local food trucks while enjoying a delicious beer or three. If you can’t make it on a Thursday, check out their calendar to see what other fun events are going on!Lodging:Pocahontas State Park offers camping as well as cabins for those who enjoy more shelter, and beautiful lakes to fish, boat, or just gaze across.The Jefferson Hotel is just a short mile from the James River and was built in 1895. It’s grand and historic look is one of the most beautiful structures in Richmond.Upcoming Events:RVA Fireworks on the James: Virginia’s largest fireworks display will be held July 3rd on Brown’s Island overlooking the James River and is free to the public.UCI Road World Championships is to be held in Richmond this year. This event will bring together the best road bikers from across the world to compete in Championship races to claim the gold. September 19th-27th, 2015
Promising to be the premier mountain biking outfitter in the Southeast, the Hub and Pisgah Tavern will open the doors to its newly constructed shop on Friday, February 12 in Brevard, North Carolina.The bike shop has big plans for its state-of-the-art, 9,000 square-foot building at the entrance of the Pisgah Ranger District.The Hub will offer clothing, multi-sport gear, guides, mechanics, a Carmichael Systems training center, and a bar, stocked with local brews like Oskar Blues and Sierra Nevada. Sierra Nevada is currently at work developing a speciality batch dubbed Pinch Flat IPA to commemorate the Hub’s first season in the new shop.Brevard food trucks, including Velvet Cup, Chameleon, and Blue Smoke, will frequent the parking lot, especially when Pisgah Productions begins staging all of their races out of the shop.“We just love people hanging out and having a good time” co-owner Sam Salman said.Salman, who has owned the Hub with his wife Jordan since they graduated from Brevard College in 2008, began looking to expand as he saw more and more customers packing into the shop to chat and sip post-ride beers. A 72-acre parcel was available across the street, and once dividing the land became an option Salman jumped at the opportunity and purchased eight acres.Salman said he has had some critics scrutinize the size of the store and its position at the forest entrance, but he believes his bike shop will have a positive impact on the community and is a good alternative to another dollar store.“Anyone could have bought it,” Salman said. “They could have built a strip mall. People should be thanking us. Not one tree was cut down.”Nearby fly fishing shop Davidson River Outfitters will move into the Hub‘s old store, while Pilot Cove is developing a glamping destination, including cabins, an amphitheater, and trails, directly behind the new Hub.Starting Friday, the Hub will be undergoing a soft-opening phase in preparation for their grand-opening in March.“It should be a pretty hopping place,” Salman said.[divider]about the author[/divider]Since boyhood Phil Morgan has loved maps, adventure, travel, culture, history, and good stories. He studied the liberal arts at Hillsdale College and has since worked as an ocean lifeguard, a staff writer for Eastern Surf Magazine, a newspaper editor, and a raft guide. He currently lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina, where he teaches English, writes, and explores the surrounding wilderness. His favorite authors are Jon Krakauer, Jack London, Mark Twain, Paul Theroux, and William Shakespeare.
Warrior Dash is the obstacle course race that anyone can start and everyone can finish. With over three million participants since 2009, we’ve reinvented the concept of a 5k run and created a revolution: Warrior Nation . Whether you’re an elite athlete or just beginning the challenge, you’ll conquer 12 world-class obstacles like Goliath and Fisherman’s Catch , wade across wooded lakes, and venture through mud-caked back roads as you make your loop to the finish line.This year we’ve brought you four all new obstacles to conquer, upgraded festival activities and 2017 Warrior Dash merchandise so you can show you’re a warrior every day. At the end of your dash you’ll be rewarded with a finisher medal, a sweet t-shirt, fuzzy Warrior helmet, and ice-cold beer (for ages 21+). Then head to the post-race party to relive the course with friends, dance to music, and celebrate your decision to leave your normal weekend in the mud .Sign up as a St. Jude Warriors and conquer obstacles both on and off the Battleground. The dollars fundraised by St. Jude Warriors go directly towards the St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center . Not only are you helping the kids of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, but you can also earn special perks like Warrior Dash merchandise and even a free registration for the event.For more information on Warrior Dash and to find a 2017 location near you, head over to www.warriordash.com ! See you on the Battleground!
The 8 Toughest Ultras in the SouthAt one time, ultramarathons were a niche sport. They were ridiculously long distance races that only the craziest endurance athletes were willing to attempt.Today, several hundred ultramarathons occur around the United States every year. Although an ultramarathon is technically anything longer that 26.2 miles, the most extreme races push the boundaries of humans can endure.Karl Meltzer, former holder of the fastest known time on the Appalachian Trail, has completed more than 100 ultramarathons since 1996. For him, these long-distance races are less cutthroat than other sports and are about more than the physical challenge.“The mental part is can I actually suck it up for 20 hours, 30 hours, 40 hours, or whatever,” he said. “That’s the fun part—well sort of the fun part—when you cross the finish line. It doesn’t even matter what your time is. It’s just a matter of you got it done. That’s the real addiction.”Southern Appalachia is home to some of the country’s toughest ultras. If you’re looking to test your mettle, these events will take you to the edge.Pinhoti 100 (Ala.)November 2-3, 2019Starting from Pine Glen Campground, runners have to contend with rocky trails and more than 28,000 feet of elevation change over this 100-mile course. Through the Talladega National Forest in Alabama, competitors climb and descend Mount Cheaha, the highest point in the state.Meltzer, a three-time Pinhoti winner, lives in the mountains of Utah but said he enjoys running the trails back east among the trees.“I like to run in the woods,” he said. “Having done the A.T. three times, that’s a pretty good example of what I like to do. So Pinhoti was really a great fit. The beauty is being actually in the woods and being away from everything else.”Over the years, more races have begun using lotteries for race entries as they become more popular. In most cases, the trail can only handle so many runners meaning race directors are limited in how much they can grow. That’s why Meltzer enjoys the lesser known races that still challenge his endurance.“I don’t care who is there, how competitive it is, I really just want a good course where I enjoy myself instead of doing what other people think I should do or trying to run the Western States as fast as I can,” he said. “I mean those races are great too, don’t get me wrong, but there’s so much hype and media around a few certain races. I think the low-key race, like Pinhoti, is what I like the best.”Mount Mitchell Challenge (N.C.)February 23, 2019Jay Curwen won the first Mount Mitchell Challenge in 1999, a 40-mile race to the top of the highest peak on the East Coast and back to the town of Black Mountain. Two decades later, Curwen has taken over for his father as race director of the challenge and accompanying marathon.“At the end of the day, you only run one hill,” Guido Ferrari said. “But it’s one hill that is 20 miles long. There are not that many races that can claim that kind of consistent ascent. Then you have to come all the way down.”Ferrari was friends with Curwen’s father and was the first one to sign up for the original marathon. He has now run the challenge every single year since.“It has become a streak,” he said. “Once you run the first 10 in a row, even if you’re not winning, you’re supposed to go back to keep the streak alive. It’s a good measurement of how I age, slowly.”In addition to all the elevation change, runners have to contend with mountainous weather conditions at the end of February.“We have had sub 10 degrees and blizzards and we have had 65 degrees and sun,” Curwen said. “Depending on how deep the snow is or how tough the winter is, we’ve had to modify the scope and a couple of different things. Every year we have to let the fire rescue and support teams dictate to us where we can go and how they comfortable they feel to be able to cover the runners and make everybody safe.”Over the years, the challenge has become a staple event in the town.“We’ve sold it out every year for 21 years,” Curwen said. “We’ll have anywhere from 1,500 to as many as 2,500 or so trying to get in for only 200 spots.”Ferrari says Mount Mitchell is the one race he’ll run until he can’t move his legs.“It’s one of those things that, at this point it becomes, okay it’s February, I need to go up to the top of Mount Mitchell,” he said.West Virginia Trilogy (W. Va.)October 11-13, 2019runners at the West Virginia trilogy / photo by Lars LehmannThree days, three different events, back to back to back. The West Virginia Trilogy consists of a 50K on Friday, a 50 miler on Saturday, and a half marathon on Sunday. Most runners choose to spend each night at the basecamp before hitting the trails again the following day.Adam Casseday, one of the race directors and founders of the event, originally wanted to put together a 100-mile race in West Virginia. But he couldn’t find a location worthy of an event of that magnitude and the logistics of putting on that kind of event were intimidating.“We wanted to create an event that was as much about the camaraderie and the challenge as it was the pure race,” he said. “It’s not truly as much about competition as much as the fellowship of runners enjoying nature and the outdoors together instead of trying to outrun your competitors. By Saturday, you lose a lot of the type A, stressful runner aura. It’s more a brotherhood and sisterhood. People trying to help each other out, running together rather than trying to beat each other.”The course takes runners through the West Virginia Mountains during peak fall foliage season, including a summit of Spruce Knob during the 50 miler.“Most trails in West Virginia as a whole are pretty wild and rugged because we just don’t have the trail users that you see in Virginia and North Carolina,” Casseday said. “By default, these trails are more wet and rocky and rugged.”Kelly MacDonald kept hearing about how special the event was from runners at other events. She put it on her bucket list of races and got the chance to compete in 2018. She said being out on the trail wasn’t the most challenging part of the event. It was the downtime when her legs were tired, and she knew there were still more miles to run.“The most daunting part was each evening,” she said. “I’m in this big yurt eating my dinner and thinking about the distance I’d have to run the next day, not sure I could do it.”Georgia Death Race (Ga.)March 30-31, 2019With the Georgia Death Race, Sean Blanton’s goal is to discourage competitors from finishing. He’s even hired someone to play the grim reaper and heckle runners on the trail.“Sometimes I have people out there in the woods that are playing wild boar noises on CD players,” Blanton said. “We have signs out there that really just get into your head. The point of this race is to make people extremely uncomfortable in the sense of you’ve lost everything and the only thing you have left is just moving forward. This race is meant for you to question why do I run? Why did I sign up for this?”The 70ish mile race from Vogel State Park to Amicalola Falls State Park takes runners to the summit of Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia.“You get within 100 feet of the finish line and then you have to go 1,100 feet upstairs, up the waterfall, and then come back down on a really shitty, technical trail,” Blanton said. “The end’s almost the worst part.”He also requires each entrant to complete eight hours of trail maintenance or other community service to give back to the trails. Blanton, who has run 150 ultramarathons around the world, has to turn away runners when the 400 spots fill up.“Why do people run these challenges? Why would somebody want to run one of these things?” he said. “When people ask why do you do that, I answer the same way every time. If you have to ask me that question, you will never understand the answer. Unless you go out there and are experiencing these things, it’s just going to be crazy.”Ozone Endurance Challenge (Tenn.)May 29- June 2, 2019The Ozone Endurance Challenge asks how long do you want to be on the trail? Runners choose to compete from six to 96 hours, attempting to complete as many loops of the two-mile track as possible before time is up.“It’s a way of testing yourself,” Laura Eriks said. “People say, ‘Well I can’t run any further than a marathon.’ You set those standards. But you get involved with these events and you can really see what your limits are and then push those back. It’s always exciting when you take those first few steps past any mileage that you’ve ever completed.”Eriks, who was coming off an injury when she ran the 96-hour event in 2018, said this was a way to start running again on a relatively flat course.“In ultrarunning, it’s not just putting one foot in front of the other,” she said. “There’s the mental aspect of keeping going, especially when you’re racing through the night or two nights or three nights. Trying to manage your food and different things like that. It’s a challenge but there’s such a community.”In running for such a long time, competitors have to strategize when they will sleep, what they will eat, and how to manage the Tennessee heat.“I went through probably six pairs of shoes and a dozen pairs of socks during the race, constantly changing socks and shoes,” said Jeff Woody.Woody ran the 48-hour event the first year the event was held in 2016. Race director Will Jorgensen added a longer option each year, with 72 hours in 2017 and 96 hours in 2018, to challenge how long runners would be willing to run around in a loop. Each year, Woody kept going for the longest time.“You have to disconnect, to some degree, from time,” he said. “You have to take yourself out and focus on what you’re doing there. The neat thing about it is, it’s not just about who is the youngest and the strongest. A lot of strategy comes into play.”Hellgate 100K (Va.)December 14, 2019The Hellgate 100K is a winter race so intense, it comes with its own medical condition.“The cold dry air, the wind blowing, and runners running at night a lot, they get Hellgate eyes,” said race director David Horton. “They need to wear glasses and keep blinking their eyes or put liquid in. It’s like seeing through cellophane or something.”Jordan Chang first ran the race as a sophomore in college and didn’t think he was going to finish that year. But he has now run the 66.6-mile race every year for the last twelve years and has avoided Hellgate eyes so far.“People react very differently to it,” he said. “Some people are like, well, it’s happening, and other people are freaking out.”The race starts at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday morning so that most runners are finished by sunset.“I just love how everyone runs the same amount of time at night,” Chang said. “It’s very unique in ultrarunning. Most of the time, the faster people will run less in the night than the slower people. But this, everyone runs the same amount. Everyone’s got seven hours of it no matter what.”In addition to the unusual start time, runners have to contend with the whims of Virginia in December.“I’ve done it where I finished without a shirt on because it was 80 degrees,” Chang said. “I’ve done it where there was snow and ice and temperatures in the negatives. You never know what’s going to happen until race day.”Although he’s only in his 30s, Chang said the sport of ultrarunning has exploded since he ran his first race in college.“I’ve been in this sport longer than most people and just seeing that change from this group of weirdos running in the woods to fairly mainstream,” he said. “Running 100 miles is not unheard of anymore.”The popularity of the Hellgate 100K has also exploded.“It’s really grown, not necessarily in size,” Chang said. “Dr. Horton’s kept it pretty small to keep it intimate. But there’s a lot of hype around it, a lot of people trying to get in… It’s a good thing. It’s very exciting to see this kind of energy around the sport and these kinds of races. Over the years, it’s gotten much more competitive and times are getting so much faster. Every year, people are throwing down times that just a year before we thought were impossible.”Ultimately, Chang said he enjoys trail running for more than the competition because it gives him the opportunity to see “stuff that you’ll never see unless you did it on foot. Being able to see nature on foot in places where you can’t take a bike, you can’t take a car, you can’t paddle to.”Big Backyard Ultra (Tenn.)October 19, 2019If you follow the ultrarunning world, chances are you have heard of the Barkley Marathon. Runners have 60 hours to complete the brutal 100-mile course designed by Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell. Since 1986, only 15 runners have completed all five laps in the allotted time.The Barkley Fall Classic, a 50K, gives runners a taste of what the Barkley Marathon is like with winners automatically receiving a spot in the Big Barkley.“He’s [Cantrell] a really great person to have in the sport, coming up with all these ways to push us harder and farther than we’ve ever been,” ultrarunner Courtney Dauwalter said.In addition to the marathons, Cantrell puts on another, an equally challenging event where there is no time limit or distance limit. At the Big Backyard Ultra, runners simply run until they can’t run anymore.At 6:40 on Saturday morning, runners head out on the 4.166667-mile course. They have an hour to complete the route before they have to head out for another lap. This continues every hour until only one runner remains.Courtney Dauwalter, a dominant force in the ultrarunning community, ran 279.1 miles. After lap 67, she said she had nothing left in her. She plans to return to the backyard one day to see if she can push herself even further.“I think the atmosphere of it is really special,” she said. “When people drop out, they stick around and get basically incorporated into other people who are still in the race and their crew. So, you end up gaining friends and crew members and all this assistance throughout the race because people stay and are just a part of it.”(Read more about Dauwalter and the Big Backyard Ultra on page 18).War Hammer 100 (Ky.)June 8, 2019Look out for the War Hammer 100. In 2018, only a third of runners finished the 100-mile race in its inaugural year.“We created it to kind of be this big journey,” Mike Whisman said. “You start in one part of Kentucky and by the end of the weekend, you’ll be in a different part of the state. We pitched the race as true Kentucky, the good, the bad, and the ugly.”Whisman helps his wife, Brandy, put on a series of races in Kentucky. The pair wanted to create a longer event that highlighted many of the sights and sounds of the state. Since the race was new, runners weren’t quite sure what to expect from the course that starts at Red River Gorge.“There’s not a lot of climbing, it’s not technical,” Whisman said. “But these things that you don’t really anticipate really took a toll on people.”Unlike other trail races on the East Coast where trees provide a good bit of cover, the War Hammer twists along backcountry roads where runners find it hard to escape from the sun.“There are some long stretches of road, be it gravel road and even some paved road, in the middle of the race,” Whisman said. “So that means a lot of people were running through some pretty exposed areas with no shade in the middle of the afternoon in June. And they were just getting baked.”Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine Takes on RagnarApril 26-27, 2019The Ragnar Relay Series started 16 years ago as the Ragnar Wasatch Back in Utah. Today, there are more than 40 road and trail relay races in the series across the U.S. and internationally.In April, several members of the BRO family will take on the Ragnar Trail Relay at Pocahontas State Park in Richmond, Va. Over the course of the weekend, each person will run three loops for a total 15.4 miles.Rachel Fitzgerald, director of market development for Ragnar, said the majority of the Richmond course is mountain bike singletrack trails with some paved surfaces.“It is true trails,” she said. “A lot of events will be on some of the rail trails in the area, but these are true woodland, rocks and roots type trails.”In between loops, runners rest and hang out with friends at the centralized base camp before gearing up for another round.“It’s a challenging achievement and certainly something to brag about, but it is a really unique and special community that’s so welcoming of everyone,” Fitzgerald said.BRO Account Executive Hannah Cooper runs a half marathon and a few other races every year but said this trail race will be a new challenge since it’s longer than anything else she has done.“It’s a lot harder than a typical street race mentally and physically,” Cooper said. “On a street race, there are all these people around and support. It’s super easy to bail if you needed to. Whereas out on the trail, you’re out there alone. You have to be really focused on the footsteps, especially when we’re running through the night.”Check back in a few months to see how the BRO team fared out on the trail.
Wildlife officials on the French island of Corsica have discovered a new species of feline Photo by Office of Response and Restoration (NOAA) Skimming oil in the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill A new study that took a look at the oil leaking from a platform that toppled off of the coast of Louisiana 14 years ago has found the amount of oil seeping into the Gulf of Mexico is much higher than the well-owner claims. Wolf pups successfully introduced into the wild in Arizona and New Mexico Surrogate wild wolves are raising twelve Mexican wolf pups after they were successfully introduced into existing wolf litters in Arizona and New Mexico. Scientists from the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan and Interagency Field Team placed the wolves in their new dens. Six of the wolf pups came from the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri, three from the Mesker Park Zoo in Indiana, two from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas, and one from the Wolf Conservation Center in New York. Cross-fostering is a way to successfully introduce pups into the litters of wild females and has the highest survival rates of wolf release methods. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ In 2004 Hurricane Ivan caused the oil platform, owned by Taylor Energy Co., to fall, breaking a number of well-pipes. The company capped nine of the wells but said it could not cap all 16. Taylor Energy has argued that the uncapped wells are leaking just 2.4 to 4 gallons of oil per day. The authors of the study, which was paid for by the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, say that the total amount of oil released each day could be closer to 4,500 gallons. The study was done using sonar and a newly developed tool that measures oil and gas bubbles as they rise through the water. Study finds that oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico is much higher than the well owner claims Good news for all you cat lovers out there—there’s now one more feline species for you to enjoy. Wildlife officials on the French island of Corsica have identified 16 golden striped cats on a remote area of the island. The cats are described as larger than the average housecat with large, ringed tails and “highly developed” canine teeth. Locally the cats are being referred to as “fox-cats” because of their appearance. Scientists believe that the cats are a newly discovered species that may have originated thousands of years back in Africa or the Middle East. While the DNA of the cats is close to that of an African forest cat, their exact identity is still unknown.