Sunday, May 25, 2008

Olympian Awards

In true olympic spirit, the awards ceremony blew us away! The sun setting over the rolling hills of Olympia and the Pelopenese were our dramatic backdrop. They ran the ceremony in 3 languages (Greek, French, and English) honouring the endurance and courage of all the runners. They had a podium recognising the top 3 male and female runners with the National Anthem of the 1st place male and female. Toph was given an exact replica head bust of "Alexander the Great" for his victory! It was pretty wild listening to our National Anthem as the sun went down, a perfect end to a special day.

Thanks to all of you for your comments on our blog, emails, voicemails, text messages, and positive vibes from around the world! Another amazing adventure!

Official Results

Kim & Topher

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Topher 1st - 17:35

Wow he did it. He pushed hard and finished in 17:35 for 180km. (111 miles)
The german finished 15 minutes behind.

More later,

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Friday, May 23, 2008

160km update

Wow this is unreal. Topher has now run 100 miles (just shy) in 15::40 The german is only 15 minutes behind topher and closing the gap. I have no idea who is this guy but he looks great. Topher is very tired now so we will see what happens in the final 20kms. Wow!
The sun is now up so this should help refresh the mind and hope ease the pain.


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127 km update

He has been going 12 hours and has ran 127kms. He is in the lead and on record pace.
Now a german is in 2nd I think 40 minutes behind then the Spaniard in 3rd.
Wow. This is incredible.
Sometimes I wonder if topher will beat me to the check point he is going so fast and we have to drive around on these crazy roads.

I am getting tired just following now. It is 3 in the morning.

Going for a coffee.

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62km update - 7th checkpoint

Topher is going well 62km into the challenge. You know the usual suffering begins soon. The sun should be setting in 1 hour so it will be cool.
He now goes up a big hill and I do not see him for 22kms.
It will get cool fast as he goes up to the highest part of the race.
He is 30 minutes ahead of the Spaniard now but still a long way to go.

Off to 84lkm.


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20'km update-3rd checkpoint

Topher is going strong. 1 hour 30 minutes to 20 km. Pretty fast hopefully not too fast. He is in the lead with a Spanish guy just with him. The Spaniard was 2nd last year in 21:10. He looks very fit I must say.
Now they start up the first hill off road. The next checkpoint is in 13km. So he is on his own for some time now.

All is well,

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Off to the start at Nemaea stadium

We are on our way to the start. It is hot - 26 degrees Celsius which is about 80 degrees farenhiet. There is some wind but it will be for sure hot until the sunsets and get into the mtns.

There are 80 competitors. A few strong guys so it will be tight at the top.

I will send updates as I see topher. I will write the distance in kilometres and you can calculate into miles.

I am with our new friend george who is helping be navigate along the way. He is greek so that will be very helpful with the language and communication.

Should be a fun day.


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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Athens - The cradle of Western Civilization!

We have landed in Athens, Greece! It is the cradle of Western Civilization, the birthplace of democracy, of philosophy, of poetry, of arts and crafts.

The 2004 Olympics have completely "modernized" some of the infrastructure (a brand new airport and roads into the city center) making our arrival process smooth. We were greeted by "George" a local Greek guy working with The North Face in Greece. We all had a great walk through "Plaka", which is the ancient area of the city. Amazing maze of streets with great culture and various ancient ruins sprinkled throughout the neighborhood. The ancient part of the city felt very comfortable considering it is filled with 10 Million people!

George wanted to share the local flavor with us, so we found a great little outside cafe and enjoyed a mixed plate of fresh veggies, meats, hummus, along with a bottle of Ouzo. Just what every ultra runner needs to open the bloodstream prior to a 180km race!

A nice walk around the Acropolis at sunset with "peakaboo" views of the Parthenon, truly remarkable! We strolled back to our hotel and watched the changing of the guards at the Greek Parliment. The Greeks have a nice interpretation of "changing the guard".

We will get an upclose view of the Parthanon tomorrow, get some fresh food for our adventure ahead and find our way to the starting villages in Peloponnese.

Some info on the race that starts at 14:30 local, 05:30 Mtn Standard Time.......

The “AETHLIOS” International Long-Distance Running Association, with the organizing of this 180 km Race, every two years, aspires to bring to world attention the Ancient Games linked to two of the most resplendent Stadia of ancient times:

  • The ancient stadium of Ancient Nemea where, in our time, from 1996, are revived every 4 years the “ NEMEA” Games.

  • The stadium of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games where, for more than 12 centuries, had been glorified the Olympic Spirit and established the Sacred Truce. Here was lit formally for the first time in 776BC the Olympic Flame, just as in 1896 for the modern Olympic Games.

The layout of the route of the Race was based on knowledge of the most significant archaeological and historical evidence along the whole of its length, the beauty of the Peloponnese and the authenticity and hospitality of the villages which welcome the athletes as they pass through.
The route runs for 100 km along country roads with asphalt and 80 km of dirt tracks. The elevation differences total 3 800 meters.

Kim & Topher

Monday, May 19, 2008

Off to Athens, Greece to run 111 miles

Wednesday we travel to Athens, Greece. Thursday we will gather supplies and hopefully sneak in a few tourist sites before meeting at the hotel for the race check in.

Friday at 14:30 Topher will take on a new challenge - running further then he has ever done in one continuous push. He has run quite a few 100 mile races and now we are going out into the unknown.......111 miles (180km). It shound be a good challenge physically and mentally. He can do it!

The run is a mix of road and off road trails. It has a total of 12,000 feet (3800 meters) of up and down. To the left is a map of Greece showing the route. He will run that black solid line in the middle of the map from east to west.

I will be with a North Face sales agent to navigate thru the small villages in the countryside to follow Topher along and see him at differnet checkpoints. It will be quite the adventure for both of us. I have never been to Greece so I am looking foward to it.
There will be a photographer following Topher and an editor of a Greek running magazine to write a story and profile Topher and the race. Should be exciting. And I will be blogging LIVE to keep you posted. So check back starting Friday 14:30 greece time....which is 7 hours ahead of east coast and 9 hours ahead of utah time.
Run Topher Run!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Running in the rain

Sometimes you just have to get out there even when it is raining. At least the country side is green and the grapes are starting to bloom here in italy.

This is the final longer run before greece. The weather will not be like today - wet, rain and 56 degrees. Greece probably will be humid, sticky hot with temps in the high 70's.

Better go home to make topher a nice hot pasta to eat when he gets home.

Enjoying the rain,
Kim and topher

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Back to Italy and good food - ahhhh!

We are back in Italy after a fun filled trip to California. (now fighting a bit of jetlag)

I missed all the great fresh food while I was away. All the fruits and vegetables are so good right now.....juicy tomatoes, sweet carrots, fresh greens, great strawberries and on and on. So we are back eating our normal diet and enjoying big salads, pasta and a glass of vino.

The next adventure is Greece. Topher will go out into a new unknown world.....a 180km running race. Yes, alone.....not with a team and not on a bike but on his own 2 feet. I will be there to follow along and will send updates to the blog. Meanwhile, check the race web site to learn more of the run that will traverse the countyside of Greece from Nemea to Olympia. The race is on May 23rd starting at 14:30 in Greece.

Gotta go watch the Giro d'Italia wrap up show....sort of the play by play recap show like NFL football on the 21 day bike race in Italy that is going on right now. Good stuff.

Ciao for now,

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Miwok 100km Poetry

We thought we would share some Poetry my brother Peter wrote after enjoying a day together out on the trails at the Miwok100km in California.


The Miwok 100

Early in morning with oatmeal in hand
We go to where ocean meets sand.

Runners get ready as day starts to break
They all wonder if the finish can they make.

62 miles to return to that spot
Up and down hills, running non stop.

With Gaylord and Jurek and a girl named Kami
Their ability to run long is simply uncanny.

At aid stations they meet with their crew
To refill their water bottle and pick up some Gu.

The spectators mean well cheering them on
Saying things like: "Looking Good! Way to go! Stay strong!"

With sun shining down the views can't be beat
This is no time for sightseeing just watch your damn feet!

They turn around to return to the start
A marathon distance will challenge their heart.

But onward they run inspiring us all
We join in, keep up and try not to fall.

The finish was exciting, a sprint to the end
Topher chasing Eric round the last bend

Then refuel with food, warm up with fleece
Rest up, recover for next stop is Greece!


Next race on the Calendar is the Nemia to Olympia 180km (112miles) in Greece in just 19 days.....check out details of this historic run through the heart of the Greek countryside at:

Toph & Kim

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Miwok 100km - Finish!

We had some technical difficulties with cell range getting posts out but now we are finished.

Brief very rough results:

1. Dave Mackey 7:52 (new course record...smashing run!!)
2. Jon Olsen 8:20
3. Rob Cain 8:35
4. Scott Jurek 8:38
5. Lewis Taylor 8:43
6. Eric Skaden 8:51
7. TOPHER Gaylord 8:51

First woman: Kami Semick 9:12ish

Toph had a great day and it was a good run for him. These guys are strong and he was happy to hang with some of the best ultra runners in the US.

He had a pacer (someone to accompany him on the trail) from mile 43. So he got to share the trail first with his brother randy from mile 43 to 50 then our friend Jim Vernon ran from mile 50 to mile 58 then his brother Peter ran from 58 to the finish(62 miles). So a bit of fun for all.

Great work by Tia (the race director) and all the volunteers for making Miwok the best 100km.

Toph is taking a shower and scrubbing with the tecnu with hopes of not too much poison oak which there was a lot of on the trail. Then we will celebrate with cold beers and Thai food in San Francisco....Tophs buying for the crew team!!!

Thanks again Randy, Peter, Jim and Travis for the fun day.

Congratulations to all the finishers!!!


Miwok 100 mile 26.2

Here is a picture of Topher running along the trails between Pan Toll and Bolinas Ridge..
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Miwok 100 Turnaround at 35.7

Topher passed the turnaorund 4 hours 35 minutes into the race and was the 5th runner through this station!

The turnaround is at the bottom of a canyon. We fueled him up with a sandwich, chips, gu, and refilled his bottles, and he started back up the hill with 26 miles to go.

He still looks strong, but says, "This is where the race really starts.."

Note: Dave Mackey, the leader is on course record pace.

Kim and Crew
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Miwok 100 Pan Toll -Mile 21.7

Topher continues looking strong as he passes quickly through this station which sits at the top of a 1600 foot climb. So far the runners have climbed 3600 feet with about 7000 feet of climbing to go!

The first few runners were here in about 2:40. Topher was about 8 minutes behind the leaders.

First woman Kami came through about 5 minutes after Topher at 2:53.

From here they run a beautiful single track coastal trail among the green hillsides with amazing views of the Pacific ocean.

Next we will meet Toph at the turnaround at mile 35.6.

Kim and Crew

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Miwok - 12 miles update

Wow looking at a fast day on the trail.
First group of 3 guys came in 1:22 including hal. Then 3 minutes behind jurek.
The sun is just hitting the runners now so a touch warmer but still great running temps.

Kami is on a fast pace with Bev Abbs on her shoulder.

Toph is cruising right along - 1:28 to here. He is doing fine. A few more chocolate gus and a half of pb+j to keep him going.

It is a fun race environment with lots of smiles coming into the aid station.

We are off to pantoll - mile 21.7

The crew is going for coffee now.


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Miwok start-and they are off!

The adventure begins. 311 runners ran across the beach and up the first hill. Cool temps around 45 degrees. It should be great running weather today.

All the big guys are here - jurek, koerner, skaden and the list goes on. Should be a very fast and competitive race.

Toph was right out front across the beach. Now the hills...

Next update from 12 miles in.

Travis, Peter, Randy and I are off to the aid station. Always a fun day for the crew. Fun to have family here supporting.


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