Dan Kraft has steadily ascended the ranks of U.S. ultrarunning the last few years. He’s a member of the Nike Trail Elite team and originally hails from Colorado. Kraft currently lives in Issaquah, WA, working the harvest at a small winery, continuing his education from a recently completed Master’s degree in winemaking at Oregon State University.
Any competitor who researches the FlatRock 50K knows what to expect from the course: Rocks. Lots of them. But what the mind knows does not always meld with adrenaline, fresh legs, and a love for trail running.
There are two things that will be remembered about the 2015 Volcanic 50. The hornets and the speed. About half of the racers had the unfortunate experience of getting stung by bees. The race directors alerted the runners to known bees near the 28-mile mark during the pre-race announcements, but runners got to interact with bees much earlier on.
Industry representatives generally put the lifespan of a shoe between 400 and 600 miles. The mileage you personally can expect to get, however, will vary depending on factors such as your weight, the surface you run on, your foot strike tendencies, whether you switch off pairs from one run to another and of course the resilience of the materials and design.
At age 62, having just completed a grueling 100-mile mountain race in which he finished first in his age group, Fred Brooks died suddenly when his car crashed on an interstate highway just hours after the race was completed. He was in the second year of a comeback to ultrarunning after a six-year hiatus.
Early Saturday morning, driving down winding roads and rolling hills, my stomach fluttering with nervous anticipation, it felt like being on a roller coaster. But we were not at an amusement park. We were en route to the start of the inaugural Water Gap 50K in the Poconos/Delaware Water Gap region of Pennsylvania. Little did I know that this race would also be quite an emotional roller coaster.