MEREDITH EDWARDS Durango, Colorado
TRAIL RUNNING POLES CAPTURE NORTH AMERICA
To appreciate the arrival of Trail Running poles in the US it is important to understand a bit of European running history. Poles have been used in the Alps for years as trail runners and racers have come to appreciate the significant benefits in both their performance and improvedenergy reserves. Afewyearsago, elite US racers attending international races in Europe started to notice how a vast majority of International racers were using poles. Tim Tollefson, LEKI athlete and winner of the rugged Laverado trail race recalls, “In 2015, my friend Zach (Miller) and I were probably the only 2 starters at the CCC without poles. During the race, we registered how beneficial the poles were for other athletes. Before I came back to race the UTMB in 2016 I used the whole summer to train with poles.” After a few years of running with poles, Tollefson is a convert stating, “In a mountainous race, like UTMB, I use poles on every climb. Often, in the later parts of the race, I use them on downhills, too, to navigate technical terrain reducing the eccentric loading on joints which helps prevent soreness, muscle damage, and failure.”
Sabrina Stanley, the winner of the Hardrock 100, one of the most rugged races in North America, recalls that “At first trail running started as something that people did to enjoy nature. Now there is a second wave of runners discovering the trails. I believe this wave of runners is more competitive and achievement- oriented. The bigger this wave becomes the more likely poles are to grow in popularity in the US.” Over the last few years, more and more top athletes from North America have been participating in European races. Michael Brechtelsbauer, International Director of Sales and Marketing for LEKI notes, “Races like the UTMB have become incredibly international, and many races are seeing international competitors. Athletes from the US in particular are getting many of the top podium spots.” In the 2020 Transgrancanaria, LEKI athletes Kaytlyn Gerbin and Dylan Bowman took first and third, respectively. Elite racer Dylan Bowman shares his insights on the use of poles in Europe, “Nearly 100 percent of European runners are using poles at UTMB, whereas only 60-70 percent of US athletes were running with poles in European races. I think there is definitely more acceptance and knowledge about the advantages of poles, but we still have to catch up.” Kaytlyn Gerbin has come to appreciate the benefits of running with poles stating that, “When I ran my first 100-mile race in 2016, I grabbed poles at mile 80 when my legs were tired. Since then, I’ve only been running mountainous races in the US with poles.” With insight from these top athletes, it is easy to see why trail running poles are quickly becoming an essential piece of equipment throughout North America.
DYLAN BOWMAN USA Trail Runner with LEKI POLES
Nolan´s 14 | Sabrina Stanley ¬ The Nolan’s 14 course connects 14 of Colorado’s 14,000’ peaks.
¬ Distance of nearly 100 miles with elevation gain in excess of 44,000’. ¬ New women’s FKT record set three times on Nolan’s 14 in 2021. ¬ Sabrina claimed FKT in August, which was eclipsed by Meghan Hicks in September, reclaimed by Sabrina in October.
¬ Sabrina’s current Nolan’s 14 FKT is 2 days, 49 minutes.
“I was on schedule until 4 hours before the finish line, but my physical condition was deteriorating. The blisters were very painful. I felt like I was walking on nails. I couldn‘t run downhill anymore, so I lost an hour and a half on the last 25 kilometers. The mental strain was huge.”
FKT´S OF THE LEKI FAMILY
Wonderland Trail | Tyler Green ¬ The 93-mile Wonderland Trail circumnavigates Mt. Rainer, the highest peak in Washington State. ¬ The Wonderland Trail gains more than 22,000 feet of elevation over technical terrain. Challenge : ¬ Three Wonderland Trail FKT’s set within a single week in 2021. ¬ Battle between Tyler and Dylan. Tyler’s FKT effort came just five days after Dylan’s new FKT record.
¬ Kaytlyn Gerbin sets the new female FKT
¬ Tyler Green FKT: 16 hours, 40 minutes ¬ Dylan Bowman FKT: 16 hours, 58 minutes ¬ Kaytlyn Gerbin FKT: 18 hours, 41 minutes “When Dylan was running, I was checking all of his updates. Then I made the mistake of checking his finishing time in the middle of the night when I was trying to sleep. I didn’t sleep very well that night. It really took me the full five days to reframe my mind around the new time. I was pretty unsure about whether I could do it, but I had a lot of friends who said I could and encouraged me. I really think that they believed in me before I believed in myself.” Tyler Green
WHY YOU SHOULD USE POLES FOR TRAIL RUNNING.
MORE SPEED. You can go uphill with more propulsion through your arms and improve traction, allowing you to climb faster.
MORE ENDURANCE. You put less strain on your legs. The result: Your legs feel fresher after a long climb. You stay in a more upright position making it easier to breathe and sustain your pace.
MORE CONTROL. You now have four points of contact with the ground, providing stability and speed in difficult terrain .
INJURY PREVENTION. Your legs have less fatigue during your run, thereby reducing the chance of falling or sustaining an injury.
Luis Alberto Hernando The advantages of poles
“The ease of clicking in and out makes transitions and eating effortless. I love not ha- ving straps that flop around and get caught on other gear or terrain hazards. The glove system distributes force equally throughout the palm which avoids the painful wrist and forearm loading I have experienced with other strap systems.” TIM TOLLEFSON IS A CLICKSTARTER
maximum speed easy click-in and click-out in seconds
maximum power transmission propel yourself forward with the support of a frame strap
maximum precision control your pole with the direct connection between hand and pole
The fastest pole maximum performance, maximum carbon
Proven race and training performance with optimum stability and durability
The superlight featherweight minimalist with maximum carbon and traditional strap
WEIGHT POLE (INCLUDING STRAPS)
PACKSIZE (120 CM)
Maximum propulsion fixed length carbon shaft with speed-oriented tip
The adjustable high-end trainer with outstanding versatility
The training champ configuration of the Micro
Trail pole minus the extended cork grip
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