Good content from: Saucony Athlete, Grayson Murphy – who documents an interesting race morning for the World Mountain Running Championships, a day where she took home gold
The official race vans that are supposed to pick us up haven’t arrived yet. They are 20 minutes late. I haven’t eaten breakfast yet either because my stomach has been giving me problems all morning. It’s pouring rain. All of Team USA is standing outside in the torrential Patagonian downpour, about 8 kilometers from the race start. We are stuck at the small collection of tiny cabins that were our accommodations for the week. Thanks to some Spanish-speaking skills, we manage to hitch a ride into town with a very nice man who happened to be driving down the secluded dirt road where we were staying. We managed to fit a staggering eight Team USA Mountain runners into the small cab of the nice man’s truck. Unfortunately, the luggage got the short end of the stick and was put in the bed of the truck to be at the mercy of the sideways rain all the way into town.
We finally make it into town, eight soaked backpacks and one muddy truck cab later. So far, nothing has gone to plan which is never really what you are hoping for on race day. Especially on race day for the World Championships.
Part of what makes mountain running so alluring, in my eyes, is the vast number of variables that go into each race. Weather, terrain, vertical ascent, descent and altitude, amongst many other factors, make the race seem like one giant puzzle that you must solve. Except that, really, you are not solving pieces in as much as you are mitigating risk as best you can. On that day down in Argentina, two hours before the race was set to go off, while I was sitting waiting for my socks to dry, I realized something. I realized that my most important task that day was going to be minimizing the risk of letting other crazy situations get in the way of the race.
I knew I had to plan to encounter the unplanned and be able to deal with it like a fierce mountain goddess. After the morning adventure, and we had just gotten ourselves into town, I knew today was not going to be one of those easy days. I needed to plan for more of a “What in tarnation?!” kind of day.
I think many would agree that footwear is probably the most important piece of equipment in our sport. A good running shoe prevents injury, helps you run more efficiently, and in mountain running it becomes even more important as it provides a necessary level of traction and agility. Without the special adaptations that go into trail shoes, such as lug height and width, waterproof upper material and rock plates, trail running would be next to impossible on some terrain. Road shoes don’t even stand a chance in the Wild Wild West of Mountain Running.
So naturally, on that crazy day that we were blessed with for the World Mountain Running Championships I was very concerned about what shoe to wear. I had brought with me both the Saucony Switchback and the Saucony Peregrine 9. I had some very serious and important decisions to make. Considering the terrain (lots of mud, roots, jungle-like) and weather (lots of rain and flash flooding river crossings) I knew that my shoe that day was going to be extra important. I needed a shoe that I could trust running (and tripping!) through several river crossings. A shoe that I knew wasn’t going to get washed right off of my foot and that would drain well too. I also knew I needed a shoe with some pretty hefty grip as we were the last race to go that morning and I knew the men would have done a good job of tearing up the muddy singletrack ahead of us. I needed a trusty special shoe and had just the one for the job. I chose one of the oldest and most revered trail shoes in the game: the Saucony Peregrine.
This special trusty shoe must have been the right choice as not only did I make it out alive from the crazy Patagonian forest, I was the first one to do so. Winning the Mountain Running World Championships in a shoe that has such a treasured history felt like fate. There are a lot of great trail shoes out there but when you are in doubt and are trying to mitigate all the crazy risks that might come your way, go with what has proven it’s worth time and time again, go with the Peregrine.
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