In Defense of Gnar - Anton Krupicka's take on US vs Euro
This is a very interesting article. Not only because it raises the differences in what trail running means to the different corners of the world, but also because Anton has acknowledged a shift in his personal philosophy to what ‘running’ means to him too…
The great ultra man had a tough 2011 on the sidelines, just read his blog to find out exactly why. But his enforced ‘hiking’ time has made him realise that he may become a little more ‘European’ in his racing in the future – with events such as the Hardrock 100 on his 2012 hit list, and the likes of the UTMB a possibility in that case.
In his article for Running Times Krupicka also teases out that question of why the best US has to offer in ultra trail haven’t had a happy time of it in the European hunting grounds – certainly in 2011, and most prominently at the UTMB.
To begin with, running off-road in the US is rarely referred to as “mountain running”. Here, it is “trail running”, and for good reason. We almost exclusively run on trails, and soft, cushy, nicely graded and switchbacked trails at that.
…and goes on to say:
On the other hand, in the Alps and Pyrenees, it seems that in many sanctioned events trails are merely the approach routes to the craggy alpine where racers will then often scramble and dance their way over highly technical, even exposed, sections of talus and spectacular ridgeline before plummeting to the next valley (using the trail as only a suggested route) before climbing steeply to the next summit, and on and on.