inov-8 ambassador Avery Collins stormed to a brilliant win at the HURT 100-Mile Endurance Run in Hawaii to open his 2018 season in fine style.
The notoriously-tough ultra running race was already underway on Saturday (January 13) when an alert about an incoming ballistic missile sent Hawaii into panic. The alert, which was sent to cellphones, said that residents should seek shelter and that “this is not a drill.” Around 30 minutes later authorities said the alert had been sent by mistake.
Avery (photographed, above left, with sixth-placed Yassine Diboun, above right, crossing the river at different stages of the five-lap HURT 100 ultra – images used with the kind permission of Kalani Pascual), said: “They informed us of the missle threat first thing in the morning, at the very first aid station. Going on in the race was a choice. I really didn’t see a reason to stop racing because it wasn’t like I was going to go book another flight and leave the island immediately. With that being said, I let the unhappy thoughts go and pushed on through the race. There was no room for negative thoughts in order to have a good race.”
Fellow inov-8 ambassador Yassine Diboun, who was also competing at HURT 100, said: “This is a very challenging ultramarathon which throws so many variables at runners, but I never thought I’d be pulled aside by a volunteer at mile 13 to tell me about a ‘missile alert’. It messed with my head and I wasn’t sure what to do. I just kept running toward my family, filled with many emotions and luckily found out that we were safe.”
Media reports say that some runners sheltered under a bridge before resuming the race.
A wrong turn, then hammer-time!
Avery – who in 2017 won the Grindstone 100, Continental Divide 50k, Quest For The Crest 50k and Georgia Death Race 70-Mile, as well as taking 6th place in the USA’s biggest ultra race, Western States 100 – went to Hawaii full of confidence. And having finished 4th at the 2016 HURT 100, the 25-year-old from Colorado pulled on that experience to go three places better this year. Avery completed the five-lap course through single-track rainforest, which included a massive 25,000ft of ascent and descent, in a time of 21 hours and 44 minutes.
He said: “The race went really well. I was coming back with a bit of a chip on my shoulder after finishing 4th last time, in 2016. My goal time was 21 hours but I’m now realizing that sub 21 hours is becoming less and less achievable on those trails as these growing more and more eroded daily due to high foot traffic. This has caused the tree roots to become extremely exposed and makes the race more difficult.
“I’m super-stoked on a 21:44 finish considering it landed me in the top finishes in HURT 100 history. I started the race in the lead. I wanted to set the pace hard and make a statement that it was going to be a tough day for anyone that had planned on keeping up. Unfortunately I took a wrong turn around mile 15 and ran an additional 1.5 miles, before coming back onto the course in 6th place. I found myself back in first place however by mile 40. After that it was hammer-time and my lead grew by 20-30 minutes per lap. My splits were very even and some of the best I’ve ever had.
“The course is absolutely gnarly. If anyone is ever looking for a punishing race that will put their body to the test, this is it. I would also say that footwear choice is very important for the HURT 100, given that at night the rocks and tree roots (as well as all the mud in between) need the utmost grip for you stay upright!
“Next up for me, I plan to spend 2 months on my snowboard! As far as running goes, I’m currently signed up for Never Summer 100k in July and Tor Des Geants in September.”
Second-placed Guillaume Calmettes, from Los Angeles, clocked 24 hours and 00 minutes, while experienced ultra runner Yassine added yet another 100-mile race buckle to his huge collection of 13, placing sixth in 25 hours and 27 minutes. Yassine has now completed the HURT 100 three times.
The 39-year-old said: “I learned a lot from this one, and it was an emotionally charged finish once I finally kissed that sign (which reads ‘We Wouldn’t Want It To Be Easy’) for my third time. It wasn’t my best outing, but maybe the one I’m most proud of based on working through muck, so to speak.”
“We wouldn’t want it to be easy” reads the sign that ultramarathon runners kiss upon completion of the notoriously-tough HURT 100-Mile race in Hawaii 😘 . Well done inov-8 ambassadors @runninhigh (1st) & @yassinediboun (6th). More post-race reaction from Hawaii on the inov-8 blog tomorrow. . Repost @yassinediboun: The sign we kiss 😘 upon completion reads: “We Wouldn’t Want It To Be Easy” – I’m here to report that it was not easy in any way. Managed 6th place overall in 25 hours. Ouch. @hurthawaii #hurt100 #ultrarunning #Hawaii #inov8 #GetAGrip
*Check out what happened when Avery came to inov-8’s UK homeland in the Lake District for a 24-hour adventure (click on image below).