Ultrarunner Rory Bosio training in the French high-country. Bosio is one of the favorites in the The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships, taking place in San Francisco’s Golden Gate National Recreational Area on Saturday. Photo: Tim Kemple
If you’re one of the ambitious few looking to punch ultrarunning phenom Rory Bosio’s training program into your GPS/smartypants-training device, grind it out by the numbers and, wham, run 104 miles in 22 hours, 37 minutes—her course-demolishing record at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) this past August, when she beat all of the women and most of the men—well, save yourself some embarrassment and bail out now. Bosio’s is a path you will be both physically and metaphysically unable to follow. That’s because Bosio does not consider running 100 miles suffering. Longhaul runners may be able to replicate her mileage, but not her blissful mindset. They’d have to throw away all the numbers along with the idea that ultrarunning is synonymous with suffering.
On Saturday, many, if not all, eyes will be on Bosio, 29, a favorite to podium, or perhaps flat-out win, against a talented and deep women’s field at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships, in San Francisco’s Golden Gate National Recreational Area. Modest and often irreverent, Bosio downplays her competitive nature. But her resume tells a slightly different story, including her breakout win at UTMB, and four top-five finishes at Western States 100. She also, despite claiming she’s slow in the short stuff, nabbed second-place at 2013’s Way Too Cool 50K, and fourth at the very competitive Lake Sonoma 50-Mile. One doesn’t accrue credits like that by accident: Success requires a lifelong commitment to equal parts joy and deviance.
Bosio, who lives in Truckee, California, is five-foot-nine, with broad shoulders and long, thin limbs. She wears smart-looking tortoise-framed glasses except when running (“I don’t do much reading during the race,” she says). She favors capris, wears her hair in a schoolmarm ponytail, and looks like a Smith graduate who plays tennis at the club and can really rock a sweater set. But the stereotypes disintegrate when she starts to talk, as she did recently in the lead-up to the Endurance Challenge.
Outside: Can you run in the mountains around Truckee now or is there snow? Do you crosstrain?
Bosio: Yes, one can run now in Truckee, and yes there is snow. But not much. Post-holing is great cross training. I unexpectedly did it for two hours last week. It’s even more enjoyable when you’re mentally unprepared for being out twice as long as planned.
- The North Face Endurance Challenge, San Francisco, 50-mile Championships Preview (Ladies) (iancorless.org)
- They’re ultra serious about running, their own way (sykose.com)
- The North Face Endurance Challenge, San Francisco, 50-mile Championships Preview (Men) (iancorless.org)