Pro Triathlete Nick Chase takes a deep dive on the HOKA Mach 4. Watch his video review showcasing his experience with the Mach 4 (spoiler alert, it’s good!) and why he considers it to be a great new edition to add into the rotation for training.
Former NCAA All-American and 2016 Olympic trials qualifier, Ce’Aira Brown joins Ali on the Run to talk about her running journey and her career.
From the Podcast: Ce’Aira Brown wants you to know that she’s still running. She’s still training (alongside Ajeé Wilson), and she’s still staying true to her “talk less, grind more” mentality. (And when she’s not on the run training for the 800m or 1500m, she’s on the runway, modeling.)
So why don’t people think she’s running? Because you’re pretty unlikely to see a lot of running “content” on her Instagram feed. But Ce’Aira promises, she’s more in it than ever.
In honor of International Women’s Day, she talks about the women who inspire her, and she talks about being a role model herself. She explains why, after running a 2:02 season opener in Austin two weeks ago, she’s “not satisfied, but hungry,” talks about the power of positivity and hard work, and talks about how she’s built mental strength and confidence.
Listen to the Podcast below
ABOUT ALI : Ali is the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. Ali is also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia!
In observance of International Women’s Day 2021 the United Nations is celebrating with the theme ‘Women In Leadership’.
With that in mind, we’re honored to showcase some of the bold female founders and leaders in the running industry and the thriving companies they lead.
WOMEN-LED BRANDS AT JACKRABBIT
The companies these amazing women have founded, the organizations created and the activism they champion, all contribute to adding gender equity to an industry where everyone has the right to lace up, show up and run equally.
RABBIT RUNNING APPAREL
With a name like Rabbit, we knew we had to be BFFs with a brand that shares our name and our philosophy of serving up runners the best.
Let’s meet Monica Devreese and Jill Deering, the founders of Rabbit running apparel. Monica has been in the running business for 20 years and as experienced and, let’s admit it, badass runners, they had some experience to bring to the table. As lifelong competitive runners they came to the apparel business like others before them; they never found anything they really loved.
Monica and Jill considered their own needs as well as those of other runners when it came down to the most complex of running garments, the running short. Having added up the pros and cons of every short they could get their hands on, they believed they could create something better. And so they did.
Check out Rabbit running apparel at JackRabbit and try them for yourselves.
MOBOT WATER BOTTLES
Founder and CEO of MOBOT Nation, Lani Cooper patented the first combined foam roller and environmentally sustainable water bottle. With a call for society to be more conscious and sustainable, MOBOT has delivered an innovative product that teaches us to constantly reimagine our perspectives.
Each foam roller water bottle is made from 100% recycled stainless steel and non-toxic, high density EVA foam. Since their inception in 2013, they have already saved over 180MM+ single use plastic water bottles from landfills and waterways.
Two of the most necessary practices for health and wellbeing, hydration and massage, are actually sometimes the most neglected (by everybody). So check out MOBOT at JackRabbit to get your body back on track.
BALEGA RUNNING SOCKS
Tanya Pictor is co-founder of Balega Running Socks. In a recent interview, she championed the power that running has to bring us together. ‘Running is a sport that does not see gender, color, it is all inclusive, forgiving and keeps us grounded.’
Balega stands out in the sock world for its commitment to giving back. Since the beginning, Balega has sought meaningful ways to pay tribute to organizations via their company culture and commitment to quality in everything that they do.
Learn more about the ways Balega gives back.
Tanya’s advice for women considering following a career path similar to that of hers? “Be yourself, be authentic, and respectfully unapologetic about who you are and what you bring. Follow your passion and remain true to your calling.”
Browse Balega running socks at JackRabbit
HOKA ONE ONE
President of Performance Lifestyle at HOKA ONE ONE, Wendy Yang has set the running world on fire with supporting innovative performance lifestyle campaigns that have helped to shape the running world as we know it – beyond the shoes.
“I’m most proud of the teams I’ve built and the work those teams have done, which have made a lasting impact across the multiple companies and brands I’ve had the good fortune to steward over the course of my career.” – Wendy Yang, Footwearnews 2019
From working with Reebok, New Balance, Timberland and more, Wendy has found her place to grow with HOKA. Beyond the sale numbers, Wendy has placed a special focus on equality in the workplace. Starting the first Deckers Women’s Leadership Summit in 2018, to having hired 75% of current employees, Wendy keeps equality and equity at the forefront.
HOKA continues to be a brand that empowers movement for everyone, everywhere, any kind.
Check out HOKA ONE ONE at JackRabbit
BRITT OLSEN: ON RUNNING
Britt Olsen is the GMM at On Running North America. A brand that has shaken up the industry, On is leading the way with innovative cushioning and a sleek look that has been a hit with runners and street walkers alike. Britt joined On in the US as employee number six and now she is leading a team approaching 200.
Of the experience of leading the North American team of this entrepreneurial company she comments, “I know that we can help influence and shape sport culture in a very positive and impactful way. That feels really good.”
A brand that is smart and dialed in having recently founded the On Running Group hoping to launch and support the Olympic careers for their members as well as a new technical tennis-inspired sneaker with Roger Federer.
On Running continues to challenge the norm, supporting professional runners and inspiring the rest of us to be a little bit better every day.
Discover the full selection of On running shoes at JackRabbit.
MELISSA WORTH: NEW BALANCE
Senior Vice President of New Balance Athletics for North America, Melissa Worth is a savvy and respected leader. During 2020 New Balance navigated the unknown by calling up on their commitment to civic duty and serving others. They seamlessly pivoted production to create personal protective equipment for front line workers via the New Balance Foundation.
Talking about the challenges of 2020, Melissa told Footwear News “We have been able to rethink the way we use our inventory, how we drive our digital business internally as well as with key partners and how we communicate and connect with each other.”
Melissa has committed to a culture of empathetic leadership amid the pandemic and supporting diverse leadership.
“As leaders we need to commit to diversity and inclusion goals to change the face of the industry and hold ourselves, and each other accountable to achieve positive systematic change. We need to get comfortable talking about the problem, and we need to give a platform to associates of color, listen to what they have to say and act on it.”
Shop the full New Balance collection at JackRabbit
ANNE CAVASSA: SAUCONY
Anne Cavassa is the President of Saucony. A brand with an unapologetic focus on empowering Her and inviting slogan of “Run for Good,” Anne has worked alongside many others in the company to have these words and meaning brought to life.
Most recently, through the Saucony x Prinkshop collaboration this past Fall. With the goal of helping to encourage women to run – however that may be – Anne, prinkshop founder and creative director Pamela Bell, along with Saucony marketing director Jessica Newton and director of apparel Sarah Clark created a line dedicated to the cause.
“With this collaboration, we are taking a stand to further support gender parity and encourage women everywhere to find their personal pathway to leadership. We invite everyone to join us as we rally behind the women who are committed to the race with their eye on the finish line. When women run, we all win.” – Anne, Running Insight
Along with of-the-time campaigns and company follow-through, Saucony continues to be a great leader in the running space through continued footwear innovation across road running, carbon fiber plates and trail running shoes as well as inclusive marketing and partnerships.
Shop the latest from Saucony at JackRabbit
WOMEN AND MEDIA BEING BOLD
In the world of running how we act, support, challenge and how we speak are powerful tools. We are privileged to have bold women creating organizations and support systems as well as media committed to reporting on women’s running news.
JORDAN MARIE DANIEL: RISING HEARTS FOUNDATION
A grassroots, Indigenous-led foundation by Altra runner Jordan Marie Brings Three Horses Daniel that works to “dismantle white supremacy and racism, rebuild a better future and elevating Indigenous, Black, Brown, Asian, Immigrant, Muslim, Jewish, Two Spirits, LGBTQ+, & Non-binary voices and relatives with disabilities.”
The Rising Hearts Foundation has also worked hard to provide resources for the community regarding wellness, COVID-19 relief, running with purpose and has been a leader in providing education for external communities about what it means to run on Native Lands.
Jordan is an Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier, Project Manager and TIN Liaison, outdoor enthusiast. Jordan is also well-known for her Prayer Runs and bringing light to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Find ways to support and participate with the Rising Hearts Foundation here.
MARIA SOLIS: LATINOS RUN
Based in New York City, Latinos Run is a running group focused around serving the Latino population through fitness and providing access to running information, education and community. Founder, Maria Solís, has created this in-person and online community to meet needs and create space that was not initially there. Taking it one step further – she expanded Latinos run to create a more specific group for women called Latinas Run.
“Latinos Run and Latinas Run are two running platforms that promote running as a way to improve physical and mental health within Latino community. I created these groups as a safe space for runners to feel welcome in the running community.” – Maria Solís, Your Sole
Now in 2021, Maria has developed an audience of 25,000 people – newbies to running all the way to elites. She provides for an online community and uses her visibility to partner with others to provide things like her all women’s trail running summit.
WOMEN’S RUNNING MAGAZINE
Women’s Running Magazine has come into its own in the media space covering women’s running. They have matured into a leading voice focused on reporting on the talent and breadth of women’s running.
They cover everything from the latest news from pro athletes to training techniques, advice from female athletes who have navigated path particular to female athletes. The publication is an advocate for a healthy approach to running. They tap into professional athletes, science and experiences of others to further a positive future for the next generation.
They have an annual Power Women of the Year showcasing women who are reshaping the landscape of running. Check out this year’s honorees.
ALYSIA MONTAÑO: ATHLETE AND ACTIVIST
Alysia Montaño is an Olympian, national champion, activist, author, and mother of three. In 2014 she famously ran an 800m race while 8 months pregnant
Alysia is the founder of the non-profit &Mother.org the organization dedicated to breaking the barriers that limit a woman’s choice to pursue and thrive in both career and motherhood. She also hosts the podcast ‘Keeping Track’ alongside Molly Huddle and Roisin McGettigan with the mission of giving more media coverage of women’s sport.
Not only an activist, Alysia brings her A-game to social media and well worth the follow.
MECHELLE FREEMAN: TRACKGIRLZ
Mechelle Freeman is 2007 World Track and Field champion, and a 2008 Olympian in the 4×200-meter relay. She founded the organization TrackGirlz in 2015 as a way to provide exposure and access for girls to the track and field world that so often gets left behind after college.
JackRabbit is so proud to be working directly with TrackGirlz in 2021 offering financial support for their grant program to grow the sport of track and field for female athletes.
“I want to get more Black, Indigenous and people of color involved to expand the conversation,” she says about the future of the organization. “I want to bridge the gap between track and the rest of the running community. I want to bring out all different body types to show just how inclusive this sport is.”
Follow TrackGirlz and help spread the word about their mission. Learn more about Mechelle and their grant programs here.
FIND YOUR FIT ON THE TRAIL
The great thing about running is all of the different ways you can go about it. You are able to find which type of running (indoor, outdoor, trail, road, track, the list goes on) fits you best and easily tailor activity around that.
For those who want to ‘find their fit’ in trail running, this one is for you.
We share the best trail running shoes for the rugged and smooth trails of 2021.
BREAKING DOWN THE TRAIL RUNNING MYTH
Daily summits on local mountains, hitting trails to get thousands of feet of vertical gain, jumping on, off and over rocks and roots. These things are all cool, and yes are the experiences of some runners who have access and time to commit to The Trail™, however, the reality of trail running is that these experiences don’t need to be everyone’s experience nor are they a prerequisite to being considered a trail runner.
Breaking down this trail running myth is essential to entering the sport. So what is daily trail running? It’s your local trails, your local bike paths, the one-foot-long span of dirt you have in your neighborhood. It’s running up the hills in your neighborhood and conquering those local summits.
These two worlds do have one common intersection – shoes – and this is where we’ll breakdown the best trail running shoes for you.
BEST TRAIL RUNNING SHOES 2021
ALTRA LONE PEAK
Sunrise summits on rocky and uneven trails? Sign the Altra Lone Peak up. The Lone Peak is a trail runner’s dream using Altra EGO midsole for a responsive yet soft ride and a MaxTrac™ outsole to give you that grippy and secure feel on the trail.
Find your stride in the Altra Lone Peak 5 to take on any trail. Read our official review here.
HOKA CHALLENGER ATR
Road shoes, meet trail shoes. Trail shoes, meet road shoes. The HOKA Challenger ATR combines the best of both shoes to make the doorstep to trail a smooth and seamless transition. All Terrain is in the name, afterall.
This neutral trail running shoe was designed with broad, closely spaced zonal lugs so you can stay in control on the trail and still have a soft landing while on the roads.
Read our HOKA Challenger ATR review here.
Grippy, speedy, aggressive and responsive. The Saucony Peregrine trail running shoe is ideal for those who need a tackle-anything-and-everything go-to trail shoe.
The aggressive lugs made of PWRTRAC tacky rubber make you feel secure every step on the trail as you’re flying over rocks, roots and more.
Also available in JackRabbit exclusive colors, read the rest of why we love the Saucony Peregrine here.
Is trail running your fit? Find the rest of your trail outdoor adventure gear and shop the best trail running shoes of the year on our carefully curated trail gear page.
FIND YOUR FIT ON THE RUN
The right shoe can help make or break a race, but shoe selection is even more important when that race comes AFTER a swim and a bike. Triathletes have a lot of options when it comes to selecting the right gear, wheels, helmets, wetsuits, googles, gearing and of course, shoes.
With the new emergence of the carbon plated shoes, many triathletes have a dedicated training shoe and a dedicated racing shoe. We picked out some of the best running shoes for triathletes to race with.
BEST RUNNING SHOES FOR TRIATHLETES
HOKA CARBON X 2
HOKA has taken the triathlon world by storm over the last 5 years, with many of the top professionals racing in HOKA footwear.
Positioned as an endurance racer, the Carbon X2 delivers the same propulsive speed as its predecessor in an adaptable silhouette geared for training and racing alike. Engineered with a responsive, carbon fiber plate and aggressive Meta-Rocker, this performance shoe is a formidable competitor.
NIKE AIR ZOOM ALPHAFLY NEXT%
The record breaking shoe of Eliud Kipchoge, the worlds first sub-2 hour marathoner. You won’t go to race and not see an athlete racing in the brightly colored Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%.
Responsive foam and 2 Zoom Air units combine to push your running game forward for your next marathon or road race.
SAUCONY VIZIPRO SPEED ENDORPHIN PRO
Saucony jumped on board with the carbon plate hype with their model, Endorphin Pro.
The Endorphin Pro has ultralight, springy PWRRUNPB cushioning and a signature s-curve carbon fiber plate for powerful transitions, running at top speed feels easier, so you get to the finish line faster.
The HOKA Mach 4 is lightweight, smooth-riding, neutral-oriented everyday training shoe that gives off a soft, lively vibe. It has enough comfort, versatility and giddy-up to handle the rigors of all types of workouts.
Based on the improvements, overall design and our wear-testing experiences, we believe this will to be one of the best models of early 2021.
There’s a new engineered mesh upper on this shoe, an updated midsole foam formulation (a new swallowtail design at the back) and a smoother, softer and more energetic ride. The updates have taken this shoe in a much better direction than the firmer and clunkier previous edition. The HOKA Mach 4 is now a stellar shoe in every regard.
Combined with the rocker geometry and the swallowtail design at the back of the heel, the Mach 4 provides easy landings and smooth transitions into an energetic boost at the toe-off point of a stride.
The midsole/outsole structure of the Mach 4 has flared design that results in a slightly wider footprint. It adds a touch of inherent stability — though not enough for overpronating runners. The swallowtail cut in the rear of the heel creates a decoupling effect to provide semi-custom foot strike force attenuation.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The Mach 4 fits true to size with medium-width interior in the heel and saddle but a tiny bit more room in the forefoot. The step-in feeling is soft and secure with a very noticeable lightweight sensation the moment you start running in them.
You can feel the cushioning, but there’s a hint of proprioceptive feel for the ground in the forefoot. The relatively thin, gusseted tongue contributes to the snug, glove-like fit. The padding in the collar and a flared heel tab are creature comforts typically found in more expensive shoes.
The Mach 4 features a Meta-Rocker design geometry and a slightly beveled, swallowtail heel that create a rolling effect as the foot transitions from touch-down to toe-off.
The ride is incredibly smooth from heel to toe, but the step-in softness gives way to a slightly firmer sensation and a noticeable pop of energy in the forefoot.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
Runners who enjoy light, soft and lively shoes will really enjoy running in the Mach 4. It’s not quite a maximally cushioned shoe, but it’s not quite a lightweight performance-oriented trainer, either.
It’s versatile enough to run long, run fast, run slow and just about everything in between. It could also be a good choice for racing from 5K to the half marathon. For runners who like Hoka’s Clifton shoes, there’s a good chance you’ll like this model even more because it’s lighter and livelier.
PROS: HOKA MACH 4
The juice of this shoe is in the dual-density midsole. The top layer utilizes Hoka’s ProFly technology, which is softer in the rear and firmer in the forefoot. The bottom layer is Hoka’s rubberized EVA foam that’s provides a little bit of stability and a little bit of bounce.
The new upper does an amazing job of providing a glove-like, contoured fit for just about any foot shape. It’s a tad bit thicker than some upper materials so the breathability isn’t as optimal as some other models, but it won’t be an issue unless you’re running in very hot conditions.
The outsole is devoid any rubber at all and instead is comprised entirely of exposed midsole foam. That means it’s a lot lighter and more agile, but it also means the durability and traction isn’t on par with shoes with rubber outsole treads. It’s a trade-off you have to consider, but as a light, performance-oriented shoe we think it’s an ideal makeup.
CONS: HOKA MACH 4
There are no noticeable negative marks for this shoe. If we’re being picky, we’d suggest that the biggest detractor is that the shoelaces are excessively long.
SHOP HOKA MACH 4
Meet Rajpaul Pannu, a member of the HOKA Aggies running club, 2:17 road marathon runner and Olympic Trials qualifier, first generation Indian-American and full-time high school math teacher. After having his big-break-run at the 2017 California International Marathon, he’s not slowed down and is now making space for himself in the ultra-running world.
HOKA ONE ONE PROJECT CARBON X 2: RACE RECAP
HOKA set out on a bold goal to launch the Carbon X 2 – their fast, carbon plated race shoe – Project Carbon X 2 was a race against time for HOKA athletes to try and break the 100K world record.
Below is the race recap from Rajpaul Pannu, who in his second ultra run, finished second in the men’s race and set an American 100K debut record.
“I feel like there’s subtext whenever a BIPOC person toes the starting line in the endurance world. This act, for me, is an act of rebellion and against the status quo. It allows me to create a narrative that challenges any preconceived notions that people may have about me. It also allows me to bridge the gap between my community of people and something that is incredibly empowering: running really, really far.”
My full-name is Rajpaul Pannu, I was raised in Hercules, California (20 miles north of Oakland) and currently live and train in Denver, Colorado.
I am a first-generation Indian-American born to a single mother who has worked hard to give me the opportunities in which she herself did not have.
Training for this event really began in August, when I was training to run my first ultra-marathon-The JFK 50 miler, which consists of a 15 mile run through the Appalachian trail, a marathon on a subtle incline, and caps off having you run a hilly and windy road for 8 or so miles.
The methodology of my training consisted of three phases. I began phase one with general easy runs with a trail run typically performed every other day. I had no trail running background prior and running on something like gravel is considered “technical” for me. Knowing how green I was, I decided to explore it once I had (finally) understood the degree of the pandemic’s effect on large road races, how nothing was going to open up as a result of it. However, trail races, be it scarce were happening in certain parts of the country so I entertained the idea of completing one to see how I would respond to doing so.
After several falls and a few ankle sprains, I began phase two, as I had eventually backed off on running trails and started to run exclusively on roads. The punishment received from the trails really made me appreciate running on smooth, flat surfaces. I had also noticed that my easy runs were a lot easier as a result of climbing/descending some of the toughest terrain that Colorado has to offer. I was now supplementing the trails with quicker, fast-paced fartleks, intervals, and long runs eventually building upwards to 115 miles-something that I had never done before. Phase two culminated with me placing 6th at the JFK 50 miler-my first ultra marathon.
100K TRAINING FOR PROJECT CARBON X 2
I initially had in mind to take some time off from running after the JFK 50 miler, as I needed to recharge both physically and mentally. However, a day after, I had received an email from Mike McManus-global marketing director of HOKA ONE ONE. Mike was impressed with my run at the JFK 50 miler and had asked me to run Project Carbon X 2-a 100K/62.2-mile race where the best ultra-runners throughout the world have the mountainous task of breaking the 100K male and female world records.
I was initially scheduled to pace the runners anywhere between 40-50 kilometers, so the idea of doubling that may have sounded daunting, but I understood what an opportunity this was for me to showcase myself in the ultra running world in a time of uncertainty. As a result, any feeling of needing time off had diminished, as I was recharged within a day after running what I believe to be the toughest race of my life.
Phase three was perhaps the most grueling, as my body was not fully recovered from the JFK 50 miler. I had a total of eight weeks to prepare for Project Carbon X 2, which really meant that I had six as the last couple of weeks are typically dedicated to tapering and having your body recovered. My mileage was planned: 90, 100, 110, 115, 125, 110. The staple workout for the first block was long runs performed at world record (WR) pace (5:56/mile) every other week. I performed 20 and 26.2 mile long runs but felt myself a bit gassed out doing so. It wasn’t until the 5th week where I felt I had truly hit my stride: a 50K long run at a similar pace. This time around, I felt amazing and could have kept going.
Just as important as the race-specific work, were 10K-half marathon workouts that had juxtaposed the mountainous mileage that I was completing. One workout that gave me the utter confidence that I can compete with the best was 6 x mile repeats where the last one was performed at 4:43 pace.
LIFE-WORK TRAINING BALANCE
The biggest advantage of moving to Colorado was that I have been able to keep my teaching job in California, as I work remotely.
As a result, I’m able to wake up, have breakfast, and hit the roads running, perform workouts, and adhere to a stretch routine all before my first class of the day which begins at 10:30 MST. Since I’m not running around like a headless chicken making copies, corralling students, pacing around the classroom to ensure that everyone is on task, that time is invested into doing light stretches to ease my body from sitting for long periods of time.
It’s also important to note that the result of the pandemic has forced me into becoming a homebody, something that I wasn’t keen on being in my early 20’s. It’s also allowed me to take care of myself on the weekends, which has enabled me to adapt to a higher volume of work since I’m actually recovering rather than nights out on the town.
PROJECT CARBON X2 RACE DAY
The morning of the race was perfect. Almost a little too perfect. I had gotten close to six hours of sleep: which is plenty for me before a race. Woke up, immediately went to the restroom and felt a sense of relief that I had gotten “it” out of the way. I then ate breakfast two hours prior to my race: A peanut butter and agave sandwich with half an RX bar and an electrolyte drink diluted with water.
I proceeded to do my ritual of rope activation stretches and Theragun to activate the muscles. Before heading out to the lobby for the shuttle, I had to use the bathroom…again.
Unlike shorter racing events, you don’t necessarily need a grand warm-up routine for the 100k, especially if you’re gonna put your body on the line for over six hours. As a result, I was incredibly calm and ready to tackle on some initial easy miles. About 15 minutes before the race, I used the bathroom one last time. Something was off as I don’t have to go all that often typically, but had hopes that it would be the last pit stop for hours. I was wrong.
Moments before the race, I took a 100mg caffeinated Unived Gel and planned on ingesting one nutritional gel every thirty minutes vs. the traditional twenty as Unived offers 190 calories per gel pack, which I took every thirty minutes along with water and electrolytes in intervals.
Right before the gun went off, I looked out into the abyss of the sky and threw up a prayer asking my ancestors for protection and well-being. I then looked around the starting line to see who I was surrounded by. I’d already known that Fernando Cabada and Brandon Johnson were the only two other POC runners racing the event. I quickly referred back to the shifting narrative of the importance of adequate representation in the outdoors and how participating in big marquee events such as Project Carbon X 2 was the right step in the direction for me to support that notion.
I quickly diverted my attention to my watch, activated the GPS, and then: Pow! The gun went off and as we acclimated ourselves into our pace groups.
OFF TO THE RACE
There were five runners who were chasing after the world record. I had bumped into Jim (Walmsley) at the hotel a couple of nights prior and he suggested an article that summed up the history of the 100K and had prophesied at least two runners dropping out in their pursuit of the attempt.
I had headed his warning and stirred on the side of caution by leading the chase pack with my pacer Ben Robinson guiding me through 6 flat miles for a solid attempt at the American Record. The first 8-9 miles were seamless, as Ben, Joacim (Lantz), and I worked together behind the WR pack. Joacim and I had to take our first bathroom break, as we decided to pee into the bushes and away from any cameras that might have been capturing us. We got back on track running 6-minute miles.
At this time, I had come to a realization that a 6:15 100K was more of a realistic attempt given the emergency stops that I may need to take. Unfortunately, the next one was within 30 minutes. This time around, I encouraged Ben and Joacim to carry on without me as I had to use the restroom to discard “it”, ultimately tacking on additional 30-45 seconds or so off of my attempt, but I immediately got back on track.
Within the first 22 miles, I had used the bathroom three times, but felt great physiologically. Several miles had past and Ben eventually dropped out as he had performed a stellar job pacing. I hit the 50k mark just a shade under 6:20 pace. I initially thought I was going 3-4 minutes quicker, but then realized how important it was to run the tangents properly, which I hadn’t done well for the first part of the race.
I stopped at the first restroom after the 50K mark and had realized that my nightmare had come true: diarrhea. It was from the 50K mark and beyond where I was now forced to take a bathroom break every 30 minutes or so. This began to chop down my time in hopes of breaking the American Record, but I was hopeful as I still felt great and was able to hit the ground running at 6-minute pace after my restroom intervals.
Sometime around the 70K mark, three out of the five runners attempting to break the world record had dropped out. All but Jim and Craig Hunt, who had previously run the marathon project and looked strong despite a short notice to run the race. The 70K to 95K portion of the race was a huge war of attrition between my mind and my body. I really don’t remember much of it to be honest, but I kept an upbeat attitude knowing that I just had a standard weekly 18-mile long run to complete (perhaps this is where I had begun to become a bit disillusioned).
Also, by this time, I had worked my way up to second place as Craig had fallen back.
THE FINAL STRETCH
Around the 95K mark, I looked at my watch and calculated that I was right on American Record pace with not a moment to spare. My stomach, unfortunately, had other plans as I was faced with a decision I now regret: using the bathroom one last time. As I stepped out of the restroom one last time, I knew I had some work to do.
I began to pick up the pace, running sub six for the first time since the second mile of the race. By now, I was visibly in pain as the right side of my body was slowly shutting down. Regardless, it was the fastest I had been running.
I made one final turn and into the homestretch into the race track, which was about half a mile: the longest half mile of my life. From there, I was wincing, hoping that I had some miracle of breaking the previous American Record of 6:27.44. Unfortunately, the third digit of the clock had hit “8”, signaling that I was not going to dip in. Still, with the encouragement of the HOKA crew and pacers, I held on to my pace as I kicked it into the finish. 6:28.31. A debut record.
As an athlete, I really see myself running this race in the 6:0?’s, making future USA teams and representing HOKA at international events such as Comrades Marathon.
Pro triathlete Nick Chase (@race_chase) took the new HOKA Carbon X 2 through its paces from his home training base in St George, Utah.
By Nick Chase
Present day shoe technology is simply mind blowing. It’s no wonder as to why carbon shoe prices are soaring.
You’re paying for a ton of research and development as well as mega performance gains! This is likely one of the best “shoe eras” ever! The HOKA ONE ONE Carbon X 2 definitely seems to have a firm place within the carbon shoe world.
Take a look at my review as I run it through it’s paces. Learn why it’s going to be a key part of my shoe rotation on this year’s training and races season.
HOKA CARBON X 2 AT A GLANCE
The color, stance and overall design certainly visually grab the eye! They look like a top-fuel dragster, ready to toe the line for a ¼ mile PR!! However, after running in these babies heavily over the past few weeks I can tell, these are built for mileage!
Marathon to Ultra, that’s where I personally feel a sweet spot. I also did feel a bit sore after my first few runs; I’ve been running in 8mm drop shoes, non-carbon. So, although the Carbon X 2 runs softer than the previous Carbon X, I still felt it the stiffness in the foam. Also, another reason this is a great high-mileage racer…oh, and it holds the American Ultramarathon record to boot!
A bit more depth
For starters, HOKA altered the foam density towards a more cushioned ride and lowered the location of the carbon plate. This means you run on more foam, softening the ride against the rigid carbon.
With a 5mm drop, I personally felt the need to really lean into this shoe to feel the “boost”. Even with a dominant heel strike over 16 miles, I felt the meta-rocker rolling me forward. Again, this is why I’m definitely leaning towards a higher mileage race-shoe.
During hill reps I felt less of a boost in terms of performance. But let;s put that into context; only a few shoes really help launch against an 8% grade hill repeat.
Transitioning downhill, I felt like these shoes were going to run away from me; I really had to lean into the mid-foot, over-speed mechanics.
With the Carbon X 2 I felt like I was just feeling the carbon, foam and shoe…without a whole lot of road feedback. Even after 80 miles, the shoe really felt just as “new” as it did on day 1…the foam is durable and the rubber sole seems like it should hold up well enough to swallow the $180-dollar price point.
I was very impressed by how nicely my size 12, wide-flipper-foot fit snug and secure within this amazing upper! The achilles support system, gusseted tongue and dove-tail heel made for a firm, stable and un-compromised ride, especially while cornering in the wet.
Finally, with limited grip, I couldn’t call this a good trail shoe but certainly would say it did well on dirt roads!
Anyone can slap a carbon plate in a shoe these days but what defines a shoe’s greatness heavily depends on the foam. And importantly, HOW that plate interacts with the foam and your foot.
HOKA has done a great job providing everything a marathoner or ultra-marathoner might need to limit foam breakdown for a long-haul, fast run!
I really fell in love with this shoe more and more as I ran. Bonus is I received a ton of compliments on the color and overall look…which of course matters to us vain runners – jk. Our shoes need to look fast because duh, everyone will assume we are a threat on race-day!
Great work HOKA and if you’re looking for the next step and a bit more energy return for a half marathon, check out the HOKA Rocket X too.
SHOP HOKA CARBON X 2
After it’s debut, the smartly updated HOKA Carbon X 2 is ready for the running season ahead.
The Carbon X returns after the successful first edition won races and set records. It proved itself among the best of the initial crop of long-distance racing shoes built with carbon-fiber plates embedded in thick, cushy midsoles.
The Carbon X 2 is a maximally cushioned neutral-oriented speed shoe. It has a staunchly rocker profile and an energetic vibe that promotes fast-cadence running.
The smart updates HOKA Carbon X 2 to make this edition slightly lighter and cushier. It is more consistent and efficient and, ultimately, even faster than the original.
Specifically, the shape and positioning of the carbon-fiber plate have been updated slightly for smoother, more efficient transitions. The midsole is slightly thicker and slightly softer for a more plush ride. Add to that the new, extended Achilles-friendly heel tab improves comfort and fit.
A stretchy Lycra bootie finishes off the Carbon X 2. This feature creates a gusseted tongue for a locked-down feeling at the mid-foot. It’s topped off with an engineered mesh upper that delivers breathable comfort.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The Carbon X 2 has a true-to-size fit with a medium width from heel to toe. It also brings in a little bit more room in the toe box. Compared to other carbon-fiber racing shoes, it’s a bit more roomy, especially in the toe box.
It’s a unique shoe that feels soft at step-in, but it tends to feel a bit firmer the faster you run in it. That’s a good combination that allows it to be comfortable, responsive, propulsive and fast. The most unique feature about this shoe is the rolling sensation of the ride.
Unlike some other super shoes with carbon-fiber plates that are bouncy, the Carbon X serves up a smooth, rhythmic, rolling ride. This stems from the distinct rocker geometry and catapulting sensation of the carbon-fiber plate embedded in the foam midsole.
There’s not much flex in this shoe, but it’s supposed to be firm and snappy. It’s takes a short amount of time to get used to it, but once you find that rhythm you’ll feel the energetic boost in every stride. It will feel almost effortless.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
If you’re interested chasing a new personal best in the half marathon or marathon or want a proficient performance trainer for long runs and tempo runs, this is a definitely one every runner should consider.
While it’s a ideal choice for front of the pack runners, it’s an especially good shoe for committed age-group runners and middle-of-the-pack runners. This is because it accommodates a wide range of stride styles and encourages quicker and more efficient turnover for moderate paces too.
For the encore edition, HOKA made some adjustments to the placement of the carbon-fiber plate. Embedded in the midsole, this allows the rolling vibe and energetic toe-off to be more accessible to every type of running gait. The plate is split under the flared midsole forefoot platform, allowing for optimal resupination to set up the toe-off phase of the stride.
The midsole of the Carbon X 2 is 2mm thicker and slightly softer than the original. This creates a more plush feeling from touch-down to toe-off. That includes slight changes to the cushy foam above the carbon-fiber plate and the durable and responsive injected-molded, rubberized EVA foam below the plate.
The outsole is made from a durable, injected-molded rubberized EVA. This provides a secure grip on wet and dry surfaces while also contributing to the propulsive ride.
If you prefer or typically run in shoes with soft, compressible midsoles, the ride of the Carbon X might seem too rigid and rolling for you.
The Carbon X 2 much softer and more accessible than the first version. But it still a different ride than most carbon-fiber racing shoes that feature a soft, bouncy ride.
SHOP HOKA CARBON X 2
What better way to launch a new long-distance racing shoe than to stage a world-record attempt to prove how fast it is? Introducing Project Carbon X 2.
HOKA ONE ONE will launch its new, fast and efficient Carbon X 2 carbon-fiber racing shoe with a multinational assault on the 100K world record on Jan. 23 in Phoenix, Ariz. and Chiba, Japan.
TWO RUNS, TWO CONTINENTS
With 62.2 miles of race-pace running, the Project Carbon X 2 event will be no small task. HOKA-sponsored ultrarunners Jim Walmsley, Camille Herron, Elov Olsson and Caitriona Jennings will be going after the record at 7 a.m. PST in Phoenix, while Japanese runners Aiko Kanematsu and Yoshiki Otsuka will be racing the same distance at 7 a.m. JST in Japan.
The current men’s 100K world record is 6:09:14. This is a blazing 5 minutes, 56.5 seconds per mile pace – set by Japan’s Nao Kazami in 2018. The women’s mark is 6:33:11 (6:19 mile pace), set by Japan’s Tomoe Abe in 2000.
Two years ago when HOKA launched the original Carbon X carbon-fiber racing shoe, Walmsley set a new world-best for 50 miles. He clocked a 4:50:08 at a similar ultra-distance time trial in Sacramento, Calif. HOKA says the new shoe is slightly lighter and faster with a smoother, more propulsive ride.
HOKA CARBON X 2
The Carbon X 2 has updated curvy carbon-fiber plate technology, a lighter, softer and more resilient midsole foam package. The upper features a cleaner design to match the upgrade to the engine. It weighs 8.4 ounces (Men’s 9), a 5mm heel-to-toe offset and an MSRP of $180.
“At HOKA, we have grown into the brand we are today by setting lofty goals, not compromising, and taking a bold and unexpected approach to meet those ends,” says Mike McManus, Director of Global Sports Marketing at HOKA ONE ONE.
“Perhaps no shoe embodies that spirit better than the Carbon X 2 – designed without compromise to offer the very best in performance innovation to all athletes, empowering them to fly no matter their goals – and perhaps no event embodies it better than Project Carbon X 2: a chance for some of our elite athletes to try and go farther and faster than we once thought possible.”
HOW TO WATCH PROJECT CARBON X 2
Project Carbon X 2 will be live-streamed from the Phoenix, Arizona area starting at 7AM MST on January 23 at hokaoneone.com/project-carbon-x-2 ; and from Chiba, Japan at 2PM PST on January 22 (7AM local time January 23) at hokaoneone.jp/project-carbon-x-2.