Shalane Flanagan, Portland, Ore.
The 32-year-old Flanagan, who finished fourth at last year’s Boston Marathon, is returning to her home state of Massachusetts on April 21 with one goal in mind: “WIN BOSTON,” she says. “I haven't set goals beyond that. I’m all in, with all my heart.” Should she be able to do it, Flanagan would become the first American female winner of the race since Lisa Rainsberger last did so in 1985. Photo: PhotoRun.net
Anton Krupicka, Boulder, Colo.
After suffering from injuries on and off for the past several years, Krupicka regained his form in 2013 to place second in the Speedgoat 50K in Utah. He was in prime shape entering the 104-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), the 104-mile race that circumnavitages the biggest mountain range in Europe. He raced well through the night and was among the leaders when he had to drop out after about 83 miles and 17 hours of racing. This year, Tony will be racing the 78-mile Transgrancanaria ion March 1 in the Canary Islands, followed by the 100-mile Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji on April 25 in Japan. Assuming those go well, he’ll return to race the UTMB in August. “It feels ambitious to me,” the 30-year-old runner says. “Last year was such wreckage. I need to get back to winning races.” Photo: Meghan M. Hicks for Competitor.com
Gabriele Grunewald, Minneapolis, Minn.
The 27-year-old Grunewald had a stellar year in 2013, setting personal bests in the 800m (2:01:38), 1,500m (4:01.48), 3000m (8:42.64) and road mile (4:21.3). So what’s in store for 2014? “In 2014 I am aiming to make my first world team this indoor season and continue to improve my PRs in the 800m through 5000m outdoors,” she said recently. “But I would say my number one goal is to become a more savvy racer and execute strategies that are a little outside of my comfort zone. Transferring confidence from workouts to races will help me get there!” Photo: PhotoRun.net
Ben Bruce, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Bruce, who is poised to make his marathon debut this weekend at Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans, is coming off a 1:02:53 personal best at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in mid-January. He and wife Stephanie Rothstein Bruce are expecting their first child in June. When asked about his goals for 2014, he says, “I already hit one of my 2014 goals by running under 1:03 for the half marathon in Houston. I also want to gain experience in the marathon looking forward to Rio. A top-3 finish in the steeple at the USA Champs in June. Beyond June my main goal will be being a good dad. Anything else will be icing on the cake.” Photo: PhotoRun.net
Kim Conley, Sacramento, Calif.
The 2012 5,000m Olympian got her 2014 season off to a hot start last weekend in New York City, winning the mile at the New Balance Games in a facility record 4:24.54. She had a solid 2013, qualifying for the world cross country championships, where she finished 30th, setting a new 5,000m personal best (15:09.57) and notching fourth at the .US Road Racing Championships in November. Looking to 2014, she says, “This winter I have been focused on developing my speed, so I've been racing indoors at events from 800 to 2-mile, with the goal of PRing in each event. After the Millrose Games I'm going to hit reset and then focus on a buildup for the outdoor season where I'll be focused primarily on the 5k and 10k. My goals for the outdoor season are to lower my PR's significantly in those two events and contend for a national title at the US Championships in Sacramento.” Photo: PhotoRun.net
Nick Symmonds, Portland, Ore.
The 800-meter silver medalist from last summer’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow officially changes his shoe and apparel sponsors from Nike (his contract expired on New Year’s Eve) to Brooks and becomes the headliner of the Brooks Beast Track Club. Symmonds was ranked No. 2 in the world in 2013 with a 1:43:03 season-best time and won one of the biggest 800-meter races of the year in London on July 26. He has an ambitious indoor track season, with plans to go after several U.S. indoor records before competing in the Feb. 22-23 U.S. indoor championships in Albuquerque, N.M. Symmonds, who turned 30 in December, is also eyeing Johnny Gray’s American record (1:42.60) in the 800-meter run during the outdoor season. “I want to continue run fast, but I also want to position myself well for developing a career after running, and I think this relationship with Brooks will help me create fun, innovative things,” says Symmonds, who will also see his autobiography published in late spring. Photo: Brooks Sports
Michele Yates, Littleton, Colo.
After exceling for several years in short-distance mountain running, qualifying for both the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Trials Olympic Marathon and lowering her marathon PR to 2:38, Yates turned her attention to ultrarunning in late 2012. The former collegiate steeplechase runner started took to the ultra scene with a bang, winning the 2012 U.S. 50-mile championships in her first ultra race. In 2013, she won six of the seven races she enetered in 2013, including the U.S. 100K championship at the Bandera 100K in Texas and The North Face Endurance 50-Mile Championships near Mill Valley, Calif. This year, she plans to race the Rocky Raccoon 100-miler on Feb. 1 in Huntsville, Texas. She hasn’t planned the rest of her year yet, but says she might run the Pikes Peak Marathon. “I like the challenges that ultrarunning offers,” says Yates, 31. “And I just feel like it’s more my place. I’m originally from Northern Michigan, where hunting, fishing and camping and just being in the outdoors are big. There’s a lot of that same atmosphere in trail ultrarunning. The ultra scene has different people like that and the bottom line is that you have no matter what.”
Meb Keflezighi, San Diego, Calif.
The 38-year-old Keflezighi showed he's still at the top of his game at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in January, winning in 1:01:22. Next up: April's Boston Marathon, where Keflezighi says, "It’s my hope and dream for me to pull it off for the USA. If I can’t do it, I hope Dathan can—he’s a contender now. Or one of the other Americans. I hope one of the females can pull it off. It would be beyond words if an American could pull it off, male or female. That’s what I visualize. For me, I hope to do it. I’m going to try my best to do that, but by the same token I’m going to do my best to be healthy and run well. If I run well and somebody else beats me, they deserve to win." Photo: PhotoRun.net
Neely Spence Gracey, Rochester Hills, Mich.
After a great start to her season—which included a fifth-place effort at the U.S. Cross Country Championships and a 13th-place showing at the World Cross Country Championships in Poland, she was hit by injuries, illness and bad luck. She suffered a slight fibula fracture, suffered from a bout of Lyme disease and slipped on the ice during a Turkey Trot and messed up a knee. Despite the setbacks, the 23-year-old says she looks forward to road racing and maybe expanding from the 5K and 10K to test some new distances, but she says she will not be making her marathon debut in 2014. “I am currently rebuilding both mentally and physically and will do everything I can to make 2014 a year of health, good training, and fast races!” she says. “The power of positive thinking is what has me in a good place leading into 2014. A fresh start can be good for the body, so I am hopeful that these plagues are behind me.” Photo: PhotoRun.net
Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, Flagstaff. Ariz.
The 30-year-old Bruce, who will become a mom in June, is coming off a fortuitous summer road racing season in 2013 that was halted by a stress reaction prior to the Falmouth Road Race in August. Looking ahead to 2014 she says, "We haven’t come up with a plan as I have no idea what my journey will be like, but tentatively I’ll take the fall of 2014 to get back to pre-baby body and address any weaknesses I have. We’ll gear the next 18 months all toward getting ready to run the Olympic Marathon Trials in hopes of making the 2016 Olympic team."
Roberto Mandje, Boulder, Colo.
This 2004 Olympic 1500-meter runner continued to evolve in 2013 with a successful season on the Xterra trail circuit that concluded with a fifth-place finish at the Xterra Trail Run World Championships in Hawaii. This year the 31-year-old runner from Equatorial Guinea plans to run the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships on March 29 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Xterra Trail Run National Championships on Sept. 21 in Ogden, Utah, and make his marathon debut at a yet-to-be-determined race in October. “My quick outlook for this season is to gain experience on the trails as well as the 10K to half marathon distance on the roads,” he says. “An ideal 2014 would see me improving my placing/time at Xterra Trail Run World Championships, have a phenomenal marathon debut and putting down a couple good road half marathon times.” Photo: XTERRA Photos
Tyler McCandless, Boulder, Colo.
McCandless, 26, is a prolific road racer who notched personal bests in the half marathon (1:03:16) and marathon (2:16:46) in 2013. He led a majority of the first 20 miles of the U.S. Marathon Championships last October before finishing 12th. Earlier in the year, he won the Kauai Marathon for the third time, breaking his own course record. In regard to this year, he says, “Racing in 2014 is an important year in my development to the 2016 Olympic Trials and beyond. This year I not only want to improve upon my personal best times to sub-1:02:30/2:12:00, but I want to learn to compete to win races. It's a year to have consistent training, take risks in races, get out of my comfort zone by racing shorter races, and build positive momentum towards the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials.” Photo: tylermccandless.com
Scott Jurek, Boulder, Colo.
One of the icons of ultrarunning, Scott Jurek showed he still had plenty of racing left in the tank in 2013 with a solid, eighth-place finish at the Leadville 100 in Colorado. The seven-time Western States 100 champion and previous champion at the Hardrock 100, Badwater 135-mile race and the Spartathlon in Greece, is going to try to recoup his American record for 24-hour running on May 17-18 at a race in Basil, Switzerland, at the same venue where Greek ultra legend Yiannis Kouros set his world record. Jurek set a new U.S. record of 165.705 miles in 2010, but Mike Morton, a U.S. Army Special Operations Command liaison officer from Florida, surpassed it with 172.457 miles in 2012. In Switzerland, Jurek, who turned 40 last fall, will try to run approximately 278 laps on a 1K pavement/crushed gravel circuit. “I think this will be my last season of racing hard,” Jurek says. “One last push. This will be 20 years of running and racing.” Photo: Scott Draper | Competitor
Max King, Bend, Ore.
Max King had another solid year of trail racing, with highlights including a third-place finish at the U.S. Mountain Running Championships, a fourth-place at the Speed Goat 50K. But he rolled an ankle at the World Mountain Running Championships on Sept. 8 in Poland and never really regained his form. His biggest two races in the first half of 2014 are the Chuckanut 50K on March 15 in Fairhaven, Wash., and the Lake Sonoma 50-miler on April 12 in Healdsburg, Calif. The 33-year-old King, who has won numerous U.S. trail running titles, as well as the 2011 World Mountain Running Championships, says he’ll likely back off of his aggressive racing schedule a bit this year. “I’ve realized I just can't race and train as much as I would like or as much as I used to,” King says. “This year is about finding that balance again.” Photo: XTERRA Photos
Sage Canaday, Boulder, Colo.
This road-marathoner-turned-trail-ultrarunner had another huge year in 2013, winning competitive races at the Bandera 100K, Lake Sonoma 50-miler and the Speedgoat 50K in the U.S. as well as the Tarawera Ultras 100K in New Zealand. The 28-year-old who owns a 2:16 marathon PR recently placed second at the Carlsbad Marathon in 2:22:14. He hopes to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, possibly at the Oct. 12 Chicago Marathon, but he’ll once again focus on ultra-distance races in 2014. He’ll return to New Zealand to defend his title at the Tarawera 100K. He’s also hoping to record another podium finish in the SkyRunning Series by racing at the Transvulcania 83K on May 10 in the Canary Islands, the Speedgoat 50K on July 19 in Snowbird, Utah, and The Rut 50K on Sept. 13 in Big Sky, Mont. He’s also considering running at the U.S. Mountain Running Championships on July 6 in New Hampshire. Photo: Dan Szczesny, www.ekpadventures.com
FILED UNDER: Photos TAGS: Anton Krupicka / Ben Bruce / Gabriele Anderson / Kim Conley / Max King / Meb Keflezighi / Michele Yates / Nick Symmonds / Roberto Mandje / Sage Canaday / Scott Jurek / Shalane Flanagan / Stephanie Rothstein / Tyler McCandless