I’ll be honest here; I have yet to venture into the realm of Ultra-running yet; call it excuses, procrastination, busy with work, school and etc. Nevertheless, I have been fortunate, or maybe too fortunate to have been presented the opportunity to meet with some of the finest ultra-runners in the world today. Exciting as it was to have met Kilian Jornet late last year when I had just learnt about ultra-running, I was given another opportunity to meet another ultra-runner; Anton Krupicka from New Balance.
Hailing from Boulder Colorado, he epitomizes the minimalist approach of running. In my opinion, it was thanks to his idea to cut the sole off his shoes; which New Balance took and developed into the first New Balance Minimus series, that generated a lot of publicity for minimalist running. Say what you want about the Vibram Five Fingers which had been around far earlier than the Minimus, but I think it was the latter than bucked the trend. Having shoes, which were technically still shoes, but built close to the ground, meant that people were still assured of protection, comfort, and style while running.
I arrived fashionably ‘late’ to the event venue (I’m not sure why I can never arrive earlier in attending such events). Signed in my attendance and got changed to the official t-shirt and shoe. Despite being a size 8.5, which was my natural shoe size; I found the new MT-00’s slightly larger than the first generation MT-10’s that I have, which was a size 9.
It was little too roomy; a good or bad thing. I was very surprised at the materials used and how much lighter the shoe was. While the original MT-10’s were quite solid despite being a minimalist shoe, the MT-00’s weren’t of the same build with the predominantly plastic material, but that didn’t meant that it was a lower quality. The Vibram outsoles were quite pronounced in this version of the Minimus Trail. Without a doubt, the materials on the MT-00’s made it easier to clean after a muddy trail run.
A quick warm up session was conducted before we kicked off the run. You can check out the log from the run here. It was my first time running on the Macritchie trails with the Minimus Series. While I would like to believe that the amount of ground reaction force produced was on the higher side today, my 5th metatarsal suffered quite a bit, which resulted in an abrasion with the shoe, possibly because I was never used to this running style. My right arch was also sore after the run, which was strange considering I felt nothing on my left arch.
All in all, it was a refreshing run; running almost barefoot on the rocky trails amidst the dampening weather and the muddy terrain was an interesting way to spend the afternoon, while of course, running with an inspiring ultra-trail runner.
While I struggled to get a one-off photo opportunity with Anton (like what happened with Kilian), I was pleasantly surprised to have been able to have a intimate conversation with Anton during the dying moments before he had to leave (thanks to the PR angels; Merliza, Dixie, Adele!).
I spoke to him about his visit to New Zealand and running with Anna Frost, whether he’d be interested to run the Kinabalu Climbathon in the future, whether an American will finally take the top 3 honors at Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, my meet with Kilian Jornet as well as both their participation in the Pikes Peak Mountain Marathon this year.
Thanks once again to Merliza, Dixie, Adele and New Balance for giving us Singaporeans a chance to rub shoulders with another one the finest ultra-runners in the world. Nothing else comes close. Await for more photo updates from the PR folks!
For more information on Anton, check out his website.