The Hard(rock) Way.

Timothy Olson photo credit: iRunFar

Timothy Olson
photo credit: iRunFar

Timothy Olson is one of the best ultra runners out there. He had been thinking about Hardrock for years and he had been preparing for months. However, on Friday/Saturday, he ran into a rough patch – and that is an understatement.

Roger Clemens (the [in]famous baseball pitcher) always said that he felt better about the tough starts where he had nothing and had to grind it out, as opposed to the ones where he had his best stuff and could do no wrong. I think it’s fair to say Timothy had to grind this one out.

Timothy "Resting" On a Makeshift Sofa photo credit: Timothy Olson

Timothy “Resting” On a Makeshift Sofa
photo credit: Timothy Olson

Sure, when Timothy is sitting around the campfire in ten or twenty years, he’ll be talking about Western States – setting the course record in 2012… holding off a hard-charging Rob Krar in 2013. He’ll talk about UTMB, Waldo and Bandera. But somewhere in his mind, there will be a special place reserved for Hardrock 2014. Those other races defined Timothy, the runner. Hardrock was about Timothy, the person.

Krista Olson Setting The Pace photo credit: Dominic Grossman

Krista Olson Setting The Pace
photo credit: Dominic Grossman

Sure, it wasn’t the ending he wanted. But aren’t our greatest triumphs in the face of adversity? Most people would have dropped. Something tells me that was never even an option.

Here’s the takeaway: the next time you are having one of these races – and I don’t mean a bad day or missing a time – I mean the kind of day where you lie down on a pile of garbage because that’s all you can do – remember that it may be the race you become most proud of – it may be your defining moment.

Sure, Kilian Jornet made my jaw hit the floor, but Timothy Olson was the one who brought a tear to my eye.

Team No-Quit

Hal Koerner – UTMB (2011)
Meb Keflezighi – NYC Marathon (2013)
Dakota Jones – NFEC (2013)
Timothy Olson – Hardrock (2014)


Just in case you didn’t get enough Hardrock, watch Kilian run down the side of a mountain like no big deal:

Who else should be added to Team No-Quit?

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6 Responses to The Hard(rock) Way.

  1. Shawna says:

    i’m going to have to look up his story — always fascinated to hear about ultra runners.

  2. SUch an interesting read! I can’t watch the video at work, so I can’t wait to see it once I get hom!!! PS. Last week I received Run or Die by Kilian Jornet from Ursula (Northern Ambitions), I’m super excited to get started!!! xoxo

  3. Jim McKeever says:

    Started reading Rich Roll’s “Finding Ultra” last night. Good stuff so far.

  4. Rachel B says:

    Thank you for this post!! So true in all respects – yes Killian totally crushed and made it look easy, but Tim made me appreciate just how HARD that course is and how much respect for nature and the highs and lows of ultra running you have to have. No one is immune from bad days, and pushing through for that long takes some serious mental toughness.

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