First Place for HOKA Athletes in UTMB 2016

Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc is to trail running what the Tour de France is to cycling, says HOKA ONE ONE co-founder Jean Luc Diard. This dramatic 170km race through the Alps of France, Switzerland, and Italy tops the bucket list for thousands of ultra runners world wide. This year, HOKA athletes Ludovic Pommeret and Caroline Chaverot came out on top. They raced through darkness, heat, and thunderstorms for over twenty hours. HOKA co-founder Nico Mermoud notes the significance of this win for the HOKA brand. The original HOKA Mafate made it’s debut as a prototype at UTMB in 2009, and this year was worn to claim overall titles for both men and women. This is a dream come true to Jean Luc Diard. He is “equally proud to see so many runners attending the race using HOKA equipment in the perspective of making their own dream come true.”

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Ludovic Pommeret was one of the original elite athletes to wear HOKA. He traveled the world with Nico to test the shoes, and of course, chose to wear them for his win at UTMB. This year, Ludo almost dropped out at 30km due to stomach sickness. Fellow UTMB winner Caroline Chaverot says,”I can’t believe when I saw Ludo during the race, he was totally white. Then knowing that he won the race, I couldn’t believe it. Sometimes when you think it’s finished, you can fight to the end to win.”

Ludo told his wife he would finish, even if it took him 40 hours. He dropped to 50th place and then persevered to make it back to 1st place, winning in (22:00:02). This was one of the most amazing comebacks in the history of UTMB.

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Ludo says, “To come in this race with Caroline for the first HOKA victory close to where the shoes were born is so special.”

HOKA athlete Caroline Chaverot lead through the whole race, but was continually challenged by Andrea Huser. Andrea placed second to Caroline by only seven minutes. Caroline won in 25:15:40. She says, “It’s a dream. I am still not realizing but it was so great to arrive in Chamonix with all the crowd. The race was really tough, it was a fight. I was so happy to finish and to win. It was just amazing.”

unspecified-6Other notable finishes include HOKA Athletes Magdalena Boulet and Julian Chorier. Magda was the first American woman to finish, taking 5th overall. This was her first attempt at UTMB. Julian placed 8th overall, pushing hard from the start and staying in second for most of the race. 

Shop HOKA Trail: Men Women

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Meet Hayden Hawks through a Game of Would You Rather

There is more to Hayden Hawks than just a cool name. This former Southern Utah University track athlete is quickly making a name for himself in the ultra running community. Hawks, 25, has recently signed with HOKA ONE ONE after winning his first attempt at Speedgoat 50k. When we asked Hayden about his win at Speedgoat, we were shocked to learn that signing up for Speedgoat was a last minute decision.

“I had no expectations going into Speedgoat.” says Hawks. “I signed up the night before and was not planning on doing the 50k at all. It had never even crossed my mind until the day before. I am a soul runner and the thought of running 50k on one of the hardest courses got me excited because I had an opportunity to run and challenge myself. Winning was a very sweet feeling.

Hawks has since qualified for the World Mountain Running Championships in Bulgaria. He says, “I am excited to travel to Europe for the first time and represent my country for the first time.” He has big goals for the event, aiming to place in the top 5.

Meet the new kid on the trails, Hayden Hawks. We got to know him through some Would You Rather.

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Would you rather:

HOKA: Run Speedgoat 50k backward or blindfolded?

Hawks: I would rather run Speedgoat backwards. I am too young to die! You run close to so many cliffs and ledges that if you were blindfolded you would be a goner. Although it might be nice to not see your pain! 

HOKA: Shave off your hair or your mustache?

Hawks: Definitely shave off my hair. My mustache is a “powerstache” and therefore gives me power. How many guys have you seen with a bald head and bushy mustache? Not many, I would be one of the few! 

HOKA: Only eat meat or only eat vegetables?

Hawks: I love vegetables and eat meat pretty sparingly anyways. Nothing better than some fresh veggies, I can’t wait to start my own garden! I also had a buddy in college that ate so much meat and had horrible gas! 

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HOKA: Only run on a treadmill or only run barefoot?

Hawks: Only run on a treadmill. I have done a 20+ mile run on the treadmill and it didn’t bother me. It gets hot in St. George and the treadmill feels good on days over 120F. Just need a little Cutthroat Kitchen on the tube or a good ball game! Plus I have tender feet, hence why I love HOKA ONE ONE shoes! 

HOKA: Never have internet access again or never be able to take an airplane again?

Hawks: I love to travel and have to many places to explore in Europe, Asia, Africa, you name it! I could always take a boat, but a plane is more convenient and allows you to explore more faster! I could do without internet! Although I do like to gram, I have spent many nights in the mountains without internet in surreal peace, isolated from the world! So definitely wouldn’t want to do without planes. 

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HOKA: Only ever run uphill or downhill?

Hawks: I am a mountain runner and love running uphill. Nothing better than getting to the top of a peak and seeing the vast array of beauty! I definitely would rather run uphill. 

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Shop the HOKA Speedgoat here.

HOKA: Own a pet dog or cat?

Hawks: Have you ever seen a person running with their pet cat? I haven’t, but definitely would love too, especially if it was a lion or tiger! Definitely a dog!

HOKA: Only listen to music from the 80s or the 90s?

Hawks: I wasn’t even born in the 80s! 1991 baby! I am a 90s music kind of guy with those grunge garage bands, 2PAC, and Biggie, and of course NYSYNC, Backstreet, Britney, and Christina!

Runner’s Best Friend: Dogs of HOKA

Something many runners have in common is a love of dogs. No one appreciates joining you on the trails more than your four legged friend. There is also nothing better than coming home to a dog after a long race for some quality recovery couch time. We celebrate our loyal running buddies. Get to know some of your favorite HOKA Athlete’s dogs, Vika, Oakley, Quinn, and Rosie.

Vika: Nikki Kimball‘s English Pointer

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Favorite activity: It’s a tie between running and lying on the couch.

Favorite treat: Greenies

Worst habit: Eating couches. 

Favorite place to run: Bridger Mountains, Bozeman, MT

Favorite distance to run: As long as possible, but I try to cut him off at 3 hours.

Instagram: @vikabirddog

Oakley & Quinn: Amy Van Alstine‘s Jackabees (Beagle/Russell Terrier)

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Favorite activity: Eating, hunting chipmunks 

Favorite treat: Flagstaff farmer’s market bones

Worst habit: Eating plants that cause them to get surgery (Quinn) and costs their mom thousands of dollars.

Favorite place to run: Any dirt road in Flagstaff and they also love to run on soft grass.

Favorite distance to run: Quinn: 4-8 miles, she can go pretty far. Oakley: 1 mile.. He’s a little fat and has short legs.

Instagram: @amylynne87

Rosbud (Rosie): Mike Wardian‘s Vizsla

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Favorite activity: Cuddling, Running, Chasing Squirrels, Sleeping

Favorite treat: Butter

Worst habit: Barking..she likes to keep an eye on the neighborhood.

Favorite place to run: Trails, especially the Potomac Heritage Trail.

Favorite distance to run: The longest she has gone so far is about 9 miles, but would say her favorite distance is about 90 mins or 7-8 miles.

Instagram: @rosievizslaruns

They might be balls of endless energy, but we love them anyway. Happy National Dog Day from HOKA.

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A bonus photo of Nikki Kimball’s dog, Vika.

The HOKA Speed Instinct is Here

The new HOKA ONE ONE Speed Instinct is responsive enough to race up the mountains, and cushioned enough to fly down them. The first HOKA trail shoe to use PRO2Lite technology, Speed Instinct features a soft heel density and a firm forefoot for added responsiveness. HOKA athlete Madga Boulet even notes that this nimble shoe makes her feel as though she is dancing through the trails. Runners seeking a sleek HOKA shoe to race through the trails have found their lightweight, responsive solution. Watch what Sage Canaday and Magda Boulet have to say about the HOKA Speed Instinct.

Shop the Men’s Speed Instinct here.

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Shop the Women’s Speed Instinct here.

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A HOKA Runner’s Guide to Chattanooga, TN

When you explore a place on foot, you see the things others do not. You discover the place locals go to grab a cup of coffee, the best place for a pint, and the best places to stop, stretch and breathe in some fresh air. At HOKA, we have runners all over the world who know their towns best. So we’ll be sharing HOKA runner’s favorite destinations in their hometown for visitors to get the local experience. We’ll begin with the towns many people travel to compete and watch IRONMAN races around the country. Our next stop is Chattanooga, Tennessee. Home of Fynn Glover, avid runner and co-founder of Roots Rated.

HOKA: What’s the best coffee or breakfast spot?

Glover: Everything about The Farmer’s Daughter is great: the coffee, the friendly waitstaff, the wonderful environment, and of course the delicious food. Sit outside in their expansive outdoor patio and listen to live fiddle and banjo folk music. Watch children playing in the pebble rock garden. And enjoy one of the best breakfast experiences you can have in Chattanooga.

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HOKA: What’s a good scenic or interesting place for a short run in your area? What’s your favorite run route?

Glover: The trails at Raccoon Mountain run primarily along the outer edge of the brow and offer incredible views of Chattanooga and the Tennessee River gorge. These single track trails are consistently in great shape, but they are technical (plenty of rocks and roots) so watch your step! The primary loop is approximately 13 miles of rolling terrain with some short climbs. There are three trailheads: East Overlook, the Visitor’s Center, and Laurel Point. No matter where you start, or which direction you travel, you’re in for a great run in the woods.

There is also Chattanooga’s River Walk, which extends 7.5 miles from the Chickamauga Dam to Ross’ Landing in downtown Chattanooga. It’s an amazing urban trail system that has become the recreational spine of the Scenic City. The Riverwalk itself is a wide concrete path that extends entirely along the Tennessee River. With several entry points and parking lots, you can choose your preferred distance, but if you’re starting from downtown, there’s no better place to start than the Chattanooga Riverfront at Ross’ Landing. If you’re feeling frisky, a 15-mile out and back is at your disposal.

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HOKA: Where should someone go to eat a post-race meal (or brew)?

Glover: Tremont Tavern is a local neighborhood pub that has one of the most welcoming atmospheres in the city. And their specialty burgers have consistently been ranked in the Top 5 in Chattanooga. If you can handle the heat, the Jalapeno Jack Burger is a must. It’s also a great place to grab some brews. They have 21 rotating beers on tap and hundreds of bottles. Also, Brewhaus is cozy gastropub with patio seating, great beer, and a delicious taste of Deutschland. The cuisine is balanced and tasty, featuring bavarian bratwurst, schnitzel, and spaetzle, and they serve a wide variety of regional craft brews. The up close and personal views of the Walnut Street Bridge, downtown Chattanooga, and the Tennessee River make it a fantastic spot to spend time with friends.

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HOKA: Where should someone go to get any last-minute racing gear?

Glover: Hub Endurance, Suck Creek Cycle, and Trek Store Chattanooga are all great options for your biking related needs.

HOKA: Anything else to see/do/experience in this town in a short weekend trip?

Glover: Rich in Civil War history, Point Park has the most fantastic overlook of Chattanooga. And getting there by riding straight up the face of Lookout Mountain on the Incline Railway is an experience to remember for the whole family. Point Park is just a short walk from the incline station. Also, the Tennessee River Gorge is a 26-mile river canyon, just a few miles north of downtown Chattanooga. The Gorge, referred to by locals as the Grand Canyon of the Tennessee, is the fourth largest river gorge east of the Mississippi. The River Gorge Explorer is a high-tech vessel that provides an exciting 2-hour excursion, guided by a TN Aquarium naturalist.

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Find more great information from Fynn on the Roots Rated Insider’s Guide to IM Chattanooga.