Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Five Questions with Mark Hammond - Interviews from the Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line 100 Mile, 55K and Relays

Mark Hammond, Stagecoach's 2015 men's winner and course record holder, cross-training like the champ he is.

In 2015, the Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line 100 Mile saw course records in both the women's and men's race.  Mark Hammond, from Salt Lake City, Utah, became the fastest person to traverse the 100 mile point-to-point course in 17:37:25 (We'll meet the women's record setter in the next episode).  Incidentally, Mark's performance was also the 99th fastest 100 mile time in North America in 2015.  Mark came to Stagecoach just two weeks after his awesome third place 21:25:07 Wasatch Front 100 Mile finish.  Before that, Mark was fresh off wins at Squaw Peak 50 Mile, Skyline Mountain 50 Mile and the Tushar 93K Trail Run.  We caught up with Mark last week and he indulged us with his answers to five quick questions.

Enjoying the fruits of his labor.

Question #1: Why did you choose Stagecoach?

"I chose to run Stagecoach 100 just two weeks after running Wasatch 100 because I wanted to see how my body and mind would respond to another big effort with so little recovery time. I also wanted to explore the terrain around the San Francisco Peaks."

Mark, shirtless, at the start of last year's Stagecoach.

Question #2: What was your favorite part of the course?

"My favorite part of the couse was around mile 70 where I heard elk bugling all around me in the forest."

Mark nears the Hart Prarie aid station.

Question #3: What was the biggest challenge Stagecoach presented?

"The biggest challenge of Stagecoach was how flat the course is. I mostly race in steep terrain so my legs could have been better prepared for so much flat terrain."

Mark making strides on race day.

Question #4: What was your favorite aid station?

"My favorite aid station was the last one (Reed Tank) because I could see McDonalds from there."

Mark, post-race, talking with race director Ian Torrence.

Question #5: Three tips you can offer a Stagecoach first timer.

"My tips for a Stagecoach newbie are to do do lots of training on flat terrain, be ready for heat and bring an elk bugling tube to see if you can call an elk to you while running."

No need for a hotel room or tent.  A bag was all Mark needed after he crossed the finish line.

Bonus Question: Mt Humphreys or the Grand Canyon and why?

"Grand Canyon trumps Humphreys any day.  Because I can buy lemonade at the bottom of the Grand Canyon but not at the top of Humphreys."

Thank you Mark for taking the time to chat with us about your Stagecoach experience. If you haven't read our last interview with 2013 winner Suzanna Bon you can do that here. Be sure to join us on September 24th, 2016 at 8:00AM for the fourth annual Stagecoach Line 100 Mile, 55K and Relays.

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