10 things we learned about Jim Walmsley ahead of Olympic trials
Ultrarunning hero Jim Walmsley, two-time Western States 100 winner, three-time UltraRunner of the year, 2019 World Long Distance Mountain Running Champion, is heading to the American Olympic marathon trials on Feb. 29 at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia to try to earn a spot on the Olympic team.
His underdog spirit has captured the attention of the entire running community as people eagerly await one of most interesting Olympic trials events in recent memory.
Recently, Walmsley sat down for a hour-long chitchat with the folks at LetsRun.com. Here are the 12 most interesting things we learned about this unique Arizona runner.
· Walmsley will make his marathon debut at the American Olympic trials. Yes. Debut.
· He is self-coached and has been since he graduated in 2012.
in December, he logged back to back 175-mile training weeks. and for a nine-week period averaged 140 miles a week. Although he’s tapped into a few different training methods in this block of marathon training he has really taken to what he called “a Japanese-type marathon approach," because of its focus on high mileage. "With my ultra background, that kind of volume is what I feel I feed off of, and they definitely do a lot of that.” Walmsley also uncovered old training logs of Japanese runners such as Olympic marathoner Takayuki Inubushi who ran 2:06:57 in 1999. And he basically converted all the training numbers to miles and worked back two months.
· Last year, he logged 724,000 feet of elevation. But his biggest training block ever was in the lead up to Ultra Trail Mont Blanc in 2018 when he logged three straight weeks with more than 50,000 feet of elevation.
· Walmsley thinks he’s in 2:10 shape right now, and a year ago, he would have been thrilled with that progress. But the numbers are up big-time for many athletes heading to the trials in Atlanta at the end of the month and it's going to be extremely competitive.
· He’s still planning on running the Comrades Marathon, an ultramarathon in South Africa, and UTMB whether he makes the Olympic team or not. “I challenge any marathoner to double back for UTMB and let’s see how it goes,” he said. Walmsley thinks he could handle Olympic medalist and three-time Olympian Galen Rupp at the Western States 100.
· Walmsley has more than 58,000 followers on Strava.
· He’s not worried about all this Nike shoe talk, and is currently on an entirely new Hoka shoe he’s dubbed the “trials dagger,” which meets all the guidelines but will be extremely competitive. The shoe will make its debut at the Olympic Trials.
· His goal with this whole Olympic Trials experiment is to “challenge the status quo of how we (ultra-runners) are stereotyped as runners. And it’s already been a success.”
· Of his three races this year, he says he is most likely to win Comrades followed by UTMB with making the Olympic team a bit of a longshot.