Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Ian Sharman (second from left) after the 2010 Boston Marathon
Even though most Julbo runners are trail-specific athletes, we have a few versatile and heartfelt guys making their way east to run in the famed Boston Marathon. After last year’s tragedy, this race means some different to everyone. We talked with Ian Sharman, Matt Flaherty and Michael Wardian about their plan for the race, how it’s different than the usual trail runs and what Boston means to them.

JULBO: Why the Boston Marathon? Have you run it before?

IAN SHARMAN: I’ve run road marathons all over the world because I enjoy them, despite mainly focusing on trail ultras. This will be my fourth Boston and it’s certainly my favorite U.S. road race.

MATT FLAHERTY: I've never run Boston, but I've always wanted to. It's been almost seven years since my first marathon and I can't believe it took me this long to fit Boston into my schedule! I could have done it other years, but I wanted to be competitive when I finally ran it. It's all the more meaningful to the entire running community given last year's tragedy.

MICHAEL WARDIAN: The Boston Marathon is the event that got me started running. I thought I would run Boston once and that would be it, but upon seeing the people of Boston, the course, the way that the city loves the race, I knew I would run Boston as long as they would allow me. Every time I run it, I get a sense of that first time. It blows me away and makes me want to come back for more. 

J: What does this year mean to you after last year’s bombings? 

IS: I know the race will mean a lot to the people of Boston and the running community as a whole. I want to be there to support that. The positivity and resolve shown by the city will be on full display and will make it a particularly special race.

MF: The marathon is supposed to be a celebration of hard work. For many, it’s the ultimate physical achievement in their lives. The day after Boston, I went out for a hard 26.2-mile training run in solidarity. I wanted to run and to feel that familiar pain and fatigue and have some time to think and not think at all.  

This year's race will be run in memory of those who lost their lives and suffered injuries last year. I think the race will also be a very communal celebration of perseverance, and of the beauty and simplicity of running. I'm glad that I will be a part of it.

MW: I was in Boston for the race and running last year with my buddy Jason Kinzel. We ran pretty well and were done a smidgen before the tragedy. It shook me to my core and had me questioning why I run and race. I am a runner and it’s a very big part of who I am, but I was scared, mad and shocked. But at my core, I knew the act against Boston, the Boston Marathon and runners would not stop me from doing what I/we love. This year I hope we can show the world that Boston is back and stronger than ever. 

J: How do you expect to do? 

IS: I use road marathons as a way to do fast, long runs as preparation for longer events, so I haven’t focused on this race as a target goal. However, I’d like to run somewhere around 2:40 or maybe a bit quicker.

MF: I'm not 100 percent geared up for Boston as I have a couple of ultramarathons on my schedule in May and June, but I am fit and ready to race. I ran the Napa Valley Marathon a month ago as a tune up, and since then my fitness and speed have really progressed. First and foremost, I want to run a personal best (2:22:52 or faster), but I think I could run as fast as 2:20 if I have a great day.

MW: I am aiming and hoping to do quite well. I would love to be in the top 25 overall and I am trying to win the Masters category. I just turned 40 and based on my current fitness, I think a great race should be possible. 

Ian Sharman running Boston
J: Being an ultrarunner/trail runner, what is it like to run a road marathon in comparison? 

IS: Road marathons are obviously faster races, but they’re also much more evenly paced with no significant hills. I enjoy both the speed and consistency of road races, but the variation and spectacular surroundings of the trails, so I couldn’t imagine giving either of them up completely.

MF: You need more speed for a road marathon versus a trail ultramarathon. In the latter, you can get by mostly on strength. I realized when I ran the Napa Valley Marathon last month that while I was strong, I didn't have very good turnover. For the last five weeks I've done some quicker workouts to bring that speed back around.  

I think the main difference between a road marathon and trail marathon is the impact your body takes on the roads is much greater than trails. Also, with a road marathon, every second counts; there aren’t stream crossings, technical footing and mountains to climb on the roads. I see no reason that we as runners cannot explore both the roads and trails. In the end, running both allows us to really test our limits.

MW: I think the training for both roads and trails is pretty similar: You need to do the work. The great thing about running, as in life, is you get back what put into it.  There are no judges – just the time at the finish. It’s not subjective and I love that. 

But to answer the question more directly, I think we as athletes need to have a great fitness base and from that, we can train for whatever race we have coming up.

We wish Ian, Matt and Mike the greatest speed and strength in the 2014 Boston Marathon! Are you running the Boston Marathon this year? Hashtag your pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #JulboForBoston.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jorge Maravilla - On the Serenity of Running

Meet Julbo’s newest athlete, the talented ultrarunner Jorge Maravilla. An immigrant from El Salvador, Jorge came to the U.S. when he was only one. He grew up a farmworker’s kid, which taught him to love the outdoors – eventually moving to Northern California for the outdoor lifestyle. Now he lives just steps away from views of the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge and incredible redwood-lined trail running.

Not just an ultrarunner, Jorge is a coach and a philanthropist. He even raised $6,000 for Haitian hurricane victims by running on a treadmill for eight hours. Running all over the country and world, this determined athlete took a few minutes to talk with us about his running career.

On coaching:
I got into coaching to be fully engulfed in the sport of running. I like helping individuals achieve success and push their limits. I love the joy I get from athletes’ satisfaction in their accomplishments, which come from challenges that seem unfathomable. They constantly inspire me!

On running alone:
I like the serenity of running alone. Although, I do run with friends sometimes – a weekly summit of Mount Tamalpais and a Saturday morning group run at San Francisco Running Company. That’s one of my favorites. 30 of us come to run trails in our beautiful backyard of the Marin Headlands. It’s a social, fun way to start the weekend

On where he’d like to run next:
I would love an opportunity to run the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.

On cycling:
I ride my bike at least once a week and aim for more days if possible. I think it is one of the best cross training exercises to compliment running.

On race preparation:
Each race is different, especially since I run various distances, however I always intend to get to the starting line healthy and ready to give it my best. 

On Julbo:
I love my Treks and Dusts. They have great coverage and photochromic lenses that get the job done. Plus, they look great!

Watch out for Jorge this spring at the Lake Sonoma 50, The North Face 100 in Australia, and the Western States 100.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Trail Running With Amber Reece-Young

Amber Reece-Young started running in high school as a sprinter and to keep in shape for volleyball. Little could she predict that she would become one of the most decorated female trail runners – finishing in second place in the 2012 World Trail Championships and representing Team USA four times over the past three years. Wow.

But she took some time from her full time job as a school nurse and running trails with her husband and dog to talk about her recent win at the Assault on Black Rock, what her ideal race looks like and how to get more women into trail running.

JULBO: Why trail running vs. road running?

AMBER REECE-YOUNG: Trail running feels better on my body. Times are irrelevant in terms of pace and the challenge is to run hard by feel without blowing up. Plus, there are often beautiful views and a variety of terrain including hills, roots and even stream crossings. Trail races are fun adventures!

J: Congrats on winning Assault on Black Rock! Tell us what the race was like and why you decided to enter it.

ARY: Thanks! Assault on Black Rock is a mountain race with 2,800-feet of elevation gain in 3.5 miles, then descends down for a lollipop course. It was a fundraiser for the Community Table, which provides food to those who that need it.

J: As an elite female runner, how do you suggest other female athletes get into the sport?

ARY: It mostly depends on whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. If you enjoy working out solo, it can be helpful to have a coach or a program to help you get started on your own. If you are more into working out socially, you can find a beginners running program and join others to keep you motivated. Running is great because you can do it solo or with a group!

J: Where is your favorite place to run? Why?

ARY: I love single-track trails and exploring new areas for beauty and adventure. It feeds my soul.

J: What does your ideal race look like?

ARY: I enjoy up to 18 miles. I prefer trail 10ks and half marathons, but I like to mix it up. My ideal race is one that would be very technical with loads of ups, downs and switchbacks all in a beautiful forest on a mountain.

J: What does your next six months look like? Any goals?

ARY: My main goal is to qualify for the World Mountain Running Team in July by placing in the top four at the USA Mountain Champs at Loon Mountain. I'll focus on other races before then to build strength and stamina and to test my fitness.

J: Favorite Julbo shades?

ARY: I love the Trek, Dust and Access for training and racing. For cruising around, I love the Bora Boras.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Gordon McArthur: Olympic Ice Climber

Gordon McArthur flew to Sochi, Russia last month to participate in the ice climbing showcase at the 2014 Olympic Games. Here is a recap of his experience.
It’s hard to even begin a post about the Sochi Olympics, because the entire experience was such a whirlwind. How do you explain a surreal period of time? The training and planning cannot prepare you to walk through the Olympic Park entry gates and climb in front of the world. No, there were no medals, and no, we were not official Olympic athletes, but ice climbing was given a special chance to showcase how awesome the sport really is. And I was there, in the thick of it.
Everyday thousands of people would come in and out of our arena, watching and cheering. We even had 3 to 60-foot walls of real ice climbing for the public to climb on and swing ice tools. And even through the consecutive days of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit!), the wall was truly an amazing work of art – a lead climbing structure for athletes to demonstrate what we do, how we compete, and exhibit the gymnastic movement that the sport entails.
Several years ago, talk of pushing ice climbing into the Olympics began to surface. Rumors were leaked, and before you knew it, the World Cup athletes were buzzing about the potential possibilities. Finally, talk turned into discussion, but even up to the point of walking through the Olympics gates in Sochi, there was still a level of uncertainty. Many took this idea – the Olympics and ice climbing – as something of a joke; it wasn’t worth the efforts. Some shrugged it off as a waste of time. And up until the point of seeing our actual venue, questions still hovered over me, circling with hesitation.
We had a simple job to do: wow the Olympic Park. We needed to leave an impression – on spectators, media sources, IOC representatives – and they needed to leave knowing that this is a sport to support. And the crowd came by the hundreds. A sea of people would be lined up daily, for hours upon hours to try their hand at ice climbing. 
There were ice walls and lead walls – two perfect displays of what our competition world looks like. Every day, athletes from each discipline – speed climbing and technical lead climbing – would climb. From 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., there was no shortage of excitement. 
Broadcast stations would show up daily, wanting to cover the event. The Korean Olympic Committee even turned up and told us that they want the sport as a medal sport in 2018. As 2018’s Olympics are in Pyeongchang, Korea, our jaws dropped. (There are more details about the process of induction, but it’s best not to say anything more, as I don’t want to present any false ideas.) But it makes sense; extreme sports are breaking down the walls of the Olympic rings. This year alone, the slopestyle and halfpipe competitions drew some of the biggest crowds. Ice climbing is on the doorstep. 
Our Olympic family came together and made it happen. Day in and day out, we all made this dream a reality. Yes, it was sunny and warm, and yes, some of the crew would spend all night packing ice (shipped over from the hockey arena) to make sure the three ice walls were in tip-top shape, but these people that I got to spend two weeks with will forever be remembered as game changers. We were a group of true ambassadors that took a risk and came through victoriously. I was honored to be a part of this movement. 
Here's to 2018!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gold-Worthy Performances: Julbo In Sochi

Martin Fourcade shoots his way to gold.
Leading up to the Sochi games, Julbo worked alongside its athletes to ensure our products were meeting the demands of gold-­worthy performances in Russia. And sure enough, throughout the summer-like winter games and orange-colored water, it still poured medals for the Julbo athletes.

As expected, Martin Fourcade captured two gold and one silver medals. The biathlete was undeniably the strongman of the Games, gathering the two Olympic titles in the Pursuit and Individual. His one silver came in the Mass Start, where he missed gold by a mere three centimeters. A medalist in World Championships and World Cups, Martin once again confirmed his position as the undisputed world leader of biathlon and became one of France’s most successful athletes at the Winter Games.

Béatrix & Fourcade celebrate their podium.
The surprise performance from Team Julbo came from Jean-­Guillaume Béatrix in the biathlon. Prior to Sochi, his best individual performance was one podium at a World Cup. His personal goal of a top-­10 result was far­ surpassed by his bronze medal in the Pursuit, joining countryman Fourcade on the podium.

Karin Oberhofer races to a bronze medal.
At just 18 years old and with a jump of 97.5 meters, Coline Mattel won the bronze medal as women’s ski jumping made its Olympic debut. In her second Olympic Games, Italian biathlete Karin Oberhofer won bronze in the Mixed Relay.

Ski cross star (and designer of the sparkly Elles Angels) Ophélie David went to Sochi in search of gold. With a bronze medal easily in sight, she still wasn't content and put it all on the line. Her quest unfortunately ended with a fall and she narrowly missed a podium spot. But her fighting spirit was inspirational and her courage and determination reminded us of what a true champion has to risk.

The teenaged Coline Mattel's jumps to a bronze.
More than just metal, Olympic medals are the Holy Grail of sports. However, there is a lot more to an Olympiad. Just making it to Sochi is an enormous honor. We’ll remember the fantastic performance of Aurore Jean in the 30-kilometer cross­-country skiing Mass Start, which saw her finish in sixth. We'll remember the determination of Dawa Sherpa in the cross­-country skiing 15km Classic, who was happy to simply enjoy himself and show the way to other young Nepalese skiers. 

And did you spy Julbo's rad Sochi eyewear? Worn by Martin Fourcade, Jean-­Guillaume Béatrix, Coline Mattel and Karin Oberhofer in Sochi, this product line was developed and designed to improve their performance. It is the athletes' focus, discipline and concentration that inspired the Gold Quest collection with its repeated patterns of the Olympic rings in black and white, embellished with splashes of gold.

Congratulations to all of the Julbo athletes in the Olympics. We’re sad that it’s over!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jessa Goebel on Winning the Copp-Dash Inspire Award

The upcoming climb on Moraine Hill.

Julbo athlete and sales rep Jessa Goebel brought home the Copp-Dash Inspire Award a few weeks ago – a grant given in honor of American climbers Jonny Copp and Micah Dash who were killed in an avalanche in China. This award provides financial support to a certain expedition, and in return, the climbers will share the story of their adventure. Jessa took a few minutes to explain her trip and her love of climbing.

Tell us about your upcoming trip.
I applied for this grant to fund an upcoming trip in the Rugged Range in Canada’s Northwest Territories. My climbing partner and I plan on establishing a free route on the unclimbed, stunning 630-meter south face of Moraine Hill. It has these steep, big wall free climbs. We had to submit a trip itinerary and a couple of pictures of the expedition to receive this.

We’re going to be doing the trip without any fixed ropes. Our goal is to establish a long free route in which the leader and the follower free climb every pitch. I’m excited for it! It’s my first time up to the Northwest Territories.

How did you get started climbing?
When I was a kid in North Carolina my mom got me a membership in the climbing gym. I started competing and it evolved from there. I turned pro in the early 2000s.

Who is your biggest inspiration in the climbing world?
Unclimbed peaks and mountains inspire me. My climbing partner, Pat Goodman, is great too. He convinced me to apply for the Copp-Dash grant, actually. He’s been awarded the Copp-Dash multiple times. We’ve been climbing together for almost 10 years and have climbed every kind of route you could imagine.

Favorite place to climb?
I live in West Virginia and the New River Gorge is close to my house. It’s amazing there.

Photo credit: Pat Goodman
What have you been doing during the offseason?
I’ve been preparing for this trip – a lot of running, exercising and climbing as much as I can. We usually head out to the desert, where it’s warmer, or Chattanooga. Climbing and running is pretty much my life right now.

As a female climber, how would you suggest other girls start climbing?
Get in with other girlfriends! Climbing with other female friends means there is less pressure and it’s way more fun that way.

Favorite Julbo shades?
I would say the Bora Boras with the Falcon lens. Or the MonteRosas

Friday, February 14, 2014

Old School: Rafting the Colorado River With Wooden Boats

Greg Hatten spoke with unquenchable enthusiasm when talking about his beloved wooden boats. “I’m a throwback kind of guy, and when I saw these boats, I fell in love with them instantly,” he said. “I’m a fly fisherman and would sometimes see the boats floating on the water. I really landed into this culture by chasing steelheads.”

“These boats” are the McKenzie boats, boats specifically designed to run the northwest rivers in the 1930s and 40s. Modeled after the east coast “dories,” they have a high bow, flat bottom, flared sides and a continuous rocker to navigate the Class IV rapids on the McKenzie River.

In the 1960s, the boats were brought to the Colorado River. Men were trying to work their way through the Grand Canyon on the wooden boats they had, but without the McKenzie-style rocker, the boats would hit rocks and sink. But Martin Litton, an environmentalist, saw the McKenzie boats when exploring covered bridges in the northwest. He realized they would be perfect for an upcoming Colorado River trip and promptly ordered two: the Portola and the Suzie Too. From there, the boats started a revolution – used as tools to save the Grand Canyon from government destruction in 1962 and 1964. “These boats are the reason that the Grand Canyon is still around today,” assured Hatten.

Over the years, the wooden boats fell out of fashion. Instead, aluminum boats and rubber rafts took over the river rapids. But their unpopularity only made Hatten love the boats more, and he began to recreate McKenzie boats by hand. And when a man who went on the first 1962 and 1964 trips down the Colorado River approached Hatten about recreating the trips, Hatten realized it was time to take his obsession to a new level.

“2012 was the 50-year anniversary of the 1962 trip,” Hatten explained. “So we decided to imitate the journey as closely as we could.” He built an exact replica of the Portola by hand and another craftsman built the Suzie Too. It was a wild 285-mile, 24-day trek through the Grand Canyon. The 16 trip members had a goal of not leaving a trace, careful about where they camped and what they ate; Hatten even dressed in only canvas and wool. And the boats held up perfectly.

The 2014 excursion, the 50-year anniversary of the 1964 trip, is coming up quickly; the two boats are planned to launch on March 2. This particular trip is to specifically commemorate the environmentalists that defeated the Southwest Water Plan, a national measure to dam the Colorado River, which would have flooded the Grand Canyon National park.

In a way, they’re actors in a reenactment play, like the men that play colonists crossing the Delaware with George Washington. But this group is different; they’re all strong athletes willing to survive in the outdoors for nearly an entire month. And not to be left out from historical fun, Julbo is sponsoring the 16 athletes with Wave sunglasses. “I got my first pair of Julbos to climb Mount Rainier,” said Hatten. “I’m looking forward to wearing my new ones, but I’ll still be wearing my Micropore glasses. They’re part of my ‘look.’” Well, we look forward to seeing the bright Julbo Waves paired with wool trousers. Good luck!