I have been racing ultra marathons for four and a half years now. Up until very recently my life was somewhat uni-dimensional. I raced often, trained more often, and the majority of my waking moments were spent in the pursuit of endurance goals. I ate, slept and breathed my sport, the mountains, and far fetched ideas. And while those things are all still true to some extent, a major life change has taken me and my new growing family by storm this past month. My wife had our son, Laiken Col Ghelfi, on August 30, 2016. It was just 10 days before the running of the 7th annual Pine to Palm 100 mile endurance run.

Mile 106: I’m pretty sleepy, sitting in a metal chair in the doping control office, cotton ball taped to my arm, losing my ability to focus, the smell of blood mixed with alcohol wipes is overwhelming, every sound is amplified to a roar, I mutter something about needing a garbage can, I’m gonna throw up all over the floor. I already feel bad because I know my odor is less than ideal and I can’t focus enough to answer the officials basic health questions.  Everything gets uncontrollably loud and immediately peaceful. I wake up on the floor and have no idea where I am, someone is asking me questions and talking hurriedly into a cell phone, I don’t bother to answer. I put my head back down and immediately go to sleep.

We are writing this as we drive across the desert of the American West. We are very tired, as we just raced 6 times in 6 days. 4 hours of interrupted Motel 6 sleep didn’t really do the trick. We just won the Transrockies stage race in Colorado. For the team competition you have to stay with your partner the whole time and each run the entire course. The winners are crowned by their cumulative time for all 6 stages

Mount Shasta is a peak that dominates the landscape of an entire region. From the central valley California to Southern Oregon views of Mount Shasta’s summit are unavoidable. It is freakin’ massive! The peak stands 10,000 feet above the valley below and over 5,000 feet higher than any other mountain in the vicinity. As a young kid growing up in Redding 60 miles to the south I had a deep desire to climb this mountain. “But it is too dangerous” is what my parents told me. So I never got to climb in my youth, I could only look on in awe from the slopes below. If any mountain has a mystic pull this is one of them.

“For a lot of collegiate athletes, the end of the eligibility clock represents an unspeakable evil, the sudden snatching away of the thing that for four to five years has provided their life shape, meaning, and a tight group of friends. For me, although I’d cut off one of my toes for another cross season, it feels more like opportunity. In school and work, I have more control of my schedule. In life in general, I have more time. And athletically, I can train however and as much as I want.” – Eric Ghelfi

The Reviewer:  My name is Brett Hornig and I have been running for 12 years.  As well as being a Trails and Tarmac coach, I work at Rogue Valley Runners in Ashland, Oregon.  Ever since I started running, I have always been fascinated with what makes shoes so vastly different, and have continuously been on the hunt for that perfect shoe.  I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the Hoka Clayton, because I had a hunch that it might have a few more uses than Hoka was leading us to believe.  I took this shoe to the trails to see if the Clayton could be a suitable Hoka Huaka replacement that myself as well as many road/trail runners miss since being discontinued (in the states at least).
One thing to keep in mind when reading this review, is that I am 5’8″, 130lb, and have a size US9 foot that is slightly on the narrow side (C width).  I am a neutral, midfoot striking runner, so some things I describe about this shoe may need to be tweaked slightly depending on who you are and how you run.
SonomaSchranz1

A little after a marathon into the Lake Sonoma 50 mile. Thanks Eric Schranz for the great photo!

Gorge Waterfalls 100k

Photo Credit: James Varner

Photo Credit: James Varner

And Peter asked Jesus “how many times must I forgive my brother” How about 7, that seems like enough right? Jesus’ answer was not 7. How about 70 times 7. That’s how many. I ask how many races will I run trying to get into the Western States 100? Maybe for me it’s more on the 70 times 7 side of things.