Ultra Trail Mt. Fuji: Dylan Bowman for the Win
Photos by Koichi Iwasa (dogsorcaravan.com)
Over the weekend, a well-prepared Dylan Bowman was the first to cross the Ultra Trail Mt. Fuji finish line. This year the course was shortened to 50k due to weather and rain but it still provided an exciting race. We caught up with him after he arrived home from spending two weeks in Japan prepping for the race.
What sparked your interest in Mt. Fuji?
When thinking about my season early in the year, I really wanted to run a bigger international 100 mile race. I was very busy with work and life travel through the spring and early summer, which made proper preparation for UTMB impossible - especially since I don't live in the mountains. Luckily, life calmed down in July which gave me a perfect amount of time to be home and prepare for UTMF. I've also always wanted to visit Japan and the trip from San Francisco is actually pretty easy. The race has a great reputation and people I trust had nothing but positive things to say about it. So it just seemed to fit perfectly this year which made committing to it very easy.
How does this race compare to others you've competed in? Is it similar or a totally different beast?
UTMF is unique in that you really have to be a well rounded runner. It incorporates all disciplines with fast, paved road sections, non-technical runnable trail sections, and extremely technical mountain sections. I like the diversity of the course and find the combinations engaging, especially when racing. I felt the course suited my skill set but it doesn't necessarily favor any specializations. I find that fun and motivating.
My training went perfectly for UTMF. It's the best I've ever prepared for a 100 mile race. My strategy was just to run a strong and consistent race and hopefully be in contention in the final 50k, when I could empty the tank. The strategy went out the window when it was announced that the race had been shortened. Then it was just about running a hard 50k. The rain didn't change anything but footwear choice for me. It wasn't cold, which made the deluge far more tolerable.
No I'd never raced Xavier before but I've followed his career and admire him a lot.
The partnership with Red Bull is very exciting and opens a lot of new doors. My focus will still be on competing over the next few years, but I also really want to do some bigger projects outside the context of competition, which Red Bull will support. I'm blown away by the whole Red Bull experience and the people have been so fun to work with.
Since UTMF was only 50k, I still feel really fresh and motivated. I'll think about my options, but I definitely plan to race again this fall. Next year is all about UTMB, but I've learned you can't get too far ahead of yourself in this sport.