Ultra runners come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing that can be called common among them is the urge to conquer any challenge. It’s no wonder that course records are broken year after year, or something like Scott Jurek’s amazing record-breaking Appalachian Trail run might only last few months.
That’s the primary fascination with ultra-runners. What drives these everyday people to go the distance or trawl through kilometres of hard terrain to emerge with a smile (despite the bruises). Nikki Kimball is one such ultra-runner. She began ultra running in 1999 on “the rocky, muddy, root-strewn mountains of upstate New York”.
Finding Traction is the inspirational story behind her preparation and eventual record breaking feat of running America’s oldest hiking trail, the 273-mile Long Trail in Vermont. From glimpses into her training and taking you to her actual record attempt, it’s meant to be an up-close portrayal of the courage, grit, and passion behind the record attempt. Kimball completed the iconic Long Trail in 5 days, 7 hours and 42 minutes, setting the women’s supported speed record, and breaking the women’s unsupported speed record by more than two full days. Her time is the top five speed records of all time for the trail.
Highlights of her running career include 14 US National Team appearances in three running disciplines, three-time winner Ultrarunner of the Year, several National Championship titles and a World Cup team gold medal in 100km road racing. In 2014, she won the Marathon Des Sables multi-stage endurance race on her first attempt. Her biggest achievement remains the 2012 conquest of Vermont’s Green Mountains, documented in the movie above.