ElliptiGO 2016 World Championship Report

October 10, 2016

On 8th October 2016 the 7th World Championship of Elliptical Cycling was held on Mt Palomar in California. 48 ElliptiGO riders (from Canada, Jersey, Spain, UK & USA) were registered for the race.

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Traditionally the 11.6-mile race has been held on the same course every year and features an unbroken climb of over 4,200 feet in elevation – with the finish line above 5,000 feet in altitude. Seemingly traditional, too, was the fact that American masters long-distance runner Rusty Snow won the men’s race again (his 5th consecutive victory in a race which regularly features Olympians and various seasoned endurance athletes, from a wide variety of backgrounds).

Rusty’s winning time was an impressive 1:10:58 and this year he had a comfortable victory margin of almost 4-minutes from the second-placed finisher (Canada’s Jason Warwick, who crossed the line in 1:14:46). Third place in the men’s race went to American Marathon runner Brandon Birdsong (1:16:09) who had also competed in the US Olympic trials marathon in February 2016.

American middle-distance runner Sarah Brown, the reigning Women’s Champion in the event (who gave birth to a baby daughter in March 2016 and raced in the US Olympic 1500m trials in July 2016) won the women’s race for the second year in a row, becoming the first woman to win the event more than once. Sarah set a new women’s record of 1:16:00 for the event, improving on her record time from last year by 4-minutes. She also finished an impressive 3rd overall, in the field of male and female riders. Second place in the women’s race went to Addie Bracy in 1:45:50 and third place to Erin Whiting in 1:50:55. This was Erin’s 4th podium finish in this race.

Two riders also completed the race on the new ElliptiGO Arc (Idai Makaya, from the UK and Steve Burton, from the USA) – demonstrating the versatility of the new ElliptiGO model on one of the top-10 toughest cycling hill climbs in the USA. Athletes from a wide range of training backgrounds take part in the World Championships of Elliptical Cycling, giving a great insight into the different ways in which athletes use the ElliptiGO. Below are a few highlighted athletes from the race:

Rusty Snow (1st in 1:10:58):

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Rusty is a veteran cross country and middle-distance runner who developed hip problems a few years ago and turned to the ElliptiGO as a way of continuing to train really hard, without hurting his hips. Rusty says he runs just once or twice a week, nowadays, but does most of his endurance training on the ElliptiGO. He places well in masters races and half marathons – despite this unconventional approach to his running fitness – and now in his late 40’s Rusty is still known to break the 70-minute barrier in half marathons…

Jason Warwick (2nd in 1:14:46): 

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Jason is a Canadian newspaper and TV journalist who has made a number of documentary films. One popular documentary film he made was about a runner who’s also a physics genius, with bipolar disorder. Another well-known documentary Jason made (Run) is about Kip Keino and the successful Kenyan runners who use their wealth and fame to build schools, orphanages, etc. The Run documentary raised $110,000 for the construction of Kip Keino High School in Eldoret, Kenya.

Jason himself has run a 2:19 marathon and is an athletics coach in his ‘spare time’. He has been captain of the Canadian athletics team at the Francophone Games, but he recently suffered from hip injuries related to running training (which have led him to substitute his running with ElliptiGO training). Jason recently told us:

“I’d like to get back to running at some point soon, but I’m finding I don’t miss it nearly as much since I got the ElliptiGO. I can go flat-out without hip trouble. I can train outdoors, rather than in the gym. I’m strengthening the correct muscle groups for an eventual return to running – and I’m turning heads wherever I GO!”

Sarah Brown (1st in 1:16:00):

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Sarah is an elite middle-distance runner and a new Mum (having had a baby girl in March 2016). She kept her fitness training GOing during her pregnancy largely by using the ElliptiGO and working out in the gym. She won the 2015 World Championship of Elliptical Cycling in a new women’s record (while 17-weeks pregnant) and was also able to qualify for the US Olympic trials (which took place in July 2016) despite training whilst pregnant. Her story was covered in the ESPN documentary series Run Mama Run

Brandon Birdsong (3rd in 1:16:09):

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Brandon is an American marathon runner from Adams State, who raced in the 2016 US Olympic trials Marathon in February 2016 – where he suffered from an injured ankle, but also proposed to his (now) fiance. He turned to cycling to help fill the training gap when he could no longer put in high running mileages after the ankle injury and discovered the ElliptiGO earlier this year.

Brandon quickly found that the ElliptiGO was much more specific to his running training than conventional cycling and has started to integrate it more into his training plans, as he builds up his running training again and recovers from his injury. Brandon improved his fitness on the ElliptiGO fast enough to consider taking on the fastest ElliptiGO riders in the world – finishing a creditable 3rd in this year’s men’s race.

Billy Grace (9th in 1:32:05):

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Billy is a lawyer from Jersey who used to run in middle-distance races, until a congenital hip condition caused him such bad training injuries that he required surgery to mend his hip cartilage. He took on ElliptiGO training in 2012, as a way of simulating the running exercise without the impact of actual running and over the years Billy’s taken on some of Britain and Europe’s most epic long-distance cycling events on the ElliptiGO – including the 1,230km (765-miles) Paris Brest Paris Audax, which he completed in 85 hours & 38 minutes, in 2015.

Billy still has hip problems, which prevent running training, but he is completely ‘liberated’ when he rides his ElliptiGO bikes and says he can cover almost infinite distances (and train at incredibly high intensities) without discomfort…

Addie Bracy (2nd in 1:45:50):

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Addie is a 2:32 marathon runner who has now started competing in mountain running. She finished 12th in the 2016 Mountain Running World Championships and has been using the ElliptiGO for building her general training volume, especially on easy training days (instead of putting in low quality, low volume, ‘recovery runs’ – which she believes actually present a similar injury risk to hard training runs).

Jim Cremer (1:50:19):

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Jim is an American Computer Science Professor who developed bad hip arthritis after a lifetime of active sports participation. Jim has taken on some of the most epic long-distance ElliptiGO rides, numerous informal bike tours and cycling hill climb challenges over the years – and has raced a number of times in the World Championships of Elliptical Cycling.

Although Jim has completed almost all of America’s top-10 most challenging road cycling hill climbs (on the ElliptiGO) and has ridden in a number of non-stop randonneur (long-distance cycling) events, covering distances well beyond 400-miles, he still finds it uncomfortable to ride conventional bicycles, or to walk even a couple of miles (because of his hip arthritis). But whenever Jim’s on his ElliptiGO 11R or on his ElliptiGO Arc he says he is free from pain and discomfort and able to challenge himself fully in his fitness training…

Idai Makaya (1:53:47):

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Idai is ElliptiGO’s UK-based representative (and is also an established long-distance cyclist and endurance athlete who has taken on many of Europe’s longest and most epic long-distance cycling challenges on the ElliptiGO elliptical bike). As part of his continued study and exploration of the discipline of Elliptical Cycling Idai decided to compete in his 5th World Championship of Elliptical Cycling on the new ElliptiGO Arc. Like his colleague Steve Burton (who also raced on the ElliptiGO Arc in the World Championship event this year) he was impressed by the suitability of the ElliptiGO Arc for handling such a tough hill climb…

Brian Baker (2:13:13)

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Brian is an American masters runner who has now run the Falmouth Road Races 38 times. In order to preserve his body and manage his injury risk Brian does a lot of impact-free training on the ElliptiGO – and it appears to be paying off!

Bill Pinnell (2:16:38):

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Bill is a British ElliptiGO rider who used to cycle commute to work in London, many years ago. A back injury caused him sciatica and he turned to the use of a recumbent bicycle to allow him to continue cycling with his back problem. Bill discovered the ElliptiGO in 2012 and now only rides his ElliptiGO 11R. He found that the ElliptiGO allowed him a more exciting workout (whilst still sparing his back from the strain caused by a conventional road or mountain bike) and he could burn more calories without having to ride for long periods.

Bill has successfully completed some of the world’s most epic long-distance cycling challenges on his ElliptiGO – including the 1,230km (765-miles) Paris Brest Paris Audax (which he rode in 88.5 hours, in 2015). This was Bill’s 5th World Championship of Elliptical Cycling – but it was actually his 31st ElliptiGO ride to the summit of Palomar Mountain!

Margarita Rypkowski (2:29:50):

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Margarita is a Store Manager at Performance Bicycle, the USA’s leading cycle retail chain. She came across the ElliptiGO in her day-to-day work in the store and has really embraced the training it provides, telling us she’s lost a lot of weight by training on both the ElliptiGO 11R and Arc models (in combination with her road cycling). She has completed a number of epic cycling rides on the ElliptiGO, including the famed California Death Ride (129-miles long with 15,000 feet of climbing)…

The riders highlighted in this article provide a small snapshot of the dozens of riders who took part in the World Championships of Elliptical Cycling and we hope they give an insight into why so many athletes have turned to Elliptical Cycling as a fun and effective way towards attaining peak endurance fitness…

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