Kieran Lumb leads the men to a first place finish at Red Bull 400 in Whistler, Canada on July 30, 2016

One lap around the track the 400m is hard enough, one of the most lactic inducing races in track and field. Now Red Bull has decided to one-up the 400m track race by sending competitors straight up the 2010 Olympic ski jump. This is going to put anyone’s quads, calves and endurance to the test. 

The Competition:

After sending one of our writers out to participate and share what the Red Bull 400 is all about, we sadly had to abandon the coverage when nearby forest fires to the south caused the event to be cancelled. Throughout the year talk stirred and there were some heated conversations in the office about which magazine’s athletes could take the victory in 2018 (Running, Cycling & Triathlon). We decided to put our money where our mouth was and put our theories to the test.

Gripped Publishing recently did a call-out to Canada’s top endurance sport athletes in the running, cycling and triathlon specialties for a unique challenge. The goal of the contest was to pit its three magazines (Canadian Running, Canadian Cycling and Triathlon Canada) against each other to determine who’s the top in endurance sports. The Red Bull 400 is our middle battle ground between cycling, triathlon and running. While a runner may have an advantage in terms of time spent on their feet, a cyclist and triathlete are arguably more accustomed to steep inclines and hill climbing. None of the three athletes are perfectly prepared for an uphill race like this, which makes it the perfect opportunity to test their pure strength, grit and tenacity. 


The winners of the team relay race pose for a portrait on the podium at Red Bull 400 in Whistler, Canada on July 30, 2016

The Battle Grounds:

The Red Bull 400 is the ultimate test of speed and endurance. The race climbs up a ski jump, at a 37 degree angle, for 400 metres. July 14, 2018 will mark the third edition of the Whistler. B.C. event. 

Don’t let the short distance fool you, the Red Bull 400 is a test of full-body strength. For context, the world record for the flat 400m is 43.03, and the world record for the Red Bull 400 is 3:48. That’s over three minutes longer to cover the same distance with an average record pace of 9:30 per km. Competitors will be pushing their lactic threshold to absolute max using their feet, legs and hands to race up this steep 400m. 

The defending men’s and women’s champions are IAAF World Cross-Country team member Kieran Lumb, and triathlete Rachel McBride, one of Canada’s most decorated athletes in the sport. 

Chantelle Groenewoud, Rachel McBride and Zoe Dawson pose for a portrait on the podium at Red Bull 400 in Whistler, Canada on July 30, 2016

Our Runner:

Kieran Lumb

Age: 20

Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.

1,500m PB: 3:50.14

Red Bull Record: 3:48

Canadian Running: What’s your training like on a weekly basis?

Kieran Lumb: In 2016 when I set the world record at the Whistler Red Bull 400, I was primarily a cross-country skier. At that point I was running track, but not that seriously.

I did a lot of cross-training, like hiking. Those activities ended up having a training effect, but really just felt like fun.

Since starting university my training has really changed. I used to train in smaller groups or alone, but I have training partners now. My training is also a lot more structured than it formerly was. I now have practice Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday along with weights twice a week. My training group is big – it’s fun to work with people.

CR: Why are you better suited to the Red Bull 400 than a cyclist/triathlete?

KL: What makes me better suited to the Red Bull 400 than a cyclist or triathlete is time spent on my feet. Weight bearing makes a huge difference in running, so being used to that feeling will serve me well. Also, the 1,500m is my primary distance now. The duration of the 1,500m is almost exactly the same time as my Red Bull 400 world record. It’s like I’ve been training for the race without having it in mind specifically. 

CR: What’s the race like?

KL: The whole thing feels like the last 200m of an 800m. The lactic really starts to set in around 1:30 minutes into the 4 minute long race.

CR: Favourite running memory?

KL: My favourite running memory is being at the World Junior Cross-Country Championships in Uganda. The morning before the race I did a shakeout run and ran by all of the vendors setting up their markets. Everyone would stare at me because I was wearing Canada gear, people were very fascinated by the Canadians. It was a special moment because had it not been for running, I would’ve never been there.

CR: What’s coming up for you?

KL: The Canadian national championships and then the Red Bull 400.

Editor’s note: Lumb is clearly the strongest of the three competitors. He has spent the most time on his feet, his body understands running, and he trains for a running event that is roughly four minutes long. Because Lumb trains to sustain extreme effort for 4 minutes, his advantage in the Red Bull 400 in enormous. Lumb is also the world record holder and has experience on his side – for all these reasons, he is the athlete to beat. 


Our Competitors:

Triathlon Magazine CanadaRachel McBride

Canadian Cycling Magazine: Michael van den Ham 


How to Follow:

Coverage of the 2018 Red Bull 400 will be hosted by Evan Dunfee through the Canadian Running social media channels and website. Keep an eye out for more details closer to the event 


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