Rory Bosio raced her first ultramarathon in 2007. Since then, the Truckee, California, resident has notched four top-five finishes in the Western States 100 and won The North Face’s prestigious Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc twice. That’s a 103-mile circumnavigation of the iconic peak that straddles France, Italy, and Switzerland on a route that climbs more than 30,000 feet.
Needless to say, Bosio is already a star ultrarunner at just 30 years old. We caught up with the endurance powerhouse to find out how she got started, where she’s headed, and her secret strength routine for crushing ultras.
“Living in Tahoe, it’s easy for someone in their 20s to fall into the party scene,” says Bosio, a full-time nurse and North Face–sponsored ultrarunner. “I knew I needed to find a more productive outlet, and I knew my neighbor Laura Vaughn had done the Western States 100, and she made it sound like no big deal.” (Vaughn’s father invented the sports gel and founded GU Energy Labs after listening to her complain about stomach issues from her race.) “I ran cross-country and track in high school, but cross-country ski racing was my thing. Back then, running was always about being a better skier.”
Bosio started training with Vaughn and entered her first ultra, the Silver State 50K, outside of Reno. “I found that I liked ultrarunning more than I thought I would,” Bosio says. “I liked the pace. Slow enough that you could look around at the scenery—and the views were amazing. I could run alongside other people and talk for a while.” The fact that she won didn’t hurt, either.
Despite her stunning successes since then at the world’s most prestigious races, Bosio still has a few bucket list events. Her dream race, for instance, is the Hardrock 100, a 100-mile sufferfest with nearly 34,000 feet of climbing at an average altitude of 11,186 feet, held each July in southwestern Colorado. “It’s the epitome of mountain running, and it’s the only race in the United States that I want badly,” Bosio says. “It reminds me of Europe: big, long climbs and descents with not a lot of flat running. I don’t do well in runnable races. The more hiking, the better.”
While waiting to see if she wins a lottery slot this December, Bosio has been forming other ambitious plans for 2015, including the 74-mile Lavaredo Ultra Trail race in the Italian Dolomites in late June, followed by a possible run/bike loop of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks in July, where she’d run up and down each peak and then pedal to the next ascent. She's also thinking about a one-day circumnavigation of the Tahoe Rim Trail. She’ll finish her season in October on Reunion Island off Madagascar in the Indian Ocean at the 100-mile Diagonale des Fous, or Grand Raid.
“I need big projects to focus on,” Bosio says, “or else I go crazy.”
Bosio’s Hard-Core Strength Routine
“Core strength is the one thing I’m consistent about maintaining,” says Bosio. “Without it, everything falls apart 20 hours into a race. A strong core helps me maintain an efficient running posture longer. It also helps my balance when running with a hydration pack.”
Five days a week for 15 minutes a day, Bosio works through the following exercises, allowing herself no more than 20 seconds of recovery between each set or move.
Pushups: Three sets of 10 to 13 reps, keeping your elbows as close to your body as possible.
Planks: Start facedown, resting on your forearms and toes; hold for two minutes. Rotate onto the right forearm until your torso is perpendicular to the ground; hold for two minutes. Switch to the opposite side/arm; hold for two minutes. Finish with two minutes facedown in the start position.
Hip lifts and reverse crunches: Rotate three times through 30 reps each of hip lifts and reverse crunches. Hip lift: Lie on your back with legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Press your pelvis upward until only your shoulders and feet are touching the ground. Slowly lower your hips to the floor. Reverse crunch: Lie on your back with legs straight. Lift your knees to your chest, rolling your butt off the floor. Slowly lower your legs back to the floor.