- Jeremy Lanningham
- Emma Bates
Instead, her black racing top had five words emblazoned in all caps, “RUN FOR CAMP FIRE RELIEF.”
One of Bates' goals for the December 2 California International Marathon was to help raise awareness for the devastation caused by wildfires across California. She also partnered with Sierra Nevada, which recently launched a beer called Resilience Butte County Proud IPA with all the proceeds going towards Camp Fire relief. Indeed, that goal was accomplished.
Her other goal? Win her debut marathon, and secure the title of USA marathon champion.
After two hours and 28 minutes and 19 seconds, Bates achieved that ambitious goal too.
“I went into the race wanting to win and to actually make it happen is something pretty sweet,” Bates told Boise Weekly after her victory.
Bates won the race by more than a minute, averaging a blistering five minutes and 40 seconds-per-mile.
The plan she and coach/fiance Kameron Ulmer devised involved going out with a lead group of women, hitting the halfway point in 75 minutes. By that halfway point, Bates was already 83 second up on her closest challenger.
“I went out in about 73-ish minutes, not listening to that plan at all, or executing it at all, but I felt so good,” said Bates. "Kameron told me it would be easy, and I just kept hitting pretty quick paces and I felt relaxed.”
That said, it wasn’t smooth sailing through the whole race. Stomach issues from carb drinks and energy gels she ingested became an issue. Bates said she was hiccuping and then dry heaving throughout the second half, even pulling to the side of the course when she thought she might be sick. Despite being slowed by her stomach issues,
Bates finished strongly for her first professional national title and with the eighth-fastest debut by an American and the fastest by an Idaho resident.
Bates’ attributes much of her recent success to her move back to Boise this year, after training with a professional team in Boston. She is now part of the newly formed Idaho Distance Project, a loosely-organized elite team of a half-dozen runners including Canadian national champion Kinsey Middleton and 2018 Race to Robie Creek winner Megan Lacy.
“I have had teammates in the past but nobody quite like Kinsey. She is the most positive person you can ever meet especially when it comes to running,” said Bates, who logged a majority of her training miles with Middleton. “She just gets so excited about every training run and every workout and you can’t help but feed off that energy.”
If the two marathoners’ workouts didn’t align, Ulmer was always ready to jump in as well.
“Having that support there has made all the difference.I just thrive the best in this environment and with the people we have in Boise.”
Bates won’t have a long recovery from her marathon— on Saturday, Dec. 8, she will be toeing the line in Spokane, Wash. with her IDP teammates for the national club cross country championships. She also has plans to race a half-marathon in Doha in January 2019. Then she will get to rest.
And that awareness-raising partnership with Sierra Nevada to assist Camp Fire relief? Several Idaho-based breweries are helping to brew the IPA, with Payette Brewing Co. planning to tap the batch on Thursday, Dec. 20.