As is typical this time of year, Robert Brouillette is dark on social media. We made the effort to catch up with him and challenger Josh Bolton for a quick update.
Each year since 2015, top finishers in the women’s race have been considerably closer than for the men. Robert Brouillette has excelled as he as chased times from 2003 and 2004, and has always won the week-long Ultimate race by over 30 minutes.
Having Josh Bolton in the field this year presents the possibility of one of the most exciting men’s races of all time. With both guys chasing historical times, we could see Stage records fall this year, or even sub-10 hour times – none of which has happened since 2004.
Since there is no apparent rivalry – these Grand River Endurance teammates say they’re just excited to compete with and against each other – we’ll take a look at some key factors:
Experience – Rob
Rob has raced and recovered at ENDURrun for four years and has a wealth of data and feel. Not to discount Josh, who has coached Rob during this time and has extensive recovery plans of his own. Rob defied some expectations in his debut in 2015, but even still, he had run Stage 7 the previous year as a Relay runner.
Speed – Josh
Josh has the edge here, with faster PBs in the 10k and half marathon. Rob isn’t far behind, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Josh snag a Gold Jersey in the first few days of the competition.
Health – Wildcard
Rob is healthy but not in his own top form, and Josh is on a strong comeback from achilles surgery in the fall. Until we see it, it’s hard to know how much separation there is.
Course experience – Rob
We put experience in twice because of the advantage that Rob has earned by leaving sweat and footprints on every turn of every course over a long period of time. Even the Stage 2 course move is directly into Rob’s stomping grounds of Cambridge, Ontario. Josh has strong reconnaissance on every Stage … except Chicopee.
Motivation – Toss Up
Both guys express sincere motivation to achieve historic wins. We don’t think it’s wise to doubt either of them.
If you like the top-end speed, or if you value the experience even higher, then you have your obvious answer. But until he is unseated, Rob is the four-time defending champion.
Pictured: Rob and Josh at Stage 4 in 2016.
— The ENDURrun (@ENDURrun) August 8, 2019