Hmm… it’s Leadville 100 time, Anton Krupicka is healthy, and racing. Folks, we have a favorite. He just broke his own stiff course record at the White River 50 last month and that’s on the heels of crushing the old Western States 100 course record in June. Sure, Geoff Roes beat him, but Anton ran one of the best 100 mile trail races ever and Geoff’s headed to UTMB. And, no, I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. Unlike last year when Anton was focused on setting the course record, this year he’s focused on winning. That same strategy netted him that 7 minute course record at White River. It could be the same story at Leadville, so keep in mind Matt Carpenter’s course record is 15:42:59. Here’s an interview with Anton from the day prior to the race.
It’s late, so I’m gonna be more forthright that my usual prerace predictions. I’m going with Duncan Callahan for second. He won Leadville in 2008 and was third last year. He lives in Gunnison, Colorado, which sits at 7,700′ in elevation. He knows the course and how to race it. All that counts for an awful lot. Duncan did have a lackluster spring, but then won and set a course record at the Silver Rush 50 miler in Leadville in July. Running a 6:50 50 miler all above 9,000′ is impressive… and indicative of exactly the skill set one needs to rip it up at Leadville.
Hal Koerner has won the Western States 100 two out of the last three times it’s been run. Koerner dropped from States due to an ankle injury and its side effects, but, otherwise, he’s had one heck of a year. He was second to Anton at Miwok and has set course records at the Lake Sonoma 50 mile and the Canadian Death Race (77 miles). Hal needs to finish a 100 miler to keep his 10+ year 100 miler/year streak alive, so he’s squeezing in Leadville on the weekend between his bachelor party and his wedding. He’d better not screw this one up… or his weekend getaways may be in jeopardy. The biggest things that could dampen Hal’s race would be him retweaking his ankle injury or the fact that he didn’t acclimate at all to the altitude. We interviewed him, too.
Rod Bien finished third behind Krupicka and Koerner at this year’s Miwok 100k. Bien also ran 6:18 at American River and 18:19 at Western States. Clearly his fitness is there. Unfortunately, he didn’t acclimate for Leadville, either, so look for him in the 5-10 slot rather than top three. Acclimation is so darn important at Leadville.
There always a bunch of Colorado men who I just don’t know too well going into Leadville… and a few of them always finish in top places. I admit that crowd isn’t my specialty. It’s not due to apathy, but rather due to the slew of talent that’s hard to keep up with from afar. That said, there are a few obvious picks.
- Zeke Tiernan was third at Leadville in 2008 in 18:37. If he can run that time again, that’s easily a top five finish with another chance of sneaking into top three.
- I’d say Jason Koop is due to really bust one with this being his third straight Leadville appearance, but not this year with him already having raced Western States and Hardrock.
- I keep hearing the name Dylan Bowman around Leadville from people in the know, so look out for him. He’s only 24 and was second to Callahan at this year’s Silver Rush 50.
- For a bunch of other Colorado contenders, as well as a solid race preview in general, check out Nick Clark’s RunColo.com article.
Michael Arnstein… If it weren’t for Krupicka, I’d say he’s easily the most talented runner in the field. He nearly won the JFK 50 mile last November and he’s a fast marathoner. He’s not impressed (for his talent) at the two trail ultras he’s run this year, the TNF Bear Mountain 50 mile and Vermont 100. Maybe Leadville will be his day and, if it is, watch out. Leadville is a road course, which is positive. As with Koerner and Bein, if he’s not acclimated, there’s little chance of him winning.
I’d have Paul Dewitt on our radar, too, but I’ve heard he’s pacing a friend through the race rather than going for it himself. If that rumor isn’t true, count him among the contenders for top five, if not much higher.
Similarly, Andy Jones-Wilkins won’t be a contender… he’s not running due to personal commitments. His replacement race was the Vermont 100, which he won.
Call for Comments
Well, the race is already on for almost anyone reading this. How’s it going? Who’s winning? Any big surprises?