2012 Run Rabbit Run 100 Preview

Run Rabbit Run 100The Run Rabbit Run 100 has the strongest field of any first-year ultra in the US this year… by far. This Steamboat Springs, Colorado race also saw a ton of buzz even before the first runner had signed up. The “why” behind both facts – the race directors’ ambitious goal to eventually have a $100,000 prize purse. The RDs kicked things off with $10,000 of their own money and have built the purse up to $40,000 – the largest prize purse we’ve ever heard of for a trail ultra. Cash will go to the top five as such – 1. $10,000; 2. $3,500; 3. $2,000; 4. $1,500; 5. $1,000 – with another $1,000 going to the top master’s run if there are at least four such starters.

Speedgoatkarl's 100 mile blendAnother unique feature of the race is that it’s actually two races – one for the tortoises and one for the hares. The elite hares race starts a few hours after the main field. Only those in the hares race are eligible for the primary prize purse (10% of the purse will go to the tortoise race). Those in the hares race are subject to additional rules such as being prohibited from using pacers or trekking poles.

As expected, iRunFar.com will be livecasting this year’s Run Rabbit Run 100. You can follow all the action on our 2012 Run Rabbit Run 100 Live Coverage page and on iRunFar’s Twitter feed. Thanks to Jameson Coffee, makers of Speedgoatkarl’s 100 mile blend, for sponsoring iRunFar’s coverage of the race.

Men’s 2012 Run Rabbit Run 100 Preview

While the men’s race isn’t Western States or UTMB deep, it’s got some best-of-the-best runners at the front with a strong crew giving chase. Here are some competitor couplings for you.

Timothy Olson - 2011 Western States 100

Timothy Olson

The two favorites are clear – Timothy Olson (pre-RRR100 interview) and Mike Wolfe (pre-RRR100 interview). In June, Timothy set the course record at Western States (post-race interview). This year, he’s also won the Bandera (post-race interview) and Waldo 100ks, while being runner-up at the Lake Sonoma (post-race interview) and Leona Divide 50 milers run just two weeks apart. Those results have many already writing Olson in as Ultrarunner of the Year in permanent marker. (In my opinion, Mr. Mike Morton kept the UROY race open with his American record 24-hour run [172+ miles!] this past weekend.) Wolfe’s 2012 has been about as far from his ridiculously strong 2011 as you can imagine. So far this year he’s got a 13th at Chuckanut 50k, a 14th at Transvulcania, and an 18th at Western States. Despite that, his 2011 (TNF EC 50 win (post-race interview), WS100 2nd, Way Too Cool 50k win, etc) leave me thinking that there’ll be a very strong and very hungry Wolfe in Colorado this week.

I can only see two guys outside of Olson or Wolfe winning sometime Saturday morning – Jason Schlarb (pre-RRR100 interview) and Dylan Bowman (pre-RRR100 interview). When Schlarb’s not bagging a new state, province, or national park, he’s putting up a solid year on the race course. Most solid among his showings, an 8:13 to win the tough San Juan Solstice 50 miler in June. He’s showed is diversity by also winning the Jemez Mountain 50k, placing third at the speedy Chuckanut 50k, while grabbing fifth at Leona Divide. Bowman was one spot (8th) and 3 minutes behind Schlarb (7th) at the Speedgoat 50k in late July. Earlier in the year, D-Bo won the Leona Divide 50 to earn a spot in Western States where he took seventh. Back in January, he was fourth at the Bandera 100k.

Hardrock 100 - Karl Meltzer

Karl Meltzer

As for a pair that’ll surely run strong with a chance for the podium – Karl Meltzer (pre-RRR100 interview) and Duncan Callahan. Despite his experience, Karl ain’t gonna add this year’s Run Rabbit Run to his list of 30+ 100 mile victories. He started the year strong with a 14:17 at the Rocky Raccoon 100 before adding a win with a 15:28 at the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 (post-race interview) in March. While he was only seventh at Hardrock in July, he still ran 28:43. With money five deep and money for the Master’s win, Karl has a couple shots to bring some bank back to Utah. As for Callahan, it’s hard to get a read on this past Leadville 100 champ’s (2008 and 2010) current fitness as he’s only finished two local 50 milers recently, winning both. I’ll assume is trained, peaked, and ready to go.

Early in the race, expect to see Jason Louttit and Dave James in the lead pack. There’s a distinct chance that both will blow up, but on the days they don’t, watch out! For Louttit, hard efforts early led to ninth place finishes at both the Chuckanut 50k (he was up front with 10k to go) and the Speedgoat 50k. Then again, he won the inaugural Arc’teryx Squamish 50 mile in mid-August along with the HURT 100 mile the past two Januaries. James won the Burning River 100 in late July with a 15:02. He’s also won mountain races like the Pocatello 50 mile (2009).

Two complete wild cards in the race are the Tarahumara runners Miguel Lara and Arnulfo Quimare, who’ll both be making their north-of-the-border debuts. You may have heard of Quimare… he was in that Born to Run book.

Finally, two folks that simply must be mentioned in this preview – Nick Pedatella and John Anderson. Nick was second at the Massanutten 100 this spring before taking fourth at Hardrock. Last fall, he won The Bear and the Oil Creek 100 milers. I could list many more top 100 mile performances by Nick – this distance is in his wheelhouse. John has a sparse ultra racing resume the past two years, but he’s previously logged a third and a sixth at Wasatch although his strength seems to be at 50k and 50 mile as he’s won the Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k and Old Pueblo 50 mile, both in 2008.

Women’s 2012 Run Rabbit Run 100 Preview

Ever since the Run Rabbit Run 100 was announced, I’ve waited for a few big names to join the women’s field. Surely after Western States… Leadville?… UTMB?? It’s not happened yet, so it’s not likely to before race day.

Nikki Kimball - 2012 Western States 100 - pre-race

Nikki Kimball

Two big names have been entered in the race, only one will be on the starting line. Nikki Kimball’s long been signed up for the RRR100 and we’ve not heard anything to the contrary. That said, she went for the overall Long Trail FKT in Vermont in August, setting the women’s record in the end. Those 272 gnarly miles in the Green Mountains less than a month before race day have to affect Kimball to some extent. Krissy Moehl signed up for the race soon after its announcement, but will sit this one out after racing Western States (post-race interview), Hardrock, and UTMB in the past two and a half months.

While she might not yet be a household name, Aliza Lapierre should be and she will be racing Run Rabbit Run despite not yet being officially entered. She was third at this year’s Western States (pre-race interview) after finishing sixth there in 2011. A few weeks ago, she battled asthma at Leadville, but fought to a fourth place finish in a still strong 21:14. That “easier” effort might just leave enough in Aliza’s legs to pull off the win.

Update: Well, I awoke to an email from Lizzy Hawker confirming that she’s “practicing her bunny hops, and eating lots of carrots.” Having contemplated racing Run Rabbit Run since before UTMB, which she won for the fifth time (post-race interview), the shortened course only encouraged her decision to run RRR100. This will make for an interesting study – who’s legs between Nikki, Aliza, and Lizzy will bounce back the best from their respective recent efforts – and adds another question… will any other top women sign up between now and the race?

What does the relative lack of big names on the women’s side mean? Some very talented women who’ve had success out of the spotlight will hit the podium on a big stage. Here are the women most likely to make that leap this week:

  • Ashley Arnold – Ashley made a strong push into ultras a few years ago taking third at the 2009 Leadville 100 (race report) in her debut at the distance. More recently, she’s concentrated on shorter racing, although she took at impressive fourth at this spring’s Way Too Cool 50k. (pre-RRR100 interview)

    Ashley Arnold

    Ashley Arnold

  • Rhonda Claridge – Rhonda’s won some smaller 100s – Slickrock, Cactus Rose, and The Bear – while posting strong performances at the big name Rocky Mountain 100s, including – 2nd Hardrock ’12, 2nd Leadville ’11, 3rd Leadville ’08, 4th Wasatch ’09.
  • Salynda Fleury – To our knowledge, Salynda has never run an ultra, but she did win the Pikes Peak Marathon five years ago and has three runs between 5:00 and 5:04 there. (Note: Salynda is also entered in the 50 mile race and we’re not sure which she’s running.)
  • Melanie Fryar – On race day, Melanie will have five wins and a second place in her six ultras in the year prior. Despite racing a ton of ultras, she’s not finished a 100 since taking fourth at Rocky Raccoon in early 2009.
  • Sandi Nypaver – Although only 24, Sandi has already won two 100s, Mohican and Grindstone, both in 2010. She’s also won the Mountain Masochist 50 in 2011 and placed third at the Ice Age 50 this spring. A (somewhat?) recent move to Colorado should help her cause.
  • Jenny Pierce – Jenny won last year’s Run Rabbit Run 50 mile, 21 minutes ahead of Tina Lewis who recently won Leadville. She also won this spring’s inaugural Quad Rock 50 mile. However, Jenny’s only 100 to date, this year’s Western States 100, did not go as well.
  • Michele Suszek – Michele is having a great year with a win at the Nueces 50 mile (7:25) and a fourth place at the Pikes Peak Marathon (4:42). We’re not aware of her ever racing longer than her lone 50 miler.

The rest of the women in the hares race as of publishing: Leila Degrave, Kathy D’Onofrio, Wendy Mader (former Ironman amateur world champ), and Margaret Ochs.

Call for Comments

  • Who do you think will top the men’s and women’s field’s at this weekend’s Run Rabbit Run 100?
  • Any top contenders that we missed?

There are 71 comments

  1. Nigel

    I hope Arnulfo wins. That would be so cool. I love that book and I can't believe he is still racing, that's amazing. I would love to see the tarahmara beat everyone at that race and especially the sponsored guys.

  2. Sheamus

    Assuming young Master Olson is now letting him get some consistent sleep (and, in his own words, he's no longer feeling like a zombie), I don't see anyone touching a fresh Tim this weekend. He seems to have entered a truly purple patch, both physically and spiritually, since his win at WS, and he's refreshingly humble about everything, too. I think that attitude makes him even more dangerous.

    Morton's 2012 is staggeringly good, though – four wins, including Badwater, and now he blows Scott's 24-hour record out of the water.

    I agree Mike is favourite as things stand, now, but if Tim wins RRR would you put him back above Morton for UROY Bryon?

    1. Bryon Powell

      Thanks, Luke. I'd chatted with Lizzy about the possibility while over in Cham, but she wasn't on the list yesterday. Of course, this morning I wake up to an email from her, an email from another top women's competitor, and two comments confirming she's racing. :-D

  3. Justin McMillan

    Bryon,

    Thanks for all the great work you do at irunfar. It is constantly inspiring to me. I am running my first 100 at RRR this weekend, and I am looking forward to being both enlightened and wrecked at the same time. Just looking to keep my RFM going and staying ahead of the hares as long as possible. Thanks again!

  4. Van Horn

    Bryon I thought I saw you descending the trail from Millcreek to Lambs Canyon Friday evening…but that cat did not have facial hair and looked much younger. I was the guy practically crawling uphill looking all bonkey.

    1. MonkeyBoy

      with all the pseudo anton's we see at races, it was only a matter of time before we see pseudo-bryons. youthful looking, you say? sans facial hair?

  5. KenZ

    Only half on topic, better link for Karl's coffee. If he's going to sponsor iRunFar's coverage, I'm going to buy some coffee, but now I have to exercise my google-mojo to do so (yeah yeah, not that hard, and if I can't accomplish that, how the heck am I going to run 100…). Still, direct link please on the sponsorship notes! Oh, and thanks Bryon, thanks Karl.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hi KenZ,
      Thanks for the suggestion/reminder. I've now got multiple links in there. Now, I've just got to remember to throw my mug in the car so I can drink plenty of Speeddgoatkarl's 100 mile blend in and around Steamboat Friday night! :-)

  6. Jamil Coury

    A quick word on Miguel Lara (22 years old) who is the reigning champ in the Copper Canyons currently. He won the 51 mile Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon the past two years, in 7:04 (2011) and 6:40 (2012). Miguel was 6 minutes ahead of Danial Oralek (a 7:06 100K runner from the Czech Republic) and 11 minutes ahead of two time NYC marathon winner German Silva. This is a tougher and longer course (3-4 miles longer and an additional 1800 feet of climb) than when Scott Jurek and Joe Grant ran back in 2007 & 2008 with times of 6:32 & 6:24. Miguel also won the Ultramaratón de los Cañones in Guachochi this July with Arnulfo placing 2nd.

    1. Pete

      I am very interested to see how Miguel and Arnulfo run. Anyone who has read Born to run know these guys mean business and have the mental toughness to nail a good run. This should make for a lot of excitement. I do wonder how they will handle the aid station supplies as they may not be use to some of the options but I could be wrong.

      1. Jonathan

        RRR site says that they will have pinole for them so that may not be an issue. Hoping they do well. Almost flipped my lid when I saw their names on the start list.

  7. Drew Brazier

    Super excited for this week. I am running this as a Tortoise… one of the many aweseome parts of this race is that I will get to see the race develop Saturday morning. Sure, I won't be feeling like cheering much at that point but it will be pretty sweet to see the fast dudes flying on by to the finish. The 5 hour delayed start for the Hares is a great idea! I am very impressed with overall ogranization of this event… everything but not having real good big size map of the race had made planning a bit tricky!

  8. Dan L.

    I know it's not an ultra, but don't discount Mike Wolfe's win and new course record at the challenging Bridger Ridge Run in Bozeman, MT in August.

  9. CJ

    "Despite his experience, Karl ain’t gonna add this year’s Run Rabbit Run to his list of 30+ 100 mile victories"

    I'm not so sure I'd count out the ole' Speedgoat…he may have a few wily tricks up his sleeve

  10. CJ

    Tough decision between Morton & Olson. Not only are they neck & neck for UROY but also for single performance of the year. Not sure what else Morton has on the calendar but if Olson wins RRR and does well at NF50 (I assume he's running there) I think he wins UROY. If that's the case, give Morton performance of the year

  11. Pete

    Seems to me Olson has gone up against better competition at most of his races. Maybe this is a case of me not understanding who runs at Badwater though. None the less both are beast. Too bad Morton isn't at RRR and this could be settled in a real fashion.

    1. Bryon Powell

      It'd be sweet to see a showdown between this duo at RRR, the TNF EC 50, or anywhere else between now and the end of the year. Heck, I'd put on a sweet road/trail hybrid <del datetime="2012-09-11T23:11:47+00:00">race</del> non-event showdown if we couple get this pair to the Wasatch before the snow stops things up. I'd even put up some cash for the winner.

    2. Speedgoatkarl

      any 24 hour race is always NEVER a race against someone else, it's against the clock and distance. Morton's 172 miles blew Scotty's away. That is performance of the year in my book. In terms of running against comp, Olson takes that easy, but still, look at Morton's other 100s, badwater. Noone races against someone else running those times.

      The year is not over yet…..definately a tough call. Both are incredible years, similar to Roes' in 2009. Let's hope there isn't a "tie". :-) that would be bullshit.

      1. Scott

        I'll have to go with the guy with the more quality wins. Both guys are extremely impressive with some unbelievable accomplishments in the last year. But, I like the guy who had to fight hardest for his wins against some of the biggest names in the sport. One's a trail runner and the other more of a road runner. Maybe I'm biased with the trails but that seems where the biggest competition is. Look who all has run Western in the history of the race. Jurek (how many times?), Morton, Kilian, Roes, Anton, Mackey, Hal, Clark, etc., etc. Olson beat every time ever put up on that course. Who has run the 24 hour championship? I don't know honestly. Why?

        Morton's win was spectacular, yet Olson's win was bigger. Just my opinion.

        1. Chris

          Morton has gone up against good competitiion! Wasn't the 24 hour championship against the best in the world in Europe?!! Morton is an awesome ultra road guy & Olson is an awesome ultra trail guy!! Kourus's 188 miles still blows me away. Man was he truckin!!!

        2. Rob Y

          Morton for UROY hands down. Several low 13 hour 100 mile races this year, just falling short of the Badwater record on his FIRST attempt there, smashes the US 24 hour record amid some of the best competition in the World on his way to a world championship win? Come on! With all due respect to Olson, his CR at Western States was accomplished on a very unusual year where the entire field was so much faster than a typical WS year. Would he have been able to do so under a typical year? Who can say. Still his effort was a Course Record, Morton's was an AMERICAN Record. Big difference IMHO. Those of us who remember Morton's accomplishments on the trails before his more recent re-emergence know that the guy can dominate on any surface; his focus just seems to be on the roads of late.

  12. Zeke

    Watch out for D-Bow! He's handsome, hungry and ready to roll. Not to mention he's hit the trails hard since States. Go Elk Mountain Runners. (Dylan Bowman & Ashley Arnold)

  13. Fernando N. Baeza

    The UROY has never been closer and more difficult to pinpoint than now. As an ultrafan, I had my radar on Jared Campbell based on the difficulty of the runs hes encountered, a mental machine who is relentless at finishing something he starts. Although he will not win UROY, he did put up superb performances this year that would mark lifetime achievments for some of us all in one year. But Morton is a threat always when running. Hes not sponsored and does not do this for a living. Hes a family man like most of us. An ordinary guy with extraordinary determination. And he lives in Florida…Florida guys! My best friend ran Badwater this year. Its no walk in the park. Then we come to Tim Olson. Wow! What a phenomenol year! His course record at Western is definately his highlight thus far. What weighs more heavily for ultra performance of the year; a course record at the premier and considered by many pioneer ultra of all ultras, or a 24 hour american record against the best ultrarunners of other regions of the world? It will be a tough call. Timmy still has RRR coming up…and TNF50. Both Timmy and Olson are speedsters. Who will finish on top?

  14. dave

    he is running Javelina, expect Hal's course record to be challanged this year but Morton and some other guy that didn't like losing his 2009 Javelina CR last year ;)

  15. Collin

    Tim Olson has had a solid season, but Morton is literally miles outside his league. Morton has run 5 races, set 4 course records, and missed the course record (held by one of the top all time runners of any race longer than a marathon on roads) at the 5th race (Badwater) by less than 90 seconds. He is undefeated this year and has absolutely annihilated the competition in every race he's done this year. All of his 100s this year have been faster than Olson's PR at 100 miles. Olson, on the other hand, despite having had a much easier season, has been pretty inconsistent, losing 4 of the 7 races he's run so far this year, getting beaten by as much as 56 minutes in 50 miles. In that particular race, Ice Age 50, his finishing time, on an extremely easy course, was slower than Morton's 50 mile split at any race he did this year, and all of his races were 100 miles or longer. In Olson's 7 races, he only got 1 course record. Let's be honest. Without his impressive run at Western States (admittedly run under some of the fastest conditions in the history of the race), nobody would even give him a thought of deserving UROY. Morton, however, has exceeded the calibre of Olson's WS100 run in every single race he's done this year.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Collin,
      While the year is far from over, the relative merits of Olson's and Morton's seasons are much closer than you describe. I'll probably be drawn into chatting about the full relative merits later in the year, but I'll address two quick points. First, Olson was battling a significant injury going into Ice Age, but ran it as he was visiting home and much of his family was coming out to the race. Second, the competition Timothy has faced in the races he "lost" has been incredibly strong.

      Please keep in mind that just a few weeks ago, I was telling others not to give Timothy his UROY trophy already as they were suggesting being done. Needless to say, it'll be quite interesting comparing apples to oranges at the end of the year unless these two race before then.

      -Bryon

      Ps. I'd disagree that no one would be considering Olson as a UROY contender with his run at Western States. His runs at Bandera, Lake Sonoma, Leona Divide, and Waldo – two wins and two seconds against some of the best fields in the US this year – would warrant serious consideration.

      1. eric clifton

        i find this whole discussion of UROY and tim olson's position as a contender to be very interesting. i guess it shows just how much US ultrarunning and it's perception has changed in 15 years. in 1997 when mike morton won and set a cr at the WSER (on a slower and harder course) he was not given serious consideration and did not win UROY or even performance of the year. UROY went to Tom Johnson who won with the strength of his 8th place finish in the world 100k championships and his 17th place finish at comrades. he did win the skyline 50k and the way 2 cool 50k that year. the argument then was his performance, while not a winning one or even top 5, in a world championships was under a much more competitive situation than wser. i have to argue that rationale should surely be even more valid when a US runner becomes the FIRST US male to win a world championships AND sets a national record. i know wser likes to bill itself as "the de facto national 100 mile championships" disregarding and denigrating the true designated US national trail 100 mile championships and champions but it does not, to my knowledge go out on a limb and call itself the de facto world 100 mile champs. tim olson's wser race was phenomenal but i think collin's comment above states quite clearly the case for morton and makes it a pretty obvious choice. also, i find it amusing that people obviously think of mike as a road runner. his two wins at the hinson lake 24 hour were on non-paved surfaces as was his umstead 100 race and the long haul 100. the keys 100 and badwater were road courses he did to prepare himself for the world championships. mike is simply a racer, be it road or trail.

        1. Pete

          Eric I hate to disappoint you. But Olson ran the same course this year that Morton ran in 97. This year like 97 was run on the original full course with no snow routes or what not.

    2. Tom W

      I agree, not only were Morton's times course records, but his three 100 mile races this year were three of the top thirteen times ever for 100 milers.

  16. The German

    Dylan "The Flash" Bowman is who I see in the top 3.
    He's desperate for a good performance after the western states race.
    Go for gold DBO!

    1. Collin

      Agreed. BTW, I meant no disrespect to DBO above when I called him 2nd tier. I think he will be one of the top 3 or 4 US studs within the next year or so, he just has to prove it.

  17. eric clifton

    no worries about disappointing me pete. thanks for the input. however, after the star fire in 2001 (post race) the course was changed due to fire damage and it was not until 2006 before they returned to duncan canyon. still they retained a few of the star fire course changes and when they refer to the "traditional" course they are referring to the 2006 course which still has a different route leaving robinson flat and there is a short section now running to last chance that is still altered. mike morton never ran little bald nor was there a miller's defeat aid station when he ran. there is at least 10k of the course different from the '97 course. the last year the mike morton course was run was 2001.

    1. Pete

      My bad. Thanks for the correction. I will say this Olson got perfect weather this year for the run as well. None the less both are amazing runners.

    2. eric clifton

      the weather was good for mike in '97 w/ temp highs in the 90's at foresthill when he and tim passed thru. even given the course changes i do believe tim's effort at this year's western does exceed mike's western run. the good thing about tim is that he had many more examples of fast hundred performers and performances to use as a standard of performance. when mike ran wser in '97 there had been only 1 sub-14 hour 100 miler and a little more than handful of sub-15 hour hundreds run. with mike's 3 sub-14 hour (so far this year) hundreds, a feat never achieved before, he is resetting the standard of speed and endurance. i was lucky to win UROY waaaay back on the strength of 4 100 mile wins in one year and only one was considered (at that time) one of the major hundreds (OD). when karl meltzer won 7 in one year and most were crs he did NOT win UROY. now that was a travesty especially since that feat has not been repeated.

    3. Pete

      Wow Eric seems like I have been talking to an ultra legend. Certainly you have more knowledge then me on this matter as this is my first ultra running season. All though I have followed Westerns a bit as it is in my back yard. Clearly it is very impressive with what Mike has done this season and now that all the facts are presented clearly he should be in the lead. I would still like to see the two of them square off. I am also a bit interested in what the courses were like that Mike ran these impressive times on. I am absolutely amazed that he ran as many miles in 24 hours as he did that is just incredible. Thanks again for your insight.

    4. Helen

      Pete – only half jokingly I have to say you've no business commenting on anything ultra-running related if you don't know who Eric Clifton is!

  18. Collin

    Morton's competition at WC24 hours was certainly far stronger than the competition at any of those races you mentioned, not to mention that States was the only very fast time that he ran in comparison to the previous standards.

    Olson beat some US studs at WS, and one solid international competitor, but come on… that competition was a joke compared to WC24 hour. None of those guys hold a candle to the guys at WC24 hour:

    Yiannis Kourous, the greatest 100+ mile runner of all time

    Shingo Inoue, the 24 hour 2010 world champion

    Ivan Cudin, multiple time Spartathlon winner

    Florian Reus, the Copenhagen 100 champion

    Michael Vanicek, winner of numerous high level Euro races, including the Baltic Run

    Akos Konya, 3-time Badwater runner-up, winner of races such as McNaughton, Ultracentric, Lean Horse, Old Goats, etc

    Vladimir Bychkov – Several time European 24 hour podium finisher

    Serge Arbona – Winner of at least 10 24 hour races, plus many wins at Umstead, win at Rocky Raccoon, win at Old Dominion (2nd fastest time in history at the oldest 100 mile trail race in the world. I say this because WS100 wasn't 100 miles in the 70s…)

    Phil McCarthy – US 48 hour record holder

    Should I keep listing names?

    Let's think of this another way. Let's compare individual performances.

    1. Morton's WC24 hour vs Olson's WS100. Morton destroyed all of the best 24 hour runners in the world by a margin of 9.8+ miles. Course record, US record, both by an insanely large margin. Surprisingly close to Yiannis Kouros's road 24 hour record (within 6 miles). Olson's best run of the year came under very very fast conditions at WS100. None of the proven favorites returned (no Kilian, no Geoff, no Anton, no Hal, etc). Going in, nobody expected fast times as none of the athletes were considered to be at the calibre of the aforementioned guys. Fast times occurred because of the weather, not because everyone had a huge day. Course record, yes, but according to Jack Daniels' calculator (the most reliable way to compare times from one condition to another), having average weather for WS100 instead of this year's cool temps would tack on over half an hour, putting him well outside the 2010 record, not even factoring that 2010 was a hotter than average year. There was not a single runner in the top 15 that didn't run the fastest WS100 time they had ever run. The course was undoubtedly far easier than normal this year. Therefore, Morton's 24 hour is vastly superior.

    2. Morton's Badwater vs Olson's Bandera: Morton misses Valmir Nunes' course record by 85 seconds, Nunes being one of the best and most consistent 100k+ road racers of all time. Morton destroyed a very deep field, including at least 7 returning champions, among others. High temp was 119 in Stovepipe, which isn't reported by the major weather services, only Furnace Creek is (I was there, I saw it), so weather was hotter than people realized. Maybe a few degrees cooler than normal. Nobody has any concept of how insane sub-23 is at Badwater. Let me put this in perspective: To achieve this kind of time, with all the 14-18 mile long uphills after mile 42, Morton ran the first 42 miles in the heat of the day (remember, high temp of 119) in 5:09. Olson beat a solid field at Bandera, but missed the course record by a pretty large margin. Only Mackey has run faster, but in all fairness, nobody particularly fast ever ran this race before 2010. A bit closer, but still easily goes to Morton.

    3. Morton's Umstead vs Olson's Waldo. Morton: course record, 13:11, when only one other runner has gone under 14 on this course in its very long history (Zach Gingerich). Olson: won the race, but 46 minutes outside the course record. In fact, his time was slow enough that it would've achieved no better than 3rd in any of the past 3 years. In all fairness, both races had a pretty weak field. You writing that Waldo was one of the best fields in the US this year is not correct. Rydman and Diboun were the only other truly solid and consistent front runners to show up. Big course record vs a time that would've only barely made the podium once the last 3 years? Easily Morton, by a huge margin.

    4. Morton's Long Haul 100 vs Olson's Lake Sonoma 50. Morton raced a weak field, but won by well over 4 hours. Last year's runner was almost 2 1/2 hours slower. Olson raced a stronger field, but got trounced by Dakota by 30 seconds shy of 20 minutes. Olson wasn't even close. In comparing the times, Olson would have to run this 50 mile pace back to back with only a 4 minute break in between just to run the time that Morton hit at Long Haul 100. Easy win for Morton.

    5. Morton's Keys 100 vs Olson's Leona Divide. Obviously no comparison that Leona's competition was harder, but Olson lost to newcomer Dylan Bowman, who is only a 2nd tier elite. Keys had no competition, but Morton destroyed it. His worst performance of the year and still well under 14 hours for 100 miles in humid conditions. Massive course record or losing to a 2nd tier elite? Morton easily.

    Olson is a great guy and a great runner and I mean no disrespect, but considering his year to be even close to UROY this year is beyond disrespectful to Morton, who, in all fairness, has probably had the greatest season of any US ultrarunner of all time this year, with the only possible exception of Roes in 2010.

  19. Michael Arnstein

    Shame on anyone who would suggest anyone other than Mike Morton for UROY. Mike Morton is arguably THE greatest American Ultra runner – EVER, not just 2012. His 24 hour American record will stand for decades, his Badwater time and multiple course records at the 100 mile distance (in just in the last 2 years since back on the scene) are off the charts! The guy is on another planet compared to other runners.

    He's a talent that comes around every 20-50 years, something of a freakish form of human locomotion, the guy is beyond words. And if he sticks with the sport and continues to push limits I see him setting a new American record in the 100 mile distance, he could even potentially break 12 hours. What also makes Morton unique is that he's old old school, no blog, no sponsors, no nonsense, just run and get out of his way damn it! I'm grateful to be alive in the time he's doing what he's doing, I can't even piece together in my mind what this guy is able to do in ultra running.

    It's unforgivable how some trail ultra guru's don't give credit where it's due. Mike Morton, you are Runner of the Decade! Everyone who denies this is out of touch beyond words.

  20. SINHUÉ

    Creo que ganará Morton sin dificultades, y como buen mexicano pienso que debo opinar sobre los amigos tarahumaras, al respecto opino que el mejor ubicado será Miguel Lara Viniegra, con quien por cierto me gustaría competir algún día. . .

  21. Kieran

    Dark horse for a money position not mentioned in the post whom I saw on the entrant's list: Dennis Flanagan — course record holder in the Leadville Marathon.

  22. OOJ

    Michael (and others)-

    One thing you need to consider is VERSATILITY. Mike Morton is a complete beast (and, admittedly, the only runner I truly, truly FEAR going into WS '13, should he run)…but has he demonstrated a versatile 2012?

    Tim Olson has showed a supreme amount of versatility in his high-level performances in 2012: from the desert/sandstone of Bandera to the rollers at Sonoma, to the 100-mile distance at Western States and everything in between. He's thrown down against the best runners in each race and bested nearly all. And I predict he will show up to TNF-San Fran – a hilly, yet road-fast course teeming with international speedsters – and podium there.

    Morton has run 100s, and 24 hours. Lots. Done 'em incredibly, but he's done nothing else. And while the caliber of 24-hr runners he bested is stout, he has not tested himself against the varied, "middle distance" mountain and flat-trail races that the voters of the UROY look at.

    Should Morton get POTY? Absolutely. But crushing several 100+ events, while incredible, is not versatile enough for me (as a theoretical voter) to get my nod for UROY.

    P.S. Nice meeting you coming out of El Dorado at WS '11! I've watched your 30min doc on Youtube a bunch of times since then! Happy running!

  23. eric clifton

    actually, i made a mistake. karl did win uroy the first time he won so many 100's however he was second a few years later when he won 5 100's.

    1. Godale

      I think Morton won the true course record at western. I remember at the awards they were chanting "East Coast" because no one out of California had run well. Scott became the KING of Western by then destroyed that theory winning 7 in a row from Minnesota. Even though he may not have the course record he still defended his title for 6 more years. Totally Amazing. I can not imagine the stress.

      Morton and Eric are a class act. When I started running ultras in 95 my two biggest influences where Eric Clifton and Mike Morton. They ran hard until they either passed out or set a course record, I loved to be in the same race with them.

      I set the American Record in 99 winning the 24 hour National Championship. Also the same year won the 50 Mile Road National Championship and Ultra Runner of the Year for the Magazine and USA T&F.

      I am really happy for Mike. Plus he defended our country!!!!

      As for Badwater Mike missed the course record by 1 min!!!!!!! Most don't know the sport well enough to know that Valmir Nunes from Brazil has the course record. Nunes is a great friend of mine and is a former World Record holder for the 100K in 6:16 that is back to back 50K's in 3:08. He also won the world championship twice. In my eyes Eric and Mike are two of the best ever American Ultra Runners!!!! Hands down!!!!!!!

      I know Nunes and he would call Mike a "Champion"

    1. Collin

      Hahahaha. Yeah, this course definitely plays to Karl's strengths. He seems to have struggled a bit since his massive year in 2009, but when he's healthy, despite his age, he's one of the very best in 100 mile races with 20k+' gain. Surprisingly good finish for Bowman, btw. Like I said, I figure that he has a good shot of becoming part of the next generation of super studs at 50s and 100s, but I was surprised that, already in this race, he could beat Tim. TBH, I was a bit surprised to see Wolfe on the top of peoples' lists, as he's not consistent at 100 miles. He's only had one competitive finish at any 100 in the last 2 years (WS '11 in 2nd, but he also got 9th at Rocky Raccoon, 3.5 hours off the winner, 26th at UTMB, 8 hours off the winner, and 19th at WS '12, 3+ hours off the winner). I hope to see him get back to WS'11 shape, but he seems a little more consistent at shorter stuff, where he's only once finished worse than 2nd place 3 times out of 16 races.

  24. Collin

    Interesting turn out. Another solid run from Tim, but I'm not sure how this affects the UROY playout. Obviously, 3rd place here is good, but does it just count more against him to now be 3/8 for the year while Morton is without a loss? Are either of them racing again?

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