2012 TNF EC 50 Mile Championship Results

The North Face Endurance Challenge 2012This race in a couple words: wet, a bit confusing, and wicked fast.

On Thursday night before Saturday’s race, The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships race administration announced a course change due to a Pineapple Express’ impending arrival, a nickname for the occasional but very wet weather systems that roll off the Pacific Ocean, to ensure athlete safety and logistical preparedness. The resulting course was composed of a 23-ish mile figure eight with a couple, small out-and-backs that was repeated twice.

Sheeting rain falling in the inch-per-hour-or-more range, blustery winds, and temperatures hovering in the 50s Fahrenheit greeted runners at the starting line. As the morning progressed, the wind calmed but the rain picked up before tapering into just clouds as the lead men and women finished.

The course, which was to be run twice by the 50-mile race and once each by the associated and simultaneous 50K and marathon races, became quickly mucked up and slick. Some runners, both at the front and the back of the pack, suffered navigation issues that added both challenge and confusion on the day. [Update: Adam Campbell, Sage Canaday and Jason Wolfe share their stories and thoughts of going off course while leading during the race.]

When all was said and done, Spaniard Miguel Heras (post-race interview) and Swede (living in Norway) Emelie Forsberg (post-race interview) were bothered not by water, mud, or the new course and emerged as men’s and women’s champions. They each take home a hefty $10,000 prize.

You can find our full play-by-play of the race as well as a collection of our pre-race interviews and preview on our TNF 50 Mile Live Coverage page.

The bottom of this article includes links to TNF EC 50 Mile-related articles, photo galleries, and race reports.

Ps. To get all the latest ultra news from iRunFar.com, subscribe via RSS or email.

2012 TNF EC 50 Mile Men’s Race

As you can imagine when about three dozen highly talented men come together at a big-prize-money race, a massive group of dudes shot off the start line and kept on rolling. A couple of that group’s rabbits would suffer some time off course or the consequences of accidentally cutting the course (Sage Canaday, Adam Campbell, Jason Wolfe, Timmy Parr, and Mike Foote as examples), while others just plain couldn’t hang with the jet-speed pace. In the end, it was the guys who raced steadily, strongly, and perhaps most carefully who emerged on the money-bearing podium: Miguel Heras in first (winning $10,000), François d’Haene in second (winning $4,000), and Cameron Clayton in third (winning $1,000).

Miguel Heras - 2012 TNF 50 Mile

Miguel Heras wins the 2012 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships.
Photo: Brett Rivers, San Francisco Running Company

2012 TNF EC 50 Mile Men’s Results

Cameron Clayton - 2012 TNF 50 Mile

Cameron Clayton after taking third.
Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

  1. Miguel Heras (Salomon) – 5:33:16 (pre-race & post-race interviews)
  2. François d’Haene (Salomon) – 5:46:42 (pre-race & post-race interviews)
  3. Cameron Clayton – 5:47:14
  4. Adam Campbell (Arc’teryx, Salomon) – 5:53:35
  5. Alex Nichols (Inov-8) – 5:55:20
  6. Jason Wolfe (Run Flagstaff) – 6:01:50
  7. Dylan Bowman (Pearl Izumi) – 6:02:56
  8. Sylvain Court (Adidas) – 6:05:47
  9. Gary Gellin (Inov-8) – 6:06:41
  10. Shaun Martin – 6:07:17
  11. Mike Wolfe (The North Face) – 6:09:48
  12. Christopher Kollar – 6:13:46
  13. Ryan Ghelfi – 6:14:02
  14. Greg Vollet (Salomon) – 6:17:25
  15. Dave Mackey (Hoka One One) – 6:17:50
  16. Jorge Maravilla (Salomon) – 6:20:58
  17. Chris Vargo – 6:23:39
  18. Justin Ricks – 6:24:11
  19. Leigh Schmitt (The North Face) – 6:25:49
  20. Hal Koerner (The North Face) – 6:26:26

Full results.

2012 TNF EC 50 Mile Women’s Race

Maud Gobert set a hot and heavy pace for the women for the race’s first half while the rest of the elite ladies spread out into a chase train behind her, intermixed with the men. All day, Emelie Forsberg and Stephanie Howe lingered close, apparently waiting for their chance to pounce. With about 10 miles to go, Forsberg had forged herself a 2:30 lead with Gobert and Howe fighting for second and third. At the finish, Forsberg stayed strong and won by a margin of two minutes over Howe and seven minutes over Gobert. Forsberg takes $10,000, Howe $4,000, and Gobert $1,000 as payday for their efforts.

Emelie Forsberg - 2012 TNF 50 win

Emelie Forsberg wins the 2012 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships.
Photo: Brett Rivers, San Francisco Running Company

2012 TNF EC 50 Mile Women’s Results

  1. Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) – 6:39:18 (pre-race & post-race interviews and race report)
  2. Stephanie Howe (The North Face) – 6:41:36 (post-race interview and race report)
  3. Maud Gobert (Adidas) – 6:46:13
  4. Caitlin Smith (Salomon) – 7:05:00
  5. Silvia Serafini (Salomon) – 7:12:02
  6. Tina Lewis (Salomon) – 7:13:30
  7. Brandy Erholtz (New Balance) – 7:14:50
  8. Krissy Moehl (Patagonia, UltrAspire) – 7:19:27
  9. Bethany Lewis (UltrAspire) – 7:20:02
  10. Lizzy Hawker (The North Face) – 7:26:44
  11. Sandi Nypaver – 7:28:06
  12. Megan Laib – 7:32:13
  13. Joelle Vaught (Montrail) – 7:34:54
  14. Jennifer Pfeifer – 7:37:24
  15. Stacey Cleveland – 7:38:21
  16. Christina Clark – 7:49:01
  17. Rory Bosio (The North Face) – 7:51:01
  18. Helen Cospolich (The North Face) – 7:55:39
  19. Erica Namba – 7:57:08
  20. Candice Burt (Salomon) – 8:00:59

Full results.

Stephanie Howe - 2012 TNF EC 50 Mile

Stephanie Howe racing the TNF 50.
Photo: Brett Rivers, San Francisco Running Company

2012 TNF EC 50 Mile Articles, Race Reports, and More

Articles and Photo Galleries

Race Reports

Last update: December 10, 11 pm MST

Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Managing Editor, the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,' and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.

There are 24 comments

  1. Meghan Hicks

    Hello kind readers,

    I hope that we only need to say once here that, while we welcome your comments, we welcome those of the constructive variety. If you would like to discuss or debate course-marking/navigation issues from today's race, please do so in a civil and respectful manner.

    Please also keep in mind that only the runners who participated in the race and the race administration/volunteers can speak from an actual place of fact; the rest of our commentary (Including mine, even though I was out on portions of the course and saw a goodly portion of the action.) is supposition.

    Thanks for listening,


    1. Andy

      Meghan, I totally agree that all commentary should be constructive. Still, with all due respect, in Art's defense I read his tongue-in-cheek closing comment about weather liability to mean that even his first assertion is meant with some sarcasm.

      Great coverage and kudos, as always, to iRF for being out there and bringing it in real time. You certainly lived up to the "Mud, Mountains" tagline today. Many thanks.

  2. OOJ

    As one who ran the course, I can offer the following general insights and criticisms:

    – The course was fairly poorly marked; there were many important trail junctions (in an area that, if anyone is familiar with The Headlands, has a myriad of trails), there were small markings that, with the severe weather, were susceptible to being knocked down and obscured. As a result, I, myself had to stop twice on the Coastal Trail (as I was alone and off the back of the pack) to route-find and – eventually – find and re-post two critical signs (one of which prevented runners from plummeting into the Pacific).

    – The weather was pretty awful. We runners were extremely grateful for the volunteers out there – at 5AM, in the dark, 30mph winds, and driving rain – helping out with course marshaling. However, it was clear that many junctions were inadequately staffed – either by people, markings, and/or lights. The conditions exposed weaknesses in the race organizations that, on a good-weather day, might've gone without issue.

    – Ultimately, for a race of this status – with its money and defacto "championship" status – needs to have a stand-alone 50M/championship race. The merging of multiple courses and multiple waves of runners confuses not only the runners but volunteers, themselves, creating a situation rife for foul-ups and controversy.

  3. Ellie

    but I am sure you had that trademark ear to ear beam whilst face planting in the mud, right Jorge! Nice work to you and all the runners who braved what sounds like a pretty epic course.

  4. Ellie

    Agreed! Awesome coverage from a small crew of iRunFar peeps who were out battling the cold as much as the racers and I am sure much sleep deprived too. In the meantime, we sit commenting from the warmth and comfort of our sofas. Wow, sounds like quite the day – congrats to all who toed the start line.

  5. Bryon Powell

    Hey Jorge,
    We were posting results based on this afternoon's race org results. Thanks for letting us know when you came in. I saw you jump across the line from afar. :-)…. no, wait, :-D …. that's better.

  6. Speedgoatkarl

    Any race that has a prize purse should be marked so clearly that one would have to be blind to make a wrong turn. ALL turns should be no-brainers, noone should have to remember the "course description", because NOONE remembers every turn, I don't care how many times we look at the "map".

    At Speedgoat too, noone got lost, but we had a "rules" issue. It sucked for me to make a decision without a Skyrunning Federation representative around to at least throw in their two cents on the problem. Noone from the ISF was present because they didn't want to pay for their travel to have someone there. I don't think that's right. This year the rules on switchbacks will be clear, but still no ISF rep…..

    People and companies are putting on money races that don't run as an elite athlete, so they don't have much experience with marking a course, or course "flow". Locals will always feel their course is easy to follow….not the case for anyone else. '

    It was still a good race and the big dance at the end of the year, at least we have that. right?

  7. Andy

    Sean — Anyone with a little knowledge about behavioral and social science (yeah, I'm a Ph.D. psychologist) will tell you that the scientific literature has hundreds if not thousands of studies showing a high genetic and familial concordance of substance abuse in families. As an example, a recent article by eminent psychiatric epidemiologist, Ken Kendler, and colleages: Kendler, Sundquist, Ohlsson etl. (2012). Genetic and Familial Environmental Influences on the Risk for Drug Abuse. Archives of General Psychiatry, pp. 690-697.

    But, to quote another eminent social scientist, Karl Meltzer (somewhere in this post)" Now go run and forget about it. It's a blog."

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