2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Championship Results

2013 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile ChampionshipsThe foul-weather curse of 2012 gone, today dawned cloudless and chilly on the 2013 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships in California’s Marin Headlands. With the pressure of competition almost all the way through the finish tape, Arizona’s Rob Krar (pre-race and post-race interviews) and Colorado’s Michele Yates (post-race interview) won the men’s and women’s races, taking home the big-gun, $10,000 cash purse.

In addition to this article, 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 EC 50 Live Coverage page.

As usual, we’ll be updating this article with additional results as well as links to TNF EC 50-related articles, photo galleries, and race reports.

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

2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Men’s Race

A new era has dawned on–shall we call it–middle-distance ultrarunning, an era in which 50-mile races are treated strategically similar to marathons. Let us elaborate. In the race’s first 12.7 miles to Muir Beach Aid Station #1, two guys worked together to create a break, Miguel Heras and Cameron Clayton (pre-race and post-race interviews). As breaks usually go in marathoning, at least when they happen that early, they are eventually absorbed back into the pack. And this is exactly what happened. While Miguel dropped before mile 22.7 with a hamstring problem, Cameron was gobbled back up into the pack before the McKennon Gulch Aid Station at mile 22.7. That pack was a group of 10 dudes who basically ran together for a while, yo-yoing around. A couple dudes went off course but most of the dudes just slowly started to peel off the back. At mile 27.7, it was a group of seven and, at mile 40, it was still a group of four. The win would belong to the guy who could surge the hardest in the race’s final fifth.

Cameron Clayton leading the TNF EC 50 at mile 12.7, still in the dark. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Cameron Clayton leading the TNF EC 50 at mile 12.7 with Miguel Heras, still in the dark. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

The man who did that was Rob Krar. In what had to be an almost-inhuman push, Rob left the other three in the lead group, Cameron Clayton, Chris Vargo (post-race interview), and Mike Wolfe, in the literal dust after mile 40 at Muir Beach Aid Station #2. In the 4.1 miles between there and the Tennessee Valley Aid Station #2, Rob put an incredible eight-plus minutes on the rest of the guys, who were also becoming strung out from each other by mile 44. When we saw him cruise through mile 44, he was running just over five minute-mile pace but looking incredibly springy on his feet. Holla’, the man knows how to work it. From there, the rest is history and Krar won with a 10-minute margin. Talk about closing out a racing season in style; someone get Rob a beer!

Rob Krar wins the 2013 TNF EC 50. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Rob Krar wins the 2013 TNF EC 50. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Cameron Clayton would be passed and would pass a couple times before taking a strong second, not falling victim to the work of his early break after all and bettering his 2012 finishing position by one. And Chris Vargo, who ran pretty, dang aggressive all day, was clearly running within himself. He ran himself into third place and the final money spot for the men.

Chris Vargo running his way to third place at mile 44. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Chris Vargo running his way to third place at mile 44. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Dan Kraft, who’s he, right? We’ll be honest, we didn’t know who he was until he popped into the men’s top 10 somewhere after the halfway point and steadily worked his way up to a fourth-place, stellar showing. This 25-year-old is on the trail-performance upswing, for certain. He was second at the Imogene Pass Run in September and seventh at the Moab Red Hot 55k back in February. He’s a 2010 grad of Colorado College. Was an ultra star born today? Dylan Bowman, who spent his day hanging with that lead pack of dudes, came out with a solid, fifth-place finish.

Dan Kraft having an ultramarathon breakout race. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Dan Kraft having an ultramarathon breakout race. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

In the balance of the men’s top 10 was Mike Wolfe, Jorge Maravilla, Dave Mackey, Ryan Sandes, and Ryan Ghelfi.

2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Men’s Results

  1. Rob Krar (The North Face) – 6:21:07 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  2. Cameron Clayton (Salomon) – 6:31:15 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  3. Chris Vargo (adidas) – 6:33:32 (post-race interview)
  4. Dan Kraft – 6:35:55
  5. Dylan Bowman (Pearl Izumi) – 6:37:14 (pre-race interview)
  6. Mike Wolfe (The North Face) – 6:38:20
  7. Jorge Maravilla (Salomon) – 6:43:15
  8. Dave Mackey (Hoka One One) – 6:44:20
  9. Ryan Sandes (Salomon) – 6:44:59
  10. Ryan Ghelfi (Rogue Valley Runners) – 6:51:55
  11. Max King (Montrail) – 6:54:44
  12. David Riddle (Salomon) – 6:57:10
  13. Martin Gaffuri (New Balance) – 6:57:15
  14. Peter Hogg – 7:00:40
  15. Florent Bouguin – 7:12:57
  16. Michael Wardian (The North Face) – 7:14:44
  17. Fritjof Fagerlund – 7:16:06
  18. Bob Shebest – 7:18:44
  19. Michael Owen – 7:21:09
  20. Scott Breeden – 7:21:21

Full results.

2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Women’s Race

It seems to us that Michele Yates is a woman who knows exactly what she wants: to win every race she enters. Case in point today, she didn’t futz about at the beginning of the race; she instead went aggressively from the gun, never yielding her first-place position or allowing women behind her to close the gap. The rest of the women were just a couple minutes back as late as 22.7 miles in at the McKennon Gulch Aid Station, but she doubled her lead in the five miles after that, cruising into Stinson Beach at mile 27.7 with a sweet cushion of six minutes that she’d only build from there, minute by minute, to her 10-minute win. Michele, my woman, you have had quite the year.

Michele Yates wins the 2013 TNF EC 50. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Michele Yates wins the 2013 TNF EC 50. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Olympic Marathoner Magdalena Boulet made her debut into ultramarathoning today with her solid, second-place finish. In the race’s earliest miles, she held back a bit, sitting about halfway through the top-10 women. At mile 27.7, she was tied for second place, a position she’d cement herself into in the final 20 miles. Skyrunning star and 2012 TNF EC 50-Mile Champion Emelie Forsberg (pre-race and post-race interviews) ran in the back part of the top five early on, and then crept into her third-place position by mile 40 at Muir Beach Aid Station #2. Emelie, though, would have to hold off the pressing forces of Salomon teammate Aliza Lapierre, who pushed hard and finished just a bit more than 30 seconds behind Emelie. Race favorite Cassie Scallon ran strong all day–and ran with a smile on her face. After running much of the race’s first half in the back half of the top-10 women, she slid in as female #5 at the finish.

Olympian Magdalena Boulet debuts well at her first ultra. Photo; iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Olympian Magdalena Boulet debuts at her first ultra. Photo; iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Emelie Forsberg running in the pre-dawn. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Emelie Forsberg running in the pre-dawn. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Rounding out the balance of the women’s top 10 were Joelle Vaught, Kerrie Bruxvoort, Anna Frost, Melanie Bos, and Megan Kimmel.

2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Women’s Results

  1. Michele Yates (Ultimate Direction/Gu) – 7:21:53 (post-race interview)
  2. Magdalena Boulet (Saucony/Gu) – 7:31:15 (pre-race interview)
  3. Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) – 7:46:25 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  4. Aliza Lapierre (Salomon) – 7:47:00 (pre-race interview)
  5. Cassie Scallon (Salomon) – 7:50:47 (pre-race interview)
  6. Joelle Vaught (Montrail) – 7:54:52
  7. Kerrie Bruxvoort (Salomon) – 8:05:45
  8. Anna Frost (Salomon) – 8:07:54
  9. Melanie Bos (The North Face) – 8:11:07
  10. Megan Kimmel (Asics) – 8:13:27
  11. Ashley Arnold (The North Face) – 8:19:54
  12. Christina Clark – 8:34:14
  13. Sally McRae – 8:42:42
  14. Gina Lucrezi (Salomon) – 8:43:40
  15. Manu Vilaseca – 8:45:52
  16. Katie Arnold – 8:49:52
  17. Erica Namba – 8:50:22
  18. Sheri Foster – 8:57:24
  19. Jacqueline Palmer – 9:02:04
  20. Gabby Gorman – 9:30:39

Full results.

2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Articles, Race Reports, and More

Articles and Photo Galleries

Race Reports

Thank You

iRunFar’s live-race coverage is the work of passionate people who want to share the stories of how races unfold. Our TNF EC 50 coverage could not have taken place without our field assistants, Steve Luker, Thierry Musy-Verdel, and Diane Vecchi. Our CoverItLive moderators were Nick Pedatella, Travis Trampe, Jon Allen, and Travis Liles. Other editorial assistance today came from Andy Jones-Wilkins and Kristin Zosel.

Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Senior 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 ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places. For more information on Meghan and her adventures, please visit her personal website.

There are 35 comments

    1. Mike_the_runner

      Yeah, I ran the Bridger Ridge Run in 2012 and he ran under the course record that year, but that was the year Mike Wolfe set a new course record.

  1. milsom

    "When we saw him cruise through mile 44, he was running just over five minute-mile pace but looking incredibly springy on his feet."

    I don't think I have ever run that fast in my life, let alone at mile 44. Yeesh. That's is some awesomeness right there.

    1. AtomLawrence

      I wonder how these splits were obtained? It seems such specificity might be between Krar and his watch. I'm sure he can crank it at that pace, because despite his superficial resemblance to a human being he is clearly something else entirely, but I'm not sure it's that easy to tell the difference between 5:10 and 6:10 just by looking.

      1. Meghan Hicks

        AtomLawrence,

        I wrote that he was “running just over five minute-pace” and it was *totally* an educated guess. As Rob arrived to Tennessee Valley at mile 44, he was absolutely hauling a$s. I was standing near a group of high-level runners, Geoff Roes, Topher Gaylord, Greg Vollet, Francois d’Haene, and others. They all were basically flipping out by how fast we was running, saying it looked like he was running to a finish line that was 100 meters away and not six miles, still. We, of course, would shortly thereafter learn that Rob put a few seconds more than eight minutes on Chris Vargo and just shy of nine minutes on Cameron Clayton in the 4.1 miles before mile 44. That said, I don’t actually know his exact pace.

  2. Go_Longer

    I have the utmost respect for Dakota Jones for getting it done. As per an iRunFar tweet: "Despite the flu, Dakota Jones proves a point and finishes #TNF50 in 9:40ish."

    Not commenting on those elites who choose to drop, only that I respect all the more the elites that do not when it is not their day. To ENDURE!

    Props to DJ.

    1. Mike_the_runner

      Nice non-committal on "not commenting on those elites who choose to drop". Personal decision to continue or drop. Krar drops at JFK and comes back and runs a helluva race today. 2012 TNF EC champ Heras drops mid race this year with bad hammies. Hell, I've dropped races and bailed on runs when I was not feeling good and/or sick and/or unmotivated and/or would rather be hammering a beer than another couple of miles. Props to Dakota and anyone who puts in an effort when not 100%, but also props to those who exercise their own judgment and have the courage to admit its not working and re-group for another day.

      1. Go_Longer

        Absolutely. Lots of situations when pulling the plug makes sense. After all, it is the athlete's race to choose what, precisely, to do with. Not a character issue, just a performance issue. Kudos to DJ for his performance today. Kudos to Rob Krar for perhaps recognizing at JFK that he needed to pull the plug in order to run the phenomenal race he ran today.

        With the "professionalization" of ultrarunning in recent years and the increased competitive pressure, it would seem all the more difficult for elites to make the decision to finish on bad day since that may jeopardize performance in an upcoming race and they are so in the public eye (all relative to the UR world of course). So, yes, I respect DJ's finish today and Hal's finish at UTMB a few years back because it would seem there are more really good reasons than ever before for the elites to drop when not having the expected day. Slogging to the finish like that is simply hard to do.

        1. AtomLawrence

          I've finished all my (relatively few) races, and most pretty badly. While it's certainly up to the runner, I think dropping when you're going to get a poor performance and are risking injury (and guaranteeing a delayed return to high level training/racing) is often wise, and sets a good example for amateurs who are often tempted to do serious mental and physical damage Finishing At Any Cost. My guess is that Krar recognized that finishing the last nine miles of JFK was going to compromise his TNF chances, and made a sane strategic decision in the context of a somewhat insane sport.

    2. Jimmy Mac

      I saw Dakota twice on the course, the first time near the McKinnon Gulch AS on that out-and-back single track- he was only a few minutes up on me and looking haggard. I thought "he must be sandbagging, he's going to start racing now and finish in the top 10".

      I saw him again at the Stinson Beach AS, he left just ahead of me. He powered his way up the climb on the Dipsea, and I never saw him again until the end, he finished about a minute ahead of me. I figured it's gotta be something…

      So hearing that he raced with the flu was ballsy beyond belief. That's a true champion in my opinion; someone that finishes under the harshest of conditions (physical, personal OR environmental conditions) no matter what. I've heard that in life just showing up is 90% of it. The rest is a mix of luck, persistence and hard work.

      I would say that's one of the performances of the year. Just starting a race with the flu shows tremendous heart; running all day with us mid-packers and just getting to the finish is amazing.

  3. barwic01

    Great coverage today! I thought the men's race would be closer than a 10 minute gap but it goes to show you what Krar has for the 50 mile distance!

  4. BuzzBurrell

    Michele Yates is this years USATF Trail 50k, Trail 50mi, AND Trail 100k Champion – and Overall Winner at the Indiana Trail 100 – and wasn't getting respect. So she easily won RunRabbitRun 100 – and yet coming into the TNF50 she still seemed to be considered a dark horse.

    After running away from the best today, I suspect the next time she will be given the credit she has worked very hard to earn.

    1. scottrunsalot

      No doubt in my mind she would win!!! Not sure how you could pick against her. There is only one female that can run with her right now at this distance on the trail scene and she has been on the shelf awhile. It ill be interesting to see them mix it up.

    2. paulandmer

      Not only that, but she is humble and so very genuine! I hope she continues to shine, and more folks take note of just how great she is! Thanks to Bryon and Meghan for always giving the leaders all the credit they deserve.

    3. AndrewKo

      Buzz, perhaps entry into the UD signature series boys club is warranted, no? Respectfully, it would be a great opportunity to put your money where your mouth is.

    4. BuzzBurrell

      Good call Bryon, and good suggestion Andrew and everyone!

      Michele was part of the all-female team that developed the Jenny Collection Ultra Vesta (she wore a prototype at TNF50), and I hope we can work with her more next year.

    1. AtomLawrence

      The man is amazing, especially when one considers he's only been at this a year, and is 35 years old. He seems to have the perfect balance between wisdom and utter madness that some of the other elites lack.

  5. runabit

    Incredible performances by Krar and Yates and to join the chorus they are easily UROY. Equally impressed with Forsberg…who mentioned in the pre-race interview she had three long training runs(meaning 30 minutes) prior to this race…flabbergasted!!!

    How did Rory Bosio end up doing?

  6. SamWine

    Great coverage iRunFar team! Does anyone know what kind of adidas Chris Vargo is wearing? Look like they might be something close to an adios boost or a variant with a boost midsole.

      1. SamWine

        Congratulations Chris! Really like my adios boost and energy boost, for the road so thought they might have made it to the trail.

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