A short week here is followed by a busy weekend ahead. We preview next weekend’s Golden Ticket Race at the Sean O’Brien 100k and USATF 100-Mile Trail National Championships at the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile.
Ultra Easy 100k – Wanaka, New Zealand
Some of Australia and New Zealand’s best took to the mountain loop that took in six significant peaks. Sam McCutcheon was the runaway winner, finishing in 10:36 and nearly an hour ahead of second-place Grant Guise. McCutcheon was well inside of Scott Hawker’s 11:11 course record from last year’s inaugural event.
Guise and third-place Nick Johnston finished in 11:28 and 11:31. Guise, who will take part in this year’s Hardrock 100, was also second in last year’s race, then finishing in 11:42.
The women’s race had just nine finishers with Louise Clifton victorious in 13:08. Veronique Chamberland and Floortje Grimmett gained podium positions with 14:15 and 14:49 finishes.
Hywel Dinnick and Mel Aitken won the accompanying marathon-distance race in 3:42 and 4:00, respectively.
The first-ever Chehaw Challenge took place in Georgia. Over 50 miles, Stephen Arsenault and Anna Calcaterra finished side by side in 8:38. In the 50k, Jeremy Frizell and Jessica Kafer were race winners in 4:01 and 4:47. Full results.
Felix Lawson, age 16, was the overall winner of southern California’s Bandit Trail Run 50k. Lawson finished in 4:18. Jeanne Eby was the first female in 6:10. Full results.
The 12th annual Arrowhead 135 Mile went point to point across northern Minnesota in the dead of winter. Jim Reed and Scott Hoberg finished together in 37:20. Hoberg also won the race in 2014, and Reed won as a skier in 2010. Brazil’s Carla Goulart was first female in 52:51. Full results.
At the University of Washington’s indoor UW Invitational, 2015 world mountain running junior champion and 2015 Mount Marathon Race runner-up Allie Ostrander ran a sensational 15:21:85 in the 5000m. She finished second to 2012 Olympian Kim Conley and qualified for the Olympic Team Trials for track and field. Full results.
Two weeks out from the Olympic Trials Marathon, Andy Wacker ran 21:25 to finish second at the Winter Classic Cross County 4.1-mile race in Boulder, Colorado. Full results.
The second International Ski Mountaineering Federation World Cup event of the year took place in Italy at Valtellina Orobie. Italy’s Michele Boscacci led for three-fourths of the event’s individual race before being caught by Kilian Jornet. Though credited with the win, Jornet intended for the result to be a tie, as the two crossed the finish line together in 1:35. Emelie Forsberg finished second, but suffered a time penalty due to incorrect position of her skis in the bag, which pushed her to third officially. Laetitia Roux and Jennifer Fiechter took first and second. Men’s and women’s results.
The U.K.’s Susie Chan broke the Guinness Book of World Records women’s world record for most miles run on a treadmill in 12 hours. Chan, who has previously taken part in races like Marathon des Sables, ran 68.5 miles. The men’s record is held by David Staley of the U.S. He ran 81.62 miles in August of 2015.
After two days of searching, the body of trail runner Todd Ragsdale was unfortunately found in the hills above Ashland, Oregon’s Lithia Park this weekend. Officials say that there were no signs of foul play, though his cause of death has not yet been released. Ragsdale, age 46, was a fixture in the southern Oregon ultra community. He’d frequently taken part in many of the area’s races, events like the Pine to Palm 100 Mile, Mt. Ashland Hill Climb, and the Siskiyou Out Back 50 Mile, and he famously set a world record for most miles run in 24 hours while barefoot (102 miles).
Ian Torrence, who trained alongside Ragsdale for years while living in Ashland, said “this is just another example of how fragile we really are and how quickly things can happen.”
Reached by email on Sunday, Torrence said, “I just took a second to pour over some of my old training logs and Ragsdale is basically on every page for three years straight! I trained and raced with him on trails, track, and roads. He was a fierce competitor! What made him unique was his eccentric side that set him apart from everyone else. He raced barefoot or in aqua socks and dressed in costume. He loved running and he loved life. Even when things sucked, Todd was smiling. He was a husband, father, and friend.”
“The last time I saw Todd was at the Southern Oregon Runners’s 2013 Gold Dust Days 10k in Gold Hill, Oregon. Per usual, it became a showdown between Todd, John Leuthold, and myself. In classic fashion, Todd took it out hard and won the race between the three of us. However, he was waiting at the finish line with high fives, a glint in his eye, and wanting to know when the rematch would be. Trust me when I say this, I wish more than anything that we could have that rematch.”
The iRunFar family extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends and Todd.
Next Weekend – Sean O’Brien 100k – Malibu, California
The race is the second Golden Ticket Race event, offering an automatic entry to the Western States Endurance Run for the race’s top-two finishers.
Though there is always the potential for late entries, the men’s field is surprisingly thin at this point. Top entrants include:
- Yew Ferrara – 2nd 2015 Marin Ultra Challenge 50k
- Bob Shebest – winner 2015 San Diego 100 Mile
- Dominick Layfield – 2nd 2015 The Bear 100 Mile
The women’s field is highlighted by:
- Devon Yanko – winner 2015 Javelina Jundred
- Melanie Bos – 15th 2015 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships
- Bree Lambert – 2nd 2015 Miwok 100k
- Kerrie Wlad – 4th 2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile
After a few years away from the sport while starting her own business alongside her husband, Yanko looks to be back and faster than ever.
“The last three years have been a lot with the bakery and demanded so much that I wasn’t able to focus on ultras or have the time to train in the same way. Things are [now] clipping along and I am no longer on any baking shift. This has allowed me to start to recover from the damage that the night shift did to my body,” Yanko explained.
“I am feeling good about recovering from [the] Javelina [Jundred] and a few weeks of being extremely ill, and I have put in a good, short block of training. Sean O’Brien is all about the golden ticket. I really would love to be on the start line at Western. It is simply going to be such a competitive race this year and I am curious what I can do on that course,” Yanko continued.
Next Weekend – Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile – Huntsville, Texas
Two-time champion and course-record holder Ian Sharman is set to return to the five-lap, USATF 100-Mile Trail National Championships race. Sharman famously ran 12:44 at the race’s 2011 edition, a mark that still stands as the North American 100-mile trail record. He won last year’s race in 13:32.
Sharman’s toughest competition is likely to come from Paul Terranova, third at last year’s race.
Kaci Lickteig, second in 2014, headlines the women’s race ,,,against a group that also includes Julie Koepke, ninth at the 2016 Bandera 100k, and Sabrina Little, U.S. 24-hour record holder. Lickteig explained the early season timing, saying that she “wanted to run an early season race, since I capped my season off after late September.” “I thought it would suit me well as I can train over the winter months for it here in Omaha[,Nebraska]. I don’t necessarily have to worry about speed, which can be tough over the winter. I also wanted to get out of Omaha during the brunt of winter for a destination race. It’s always nice to go somewhere warmer and I like having an early race to kickstart my year,” she said. February 3rd edit: Kaci Lickteig has scratched from the race. Nicole Studer is an apparent late entrant into the race.
Next Weekend – Tarawera Ultramarathon 100k – Rotorua, New Zealand
iRunFar will be on site to for live race coverage. Stay tuned for our in-depth preview.
Call for Comments
What other races went down this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments section!