This Week In Running: July 18, 2016

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRThe Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run, an Ultra-Trail World Tour event, and a Skyrunning World Series race all attracted world-class talent. These events and others are highlighted in this week’s column.

Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run – Silverton, Colorado

Kilian Jornet earned his third-straight win, joined at the finish by Jason Schlarb in a first-place tie, and Anna Frost repeated as women’s champ.

Men

Though Schlarb would trail by as much as 10 minutes late in the first half, he rejoined Jornet at the front of the race on the summit of 14,058-foot Handies Peak, shortly after halfway, and the two remained together for the balance of the race. Their joint 22:58 finish time sits 17 minutes back of Jornet’s 2014 course record. They are also tied for second best on the course, regardless of direction.

While Jornet’s accolades are well known and he now appears to be working toward his Mount Everest speed climb attempt, Schlarb’s achievement follows an adventurous winter ski circumnavigation of the Hardrock course. Schlarb is also the 2015 and 2013 Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile champ, and he finished fourth at the 2014 UTMB.

The duo dispatched France’s Xavier Thévenard early in the second half, about when Schlarb rejoined Jornet. Thévenard, a two-time UTMB race winner, finished third in 23:57, a time that ranks sixth on the race’s all-time chart.

Xavier Thevenard - Jason Schlarb - Kilian Jornet - 2016 Hardrock 100 - KT

Xavier Thevenard leading Jason Schlarb and Kilian Jornet at mile 11. Photo: iRunFar/Marissa Harris

Fourth-place Jeff Browning ran 25:42 and eclipsed Nick Clark’s Hardrock-Western States double record by over an hour and a half. Browning ran 16:30 and 25:42, as compared to Clark’s 15:50 and 27:43.

Browning was followed by fellow Oregon runner Ryan Kaiser, fifth in 27:39.

Other familiar names, including those of well-known race veterans, included in the deeper results are:

  • Timothy Olson – 9th, 31:53
  • Scott Jaime – 10th, 32:13
  • Nick Coury – 11th, 32:45
  • Bryon Powell – 12th, 33:01
  • Blake Wood – 38:30
  • Andy Jones-Wilkins – 41:52
  • Kirk Apt – 42:47

Joe Grant, Ben Lewis, Nick Clark, and Troy Howard were notable drops from the race.

Women

Start to finish, Frost controlled the women’s race. Her 29:02 win ranks as the race’s fifth fastest. A potential rematch of last year’s challenge with Darcy Piceu was missed when Piceu failed to advance off the wait list.

Anna Frost - 2016 Hardrock 100 - Oscar's Pass

Anna Frost climbing Oscar’s Pass early in the race. Photo: iRunFar/Mad Moose Events

Spain’s Emma Roca tailed Frost throughout and finished second in 29:36, the race’s seventh-fastest finish ever. Similarly, Bethany Lewis was comfortably in third for the duration, finishing in 31:57.

Darla Askew and Meghan Hicks ran 33:51 and 34:26 for fourth and fifth, respectively.

Among popular race veterans Betsy Nye and Betsy Kalmeyer earned their 15th and 17th finishes in 38:23 and 45:50.

iRunFar’s results article.

Full results (when available).

Eiger Ultra Trail – Grindelwald, Switzerland

The 101k race was the ninth event in this year’s Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT). The course gained 6,700 meters (22,000 feet) on a giant loop in view of its namesake mountain.

Switzerland’s Diego Pazos continued his breakout 2016 with a first-place 11:39. Pazos also won this year’s Mont Blanc Marathon 80k and was third at Transgrancanaria. German runner Mathias Dippacher was second in 12:04 and Spain’s Jordi Gamito-Baus finished four minutes later for third.

Deeper results include several names familiar to the global circuit:

  • Arnaud Lejeune – 4th, 12:18
  • Csaba Nemeth – 7th, 12:59
  • Cyril Cointre  – 11th, 13:28

Ueli Steck, the fastest man up the Eiger, was 26th in 14:35.

Switzerland’s Andrea Huser finished in front of the women’s field at 13:09. She also recently won the Lavaredo Ultra Trail event and leads the UTWT ranking by a large margin. Kathrin Gotz and Juliette Blanchet were second and third in 13:39 and 13:43, respectively.

Other familiar names in the deeper women’s results included Francesca Canepa at 15:07 for sixth place.

Full results.

The next UTWT event is UTMB on August 26.

Andrea Huser - 2016 Eiger Ultra Trail champion

Andrea Huser, 2016 Eiger Ultra Trail champion. Photo: Eiger Ultra Trail

Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run – West Windsor, Vermont

A year after finishing second, and two years after winning, Brian Rusiecki returned to the victor’s circle. In the race’s 28th year, Rusiecki ran 15:47, an hour off his 2014 mark. Always known as someone who races often, it was at least the seventh race longer than 50 miles for Rusiecki this year.

Andrew Vermilyea and Michael Arsenault were second and third in 16:32 and 16:59, respectively.

In the women’s race, Gina Slaby finished in front and alongside her husband in 18:05. Grace Fisher edged Margaret Campbell for runner-up honors, finishing in 20:49 and 20:51.

Julien Lachance and Neela D’Souza won the accompanying 100k race in 10:16 and 10:38.

Full results.

Brian Rusiecki - 2016 Vermont 100 champion

Brian Rusiecki, 2016 Vermont 100 Mile Champion. Photo: Vermont 100 Mile

Andorra Ultra Trail Vallnord – Ordino, Andorra

Three thousand participants from some 41 countries took part in one of the weekend’s five races. The premier event, the Ronda del Cims, or the “round of peaks,” covered some 170k (105 miles) with a burly 13,500 meters (44,300 feet) of elevation gain.

Andorran runner Nahuel Passerat finished the exceptionally difficult race in 31:33. Japan’s Kenichi Yamamoto was second, as he was in 2013, was almost an hour back of the race winner. Italy’s Nicola Bassi was third.

Italy’s Lisa Borzani topped Missy Gosney of the U.S. in the women’s race, and Italy’s Marta Poretti was third. Borzani ran 37:25, believed to be over two hours in front of Gosney, who in turn led Poretti by nearly an hour.

Pre-race favorite Nerea Martinez did not finish.

Top results.

Barr Trail Mountain Race – Manitou Springs, Colorado

The out-and-back race climbs 3,630 feet up Pikes Peak to Barr Camp–home of Zach Miller–before racing back downhill on its 12.6-mile roundtrip.

Joe Gray was the race winner in 1:30, just 15 seconds off his 2014 winning time. David Roche edged Darren Thomas for second, both finishing in 1:37 though 12 seconds apart.

In the women’s race, Sylvia Nordskar was the lone sub-two-hour finisher in 1:57. She was chased by Sophia Torres and a bloodied Megan Roche. The chasers ran 2:00 and 2:02, respectively.

Full results (when available).

Megan Roche - 2016 Barr Mountain Trail Race

Megan Roche after a big crash at the Barr Mountain Trail Race. Photo: Barr Trail Mountain Race.

Other Races

Much like Browning’s Western States-Hardrock double, Jesse Haynes was working on the same quick turnaround. Tenth at States, Haynes doubled back to win the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile in 19:36. The result ranks 10th on the event’s all-time chart. Women’s winner Roxanne Woodhouse won for the fourth time here, finishing in 23:38. Full results.

Jesse Haynes - 2016 Tahoe 100 champion

Jesse Haynes, 2016 Tahoe 100 Mile Champion. Photo: Tahoe Rim Trail Runs

Both the 22k and Vertical K events at Italy’s Dolomites Skyrace were again part of the Skyrunner World Series. 2015 world Sky champions Tadei Pivk and Laura Orgué both won here. Pivk, of Italy, was victorious in 2:03 and Spain’s Orgue ran 2:28. Pre-race favorites Yngvild Kaspersen and Ida Nilsson were both off the mark, finishing fifth and 10th, respectively. Orgué also won the Vertical K. Full results.

Greg Armstrong, who uniquely competes in sandals, won his third-straight Vol State 500k. Armstrong, a past member of the U.S. 24-hour team, finished the journey across Tennessee in three days, seven hours, and nine minutes. Full results (when available).

Two years into Alaska’s Angel Creek 50 Mile race and Matias Saari remains its only winner. Saari repeated as victor in 9:58. Full results (when available).

Next Weekend – Skyrunning World Championships – Spanish Pyrenees, Spain

Skyrunning events over three disciplines–Vertical K, Sky, and Ultra–will be contested at the BUFF Epic Trail Aigüestortes group of races, with all three serving as the association’s world championship.

The prized 80k race is largely headlined by a group of Spanish stars. Luis Alberto HernandoPau BartoloCristofer Clemente, and Miguel Heras are all expected to compete. The U.K.’s Andy Symonds and Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe of the U.S. are also counted on as podium contenders.

The women’s Ultra division race includes an especially geographically diverse group. New Zealand’s rising star Ruth Croft has emerged as a world-class runner in the last two years. She’ll be challenged by Brazil’s Fernanda Maciel, Spain’s Núria Picas, France’s Caroline Chaverot, Nepal’s Mira Rai, and Kristina Pattison and Hillary Allen of the U.S.

A 20,000 Euro prize purse will be awarded across the races, and World Anti-Doping Agency tests will be conducted.

Stateside, both the Altra U.S. Skyrunner Series and the La Sportiva Mountain Cup will continue with Colorado’s Kendall Mountain Run 12 Mile and the Siskiyou Out Back 15k in Oregon.

Call for Comments

It was a global weekend. What other races around the world can our readers share in the comments section of this week’s column?

Justin Mock

overcame years of disappointment to finally win a burro race in 2014. He has also run as fast as 2:29 for the marathon and finished as high as fourth in the Pikes Peak Marathon. He also writes for Running Times.

There are 17 comments

  1. SteelTownRunner

    Vol State info

    Tracking Sheet for the duration of the race (more info than ultrasignup):
    http://www.tinyurl.com/Volstate2016

    Map Positions at 96hrs into the race:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wn00SbqM6jNXVToLicZ2q4JHcas&usp=sharing

    A bit more on Greg’s run. He beat a course record set by the current world’s best 72-144 hr runner (Joe Fejes) by 2 hours. Greg was an 11th hour entrant after planning to skip the race due to his running the traditional Badwater 146 route a week before the race. Greg’s 72 hr mileage was just shy of 300 miles – a rather exclusive club in ultrarunning history – factor in the heat, humidity, and hills of a TN summer – that is a world class performance.

    2nd in the race is another former US 24hr team member, John Cash, making his multi-day debut. For the first half of the race, John and Greg were neck and neck, until experience and competition drove Greg further ahead. John finished with the 3rd best time in race history, behind Greg run this year, and Joe’s former CR.

  2. SteelTownRunner

    Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence Update-
    ==========================

    Some random mid-race observations.

    The past week or so in NYC has been HOT. Not hot by Vol State or Badwater standards, but certainly hot by NYC standards with regular temps in the mid 90s and significant humidity at times.

    Race leader, veteran Atmavir, is all about business. In my few years of following the race leaders, I don’t see the steely focus of Sarvagata from 2 years ago, or the ‘running with blinders’ approach of Ashprihanal last year, but Atmavir seems to have a very professional (a la William Sichel for those who have seen him race) approach. His physique is unlike the other runners, very lean with chiseled muscles. Walmsley and Jurek are not the only ones to rock the ‘crop top’ – Atmavir seems partial to it, and even William Sichel, the great Schwerk, and our friend Joe Fejes have experienced the benefits of its cooling properties. Others at the race this year either disagree, or their more conservative sartorial tastes won’t allow such costume.

    Vasu was neck and neck with Atmavir, until interestingly he developed severe debilitating blisters 3 weeks into the race. Every runner in the race is an experienced multi-day runner with solid credentials. One would assume they’re adept at foot care. The strange part for me was that it took 3 weeks for his blisters to develop. His mileage took a big hit, but he is now gradually improving. One spectator hypothesized that the competition at the front might have distracted him from tending to his feet properly as the race really got under way (ie, after 1200 miles).

    2nd place Yuri runs every step of every day like he’s grateful to be alive and to have the opportunity to do the race. If you were to offer a “ga bless ya” upon him sneezing, in spite of his limited english, he’d return you a smile as if you had given him the shirt off your back. He still approaches the race with the gravity it deserves and requires, but his outlook strikes me as a powerful tool he brings to the competition.

    The great Flying Finn, Asphrihanal Aalto, CR holder and world best for 3100 mi (40 days 9 hours…. and you thought Vol State was long…) it seems is now getting warmed up. I believe that the race this year is for him, a “cool down lap,” after having run the race 13 times previously. the first day he ran an easy 80 miles. No biggie, it was just day one with fresh legs; why waste that energy? But of late, he has been leading the daily totals or sitting right behind the race leader. I don’t know if this is because of the film crew ([sigh] a year too late) attention on him, or he’s finally finishing his shakeout run, but good grief, he’s something to behold, and it doesn’t even look like he’s trying this year.

    Stutisheel, Sopan, and Ananda-Lahari, are all multi finishers of the race. Sopan is the youngest to have finished the race (in his early 20s). They have all been beset with issues. How they continue to run while knowing they are falling behind the cutoff is beyond me. Every now and then AL throws down a BIG mileage day then goes back to his routine (last year he ran ~86 mi while injured in the middle of the race the day after Ashprihanal finished). Stutisheel’s wife is his devoted handler, He does his best to meet the daily minimum in spite of what I hear are intestinal issues. A yearly visitor to the US for the race, he is as patriotic as they come and is routinely decked out in stars and stripes for 7/4. He too is grateful to be plodding along on the course in spite of starting with issues.

    One of the SC disciples owns a running store in the UK known as Run and Become. That name seems an apt description for this race, where runners must embrace the pain, discomfort, agony – mental and physical – that comes with this race. Others say ’embrace the process.’ The finish line is just a point on a longer journey.

    Last thought – I and others have gone running in crummy weather, thinking that ‘people run 135 mi in this heat,’ ‘you call that a hill? that’s not even a barkley speed bump, quit whining,’ ‘it’s cold? boo hoo, I bet Arrowhead runners would feel bad for you.” – Buck Up. In this race however, there are times during the week where I may not be in the mood for a run. Nothing out of the ordinary. It might be hot, life stresses, work, thunderstorms, fatigue, aching muscles, etc. These are not runners without lives – they have all of those issues too – and they have to still get their daily miles in. In addition, their big questions can be if they should retire from the course at 11:30pm instead of midnight to get some extra rest. All this goes on for 43-50 days. think about that on your next run.

    http://3100.srichinmoyraces.org/?day=14#rmp-daily-table

    Daily Race Blog with a somewhat different perspective.
    http://perfectionjourney.org/

    Back to your regular programming…

  3. Tim S.

    I’m curious what the irunfar community, and race directors at large, thinks about the fact that the second place woman was recently a man, and the fact this person claimed second place in the female category. I’m not sure to what extent Grace has or hasn’t fully transitioned but it is impossible that she no longer has her male genes, which one could argue gave her a competitive and unfair advantage at the Vermont 100.

    This is a very controversial topic, especially considering Grace’s podium position. But, here we are.

  4. SteelTownRunner

    …and hot off the press.

    Andrew Snope just finished Vol State as the top screwed (self supported) runner in 4:06:48:31; the 3rd fastest screwed time in race history. “God, this would be so easy with a crew!” -Heard at the finish.

  5. DRB

    Am I the only person who is disappointed by the contrived first place tie at Hardrock? Although I understand the unique nature of the ultra culture (and I love it), I would’ve preferred to see these two great warriors duel it out to the finish. An agreed upon tie reminds me of the pervasive “everyone gets a trophy” culture in our society.

    1. Ben Nephew

      I can’t think of many other people than define excellence more than Kilian and Jason. I certainly wasn’t thinking of everyone getting a trophy when they I saw the tie. Everyone doesn’t run the 2nd fastest time at HR. Sure, from the perspective of fans sitting at their computers watching updates, it would have been more entertaining if they had raced each other to the finish. From the perspective of someone who races quite a bit, I understood why they finished together. Those two most likely spend quite a bit of time training by themselves, which gets old, especially when you also end up running alone at races. They had been running together for miles at an aggressive pace, and there was mutual appreciation for the company and competitive benefits of having someone to run with for that long. Fighting to the finish would involve risks and would not help with their recovery for their next objectives. The benefits of winning outright to either runner; I can’t think of anything significant. The tie reminded me of how unfortunately rare it is to end up running with someone for a long periods of time at an ultra, and how much I have enjoyed a few similar situations.

    2. Andy

      Killian also went hand in hand for the tie during a skimo race this year, but since it was a ‘race’ and not a ‘run’, they forced him into the win based on timing cameras.

      Not sure what it means, but this isn’t the first time Killian has done this.

  6. Rob

    I’m not disappointed by the tie. I think it’s cool that the front runners had company for the whole race. Kilian seems to have moved beyond the racing experience and is more motivated by the adventure and Schlarb is a worthy returning champion next year.

  7. DRB

    That’s an interesting perspective, Ben, but what you’re describing (i.e. “mutual appreciation for the company” and “having someone to run with for that long”) is something to be enjoyed on training runs. Races are about competition, and ultimately winning. Would it be okay for two boxers in a championship fight to arrange to fight to a draw? Or football teams? Or any other sport for that matter? I doubt it. Again, I understand and enjoy the unique culture of ultrarunning, and I understand the differences between that sport and the others, not the least of which is financial. But in this particular instance, I think it went to far. Having said that, it doesn’t diminish my appreciation for the awe-inspiring talent, dedication and persistence of either runner (or every other runner in the race for that matter). I cannot imagine completing Hardrock, much less winning it. I simply wish that we would have had the opportunity to crown a single men’s champion this year. Hopefully next year is different.

    1. Greg

      I think all your points are valid. I’ll respectfully disagree though and say I wasn’t upset by it. I’ve never run Hardrock so can’t speak from experience, but by all accounts it is a different beast than other 100 milers. Racing at all distances routinely has competitors helping each other (watch any 10,000 on the track and you’ll see people sharing the pace setting duties). Kilian and Jason helped each other for 80+ miles, which at Hardrock was somewhere around 18 hours. I can honestly say that one of my biggest pet peeves is when I do a run with a buddy and after four hours of helping each other he tries to drop me by kicking it in over the last two miles. It’s especially annoying if I had slowed down to try to help pull my partner through a rough patch during that run! So maybe Jason drops Kilian over the final ten miles and wins by 15 minutes, and then we’d all view him as the champ. But it’s also possible in that scenario that Kilian could have put half an hour on him earlier in the race and Jason wouldn’t have been in contention anyway. At the end of the day, those two made the joint decision and I’m just glad I got to witness it (online, anyway). That doesn’t take any validity away from your points of view, just a differing opinion. Different strokes for different folks, no?

    2. matthew

      I think there are different fan expectations in different parts of the world. Where cricket is popular, a five-day game ending in a draw is not uncommon. Likewise, soccer often ends in a draw. The addition of the shootout to the NHL remains controversial.

      As someone who was brought up outside North America, I don’t have a problem with the two leaders deciding to cross the line together, but I do understand those who want a clear winner.

    3. Ben Nephew

      I find boxing and football analogies to be so different that they are irrelevant, and as others point out, there are many other sports where ties are common or the tie breaking strategies cannot be applied to running. Winning in football and boxing is violent and destructive to your health. If you want that kind of winning, one can watch those sports. Unfortunately, I do have concerns about destructive trends in ultrarunning with the high rates of chronic injury, overtraining, rhabdo, and the short careers of top ultrarunners. I’d rather see smart training and racing with long and successful careers than people running themselves and each other into the ground.

      As far as the having company during the run, at that level it is a little different than going out for a relaxed training run with your buddies. There are also very few differences between hard training runs and races at that level; often the races are easier. In the interviews it is clear that this was not a relaxed pace even after they had agreed to tie. You can’t be a successful ultra racer without being competitive, and the probability of two runners being at such similar fitness levels is low. Ties are quite rare; I think there is a good chance it’ll be a solo winner next year.

  8. DRB

    Greg, you nailed it: Different strokes for different folks. So true. But just to clarify Matthew, my issue isn’t that it was a tie but rather, that the tie was contrived. Also, ironically, I’m not a fan of NHL shootouts. I’d rather see a game end in a tie, than to have it decided like that.

    No matter, you both make interesting cases for your viewpoints. Thanks for offering your perspectives about the sport that we all love.

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