This Week In Running: October 31, 2016

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRThe Javelina JundredIAU Trail World Championships, and the USATF 50-Mile Road National Championships were the weekend’s biggest races. Next week’s USATF Trail Marathon National Championships are also previewed in this week’s column.

JAVELINA JUNDRED – FOUNTAIN HILLS, ARIZONA

Though typically on the track at Aravaipa Running’s Desert Solstice Invitational ‘track meet,’ Zach Bitter has had a lot of success in Arizona. That trend carried through the five-lap, 100-mile trail race here. In front all day, Bitter finished after dark in 13:30. His fastest paces came in his first lap when he averaged 7:01 per mile. In his final lap, he’d slowed to 9:04 miles, though he would average 8:05 pace for the duration.

It appears that this year’s circuit changed slightly from previous years, but Bitter’s mark eclipses Hal Koerner’s 2011 course best of 13:47.

Zach Bitter - 2016 Javelina Jundred champion

Zach Bitter, 2016 Javelina Jundred champion. Photo: Javelina Jundred

Third last year, Brett Sanborn improved one spot and some 32 minutes for a 15:15 finish. He was second at this year’s race, only moving into that place on the last two laps.

Ryan Kaiser ran 16:40 for third, surrendering that runner-up position to Sanborn after 60 miles. For Kaiser, this was surely a vastly different experience from his fifth-place run at this year’s Hardrock 100.

Last year’s second-place finisher, Michael Carson, dropped from the race after 60 miles.

Similarly, after leading for the opening 60 miles, pre-race women’s favorite Janessa Taylor dropped and did not finish. That left an opening for Dana Anderson and she ran into the lead. She was victorious in 21:03. Just seventh after lap one, she was sixth on the second lap, and third on the third lap. Anderson jumped to the lead on the final 40 miles.

Adela Salt and Amy Rasor were second and third in 21:32 and 22:17, respectively.

Courtney Dauwalter, this year’s Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile winner, was both the women’s and overall winner in the accompanying 100k. Dauwalter finished in 8:48. Second overall and first man was Nico Barraza in 9:58.

Full results.

TUSSEY MOUNTAINBACK 50 MILE – BOALSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA

Heather Hoechst repeated as women’s champ, running 6:49. It was a 16-minute improvement on her winning time from last year and Hoechst also became this year’s USATF 50-Mile Road National Champion. Hoechst, who attended law school at nearby Penn State University, also pocketed a $500 cash prize.

Justyna Wilson and Anna Zielaski were second and third.

Running 5:49, Israel Merkle was the surprise winner in the men’s race. The 28 year old from Ohio appears to have been making his ultra debut, and, as with women’s winner Hoechst, he earned both his first national championship and $500 in cash money. Just over a month ago, Merkle ran 2:32 at the Akron Marathon.

Rich Heffron, who holds marathon times similar to Merkle, was second in 5:56, and Cole Crosby was third.

Pre-race favorite G. Anthony Kunkel does not appear to have contested the race.

Full results (when available).

IAU TRAIL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – PENEDA-GERÊS NATIONAL PARK, PORTUGAL

iRunFar was on site with live coverage of the event, and has separately provided results commentary. This year’s 85k (53-mile) course with 4,800 meters (15,750 feet) of elevation gain was said to be technical with steep and rocky ascents and descents. The race was held inside of Portugal’s only national park.

Men

Second a year ago, Luis Alberto Hernando (Spain) avenged that ‘loss’ and topped this year’s field with an 8:20 finish time. Almost 10 full minutes ahead of second, Hernando again asserted himself as the world’s top trail ultrarunner of recent years.

2016 IAU Trail World Championships - Luis Alberto Hernando

Luis Alberto Hernando, 2016 IAU Trail World Champion. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

The next four runners were all from France. With each country’s top-three runners scoring in the team competition, France easily won team gold for the second year in a row. Nicolas MartinSylvain CourtBenoît Cori, and Ludovic Pommeret ran 8:30, 8:30, 8:36, and 8:44, respectively. Court was last year’s winner, and Pommeret is best known for this year’s UTMB win.

The four-man U.S. team was led by Jared Burdick. He won this year’s USATF 50k Road National Championships and was second at the USATF 50-Mile Trail National Championships. Here though, Burdick was just 51st overall in 10:26. As evidence of how challenging the course and hot conditions were for the U.S. team, despite being the top U.S. men’s finisher, Burdick was behind the first five female finishers.

Also scoring for the U.S. was Alex Varner, 61st overall in 10:38, and Mario Mendoza, 123rd overall in 11:54. Tyler Sigl, this year’s USATF 50-Mile Trail National Champion, did not finish.

Women

If Hernando has established himself as the world’s top trail ultrarunner of late, Caroline Chaverot (France) has perhaps done the same among women. Also just like Hernando, Chaverot too was second in this same race last year. This year though, Chaverot was victorious in 9:39, a time fast enough for 26th overall.

2016 IAU Trail World Championships - Caroline Chaverot

Caroline Chaverot on her way to winning the 2016 IAU Trail World Championships. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Relatively unknown internationally, Azara García (Spain) was perhaps a surprise second, and that was just five minutes back of race winner Chaverot. Equally new to this column, Ragna Debats (Netherlands) was third in 9:47. Defending champion Nathalie Mauclair (France) was fourth in 10:13.

Joining Garcia in the top 10, Spanish runners Gemma Arenas and Teresa Nemes were fifth and 10th, respectively. The third French runner, Aurelia Truel, though, was 11th and that was enough to give France a women’s team gold to match the men.

Already thinned by injury before starting the race, the U.S. fielded a three-woman team. Larisa Dannis and YiOu Wang would not finish leaving Corrine Malcolm the lone American woman at the finish. Malcolm was 28th in 11:35.

Full results.

OTHER RACES AND RUNS

Heather ‘Anish’ Anderson completed the 800-mile Arizona Trail. She set a new self-supported FKT of 19 days, 17 hours, and 9 minutes. FKT commentary.

At southern California’s fall edition Whoos In El Moro 50k, married couple James and Maggie Walsh were both winners. Full results (when available).

And in northern California, Inside Trail’s latest event was the Oakhills Hills series of races. In the 35k, Erik Sorenson and Magda Boulet were victors with 2:57 and 3:12 on the finish line clock. Full results.

A crop-topped Matt Flaherty hit his local Indiana trails for the Tecumseh Trail Marathon. Flaherty worked hard in the heat to gain the win and a new course record in 2:57. Full results (when available).

Dave Latourette and Hillary Kupish won Oregon’s Autumn Leaves 50 Mile in 6:53 and 7:40. In the accompanying 50k, it was Kenneth Hawkes and Natalie Harvey in front in 3:45 and 4:21. Full results.

NEXT WEEKEND – MOAB TRAIL MARATHON – MOAB, UTAH

The race is again the USATF Trail Marathon National Championships, and is also a selection race for the 2017 World Mountain Running Long Distance Championships. Each of the men’s and women’s winners will gain a spot on the U.S. team that will compete in that race on August 6, 2017 in Italy. A $3,500 prize purse will also be shared among the top five men and women.

Men

  • Noah Brautigam – 4th at 2016 Power of Four 50k, 7th at 2016 Broken Arrow Skyrace
  • Sage Canaday – 11th at 2016 Western States 100, 1st at 2016 Black Canyon 100k
  • JP Donovan – 11th at 2015 Moab Trail Marathon
  • Morgan Elliott – 1st at 2016 Flagstaff Skyrace 55k, 2nd at 2016 Franklin Mountains 50k
  • Joe Gray – 1st at 2016 World Mountain Running Championships, 2nd at 2015 Moab Trail Marathon
  • Hayden Hawks – 4th at 2016 World Mountain Running Championships, 1st at 2016 Speedgoat 50k
  • Mike Foote – 1st 2013 Moab Trail Marathon
  • Dakota Jones – 1st at 2016 Broken Arrow Skyrace, 4th at 2015 Moab Trail Marathon
  • Matt Kempton – 1st at 2016 Steamboat Stinger Marathon, 2nd at 2016 Quad Rock 25 Miler
  • Matthias Messner – 7th at 2016 Speedgoat 50k, 4th at 2015 The Rut 50k
  • Tayte Pollman – 2nd at 2016 Flagstaff Skyrace 39k, 3rd at 2016 Speedgoat 50k
  • Justin Ricks – 4th at 2016 Flagstaff Skyrace 39k, 3rd at 2014 Moab Trail Marathon
  • Matias Saari – 13th at 2016 The Rut 50k
  • Andy Wacker – 1st at 2016 USATF Trail Half-Marathon National Championships

This is one of the more interesting fields of the year. Canaday for instance has established himself as a standout ultrarunner in recent years, while still able to compete in shorter distances at a very high level. Others like Gray and Wacker, and an emerging Hawks, have remained a constant at shorter distances. How this diverse group matches up against each other will be especially intriguing.

We believe that, though Max King is on the entrants list, he’s not racing.

Women

  • Amanda Basham – 6th at 2016 Run Rabbit Run 100, 4th at 2016 Western States 100
  • Addie Bracy – 1st at 2016 U.S. Mountain Running Championships, 2nd at 2016 Pikes Peak Ascent
  • Rachel Cieslewicz – 11th at 2016 Golden Gate Dirty Thirty, 6th at 2015 Flagstaff Skyrace 39k
  • Jeanne Cooper – 2nd at 2016 Quad Rock 25 Miler, 2nd at 2016 Moab Red Hot 33k
  • Clare Gallagher – 1st at 2016 Leadville 100
  • Emily Harrison – 1st at 2016 Steamboat Stinger Marathon, 3rd at 2016 Massanutten 100 Mile
  • Megan Kimmel – 1st at 2015 Moab Trail Marathon, 1st at 2014 Moab Trail Marathon
  • Chris Lundy – 3rd at 2014 Moab Trail Marathon
  • Sandi Nypaver – 3rd at 2016 Flagstaff Skyrace 39k, 4th at 2016 Kendall Mountain Run
  • Sarah Pizzo – 4th at 2016 Flagstaff Skyrace 39k, 8th at 2016 The Rut 28k
  • Kelly Wolf – 1st at 2016 Flagstaff Skyrace 55k, 2nd at 2016 Imogene Pass Run

With no disrespect intended to any other competitors, Kimmel is a class above the rest here. She’s been nearly unbeatable this year at races inside the U.S., and had similar success in Europe with a win of the Skyrunner World Series’s Sky division. That’s been equally true in Moab over the last few year’s too. The entrant’s list though is exceptionally long and podium positions will not come easily.

Full entrant list.

CALL FOR COMMENTS

  • The U.S. certainly has had its challenges at European trail races, but the Americans have been making inroads in recent years. Success has been had at UTMB, at Skyrunning World Series races, and just last week at Les Templiers, for instance. Both the U.S. men and women were off the mark at the IAU Trail World Championships though. Other countries like Spain and France are able to get their best runners to take part in the competition. While proximity to the race is in favor of the European countries, why wasn’t the championship able to gain greater participation among top U.S. runners, and why weren’t the U.S. runners present able to better compete?
  • The Moab Trail Marathon has some interesting match ups, such that any number of men and women and could come out on their respective podiums. What are your predictions?
  • What other results can be shared this week?
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 11 comments

  1. Rich

    Hi Justin,

    As always, thanks for the weekly recap.

    At Tussey, Anthony Kunkel unfortunately took a wrong turn a mile into the race and took a long detour before realizing the mistake. I believe he ended up running to mile 24 before dropping.

    Also, while it’s a “road” championship it’s almost all gravel and dirt and has 5400ft of elevation gain (Flaherty’s 5:28 CR is super stout). It’d be great to get a deeper field out for next year’s championship as the course is a great hybrid.

    —Rich H.

  2. Tim

    I will be out at Moab this weekend racing in the Trail Marathon. While i certainly will not be competing for any top placement (best performances = 6th @ 2016 Half Wit Half & 25th @ 2015 Leadville Heavy Half), it is very cool to see that i will be sharing the course with some of the best trail runners in the country. Excited i get the chance to be a fanboy and hopefully meet one of them!

    Thanks for sharing the list!

    Tim

  3. Ryan Smith

    Great recap as usual. I think that must be one of the other dozen or so Ryan Smith’s that is racing Moab this weekend as I’ll be in Boulder drinking beer and watching other people run instead!

  4. David Roche

    Jeanne Cooper also brings 2:35 marathon speed to Moab! It’ll be scary when she puts it all together.

    A guy to watch mixing it up at the front is Quincy O’Connor. Ran at Fordham, some solid trail results this year and awesome training.

    You rock Justin and iRF!

  5. EZ

    I was at Javelina. Zach Bitter has such a unique style of running. I saw him aboslutely bounding through the long main aid station, dodging and zipping around people.

  6. Ben Nephew

    A few thoughts on the US showing at the IAU race compared to other events.

    The IAU race is far deeper than most other races at this point. It would be interesting to see a European compare the field depth of UTMB and the IAU race.

    Another consideration is the mismatch between the US selection races and the IAU course. There is a vast difference between a runnable 50 mile course with 10k of climb and a 50 mile with 16k of climb on technical terrain. The success of the US mountain running teams is partially due to how well they match the selection race to the WMRC course. Matching the selection races to the IAU race can be difficult depending on the amount of lead time provided by the IAU. The tactic of just using currently competitive events as selection races can work out sometimes on less challenging courses when there is less of a mismatch, but it is not going to have great results as consistently as a policy of matching the IAU course.

    There have been a number of years where injuries have significantly weakened the US team, where this is much less common with other teams. Having more alternates could help with this, along with runners not waiting until very late to pass their spot to a healthy alternate if that is a possibility. Having full health teams on the start line can make a massive difference in team scoring on a challenging course where you can tolerate having 2 runners have off days or drop.

    In addition to comments about the course being technical, those were some big gaps between aid stations, and if you are not used to that, it can be problematic. Dehydration/cramping seemed to be a major factor.

    As for the strengths of the other teams and the field in general, the other countries realize that IAU race is the best opportunity to race many of the best runners from all over the world, it’s a world championship. The same thing happens with the IAU 50k, 100k, and 24hr champs. This may have been mentioned, but France takes the race very seriously, to point of having a team training retreat on the IAU course. It is common for the French runners to be more familiar with the course than runners from the home team.

    The call for comments infers that the US did not send our best runners. I’d be interested in who you think would have made a stronger team? In my opinion, the teams were strong relative to other US runners, and picking runners who might have done better would have required a course similar to the IAU race.

    The US teams could have done very well at a course like Les Templiers.

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