The IAU 50k World Championships was the weekend’s biggest race. Highlights from that competition and a preview of next week’s JFK 50 Mile make up the biggest part of this week’s column.
IAU 50K WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – DOHA, QATAR
[Editor’s Note: Thank you to iRunFar columnist Eric Senseman, a member of Team USA who raced in the IAU 50k World Championships, for adding on-site reporting to these results.]
For the second year in a row, Tony Migliozzi (U.S.) mastered the 80-degree-Fahrenheit temperatures and unpopular, 20-lap, bricked course in Doha (interview after last year’s win). His 2:54 finish time was two minutes slower than his 2015 result, but was two minutes in front of second-place Tyler Andrews (U.S.) this year. The 2:54 mark equates to 5:32 per mile.
Champion Migliozzi and second-place Andrews, who bettered his 12th-pace finish last year, voiced a degree of disappointment when two Kenyans did not start the race due to travel complications. “I wanted to show that I could beat them again,” said Tony.
Mens Team USA member Eric Senseman describes the course conditions, “Due to construction, the 5k loop used in previous years was reduced to 2.5k and the race turned from 10 laps to 20. The altered course was constituted entirely of cobblestone and tile–there wasn’t a step of pavement. The temps were around 80 at the start and a few degrees cooler at the finish; humidity was around 50% for the 6 p.m. start time. The course and conditions were simply unforgiving–one small weakness could be exploited and result in significant time loss. I told Tony after he won in 2:54 that on an asphalt course in good conditions, he might have approached the American 50k record of 2:43. I think you had to be in sub-2:25 marathon shape and run a superb race to finish under three hours.”
Other members of Team USA agreed about the tough conditions:
“That course absolutely tore up my legs.” –Thomas Puzey, men’s Team USA member
“It was challenging, brutal–those are all the adjectives I have right now.” –Adrian Chouinard, women’s Team USA member
Since winning last year’s race Migliozzi had run a 2:21 and a 2:19 marathon–both very good times, but certainly not the best in this field. In Doha though, with an added five miles in the heat, Migliozzi is world class, somehow uniquely strong in the adverse conditions.
Collen Makaza (Zimbabwe), the race’s 2014 winner, was third in 2:56, just 54 seconds back of Andrews. Makaza and Andrews were together with two laps remaining, before the American made a late-race surge.
With Bryan Morseman (U.S.) capping the scoring in ninth (3:06), the U.S. men also won team gold. Other U.S. team members included Thomas Puzey (13th, 3:14), C. Fred Joslyn (15th, 3:20), and Eric Senseman (16th, 3:21).
Pre-race favorite Kenya had zero men’s finishers.
Of note, C Fred Joslyn was not done racing after the 50k world-championships event. He doubled back–twice!–by running a 5k the next morning on the same cobblestone-tile course! And two days later, he ran the Athens Marathon in 3:32. “Running on smooth pavement is so easy that it should be illegal,” he joked after finishing in Athens on Sunday.
Risper Kimaiyo (Kenya) was the women’s individual winner in 3:22. For perspective, that time is two minutes slower than Camille Herron’s winning time from 2015, but 10 minutes better than Emily Harrison’s winning time from 2014. Kimaiyo looks to hold a 2:29 marathon best dating to 2009.
In second, and up from 8th a year ago, was Nele Alder-Baerens (Germany). She ran 3:25, and closed the last five 2.5k laps faster than race winner Kimaiyo. Amy Clements (U.K.) was third in 3:26.
Top American Heather Tanner finished just outside the medals in fourth at 3:29. Other Americans included Caitlin Smith (6th, 3:34), Adrian Chouinard (10th, 3:36), Sarah Cummings (11th, 3:37), and Caroline Boller (16th, 3:52). Team member Claudia Becque did not finish.
Explains Caitlin Smith about the event, “It’s a unique race and one that I’ve grown to love. The heat and humidity are big challenges as is the monotony and running surfaces. The brick is hard, the constant turns are hard. This year it was a complete brick course and a shorter loop. The brick was my biggest battle as my feet got thrashed. I had to stop and change my shoes twice in the last 8 miles. That being said the team element to this race is amazing. Last year when I ran in these championships and I found out I automatically qualified for 2016, my initial reaction was, I’m not doing that again. The team dynamic and growing competition drew me back this year. The race organization and experience is incredible. Heat, bricks, jet lag, and all, I’ll likely be back in 2017.”
With an individual third, fifth, and seventh-place finishes, the U.K. women won team gold. Amy Clements led the Brits in 3:26, and Rebecca Hilland and Samantha Amend followed with 3:34 and 3:35 finishes. Also on Team Great Britain was Hannah Oldroyd who finished eighth. The Americans collected team silver.
The next IAU world-championships race is the November 27 IAU 100k World Championships in Spain.
WORLD’S TOUGHEST MUDDER – HENDERSON, NEVADA
The sixth-annual race had some 1,280 competitors racing for 24 hours to complete as many five-mile obstacle-course laps as possible. Obstacles included a 35-foot cliff jump, a set of swings called the the Double Rainbow, and a tube climb against water called Augustus Gloop, among others. Each of the men’s and women’s champions earned $10,000 and the winning two-person team earned $20,000. The first team to run 100 miles in 24 hours also earned a $100,000 cash prize.
Ryan Atkins (Canada) and Jon Albon (U.K.), both sometimes mentioned in this column for ultrarunning, teamed to win the new two-man category, and they also hit that lofty 100-mile mark. First-place prize money and the distance bonus would total $120,000, thus earning each member of the team a whopping $60,000. That prize tops the $30,000 winning prize at the Warrior Dash World Championships, and far outpaces almost any ultrarunning prize money (except for the Comrades Marathon). Atkins is a two-time individual champ of this race, and Albon is a three-time Obstacle Course Racing World Champion. In ultrarunning, Atkins was second at this year’s Whiteface Sky Race and Albon won the Skyrunning World Series Extreme category.
Trevor Cichosz was the individual men’s winner and Stephanie Bishop won the individual women’s race.
OTHER RACES AND RUNS
Paddy O’Leary won Inside Trail’s Mt. Tam Trail Run 50k in the San Francisco Bay Area, finishing in 4:08. Penny MacPhail was the women’s best in 5:11. Alex Ho and Nicole Hagobian topped the accompanying 30k in 2:37 and 2:56, respectively. Full results.
Held in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, the second-year Rough Trail Ultra 50k saw a pair of new course records. Zack Beavin and Emily Cavallo ran 4:35 and 5:55 to top this year’s field and the record books. Full results.
Coree Woltering took the crop-top look to the next level. He added a Speedo to the uniform. Woltering, at the Tunnel Hill 50 Mile, ran a blistering 5:30:15. This race takes place on a rails-to-trails network in Illinois. For perspective on Woltering’s fitness, he did run 2:26 at this year’s Chicago Marathon. Full results (when available).
Maryland’s Annapolis Striders club hosted the Rosaryville Veteran’s Day 50k in Rosaryville State Park. Race winners were Charles Oestreich and Meg Landymore in 3:36 and 4:24. Full results.
Also in Maryland, the Stone Mill 50 Mile took in sections of the Seneca Greenway and Muddy Branch trails. William Kuper and Mary Beth Strickler were victorious in 7:19 and 8:57, respectively. Full results.
Only Jeff Ball finished in front of Shandra Moore at the Rockledge Rumble 50k in Texas. The top two finishers, Ball and Moore ran 4:33 and 4:50 on the trails along Lake Grapevine north of Dallas. Full results.
On portions of the Arizona Trail, the Colossal-Vail 50 Mile/50k is said to take in the state’s best high-desert trails. Jesse Lang was a big winner in the 50-mile race at 7:52, and in the 50k, it was Patrick Thurber and Devyn Young winning with 4:24 and 5:46 finishes. Full results.
Aravaipa Running’s Pass Mountain 50k took place in Arizona’s Usery Mountain Regional Park. Sion Lupowitz led the men’s field in 4:18, and Sherry Shay was the women’s winner in 6:16. Full results.
In Tennessee, Nathan Holland set a new course record at the 9th annual Upchuck 50k. He ran 4:13 on the point-to-point singletrack of the Cumberland Trail. Women’s winner Morgan Olson now ranks second all time thanks to her 5:38 mark. Full results.
The King lives! Michael Wardian won the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon in 2:38 while dressed as Elvis. He was just five minutes slower than last week’s New York City Marathon finish, when not dressed as Elvis, and was four minutes better than Ian Sharman‘s previous Elvis marathon Guinness record. Full results.
For the fourth time in six weeks, David Kilgore was a race winner. Following the Cat’s Tail Trail Marathon, the Bay State Marathon, and the Georgia Sky to Summit 50k, he won the Black Rock 25k in upstate New York. Both he and co-winner Mike Siudy finished in 2:37. The frontrunners are believed to made a few wrong turns before righting themselves. Women’s winner Laura Kline was third overall in 2:38. Full results.
NEXT WEEKEND – JFK 50 MILE – BOONSBORO, MARYLAND
With some 1,200 entrants, I turned to local expert Andy Mason of Herald-Mail Media for assistance on this presidential race. It will be the 54th running of the country’s largest and oldest ultra. Many thanks to Mason for his help here. Have a read of Mason’s in-depth preview and take note that he’ll be on course during the race and tweeting from @andrew_m_mason.
- Matt Hammersmith – 1st at 2016 Swamp Rabbit Trail 50k
- Hal Koerner – 9th at 2016 Siskiyou Out Back 50k
- Anthony Kunkel – 2nd at 2015 Door County Fall 50 Mile
- Benjamin Ludovici – 2:38 at 2016 Chicago Marathon
- Jaron Martin – 1st at 2016 Laurel Highlands 50k
- Victor Ornelas – 9th at 2015 JFK 50 Mile
- Michael Owen – 1st at 2016 Mohican 100 Mile
- Matt Palila – 2nd at 2016 North Umpqua Trail 50k
- Sam Skeels – 1st at 2016 Indiana Trail 100 Mile
- Jim Sweeney – 8th at 2014 JFK 50 Mile
- John Wallace – 3rd at 2015 Blues Cruise 50k
- Jim Walmsley – 1st at 2015 and 2014 JFK 50 Mile
- Michael Wardian – 5th at 2015 JFK 50 Mile
This pollster predicts a Walmsley win, though stranger things have happened. The greater question is if Walmsley goes after Max King’s 2012 5:34:59 course record–a time 12 minutes better than Walmsley’s winning time last year–or leaves something in the tank for the soon-to-follow The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships.
- Gina Bartolacci – 2:45 at 2015 Shamrock Marathon
- Megan DiGregorio – 1st at 2016 Patapsco Valley 50k
- Laurie Dymond – 3rd at 2015 JFK 50 Mile
- Liz Gleason – 1st at 2016 Vermont 50 Mile
- Leah Frost – 2:42 at 2015 Cal International Marathon
- Emily Harrison – 1st at 2013 JFK 50 Mile
- Liza Howard – 4th at 2016 Bandera 100k
- Elena Makovskaya – 8th at 2015 JFK 50 Mile
Two-time defending champ Sarah Bard will be absent, leaving this one open for a Harrison return to the winner’s circle, or a chance for one of the newcomers to surprise.
CALL FOR COMMENTS
- The World’s Toughest Mudder field also included ultrarunners Amanda Basham, Zac Marion, Nickademus Hollon, and trail runner Ryan Woods. We haven’t seen full results come down the pipe yet, so does anyone know how these athletes, and any other familiar names, do in this sufferfest?
- What other races can our readers add results or commentary to?