This Week In Running: March 6, 2017

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRA pair of 50ks on opposite coasts highlight this week’s column, the Way Too Cool 50k in California and the Caumsett 50k in New York. We also take a look at the Iditarod Trail International in Alaska and other races around the world.

Way Too Cool 50k – Cool, California

Men

Upset alert! Course-record holder Patrick Smyth and rising star Cody Reed went hard from the gun, clocking a sub-five-minute mile to start the Way Too Cool 50k. Something went wrong for Smyth on the point-to-point course though, and he would go backward to an eighth-place finish in 3:33.

Reed did the work up front alone then and finished first in 3:16. The time is the fourth-fastest ever here, a mark that’s even more impressive when considering that this year’s course included a slight reroute and an extra hill, all due to a recent landslide. Last year’s The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships is Reed’s lone blemish among his six ultra starts. He has five wins against a single loss.

Cody Reed - 2017 Way Too Cool 50k champion

Cody Reed, 2017 Way Too Cool 50k champion. Photo: David Roche

Closing fast, Chris Mocko moved up patiently, ultimately advancing to within 69 seconds of the race winner. Mocko’s 3:17 second place is some 17 minutes better than a year ago, despite the added distance.

Scott Trummer was third in 3:22, and Ryan Bak was fourth in 3:23.

Once unbeatable, Smyth is suddenly in reach. He is expected to make his long-awaited 50-mile debut at April’s Lake Sonoma 50 Mile.

Women

Megan Roche just doesn’t lose! Finishing in 3:52, it was Roche’s third-straight win here and she did it from off the front by early in the race.

Second-place Keely Henninger squeaked under the four-hour mark with a 3:59 finish, and third-place Amy Leedham ran 4:10.

Thought to be Roche’s closest competition, YiOu Wang did not start the race.

Full results (when available).

Megan Roche - 2017 Way Too Cool 50k champion

Megan Roche, 2017 Way Too Cool 50k champion. Photo: David Roche

Caumsett 50k – Long Island, New York

The ten-lap Caumsett 50k was again the USATF 50k Road National Championships.

Men

Ultra rookie Tyler Jermann, an Olympic Marathon Trials participant and Iowa State alum who now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, controlled this one with a quick 2:48 finish. The time is a new course record, over three minutes better than Zach Ornelas‘s winning time in 2015. The time is also believed to be second on the North American all-time charts, trailing only Josh Cox‘s 2:43 from 2011. Jermann split 2:21 for the marathon en route, just three minutes off his personal best.

Nick Edinger, a 2:20 marathoner, and Chris Raulli, a 2:35 marathoner, were second and third in 2:53 and 3:04. C. Fred Joslyn, last year’s runner-up, was seventh in 3:31.

Women

Defending champ Caroline Boller went down with cramps and did not finish. Instead, Camille Shiflett was the surprise winner and new national champ. Shiflett finished in 3:33, 10 minutes back of Boller’s 2016 winning time. A master’s runner, Shiflett came to running late in life. She won the Chicago Lakefront 50k in 2016 in 3:34, a race believed to be her only previous ultra.

Devon Yanko was second in 3:46, and Lauren Dorsky was third in 4:04.

Full results.

The next USATF mountain ultra trail national championships is the April 8 USATF 100k Road National Championships, to be held at Wisconsin’s Mad City 100k.

Other Races

Iditarod Trail Invitational

“This year was different, and real Alaska winter conditions,” the Iditarod Trail Invitational race website reads. After a few years with a 90%-finisher rate, drops were more frequent this year. As expected though, David Johnston was not one of them and instead found his way 350 miles from Knik Lake to McGrath, finishing the long-haul race for the sixth time and winning the foot division for the fifth time. Johnston’s time appears to be just under five days. Does anyone know if there has been or will be a women’s finisher in the foot division? Full results.

Dave Johnston - 2017 Iditarod Trail Invitational champion

Dave Johnston, 2017 Iditarod Trail Invitational champion. Photo: Iditarod Trail Invitational

NACAC Cross Country

Trading last week’s snowshoes for a pair of spikes, Joe Gray and the USA men swept the first-five positions at the North American Central American Caribbean Cross Country Championships in Florida. Gray was third overall in 22:50 on the 8k course. Full results.

Red Mountain 55k

Hayden Hawks was back at it, winning the Red Mountain 55k in Utah in 4:15. Hawks will have at least two races greater than 50k in his legs when he lines up for the Chuckanut 50k in two weeks. Rachel Cieslewicz championed the women’s race in 5:38. Trevor Ricks and Amanda Basham were best over 30k, winning in 2:09 and 2:35, respectively. Full results.

Foothills 50k

Race winners at the Upstate Ultras Foothills 50k in South Carolina were Eli White and Shannon Howell in 5:23 and 6:30. Both were new course records for the second-year race. Full results.

Carl Touchstone Memorial Mississippi Trail 50 Mile 

Racing on a four-loop course through the De Soto National Forest, Jay McCurdy and Mandy Nolan won the Mississippi Trail 50 Mile race in 7:22 and 8:47, respectively. In the accompanying 50k race, it was Christopher Payton and Christi Barber finishing first in 4:05 and 5:14. Full results.

Delano Park 12 Hour

Ladies were the overall winners of both the Delano Park 12 Hour race and the accompanying 50 miler. Rachel Entrekin totaled 73 miles in 12 hours, and Aleisha Chaffin finished 50 miles in 7:15. Full results.

Other News

On Thursday, March 2, triathlon website 303 Triathlon published an article by Tim Heming stating that Holly Ballogh (née Hancock), a triathlete who had recently been giving a doping suspension by IRONMAN’s Anti-Doping Program, had turned to competing in ultramarathons under her maiden name of Holly Hancock and was entered to race this past Saturday’s Old Pueblo 50 Mile and had previously finished The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile – Utah in September 2016, also registered under her maiden name.

The text of the press release that explains her ban says it is a four-year ban starting on July 11, 2016, which precludes her from racing in “IRONMAN-affiliated competition or any events organized by any other WADA Code Signatory” during that time span.

By end-of-day Thursday, March 2, Holly Balogh (née Hancock) was no longer on the Old Pueblo entrants list. On Friday at 2 p.m., the race administration posted the following to their Facebook page, “I’ve been in touch with US Track and Field and USADA since Tuesday morning. I spoke to the person in question and she has been removed from the entrants list. All this can be verified by contacting Jeff Cook in the legal division at USADA, or you could have just checked the entrants list since Wednesday.” Thus, it seems conclusive that Holly Balogh (née Hancock) didn’t compete this weekend. (iRunFar attempted to contact the race administration on Friday, March 3, but has not received a response as of this publishing).

Given that her ban was announced on February 21, 2017, but that its start date preceded the TNF 50 Mile – Utah race day in September 2016, it looks like her results from that race should be removed as well. To be most precise, it actually looks like Holly Balogh (née Hancock) should not have been allowed to race TNF 50 Mile – Utah because she was already under a provisional suspension and because The North Face Endurance Challenge Series has an anti-doping policy that went into effect in August 2016 that disallows runners under current doping suspensions from participating in their events.

Update, March 9: The North Face Endurance Challenge Series has responded with the following update on Holly Balogh (née Hancock)’s participation in TNF 50 Mile – Utah:

“The North Face is dedicated to encouraging conversation, spreading awareness and being a source for the latest information about Clean Sport and effects of Performance Enhancing Drugs within trail running and ultrarunning.

“It has come to our attention that Holly Ballogh, a runner who was currently serving a doping ban at the time of the race, ran The North Face Endurance Challenge Utah 50 Mile race in 2016 under her maiden name of Hancock. In light of this situation, Holly has been retroactively disqualified from the race as she broke our clean sport policy that all athletes are required to agree to during the registration process. Steps have been taken to remove her from the results on our website and we are working with UltraSignup and the I-TRA to also have her removed from their result listings.

“To learn more about The North Face Endurance Challenge Series Clean Sport Policy please visit:https://www.thenorthface.com/get-outdoors/endurance-challenge/utah/clean-sport.html

Call for Comments

After last week’s big column, race volume seems lower this weekend. What other events could be called upon in the comments field below?

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 34 comments

  1. Stan Lie

    This new look is overwhelming and is giving me a headache. I’m not coming here anymore. Who the heck likes this?

  2. maltti

    I agree with the above. Disappointed with this new look, old was way better: simple, fast, clear, well function and good looking (and admirably basic)?

  3. Eugene Smith

    As always, I love the weekly update and rundown, but by necessity, have to do so from my IOS device while on the go. The UI is pretty horrendous with the new IRF page update, at least on the iPhone. Crazy slow page uploads (sometimes no IRF homepage upload at all!) , missing images, clunky navigation, these are a few setbacks I’m seeing with the new launch. Hope the kinks get straightened out.

  4. Andy M

    Agree with all of the above. Ultrarunning may be in a new era, but lots of us are still old school :)
    Honestly, it’s more about function. The old setup functioned better both on computer and phone.

  5. Chris Hunter

    The new layout is perfectly functional for me on my android phone and I think it looks great. Still has the simple and clean design that I expect from IRF. As a matter of fact the design seems even more clean and simplistic now than before. Keep up the good work and thank you for all that you do!

  6. Mally

    Thank you guys so much for the great content. From a reading perspective, I mush preferred the older version, it was easier on the eyes. Just wanted to give some feedback. Thanks you for bringing us gold-standard coverage.

  7. shaun h

    since these comments seem to be a place to chime in on the new site design…I can’t agree more w/ the folks frustrated w/ it above. I loved the old layout, made it easy to see if I missed content I wanted to consume or not. When you read almost everything on a site this is really nice! I suspect most iRunFar visitors are like me in this regard. The new layout feels like CNN or any big media site where a Vegas casino-like layout keeps you around longer b/c you aren’t sure how to get around, so though each visit lasts longer you’re less likely to come back often.

    Please change back!

  8. J

    Great coverage Justin. I think the “new hill” at W2C 50k was perhaps steeper than the infamous Goat Hill, albeit shorter. Many thanks to all the aid station volunteers and those who did the prep work that was required to get the trail in shape with all the insane rain this year.

    Regarding the new layout, as it appears this is the forum of choice to discuss it: I personally prefer the new layout. I’m still not fully used to it, however, the old layout was very outdated. The font is bigger with the new layout (at least on my computer setup) and therefore easier for me to read. I like the emphasis the new design puts on images and media, as well as the addition of expandable/collapsible side menus (Trail resources, gear reviews etc). The drop down columns at the top are a good addition as well. The new layout feels more organized, modern, and uses space more efficiently.

  9. 35yearoldtech

    Your new blog layout/website is working fine. I liked it when I first saw it and still like it while using it on a smart phone. Keep it going.

  10. Bryon Powell

    Hey folks,
    Whether you’re a fan of iRunFar’s new design or not, please include whatever specifics you can about what you like or dislike about the new design. There are tons of competing interests in a design and knowing what specific elements folks like or dislike the most will help us as we steadily improve the new design. We’ve already improved dozens of elements since launching the redesigned website a few days ago and we plan to continue to make changes.

    Here are responses to two specific issues we’ve heard.
    Scrolling: If you’re using a smartphone or tablet and the scrolling seems “off,” that’s a bug that overrode the “momentum scrolling” feature found on many devices. This was corrected on Saturday, but may persist in the cache in your browser. Please try clearing the cache if the issue persists.
    Speed: When we are actively making changes to the website’s new theme, we disable two backend systems that normally greatly speed up page load (roughly cut load times in half). We’ll have these systems off intermittently in the coming days. When these systems are activated, actual load time (per Google Analytics) is faster than the old site as of a couple weeks ago.

  11. Wouter Desmet

    Friday 3th of March, there was the start of the second edition of Legends trail. this is a 250km (156mi) long race in the Belgian Ardennes. The weather conditions were a lot better than last year. The Dutch Teun Geurts won the race in a record time of 44h13min. 13min later Belgian Ivo Steyaert arrived a second. Only 29 of 59 starters finished the race: http://legendstrail.legendstracking.com/. A playlist of 5 movies of the whole weekend can be found here : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLe4Q23tYJqxWIqX9OJr160Gf8urb9LVoO. For more information: http://www.legendstrails.com/en/

  12. Chris

    Hi Bryon,

    I too have a bit of a preference for the old format. Now, I have designed several websites, and I sympathize with your desire for the new contemporary look and flat design, where there are a lot of large images, often under text. If you’re selling a specific product, like a jacket or whatever, this works great. Often, for sites selling stuff, the very fact that you are forced to move around and think plays in their favor, increasing your time on site if you were likely to ‘bounce’.

    As far as specific example about the current site: when you first get to the iRunFar page, there is a large whole page image, and it’s hard to know what it is about, basically because the ratio of essential information to surface area is too low. You have to scroll down or around to realize it is not an ad, it is an article that has an image , and the image relates to the article (not obvious when there is a fireplace and the title ‘..Repetitions’). This takes brain processing. No doubt we would get used to it, eventually…

    Many readers of irunfar, and I’m making a leap here, are more interested in function than form. So, for example, the old layout where, without having to scroll around or across, you could get an instant snapshot of what has changed on the site, was great because it was efficient, no extra brain cycles to filter out the unneeded info. You immediately knew what you wanted to read.

    Again, I get that the big images are the current vogue, so it’s hard to get the balance…

    1. Joel

      Exactly what Chris said, the featured image/link on the main page is far too big. I have to scroll down just to see the rest of the image, let alone the main content I’m trying to see buried far below it. Love IrunFar and the hard work you guys do – thank you!

  13. Kevin

    The new site looks a lot cleaner on PC than tablet. Certainly not a deal breaker for me, as the content is great either way. Few suggestions:

    – The opening “Feature Story” photo is too big for my taste, especially on tablet.
    – The square Elkhorn Crest Ad on tablet leaves a lot of dead space. What about a thinner ribbon Ads? I’d be happier with that as the reader, and as the sponsor.
    – As a regular weekly reader, I’ve never been a fan of the sticky pinned stories. For example, I read Zach Miller’s “Unknown Repitition” the week of 2-17. I’d rather see more current content upon opening the site than pinned “Featured Stories” I’ve already read. It’s especially noticeable now, with the aforementioned large photo.

    As far as races next week, there’s Backbone in SoCal. Point-to-point run through the Santa Monica Mountains. 68&100m. Browning and Piceu are registered.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Thanks for pointing out the white space around the upper ad on tablets/phones. It’s the same size as before, but takes up more room. I’ll see what we can do to condense that.

  14. Chris

    I’m on an iPhone 7 and the website seems to load and present pretty cleanly. HOWEVER, every page has a big ad front and center that prevents you from immediately reading the page content. I actually have to scroll down to see the title of the article(s) and the beginning of the content. I seems like this site went from being content driven to being ad driven. Huge turn off.

    When viewing on my MacBook and Dell the home page looks disheveled. It’s hard to get a feel for exactly what I’m looking at. It’s not intuitive at all. And, as others have mentioned, that huge scrolling photo on the homepage is an eyesore.

    I’ve visited this site probably every day for the last five years and already find myself second guessing clicking your bookmark. In my opinion the old design was far superior.

    I understand there are issues with the rollout of any new website. I hope you work them out. You have GREAT content… I just can’t seem to get to it quickly or easily.

    Thanks for all that you do.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hi Chris,
      Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. I can assure you that there was no intentional move to make the website more ad driven rather than content driven. There’s actually one less ad on the website now and the remainder are in the same locations as their predecessors. Kevin above made a great point about additional white space around the ads on mobiles/tablets.

      1. Chris

        Hi Bryon,

        Sorry if I implied that you intentionally moved toward a more ad centric site. I was merely trying to point out that the ads are much more “in your face” than the previous layout.

        I appreciate you taking the time to respond and gather feedback from the community.

        1. Bryon Powell

          Chris, right back at ya! Thanks for the civil, constructive comment. I just wanted to explain that we didn’t have some sort of ulterior motive in the redesign. :-)

          And we’re most certainly looking to reader input as we refine the new design. I’ve already made a few suggestions to the developer for reducing the non-content space above the fold on mobile design. Hopefully, that’ll be improved later this week.

    1. Bryon Powell

      In the US, I don’t think there’s a single race that stands out in a very crowded race schedule this weekend, but I didn’t look too closely just now.

      Internationally, there’s TransLantau in Hong Kong, the Six Foot Track in Australia, and Tres Valles in Spain this weekend.

  15. Boston Chris

    Seems odd to post here now that it’s Thursday but whatever tweaks you did this week are great. The user experience on my iPad is greatly improved!

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