2009 Massanutten 100 – Women's Race Preview

We enjoyed predicting last year’s women’s MMT field so much that we’re doing it again. This year’s field features three […]

By on May 15, 2009 | Comments
We enjoyed predicting last year’s women’s MMT field so much that we’re doing it again. This year’s field features three more ladies than last year (23 vs. 20), and much more depth. We’ve got little doubt about who the winner will be barring injury, but there should be a race for second and tight packing for spots three through five or six. In fact, there are enough good runners in the women’s race that we expect there to be some changes to the podium positions after the ladies hit Short Mountain.

The Winner-To-Be
Amy Sproston (#2) – Amy won MMT last year and will again this year barring any problems. The only women she’ll be racing are herself and Sue Johnston’s course record of 22:38:29. Even though it will be hot tomorrow, Amy still has a shot at the record given her love for the heat.

The Contenders
Jessi Kennedy (#91) – While she’s the youngest woman in the field at only 25 years old, she’s already won a 100 miler outright. Her 21:32 at last year’s Delaware 100 may be the fastest 100 mile time run by a woman in this year’s MMT field.

Robin Meagher (#117) – Robin is young (28) and fast (7:45 50 miler in March). She could win if Amy stumbles.

Donna Utakis (#169) – Late in the alphabet=late on the list, but with Donna that probably doesn’t mean late to finish. Donna is a very strong and experienced ultrarunner from New England. She was second in 2005 and fourth in 2006 with both times around 26:30-27:00. Those times won’t win, but could fetch a second place spot … especially if it’s a tough day out there.

The Coulda Been a Contenders
Elizabeth Carrion (#31) – With a 27:30 at Grindstone last fall, Elizabeth had proven her ability to run well on a tough 100 mile course.

Kerry Owens (#129) – No woman in the race knows the Massanuttens better than Kerry. (Deb, you’re a close second. ;-) ) She’s got a house not far from the course and all three times Kerry has finished MMT, she’s been the top masters woman (2004-06). Another 26:34 like she ran in 2006 would likely get her up on the podium.

Laurel Valley (#170) – Laurel was second at MMT last year. That said, she’d better run faster than last year’s 29:04 if she wants to place top three.

The Rest
Rita Barnes (#9) – We don’t know any thing about Rita except that she finished a lap at the Barkley Marathon this year. Sure, she didn’t make the cut off, but she finished and that’s worthy of a mention.

Kari Brown (#19) – She was second at MMT in 2007. It was her first 100 miler. If she can run 30 hours again this year, she could place Top 5.

Zsuzsana Carlson (#29) – She showed she can run a decent 50 miler at the Finger Lakes Trail races last summer. Can she follow through for 100 miles?

Kathleen Cusick (#42) – Another young, competent 50 miler.

RuthAnn Helfrick (#79) – RuthAnn was the third women to cross the line at the Skyline Ranch last year (29:35:56). There’s not reason to think she can’t do the same this year.

Cheryl Wheeler (#175) – With a 9:29 at Vermont 50 last September she’s likely not quite fast enough to place top 3. Solid Top 10er with Top 5 a possibility.

Go get ’em, ladies!

Looking for more MMT analysis, check out iRunFar’s men’s field preview!

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.