Tomorrow’s the Leadville 100… and it just so happens that I’m passing through Leadville ahead of the race. That gave me the chance to interview Liza Howard, one of the women’s favorites for this year’s race. Earlier this year Liza won the Rocky Raccoon 100 in 15:45, while she won last November’s Cactus Rose 100 outright. Even with a recent bout of plantar fasciitis, those accomplishments make her impossible to ignore. Here’s a brief interview I recorded with her Thursday afternoon.
As for the rest of the women’s field, you can’t ignore the returning women’s champion, Lynette Clemons of Leadville. She ran a 20:58 last year to beat a couple women with much more ultra experience. I’d imagine Lynette could run even better with the experience of last year under her belt.
Update: We’ve confirmed that Jamie Donaldson, who was signed up for the race, will not be running Leadville this year.
Then there’s 23-year-old Ashley Arnold of Marble, Colorado, who works at Trail Runner Magazine. She’s flying way under the radar and she’s probably alright with that. She had a rough go of her first 100 mile attempt and a subpar race at White River last month (if 4th at the national championships is subpar), but her win at the nearby Collegiate Peaks 50 mile in May speaks for itself. If Ashley doesn’t go out too hard, she’s got plenty of talent to go under 20 hours and take home the women’s crown. I’ll note a bit of iRunFar bias… Ashley paced me at Leadville last year and I’ll be returning the favor this year.
While not a preface favorite, Trail Runner Magazine managing editor Elinor Fish will be attempting her first 100 miler. Look for an account of her journey in an upcoming issue of Trail Runner Magazine.
Two other lesser knows with top three potential: Kelly Cronin of Yosemite Valley, CA and Samantha Sigle. Cronin ran Leadville last year, but trained for it as if it were a Wasatch or Hardrock-like course, which it is not. Kelly’s been second at the Vermont 100 before, so she’s got the wheels for this runner-friendly course. As for Samantha, the only thing we know about her is that she won the Cascade Crest 100 last August.
For a few more top women’s entrants, check out Nick Clark’s analysis on RunColo.com.
Call for Comments
Who do you think will top this fine field of women’s runners? Any key players that we overlooked??