The US men’s 100k team may have learned a little something watching the American women take home the team gold at last year’s International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) 100k World Championships as the men’s team attained the podium with a second place team finish at this year’s World Championships in Gibraltar. Competing in his third straight 100k World Championship, Michael Wardian led the US men’s team with a third place finish in 6:49:18. Wardian moved into the lead on the tenth of roughly 19 laps (the first and final laps were slightly different). By lap 13, he’d built a two and a half minute lead before being passed in the 16th lap. In winning the bronze, Wardian continued his trend of improving his 100k championship performances as he placed 6th in 2009 and 9th in 2008. He also matched his best ever world championship placing, which he previously earned at the 2009 50k World Championships. Japan’s Shinji Nakadai won in 6:43:44 with Jonas Buud of Sweden 2nd in 6:47:40.
Update: Here’s what Michael Wardian shared with us about his race:
I feel like I had the chance to have won and set myself up to achieve the victory by starting very easy along with the other USA guys, we ran in a pack for a while which was cool about 3-4 mins behind the lead chase group. There was a Norweigan guy way off the front, but it was his first 100K and we all expected him to crack.I then starting working and working to be in a position to seize the race; however, after taking control around 50-55K, I let the race slip away, around 80K. That is something I need to rectify. I can’t wait until next year to have another shot at the Gold.As I said, I made a few costly fueling and pacing mistakes around 60-80K and it ate me up for about 1 hour from 75 to 90K but then I recovered and clawed back (I fell from 1st to 4th) and I was really proud of that.Wish it was a few more miles as I was starting to feel good again after having that rough patch.
The Japanese men’s squad took home the team title with the American men giving chase. The IAU’s unofficial results have Americans Chikara Omine 9th in 6:58:09 and Chad Ricklefs 13th in 7:01:36. This was Chikara’s World Championship debut while it was Ricklef’s fourth time representing the US at the event. On the other hand, the IAU’s results do not include American first timer Matt Woods, who reports on Facebook that he finished 12th in 6:58 for an 8 minute PR. Reports have second-time American representative Todd Braje dropping at mile 42.
Despite the absence of some top names from the women’s field, there was a fantastic race between Lizzy Hawker and Ellie Greenwood, both representing Great Britain, and Italy’s Monica Carlin. Lap 2 saw Hawker leading Greenwood by 10 seconds with Carlin a minute back. By lap 5, Greenwood was ahead of Hawker… who proceeded to take the lead back from her teammate on lap 6 with Emi Matsushita of Japan running in third. By the end of lap 12 Hawker had built a nearly three and a half minute lead on Greenwood. Over the next two laps, Hawker extended her lead over Greenwood to five minutes while Carlin sat another minute and a half behind Greenwood. If the IAU’s lap-by-lap results are correct, lap 15 saw a huge shift with Carlin surging past Greenwood and reducing Hawker’s lead to two and a half minutes with Greenwood four minutes behind teammate Hawker. During the 16th lap, Carlin and Greenwood held their relative positions while both gained a minute on Hawker. That put the top three ladies within three minutes with just under 10 miles to go.
Fifteen kilometers later the women’s final results look like someone played a little three card monty. At one point in those final miles, all three were within a remarkable 25 seconds. Greenwood had a 20 second lead on Carlin who was just 5 seconds in front of Hawker. Ellie Greenwood continued on to win. The IAU’s unofficial results put her at 7:29, other sources report 7:29:42 (we’ll go with this one for now), while Montrail’s blog puts their athlete’s time at 7:26:44. The IAU unofficial results have Carlin holding onto second in 7:30, while Hawker took third in 7:33. The top American women was Meghan Arbogast. She finished fifth in 7:46. Per Craig Thornley, Arbogast reports that it was a “very tough field and toughest course I’ve done.”
Champion Greenwood echoed Arbogast’s comment on her Facebook page,
That was THE toughest race of my life! Only didn’t drop for the Team GB result and fact that I thought I never want to do another 100km on tarmac again! Hamstrings shot at 50km, hit the physio table, bawling melt down at 70km, got a 2nd wind and hit the coke for a strong finish. Amazing experience.
The IAU reports that jury appeals have delayed the posting of official results. As such, we’ll admit that outside of the top placing, the results we’ve received are sketchy at best. We’ll update them as we receive more reliable information. Please leave comments if you have heard contradictory or corroborating information… just remember to cite a source.
[All photos courtesy of Michael Wardian.]