2013 Leadville 100 Preview

A preview of the 2013 Leadville 100.

By on August 12, 2013 | Comments

Leadville 100This year’s Leadville 100 mile kicks off at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning at nearly two miles above sea level. Lots of talent and training can go for naught for those unacclimated to the thin air and its effects.

This year’s race has a bunch of top runners in the men’s field, while there’s a drop-off in talent in the women’s field compared to last year… but that could make the race for the women’s podium even more interesting.

2013 Leadville 100 Men’s Preview

Podium Contenders

Ryan Sandes - 2012 Western States 100

Ryan Sandes

With his win at Leadville in 2011 and an incredible second-place run at last year’s Western States 100, the second fastest time ever at the race, South Africa’s Ryan Sandes (pre-race interview) has got to be the favorite for this year’s Leadville 100. Sandes was scheduled to return to States this year, but a pre-race ankle sprain kept him out after he won TransGrancaria earlier in the season. He should be primed to crush Leadville.

Seven-time Western States 100 winner and former American record holder for miles run in 24 hours, Scott Jurek has been missing from the racing scene for the past three years (22nd at the 2011 Chuckanut 50k excepted). He’s looking to make a grand return at Leadville, a race at which he took second in 2004 in 18:01. Jurek recently paced Sebastien Chaigneau to a win at the Hardrock 100 and looked in top form doing do.

2012 Leadville 100 - Mike Aish

Mike Aish

Mike Aish (pre-race interview), a two-time Olympian from New Zealand (10k – ’00; 5k – ’04), went out hard and blew up hard at last year’s Leadville, his second ultra and first attempt at a 100. Rumor is that he’s learned some important lessons, including that he’s got to train for the downhill. Heck, could we see Aish pull out some poles ascending Hope Pass? Either way, I don’t see a man who’s twice made the Olympics not learning from his mistake. He’s also built some ultra experience this year, with two three more 50 milers and a 50k. [Updated]

It’s unlikely that either Nick Clark or Ian Sharman (our dual interview with the pair) will compete for the win this weekend. Both are taking part in the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning this summer, so this will be their third hundred in seven weeks. Look for this as a race within the race as Sharman topped Clark at Western States, while Clark edged out Sharman at Vermont. Clark took third at last year’s Leadville.

Michael Arnstein’s insanely fast on flat, low 100 milers – witness his 12:57 at Desert Solstice last December. For the most part, that success has not carried over to mountain 100s. The one exception was Arnstein’s fourth-place 17:56 at the 2011 Leadville 100. Last year, he was eighth at Leadville in 19:37.

Shaun Martin’s won a ton of 50ks and finished an impressive tenth at the TNF EC 50 Mile last December. He’s got the talent to run well at Leadville, but I believe this is his first attempt at a 100 miler… so there’s no telling if he’ll be patient enough. [Update: Shaun Martin is out with an injury.]

Other Top Runners

  • Andrew Catalano – Andrew took sixth at Leadville last year. He was second at the 25 mile option at Quad Rock this spring while winning the Silver Rush 50 Mile up in Leadville this summer. [Edited]
  • Charles Corfield – If there’s a 55 year old with a shot at top 10, it’s Corfield. He was eighth (19:09) in 2011) and 13th (20:57) last year. He raced a ton this spring, but hasn’t raced since June.
  • Andy Dorais – A super talented athlete whose ability has translated more to skimo and FKTs than formal ultrarunning.
  • Sinuhé Fletes – The 28-year-old Fletes won the Travesía el las Sierras, a 50 miler in Mexico, in 7:38 in June. He was 21st at Pikes Peak Marathon as a 21 year old in 2006.
  • Craig Howie – Howie finished tenth (ninth man) at last year’s Leadville. [Added thanks to Kieran McCarthy]
  • Lars Kjerengtroen – As far as we can tell, Kjerengtroen jumped into ultrarunning this year. He’s already won a couple races, including Collegiate Peaks 50 Mile, 11 minutes ahead of Duncan Callahan.
  • Mike Le Roux – Le Roux’s had a pretty mixed bag at the 100-mile distance. His highlights include winning the 2011 Glasshouse 100 in 15:38 and taking third at Vermont last year in 16:11 as part of the Grand Slam. Vermont was, by far, the best of his four Grand Slam races.
  • Travis Macy – The leader in this year’s Leadman competition finished second at the Leadville Marathon at the end of June. We believe this will be his first run over 50 miles. [Added thanks to Kieran McCarthy]
  • Denis Mikhaylov – Denis has been tearing up East Coast ultras this past year, including success at 100 miles with a win at Virgil Crest last September and a second at Massanutten in May. He dropped after an aggressive start at the Cayuga Trails 50 Mile in June.
  • Timo Meyer – Meyer was sixth at Tarawera this spring. He won last year’s Al Andalus Ultra Trail stage race, but is typically in the second ten at top trail ultras.
  • Mike Patrizi – Patrizi gets a late nod due to finish second at the Silver Rush 50 Mile last month. As we think that might be his longest race to date (and second ultra overall), Saturday could be a learning experience. [Added thanks to Kieran McCarthy]
  • Nick Pedatella – Pedatella is a methodical 100 miler who’s running the Grand Slam this summer. He was 28th at Western States and 23rd at Vermont. I suspect he’ll fair better at Leadville.

2013 Leadville 100 Women’s Preview

Contenders for the Win

The women’s race at Leadville is not nearly as deep this year as it was in 2012. Last year’s Leadville champ Tina Lewis (2013 pre-race interview) is on the fence as she’s battled a foot injury for months. [Update: Tina decided on Thursday morning that she’d start Saturday’s race.] Similarly, 2010 Leadville champion Liza Howard (pre-2010 LT100 interview) is signed up, but she’s with child, so we won’t see her racing. That leaves two presumptive favorites for the women’s race – Ashley Arnold and Denise Bourassa.

Ashley Arnold

Ashley Arnold

Ashley Arnold (pre-race interview) hasn’t raced many ultras the past three years, but she did beat out Meghan Arbogast for a win at the White River 50 Mile last month. Late last year, she also one the Ultramaraton de los Andes in addition to taking fourth at the Way Too Cool 50k. In 2010, Arnold took third at Leadville, her 100-mile debut.

Denise Bourassa is a strong runner who routinely places in the top ten at the most competitive women’s races in the US. This year, those finishes include a ninth at the Chuckanut 50k and Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, a second at the Ice Age 50 Mile, and an eighth at the Western States 100. She won last year’s Pinhoti 100 Mile in 19:24.

Other Top Runners

  • Traci Falbo – Falbo had a rough go at Western States (26 hours), but was second woman at the Vermont 100 in 19:13 as she runs the Grand Slam. Last year, she ran 17:02 to take second at the Umstead 100 mile.
  • Stephanie Gaskell – Australian Gaskell won the Tarawera 60k in March and has finished as high as seventh at the TNF 100 in Australia. [Update: Stephanie Gaskell is out with an injury.]
  • Cinthia Espinosa Valdez – This June, Espinosa won the Travesía el las Sierras, a 50 miler in Mexico, in 9:59.
  • Abby McQueeney Penamonte – Abby took tenth at Western States this summer after finishing third at the Run Rabbit Run 100 mile (in 30 hours) last September. She was 20th woman in 27:50 at Leadville in 2011.
  • Shannon Meredith – A relative newcomer to ultrarunning with no 100-mile experience, Meredith did take second at the Bighorn 50 Mile in June. Inside word is that she’s fit.
  • Maggie Nelsen – To go with being nearly undefeated, Nelsen has a ton standout ultra times including a 3:47 50k in 2012 and a 7:04 50 mile this past January. [Added thanks to Dylan Bowman]
  • Amy Palmiero-Winters – Now a master, Palmiero-Winters had her best ultra run in winning the Heartland 100 Mile outright in 2009 with a time of 18:54. The two descents of Hope Pass could prove challenging for this below-the-knee amputee.
  • Carrie Stafford – Stafford took ninth at Leadville last year. It doesn’t appear that she’s run an ultra since.

 Call for Comments

  • Who’ll take the men’s and women’s races at Leadville this year?
  • Will it be Clark or Sharman as top Slammin’ Brit at Leadville?
  • Who’ve we missed in our preview? With over 1,000 entrants and typically a few very talented, but lesser known runners showing up from the Front Range, we know there have to be a few.
  • Have we listed anyone above who you know to be in particularly good form? Anyone noted who’s definitely not running?
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.