2013 Speedgoat 50k Men’s Preview

Speedgoat 50kWith its $12,000 in cash prizes including a $1,000 men’s and women’s hill-climbing prime, and, now, in its second year in the Skyrunning World Series, the Speedgoat 50k is attracting as strong a field as ever to the Snowbird ski resort at between 8 and 11,000′ in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. As it happens, the race starts less than 10 miles as the crow flies from iRunFar’s headquarters, so we’re excited to showcase the mountains that we call home. That said, with good weather forecast for Saturday (think sunny and 66F), it’s the runners who’ll be the stars this weekend. Before we fill you in on the men who are running, you can rest assured that we’ll provide race coverage starting at 6:30 MDT Saturday morning.

Thanks to Hoka One One for sponsoring our coverage of this year’s Speedgoat 50k!

[Editor’s Note: We’ve now previewed the women’s Speedgoat 50k field, as well.]

The Usual Suspects

Neither of the top two runners from last year–Kilian Jornet and Rickey Gates–are returning to run Speedgoat this year. (Don’t be confused by local legend Rick Gates who is running!) However, the third- and fourth-place runners from last year’s race–Anton Krupicka and Max King–are headed back and we can only hope that they provide as exciting a race as they did last year when King barely fended off Krupicka on the final, miles-long downhill to take third by 26 seconds.

Max King

Max King

Last year, Max King finished strong in the ultra world, winning the UROC 100k in September and setting a course record at the JFK 50 Mile in November. He continued banging out ultras this spring, winning the Way Too Cool 50k, taking second at the Chuckanut 50k, and fading to third at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. As always, King’s been racing since then, including taking third at the US Mountain Running Championships last weekend to qualify to race for the US at the upcoming world championships.

Anton Krupicka is in great shape even if its unapparent after illness kept him from running Transvulcania and a rough day ended his FKT attempt on Nolan’s 14 early a few weeks ago. While often seen as someone who excels most at longer distances, his fourth place at last year’s Speedgoat and previous course records at the White River 50 Mile show that he shouldn’t be counted out in shorter ultras.

Timothy Olson - 2013 Western States 100

Timothy Olson

Timothy Olson’s (pre-race interview) now won back-to-back Western States 100s. While, like Krupicka, Olson’s seen as excelling the most at longer race distances, he’s plenty capable of beating anyone in the field at Speedgoat. As evidence, Olson’s fourth-place finish in the stacked Transvulcania field where he was only two minutes behind Sage Canaday.

Over the past year, Sage Canaday (pre-race interview) has failed to win only one of the five ultras he’s finished in the US. That was when he took second to King at UROC last September. Standing out among those domestic wins are his nearly 10-minute course record at White River last July and his smartly-run, come-from-behind victory against a stacked field at Lake Sonoma. Internationally, Canaday has greatly impressed with his third-place finish at Transvulcania in May. Most recently, he won the Cayuga Trails 50 Mile in Ithaca, New York. Although the shorter distance does favor Canaday, it will be interesting to watch him and Olson battle, as Canaday barely nipped him at both Tarawera and Transvulcania this year.

In only five ultras, Cameron Clayton has shown he’s among the best ultrarunners in the world. That’s quite a feat for a 25-year-old who only ran his first ultra the middle of last September when he set the course record at the Run Rabbit Run 50 Mile. Since then, Clayton’s placed third at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships, taken second behind Canaday at Lake Sonoma, and finished seventh at Skyrunning’s Transvulcania event where he was only eight minutes behind Canaday.

The Internationals

While this year’s Speedgoat field is stacked with well-known Americans, there’s a distinct lack of international names known to US runners. However, there are a few international runners you should keep your eyes open for.

  • Thierry Breuil (France) – A three-time French national trail running champion and the winner of the 2009 Grande Course des Templiers. He’s run all three bi-annual IAU Trail Running World Championships, taking fifth, seventh, and fifth in 2009, 2011, and 2013, respectively.
  • Benoit Laval (France) – A masters runner, Laval took sixth at the 2009 Grande Course des Templiers and placed third at this year’s Lantau 50 in Hong Kong.

Other Top North Americans

Luke Nelson

Luke Nelson

Luke Nelson is the kind of guy who should crush Speedgoat. He’s seen success in sub-ultra trail racing in the La Sportiva Mountain Cup, been the US skimo champ, and run plenty of strong ultras. If he has his day, he could bump some better-known runners and finish in the top five. He might be due for one after a rough day at Transvulcania and a below-potential run at San Juan Solstice in June.

Another runner who could use a bounce-back race is Jorge Maravilla after gutting one out to a 30th place finish at Western States a few weeks ago. His fourth place finish at Lake Sonoma–behind Canaday, Clayton, and King–shows he’s got all the fitness he needs. On the other hand, he finished 18th at last year’s Speedgoat 50k and has yet to show he’s got it on a burly mountain course.

Michael Wardian - Marathon des Sables 2009

Michael Wardian

Michael Wardian continues his comeback after a 2012 mostly lost to injury. In March, he was fourth at the Caumsett 50k in 3:02, he won the Washington, DC TNF 50 Mile in June, and recently ran a 3:12:13 indoor 50k. Even if an all up-or-down high elevation 50k is far from his wheelhouse, you can bet that Wardian will be gunning it from “go!” [Update 7/24, noon: While Wardian is also signed up for the Burning River 100 this weekend, he’s confirmed that he’ll be running Speedgoat.]

Chris Vargo continues to build a name for himself in ultrarunning. In March, he placed second to Max King at the Way Too Cool 50k, running a 3:18:44. A month later, he ran to a sixth place at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. Then in June, he set a course record at the low-key but quietly competitive Golden Gate Dirty Thirty 50k in Colorado. I suspect this Colorado Springs resident has put in the requisite mountain time to excel at Speedgoat. [Update 7/24, noon: Chris Vargo is not running due to an Achilles/calf injury.]

Vancouver resident Jason Loutitt will bring his well-rounded running skills back to Snowbird where he took ninth at last year’s Speedgoat. Loutitt’s a guy who’s won races from the flat-and-fast American River 50 Mile to Hawaii’s challenging HURT 100 Mile.

The Utahns

On paper, Cody Moat is the favorite to lead the Utah contingent at Speedgoat. Why? Because he’s won two national championships in the past nine months. Last November, Moat headed over to Moab to win the Moab Trail Marathon, the USATF trail marathon national championships. In March, he won the Nueces 50 Mile in a course record time of 6:26, breaking Jason Schlarb’s old record of 6:28.

While he doesn’t have any national championships to his name, Salt Lake City’s Ben Lewis loves the hills. In 2011, he took fourth at Speedgoat while he could only manage 15th in last year’s stacked field. He followed that up with a third at the Wasatch 100 last September. [Update 7/25, 9 a.m.: Ben Lewis is not running due to an Achilles injury.]

If you’re looking for an exciting ultra debut, look to John Tribbia. In 2011, he took third behind Max King and Ryan Bak at the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon, edging out Erik Skaggs by two minutes. In 2010, he won the Imogene Pass Run and the Red Hot Moab 33k, while also placing third at the Lithia Loop Marathon. Previous results at races like Pikes Peak Ascent (6th ’07) suggest he’s an uphill-running specialist. He’ll have plenty of time to do that at Speedgoat!

Missoula Men

Missoula, Montana continues to develop as a northern hotspot for trail running. While Missoulans Mike Wolfe and Mike Foote aren’t running Speedgoat, the town will be represented by Jason Schlarb, Justin Yates, and Jeremy Wolf at the ‘Bird this weekend.

Jason Schlarb

Jason Schlarb

Jason Schlarb should be familiar to many iRunFar readers, as he’s seen continued success since his late-2010 ultra debut when he took fifth at the TNFEC 50 Mile Championships. He’s running strong again this year, with a third place at the Leona Divide 50 Mile, a win at the Pocatello 50k, and a second to Dakota Jones’s course record performance at the San Juan Solstice 50 Mile in late June. Schlarb was seventh at last year’s Speedgoat.

Justin Yates has finished on the podium at all the ultras he’s raced up in Montana and the Pacific Northwest. Last December, he gave it a go on a larger stage, finishing 22nd in 6:28 at the TNFEC 50.

As they’re close friends, hopefully Schlarb can fill us in a little more on Jeremy Wolf, who won his only ultra to date, the Spokane River Run 50k in 3:38 this April.

(Ps. Will someone from Missoula please bring me some Big Dipper Ice Cream?)

Call for Comments

  • Who do you think will take the Speedgoat 50k this year?
  • Who’ll go for… and who will win the $1,000 prime at the top of Hidden Peak 8.3 miles in?
  • Any big showdowns that you’re looking forward to watching?
  • Did we miss any top contenders who are racing? Know of any top entrants who’ve decided not to race this weekend?

There are 109 comments

  1. Tahoe Pete

    Wow stacked field indeed. Got to think TK is due but will take Sage for the win. TK will get his w at utmb later this summer.

  2. Alex

    Seems we say this every weekend, but wow, what a field. It's "short", but the vert and technicality of the course might give the more strength/endurance oriented runners a fair shot at the speedsters in the field. Anyway, it will be fascinating. I'm picking Sage because at this point, it seems foolish not to.

    Sub plot: How long until the comments descend in to a TK related flame war?

    1. Bryon Powell


      Tons of vert and high altitude, but minimally technical. There's a (very) gnarly mile or two headed out of Mineral Basin toward Pacific Mine and a short bushwacking section, but that's it.

      I hope readers can keep the discussion focused on an exciting race with many fun-to-watch runners with varying strengths.

      1. Alex

        Happy to be corrected on that. Hell, I live in Kansas, so I just assume any mountain trail is "technical". I imagine that's very subjective though, and true mountain runners would disagree. I'd love to see the course myself, but that's another story.

        And I totally agree with you second point, hoping for the best. For fans of the sport, it's quite cool to see so many races pit so many runners against one another, with so many variables.

        As for the 8.3 mile prize, I'm picking Cam. He seems to enjoy sprinting to the front, and holding on for dear life.

        1. nbskis

          nah. i've run 75% or so of the course over the last couple weeks (local), none of it's too bad aside from the one or two climbs, which are more just steep and loose than technical. will be rocking a handheld amphipod only.

  3. Billy

    Happily (while shitting my pants) participating for the 1st time this year.

    I'll pick me for 1st – unless I have a tough day in which I may finish 3-4 hours behind the leaders – and then TK, Max, then Sage.

    Hope to slap hands w/ you at some point Bryon. Thanks for all that iRunFar's been doing for the trail/ultra community.

    1. Joe

      Best comment of the day here! As for myself, I too plan on hanging at the front of the pack for either the entire race or the first 400 meters, whichever comes first.

    2. Bryon Powell

      Sweet, Billy. I'll be up at Hidden Peak when you come through the first time. Have a great race. Be sure to stop at the peaks and passes to take in the views (and catch your breath at the same time). ;-)

    1. Scott

      Pretty sure Vargo has been struggling with Achilles pain for the past few weeks and is making a race-week decision about whether he'll run. If the Achilles allows him to race, he'll definitely be a strong contender.

  4. Gilbert

    Tribbia's a Utahan now?! Johnny, when did you move? I was looking for results from him a while back, couldn't find anything since the Catalina marathon in LA a couple years ago.

  5. Schlarb

    Yes, Missoula is certainly the northern hotspot indeed. We should put on a "hotspot" clash between Boulder and Missoula (Ashland almost can field a team).

    Jeremy Wolf, the other Wolf in Missoula, has tons of talent and is just getting into the long stuff now. Great climber and descender, just needs to get in some ultra experience and training. He ran a 3rd at the La Sportiva Cup race, the Prickly Pear 18 mile, behind Mike Wolf and a few seconds behind Justin Ricks.

    Unfortunately I haven't received any offers (hint) for sponsorship at the legendary "Big Dipper" ice cream shop and despite my encouragement the Big Dipper runners Mike Foote and Mike Wolf aren't coming.

  6. Mike Place

    Andy Dorais from Salt Lake will be in the mix just behind the leaders, without much doubt. A top-five spot could happen for him on a good day.

    1. Bryon Powell

      I debated adding Andy Dorias to the preview. He's a great skimo racer, just co-set the Mt. Rainier foot-based (in his case, skiing) up-and-down FKT, and likely has a handful for local Wasatch running FKTs, but he's yet to find corresponding success in a trail ultra, at least from what I've seen. Could definitely be a sleeper pick.

        1. Chris Cawley

          Dr. Dorais finally finished his residency and just began tapering from his Leadville training. I'll bet you a Fatboy he's under 6hrs.

  7. Michael Owen

    Wardian being on this list is a surprise to me… he is also on the entrant list for Burning River 100, which is the same day as Speedgoat. Bryon, is Wardian for sure toeing the line at Speedgoat and not Burning River?

  8. Joel Wright

    I love how Speedgoat Karl can get such a great field together on such a great course, for such a great race! While it is cool to run 100 miles, the fans appreciate races like Speedgoat, or Transvulcania, where almost anyone can fit in into their schedule since you don't need a month to recover afterwards. I'm so excited that I got a room up at Snowbird on Friday night to go watch the action with my sons. We had tons of fun up at the finish last year. Got chances to take pictures with TK and Killian, and they even signed a water bottle for us that I still have in my office. If you live in the Utah area, come up to Snowbird around Noon. It is tons of fun.

  9. Antonio

    A couple of speedy newcomers and a few guys that have clearly proven they can run hard in the mountains. This is going to be super interesting and is a race I have been looking forward to this year. I will go with Anton, Timothy and Sage for the podium.

  10. KenZ

    I think MAYBE Sage for the win, but one thing is for sure: Loutitt will be in the running for the first $1k, even if it isn't on his mind at all; that boy goes out FAST! He seems to have only two speeds: GO!, and "Wow, did I go out a bit too fast." Respect to him by the way, but he sure bucks any pacing trend I've ever heard of. Go for it anyway Jason! Veggie power!

    1. Randy

      Agree Ken,Loutitt is crazy fast,if he can ever harness his energy and perfect his mountain running skills,not many would be able to stay with him,very good chance for a podium finish.

    1. Bryon Powell

      There's a rule for that. ;-)
      NO CUTTING SWITCHBACKS!! Here in America, we follow the course as marked. Going in any direction away from the “obviously marked trail” will result in a Disqualification. This is a standard rule in all National Parks, National Forests and State Parks in the United States.

      You don't want to go losing your Skyrunning points or prize money, do you?

  11. Sam Winebaum

    I think the Usual Suspects will be on the podium with my favorite Max King and I see Cody Moat potentially in there for top 3 or 5. He will be at home and likely fresher not having tons of races this year as the others have. This is a fabulous race to watch while getting in a great workout. I will head to the top before the race, direct trail then hang out around the tunnel maybe help Karl rearrange arrows if he needs help then when leaders come through go direct to finish line. Worked out great last year.

  12. Ben Nephew

    Does Max use an altitude tent? Did he prior to last year?

    I've seen quite a few really good climbers run away from me over the years, and Cody Moat reminded me of some of the stronger ones going up the black diamond ski trails at Killington last fall. It sounds like the course might suit him.

    Louttit or Clayton for the prime.

    1. Alex

      According to a recent Trail Runner Magazine profile (by Rickey Gates, of all people), Max has an altitude tent, but uses it infrequently, and only right before races at altitude.

  13. CynthiaMc

    Here are my bets and why:

    1. Canaday (more talent than anyone in the field)

    2. Olson (greater pain threshold than anyone in the field)

    3. King (more versatility than anyone in the field)

    4. Krupicka (more experience than anyone in the field)

  14. Anonymous

    Really need to move across the Atlantic to see some of these amazing races. Thanks for the write up :) Great to see Anton in the lineup, he and Timmy will just have gotten warmed up by the finish line :)

  15. Scott

    Interesting lineup. I'm going to put my money on Sage or Olson. I don't think TK can run with this new breed of front runners anymore.

  16. thomas

    Is Timothy really runnng the Speedgoat ? His schedule doesn´t show this ?

    If yes, would be great to see him, may be a "training" race before UTMB like transvulkania before WS 100 ?

    He is one for the win, but the 50 mile is may be to short, I am exciting to see him at UTMB, I think until now, a US boy never won UTMB, Olson ist the man, he is the best 100 mile runner in the moment in world, together with Kilian, the guy from the other planet.

    take care thomas

  17. David Wooderson

    I think I'm with TheBaldEnglishTeacher on this one. You gotta cut the switchbacks, ESPECIALLY after being told NOT to. Would be a lot cooler if you did…

  18. Jamie

    Of course, if we are going to divide up results by geography, we might emphasize that Sage has never lost an ultra in Utah.

  19. Brad S.

    Gotta go with Anton K. for this one. He is long overdue for a big race. I think he will take this one and then take UTMB.

  20. Ultrawolf

    I´m finding it a bit strange that the ISF schedules a World Series Race and the European Championship in Ultra Skyrunning the same day. No wonder there are not too many top Europeans coming. At least the US runners don´t cut switchbacks so chances are good we don´t only see an exciting race but also one without the controversy. "Who´s the winner, who gets the money, who got the record ?"

    We should know pretty soon :-)

  21. Fernando N Baeza

    Wow! What a lineup! So many great runners but unfortunately there are no two first places. Sage has had a great year thus far, his run at Transvulcania was exceptional for a newbie Skyrunner. He displayed Class A running form and fitness. He raced pretty consistently throughout the early season, but he's not raced since Cayuga, so he's very well rested with lots of vertical in his training. Max King is not to be discounted however, Sage has lost once to Max early on his ultra repertoire. Behind those two will be a charging Tony K, he's accumulated tons of 14er's into his daily training. This could be to his advantage on the descents when quads typically blow up! It will be a great race!
    Fernando Najera Baeza
    San Antonio, TX

    1. nbskis

      sage topped out at like 100 miles and 16k vert weekly or something… not really much vert considering the mileage. the dude's a monster athlete though for sure.

        1. nbskis

          i hit 15k+ vert in under 50 miles last week. TK's vert is totally fucking absurd too. sage can run fast, i wouldn't doubt him doing very well here, but you can't underestimate the vert. the wasatch is steep.

  22. DanSchulof

    Anyone available to give a mostly unsketchy guy a ride up-Canyon from SLC proper on Saturday morning? My girlfriend has to work the night shift (at a hospital, saving lives!) the night before the race and she won't be home in time to get me up there for the 515 registration. I live at 17th South and Main but I can get myself to somewhere else if you prefer. I will buy you breakfast or coffee or a beer or whatever you like…

  23. Dom

    I'm wondering what shoes to wear. I like to run in lightweight shoes, but I've been stung by poor footwear choices before. In the Squaw Peak 50, I opted for the Montrail FluidFlex and was feeling very pleased with this choice right up until the final descent from Windy Pass. At this point the trail turned to sharp, loose rubble and I was really hating life! Given that Karl likes to run in Hokas, I'm wondering if the Speedgoat course has significant descents for which armor-plated footwear is desirable.

    Anyone with recent Speedgoat experience care to comment?

  24. Vargo

    Unfortunately, I've decided to pull out due to a nagging Achilles/calf issue. Very bummed, but definitely the right decision. Have fun and be safe! See you next year!

  25. Mike

    Hate to be that nitpicky local guy but I believe Jason Loutitt is from Squamish, BC not Vancouver. They are about 41 miles or 66.6km (*gasp*) from each other.

  26. thomas

    thanks for the info, that makes the race much more interesting,

    I guess Olsen is in the best shape of his life, everyone who wants to win, must beat this guy. But the most exciting race would be this year UTMB.

    I am looking forward to this race

    take care


  27. Ben Lewis

    Honored to be included in your write-up Bryon but unfortunately I'm not lining up this year due to some roughed-up achilles in the wake of 2 big runs in the past month. Sadly, this means I won't get a chance to try to keep up with Andy Dorais who, as others have already pointed out, is poised to have a break-out run.

          1. Chris Cawley

            I think my achilles issues have been exacerbated by gluten as well, we should consider a class action suit. I'm not aware that there is any gluten in Ninkasi, or Hop Notch for that matter.

  28. Hone

    Have a great race Billy. You might be a sea level peep but are not a flatlander with all of those Baldy ascents. Represent L.A.!!

  29. Berger Mousse

    FWIW I Saw him killing it on the Sea Wall in Vancouver a couple weeks ago. Awesome runner. Glad to see him tipped.

  30. Bryon Powell

    When I ran Speedgoat two years ago, during the one rocky downhill, I found I could either run on the heavily canted shoulder or pick my way through the rocks pretty well. It's early enough and downhill enough that it's worth keeping some momentum if you can. :)

  31. SDH

    Let's not overlook Robert Mueller for the local winner…. He did it last year, 6:08… He's fit. Ultrasignup and their ranking system! SG50K will be a good show.

  32. Colon Lewis

    Ninkasi- I had to google that one.

    At the risk of being inflammatory (no pun intended), I imagine that grainy deity has a similar metaphysical status to widespread so-called non-celiac gluten intolerance.

  33. Nick J

    Cutting switchies is standard practice here in France and to be honest you've got to have nerves of steel to do it. I prefer to stick to the trail and minimize the risk of falling and killing myself. ;)

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