2013 Tarawera Ultramarathon Results

Tarawera Ultramarathon logoIt was the Sage Canaday (post-race interview) and Ruby Muir (post-race interview) show, with a helping of Timothy Olson, at the 2013 edition of the Tarawera 100k.

You can find our full play-by-play of the 100k race (and a few photos/updates early on in the 85k and 60k races, too) as well as a collection of our pre-race interviews and preview on our Tarawera Ultramarathon Live Coverage page.

[Editor’s Note: We’ve now posted all our best pics in a 2013 Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon Facebook album.]

As usual, we’ll be updating this article with additional results as well as links to Tarawera-related articles, photo galleries, and race reports.

Ps. To get all the latest ultra news from iRunFar.com, subscribe via RSS or email.

2013 Tarawera Men’s 100k Race

The men’s race was essentially an off-the-charts-fast group run for the first almost 20k. Together in a near-pack until that point included early leader/pace-pusher Brendan Davies as well as Sage Canaday, Timothy Olson, Mick Donges, and Vajin Armstrong. At the 19.5-kilometer aid station, Davies had opened a one-minute gap over Canaday, Armstrong, and Donges. And Olson and Scott Hawker together made a second chase pack at that point.

The game had changed at 37 kilometers into the race, though. There, Sage Canaday opened a six-minute lead over the rest of the field with Armstrong and Davies running second and third. Another 10 kilometers later, Sage’s lead was 10 minutes and, at kilometer 54.5, he was 12 minutes up. He ran through the kilometer 74.2 in 5:58 and kilometer 84.6 in 6:56, then finished in 8:53:30.

Sage Canaday wins the Tarawera 100k.

Sage Canaday wins the Tarawera 100k.

But then, there was a lurker, Olson. By 40 or so kilometers into the race, Olson settled into second position, though a decent distance back of Sage. Little by little, though, Olson cut into Canaday’s lead during the race’s second half. In the end, Olson ran out of territory and finished a super-strong second at just over three minutes back.

Timothy Olson running around kilometer 65 of the Tarawera 100k

Timothy Olson running around kilometer 65 of the Tarawera 100k.

Vajin Armstrong took the elusive bronze spot on the podium along with the distinction of first Kiwi, representing his home turf well.

2013 Tarawera Men’s 100k Results

  1. Sage Canaday (Scott/Drymax – USA) – 8:53:30 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  2. Timothy Olson (The North Face/Injinji – USA) – 8:56:45 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  3. Vajin Armstrong (Macpac – New Zealand) – 9:39:45
  4. Brendan Davies (Inov-8 – Australia) – 9:51:50
  5. Mick Donges (Salomon – Australia) – 9:59:47

Full men’s 100k results.

2013 Tarawera Women’s 100k Race

Ruby Muir played it cool, calm, and freaking fast in her Vibram FiveFingers all day long. She passed through the kilometer 13.5-aid station leading and in just 67 minutes, and the kilometer 19.5-aid station at 1:32 time elapsed. Shona Stephenson hung tough early on, however, as she was just three minutes off Ruby’s cruising pace at that point. And Beth Cardelli passed through in third position there, too. Shona later dropped down to the 85k.

Ruby Muir runs through kilometer 54.5 in her Vibram FiveFingers.

Ruby Muir runs through kilometer 54.5 in her Vibram FiveFingers.

2013 Tarawera Women’s 100k Results

  1. Ruby Muir (Vibram, UltrAspire – New Zealand) – 10:30:11 (post-race interview)
  2. Beth Cardelli (Salomon – Australia) – 11:43:56
  3. Kelly Harrington (USA) – 14:23:56
  4. Raewynne Blommerde (New Zealand) – 14:35:55
  5. Kate Townsley (New Zealand) – 15:54:13

Full women’s 100k results.

Other Results/Information

To clear up any confusion, we thought we’d fill you in on a few other internationally-known runners associated with this year’s Tarawera ultras. First off, Anton Krupicka made the call not to start a few weeks ago due to a hip injury, but he’s doing better and intends to race Transvulcania in May. From the Salomon squad, Anna Frost and Rickey Gates paired up as a 60k-relay team as did Emelie Forsberg and François d’Haene. In the end, the two teams tied. Greg Vollet took off with the front of the 100k pack with an uncertain intention as to which distance he’d race, but ended up pulling with a hamstring tweak. The top two ladies in the 85k race, Shona Stephenson and Candice Burt, dropped from the 100k.

2013 Tarawera Articles, Race Reports, and More

Articles and Photo Galleries

Race Reports

Meghan Hicks

is the Managing Editor of iRunFar and the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running.' The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.

There are 31 comments

  1. StumpWater

    I really enjoyed following the live coverage, Bryon and Crew, thanks for it. I really think that one aspect of the debates about whether fast marathoners can make it as ultraracers has been totally put to bed by now, by Max King and Sage Canaday over the past year: in non-mountain races of the 50k-100k range … they are the predominant top-of-the-podium favorites from here on out. Of course there will be some times when they don't win, but I think the smart money should be on them. (I'm not the smart money, by the way, so I hope the smart money will weigh in.) What I am excited to see is some more detailed split info on this race. Did Canaday fade a bit over the latter parts of the race and allow Olson to close the gap? … or did Olson pick up the pace and close the gap? Both? I think this'll be interesting data for the "fast marathoners in the 100-miler" question.

    Anyway, $0.10 from the peanut gallery … and thanks again for the great coverage!

  2. montecervino

    i would have loved to see anton compete against sage… hopefully we'll see both of them at uroc… and wait im sure kilian's gonna be there as well

    oh yeah!

  3. Speedgoatkarl

    Sage should run Western, I know he's not planning on it, Max as well. It'll be interesting to see how it would pan out. Looking at the last 15-16k, Sage was not fast in that section. Of course, for all I know, there was a huge climb to slow him down, but Timmy, (a great 100 miler runner) seems to have had him in his sights, and was gaining ground rapidly.

    I know it's just a 100k in March, but the real distance lies ahead, when far more variables come into play.

    I was surprised to see only the top 3 within an hour of each other. With the exception of Tim and Sage, there wasn't much of a men's race.

    Although Western isn't much of a mountain race, c'mon Sage, jump in! After Foresthill, it'll be some somewhat unknown territory for you. We all want to see it. :-)

    1. JD

      Lord willing, in time, we will see Canaday in the 100 miler(s) within a year or two (or three).  One of his stated goals is to qualify for the Oly Trials again, and he will probably try to do that before attempting a 100-miler. 

      It is reasonable to let him first learn and adapt to these distances.  My opinion, his training will need to be more longer-distance focused. He will need to think about the periodization in the training macro-cycle, whereby he regularly gets in at least one 5-7 hour long-long-long run every 10-14days, with possibly on average, two additional 3-4 hour long-long runs, thus keeping his weekly mileage on average at 100 miles/week, but with vast volume swings, where some weeks are 50 miles, and some are an easy 150 miles; the idea being to get the super-compensation stretched out for big distances. This will take a multi-year process. 

      Eventually for him, that long-long-long run could become a medium intensity 'B' race ultra (anything from 50k to 100k in distance), whereby we see him 'racing' upwards of 20-30 times a year as training runs, and peaking for a few majors…if he can get his sponsor(s) to help with the travel logistics. 

      Canaday could become a major force in the ultra-sport over the next several years. Perhaps down the road, we may eventually find out that Canaday can thrive in the 100-milers.  Remember, he currently is a 'noob' to the sport.  :-)

      1. Guy C.

        ? "Could become a force"? ? You must be jesting.

        Second at Chuckanut (with a wrong turn), White River CR, Bandera CR and this performance at Tarawera. (I guess we omit the Mt. Washington sub-hour because it's not at least 50k?)

        I'd say "became a force" is a more accurate term. And in a very short year. Anyone who is still clinging to the idea of Sage as a "Roadie" has been sleeping with Rip Van Winkle.

        1. Anonymous

          Elite track/road guys at all distances 5k onward already drop more miles than most ultra folks with few exceptions. Miles won't be the issue. It is as the goat hath spoken. When he goes for it, 100 may take a few to dial in, but given his obvious understanding of everything below 100, I doubt he will have much trouble there.

            1. Speedgoatkarl

              amg, dropping down to a shorter distance is like DNF'ing. (when you drop down "during" the event). Not sure why race organizers allow that. It's an encouragement to runners to come up short. Isn't it about getting it done?

              It's just a matter of time when guys as fast as Sage and Max dial in the 100 and break more crazy records.

              A great example is when I ran 26:39 at Hardrock in 2001. I was a god then, (not really, just a figure of speech of course :-)), but now look how Kyle Skaggs brought that to 23:35, and now the winnning times at Hardrock are gonna slowly keep approaching 24 hours or less.

              All records are made to be broken. What's the marathon record now? 2:03 something? It's gonna go under 2 hours eventually.

        1. Paul Charteris

          Hey Karl,

          I agree (as would the athletes- I am sure) that entering 100k and dropping down to 85k is "like" DNF'ing.

          However, in my mind, I have always felt it is appropriate to reward the athletes for the distance completed and achieved, rather than un-reward for distance not achieved. Some athletes are just delighted to pick up a finishers medal for running shorter than anticipated – since it takes away a bit of the hurt of not finishing. For some, nothing will take away the disappointment of not finishing their intended distance.

          It goes the other way too, some runners enter the 60km – and (very occasionally – when they are having a superb day) will finish the 85 or even 100k.

          Remember too, trail ultra running (aside from Kepler- and especially at these distances) is relatively small and new in New Zealand, so for many runners they have no idea what they can achieve until they actually race. This is another reason why runners change up and down.

          Yeah, sure it's a little bit of a shame having runners changing from solo to relay at the last minute (especially high profile ones), but I honestly don't mind too much. For me, the more runners I have on those trails – the better.

          Cheers, Paul Charteris

          RD, Tarawera.

    2. Aaron Sorensen

      Sage should run Western, I know he’s not planning on it, Max as well.

      Yes, yes Karl, they should.

      Now go tell them that it's not that far.

      You may be the only one who can convince them of that.

    3. MS

      WS is going to be fun but I'd venture to say Lake Sonoma next month is going to be crazy …. There has to be 20 guys with a chance …

  4. jenn

    I never thought the argument was that fast marathoners couldn't make it in ultras, just that fast marathoners couldn't assume that their speed obviated the need for trail skills (if on trails) and some experience with the reality that marathon strategies aren't all directly applicable to longer distances.

  5. trail running

    Yes great coverage, the effort is greatly appreciated! The current question now is the difference between 60 miles and 100 miles a similar kind of physiological barrier say between 10K and marathon where if you are too fast in the former you are presumed to not be capable of being right up there with the elite in the other just because. That was always the bare pointy pokey end of the debate. We're at a point now where we just don't have enough data on that one way or the other. But as you reminded that's same circumstance we were at before Sage and Max went into beast mode on the 100K and under stuff and they put any debate on that to rest. Could the same thing happen at 100 miles and presumptions get smacked down or conventional wisdom prevails? Definitely exciting for the peanut gallery!

  6. Mike

    Two early season thoughts…

    1. Great to hear both Tim and Sage talk about taking time off from the trail. i hear so many nervous nellie's think that more miles, more often is the only way to go. Too often overlooked, in my opinion, is the importance of rest. The body won't degenerate into a sloth with some time off!

    2. I think the its shallow to think that a 100 mile race is the be all/end all of a runners career. I enjoy seeing special athletic performances, and I don't care if they move up to the 100 mile distance or not. Let Farah and Rupp continue to do special things at 10K/marathon(?), and Max King and Sage at the 50K – 100K distance, but that shouldn't be overshadowed by the "what if's" of the 100 mile distance.

    Congrats Sage! Funny that people think of you as a "roadie" – you're a helluva RUNNER in my book. Thanks IRF!

    1. Alex

      It's worth remembering that Sage was a strong CC runner in college – better than track, even. So people thinking of him as a "roadie" isn't really that accurate. It's just that there's no elite cross country circuit, with the WC only being held every other year now, so anyone who wants to make a living as a runner basically has to run track or road marathons. It's only recently that trail ultras have become a more economically viable route.

      I certainly agree on point 2 as well. David Rudisha might be the best runner in the world right now, and he only races 800m. All distances are badass, just in different ways.

    2. Speedgoatkarl

      Mike,the 100 mile distance is "hardly" the end of all runners careers. I know Sage is gonna do great at 100s, once he steps in, but what alot of folks don't quite understand is that the extra 38 miles make a big difference. Speed becomes a non-factor. Going into the night, fueling, mentally staying strong changes alot of variables, any decent runner can bang out a run for 9-11 hours, but when it becomes 17 hours or more….it's just different. I have no doubt he'll do great, I just don't want to be dead before I see it. :-)

      JD…." periodization in the training macro-cycle, whereby he regularly gets in at least one 5-7 hour long-long-long run every 10-14 days"

      If he does this, he'll get slower…..in my humble opinion. 2-3 years? He's done plenty of miles to step up, newbie or not. :-)

      1. JD

        Well, the major force on the women's side, EGreenwood, will go out and run six hours on the weekend. And she ran, what, 14-some races in 2012? Granted, the men's side is more competitive, so if Canaday were to travel around and race 20 times a year, we wouldn't expect him to win them all. But it would allow him to break up the monotony of those big training days with venturing out to the sporting community. The big days would be wrapped around by the down travel days.

        I used the term 'super-compensation' in a general sense, but its more specifically training for a shift in homeostasis to get accustomed to multi-hour, all-day, zone 2-3 activity. Do you or not, Karl, think extended time-on-feet training is proper in prep for 100 milers? If so, why not do it in 'B' races, among the fan-base, getting more exposure for the sponsors? Realistic?

        1. Daniel W

          Granted I'm definitely not Karl, but what's the point if Sage has as much cumulative QUALITY miles in his legs as he does especially since he wants to go for the OT's one more time.

          Some people can race themselves into shape but most don't have the discipline to run the race in a way to make it useful to the goal race.

          And for the 5-7 hr training run…speed does a lot of things. If sage has a 2:15 Mary PR then his easy pace is ~6:13 or so. Making a five hour training run a solid 48 and a quarter miles. There's no training benefit in that. Even without the speed a 5-7 hr training that often is silly for 99% of runners.

  7. Brendan

    Thanks so much for the coverage of a race down south. It's really appreciated and it was great to see all the athletes running well. Looking forward to hearing more from them about their runs. Any idea why the two ladies dropped? And well done to all racers out there no matter what.

  8. amg

    Is it common in ultras to have athletes scratching or changing from solo to relay so close to the start of the race? (As well as those dropping down a distance during the race). I appreciate that they probably have their sites set on other bigger events and don't wont to ruin their season, but it must be at least a little bit disappointing for the organisers. But I guess that is what happens when you are not a high prestige event (yet).

    1. Paul Charteris

      amg – to have those last minute changes was a little disappointing – but it was great to have them out here at Tarawera. What a wonderful group of people.

      Tarawera is "world prestigious in New Zealand" :-)

      Cheers, Paul

      RD, Tarawera

      1. amg

        Hey Paul. Thanks for your perspective here and in the comments above. I too am in NZ and although not a competition trail runner, I love the sport and am stoked at the calibre of events we have. I cannot figure out why this event and others like it are hardly on our major news broadcasts (maybe I missed them?) And you are right – having some of these top athletes out here on the trails in whatever capacity is brilliant and can only add to the exposure of this event. Onwards and updwards. Big congrats!!

        1. Paul

          Hi amg,

          Thanks for the congrats. It's always a struggle getting NZ television involved. A documentary will appear on 3rd Degree in a few weeks. This will raise the national media consciousness.

  9. JP

    Whoa! 24 comments and not a mention of Muir's run. I'm more excited about what the future holds for her running than any bloke in the race, no doubt.

        1. David

          That is ridiculously impressive to me. I've done a few 30+ mile trail runs in VFF and that was tough…going double on techy terrain is nuts!

    1. Dan Bleakman (Ultra1

      Yep, Ruby is a massive talent and will be mixing it with the likes of Anna Frost, Lizzy Hawker and Ellie Greenwood over the coming years. Watch this space.

      Tarawera is a great event that attracts some great runners. Admittedly trail running in Australia and NZ is not on a par with the US in terms of popularity and size as of yet, but you guys should consider racing down here and experiencing it for yourself. It's fantastic that Bryon makes the effort to come to NZ and cover this stuff to help raise the profile… instead of commenting from afar, grab your passports and come and visit. Both Sage and Tim are a massive credit to US ultra running and their attitudes and friendliness was second to none.

  10. Mic Medeska

    Does Sage really need to run a 100 miler to prove anything? I know he has stated intentions, but is that the new standard? I personally am far more impressed with 50k and 100k distances in the sport of Ultra, and if he keeps taking down CR after CR and keeps winning, I'd rather he just continue doing that. And I agree with a previous poster who defended Sage about "becoming/became a force", and mentioning Mt Washington. Having never run Washington, for Sage to drop a sub hour time is absolutely incredible. I give that more props than any victory he's had since, up there with his 2:18 marathon.

    1. Pete

      I have run mt washington several times. Running under an hour is not easy and is dependent on many things. Mainly a good weather day. If it is a bad weather day on Mt. Washington breaking an hour is impossible hence why it is rarely done. I guess the good news is it is only one hill but that hill relentless. The fact that he has also run a faster time then Matt Carpenter up the hill is also incredible. In his first try none the less to. It took carpenter several tries to get under an hour.

  11. john

    Sage will not have any problem to win a lot of 100M.The question in which kind of 100M are the best for his ability:Easy and flat,or hard and vertical.

    Trail runner or Mountain runner? UROC or HR?,25000 vertical ft per week or 130 miles per weeK?

    1. Speedgoatkarl

      we'll see how Sage does at the Speedgoat 50k. Max killed it, only Rickey and Kilian beat him, so Sage is gonna do the same most likely. I'm sure he'll punch me when he's done. I look forward to it.

      "Mountain running", such as Hardrcok is different than "trail running"

      No comparison, mountain running is slogging, compared to fast trails like UROC, Sonoma, Western, etc….

  12. mtvicrunner

    Great race with some amazing performances, Ruby Muir gets performance of the day imo. However, most kiwis were not surprised by this performance, as she recently won two heavy duty mountain marathons. Kaweka (46km 3500m) where she place 3rd overall and bested Helen Diamantides course record. The shotover moonlight marathon, (unsure on the name it's complicated) where she beat Anna Frost. (Though Frosty was apparently "not racing".)

    Which brings me to my next topic, which is disappointment at Team Salomon for changing to the relay race. On one side this raises questions about our expectations of elites to "race" the longest distance in any race. Is there a certain "duty" for elites to compete, to push the boundaries of our sport? On the other side the disappointment arises from their non-participation in the elite field, I for one was looking forward to seeing Muir matched up against Forsberg and Frost, and to seeing D'Haene and Gates mixing it in the men's field.

    I'm just not sure why you'd travel to the other side of the world not to race? Were they all injured? Protecting themselves for their rest of the season?

    What do people think?

    1. Pete

      it is a long season. I think they are just making sure they don't burn out. I don't think going to New Zealand and taking it easy is the worst idea. A lot of the salomon team is registered at lake sonoma and of course a lot of the sky series. I think they are making sure to get their legs and be ready for the long grind. March is really pretty early in the year.

  13. Jake

    "What's the point"?? "No training benefit"?!? When extended 'time-on-feet' practice on the terrain is the objective, the Jack Daniels' respective VDOT "easy pace" does not factor into the primary desired training affect.

    And with regard to 5-7 hour training runs being "silly", Killian Jornet (who is arguably the best ultra sky runner today, sometimes does several 7 hour training days…per week! A lot of times these are done in two sessions, but sometimes as a single, training 25-35 hours per week, with 80% out on his feet in the mountains, having fun, training by feel.

    But of course, Jornet is not part of the "99% of runners". Neither are most accomplished ultramarathoners, afterall, being in a niche sport.

    You must be a fellow 'roadie'.

    1. Anonymous

      Running 36 training runs a year at 50-70 mi per run is silly.

      Doing 25-35 hours of up and down at some ridiculous 100k (or whatever kilian does) gain and loss is much more applicable to big mountain courses.

      IIRC sage had trouble going Down hill in NZ…so he hasn't done much up and down (ala AK, jornet etc) so a 5-7 hr run on relatively flat ground 36 times per year at his ability in training is stupid.

    2. Daniel W

      You can't just copy the training of elites workout for workout and expect to be at that level. Very few people are advanced enough where following killians etc training would provide even marginal benefit (if it didnt kill them or they didn't get hurt). Again running is hugely cumulative. It takes time.

      And no I'm not a roadie, but I recognize that sage for the most part is. He still wants the OTs so I'm sure that will remain the focus the closer we get to the qualifying window.

    3. Jake

      Daniel W, per your messages below, "time on feet" training does not mean, particularly for Canaday living in Boulder, CO, to run flat courses at 6:xx pace.  Even Geoffery Mutai, one of the three fastest road marathoners on the planet today, regularly does gobs (several hours per week) of MP+3:xxmin training (that's over 3min slower than his Marathon Pace, i.e., 8min/mile) in the hills.

      Rather than Canaday regularly seeking out FKT's up Green Mountain as he currently does, he should instead progressively add the types of days where he goes up and down Green Mountain many times per day, slowing his average training pace way down (but with mixed in fartlek play by feel).  That should become greater focus in training, as much as he can adapt to, if he eventually wants to compete with Meltzer and Jornet in 100 miler mountain races.

      Sage is a long strider on the road, but if he wants to be a good sky runner, he will practice and practice lightly and rapidly picking up the feet when scaling up and down the face of the mountain, in the most body-floating, quad-saving manner.  Having a taller CoG than Jornet or Meltzer, Canaday may find it more effective to hold back on pounding down the steep downhills to save the quads over the long day. 

      It is true that changing his mountain running technique, through months and months of training/racing, may (or may not) reduce his raw road speed, and thus jeopardize the OlyTrials qualification goal.  But conversely, maybe he will end up with faster turnover for the road too, thus improving his marathon time in the process.

      Canaday probably agrees with most everything I said, and already knows more than us combined on where and how his training can improve, considering his ultimate objectives, one being to be one of the best ultra-runners in the world.

    4. Speedgoatkarl

      "Meltzer and Jornet" in the same sentence? c'mon, no comparison there. Granted, I've done alot of 100s in my career and won a few, but Killian is at another level. He's also young and resiliant, light, small, he's got all the gears. A V02 max above 90.

      the one thing Killian really does right, is switch his "gear" and ski all winter. It compliments his running, so he'll never get burnt out..but we shall see what happens after his Everest attempt in a few years.

    1. Speedgoatkarl

      The average speed at the Hardrock 100, even for elite runners is 4mph. That would be a winning time of 26:40-27:20. Not many times have been under that. so Hardrock is a slog. Sure when we are "running", the flats and downs, they are about 9min miles….but otherwise, it's slow over the whole period of time. Thats what I meant by slogging, the winning times are fast over that terrain.

      Killian would slog at HR too…trust me.

  14. Daniel W

    Jake- for some reason I couldn't reply directly to you.

    The anonymous was also me. I forget to fill in the fields sometime.

    As far as mutai…perfect example of easy days being easy and someone knowing what they are doing.

    RE: boulder- unless you're intentional about it…runs are relatively flat.

    But alas I submit to your expertise. Maybe sage will contact you to be his coach :)

  15. Russell L

    Hi, I ran in the 85km tarawera Ultra, and congrats to Paul C for another top event. I'll be back next year! For me it was great to see these top runners in action, and that only happened due to the change in the course. Congrats to Sage, Tim, Vaijin, and of course Ruby and Beth – they all had awesome runs.

    Like many NZ runners it's disappointing to see the lack of media coverage, something that I hope improves, and having these top runners will definitely help that.

    It was scary to see how quickly Sage went through the 85km mark, he was 2 hours ahead of my time (which won that won that event), so I'm sure glad he kept going to do the 100km! He comes across to us non-elite runners as a prettty down-to-earth person, and that's great.

    Well done Paul and the Team, keep up the excellent work ;-)

    Cheers, Russell

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