2013 Leadville 100 Preview

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?

There are 85 comments

    1. WeiDe

      Nice! Very helpful indeed. Would be cool to add more and more events to it (like Chiemgauer 100 miles and other 100 mile runs in Europe / Asia etc).

      Somehow the graph appears red in explorer and firefox, a red box overlapping about 1/3 of the graph from the left side. Any idea what that is? is it my PC? Thanks for this!

      1. Ryan Kircher

        I'll bite…

        In my opinion the calulator encourages runners to go out WAY too fast. By following the suggested splits, a runner is planning on essentially walking the last 1/3 of the race. It doesnt have to be that way.

        I'm curious what your calculations are based on. I'll assume it's historical data. I've spent a decent amount of time looking a Pb historical data, and I don't know when or how, but it all got biased towards going out too fast. Year after year people look at the historical data of others who went out too fast and they repeat the same mistakes.

        It's great that you put the caluator out there, and I am not trying to criticize your effort, its a great way of representing the historical data of Pb races. People using it to calcuate splits should be warned that they are setting themselves up for a painful walk back to town.

    1. Joseph

      Andrew ran 6:56:46, but Michael Aish ran 6:54:35 last year in the same race (but Aish ran 7:23 for 4th this year behind Andrew). Still a great time worth mentioning.

      That means Aish ran a 50M, 50M, 50k, and 50M in April, May, June, and July. He should definitely be more experienced coming into the race this year.

  1. Kieran Mccarthy

    Pretty sure Josh Arthur is not running. Heard he's doing RRR100 instead.

    Definitely think Jeremy Bradford is worth mentioning in the post, having won nine 100 milers in the last 18 months, including big course records at Black Hills and Grand Mesa this year. He won't podium, but he could go sub-19:00 on a good day at Leadville. Dude knows how to run 100s, though it'll be interesting to see how he runs with a stacked field.

    Also with a shot at top 10: Craig Howie (10th overall last year), Travis Macy (Leadman leader, 2nd at the marathon this year), Bob Africa, Brooks Williams, Matthew Curtis (12th overall last year), Stephen Young (6th at Wasatch, 2011), Mike Patrizi, Marco Peinado.

  2. scotty mills

    While he will not podium…..Bill Finkbeiner goes for an unbelievable 30th finish at Leadville next weekend…what a history and amazing accomplishment?….GO BILL!

  3. Rob G

    i was wondering … is muling still allowed at Leadville? Not mentioning in a negative way, only that this could enable someone with a stronger team to close the gap some on a stronger, more independent runner.

    And as a wild guess i'll go with Clark by 11 min over Sharman, to tighten things up a bit for the grand finale at Wasatch :)

    Thanks Bryon & Meghan!

    Om shanti

  4. Nick Clark

    Just to put a little public pressure on her, I'm going to predict a top-five finish for my neighbor Kristel Liddle in the women's race.

    And as a GS note in the women's field, Abby McQueeney Penamonte and Traci Falbo are running one and two in the Grand Slam this year; Abby with a roughly 40 min lead over Traci as they head into Leadville. All to play for.

  5. Andy

    Excellent job with the calculator. Good stuff!

    I agree, though, that since it's based on historical data (and folks historically go out too fast) that it's biased towards running the early splits a bit too quickly. Say, maybe, 5-10 minutes too fast. Perhaps add another slider to skew the splits times by a certain percentage?

    But, all-in-all, very useful. Thanks!

  6. Nick Clark

    33 minutes, give or take a few seconds. I'd be comfortable with a similar gap heading into Wasatch, but even more comfortable with a lead of some description.

    Leadville's going to be interesting. We'll see how Ian does up and over Hope twice. He's got lots of road to play with too. I wouldn't be surprised if things finish up similar to Vermont. Wasatch is the only true Mountain 100 of the four races. If I take another three minutes out of Ian's lead at Leadville, then I'll just have to beat him by 31 minutes at Wasatch; I'm comfortable with that scenario…

  7. David

    Katrin Silva to place! Katrin took 3rd at Silver Rush last month (sub-9 hour) and did OK at Western States the month prior (sub-25 hour). This is her second Leadville 100, she knows the trail and is running strong!

    1. Amy

      Katrin blazed past me looking fresh as a daisy in the final few miles at Silver Rush – She certainly seemed like she was ready for another 50. Good luck to her on Saturday!

  8. F@steddy

    Ryan Sandes all the way. We rooting for you Ryan from SA.
    Relax and enjoy it.
    Please come acclimatize in JHB next time, we'll introduce you to some cool city trails.

    1. KenZ

      I don't know if he retired, although I suppose he may be pulling back from trying to win. He was Oz Pearlman's pacer at Badwater this year, and I believe he was planning on doing Spartathlon again at some point. Running Spartathlon certainly isn't retiring!

  9. David

    My question would be if Arnstein has been training to race Leadville – I know that at the end of 2012 he was saying that he was done with competing.

  10. Adam st.pierre

    Craig Howie will be in the top 10 again this year. Sub 18 likely. Of course I'm biased because I'll be pacing him from Winfield to Half Pipe.

    1. Jason C

      I have it on good authority that Travis has a very real shot at top 10. Can only imagine what he would do if he wasn't pursuing Leadman.

  11. KenZ

    Yeah, I don't know much about leadville, but this seems to be true of every 100 I've run that has split data. I always work it up (manually) for those finishing around where I think I'll be, and inevitably I run it much slower in the beginning, and much faster (relative to the averages) in the end. All things (terrain) equal, I try to shoot for 12-18% slowdown for the second half, whereas most seem to be 30%-ish slower the second half, a split that I do not believe is the most effective or efficient for a runner of any level. But ultrarunners can be like lemmings… there's a joke in there somewhere.

    All that said, I think these calculators are awesome and am very thankful someone's doing the work. It lets me look at the data, and then decide for myself what the right pacing should be.

  12. sniffer

    I call Jurek winning wearing Anton's vest, getting Carpenter's record while wearing Bowmans's P.I.s

    And I'm rooting for Aish on the board too!!!

  13. Allisa L

    I'm no expert but it seems that Aish is totally focused on this race. I volunteered at the 50 and he stopped outbound at our station for 5 to 10 minutes just to chat with us volunteers… he mentioned that he ran 30 miles the day before including Hope Pass for an 80 mile weekend. Seems he definitely learned from last year. Also Charles Corfield ran the 50 in great form this July ending up 20th OA. He actually looked stronger outbound than inbound… good sign going into a 100 miler

  14. Chris T.

    Gotta pull for Ian Sharman and Nick Clark! Great guys, both spend lots of time chatting with the Slowgoats, like me! Come on England!

  15. Andy MC Breen

    I'm agreeing with Karl Meltzer's philosophy of " The Hare never wins " Therefore I believe that Sandes and Jurek will be duking it out. Ryan is extremely talented and Scott has an amazing amount of experience at this terrain and distance. Can't wait to see everything unfold.

  16. Mike Behnke

    I would love to see Jurek win this especially with Dusty as his pacer! Don't know if Dusty is going to be there or not. Anyone else know?

  17. Marco Peinado

    Both Andrew and Mike looked great at Silver Rush. I think Mike was just out for a long run that day. I am looking forward to what he will do with the experience he has gained the past year and the talent he has.

    I dont think anyone has mentioned J Marshall Thompson yet. He won the Leadville Marathon in June, he can run.

      1. Zeke

        Agreed. Thompson is the real deal. I raced him a couple of year's back and he's solid. Don't know how the 100 mile distance will treat him, but he is certainly legit.

  18. Will

    Look for my bud Kyle Pietari to do really well this year. He's typically a top 5 finisher at the shorter distance stuff, has a 3rd place finish at 2012 Bighorn 50 and a win at this years Grasslands 50. He was top 30 at Leadville last year (1st 100 miler) but has been putting in the work to improve his time by a significant margin.

  19. sheffieldnick

    Thanks for all the comments! Yes, this calculator is based on the 2012 results data. I think it is really interesting to play around with different pacing ideas, and to see what other runners have done in the past & how much they slowed down.

    Ultimately of course it is just a tool – it isn't telling you how you should run your race – just how other people have done it.

    WeiDe – that red box overlapping the graph only appears for me in Internet Explorer v6 (released 2001 !) All more recent browsers – Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer v7-> work for me. Which browser versions have you got?

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