The foul-weather curse of 2012 gone, today dawned cloudless and chilly on the 2013 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships in California’s Marin Headlands. With the pressure of competition almost all the way through the finish tape, Arizona’s Rob Krar (pre-race and post-race interviews) and Colorado’s Michele Yates (post-race interview) won the men’s and women’s races, taking home the big-gun, $10,000 cash purse.
In addition to this article, you can find our full play-by-play of the race as well as a collection of our pre-race interviews and preview on our TNF EC 50 Live Coverage page.
As usual, we’ll be updating this article with additional results as well as links to TNF EC 50-related articles, photo galleries, and race reports.
2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Men’s Race
A new era has dawned on–shall we call it–middle-distance ultrarunning, an era in which 50-mile races are treated strategically similar to marathons. Let us elaborate. In the race’s first 12.7 miles to Muir Beach Aid Station #1, two guys worked together to create a break, Miguel Heras and Cameron Clayton (pre-race and post-race interviews). As breaks usually go in marathoning, at least when they happen that early, they are eventually absorbed back into the pack. And this is exactly what happened. While Miguel dropped before mile 22.7 with a hamstring problem, Cameron was gobbled back up into the pack before the McKennon Gulch Aid Station at mile 22.7. That pack was a group of 10 dudes who basically ran together for a while, yo-yoing around. A couple dudes went off course but most of the dudes just slowly started to peel off the back. At mile 27.7, it was a group of seven and, at mile 40, it was still a group of four. The win would belong to the guy who could surge the hardest in the race’s final fifth.
The man who did that was Rob Krar. In what had to be an almost-inhuman push, Rob left the other three in the lead group, Cameron Clayton, Chris Vargo (post-race interview), and Mike Wolfe, in the literal dust after mile 40 at Muir Beach Aid Station #2. In the 4.1 miles between there and the Tennessee Valley Aid Station #2, Rob put an incredible eight-plus minutes on the rest of the guys, who were also becoming strung out from each other by mile 44. When we saw him cruise through mile 44, he was running just over five minute-mile pace but looking incredibly springy on his feet. Holla’, the man knows how to work it. From there, the rest is history and Krar won with a 10-minute margin. Talk about closing out a racing season in style; someone get Rob a beer!
Cameron Clayton would be passed and would pass a couple times before taking a strong second, not falling victim to the work of his early break after all and bettering his 2012 finishing position by one. And Chris Vargo, who ran pretty, dang aggressive all day, was clearly running within himself. He ran himself into third place and the final money spot for the men.
Dan Kraft, who’s he, right? We’ll be honest, we didn’t know who he was until he popped into the men’s top 10 somewhere after the halfway point and steadily worked his way up to a fourth-place, stellar showing. This 25-year-old is on the trail-performance upswing, for certain. He was second at the Imogene Pass Run in September and seventh at the Moab Red Hot 55k back in February. He’s a 2010 grad of Colorado College. Was an ultra star born today? Dylan Bowman, who spent his day hanging with that lead pack of dudes, came out with a solid, fifth-place finish.
In the balance of the men’s top 10 was Mike Wolfe, Jorge Maravilla, Dave Mackey, Ryan Sandes, and Ryan Ghelfi.
2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Men’s Results
- Rob Krar (The North Face) – 6:21:07 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Cameron Clayton (Salomon) – 6:31:15 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Chris Vargo (adidas) – 6:33:32 (post-race interview)
- Dan Kraft – 6:35:55
- Dylan Bowman (Pearl Izumi) – 6:37:14 (pre-race interview)
- Mike Wolfe (The North Face) – 6:38:20
- Jorge Maravilla (Salomon) – 6:43:15
- Dave Mackey (Hoka One One) – 6:44:20
- Ryan Sandes (Salomon) – 6:44:59
- Ryan Ghelfi (Rogue Valley Runners) – 6:51:55
- Max King (Montrail) – 6:54:44
- David Riddle (Salomon) – 6:57:10
- Martin Gaffuri (New Balance) – 6:57:15
- Peter Hogg – 7:00:40
- Florent Bouguin – 7:12:57
- Michael Wardian (The North Face) – 7:14:44
- Fritjof Fagerlund – 7:16:06
- Bob Shebest – 7:18:44
- Michael Owen – 7:21:09
- Scott Breeden – 7:21:21
2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Women’s Race
It seems to us that Michele Yates is a woman who knows exactly what she wants: to win every race she enters. Case in point today, she didn’t futz about at the beginning of the race; she instead went aggressively from the gun, never yielding her first-place position or allowing women behind her to close the gap. The rest of the women were just a couple minutes back as late as 22.7 miles in at the McKennon Gulch Aid Station, but she doubled her lead in the five miles after that, cruising into Stinson Beach at mile 27.7 with a sweet cushion of six minutes that she’d only build from there, minute by minute, to her 10-minute win. Michele, my woman, you have had quite the year.
Olympic Marathoner Magdalena Boulet made her debut into ultramarathoning today with her solid, second-place finish. In the race’s earliest miles, she held back a bit, sitting about halfway through the top-10 women. At mile 27.7, she was tied for second place, a position she’d cement herself into in the final 20 miles. Skyrunning star and 2012 TNF EC 50-Mile Champion Emelie Forsberg (pre-race and post-race interviews) ran in the back part of the top five early on, and then crept into her third-place position by mile 40 at Muir Beach Aid Station #2. Emelie, though, would have to hold off the pressing forces of Salomon teammate Aliza Lapierre, who pushed hard and finished just a bit more than 30 seconds behind Emelie. Race favorite Cassie Scallon ran strong all day–and ran with a smile on her face. After running much of the race’s first half in the back half of the top-10 women, she slid in as female #5 at the finish.
Rounding out the balance of the women’s top 10 were Joelle Vaught, Kerrie Bruxvoort, Anna Frost, Melanie Bos, and Megan Kimmel.
2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Women’s Results
- Michele Yates (Ultimate Direction/Gu) – 7:21:53 (post-race interview)
- Magdalena Boulet (Saucony/Gu) – 7:31:15 (pre-race interview)
- Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) – 7:46:25 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Aliza Lapierre (Salomon) – 7:47:00 (pre-race interview)
- Cassie Scallon (Salomon) – 7:50:47 (pre-race interview)
- Joelle Vaught (Montrail) – 7:54:52
- Kerrie Bruxvoort (Salomon) – 8:05:45
- Anna Frost (Salomon) – 8:07:54
- Melanie Bos (The North Face) – 8:11:07
- Megan Kimmel (Asics) – 8:13:27
- Ashley Arnold (The North Face) – 8:19:54
- Christina Clark – 8:34:14
- Sally McRae – 8:42:42
- Gina Lucrezi (Salomon) – 8:43:40
- Manu Vilaseca – 8:45:52
- Katie Arnold – 8:49:52
- Erica Namba – 8:50:22
- Sheri Foster – 8:57:24
- Jacqueline Palmer – 9:02:04
- Gabby Gorman – 9:30:39
2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Articles, Race Reports, and More
Articles and Photo Galleries
- A video report of the front of the race
The Clayton’s photo gallery[broken link removed]
- Galen Burrell’s Facebook photo album
iRunFar’s live-race coverage is the work of passionate people who want to share the stories of how races unfold. Our TNF EC 50 coverage could not have taken place without our field assistants, Steve Luker, Thierry Musy-Verdel, and Diane Vecchi. Our CoverItLive moderators were Nick Pedatella, Travis Trampe, Jon Allen, and Travis Liles. Other editorial assistance today came from Andy Jones-Wilkins and Kristin Zosel.