The 2014 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships took place today in the California’s Marin Headlands. It was Magdalena Boulet (post-race interview) and Sage Canaday (post-race interview) who took home big victories and, perhaps, even bigger $10,000 paychecks.
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 50 live coverage page.
As usual, we’ll be updating this article with additional results as well as links to TNF 50-related articles, photo galleries, and race reports.
2014 TNF EC 50 Mile Men’s Race
You know, Sage Canaday (pre-race interview) generally makes our sport look easy. He wins or lands on the podium at almost every race he runs and, while he always looks focused and determined, he also seems to always look cool and in control. But today, in the last 10 miles of the race, we saw a different Sage. Face straining, arms and hips driving with ferocity, and an expression so concentrated he couldn’t make eye contact with anything but the ground ahead. I think he was only a couple heartbeats per minute away from foaming at the mouth!
An absolutely enormous men’s pack held tight until somewhere around mile 20, something like 30 or 40 guys at mile 11 and 15-ish guys and mile 20 close together, leading out the race. In that pack was Sage, who emerged at its front somewhere before 18 miles. At the next aid station, at around mile 23, Sage had gapped all the men by a minute. From there on out, he was a man ablaze. Little by little his chasers were mostly whittled away, but not by big gaps, just seconds here and there. There was one guy who wasn’t going settle for second without a really good fight, and that was Dakota Jones (pre-race and post-race interviews). From mile 23 through mile 45, Dakota hovered within a minute of Sage, and even passing him briefly at mile 38. It seems like Sage went to the well to stay in front of Dakota and the rest of the field, working it for his $10,000 winner’s payout.
Dakota, on the other hand, seemed to be the cool, collected, and smooth one all day. Make no mistake, we’re sure he was putting serious effort into his race, it’s just that he looked a little more calm in doing so. Dakota and his long-lasting relationship with this race, including a previous second place, earned his second second this year.
While the local Marin County men brought it with three finishes in the top 10, it was Alex Varner (post-race interview) who ran the fastest, looking absolutely strong from gun to tape. He was the guy who we pegged would pick someone off if Sage or Dakota blew later in the race. Unfortunately for Alex, neither of them did. But fortunately for Alex, his performance was significantly stronger than any of the dudes behind him. The final podium spot in a race as competitive as the men’s field: a huge, huge day for Alex.
I’m not going to lie, Tòfol Castanyer didn’t look so good after the 50k mark. His stride looked solid and efficient, but his breathing was ragged and fast in comparison to the runners around him. Nevertheless, he seemed non-bothered, holding that fourth-place position, which he stepped into at somewhere around the race’s halfway point, through the finish. Dylan Bowman (pre-race interview) said he was going to go to the proverbial pain cave to earn his race, and we heard that, at times, he wasn’t feeling perfect on course. Despite this, he stayed strong all day for his second fifth-place finish. Ricky Lightfoot finished sixth, Jorge Maravilla seventh, Tim Tollefson eighth, Michael Aish ninth, and Timothy Olson 10th (pre-race interview).
As a demonstration of the men’s field depth for this race, have a look below at places 11 through 20 and the fact that was under an hour’s different between first and 20th place. What a race!
2014 TNF EC 50 Mile Men’s Results
- Sage Canaday (Hoka One One) – 6:07:52 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Dakota Jones (Montrail) – 6:12:20 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Alex Varner (Nike) – 6:14:06 (post-race interview)
- Tòfol Castanyer (Salomon) – 6:21:13
- Dylan Bowman (The North Face) – 6:23:48 (pre-race interview)
- Ricky Lightfoot (Salomon) – 6:27:34
- Jorge Maravilla (Salomon) – 6:28:28
- Tim Tollefson (Nike Running) – 6:28:47
- Michael Aish (Mizuno) – 6:39:10
- Timothy Olson (The North Face) – 6:42:54 (pre-race interview)
- Zach Miller (Nike) – 6:44:22
- Rob Krar (The North Face) – 6:46:10 (pre-race interview)
- Mike Foote (The North Face) – 6:48:41
- David Jeker – 6:49:51
- Ivan Medina – 6:50:23
- Michel Lanne (Salomon) – 6:53:25
- Daniel Kraft (Nike) – 6:55:16
- Ryan Ghelfi (Nike) – 6:58:49
- Christopher DeNucci – 7:01:18
- Austin Johnson – 7:01:52
2014 TNF EC 50 Mile Women’s Race
Oh wow! Magdalena Boulet (pre-race interview) and Megan Kimmel (pre-race and post-race interviews) put on an amazing show! The pair, who finished first and second respectively, ran within a minute of each other for more than 50k. Seemingly working each other, by mile 14 the pair started to put little dents of time on the rest of the women’s field, separating themselves and engaging in their own duel.
In Magda’s debut ultramarathon here last year, where she finished second, she looked, at times, wide-eyed and a little timid about the scene. But today Magda had a different attitude: it was the eye of the tiger, all business in the front AND the back, all grit and speed, from start to finish. By mile 6 and basically from then forward, Magda set the pace and, it seems, called the race shots. Only once did we see a little deviation from Magda’s apparent confidence when she told us around mile 35 that she was worried because Megan was so close behind. But never did she physically falter, and her strength showed even more as she used the last quarter of the race to pull away from even Megan, too.
Megan, who has been twice foiled by the challenges of this race in a DNF in 2012 and finishing off her potential here last year, really nailed her race this time. The only thing she couldn’t match on the day was Magda’s late-race power, as she, too, stayed separate from the rest of the women’s field. As a shorter-distance trail runner with a mountain focus, I can’t help but wonder what Megan’s going to do with her trail ultrarunning talent, given that she pretty much nailed this race.
Early on, until after mile 11, Stephanie Howe (pre-race and post-race interviews) ran within seconds of both Magda and Megan, but she soon seemed to fall into a proverbial no-woman’s land, a good chunk of time behind the front two and a good chunk of time in front of the rest of the field. Even though she ran with no nearby female company, her performance was solid from start to finish and she earned the final spot on the podium while battling a head cold through the race.
Fourth-place finisher Anne-Marie Madden was there all day, right from the very start, hovering in fourth and fifth place. By mile 23, she found her way to fourth position and stayed there. Caroline Boller, on the other hand, didn’t find her way into the top five until later in the race, after spending the first half of the race in the back half of the women’s top 10. Former track and road star Alicia Shay (pre-race interview) debuted at 50 miles strongly with her sixth-place finish, former high-school track star Julia Stamps-Mallon took seventh, Helene Michaux took eighth, Amanda Brown was ninth, and Kristina Pattison was 10th.
2014 TNF EC 50 Mile Women’s Results
- Magdalena Boulet (Hoka One One) – 7:08:09 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Megan Kimmel (ASICS) – 7:17:20 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Stephanie Howe (The North Face) – 7:28:48 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Anne-Marie Madden (Arc’teryx) – 8:03:16
- Caroline Boller – 8:07:07
- Alicia Shay (Nike Running) – 8:21:05 (pre-race interview)
- Julia Stamps-Mallon (Brooks) – 8:24:28
- Helene Michaux – 8:25:52
- Amanda Basham – 8:26:55
- Kristina Pattison (Hammer Nutrition) – 8:33:39
- Susan Barrows – 8:34:22
- Michelle Clarke – 8:37:45
- Davina Kaile – 8:37:50
- Melanie Bos (The North Face) – 8:39:00
- Christi Nowak – 8:39:06
- Ashley Laird – 8:45:31
- Kami Semick (The North Face) – 8:47:24 (pre-race interview)
- Kelsie Clausen (The North Face) – 8:57:03
- Luanne Park – 9:01:07
- Angela Tieri – 9:05:32
2014 TNF EC 50 Mile Articles, Race Reports, and More
Articles and Photo Galleries
- iRunFar’s first and second photo galleries
A couple of photos from The North Face[Broken link to December 11, 2014 Never Stop Exploring blogpost removed]
- Rickey Gates’s photo album
- Andrew Skurka’s analysis of the depth of the men’s field
- Billy Yang’s post-race short film
- Sage Canaday – 1st man
- Stephanie Howe – 3rd woman
- Alex Varver – 3rd man
- Caroline Boller – 5th woman
- Tim Tollefson – 8th man
- Kristina Pattison – 10th woman
- Timothy Olson – 10th man
- David Jeker – 14th man
- Andrew Skurka – 36th man
A big thank you to our field help Ellie Greenwood, Eric Senseman, Kim Wrinkle, and Patrick McKenna. And another thank you to our office help Aliza Lapierre, Travis Trampe, and Aaron Marks. Their time and talent brought the race alive!