Both the Ultra-Trail World Tour and La Sportiva Mountain Cup hosted events this past weekend. Those races and over a dozen others are among the highlights of this weekend’s column of all-things trail and ultrarunning.
Madeira Island Ultra Trail – Madeira, Portugal
The 2016 Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT) reached Madeira, a Portuguese island in the north Atlantic, for its fifth stop. Madeira sits about 250 miles north of another UTWT hotspot, the Canary Islands. Much like those well-known races in the Canary Islands, the 115k Madeira Island Ultra Trail boasted a similarly difficult, extremely up-and-down course profile that stretches from sea level up to above 1,800 meters several times. Race winner Zach Miller, a veteran of several of Europe’s top-level events, confirmed as much. “Hardest race I’ve ever run. Hands down,” Miller announced on social media post-race.
Over a short period, Miller is finding success where few Americans have, in Europe. He’s done it despite, first, living on a cruise ship, and now living at 10,200-foot Barr Camp, halfway up Pikes Peak in Colorado. While Barr Camp’s altitude is certainly beneficial, opportunities for running at that elevation through the winter are definitely limited.
Miller, who hurdled the finish line-tape, finished the race in 13:52, 20 minutes in front of second-place Tòfol Castanyer of Spain. France’s Sebastien Camus was another six minutes back in third at 14:18.
French runners Fabien Antolinos and Cyril Cointre ran 14:34 and 14:35 for fourth and fifth, and Italy’s Fulvio Dapit was sixth in 14:38.
Though on the initial entrant list, Miguel Heras and Iker Karrera do not appear to have started the race.
In the women’s race, France’s Caroline Chaverot was absolutely brilliant. Finishing in 15:00, she was eighth overall and over an hour better than the second-place woman. Chaverot earlier this year won the Transgrancanaria UTWT event.
Switzerland’s Andrea Huser and France’s Emelie Lecomte were second and third in 16:22 and 17:56.
The next Ultra-Trail World Tour event is the May 14 Ultra-Trail Australia 100k.
Hyner Trail Challenge – Hyner, Pennsylvania
The 10th-annual event’s 25k marked the second race of the 2016 La Sportiva Mountain Cup. Matt Lipsey, second a year ago to David Roche, bettered his finish mark from 2015 by over four minutes to finish first in 2:12. The time stands less than two minutes back of Roche’s 2014 course record. An in-state crowd followed Lipsey with Eric Marshall and John Johnson running 2:18 and 2:24 to earn podium positions. Mountain Cup veteran Matt Byrne was fifth.
In the women’s race, Sarah Keyes edged Sayard Tannis, 2:37 to 2:40. Despite running 14 minutes faster than a year ago, Tannis was again relegated to runner-up honors. Meira Minard was third in 2:44.
In the accompanying 50k race, Michael Daiegeaun led all comers with a 4:32 finish, and Rebecca Lewandowski topped the women’s card in 5:10.
The next Mountain Cup event is the May 7th Don’t Fence Me in 30k in Montana.
Penyagolosa Trails – Castellón de la Plana, Spain
[Editor’s Note: This race report comes from iRunFar contributor Mauri Pagliacci, who covered the race live on iRunFar’s Spanish Twitter feed.]
Castellón de la Plana, located 50 miles north of Valencia in Spain, hosted the 18th edition of Penyagolosa Trails. One of the elder races in the country, it’s a great tradition for the local running community and a really special event for Castellón and the mountain towns around the city. The race is point to point and has two distances, the original which celebrated its 18th year, the MiM – Marató i Mitja (Marathon and a Half in Valenciano) of 63 kilometers (40 miles), and the long one, the fifth edition of the CSP 115 of 115 kilometers. Both races start at sea level in Castellón, surround the Penyagolosa peak, and finish at Sant Joan de Penyagolosa, a hermitage built in the 16th century, at 5,000 feet altitude.
As mentioned before, MiM is one of the oldest races in Spain. Though it hosts 1,500 runners, it’s still hard to get a bib number in the draw every year due to its history. Also, the course record is one of the hardest to beat (Vicente Calvo, 5:13:47 in 2011), and this year, Zaid Ait Malek went all in to try to beat it and get the special prize. Together with André Rodrigues from Portugal, they ran the first half of the race under record pace. But the heat and humidity of the Penyagolosa massif was tough during the morning, and so the climate ended the record chase early. Finally, Miguel Angel Sanchez was the winner in 5:36:24, followed by Santi Garcia in 5:39:12, and Javier Robres in 5:43:31. Zaid finished in 21st position, still happy for giving it all.
The women’s race was similar, with Gemma Arenas trying to beat the record (Rosa Guillamón Gimeno, 6:12:51 in 2006) but finishing her attempt earlier in the race. She ran easy and alone for the win, however, arriving to Sant Joan in 6:33:51. Laia Cañes was runner up, in 6:39:41 and Melisa Gali rounded up the podium in 6:44:26.
The CSP 115 is the newest race in the event, and still attracts a bunch of speedsters of the Spanish ultra-scene to begin the season. With a full moon joining the 1,000 runners at midnight start, Josep Cebria led the main group with Miguel Caballero, Remigio Queral, Seba Sanchez, and a few more for the early night kilometers. After 80k, with Caballero dropping, the race was reduced to two runners with Sanchez and Queral pushing the pace and finishing with a sprint finish, being Seba Sanchez the winner in 12:54:09 and Remigio Queral second in 12:54:28. Victor Bernad was third in 13:12:09.
Between the ladies, it was a one-woman race from start to finish. Mercedes Pila, from Ecuador and living in Spain, led the race from start to finish, just controlling the lead and enjoying the course. She finished comfortably in 15:02:13. It was a tough day for Silvia Trigueros, who had to deal with some physical issues during the 115 kilometers to finish second in 16:41:44. In a progressive race, being calm and steady during the whole night, Basque runner Jone Urkizu sealed the podium in 17:19:07.
Cheyenne Mountain Trail Race – Colorado Springs, Colorado
The sixth-annual event in its namesake state park served as an early season rust buster for some of Colorado’s best. Andy Wacker and Stevie Kremer crushed the 25k with 1:37 and 1:57 first-place finishes. Wacker, who has raced on the roads and even the track throughout the spring, is part of the just-announced U.S. team that will compete at World Mountain Running Association’s long-distance championship on June 18 in Slovenia. Trailing the race winner, Matt Kempton, runner-up in last year’s La Sportiva Mountain Cup, was second in 1:46. Kremer’s finish is believed to be a new course record.
Justin Ricks pushed the four-hour barrier in the accompanying 50k. Finishing in 4:01, he just missed that benchmark, but was comfortably in front of J. Marshall Thomson‘s second-place 4:15 finish. Tracy Thelen earned the women’s win in 5:05.
Other Races and Runs
Six days after running the Boston Marathon in 2:31, Michael Wardian jumped across the pond to run 2:27:37 at the London Marathon. He was 43rd overall.
Just days after Adam Kimble finished his run across America, veteran 100-miler Jeremy Bradford began his own, though not chasing any records. Seven days into the benefit for Children’s Hospital Colorado, Bradford has covered at least 300 miles.
The U.K.’s popular Bob Graham Round saw a new women’s best as Jasmin Paris ran 15:32 on the Lake District track. The time was the fifth-fastest ever, and two-and-a-half hours better than Nicky Spink’s run from last year. Paris was the winner of last year’s competitive and historic Fellsman race.
Oregon’s Bend Marathon was won by local Max King in 2:41. Earlier in the week he appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank as part of a pitch for running stroller company KidRunner. Full results.
Adam Campbell started the switch from a winter of ski mountaineering to running. He won British Columbia’s Nimble Bear 50k. The race included 6,700 feet of elevation gain. Full results (when available).
At the Illinois Earth Day 50k, race winners were Mark Thompson and Elissa Ballas in 4:01 and 4:20. Earlier this month Ballas was second at the Mad City 50k. Full results.
Zach Bitter and Leslie Howlett won the inaugural Mendocino Coast 50k in northern California. Full results.
Four men dipped under the four-hour mark at Wisconsin’s Chippewa 50k, none faster than Chase Nowak in 3:46. Christine Loza championed the women’s race in 4:53. Full results.
Charlie Ware and Bethany Lewis went one-two in Arizona at the Zane Grey Highline Trail 50-mile Endurance Run. The pair finished in 9:24 and 9:56, respectively. Full results.
Urban Coyote Racing’s Rodeo Beach Rumble event in the San Francisco Bay Area saw Larissa Dannis run 2:42 to finish first overall in the 30k. It was a new course record at the two-year-old race. Full results.
750 miles! Joe Grant finished the long-distance Arizona Trail Race on mountain bike in seven days, 12 hours, and 12 minutes. He took second place.
Mike Kurvach, who ran collegiately alongside Zach Miller, put 40 seconds on Paul Terranova at the Texas Rogue Trail Series Tangle 30k, both finishing in 2:10. Amy Baker was the women’s best in 2:31. Full results.
Magdalena Boulet won California’s scenic Big Sur Marathon in 3:01, less than two minutes ahead of past Way Too Cool 50k winner Tyler Stewart. Full results.
Call for Comments
The weekends are getting bigger and bigger. Help us to fill any gaps by sharing any additional results from the weekend.