Our ‘This Week in Running’ column goes international today with coverage of races in Australia, Hong Kong, Spain, and France–both running races and runners competing in ski-mountaineering races. We also preview next weekend’s Chuckanut 50k barnburner.
Six Foot Track Marathon – Katoomba, Australia
Held annually since 1984, the Six Foot Track Marathon is Australia’s version of America’s Western States 100. The point-to-point 45-kilometer race follows an historic route through the Blue Mountains, mirroring the path of the first European explorers to the area. The popular race fills at 800 runners and requires both a qualifier and lottery entry.
Vlad Shatrov (Australia) was at the front all race, finally opening a gap on the final section. He finished first in 3:15, 90 seconds off of Stu Gibson‘s course record from 2015. Previously unknown to this column, Shatrov holds a 2:18 marathon best from the 2015 Berlin Marathon. In second, Courtney Atkinson (Australia) ran 3:18. He is a professional triathlete, and took part in the 2008 Olympic triathlon, finishing 11th. Vajin Armstrong (New Zealand) was third in 3:26.
Among other finishers, Brendan Davies (Australia) was sixth in 3:33.
First-year participant Marnie Ponton (Australia) captured the women’s win in 3:50. For perspective, the time is 16 minutes back of Hanny Alson‘s course record from 2015, though Ponton’s time is 24 minutes better than last year’s winning time. Ponton took part in the World Mountain Running Championships over a decade ago and formerly was a national-class steeplechaser before taking a break from the sport.
Gemma Jenkins (Australia) and Stephanie Auston (Australia) were second and third in 3:55 and 4:02, respectively. Among other finishers, Lucy Bartholomew (Australia) was fifth in 4:12.
TransLantau – Hong Kong, China
The fifth-annual TransLantau race takes place on Lantau Island, the biggest island of Hong Kong. The flagship 100-kilometer course stretches between two national parks, and includes 5,800 meters (19,000 feet) of elevation gain.
Harry Jones (U.K., but living in Thailand) overtook early leader John Ellis (Australia, but lives in Hong Kong) five hours in and raced to a 12:47 winning time. Chun Keung (Jacky) Leung (Hong Kong) and Jeremy Ritcey (Canada, but living in Hong Kong) were second and third in 13:28 and 13:44. Early leader Ellis would ultimately finish fifth.
Women’s best Marie McNaughton (New Zealand, but living in Hong Kong) is a familiar women’s winner at Hong Kong races. Her win here came in 14:10 and fifth overall, almost an hour better than Jo Meek (U.K.), who officially ran 15:05. Meek led early, but gave up considerable minutes in the race’s final sections. Wei-Ling Tseng (Taiwan, but living in Hong Kong) was a distant third in 17:42.
In the accompanying 50k, Kazufumi Oose (Japan) ran 5:08 to edge Vlad Ixel (Australia, but living in Hong Kong) by 12 seconds. Ruth Croft (New Zealand, but living in Taiwan) won the women’s race and was third overall in 5:11.
Tres Valles – Las Batuecas, Spain
Just three years old and in a country full of uber-competitive races, the Tres Valles race has quickly gained a foothold as one of the best. The three-valley link-up stretches 37 kilometers with 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) of elevation gain. All of
Perennial Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon top-10 finisher, Jokin Lizeaga (Spain) won here in 3:14 ahead of better-known Spanish stars Miguel Heras (Spain) and Javier González (Spain), who both finished in 3:17 and within 16 seconds of each other.
The women’s podium included victor Ana Paz (Spain) in 4:17 and second- and third-place Zuriñe Frutos (Spain) and Sonia Amat (Spain) in 4:21 and 4:25, respectively.
Pierra Menta – Arêches Beaufort, France
The popular two-person Pierra Menta ski-mountaineering race takes place over four days, on technical terrain and with thousands of spectators on course.
The Italian team of Damiano Lenzi and Matteo Eydallin finished in a collective time of 10:23, 14 minutes in front of second-place team Kilian Jornet (Spain) and Alexis Sévennec (France).
François D’haene (France) was part of the 11th-place team. America’s best, Max Taam and John Gaston, were 17th in 12:13. Ludovic Pommeret (France) was part of the 22nd-place team. The U.S.’s Rob Krar and Mike Foote were 39th in 13:11.
In the women’s race, Emelie Forsberg (Sweden) teamed with world-best Laetitia Roux (France) to win in 13:18. Jessie Young and Janelle Smiley, both of the U.S., were fourth in 14:21.
Andrea Huser (Switzerland) was part of the 14th-place team.
Whiteout conditions prevented the summit of Peak 9 at Breckenridge, Colorado’s 5 Peaks ski-mountaineering race. Men’s winners Billy Laird and Eric Sullivan finished in 2:24, 10 seconds ahead of runners-up Ben Kadlec and Matthias Messner. Anton Krupicka teamed with Sean Van Horn to finish eighth. Stevie Kremer and Jari Hiatt won the women’s competition in 2:51. Full results.
Bel Monte Endurance Races
The 12th-annual Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia Bel Monte Endurance Races had Russell Kalbach and Leah Ling as 50-mile race winners in 9:05 and 10:00, and Austin Kirkland and Anne Pike as 50k race winners in 5:53 and 6:34. Full results.
Marin Ultra Challenge
After a 50k last weekend, Chris Mocko wanted more. He went 6:47 for 50 miles as race winner of the San Francisco Bay Area Marin Ultra Challenge. Women’s best Celia Stockwell finished in 8:59. Erik Sorenson and Emily Peterson won the accompanying 50k in 3:55 and 4:14, respectively. Full results.
Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon
Michael Wardian ran 2:30:40 for third place at the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon. Full results.
Other News – Under Armour Mountain Running Series
The three-stop Under Armour Mountain Running Series was announced this week with a schedule that includes races at Oregon’s Mount Bachelor (July 22), Vermont’s Killington Resort (August 18-20), and Colorado’s Copper Mountain Resort (September 8-10).
Each venue will host a 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, 50k, Vertical K, and marathon relay event. Each 50k race will include a $5,000 prize purse.
While this series will take place this year, the La Sportiva Mountain Cup will not.
Next Weekend – Chuckanut 50k – Bellingham, Washington
The 25th running of the Chuckanut 50k is not only a competitive early-season race, but this year it’s also a selection race for both Team USA and Team Canada for the IAU Trail World Championships, to be held June 10, 2017 in Italy.
For Team USA, the top American man and woman will earn a spot on the six-man, six-woman team.
As a reminder for who is on Team USA thus far, Cody Reed and Megan Roche earlier earned IAU Trail World Championship team positions with their wins at the 2016 USATF 50k Trail National Championships, and Zach Miller and Magdalena Boulet did the same in finishing as the top Americans at the 2016 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships.
Chuckanut is a qualifier for Team Canada for the IAU Trail World Championships as well. The top-two Canadian men and women finishing under a certain qualifying time–4:05 for men and 4:35 for women–earn Team Canada positions.
- Karl Augsten – 1st at 2016 Crystal Mountain Sky Marathon
- Michael Borst – 1st at 2016 Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile
- Sage Canaday – 3rd at 2017 Hong Kong Ultra 100k
- Yassine Diboun – 2nd at 2016 Gorge Waterfalls 50k
- Gary Gellin – 1st at 2016 Croom Zoom 50k
- Hayden Hawks – 1st at 2017 Moab Red Hot 55k
- Jake Hegge – 2nd at 2016 Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile
- Max King – 1st at 2017 FOURmidable 50k
- David Laney – 3rd at 2016 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships
- Keith Laverty – 1st at 2017 Orcas Island 25k
- Travis Morrison – 3rd at 2017 Moab Red Hot 55k
- Timmy Parr – 1st at 2016 Run Rabbit Run 50 Mile
- Jim Rebenack – 4th at 2016 Flagstaff Sky Race
- Tyler Sigl – 1st at 2016 Cayuga Trails 50 Mile
- Zachary Szablewski – 7th at 2016 Gorge Waterfalls 100k
Canaday, Hawks, King, and Laney! King and Laney have both won here previously, and King still holds the course record. He looked good earlier this year in winning the USATF 50k Trail National Championships. Can any of that group match Hawks’s leg speed over a shorter distance like this though?
- Ladia Albertson-Junkans – 4th at 2016 U.S. Mountain Running Championships
- Melanie Bos – 15th at 2015 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships
- Maria Dalzot – 2nd at 2016 Marin Ultra Challenge 25k
- Camille Herron – 1st at 2017 Tarawera Ultramarathon
- Stephanie Howe Violett – 1st at 2017 Bandera 100k
- Bree Lambert – 3rd at 2017 Sean O’Brien 50k
- Corrine Malcolm – 1st at 2016 Cayuga Trails 50 Mile
- YiOu Wang – 1st at 2017 FOURmidable 50k
Camille is racing early and often in 2017! This will be her third ultra of the year, and can she keep pace with Violett and Wang on terrain like this?
Call for Comments
- Results from southern California’s Coyote Backbone Trail Ultra were outstanding at press time. Can a reader comment on the goings-on at this race, or any others of note?
- Who do you like for next week’s Chuckanut 50k?