This Week In Running: November 12, 2018

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRThis week, we report on the Tunnel Hill 100 Mile, which saw a new 100-mile world best performance set by Zach Bitter. We also have results from regional-level races like the Georgia Sky to Summit 50k and the Colossal-Vail 50/50. We finish up by looking further out to next week’s intriguing JFK 50 Mile. Here’s your weekly news!

Tunnel Hill 100 Mile – Vienna, Illinois

The Tunnel Hill 100 Mile is flat and fast on a rails-to-trails set-up, and is quickly becoming a target for fast times. Cold weather likely somewhat dulled those finish times this year though.

The women’s race was about as close as you can get. Just nine minutes separated the top-three women. Neela D’Souza, Steph Whitmore, and Megan Smyth ran 16:52, 16:57, and 17:03, respectively. Well done, ladies.

And, then, men’s winner Zach Bitter sped through the course in 12:08 to set a new 100-mile trail world’s best. That’s 36 minutes ahead of Ian Sharman‘s former North American 100-mile trail best from the 2011 Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile and 24 minutes faster than Jonas Buud’s former 100-mile trail world’s best set in 2010 at the Täby Extreme Challenge in Sweden. For further perspective, Bitter’s 12:08 is 28 minutes behind his own American record for 100 miles on the track, and according to ultrarunning.com, is fourth best on the North American all-time chart across all surfaces.

Former race winner Mike Bialick was second in 12:56, and Alexander Bleiweiss was third in 14:58.

Full results.

Zach Bitter with Camille Herron after he set a new 100-mile trail world best at the 2018 Tunnel Hill 100 Mile. Photo: Tunnel Hill 100 Mile

Other Races and Runs

Georgia Sky to Summit 50k

The Run Bum Georgia Sky to Summit 50k had a record number of finishers, and 26 states represented. This is all on a mostly singletrack course that has some 20 waterfalls. Amanda Morris led the women’s field in 5:41. It was the sixth-year race’s second-best run ever. Men’s winner Dennis Bauer edged Matthew Johnson by just less than a minute. The two dueled to 5:03 and 5:04 finishes. Full results.

Dennis Bauer, 2018 Georgia Sky to Summit champion. Photo: Run Bum

Shawnee 50 Mile Trail Run

In southeastern Ohio, the inaugural Shawnee 50 Mile Trail Run went 54 miles and with a remarkable-for-Ohio 11,200 feet of elevation gain on what is nearly a single loop. You could call it the hardest ultra in Ohio, especially when you add the race-start snow and day-long temperatures at the freezing mark. Mika Thewes won the women’s race and finished ninth overall in 11:14, and Travis Simpson won the men’s in 9:29. Full results.

Old Glory Trail Runs

It looks like it was the first year for Virginia’s Old Glory Trail Runstoo. Anna Evans and Danny Mathieson set the inaugural course records there in 5:02 and 4:40, respectively. Full results.

Franklin Mountains Trail Run

The west Texas Franklin Mountains Trail Run marked the end of this year’s revamped Skyrunner USA Series. The 50k, 27k, and 9k races were part of the series in the Sky Ultra, Sky Classic, and Vertical Kilometer disciplines, respectively. Kelsey Brasseur and Nicolas Glatt won the 50k in 6:12 and 5:45, and Dani Moreno and Timmy Parr won the 27k in 3:18 and 2:49. Aside from their race wins, both Moreno and Parr won the season-long Sky Classic series, too. Full results.

The view from the Franklin Mountains Trail Run course. Photo: Trail Racing Over Texas

Run the Rock 

Best known for its climbing, Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park isn’t too bad for running either and the second-year Run the Rock races happened there. In the 50 mile, Sumner Button won the women’s race in 7:48 and set a new course record, and Colton Gale edged Ryan Ghelfi in the men’s race, 6:52 to 6:55. In the 50k, it was Rayleen Hsu and Byron Critchfield who won in 4:58 and 4:05, respectively. Full results.

Sanders’ Saunter 50k

Terri Payne and Cory Logsdon won the Sanders’ Saunter 50k in Kansas, running 5:43 and 4:02. It was Logsdon’s second-straight win here. Full results.

Dogwood Canyon 50k

The Dogwood Canyon 50k happened in Missouri. Frontrunners Amy Robbins and Steve Mantell were victorious in 4:40 and 3:35. Full results.

Rough Trail 50k

It’s a simple but descriptive name for the Rough Trail 50k in Kentucky. Fourth-year race winners were Hannah Jochem and Christopher Simmons in 5:57 and 4:56, respectively. Full results.

Colossal-Vail 50/50

There’s lots of high-desert trail running on the Arizona Trail at the Colossal-Vail 50/50. Women’s 50-mile winner Dari Duval just missed the women’s course record with her 9:09 finish. Men’s best Jon Kuehler did get the course record. His 7:26 run was 26 minutes better than the previous best. The accompanying 55k crowned Constance Wannamaker and Jonathan King as its winners in 6:46 and 4:39. Full results.

Mt. Tam Trail Run 50k

Things are not good in California right now and smoke from nearby wildfires forced the cancellation of Inside Trail’s Mt. Tam Trail Run 50k. This is in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Next Weekend – JFK 50 Mile – Boonsboro, Maryland

It will be the 56th running of the JFK 50 Mile and competitive fields will be lining up. The race remains the country’s largest ultramarathon.

Women

  • Caroline Boller – 11th 2018 IAU 100k World Championships, 2nd 2017 JFK 50 Mile Caroline Boller is out with an injury. [Updated 11/12]
  • Kate Pallardy [Added 11/12]
  • Bethany Patterson [Added 11/12]
  • Kaci Lickteig – 10th 2018 UTMB

Well this is interesting, and should make for a very dynamic race. Truly either of these women can win. Related note, while Sarah Bard is on the entrants list at the time of this writing, she’s not planning to race.

Men

  • Geoff Burns – 5th 2018 IAU 100k World Championships
  • Jared Hazen – 2nd 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile
  • Aaron Kremer – 2:29 2018 Illinois Marathon
  • Anthony Kunkel – 3rd 2017 JFK 50 Mile, 2nd 2016 JFK 50 Mile
  • Seth Marcaccio (Canada) [Added 11/12]
  • Jacob Puzey – 1st 2018 Calgary Marathon 50k
  • Tommy Rivers Puzey – Past U.S. national 50k team
  • Eric Senseman – 1st 2017 JFK 50 Mile, 3rd 2017 Black Canyon 100k
  • Tyler Sigl [Added 11/12]
  • Ford Smith – 1st 2018 Run Rabbit Run 50 Mile
  • Jim Sweeney – 13:09 2018 Hennepin Hundred, 4th 2017 JFK 50 Mile

Same, this is really good, too. Burns should excel in the race’s second half, but how close will he be after the race’s opening trail section? You’ve also got defending champion Senseman in the line-up there.

Full entrant list.

Next Weekend – The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships – Marin, California

The 2018 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships are canceled due to air-quality issues from California wildfires. [Updated 11/13]

It’s always one of the best races of the year and iRunFar has separately previewed the women’s and men’s fields for next weekend’s The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. Look for pre-race interviews later this week, race-day live coverage, and post-event interviews and analysis, too.

Top women’s entrants include two-time defending champ Ida Nilsson (Sweden), Clare Gallagher, Camille Herron, and Keely Henninger. Leading men’s contenders include Jim Walmsley, Dylan Bowman, and Sébastien Spehler (France).

Other Trail News – 2019 Golden Trail Series

The Golden Trail Series will return for its second round in 2019. There’s a slight shake-up in the calendar, including a new finale.

  • June 2 – Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon (Spain), 42k
  • June 30 – Mont Blanc Marathon (France), 42k
  • July 20 – Dolomyths Run (Italy), 22k
  • August 11 – Sierre-Zinal (Switzerland), 31k
  • August 25 – Pikes Peak Marathon (USA), 42k
  • September 21 – Ring of Steall Skyrace (U.K.), 29k
  • October 26 – Annapurna Trail Marathon (Nepal), 42k

Call for Comments

  • We love comments. No, seriously, we do! Tell us about other races you followed or took part in this past weekend, and what you’re eyeing next weekend, too.
  • Who do you see winning the JFK 50 Mile? And who else from that very long entrants list should we all be watching for?
Justin Mock

overcame years of disappointment to finally win a burro race in 2014. He has also run as fast as 2:29 for the marathon and finished as high as fourth in the Pikes Peak Marathon. He also writes for Running Times.

There are 44 comments

  1. Will

    If TNF ends up being canceled, it would be cool to see some of the runners race JFK instead. It could turn an already competitive field into the strongest field the race has ever seen.

  2. Markus

    There is no such thing as a 100 mile trail record. Tunnel Hill is USATF Sanctioned, has IAU Golden Label Road, and IAU Trail Label, with Certified Courses with the 100 mile USATF course certification #IL17003BW
    It’s a road race.

    Please stop that nonsense to talk about the fastest trail 100 miler. There is no such thing. Either it’s a trail race and USATF certification is not possible or not. In the case of TH100 it’s a former rail road track with gravel.
    And if it would be a trail race, Camille Herron could have not run a World record on it.

    1. Mark

      Marcus-If you had a point to make it was lost in the disrespectful aside with regard to Camille Herron. Seems like a pointless comment and an uncivil one at that. It’s Veterans Day, take stock…

      1. Markus

        Mark Sorry, I am not understanding your comment.

        Camille Herron ran a road world record at Tunnel Hill last year. In order to run a record you need a certified road or track course. If the race would have been a trail, it would have not been a world record.

        1. Meghan Hicks

          All,

          Let’s move forward with the conversation in a clearly constructive way. I think many people believe it’s a worthy conversation and that all should be a part of it, but we must speak with clear respect for everyone, even if we disagree. Thank you.

          Though we’ve used other phrasing in the past, iRunFar is currently using the term ‘best’ with regards to very fast runs on ‘trails’ because there’s no official record keeping of this sort of run by national or global governing bodies. We’re, of course, open to evolving in the future as community recordkeepers/leaders evolve the way they track these very fast trail runs. All that said, I personally find tracking/reporting on such performances, however diverse the conditions they occur in, interesting.

          1. Markus

            Meghan,

            Tunnel Hill is a recognized road race by the USATF. This is a fact.
            You can’t officially record trail races because by definition they are not on a defined route you can accurately measure. Trails are path in a natural environment and therefore they can change at anytime. There is no definition to it. Without definition you can’t have records.

            And that is also the reason why there is no official record keeping of this sort of run by national or global governing bodies.

        2. Camille

          Markus,

          Tunnel Hill is mostly definitely a trail course and recognized by the ATRA and the ITRA because it’s surface is ‘mostly unpaved’. It’s only recognized as a road course for certification purposes only (the only other option being track). The surface was deemed certifiable by course measurer, Brandon Wilson. There are many more certifiable trail courses in the USATF database as well– Umstead 100 for example. They have greater legitimacy for having been measured with a Jones counter, vs non-measured trail courses (which are debatable in distance).

          I now serve on an RRTC sub-committee within USATF that discusses certifying trail courses. I wouldn’t be surprised if for the future USATF adds a new category on the course certification to keep official Trail Records. It is my pleasure to be part of this impetus movement. For now, as Meghan mentioned, Tunnel Hill simply counts as the less official “Trail Best” AND can count for the more official American and World Records (which can be done on any surface type, as long as the course is deemed certifiable).

    2. MarkusTrollingYetAgain

      Has anyone seen a comment from this Markus guy that isn’t blatant trolling?

      He trolls Ultralist, iRunFar, and LetsRun mercilessly. For the sake of us all who are trying to enjoy this sport, please find a new hobby man.

      1. Markus

        My hobby is ultrarunning. I am sorry that I wasn’t able to explain to you the main issue here regarding trail “records”.
        Maybe the posting further down from Pam Smith or Steeltownrunner will make it a little more understandable.

      2. SteelTownRunner

        Markus is a valuable voice. Although often contrarian and a bit terse, he has a wealth of knowledge to draw upon, and speaks from vast experience. Markus it seems is one of the few who shares his enthusiasm and knowledge for ultras of all types – fixed time, rugged gnarly trail, long, short. etc.

  3. KC

    Kate Pallardy is one to watch for JFK 50! She has been blazing the roads with a 1:15 half marathon and a 2:46 marathon as a training run for the race!! She also won the MCC at UTMB this year.

  4. Sarah

    Keep an eye on Kate Pallardy at JFK. She’s a strong marathoner and has experience on some pretty aggressive trails. She should definitely be a contender out there!

  5. SteelTownRunner

    ultrarunning.com is Ultrarunning Magazine. It only lists discreet runners in all time domestic performances. Zach’s 12:08:xx roughly equals (seconds apart) from his 12:08 that he ran in the 24 hr race at Six Days in the Dome a few years ago.

    Zach now has four of the fastest six all time North American results for 100 miles.

    Zach Bitter . . . . . .11:40:55
    Zach Bitter . . . . . .11:47:21
    Jon Olsen . . . . . . 11:59:28
    Andy Jones . . . . . 12:05:43
    Zach Bitter . . . . . .12:08:24 (Dome)
    Zach Bitter . . . . . .12:08:36 (Tunnel Hill)

  6. Pam Smith

    I run roads and trails and respect both disciplines equally, but I agree with the sentiment Marcus expresses here. If a course is certified as a ROAD course, then it cannot be a trail. It is a road, maybe an unpaved road, but a road nonetheless. To say TH100 is a road for Camille but a trail for Zach is completely ridiculous. Zach’s run is deserving of high praise, but not of a trail record/best designation. Likewise, Camille got a road record on her run but she should not be credited a trail record from the exact same course.

    1. SteelTownRunner

      Just to throw my 2 cents in here as well, nothing Markus or Pam have said is to discredit any performances achieved at Tunnel Hill, or at Brazos Bend (dirt road), when, if memory serves, this issue first came up. The surface varies, but we don’t maintain (nor is it useful) to have separate designations and lists for every fathomable running surface. There are more exhaustive parameters than necessary to include here, but precise boundaries and measuring is necessary to qualify a surface as a road. A given dirt road or carriage trail (crushed gravel, limestone, etc) might be slower than a paved road, but following substance over form, they all have more in common with a road than a trail.

      The entire notion of record keeping is to be able to compare performances across history. To do that effectively means reducing factors that can vary, which is how “record quality courses” developed over time (and is why Boston for example, is not a record quality marathon). As trails by their very nature aren’t comparable one to another, and precise measurement generally is not possible, rankings were never terribly relevant. It was notable when Ian Sharman broke 13 hours at Rocky Raccoon as it was clearly a trail – and a fast one at that. This did not however trigger, to the best of my knowledge, a sudden compilation of all time trail times.

      IMHO, calling a trail best on what is ostensibly a road, does a disservice to credible performances that were done on bonafide trails, and seeks credit where altogether unnecessary. Aside from scratching my head at how something can be both a trail and a road (and get adulation for both), it strikes me as disingenuous to call it both, and it takes away from the significance of how good a 12:08 is on an actual road – certainly a slow one (as I would classify Tunnel Hill). It also makes me think that road with pot holes or the cinder tracks of yesteryear should also be classified as trails by these same standards.

      My personal takeaway was that though the flat and fast 100 in and of itself has not been heavily contested in history (a few of the top times were splits in longer races), Zach has achieved fantastic consistency and has four of the top X (I’ll say ~15, but the list on DUV Statistik is not exhaustive) performances in history – between 11:40-12:08, in addition to his AR, an achievement that itself needs no other accolade.

      1. JacobsA

        And I think this conversation regarding tunnel hill and similar courses are particularly relevant and worthwhile when a certain runner immediately gets a “100-mile trail world” embroidered on a jacket afterward.

        Having run both Brazos Bend, along with Rocky, it’s pretty reasonable to call one a “record-quality” course, versus a non-trail (at best) course. Again, this is not diminishing any sort of accomplishment.

  7. Michael

    For JFK, you should also be watching Tyler Sigl (1st at UROC, 1st, 2nd at Cayuga, just ran a 2:26 at Detroit) and Seth Marcaccio (1st at Cayuga).

  8. Bethany

    Wow! The men’s race at JFK will be fun to watch. Too bad they will all be ahead of me, and I’ll have to wait till I finish to find out who won

    1. SteelTownRunner

      This run of Pete’s was extraordinary. Perhaps the most extraordinary part was how unremarkable he made it all seem. Averaging 55 miles a day for 90 days on any terrain is a staggering feat of durability, endurance, and drive. That he did it all while self supported is all the more incredible. I wrote the following (mostly copied and pasted from his facebook page) after a magazine asked for a few words on his run:

      What is this “Ke2Key” all about?
      On July 31, 2018, Pete Kostelnick began an epic (an overly misused but highly appropriate word) self supported – in classic “thru hiker” style – run from from Anchor Point on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska to Key West, Florida, a distance of nearly 5,400 miles (8,700 km) all while pushing a stroller full of supplies without accepting any form of assistance from others along the route. This is understood be the first time anyone has ever run self supported from Alaska to Florida. Pete started at the westernmost point on American highways and ending at the southernmost point of the United States. Pete’s initial aim was to average 50 miles per day.

      In distance running it is common knowledge that the longer the distance, the more that can go wrong, be it injuries, stomach issues, blisters (in a run of this duration, they can be crippling), gear problems – the possibilities are endless, especially with a run of this length and duration. The challenge is to maintain positivity and the desire to push on, accepting those setbacks as mere hiccups. Pete has yet to go into his challenges along the way, but it’s worth sharing that Pete’s biggest frustration was a zero mileage day in the Yukon territory in Canada, a mere three weeks into his trip, due to wildfire road closures. These wildfires forced the cancellation of many races in the surrounding area.

      Pete averaged 55 miles per day. That’s 330 miles for 6 days. You can think of that like a 4 or 4:30 hour marathon, but harder. That 6 day effort (self supported, and on varying terrain, on narrow road shoulders) was repeated 15 more times.

      In the Sri Chinmoy 10 day race, 1000 km (~620 miles) is a major benchmark for runners. Getting near that benchmark, and showing physical promise, mental strength, and a good disposition can get one into the Sri Chinmoy 3100 mile race. Pete ran 550 miles in 10 days. Then did it again. And again. And again. etc for a total of nearly ten times. What’s perhaps most amazing about this run, is how utterly unremarkable Pete made it seem. I spoke to Pete several times in the latter half of his run. Get up early, go to work (or run, in his case), and clock out, was his approach. No single day’s effort is jaw dropping. No single 6 day, 10 day, or 1,000 mile split on his journey was eye catching (though he did have a few 80 mile days in the middle) but string them together and Pete’s produced a run for the ages. We have yet to see Pete put in an honest effort in a multiday race. Can he top 600 miles, 1000 km, Yiannis Kouros’ WR? I am sure he has the talent, but you need the desire. There is no question this is a niche effort, but that in no way diminishes the level of his accomplishment. Kilian inspires running in the mountains, Walmsley on the faster trails, Kouros for sheer transcendence in 24 hrs and longer, and Pete has blazed new ground in journey running.

      Some statistics courtesy of Pete’s sister are:

      Total Miles 5,390.76 miles (according to GPS / google maps)
      Total time: 97 days 6 hours 57 min
      Daily average: 55 miles
      Total elevation gain: 175,301 ft (that’s 6 Mt. Everests)
      Highest elevation gain run: 5,034 ft Day 6 in Alaska
      Lowest elevation gain run: 238 ft Day 96 in Florida
      Total moving time: 969 hours 32 min
      Highest mileage run: 93.22 miles Day 24 in Yukon
      Lowest mileage day: 0 Day 23 in Yukon (only 0 day due to wildfire)
      Highest mileage state: Alaska 622 miles
      Lowest mileage state: Kentucky 110 miles

      Alaska: 622.56
      Yukon Territory: 591.58
      British Columbia: 616.71
      Alberta: 470.52
      Saskatchewan: 511.17
      North Dakota: 400.04
      Minnesota: 314.65
      Iowa: 242.31
      Illinois: 362.64
      Kentucky: 110.66
      Tennessee: 134.88
      Alabama: 235.5
      Georgia: 186.03
      Florida: 591.51

      https://share.garmin.com/peterkostelnick

  9. Scott Kummer

    Is there any such thing as a certification for a trail 100 miler? I could be wrong but it seems like we are confusing the fact that it is certified as a 100 mile “road” (because I think we all agree it isn’t a track) just for record purposes, for lack of any other category. It’s not pavement. I can’t drive my car on it. So it’s not a road in my mind.

    If you can certify something as a “trail” or a distance “on a trail” this might be a debate. But it seem like actual semantics and I don’t see the point.

    It’s not a track. It’s not a road. So it’s a trail. Maybe a flat trail. Maybe a mountain-less trail. But I’ve been on many trails that were flat gravel, crushed limestone, fire road, jeep road, dirt road, etc. I’ve never once thought “this isn’t a trail race.” Maybe just, this is a flatfish trail.

    So as a back of the pack flunky podcaster I’ll say it: it’s a trail race :) Although I can totally see the counterarguments and sources of confusion.

    1. SageCanaday

      I haven’t seen the courses at places like Rocky Racoon or Tunnel Hill so I won’t be commenting on that.

      HOWEVER, coming from the “shorter distance events” I (as well as the USATF/IAAF) see a very big distinction between Road vs Track events when it comes to establishing official world records and American records etc.

      For example, nobody in the track running world would ever consider that the road time for a 10km (on a certified road course of course!) would be even close to a track time for a 10km…as the track is always considered much, much faster. Hence why they are considered very separate records and in totally different categories.

      Now the interesting thing is when we start talking about setting a “World Record at 100-miles” and they have loosened the rules to basically include “any surface.” But of course for “official” world records you need doping controls in place, witnesses and possibly very accurate electronic timing on a certified course/route/track (at 100-miles they do let that be any surface though). In some cases I’d imagine that a paved road isn’t actually the fastest surface necessarily for a 100-mile Speed Record. Pavement hurts….Comrades taught me that. Personally I’d rather be running on a slighter softer surface if trying to go sub 6:52/mile pace for 100 (but with good traction and not much elevation gain!). In any case kudos to Zach for a great race and a great time at a tough distance!

      1. Markus

        Probably 10 years ago Juergen Schoch the statistician from the German Ultrarunning Association suggested for the IAU that ultrarunning should take away separate lists for surfaces in ultrarunning records. At that time he was in involved at the IAU. I am not sure, if he still is.

        The reason was that there were not enough results for track races to justify separate lists. And nobody is paid to maintain these lists. More or less at the same time track ultraraces had a little bit of a comeback thanks to Desert Solstice. But due to the limitation of runners on a track there will never be a similar amount of records. The DUV statistics still keep the surface information so that is not lost.

        http://statistik.d-u-v.org/overview_intbestlist.php

        1. SageCanaday

          Interesting chart. So Japan has 13 of the top 15 100km performances of All-Time?! That is quite impressive. Anyway there isn’t even a 100-mile event/distance on that first page (understandable since most of the world is Metric). As you mentioned not every many people run on a track at the marathon or ultra distance…and obviously for 100-milers many (in the US at least) would almost always do it on a an actual trail type of course….which may or may not be accurately measured and probably would not have any sort of official testing by a governing body. That being said it seems like not every many people do “12-hour” events in the US either. I honestly am learning more about this realm of MUT Running as it does intrigue me though.

          1. SteelTownRunner

            This is an incomplete ranking (I have a few more on a still incomplete spreadsheet) but it gives a fair idea of how often 100 miles has been raced as a pure event. Many of the greatest performances were in longer events, and is why, 12 hours is *generally* a more significant international benchmark than 100 miles, though, it must be stressed again, that world bests at 12 hours (150km, 200km, etc) were all often run as splits in 24 hours, which has historically been the marquee event up from 100 km.
            https://goo.gl/XNV3nC

            I do believe, given the way Cavin Woodward first ran 100 miles in his breakthrough of 11:38 (now the WR of 11:28 is a mere 10 minutes faster), splitting 50 miles in under 5 hours (and the first to ever cover 50 miles at that speed), that the 100 mile WR is on the softer side, should a talented runner wish to pursue the mark in a well paced effort.

            [As an aside, though it’s missing some results, DUV Statistik is the most comprehensive ultra results database we have globally and historically, and it would be a great service to the ultra community at large for RDs to submit their results to the site.]

            100 km has been long established as a hotly contested event throughout history. Some of the top performances have been achieved in championship races where most prudent / cautious runners are less prone to risk-taking, and they go out at more well paced efforts (save for those from South Africa) in order to medal. Internationally, especially with Japan, we have seen high caliber runners (2:10 for the marathon) race the 100 km distance. As Saroma is in late spring / early summer (generally around Comrades, WS, etc) it gives runners a chance to qualify for the world 100 km team. The level of competition is strong enough that the bar has been raised.

            However, this year saw for the first time in history, five runners go under 6:30 in the same race. This has never happened even in a championship race. The race also saw some ‘second tier’ runners (say 2:19 marathon as opposed to 2:14 or faster) ‘overachieve’. It has been a point of contention among some authorities whether the race should be record quality. Elevation profile of the race is no problem, though the start and finish are nearly 50% apart, which currently fits IAAF guidelines. The provision had been 30% until Tomoe Abe ran her 6:33 WR on that course. The suspicion (with what looks like sound basis looking at weather charts) is that the course is prone to wind aid. Regardless, Japan has the talent and the competition to produce some world class performances.

            Don Ritchie’s 6:10:20 though should still likely be the WR, and was run on the track. In that race, he split 50K in under 3 hours (in 3rd place at the time). No one expected his mark would last this long.

            1. SageCanaday

              Steeltown, like I mentioned though (and this applies to 100km still I think), there is a distinct difference between “Road” vs “Track.” The track is generally considered much faster at the “shorter” distances.

              And why is 12 hours so significant if most of the times it is just taken “en route” as a half split during 24 hour record attempt? For men that is…obviously for women coming through 12 hours en route to a faster 100-miler (like Camille’s time) is going to be a better record with more attempts because the 12 hour mark comes before the 100-mile mark still. Still I get it, that 100-miles is a very US/UK centric race distance.

              So Don Ritchie ran 6:10 on a track….Japan’s Nao Kazami ran 6:09 on the roads was also a 2:17 marathoner I believe. That is the official WORLD RECORD for 100km on the IAAF website. So the course must’ve been legit and not “aided”? You wrote: “It has been a point of contention among some authorities whether the race should be record quality.” But it was approved by IAAF?! Boston isn’t even an IAAF legal marathon course.

              But again we probably shouldn’t be comparing road to track performances. One would never compare a road 10km to a track 10km for a record. Everyone knows the track is way faster.

              At 100-miles though they simply list performances as “Road” on the USATF website. Camille Herron’s run at Tunnel Hill is the speed “road” record for 100-miles. I’d imagine one could also do it on a standard 400m track though and have it count against the road times (despite what I just said about the 100km and below records being different on different surfaces). It’s easier to certify a track’s measurements, and have testing, and accurate splits.

          2. Markus

            100 mile races are mostly run in the US and some Commonwealth Countries on trails. I don’t know one established fast road 100 miler in the world.
            6h and 12 hour races are more training races. 6 hour races make no sense for elite 100k runners since that is too close to the more important 100k distance.

            The main official distances are 50k, 100k and 24 hours on roads for ultrarunning.
            50 mile and 100 mile distances are usually run on trails and because of that there are no records kept for these distances.

  10. Meghan Hicks

    Hi all,

    I just wanted to thank you for continuing the conversation here in a constructive way. We really appreciate it. The iRunFar team is super busy this week prepping for/traveling to TNF50 race coverage this week and weekend, so we might not be as engaged in the conversation as we’d like. I hope you understand. But we’re reading, digesting, etc. Like I said before, we’re open to evolutions in what we call these really fast runs based upon what the community’s governing bodies/statskeepers define them as. I don’t consider myself one of those who should decide what the records are called, but I am certainly interested in telling their stories as accurately as we can. Onward and thanks!

  11. Greg

    For inspiration on the longevity front, JFK should provide excitement on the back end. Kim Byron will be running his 50th JFK (no, not a typo). Duane Rosenerg will be running his 40th JFK, and 38th consecutive. And Carolyn Showalter will be running her 31st JFK. Proof that we can still get after it in our 60s! While I’m not absolutely certain, I’d imagine all of those are records.

    1. SteelTownRunner

      Thank you for mentioning these runners. None of those are records (well, for JFK, perhaps), but certainly marvelous longevity and commitment to this past time that will continue to inspire.

      There are as of July 2018, 9 men (largely from South Africa, thanks to Comrades) who have run an ultra for 50+ years, led in the first slot by the great Wally Hayward and his 59 years 7 days.

      At the time of aforementioned ranking, Kim Byron ranked 12th *worldwide* in ultra career duration.

      Duane Rosenberg ranked 21st (in a tie with Mark Parkhurst: 39y 364d) and Carolyn Showalter ranked 31st (first female) in US longevity with 39 years (just ahead of Tim Twietmeyer).

      This ranking comes courtesy of longtime ultra historian Nick Marshall.

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