There was a little bit of mud and a little bit of heat, but it was a nearly perfect day for racing in the verdant California hills that make up the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile course. The front of both the women’s and the men’s fields saw dynamic changes through the race with the outcomes uncertain until the end when Jared Hazen (pre- and post-race interviews) and Anna Mae Flynn (post-race interview) each crossed the finish first to take home the wins.
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2019 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Women’s Race
The women’s race didn’t go out quite as one might expect. Yes, Camille Herron (pre-race interview) ran at the front in the early miles, but she had a handful of women right behind her. Those women included Amber Zimmerman, Anna Mae Flynn (post-race interview), and Addie Bracy (post-race interview) with YiOu Wang (pre- and post-race interviews) and Kelly Wolf (pre-race interview) still only a minute and change off the front at mile 11.
However, the race saw major shake-ups even before mile 20. At mile 19.5 above Madrone Point, Amber was running in fourth and Camille in fifth both three to four minutes off the lead. Amber would get to the top of the climb there and stop due to a pre-existing injury. Camille would go on to the turnaround at mile 25 where she called it a day due to wonky hamstrings. Ah, but Anna Mae, Addie, and YiOu were all within a minute at mile 20.
Fast forward 10 miles and YiOu had just under a minute lead on Addie and two-and-a-half minutes on Anne Mae. With Kelly Wolf running in fourth six minutes back and, then, Taylor Nowlin and Anne-Marie Madden more than 12 minutes off, it seemed nearly certain that one of the three frontrunners would win.
Coming through Warm Springs at mile 38, it looked like a two-woman race with YiOu still leading an unshakeable Addie Bracy with Anna Mae three minutes back. At the Island View aid station more than 45 miles into the race, YiOu finally seemed to have some breathing space with Addie falling off a bit to run with Anna Mae two minutes off the front.
But the race isn’t over until it’s over. YiOu kept moving right along, but Anna Mae was charging. Then, within sight of the finish Anna Mae surged through a muddy patch to overtake YiOu and earn the win. What a race! YiOu came in a few seconds later to finish second while Addie hung onto third. Kelly Wolf ran in no-woman’s land throughout the race, always in more or less the same fourth position, once you account for Camille’s and Amber’s drops. On the other hand, former Lake Sonoma champ Cassie Scallon never had her top gear, but used her strength and consistency to move from near tenth in the early going to fifth by the end.
In the back half of the top ten, Magdalena Boulet enjoyed herself on her way to finishing sixth. Taylor Nowlin ran consistently but never looked at ease en route to seventh. Anne-Marie Madden worked her way up through the field before fading a bit in the race’s latter half to finish eighth. On the other hand, Kristyn Kadala didn’t move into the top ten until the race’s final third, but she finished ninth. Last year’s third-place finisher Camelia Mayfield looked like she was struggling most of the race, but held it together long enough to round out the top ten.
2019 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Women’s Results
- Anna Mae Flynn (Hoka One One) – 7:25:15 (post-race interview)
- YiOu Wang (Under Armour) – 7:25:33 (pre- and post-race interviews)
- Addie Bracy (Nike) – 7:27:57 (post-race interview)
- Kelly Wolf (Under Armour) – 7:41:12 (pre-race interview)
- Cassie Scallon (Salomon) – 7:58:27
- Magdalena Boulet (Hoka One One) – 7:59:17
- Taylor Nowlin (La Sportiva) – 8:01:00
- Anne-Marie Madden (Salomon) – 8:03:27
- Kristyn Kadala – 8:08:15
- Camelia Mayfield (Brooks) – 8:15:39
2019 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Men’s Rac
The very front of 2019 Lake Sonoma men’s race was a three-man show put on by Jared Hazen (pre- and post-race interviews), Sébastien Spehler (pre- and post-race interviews), and Tom Evans (pre- and post-race interviews). Indeed, from the sidelines it appeared that Jared or Seb set the race’s pace from the gun with the two challenging one other frequently throughout the race. Shortly after mid-race, Seb finally built a small lead, but it wouldn’t hold. Jared would move in front before the second pass through Warm Springs at mile 38 and build his small lead into a bigger one to win in one of the faster times in the race’s history.
Now, Seb never faltered, but Tom Evans never relented in his pursuit of the leaders, who he essentially ran with through the race’s first half. Stephen Kersh made things a bit more interesting for Tom when he caught the Brit and the two ran together for a short while. However, Tom kept pushing and certainly would have seen Seb ahead of him through some of the races’s final miles. In the end, it would be the Frenchman Spehler taking second just 40 seconds ahead of Evans in third. While he finished fourth, Kersh looks to have earned a Western States 100 Golden Ticket entry as Spehler will decline his spot and Evans already has a spot in the race. It’s also worth noting that this was Kersh’s 50-mile debut.
Behind those front four, I believe Gus Gibbs, Bobby Peavey, and Dakota Jones spent much of the race in their respective finishing positions of fifth, sixth, and seventh, although Gibbs was considerably closer to the frontrunners than the other two and Jones moved up after a slower start. Charlie Ware and Vince Dimassa also spent much of the race within the back half of the top ten with Charlie finishing eighth and Vincent tenth. Ben Koss knew where he sat in the field throughout the race and moved up along the way from outside the top ten to finish ninth.
2019 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Men’s Results
- Jared Hazen (Hoka One One) – 6:08:31 (pre- and post-race interviews)
- Sébastien Spehler (Salomon) – 6:15:47 (pre- and post-race interviews)
- Tom Evans (adidas) – 6:16:28 (pre- and post-race interviews)
- Stephen Kersh – 6:18:59
- Gus Gibbs (Rabbit) – 6:26:42
- Bobby Peavey (adidas) – 6:46:47
- Dakota Jones (Salomon) – 6:53:32
- Charlie Ware (Aravaipa) – 7:01:02
- Ben Koss – 7:05:35
- Vincent Dimassa – 7:05:59
A huge thanks to Casey Szesze, Amy Leedham, and Maggie Shinder for their on-the-course updates and Mauri Pagliacci for his office support through the race. Anne-Marie Madden stepped up to translate and make a pair of interviews with Seb Spehler possible. Our coverage wouldn’t be the same without their help!