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This Week In Running: September 30, 2019

Round up! This week’s column includes the U.S. Mountain Running Championships in New Hampshire, Greece’s Spartathlon, and the Utah-Idaho The Bear 100 Mile, among others. It’s Monday, let’s do this.

Waterville Valley Mountain Race – Waterville Valley, New Hampshire

The first-ever Waterville Valley Mountain Race was also this year’s U.S. Mountain Running Championship. Mimicking the anticipated World Mountain Running Championships course, the race ran as seven miles, up and down. There was a $3,000 prize purse and the top four men and women each earned spots on the U.S. mountain running team that will compete at worlds on November 15 in Argentina.

Men

Joe Gray, ’nuff said. The guy just doesn’t lose at shorter mountain races in the U.S. He won in 52:51 and it was Gray’s fourth-straight U.S. mountain running championship, seventh U.S. mountain running championship in total, and 17th national title across all distances and disciplines.

Andy Wacker finished in a familiar second, the same hard-luck spot he’s been for a lot of Gray’s 17 national titles. Wacker ran 54:16.

Recent Pikes Peak Ascent runner-up Seth Demoor was third in 54:46, and David Sinclair gained the team’s final position in 55:15.

This year’s World Mountain Running Championships and the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships are on back-to-back days in November in Argentina. Both Gray and Wacker are now qualified for both teams, creating the potential for a double.

The rest of the men’s top 10 included:

5. Joseph Demoor – 55:43
6. Lee Berube – 56:23
7. Josh Eberly – 56:53
8. Brian Whitfield – 56:56
9. David Fuentes – 58:30
10. Brandon Newbould – 59:03

Joe Gray wins yet another USATF national championship. Photo: USATF/Mike Scott

Women

Former University of Utah runner Grayson Murphy dominated the women’s race, winning by over four minutes. Racin’ Grayson finished in 1:01.45. A former five-time All-American, she holds 15:58 5000 meter and 32:28 10000 meter bests.

An improbable 16 years of age separated the women’s #1 and #2 finishers. Kasie Enman earned another team spot, running 1:05.58. Kimber Mattox, like Enman also a past mountain running national champ, was third in 1:07.23, and Samantha Lewis was fourth in 1:08.32.

The balance of the women’s top 10 included:

5. Deanna Ardrey – 1:09.14
6. Corey Dowe – 1:10.56
7. Kassandra Marin – 1:11.02
8. Jessica Marion – 1:11.19
9. Michelle Hummel – 1:11.22
10. Kristen Findley – 1:11.23

Full results.

Grayson Murphy, 2019 US Mountain Running national champion. Photo: USATF/Mike Scott

Spartathlon – Athens, Greece

Spartathlon races 246k (153 miles) on roads from Athens to Sparta, Greece. It’s, of course, based on the historic run by Pheidippides in 490 B.C.

Men

Hungary dominated the men’s race and took three of the top five finishes. Race winner Tamás Bódis (Hungary) finished in 23:29, though it was the race’s slowest winning time since 2012. Second-place Zoltán Csécsei (Hungary) finished in 24:17, and 2017 and 2018 runner-up Radek Brunner (Czech Republic) was third in 24:26.

After leading early in the race, 100-mile world-record holder Zach Bitter (USA) did not finish.

Women

Zsuzsanna Maráz (Hungary) repeated as women’s champ. She overtook longtime leader Irina Masanova (Russia) in the final 20k and finished in 27:16. It was just 10 minutes back of her 2018 finish time, though she finished second in 2017 in 25:43.

Masanova held on to finish second in 28:18 and Robinik Natasa (Slovenia) was third in 29:15.

Full results.

The Bear 100 Mile – Logan, Utah

Point to point and from Utah to Idaho, The Bear 100 Mile gains 22,000 feet of elevation gain, too.

Men

He’s 48 years old, but Jeff Browning is still getting it done. He’s doing more than that actually. Browning won in 19:06. Earlier this year Browning won the Tarawera 100 Mile, and, then, finished ninth at the Western States Endurance Run.

Trevor Fuchs was second in 19:34 and John Fitzgerald was third in 20:01.

Women

Katie Asmuth won the Kodiak 50 Mile just five weeks ago, but doubled back for another first-place finish. Asmuth won in 23:23.

Only 14 minutes separated the next four women with Anne Wheatly escaping the group for a second-place 24:36. Colleen Powers followed in 24:40 for third. iRunFar’s Meghan Hicks was just behind in fourth at 24:43, and Elizabeth Simpson ran 24:50 for fifth.

Full results.

Other Races and Runs

Grand to Grand Ultra

The Grand to Grand Ultra runs 170 miles over six stages and seven days, going from the north rim of the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona to an overlook of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. Styled like Marathon des Sables, runners carry all of their own food, and sleeping and safety gear for the entire week. It was the race’s eighth year, and this year’s run was especially difficult with extra deep and soft sand. Joseph Taylor won the men’s race in 34:16, and was the first-ever American man to win the event. Racing Grand to Grand for the third time, Sarah Lavender Smith won the women’s race in 45:34. Full results.

Bear Chase

Colorado’s Bear Chase group of races happen at Bear Creek Lake State Park just west of Denver. Cory Logsdon and Michelle Kent won the multi-lap 100k in 8:42 and 9:52, and Dan Lingerfield and Denise Bourassa won the 50-mile race in 7:46 and 8:13. Full results.

Crested Butte Ultra

And then further west, but still in Colorado, Ryan Case and Zoe Rom won the Mad Moose Events Crested Butte Ultra 105k with 12:55 and 15:37 finish times. Bryan Kerl and Emma Page Patterson won the 55k in 5:11 and 5:50. Full results.

Overlook Endurance Runs

Both men’s and women’s course records came down at California’s Overlook Endurance Run 50-mile race. Adam Merry and Erika Hoagland were the record breakers with 6:56 and 9:04 runs. Full results.

Yeti 100 Mile

Lance Doherty and Jasmine Chiaramonte won the Yeti 100 Mile on the Virginia Creeper Trail, finishing in 16:11 and 18:39, respectively. Chiaramonte’s run was a new course record. Full results.

TARC Fall Classic

Fall hasn’t yet taken hold in Massachusetts, and the Trail Animals Running Club’s ninth-annual Fall Classic was a sun-soaked affair with 80-degree temperatures at Great Brook Farm State Park. After trailing for 20 miles, Brian Burke took control of the men’s 50-mile race and pulled away for the win in 7:27. Caitlin Sheasley earned the win in the women’s race in 9:51. In the 50k race, Scot DeDeo and Haley Abing led from start to finish, winning in 4:18 and 4:41. Full results.

Brian Burke on his way to winning the 2019 TARC Fall Classic 50 Mile. Photo: Mass Ultra/Chris Wristen

Cat’s Tail Marathon

New York’s Catskill Mountains hosted the fifth Cat’s Tail Marathon. Conditions here, too, were unusually hot and dry on a course that gains 7,000 feet of elevation. Liam Cregan set a new men’s course record in 4:19, and Bonnie Lathrop topped the women’s group in 5:20. Full results (when available).

Flatrock 50k

David Box and Mel Fuller won the Flatrock 50k in Kansas, finishing in 5:19 and 7:05, respectively. Tragically, runner Thomas Stanley was fatally struck by lightning as he approached the race finish. Full results.

Verticale du Grand Serre

Axelle Gachet-Mollaret (France) set a new vertical-kilometer world best. She ran 34:01 up during the Verticale du Grand Serre in France. It is also the shortest, and thereby steepest, vertical k in the world. Full results (when available).

Mt. Taylor 50k

Down in New Mexico, Mt. Taylor played host to its eponymous 50k for the eighth time with excellent conditions. Ethan Linck bested the men’s field by 12 minutes, winning in 4:39. Imogen Ainsworth won the women’s race by more than half an hour in 5:03. Full results.

Next Weekend – Ultra Pirineu – Bagà, Spain

The 11th Ultra Pirineu in Spain now includes six different races.

Men

The 94k (58 miles Ultra Pirineu race will feature Pere Aurell (Spain), 2018 third-placer finisher Jordi Gamito (Spain), last year’s winner Jessed Hernandez (Spain), and recent TDS runner-up Dmitry Mityaev (Russia).

The accompanying first-year 36k race is part of the Skyrunner World Series. Series frontrunners Oriol Cardona (Spain) and Ruy Ueda (Japan) will both be on the starting line, and likely challenged by Stian Angermund-Vik (Norway) and Pablo Villa (Spain).

Women

Mimmi Kotka (Sweden) and Fernanda Maciel (Brazil) headline the women’s long race. It is Kotka’s first time here, and Maciel returns after an eight-year absence.

Top entrants in the women’s 36k race include Johanna Åström (Sweden), Lina and Sanna El Kott (Sweden), Eli Gordón (Spain), Yngvild Kaspersen (Norway), and Holly Page (UK).

Full entrant lists.

Call for Comments

That was a lot, but tell us what you saw and chased this weekend, too!

Categories: TWIR
Justin Mock: is a family man, finance man, and former competitive runner. He gave his 20s to running, and ran as fast as 2:29 for the marathon and finished as high as fourth at the Pikes Peak Marathon. His running is now most happy with his two dogs on the trails and peaks near his home west of Denver.

View Comments (14)

  • Browning won for the 20th time at 100 miles.

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    • I'd say 19th. I wouldn't lay claim to a win at the 2018 HR.

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      • Well Todd... I mean Tim... no one else crossed the finish line prior to Mr. Browning... so I’d also have to say... you’re wrong.

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        • My comment came off the wrong way -

          Not that's it right, but rules are broken all the time at races. I don't know any of you personally, but if you've ever had a pacer hold your poles while you grabbed a gel or gone to the bathroom, had them open a gel pack for you, grabbed something from a crew member just outside the aid station, had a pacer/crew run up the trial to grab and fill your water bottle, etc, etc, (you get the idea) you broke the rules just like Xavier. And, yes I think all those are equivalent to grabbing a drink of water. If any of you broke these rules and won a race, you should DQ yourself. I doubt that's going to happen. Speedgoat (or anyone else for that matter), no need to answer, but have you ever done something as I described above? I guess the difference was that he got caught.

          I should have been more explicit with my comment about his 20 wins. IF it were me, I personally would have a difficult time claiming a victory at Hardrock. Just my opinion and I doubt many agree with me.

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          • Tim, no I have not, because as mentioned, I do not use pacers. All the things you mentioned, I fully agree with, picking up a gel pack, all that stuff is "against the rules". One of the reasons I fully think pacers should not be allowed for anyone running for any type of award. If you use pacers, you still get the finish, it just has the "pacer" asterisk next to it. I also feel that races that allow pacers, anyone that has the assistance of a pacer and their light....is getting assistance. Walmsley did not use pacers at WS, to me that was the real win.....Nor did Jeff Browning. It's just our opinions, worth about half a penny.

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          • Speedgoat doesn't use pacers.

            As a mid-pack runner who does use pacers, I specifically avoid doing all of the things you just mentioned. Why? Because I make a point of knowing the rules and following them to the letter.

            Xavier knowingly broke the rules to gain an advantage. The fact that he would have won the race anyway is irrelevant. Jeff might not feel as proud of that victory as the others, but the fact remains that he was the first to cross the finish line after running a strong (and rule abiding) race.

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      • Well Tim, do you support breaking the rules of a race? Xavier broke the rule, which stopped his race. Therefore, he is out. He may be the strongest runner. I don't think we can debate that, but....he broke the rule. Browning has 20....that's alot.

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      • Well of course you wouldn't, Tim, as you didn't win it. Jeff did.

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        • I hope everyone got a smile of satisfaction from the above comments ;-)

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      • Well then you'd be wrong, Tim.

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  • Congratulations to Meghan for her awesome work at the Bear 100! Meghan is so great as an interviewer and writer that I forget what an awesome and inspiring runner she is as well!

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  • It was the Kodiak 50 miler that Katie Asmuth just won 5 weeks back. I believe the Bear was her second 100, with her first being a 2nd place finish at the 2018 AC100.

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    • Thanks for the correction, Leah!

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  • Over/under on how may times Andy has finished 2nd to Joe? Seems like an easy dozen if not more. Both are great athletes.

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