This Week In Running: November 4, 2019

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRThe trail and ultrarunning calendar slowed this weekend, and will next weekend too. Sure, there was racing at the Moab Trail Marathon in Utah, Gerda Steyn ran a quick marathon, and Ludovic Pommeret sought out a far-off island for a 50k, but by and large, runners are past their seasonal peaks and moving toward a winter holiday. Let’s take this Monday in a chill style.

Moab Trail Marathon – Moab, Utah

Thanks to Boa for sponsoring this edition of TWIR!

The red rock Moab Trail Marathon was again the USATF Trail Marathon National Championships. All of the weekend’s races sold out here, and the marathon awarded a $4,800 cash purse.

Women

The top-three women all ran under four hours, but Chessa Adsit-Morris was off the front in 3:40. She was third at the FOURmidable 50k to start the year, and is now a national champ. Olympic Trials steeplechaser Collier Lawrence was second in 3:54, and Tara Richardson ran 3:56 for third.

The event had half marathons on both Saturday and Sunday too. Saturday’s winner was Madison Hart in 1:54, and Sunday’s winner was Alexa Shindruk in 1:47.

Chessa Adsit-Morris on her way to winning the 2019 Moab Trail Marathon. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Men

Recent University of Colorado runner Adam Peterman crushed the men’s field with a 2:57 winning time. He was the day’s only sub-three-hour finisher, and was 11 minutes in front of second.

Brian Whitfield and Jeshurun Small, both of Gunnison, Colorado, were second and third in 3:08 and 3:10.

Kai Benedict won Saturday’s half marathon in 1:29 and Mason Osgood took Sunday’s win in 1:40.

Full results.

The next USATF mountain, ultra, trail championship is the December 7 Brazos Bend 100 Mile race in Texas, and it is the USATF 100-Mile Trail National Championships.

Adam Peterman, 2019 Moab Trail Marathon champion. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Other Races and Runs

Ultra Tour Mount Siguniang

In Sichuan Province in western China, there was the Ultra Tour Mount Siguniang. This was a group of full-on, high-altitude mountain races, including 110k, 75k, 50k, and 35k distances made more challenging by snow and mud. The 110k race, for example, started at 12,500 feet altitude, hit a high point of about 14,700 feet, and never went below 9,800 feet. Reroutes for safety in the storm were reported for at least a couple of the races. In the 110k, Chinese runners took home the wins, with Lijie Qu at the front of the women’s race in 26:21 and Tianliang Yu in the men’s in 20:35. In the 50k race, Xiaohua Yang of China won the women’s race in 10:11 while the USA’s Tim Tollefson won for the men in 7:38. We’ll nod to iRunFar’s own Bryon Powell here, who was second in the 110k men’s race in 21:50. Full results (when available).

The 2019 Ultra Tour Mount Siguniang 110k men’s podium (left to right): 2. Bryon Powell, 1. Tianliang Yu, and 3. Chunrong Zhang. Photo courtesy of iRunFar/Bryon Powell.

Trail de Rodrigues

Rodrigues Island is in the Indian Ocean, and at the 10th Trail de Rodrigues 50k, Ludovic Pommeret (France) finished his 2019 year with a first-place tie, alongside Simon Desvaux (Mauritius). We again don’t have information yet on who won the women’s race, so leave a message to let everyone know. Thank you!  Full results (when available).

Silver Falls 50k

Rachel Lenz and Drew Macomber won Oregon’s Silver Falls 50k, inside a state park of the same name. Lenz ran 4:53, and Macomber, who won the Waldo 100k earlier this year, ran 3:50. Full results.

Rio Del Lago 100 Mile 

The northern California Rio Del Lago 100 Mile race takes in American River and Folsom Lake scenery, and some of the Western States Trail. Erika Hoagland and Christopher Harrington were victorious in 18:29 and 16:12. Hoagland’s time was a new course record. Full results.

Lithia Loop Trail Marathon

Ashland, Oregon’s 12th annual Lithia Loop Trail Marathon was won by Danielle Yokel and Lindon Powell in 4:08 and 2:53, respectively. Full results.

Lindon Powell, 2019 Lithia Loop Trail Marathon champion. Photo: Rogue Valley Runners

New York City Marathon

2019 Comrades Marathon winner Gerda Steyn (South Africa) ran an impressive 2:27 at the New York City Marathon, finishing as 11th woman. One-time USATF 50k road champ Tyler Jermann was sixth American man in 2:15. Seth Demoor, who will race for the U.S. at the World Mountain Running Association World Championships in Argentina on November 15, finished in 2:24. He just ran 2:23 at the Amsterdam Marathon on October 21 too. David Kilgore, who raced for the U.S. at the Trail Running World Championships, finished in 2:27. Full results.

Stone Cat 50k

After 18 years as 50-mile and marathon distance races, the Stone Cat 50k was instead run on a three-loop course totaling 50k in coastal Massachusetts. Race winners were Cori Nawn and Jason Smith in 4:39 and 3:49, both pulling away in the decisive final loop. Full results.

Cori Nawn running toward the 2019 Stone Cat 50k win. Photo: Mass Ultra/Chris Wristen

Pinhoti 100 Mile

Final results aren’t yet posted for the Alabama Pinhoti 100 Mile, but it looks like Suzanna Bon and Bob Adams came out ahead of everyone else in 23:42 and 18:49 respectively. Full results (when available).

Call for Comments

  • Believe it or not, my #1 running bud, 12-pound terrier-chihuahua Elly, was attacked by a deer on Halloween afternoon. Send her some love toward a full recovery!
  • When it comes to road marathons, trail and ultrarunners hit the Boston Marathon in big numbers. There was a scattering of familiar names inside the New York City Marathon results. Can you point out any others in that group?
  • We couldn’t chase down results for the Mountain Masochist 50 Mile. Can our readers pitch in?
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.

There are 30 comments

  1. John Vanderpot

    Assuming Walt finished at Pinhoti (usu isn’t working right for me this morning for some reason?) that’s 42, the new record, and he’s evidently marching to 50…

    Here in SoCal we had a fine friendly marathon yesterday, maybe the nicest day ever?

          1. John Vanderpot

            The before/after pics from the podcast website sort of tell you everything you need to know about this guy?

            Like, if I didn’t know him personally, it’d sort of be hard to believe?

            Let’s hear it for the human spirit!

  2. Andrew

    Liz Stephen and Kikkan Randall (both former Olympians in XC skiing and occasional trail runners [Randall won the Mt. Marathon Race a few years back]) ran together and finished in 2:55 at NYC.

    1. Bob C

      AJW, I noticed that about MMTR too. And nobody under 8 hours. Weather was nearly perfect, but a big storm 2 days before brought down a lot of branches and leaves, so I hear the footing was trickier.

  3. scott

    I’d be really interested in hearing Byron’s thoughts on Chinese ultras (and the Western media’s acceptance of any money by them) being federally funded given the current climate of that country’s human rights issues.

      1. Brian Zhang

        Chinese ultras revenue come from sponsorship and entry fees. Though they do need to work organizationally with the local government beyond simply applying for a special use permit. But that can be said for all mass participation events in China.

        Ultras here, like anywhere else, are small-scale events and do not have the institutional support, nor oversight, compared to a major marathon.

        1. Stefan

          Thanks for the info, Brian. It sounds a lot like how Ultras are funded here in the US.
          I’d be interested to know where Scott got his info that the Ultras in China are federally funded.

          1. Brian Zhang

            Hi Andrew,

            Thanks for the link. I agree with the main points in the article. SCMP in the last few years has done a very good job covering the ultra scene in greater China.

            My initial reply was short in the interest of brevity; so written without much nuance on a rather complicated subject.

            In delving deeper, apologies in advance if this seems long-winded.

            First, China is still an authoritarian state. So by definition, the government is actively involved in Chinese civil society. Even the smallest running events that require public registration need local government approval. Beyond that, how involved the government is (and in what capacity) varies quite a bit.

            I think it’s easier to think about this issue if we remove the limitation that government involvement equals only financial support. If we take sponsorship to mean any kind of broader material support, than absolutely a lot of ultras here are sponsored by the government. You will see local government officials giving speeches at the opening ceremony, an elementary school and all its facilities used as the staging area, etc. This happens more often in rural locations where the organizer will approach the local government for help. When you advertise a race as being co-organized by the government and an official gives a speech at the start, it’s seen as a stamp of approval and adds prestige (giving face).

            Most ultras here operate in this fashion: privately funded with local government support. They are concentrated in the peripheral mountainous areas around the three main population centers: Guangzhou/Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing. Certain ultras where the course is inside the city limits of a major city like Dalian 100 or Ultra Trail Shenzhen receive little attention from the local government. So in this sense, the further you are from the Eastern Seaboard the more support you will get from officials – for the most part.

            That is why in places like Western Sichuan, rural Yunnan, Gansu, Qinghai, Xinjiang where the population is sparse and GDP per capita is relatively low, the local government is keen on financially supporting trail races to attract tourism money and international exposure. They also tend to be races employing outside promotion companies that reach out to Western media like IRunFar, Jam Jam, Billy Yang, etc and/or partner with an international organization like UTMB, UTWT, Skyrunning, etc. So most Western audience exposure to the Chinese ultra scene will be through these events.

            These races though are really more the exception than the rule here. The irony is even though they may receive financial sponsorship from the government, their entry fee is sometimes considerably higher than comparable races geared for the local population. Add to that the remote location of the races; they are not sought after events here. And that is certainly reflected in the participation numbers and the average ITRA scores past the top 10 or so athletes.

            All that being said, the ultra/distance running scene here is developing rapidly. Some of the figures and trends mentioned in the SCMP article written in 2017 are not applicable anymore now. You have events like Columbia China Ultra 168 or Ultra Trail Ninghai where the combined entrants from the various distance groups are now in the thousands. There is increasing spillage from the insane marathon scene here into the ultra world. With this trend comes increasing attention from the government. For example, since last year, the Chinese Athletics Association (basically the Chinese USATF) has gotten more involved and beginning to regulate races. Not surprisingly, the biggest and most commercial organizers are the first ones to now partner with the CAA like The North Face series of races.

            This comes back full circle to what Scott above was possibly alluding to about races being “federally funded.” (China is not a federation of states) If he meant the financial involvement of the central government in ultras than no. If we broaden the meaning to say any material support by the central government than it’s a very qualified “currently no, but possibly in the (near) future.” It used to be government involvement was limited on a case-by-case basis by the interaction with the race organizer and the specific local government. That is starting to change.

            The sheer number of people here taking up road running is just astounding. Naturally, some will then transition to trail/ultra running. I suspect that will only bring added attention and regulation from the central, not just local, government. For example, aside from the CAA, you are starting to see more top ultra athletes that came out of the Soviet-style sports school system like Shen Jiasheng, Qi Min, Yao Miao, etc. These “first-generation” runners left the sports school system (to be charitable, because they were under-performing) and only afterwards found success in the ultra scene. The two worlds were not compatible.

            That is definitely starting to change. This summer I was at the start of a 21km trail race in a small rural Northern China town. In comes two busloads of student athletes from the local sports high school. They pretty much outnumbered all the regular entrants. During the race I chatted with some of the kids, and at the finish, one of the coaches/teacher. Ultras are certainly on their radar and they no longer see it as some weird fringe pursuit. Perhaps the national sports schools will one day be a feeder for top Chinese ultra athletes…

            It will be fascinating to see how the scene grows from here on out. The only certainty now is everything is very dynamic and developing fast. Greater government oversight and involvement? Probably. But that is par for the course with most things in China. Is that good? Bad? Rules of engagement for Western media and/or your average ultrarunner stateside? Interesting times.

            1. Andrew Chrysler

              Hi Brian,

              Thanks for the detailed and well thought out response. I appreciated reading it and for your nuanced way of explaining the levels of government involvement for various levels of events. I no longer live in China, but I remain interested in Chinese culture and events. I am happy that Chinese people are enjoying ultrarunning and I hope that it eventually leads to more pollution control and cleaner skies.

              While I lived there (just outside Chongqing), the daily air quality was typically worse than the very worst air quality days I ever experienced in the Salt Lake City (the area with perhaps the worst winter-time air pollution in the USA). Most locals and even many other westerners did not even think it was polluted at all! It often made me avoid running in what was otherwise a very beautiful area.

            2. Brian Zhang

              I can’t seem to directly reply to your post now. Anyway, hopefully Andrew you got to explore the surrounding area around Chongqing (and developed a palate for spice and peppercorn). Western Sichuan is one of my favorite places anywhere. Great culture, amazing raw natural scenery and really great peaks for climbing trips.

              People say the air pollution is at least getting better each year. I wonder though…. Nothing worse than slogging through a planned long run on the treadmill because the pm2.5 outside is through the roof. It’s amazing how low our standards can get once acclimated to daily life in China haha. I remember some great running trails and cool vibes in Utah when I lived in St. George. China will get there someday fingers crossed.

              Anyway hope you get to come back for a visit and maybe even do a race out here one day.

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