For the first time since 2018, runners lined up for the 2022 IAU 100k World Championships. This year’s edition, hosted by the town of Bernau, Germany, just northeast of Berlin, saw athletes from 42 countries tackle the flat-and-fast course on the wide Wandlitzer Chaussee, a wind-protected path through the neighboring forests. All of the race festivities centered around the city’s Bernau Bauhaus monument, with runners coming back through the start and finish line a total of 14 times.
Runners started out with a quick 2.5-kilometer opening lap before embarking on 13 laps of a triple out-and-back, 7.5k course with two tight 180-degree hairpin turns and one more gradual turn through the start/finish area. The unique format of this race allowed competitors to see each other potentially up to three times per lap. With minimal elevation gain on the course, it was a perfect setup to see records being broken.
In the women’s field, the favorites included Camille Chaigneau and Floriane Hot, both of France. For the men, it seemed that the Japanese team would be dominant with previous 100-kilometer world record holder Nao Kazami among the field. It was just a matter of how many team members the Japanese contingent could place on the podium, and who would be the one to try to knock them off.
2022 IAU 100k World Championships Women’s Race
In the 100-strong women’s field, it was the French team to watch with the top duo of Camille Chaigneau and Floriane Hot. As the 2022 French 100-kilometer national champion, Hot had high ambitions for the race.
It was a fast start at the front of the field for Chaigneau, who quickly showed her intentions of taking control of the race. Just a little over halfway, at 55 kilometers, she led the field with a minute gap over Finland’s Satu Lipiäinen. Courtney Olsen of the USA, Caitriona Jennings of Ireland, and Floriane Hot of France all sat in the top five biding their time.
After 70 kilometers, the top five stayed nearly the same, with only Olsen slipping two positions down the leaderboard to fifth. The gaps remained small between the top five and the order unchanged for the next 10 kilometers before Hot surged to the lead at 80 kilometers, quickly putting a 36-second gap on teammate Chaigneau. A fading Chaigneau couldn’t hold on to the relentless pace over the closing kilometers, eventually losing nearly a minute and a half to Hot but retaining her second position. Jennings made a valiant attempt to catch Chaigneau, but was only able to get within 45 seconds, and Olsen and Lipiäinen raced hard to the end, finishing within eight seconds of each other for fourth and fifth.
Hot’s time of 7:04:03 bested her previous 100-kilometer personal record of 7:42 by a lot and was a European record for the distance. Jennings’s third-place finish was a world record in the women’s 40 to 49 age group.
In the women’s team race, Team USA took home gold, with France and Japan earning silver and bronze, respectively. The top-three individual finishers of each team scored for the team event. Team USA was led by Olsen’s fourth-place finish, Anna Kacius’s seventh place, and Nicole Monette’s 11th place.
2022 IAU 100k World Championships Women’s Results
- Floriane Hot (France) – 7:04:03
- Camille Chaigneau (France) — 7:06:32
- Caitriona Jennings (Ireland) — 7:07:16
- Courtney Olsen (USA) — 7:15:29
- Satu Lipiäinen (Finland) — 7:15:35
- Miho Nakata (Japan) — 7:19:12
- Anna Kacius (USA) — 7:24:41
- Silvia Luna (Italy) — 7:29:01
- Federica Moroni (Italy) — 7:31:45
- Mai Fujisawa (Japan) — 7:32:22
2022 IAU 100k World Championships Men’s Race
All eyes were on the Japanese team heading into the event. With a strong four-man roster that included Nao Kazami, the previous world-record holder for the 100-kilometer distance, there was talk of a Japanese podium sweep. But with 133 runners starting, there were sure to be plenty of others to challenge the team’s dominance.
But it was a young 24-year-old French runner, Guillaume Ruel, setting to pace straight out the gap, and he maintained the lead until about 75 kilometers into the race. At that point, Japan’s Haruki Okayama moved into pole position, being tailed closely by Ruel. Jumpei Yamaguchi kept the gap close in third while Kazami in fourth started to fade back. The two leaders would continue to run within a few minutes of each other through 85 kilometers with Yamaguchi sitting in third and Piet Wiersma from The Netherlands working his way into fourth.
As the kilometers wound down, Yamaguchi made a strong surge into second place, passing a fading Ruel in the final minutes. By the end, Wieisma and Norway’s Sebastian Conrad Håkansson would also pass Ruel to place third and fourth with Ruel holding onto fifth.
Okayama’s winning time of 6:12:10 was over four minutes faster than his previous best of 6:16:44, and good enough to crown him the 2022 IAU 100k world champion.
In the men’s team race, Team Japan took home gold, with France and South Africa respectively earning silver and bronze. Team Japan was led by first-place Okayama, second-place Yamaguchi, and sixth-place Kazami.
2022 IAU 100k World Championships Men’s Results
- Haruki Okayama (Japan) — 6:12:10
- Jumpei Yamaguchi (Japan) — 6:17:20
- Piet Wiersma (The Netherlands) — 6:18:47
- Sebastian Conrad Håkansson (Norway) — 6:19:021
- Guillaume Ruel (France) — 6:19:51
- Nao Kazami (Japan) — 6:21:43
- Elov Olsson (Sweden) — 6:30:14
- Manel Deli (Spain) — 6:30:24
- Gareth King (U.K.) — 6:32:05
- Alexander Bock (Germany) — 6:34:40