As we also wrote in our women’s preview, it’s quite a time to follow American trail ultrarunning.
The year-plus-long COVID-19-induced racing lapse allowed a lot of runners to significantly improve outside of racing, such that these folks are competing at a much higher level now than before. Their performances might seem a surprise, but that’s only because a lack of races prevented us from easily tracking their improvement.
Also, competitive American trail ultrarunning is presently dissecting itself, as fast runners disseminate among a lot of different races rather than concentrating on a few events each year. What’s been absent from our scene for a couple of years are the stacked fields we saw annually for almost a decade at places like the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile and The North Face 50 Mile Championships.
The 2022 Canyons by UTMB 100k tosses that latter storyline off the trail, though, and offers the deepest national-level trail ultrarunning event we’ve seen in over two years. It’s exciting!
The Canyons 100k course is also exciting — think turning around the largely downhill Western States 100 and heading uphill instead and you’ve basically got this event. The race follows close to and at times on the Western States Trail, beginning in Auburn, California, and climbing 14,900 feet over 59.3 miles into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
The 100k race is part of the UTMB World Series, and it takes place on Saturday, April 23, 2022, starting at 5 a.m. U.S. Pacific Daylight Time. This is also the final race in the Western States 100 Golden Ticket Races series, which means three men will earn entry to the event.
In this preview, we detail the men’s competition. Here’s the full entrants’ list, too. Things always change at the last minute, so we’ll keep this preview up to date until the race starts.
You’ll want to check out our women’s preview, too!
iRunFar is covering the race, which means we’ll be sharing pre-race interviews with top entrants, live race-day coverage, and in-depth post-race coverage. Follow along!
I’ve said it before in race previews, but in this day and age of excess online noise, it’s hard not to be a fan of Jared Hazen and anyone who quietly does the work and lets their results speak for themselves. Jared does run a little hot and cold, often either nailing a performance or not making it to the finish line. He’s quite familiar with this region, having finished the Western States 100 three times, most recently second in 2019, where he earned the accolade of the fastest a person’s run the course without winning the race. With a DNF at the 2022 Black Canyon 100k two months ago, the most recent Western States 100 Golden Ticket Races event, we can’t help but think Jared’ll race smart and in Golden Ticket position.
He’s already on a winning streak, and it seems Adam Peterman (pre-race interview) has the legs to win the Canyons 100k. In the last nine months, Adam has won the 2021 Speedgoat 50k, took second at the 2021 Pikes Peak Marathon, won the 2021 JFK 50 Mile, and won the 2022 Chuckanut 50k. The only caveat here is that it looks like this will be Adam’s longest race in both distance and time. We can’t wait to watch!
It looks like Ryan Miller (pre-race interview) really wants to run a strong Western States 100. Ryan brought his 1:03 half marathon and a 2:14 marathon PR legs to trails in 2021, winning the 2021 Bandera 100k to earn a Golden Ticket, but then DNFing the 2021 Western States 100. Earlier this year, he also DNFed the 2022 Bandera 100k, but looked real sharp a few weeks ago in winning the 2022 Gorge Waterfalls 50k.
Tim Freriks (pre-race interview) is racing the Canyons 100k! It was six years ago this month that Tim blazed onto the trail-ultra scene with a second-place at the 2016 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. Since then, he’s had some incredible results, including wins at the stacked 2017 The North Face 50 Mile Championships and 2017 Transvulcania Ultramarathon 73k, all while balancing jobs in the healthcare field — and we all know how challenging that must be; thank you, pandemic. Last year, Tim’s top result was third place at the Speedgoat 50k.
When I think of David Sinclair, I think of mountain running. His results ring true to that sentiment. He took second and won the 2021 and 2018 Speedgoat 50k, respectively. He’s had at least three top-five finishes at the Pikes Peak Marathon, including last year. Last year, he also won the more runnable Silver State 50 Mile. Mountain running prowess and 50-mile runnable ultra success is a recipe that we should expect to mix well at the Canyons 100k.
If you’re ever looking for a safe bet for a strong performance in trail ultrarunning, put your money on Mark Hammond. Like a bunch of guys in this race, Mark is no stranger to the Canyons 100k terrain, having three top-five Western States 100 finishes, including most recently fifth in 2019. In the last year, his top runs have been fifth at the 2021 Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile and a win at the 2021 Brazos Bend 100 Mile.
Following a career in road running that led him to be a two-time Olympic marathoner with a 2:
0910 marathon PR, Reid Coolsaet of Canada is digging into trail ultrarunning. Last year he won the Quebec Mega Trail 110k but DNFed the 2022 Black Canyon 100k this year. He already has an entry into the Western States 100 courtesy of a race sponsor, so it looks like he’s looking to gain experience in longer ultras and among ultra competition. Experience is the only reason a guy like him wouldn’t run away with a race like this.
After all he’s been through both with his health and in his personal life in the last year, it makes me so happy to see Sage Canaday’s name on this entrants’ list. A little less than a year ago, Sage was in the hospital being treated for a pulmonary embolism, and has slowly been working his way back to health and fitness. If we go back to before that serious medical illness, his top recent results are second place at the 2019 Pikes Peak Marathon and fifth place at the 2020 Tarawera Ultramarathons 102k.
Zach Miller is out of Canyons this year. [Updated: April 21]
Zach Miller. Need we say more than to mention the name of the guy who popularized front running in the modern era of trail ultrarunning? In his almost decade of trail ultrarunning, Zach’s had some incredible runs, though injury, surgery, and recovery have limited his running and racing over the last few years. His top performance in his comeback from injury has been a 12th-place at the 2021 U.S. Mountain Running Championships.
Canada’s Dave Stevens has all the talent needed to run near the front of this race. Last year, he won both the Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile and the Sinister 7 50 Mile. He also has two top-10 runs at Chuckanut to his name, including a 10th at the 2022 event last month.
Yeah, These Are Fast Men
Jason Schlarb is not racing as he continues to recover from injury. [Updated: April 19]
Do we know if Jason Schlarb is racing? He was a DNS at the Gorge Waterfalls 50k a few weekends ago, due to recovering from a fall in training — we hope he’s feeling strong soon if not! If he is, of course, he’ll be in the middle of things. Over his 12-ish years as an ultrarunner, he’s had some world-class performances, including co-winning the Hardrock 100 in 2016 and taking fourth at UTMB in 2014. Of late, Jason’s top finish was a win of the 2020 IMTUF 100 Mile.
Thanks so much to the couple of you who’ve written us from Australasia to keep an eye out for New Zealand’s Daniel Jones! Daniel is a four-time Kepler Challenge 60k champion, including this year. He looks to have run at least 1:07 for the half marathon in 2018 and 2:16 for the marathon in 2019. His international results show he’ll have no problem with the distance of the Canyons 100k. In 2019, he took second at the Chishui River 155k road race in China, running 11:08 for the 96-ish-mile distance.
Kris Brown should excel on a course like the Canyons 100k. He’s got legs that can run, but he’s also shown his strength in more rowdy mountain races. Cases in point, he’s gone 13th and 10th at the 2019 and 2018 Western States 100 respectively and he was also 13th at last year’s CCC.
David Kilgore should have a solid race. In the last year, he’s taken ninth at the 2021 Leadville 100 Mile and third at the 2022 Black Canyon 60k.
There’s a good chance Tyler Cox will make some noise at this race, which will follow up on lots of strong performances mostly in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. His top runs over his couple of years racing trails are second at the 2021 Tiger Claw 25 Mile and eighth at the 2019 Chuckanut 50k.
Reed Breuer adds depth to the men’s field, bringing with him a win at the 2021 Rio del Lago 100 Mile as well as two top-two runs at the American River 50 Mile, including a win last year.
Anthony Fagundes has two six-hour 50-mile finishes in the last six months, where he ran to seventh place at the 2021 JFK 50 Mile and a win at the 2022 Avalon 50 Mile. Some other top results of the last couple of years are a pair of third places at the 2020 Moab Red Hot 33k and 2020 Way Too Cool 50k.
Earlier this year, Rod Farvard took fourth at the Bandera 100k, missing a Golden Ticket by two places. Last year, he DNFed the Western States 100. Something tells me Rod’s another guy who wants another shot at that race. Last fall, Rod won the 2021 Quad Dipsea.
According to UltraSignup, Ryan Ghelfi became an ultrarunner a decade ago this year, and his strong running spans that decade, including top-10 finishes at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, The North Face 50 Mile Championships, and more. He’s also run this race twice, including finishing second in 2017. More recently, Ryan won the 2019 Scout Mountain 100 Mile.
Bryan Kerl’s long been a standout runner in my personal neck of the woods, the Colorado high country and the Utah desert. For example, he won the 2021 Behind the Rocks 50k and the 2020 Bryce Canyon 50 Mile. Last year, he was seventh at the Canyons 100k, so we should expect him to do at least that this year.
Ruairi Moynihan and his leg speed — he has 1:07 half marathon and 2:22 marathon PRs — should help to make a race of things. His recent top performances are seventh at the 2021 Caumsett 50k and 11th at the 2021 JFK 50 Mile.
Jim Rebenack is another runner who quietly goes about ripping up the trails, and he’s been doing so for some 15 years. His top results over the years have been a second- and first-place at the 2019 and 2017 Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile, respectively. Earlier this year, he tuned up for 2022 with a second-place at the Moab Red Hot 55k.
Watch for These Men, Too
- Grant Barnette — 3rd 2021 Never Summer 100k
- Andrew Catanese — 2nd 2020 Mountain Mist 50k
- Garrett Corcoran — Appears to be at least a 2:28 marathoner
- Alex Gold — 1st 2021 Mohican 50 Mile
- Jacob Grant — 2nd 2021 Squaw Peak 50 Mile
- Jacob Huston — 13th 2021 Canyons 100k
- Anthony Lee — 1st 2021 Ouray 100 Mile
- Louis-Vincent Lemelin (Canada) — 3rd 2021 Quebec Mega Trail 110k
- Greg Miller — 2nd 3 times at the Rio del Lago 100 Mile, including last year
Florian Neuschwander (Germany) — Ran 2:54 for 50k in 2019[Updated: April 19]
- Caleb Olson — 6th 2021 Speedgoat 50k
- Luis Resendiz — 3rd 2021 Brazos Bend 100 Mile
- Forrest Ward — 2nd 2021 Javelina Jundred 100k
Call for Comments
- Who are your favorites to finish at the front of this huge herd of fast men?
- Who else should everyone be watching out for? Help us and everyone else out by sharing their details in the comments!
- Do you think there will be any surprises?