This Week In Running: 2009 100 Milers Recap

Last week, TWIR focused on 100 milers future. Today, we’ll focus on 100 milers past – specifically, all of the […]

By on December 22, 2009 | 29 comments

Last week, TWIR focused on 100 milers future. Today, we’ll focus on 100 milers past – specifically, all of the North American 100 milers of 2009. Given that it’s the final TWIR of the year (for real this time), Tony and Bryon have teamed up to co-host this edition of This Week in Running. Together, they’ll share some tidbits about this year’s races, provide a list of all the 100 mile winners, and let you pick the best 100 mile performances of the year!

Update: Women‘s and men‘s poll results have been added to this post!

100 Mile Tidbits
In 2009, there were no fewer than 56 100 milers scheduled to be run in North America. Three of those races, Angeles Crest (fire), Swan Crest (unstated reasons), and Syllamo (storm damage), were canceled prior to the race’s start. Racers got to start the Chimera 100 before it was called off due to severe storms. Two other 100s, Rio Del Lago and Mother Road, simply took a hiatus for a year. One race, the fat ass Delaware 100, had no women’s finishers.

It should come as little surprise that Karl Meltzer was the winningest 100 mile racer on the year with five victories at the distance. His wins at Massanutten, Bighorn, Hardrock, Grindstone, and Pinhoti show he’s at his best in the mountains. Geoff Roes, who beat Meltzer while shattering the Wasatch 100, also won HURT and The Bear to give him three wins on the season. Two other runners, Dave James and Jenny Chow, also logged three 100 mile wins apiece. Chow took home the top trophy at Kettle Moraine, Mohican Trail and Oil Creek, while James bested the field at Umstead, Javelina, and Ancient Oaks. The only others to win multiple 100 milers in 2009 were Ashley Nordell (Bighorn and Grand Teton) and Jeff Browning (Iroquois Trails and Ozark Trails).

The fastest trail 100 milers on the year were Jill Perry’s blazing 16:02 at Umstead and Dave James’s ludicrously fast 14:20 at the Javelina Jundred. While not in a 100 mile event, Dave James ran a 2009 world’s best (as far as we can tell) and 3rd all-time road-certified North American time with his 13:06:52 at the NorthCoast 24 hour in Cleveland.

Table of 2009 100 Mile Winners

100 Mile Performances of the Year
We thought it would be fun to invite all of you to vote for the top male and female 100 milers of the year. Feel free to leave a comment letting us know what you think were the top 100 mile performances of the year and why.

In additional, we ask that you to nominate the top 100 mile debut performance of 2009. Please leave a comment with your nominees for best 100 mile debut.

On to the nominees for best 100 mile performance of the year.


  • Diana Finkel (Hardrock – 27:18) – Another year and another Hardrock course record for Diana Finkel. Oh, except this year Diana ran nearly four hours faster than she did to set the opposite direction course record in 2008!
  • Krissy Moehl (Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc – 24:56) – Sure it wasn’t in North America, but we make the rules! Not only did Krissy best Lizzy Hawker by over an hour, she also set the course record at this 103-mile circumnavigation of the Mont Blanc massif.
  • Betsy Nye (Wasatch – 23:15) – Betsy had long shot for sub-24 at Wasatch, but her best time going into the 2009 race was 25:36. Excellent prep, good weather, competition from Mandy Hosford, and a perfectly run race yielded a time of 23:15 – a record on the current course.
  • Anita Ortiz (Western States – 18:24) – Anita Ortiz won this year’s Western States 100 by more than an hour. That’s quite a feat when you consider that it was the deepest women’s field of any North American 100 in 2009. Oh, and it was her 100 mile debut!
  • Jill Perry (Umstead – 16:02) – It would be a mistake to leave out the fastest trail 100 mile time wouldn’t it? We think so. As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as an easy 100.


  • Dave James (Javelina – 14:20) – Dave’s run at Javelina was 45 minutes faster than the next fastest North American 100 mile time… his 15:05 at Umstead. For the fastest 2009 time for a guy not named Dave James, we need to go to Zack Gingerich’s 15:17 at Kettle Moraine.
  • Kilian Jornet (Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc – 21:33) – A non-North American race by a non-North American runner? You betcha! Kilian won UTMB by more than an hour and was only 36 minutes off the UTMB course record he set in 2008.
  • Hal Koerner (Western States – 16:24) – Some days it’s not about course records. In late June under a blazing sun, Hal beat out one of best men’s 100 mile fields in recent history. Sometimes a win is a win.
  • Karl Meltzer (Hardrock – 24:38) – Meltzer may not have the fastest time ever at Hardrock, but he smoked the counter-clockwise course record by an hour and a half in 2009.
  • Geoff Roes (Wasatch – 18:30) – Everyone knew that Goeff Roes was fast going into Wasatch, but we think he shocked everyone… himself included, with his course record smashing 18:30. That’s 65 minutes faster than Kyle Skaggs’s two year old course record.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.