It was a big weekend of racing with a high level of competition across a diverse set of terrain, distances, and race locations. The IAU 24-Hour World Championships, the U.S. Road 100k National Championships, and, of course, the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile all boasted impressive results. Highlights from these events and others are included below.
24-Hour World Championships – Torino, Italy
For the third consecutive championship (2015, 2013, 2012), the U.S. women earned team gold, and Florida’s Katalin Nagy won the women’s world championship.
On a 1.25-mile loop, Nagy totaled 244.495 kilometers, or 151.92 miles. She just missed Sabrina Little’s 244.669k (152.03 miles) American record, set at the 2013 championships. (The event was not contested in 2014.) Nagy, who holds the American 200k record at 20:01, had previously run 151.44 miles at the 2014 Desert Solstice Invitational.
In Italy, she was closely pursued by second-place Traci Falbo. Falbo, the indoor 48-hour world record holder and also a member of the 2013 team, completed 148.97 miles (239.740k).
Maggie Guterl was fourth with 146.53 miles (235.811k) to ensure the team win. It was a four-mile improvement on her qualifying mark from the 2014 NJ Trail Series One Day event. With Guterl advancing through the field late in the race, the women’s team outdistanced runner-up Sweden by some 35 kilometers.
Also competing for the U.S., Alyson Venti ran 102.93 miles (165.650k), Connie Gardner 90.67 miles (145.916k), and Sky Canaves 61.92 miles (99.650k).
The U.S. men’s team was led by New Jersey’s Rich Riopel, finishing eighth with 159.53 miles (256.743k). Riopel shattered his previous best of 146.97 miles from the 2014 Desert Solstice event.
Ohio’s Harvey Lewis was immediately behind with 158.74 miles (255.470k). Greg Armstrong was the third scoring member of the team, finishing 41st with 141.82 miles (228.239k). Incredibly, Armstrong competed while wearing sandals.
The U.S. men’s team was fourth, missing a bronze medal by less than five kilometers. The United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany all finished ahead. Germany’s Florian Reus was the overall winner with 163.98 miles (263.899k).
Other U.S. team members included John Cash with 135.67 miles (218.350k), Olivier Leblond with 129.97 miles (209.174k), and Isaiah Janzen with 89.84 miles (144.577k).
Mad City 100k – Madison, Wisconsin
The race, held on a 10 x 10k course, again served as the USATF 100k National Championship, and each of the men’s and women’s winners earned a spot on the U.S. team that will compete at the IAU 100k World Championships in the Netherlands in September.
Camille Herron, a prolific marathoner from Oklahoma, championed the women’s class in 7:26:24, or 7:11 per mile. Her finish improved on Devon Yanko’s 2011 course record by 20 minutes.
New to ultras, this was just Herron’s third attempt at a distance greater than the marathon. She finished the 2013 Two Oceans Marathon tenth and dropped from the 2014 Comrades Marathon at 83k after running as high as third late into the race. Despite her ultra inexperience, she did run six marathons in 2014, and win four with a year’s best of 2:42. She also won the Montgomery Marathon in 2:47 and the Knoxville Marathon in 2:50, both in March 2015.
Wisconsin ladies Jessica LeMere and Wendy Miller ran 10:51:26 and 10:52:17 for second and third in the thin USATF rankings.
By virtue of their top-10 finishes at the 2014 world-championship race, Meghan Arbogast and Pam Smith both have already secured places on the U.S. 100k national team.
Minnesota’s Mike Bialick had a breakthrough at the front of the men’s race. Second at last year’s Door County Fall 50 Mile in 5:45 and sixth at the 2013 JFK 50 Mile, Bialick rolled to his first national championship in 7:02:17. Virginia’s Daniel Yi and Colorado’s G. Anthony Kunkel ran 7:15:12 and 7:24:33 for second and third. Nick Accardo, a member of last year’s U.S. 100k team, finished fourth in 7:56.
Top-10 finishers at last year’s world championships, Max King, Zach Bitter, and Zach Miller all also hold provisional spots on this year’s national team.
Geoffrey Burns, a former University of Michigan runner, crushed the accompanying 50k in 3:00:57, nearly an hour ahead of second and two minutes better than Zach Bitter’s 2012 course record. Mary Flaws was the first female in 4:20.
Buffalo Stampede – Australia
Part of the Australia and New Zealand SkyRunning series, both the long-course 75k and marathon-distance 42k attracted strong international fields to the rugged country between Melbourne and Sydney.
In the marathon-distance race, Stevie Kremer fought off a strong challenge from Australia’s Hanny Alston. Kremer finished in 4:26 to Alston’s 4:31. Nepal’s rising star, Mira Rai, was third in 4:52. All three finished well clear of Anna Frost’s former 5:01 course record.
Australia’s Blake Hose scored an upset win in the men’s marathon, running a course-record time of 3:59. Dave Byrne and France’s Michel Lanne were second and third in 4:20 and 4:22, respectively.
The U.K.’s Tom Owens ruled the hot out-and-back 75k with an 8:17 winning time. Andrew Tuckey improved on last year’s third-place finish by 21 minutes and was second in 8:28, and Marty Lukes earned the final podium position in third at 8:53.
South Africa’s Landie Greyling cut over an hour from the previous women’s course best and scored victory in 9:40. Beth Cardelli, of Australia, dipped under the 10-hour mark with a second-place 9:59, and Julie Quinn was immediately behind in 10:05.
Bull Run Run 50 Mile – Clifton, Virginia
James Blandford was 14 minutes off his second-place time from last year, but was unmatched at the front of this year’s battle. His 6:55 was the day’s lone sub-7 finish. Sean Andrish and Matt Bugin ran 7:06 and 7:10 for second and third, respectively.
The women’s race went to Ashley Lister in 7:56. She kept Megan McGrath in second, for the second-straight year. McGrath ran 8:12. Defending champion Kathleen Cusick kicked to third in 8:28, a mere four seconds ahead of Sarah Colwell.
Zion 100 Mile – Virgin, Utah
Adam Zastrow, third at the Bryce 100 Mile back in 2013, returned for the Grand Circle Trail Series premier race. He won the Zion 100 Mile, over Chris Calzetta and Brian Rusiecki, in 17:29. Calzetta finished in 18:01 and Rusiecki in 18:06.
In the women’s race, three of the top-four finishers were incredibly over age 50. Roxanne Woodhouse finished first in 21:01, and was trailed by Suzanna Bon and Melanie Boultbee in 21:50 and 22:08.
Jeff Ball and Becky Kirschenmann won the accompanying 100k 11:10 and 11:28, respectively.
Lake Sonoma 50 Mile – Healdsburg, California
Score another one for coach Jason Koop and Mill Valley, California. Alex Varner notched another title for both in winning the men’s race with a new course-record time.
Still less than two years into his ultra career, Varner has emerged as one of the country’s best. His 6:09 mark was a 15-minute improvement on his fourth-place finish from 2014, and took two minutes off Zach Miller’s short-lived course record.
In his 50-mile debut, 2:14 marathoner Ryan Bak was second in 6:23, and Jared Hazen, just 19 years old, was third in 6:31. Hazen earned a prized ticket to the Western States 100, where he was 14th a year ago.
Recent ski mountaineering did little to dull Stephanie Howe’s running fitness. She dominated the women’s race with a nearly 14-minute win and new course record in 7:08. Cassie Scallon continued her return from injury with a second-place 7:22. The time was a massive improvement on her 2013 winning time, and then-course record, of 7:47. Third-place and 19-year-old Ashley Erba ran 7:36 and declined her Western States entry, allowing it to fall to Kerrie Wlad. Wlad, primarily a triathlete, was fourth in 7:56.
iRunFar was on hand to cover the race live and recapped the day’s events in greater detail separately.
Marathon des Sables – Morocco
All week long iRunFar recapped the race’s five days of competitive running, and each day Morocco’s Rachid El Morabity and Sweden’s Elisabet Barnes finished on top. The pair completed the 155-mile stage race in 20:21 and 26:42, respectively. It was Morabity’s third win, adding to titles earned in 2013 and 2011, and came with just a 13-minute gap on second-place Abdelkader El Mouaziz, also of Morocco.
Dave Mackey was the first American finisher in 12th, some 3 hours 49 minutes back of the race winner.
The 93k day four long stage proved pivotal in the women’s race. Meghan Hicks, top American women’s performer, ran well on that day to advance up the rankings and eventually finish fifth. That long stage, though, wrecked the race for podium contenders Lauren Klein and Liza Howard. The two ultimately finished 10th and 14th.
Other Trail and Ultra Races
Galen Burrell took Michigan’s Kal-Haven Trail Run 50k in 3:29, a new course best. Nicole Clement was the women’s winner in 4:24. Full results.
In Ohio, at the Forget the PR Mohican 50k, Chad Trumbo and Lee Conner fought to 4:19 and 5:26 winning times. Full results.
Maria Dalzot won Washington’s Orcas Island Marathon in 4:16.
Preliminary results placed Michael Borst and Rebecca George atop Minnesota’s Zumbro 100 Mile. The two finished in 18:04 and 24:53, respectively.
Next Weekend – Leona Divide 50 Mile – Lake Hughes, California
The race won’t be as competitive as it was back in 2012 and 2013, but the scenic course–46 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail–remains, and that’s enough to bring Gina Lucrezi to the starting line. Third at the Black Canyon 100k in February, she is using the race as a primer for June’s Western States 100.
“I hope to run strong and place well, but my real focus is to dial in nutrition and just ‘work’ my legs after some solid weeks of training in the mountains,” Lucrezi said. “The beta is all in favor of solid Western States training. It is hot, and includes legit vertical grinds as well as fast downhills. It’s also at a good time and I can recover and then go tackle some serious training weeks before the final (WS100) taper.”
Lucrezi is likely to be joined at the front of the women’s field by Kelsie Clausen.
In the men’s race, Jorge Pacheco will attempt to unseat defending champion Jay Bonthius.