Well shoot, where to start? There was the Madeira Island Ultra-Trail in Portugal, Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji in Japan, and Penyagolosa Trails in Spain all on the list, and so it was a pretty bigtime weekend of racing.
Madeira Island Ultra-Trail – Madeira, Portugal
iRunFar earlier reported on the greater race dynamics. French runners dominated the podium in the event’s 14th year.
Five big climbs spiked on the 115-kilometer (72 miles) course to total 7,090 meters (23,260 feet) of elevation gain.
Manon Bohard (France) raced out way ahead and finished in 15:48, nearly an hour better than everyone else. Luzia Buehler (Switzerland) and Lucie Jamsin (France) were second and third in 16:40 and 16:47, respectively. For perspective, Courtney Dauwalter (USA) won last year’s race in 14:40.
Lambert Santelli (France) got to the front and won in 14:01. Benoît Girondel (France) followed second in 14:13, and Luís Fernandes (Spain) was third in 14:23. The top six men finished under 15 hours. As with the women’s race, the men also didn’t approach last year’s fast finishes when Jim Walmsley (USA) ran 12:58.
Audrey Virgilio (Switzerland) and Thibaut Garrivier (France) won the 85k (53 mile) island adventure in 11:31 and 8:59, respectively.
Penyagolosa Trails – Castellón, Spain
It was the event’s 24th year and 40 countries were represented on the start line in far eastern Spain. The 106k race gained 5,560 meters and the 60k went for 3,300 meters. That’s roughly 66 miles with 18,241 feet of gain and for the shorter race, 37 miles and 10,826 feet.
Both the women’s and men’s course records fell.
Mercedes Pila (Ecuador) went 13:12 for the women’s win. It was a new course record and it was her second win here, adding to victory in 2016. Camilla Spagnol (Italy) and Jocelyne Pauly (France) got on the podium with 13:49 and 13:56 finishes.
Ben Dhiman (USA), who is this guy? Dhiman vaulted onto the international radar last year with a third-place finish at Diagonale des Fous, and he took down a Hannes Namberger course record at Penyagolosa. Dhiman’s 10:35 finish was 14 minutes better than the old course best.
Noel Yannick (France) and Hirokazu Nishimura (Japan) were second and third in 10:54 and 11:37, respectively.
Gemma Arenas (Spain) has a long history with Penyagolosa. She’d earlier won the long race twice, and had other podium finishes, and a short course win, and she added a second gold on the shorter course. Her 6:20 was a new personal best for the course.
Behind the winner, Sara-Rebekka Faro Linde (Norway) and Kelly Wolf (USA) followed in 6:28 and 6:34.
José Ángel Fernández (Spain) enthusiastically leapt across the finish and then crouched to the ground with the finish tape across his neck. His 5:12 run was a new course record, breaking a benchmark that had stood since 2011. And Fernández needed almost every minute to win.
Mario Olmedo was only four minutes back in 5:16, and Ionel Cristian Manole made it an all-Spanish podium with 5:16 and 5:27 runs.
It was perhaps a rough start to the year for Namberger, the former long course record holder. He was just eighth in 5:38.
Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji – Fujisan Kodomo-no-Kuni, Japan
It’s been four long years since UTMF last happened. And a big field of 3,450 runners from 30 countries celebrated the race’s return. The bulk of that group — nearly 2,400 runners — started the 100-mile race and its challenging route with 6,452 meters (21,168 feet) of elevation gain.
Fu-Zhao Xiang (China), the race’s 2019 winner, championed the race again. She finished the challenging route in 24:14. Chen Rongrong (China) and Chihiro Osaka (Japan) were next in 25:28 and 26:37.
As for the men, barely two hours into the race Jia-Ju Zhao (China) led Yuya Kawasaki (Japan) by seven minutes, and the two held those same positions for the entire rest of the race. Even more, the gap only barely grew. At the finish Zhao was first in 19:35 and Kawasaki second in 19:54. Zhao won the Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB 100-mile race in Thailand each of the last two years too. Tomonori Onitsuka (Japan) was third in 20:59.
UTMF’s 68k (42 miles) raced on a course with 3,064 meters (10,052 feet) of elevation gain. Chihiro Aibara (Japan) won the women’s race in 8:46 and, finishing with arms wide open, Kento Tamura (Japan) led the men in 6:45.
Marathon des Sables – Morocco
The six-day 250k stage race began on Sunday, April 23. As of this article’s publishing on Monday, the second stage of the race’s 37th year is in progress, with the women’s and men’s leaders across the line.
Ragna Debats (The Netherlands, lives in Spain) led the women with a 3:26 opening stage win on Sunday. Maryline Nakache (France) and Aziza El Amrany (Morocco) were second and third in 3:36 and 3:53.
This trio finished in the same order on Monday’s Stage 2 as well, this time with Debats 17-plus minutes up on Nakache in second and El Amrany in third and just under 10 minutes back on second place. Debats won the race in 2019 and is setting herself up well for a repeat in 2023.
After two stages of racing, things are tight between three Moroccan men. First, there’s nine-time Marathon des Sables winner Rachid El Morabity (Morocco) who is seeking his 10th victory. There’s his younger brother Mohamed El Morabity (Morocco) who has a number of podium finishes at this race, though always behind his older brother. And then there is also Aziz Yachou (Morocco) who has previously finished on the race podium.
For Stage 1, older brother Rachid won with a one-minute margin, while younger brother Mohamed took second with Yachou finishing just a second behind Mohamed for third place. On Stage 2, young brother Mohamed came home with a 33-second victory, with older brother Rachid in second and Yachou just four seconds back from Rachid in third. Cumulatively, this means older brother Rachid leads his younger brother by 27 seconds, and Yachou is just 1:05 off the lead. Beyond that, it’s a far 27 minutes back to the next man in fourth, France’s Mathieu Blanchard.
Let’s see what the next three competitive stages of racing bring.
Additional Races and Runs
Promise Land 50k++ – Bedford, Virginia
Sawyer Magnet and Michael Owen took top spots in 4:58 and 4:55. Owen’s win was by a margin of six seconds, while Magnet was more than 40 minutes clear of her nearest rival. Her win marks a new course record, ahead of Sarah Biehl’s 2021 record of 5:02. Full results.
Nimble Bear 50k – Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Andrea Pask (Canada) and Michael Nangle (Canada) were race winners in 6:06 and 5:01. Full results.
Capitol Peak 50 Mile – Olympia, Washington
Hannah McLean and Ian Van Dusen led the field with 9:42 and 8:19 winning marks. Full results.
Hyner View Trail Challenge – Hyner, Pennsylvania
Full results have yet to appear online, but Michelle Kent and Ben Linne reportedly took top spots in the 50k, while Keri Venarchick and Ben Robinson won the 25k.
Orcas Island 50 Mile – Orcas Island, Washington
Both course records were threatened, but race winners Marisa Pasnick and Lon Freeman didn’t quite get there. They did win though with 10:16 and 8:44 finishes. Full results.
Leona Divide – Lake Hughes, California
Jian Springer and Clark Messman won the 100k in 12:28 and 9:40, and Brianna Pagan and Makai Clemons won the 50 miler in 9:34 and 7:09. Full results.
Weiser River Trail 50k – Boise, Idaho
Jenna Maffey and Ricky Roane won big in 4:09 and 3:39. Full results.
Zane Grey 100k – Payson, Arizona
Little known fact, Zane Grey was born in Zanesville, Ohio, as a descendant of its namesake pioneer Ebenezer Zane. And that’s where I’m from! Grey went onto become a celebrated Western novelist. And at his namesake race, Jessica Huppenthal and Jeffrey Arbeit won the 100k in 15:42 and 12:59. Full results.
Mad City 50k – Madison, Wisconsin
Autumn Ray took the women’s win in 3:23 and Tyler Jermann edged Adam Vadeboncoeur by 39 seconds for the men’s win. Jermann ran 2:51 to Vadeboncoeur’s 2:52. Full results.
Chippewa Trail Races – New Auburn, Wisconsin
Some 119 runners finished the 50k, none faster than Sarah Harrison and Scott Weispfennig in 5:24 and 4:17. Full results.
Earth Day 50k – Crystal Lake, Illinois
Brianna Bower and Reese Slobodianuk celebrated the holiday with 5:39 and 3:43 winning times. Slobodianuk went eight seconds better than a decade-old course record. Full results.
Forget the PR Mohican 50k – Loudonville, Ohio
Alescia Roberto and Jacob Kuntz raced through the woods in 5:35 and 4:14 for the wins. Full results.
Boston Marathon – Boston, Massachusetts
It’s been a week since the April 17 race, but there were a few trail runners and ultrarunners in the results to highlight.
- Nienke Brinkman (The Netherlands, lives in Switzerland) – 2:24
- Des Linden – 2:27
- Dani Moreno – 2:38
- CJ Albertson – 2:10
- Chad Hall – 2:14
- Zachary Ornelas – 2:20
- Calum Neff (Canada) – 2:22
- Fernando Cabada – 2:23
- John Kinsella (Ireland) – 2:27
Next Weekend – Canyons by UTMB – Auburn, California
The 100k and 100-mile courses have changed due to a high snow year as well as last fall’s Mosquito Fire, and the 100-mile race is increasingly competitive, but the 100k remains a Western States 100 Golden Ticket race with two automatic entries available.
- Alex Borsuk – 11th 2021 TDS
- Heather Brooks – 5th 2021 Hardrock 100
- Alexis Crellin – 9th 2022 Canyons by UTMB 100k
- Annie Hughes – 1st 2022 Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile
- Manu Vilaseca (Brazil) – 1st 2022 Bryce Canyon 100 Mile
Jazmine Lowther (Canada) is on the entrants list but has said on the socials she’s not planning to race.
- Mathieu Clément (France) – 9th 2021 UTMB
- Mark Hammond – 5th 2021 Rrun Rabbit Run 100 Mile
- Gabe Joyes – 3rd 2022 The Rut 50k
- David Laney – 7th 2023 Black Canyon 100k
- Can-Hua Luo (China) – 11th 2019 UTMB
- Mario Mendoza – 1st 2021 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile
- Peter Mortimer – 1st 2022 HURT 100 Mile
- Canyon Woodward – 3rd at 2023 Bandera 100k
Canyon at Canyons, can we all get behind that?
While Erik Sorenson remains on the entrants list, social media seems to point to him not planning to start due to injury.
- Amanda Basham – 4th 2023 Bandera 100k
- Mary Baughman – 3rd 2022 Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile
- Addie Bracy – 1st 2023 Behind the Rocks 50k
- Naomi Brand (South Africa) – 6th 2023 Tarawera by UTMB 100k
- Ida Nilsson (Sweden, lives in Norway) – 2nd 2022 Trail World Championships 80k
- Aroa Sio (Spain) – 8th 2022 UTMB
- Matt Daniels – 1st 2023 Gorge Waterfalls 50k
- Justin Grunewald – 1st 2022 Antelope Island 50k
- Eric Lipuma – 7th 2022 Trail World Championships 80k
- David Roche – 1st 2022 Blue Sky Trail Marathon
- Sébastien Spehler (France) – 2nd 2022 Trail des Templiers 80k
- Sean Van Horn – 4th 2021 JFK 50 Mile
- Cole Watson – 4th 2022 Black Canyon 100k
Call for Comments
That was a lot! What performances got you most excited this weekend?