This Week In Running: April 26, 2021

This Week In Running’s trail and ultra recap for April 26, 2021.

By on April 26, 2021 | Comments

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRWow, what a weekend! That was so fun to have big-time racing to follow again. There was lots of it, but three highlights rank at the top of the list. Aleksandr Sorokin set 100-mile and 12-hour world records, Zach Bitter and Stefanie Flippin won the USATF 100-Mile Road National Championships, and the year’s final Western States 100 entries were awarded at California’s The Canyons 100k.

[Editor’s Note: As you return to racing, we hope you’ll research and follow regulations and recommendations in your running-related travel. Here’s our science-based article on how to lower COVID-19 risks as you travel and race.]

Centurion Running Track 100 Mile — Ashford, United Kingdom

It was the good kind of breaking-news alert on Saturday. Lithuania’s Aleksandr Sorokin set a new 100-mile (160.934 kilometers) world record in 11:14 and kept going for a new 12-hour world record too with 105.825 miles (170.309k) over the fixed time. Both eclipsed earlier Zach Bitter records. Sorokin is also the reigning 24-hour world champion.

iRunFar covered the performance in greater detail, and Sorokin also set a new 150k world record in 10:27:48 and a new 50-mile Lithuanian record in 5:32:01. You can find out even more in our exclusive interview with Aleksandr Sorokin about his 100-mile and 12-hour world record setting performances.

The small field celebrated a number of age-group records, and Samantha Amend also broke the 100-mile British record in 14:34.

Full results and a write-up from the Centurion Running race organization.

Aleksandr Sorokin - 100 mile world record - Centurion Running Track 100 Mile

Aleksandr Sorokin on his way to setting 100-mile and 12-hour world records at the 2021 Centurion Running Track 100 Mile. Photo: Steve Ashworth Media

Samantha Amend - 100 Mile British National Record - 2021 Centurion Running Track 100 Mile

Samantha Amend en route to a 100-mile British record at the 2021 Centurion Running Track 100 Mile. Photo: Steve Ashworth Media

Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival — Las Vegas, Nevada

“Bet Big, Run Long,” the Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival says. The ninth annual race was again the USATF 100-Mile Road National Championships, and the elite race, separate from the regular 100-mile event, happened on Friday on a 1.17-mile loop course. Temperatures swelled to the upper 80s Fahrenheit, and that meant problems for a lot of runners. There was a $10,000 prize purse with $2,500 to the winners.


Over 100 miles, Zach Bitter is as close to a sure bet as there is in Las Vegas. His up-and-down weekend included that loss of his 100-mile world record, but a runaway win here in 12:52. Bitter was some 80 minutes ahead of his closest challenger, and 12 minutes up on Mark Hammond‘s course record from 2020.

Twenty-four-hour race standout Jacob Jackson was second in 14:12, and Patrick Reagan was third man in 14:51. Reagan had a bit of a back-from-the-dead race. His laps 38, 39, and 40 were clocked at 22:45, 30:13, and 34:20, before he pulled them back down to 10-minutes-and-better per-lap pace.

Zach Bitter - 2021 Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival

Zach Bitter, 2021 Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival champion. Photo: Beyond Limits Running


Stefanie Flippin, hello and welcome to iRunFar. She lives in the next town over from me in Colorado, but I was unaware of this rock star. Flippin won the 100-mile contest in 14:35. That’s 8:45 per mile, and way up on the former 15:15 course best. Previously, the 31-year-old medical doctor won the 2020 Tunnel Hill 100 Mile in 15:55.

Camille Herron was a late entrant, and made a late charge in the race. Herron had her in-race beer, but like Patrick Reagan, also had a few down laps. Her 1.17-mile lap speed ranged from a best of 8:28 on lap 14 to a 21:04 on lap 49. Herron rallied though and finished as second woman in 14:42. She’ll be at the Western States 100 in nine weeks.

Third-place Micah Morgan finished in 14:44. It was an extremely close race, as less than 10 minutes separated the top-three women.

Defending champion and former course-record holder Marisa Lizak was fourth female in 15:21.

Full results.

Stefanie Flippin - 2021 Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival

Stefanie Flippin, 2021 Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival champion. Photo: Beyond Limits Running

The Canyons 100k — Foresthill, California

It went to an alternate, point-to-point course that passed Foresthill near halfway, but The Canyons 100k was again a Western States Golden Ticket race, and the last one before the big June event.


Anthony Costales and Max King went one-two, both earning and accepting their Golden Tickets. Costales finished in 9:11 and King in 9:23. King only gained the runner-up position on the race’s final climb after overcoming a wrong turn. It’s believed that Western would be Costales’s first attempt at the distance, and King last ran at Western in 2014 when he finished fourth. Here’s our interview with Costales after his win.

Third-place Noah Brautigam came through in 9:25.

Jeffrey Stern led the 25k race in 1:58.

Anthony Costales and Max King - 2021 Canyons 100k v2

Anthony Costales (right) and Max King (left) after they finished first and second at the 2021 Canyons 100k. Photo: Scott Rokis


Beth Pascall (U.K.) dominated the women’s run, winning in 10:01, and Abby Hall was second in a breakthrough run at 10:34.

Pascall was already in for Western States, having finished fourth in 2019, the last time the race was held. Her Golden Ticket fell to third, but third-place Audrey Tanguy (France) is already in too. That Golden Ticket then fell to fourth-place Emily Hawgood (Zimbabwe, lives in the U.S.). Tanguy finished the race in 10:35—barely a minute after second-place Hall, and Hawgood was close thereafter.

Dani Moreno topped the accompanying 25k in 2:10.

Full results.

Beth Pascall - 2021 Canyons 100k v2

Beth Pascall, 2021 Canyons 100k champion. Photo: Scott Rokis

Ultra-Trail Drakensberg — Himeville, South Africa

The weekend-long Ultra-Trail Drakensberg festival happened in the southern part of the Maloti Drakensberg World Heritage Site. The area is said to be remote, unbelievably scenic, and have some of the country’s best trails.


Ryan Sandes won the 100-mile race in 22:30, finishing over an hour better than second place and over four hours better than the previous course best. Sandes was, at least at times, led by a horse and rider on the backcountry trails.

Over 100k, Rory Scheffer ran 11:25 to edge Christiaan Greyling by 10 minutes. The lead men traded the front position several times, and Scheffer overcame a calf problem that led to a long walk break near halfway.


Amri Williamson topped the women’s 100-mile race in 28:50. In the 100k race, 2018 Comrades Marathon winner Ann Ashworth crossed over to trail ultrarunning. She won the women’s race in 12:59. Ashworth ran the race with her husband David.

Full results.

Spanish Mountain Running Championships — Liencres, Spain

The World Mountain Running Championships aren’t until November in Thailand, but the Spanish team started to fall into place over two days this weekend in northernmost Spain at the Spanish Mountain Running Championships.

Jan Margarit set a quick early pace and held the lead throughout on the 16k course. He finished in 1:02, a 39-second cushion over Alejandro García. Third-place Antonio Martinez was only another 10 seconds back in 1:03 and less than two minutes separated the front five runners.

A day before the men, Nuria Gil pressed on the uphill section and gained the women’s crown in 1:12. Yolanda Martín and Oihana Kortazar were second and third, both in 1:13, and only 62 seconds separated the top three.

Full results.

Promise Land 50k — Lynchburg, Virginia

2019 race winner Michael Owen again finished atop the Promise Land 50k field. Owen’s 4:42 on the youth camp land course bettered his 2019 time by four minutes. Owen was just named first-ever cross-country coach of a new program at Ohio’s Hocking College. 

Jordan Chang was second in 4:46, and Travis Zipfel ran 4:48 for third.

Olympic Trials marathoner-turned-ultrarunner Sarah Biehl led the women’s group in 5:03. She shattered the course-record books, 20 minutes better than history. Anne Riddle Lundblad‘s 5:23 former best had stood since 2003.

Rachel Spaulding was second in 5:24, almost getting the former course best too, and Sawyer Magnett finished third in 5:33.

Full results.

Additional Races and Runs

Zane Grey 100k 50 Mile

Out in Arizona and after a year’s hiatus like most races, the Zane Grey 100k 50 Mile hosted Charlie Ware and Jade Belzberg as champions. They finished the rugged, rocky, and relentless graduate-level course in 7:47 and 8:55, respectively. Full results.

Run Larapinta Stage Race

I just learned about the Larapinta Trail by listening to Lucy Bartholomew talk about it on the Pyllars podcast, and a stage race just happened on the best parts of the 223k (139 miles) Australian desert track. The four-day, four-stage Run Larapinta Stage Race had a long-course option totaling 124k (77 miles), or a short-course beat with 79.5k (50 miles). Australian runners John Robinson and Erika Lori won the long course in 15:10 and 14:55, and Hansie Muller and Georgina Beech won the short course in 9:29 and 10:40. Full results.

U.S. 1-mile Road Championship and Drake Relays

The U.S. 1-mile Road Championship happened on Wednesday, at the front of the Drake Relays track meet in Iowa. In something of an oxymoron, the road championship race finished with the final 600 meters on the track. Grayson Murphy, the 2019 World Mountain Running Champion, finished sixth in 4:35. Murphy came back on Friday and ran the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing third in 9:37. Three years after her last steeple, that’s a nine-second personal best and well inside of the Olympic Trials qualifying time. Full results.

Glass City Half Marathon

Seth DeMoor’s road season continued at Toledo, Ohio’s Glass City Half Marathon. Demoor was third in 1:07:25. He’s a popular YouTuber sharing the good and the bad with feel-good genuineness, and he’s likely to be left seeking something more after this result. Full results.

Czech and Slovak 10,000-Meter National Championship

Mirroring DeMoor’s race timing, Ondrej Fejfar (Czech Republic) was back at it two weeks after his last go too. He raced 10,000 meters on the track in 31:51. The race was the Czech and Slovak national championship, and Fejfar finished as the eighth Czech. Full results (when available).

Weiser River Trail 50k

A 3:03 solo 50k is pretty quick, and that’s what Daniel Button did at Idaho’s Weiser River Trail 50k. Button set a new course record and so did women’s winner Danielle Marquette. She ran 3:49, which was good for a massive nine minutes better than the previous course best. Full results.

Hyner Trail Challenge 50k

Reagan McCoy led three men under five hours at Pennsylvania’s Hyner Trail Challenge 50k. McCoy won in 4:36, the race’s third-best time ever. Women’s winner Nicole Yokum finished in 5:16, also the race’s third-best time ever. Full results.

C&O Canal 100 Mile

Maryland’s C&O Canal 100 Mile went out quick with the top-four men all going under 16 hours. Brian Zickefoose hit the tape first in 14:46, and women’s best Cortney Boyce finished in 20:48. Full results.

Next Weekend

Strolling Jim 40 Mile

Andy Jones‘s 3:59 course record has stood since 1991. Zack Beavin won in 2019 in 4:07, and more recently he ran 5:03 at the November 2020 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile. Beavin’s back on the Strolling Jim 40 Mile start list for next weekend and another crack at that record. Sarah Woerner tops the women’s entrants. Full entrant list.

Alexander County 24-Hour

Nick CourySho Gray, and Bob Hearn are among the top entrants at next weekend’s Alexander County 24-Hour race in North Carolina. It will be the last chance to qualify for the U.S. team to compete at the 24-Hour World Championships later this year. Full entrant list.

Ultra Race of Champions

The 100k Ultra Race of Champions in Virginia should see Mark Hammond and Stefano Ruzza charging in the men’s race, while Aliza Lapierre and Alissa St. Laurent (Canada) are sure to be at the front of its women’s race. Full entrant list.

Call for Comments

There’s a few things we couldn’t chase down. Were you at California’s Born to Run Ultramarathons or any other weekend races?

Justin Mock

Justin Mock is the This Week In Running columnist for iRunFar. He’s been writing about running for 10 years. Based in Europe, Justin has run as fast as 2:29 for a road marathon and finished as high as fourth in the Pikes Peak Marathon.