This Week In Running: August 14, 2023

This Week in Running’s trail and ultra recap for August 14, 2023.

By on August 14, 2023 | Comments

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRBigfoot, Fat Dog, and Habanero are among the fun race names in this week’s rollout of results, but nothing compares to Sierre-Zinal.

Here’s what happened in all these events, and more.

Sierre-Zinal – Zinal, Switzerland

It was the 50th year for the super competitive race. The 31-kilometer chase was again part of both the World Mountain Running Association World Cup and the Golden Trail World Series.

The race climbs from the jump and then rockets downhill over the final third of the race through the Valais Alps. All total, the high country route collects 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) of elevation gain while running point to point between its two namesake villages. And there were huge crowds for much of the way.

Prize money, paid in Swiss Francs (CHF), stretched 10 deep and time bonuses paid out for finishes under 2:50 for the men and under 3:20 for the women. Each winner earned a first-place prize of 2,000 CHF, or about $2,300.


Kenyan runners took the first three finish positions, and Philemon Kiriago and Patrick Kipngeno dueled for the win.

At the Hôtel Weisshorn high point, uphill all-star Kipngeno was 49 seconds in front of Kiriago, but the lead had already started to evaporate. On a roughly 4k section between 16k and 20k, a stretch that was first flat before going up the final summit push, Kiriago turned in a split 16 seconds faster than Kipngeno. And then Kiriago was a whopping 99 seconds faster over the next 7k on a section that was at first flat before starting the ultimate descent.

Kiriago led to the finish in 2:27:27. He was fifth a year ago in 2:30:47. Uniquely and impressively, Kiriago was racing on his 21st birthday. Last weekend he won the Thyon-Dixence race in Switzerland and earlier this year he was seventh at the World Mountain Running Championships Uphill race and was second at the World Mountain Running Championships Up and Down race.

Philemon Kiriago - 2023 Sierre-Zinal men's winner

Philemon Kiriago, the 2023 Sierre-Zinal men’s winner. Photo: Marco Gulberti

Kipngeno, the two-time Uphill world champion, trailed in second at 2:28:50. He was second in 2022 too.

Kevin Kibet ensured the Kenyan podium sweep with a third-place 2:34:16.

Top American man Jeff Mogavero was 14th in 2:40:33.

Rémi Bonnet (Switzerland) stormed last year’s Golden Trail World Series and was counted on as among the race favorites, but he did not finish.

Kilian Jornets course record stands at 2:25:35 from 2019. Jornet did not race this year. The 2022 winner Andreu Blanes (Spain) also did not race this year.

The top-35 men all finished under 2:50, earning at least a little prize money.

And the TL:DR version, going 20 deep:

1 – Philemon Kiriago (Kenya) – 2:27:27
2 – Patrick Kipngeno (Kenya) – 2:28:50
3 – Kevin Kibet (Kenya) – 2:34:16
4 – Sylvain Cachard (France) – 2:34:22
5 – Roberto Delorenzi (Switzerland) – 2:35:17
6 – Robbie Simpson (U.K.) – 2:35:59
7 – Thibaut Baronian (France) – 2:36:24
8 – Xavier Chevrier (Italy) – 2:36:57
9 – Vitaliy Shafar (Ukraine) – 2:37:33
10 – Cesare Maestri (Italy) – 2:37:46
11 – Jose Gregorio (Mexico) – 2:37:59
12 – Matthias Kyburz (Switzerland) – 2:39:30
13 – Álex García (Spain) – 2:40:03
14 – Jeff Mogavero (U.S.) – 2:40:33
15 – Eli Hemming (U.S.) – 2:40:51
16 – Joey Hadorn (Switzerland) – 2:41:09
17 – Jonathan Castillo (Spain) – 2:41:27
18 – Anthony Felber (France) – 2:43:04
19 – Jia-Sheng Shen (China) – 2:43:11
20 – Daniel Pattis (Italy) – 2:43:39

Full results.


A year ago trail running newcomer Sophia Laukli (U.S.) shot up the Golden Trail World Series (GTWS) ranks. And this year she dominated the Marathon du Mont Blanc in May and then was second at the Dolomyths Run in July. Both were GTWS races. Now 23 years old, Laukli competed in the 2022 winter Olympics in Nordic skiing too.

Sophia Laukli - 2023 Sierre-Zinal women's winner

Sophia Laukli, the 2023 Sierre-Zinal women’s winner. Photo: Marco Gulberti

Laukli overtook then-leader Monica Florea (Romania) near the 16k mark and she was unchallenged the rest of the way. Laukli finished first in 2:53:17, and it wasn’t close. Her finish time is the third-fastest ever on the full course, trailing only Maude Mathys’s runs in 2019 and 2022. Mathys, who had won the last four years, did not race this year. Laukli is the third American woman to win the race. Megan Lizotte won in 2010 and Stevie Kremer won in 2014.

Kenyan runners Joyce Muthoni Njeru and Philaries Kisang were second and third in 2:57:19 and 3:01:06, respectively. Kisang was second a year ago.

Pre-race favorite Nienke Brinkman (The Netherlands, lives in Switzerland) was sixth in 3:05:48. This was to be Brinkman’s only trail race of the year. Last week she shared that she’ll race the Amsterdam Marathon in October 2023. Brinkman will target a sub-2:26:50 marathon time to gain qualification for the 2024 Olympic Marathon in Paris, France, as part of the Dutch national team. Brinkman has earlier twice run under that benchmark.

The American men placed no one inside the top 10, but two inside the top 20. For the women, it was two inside the top 10, but no one else inside the top 20. In addition to Laukli’s win for the U.S., Allie McLaughlin was eighth in 3:08:07.

And we can’t go more than two weeks without spotting prolific racer Marcela Vašínová (Czech Republic) in race results. She was 34th in 3:29:05.

The first 22 women all beat the sub-3:20 mark to earn a cash prize.

TL:DR? The top-20 women were:

1 – Sophia Laukli (U.S.) – 2:53:17
2 – Joyce Muthoni Njeru (Kenya) – 2:57:19
3 – Philaries Jeruto Kisang (Kenya) – 3:01:06
4 – Miao Yao (China) – 3:04:05
5 – Alice Gaggi (Italy) – 3:05:38
6 – Nienke Brinkman (The Netherlands, lives in Switzerland) – 3:05:48
7 – Monica Mădălina Florea (Romania) – 3:06:33
8 – Allie McLaughlin (U.S.) – 3:08:07
9 – Emma Pooley (U.K.) – 3:09:07
10 – Lucy Wambui Murigi (Kenya) – 3:09:10
11 – Camilla Magliano (Italy) – 3:11:55
12 – Phillipa Williams (U.K.) – 3:12:55
13 – Susanna Saapunki (Finland) – 3:13:38
14 – Liaci Oria (Switzerland) – 3:13:57
15 – Nuria Gil (Spain) – 3:14:07
16 – Theres Leboeuf (Germany) – 3:14:41
17 – Anna-Stiina Erkkila (Finland) – 3:14:55
18 – Mathilde Sagnes (France) – 3:15:15
19 – Amandine Ferrato (France) – 3:17:55
20 – Sabine Hauswirth (Switzerland) – 3:18:53

Full results.

The next Golden Trail World Series race is the September 16 Pikes Peak Ascent in Colorado, U.S., and the next World Mountain Running Association World Cup race is the September 2 Vertical Nasego climb in Italy.

Additional Races and Runs

Swiss Alps 100 – Fiesch, Switzerland

The 160-kilometer course (99 miles) gained 10,150 meters (33,300 feet) of elevation. The race uniquely went across three suspension bridges too. Yurick Aregger (Switzerland) finished in 24:29, over three hours before anyone else, and Wen-Fei Xie (China) won the women’s race in 29:17. Both were new course records. Full results.

Yurick Aregger - 2023 Swiss Alps 100 Mile men's winner

Yurick Aregger, the 2023 Swiss Alps 100 Mile men’s winner. Photo: Swiss Alps 100

Wenfei Xie - 2023 Swiss Alps 100 Mile female winner

Wen-Fei Xie, the 2023 Swiss Alps 100 Mile women’s winner. Photo: Swiss Alps 100

Stranda Fjord Trail Race – Stranda, Norway

Part of last year’s Golden Trail World Series, the race was only in the Golden Trail National Series this year for the Nordic region, perhaps because of a schedule conflict with Sierre-Zinal. Aasmund Stelen (Norway) and Vilde Moser (Norway) won the 48k in 5:53 and 8:35, and Anders Haga (Norway) and Marte Emilsen (Norway) won the 25k in 2:42 and 3:12. Full results.

Fat Dog 120 Mile – Manning Park, British Columbia, Canada

Social media points to Hannes Gehring as the winner in 29:59. The 2022 100k winner Andrea Tarras looks to have won this year’s 120-mile race. Leave a comment to share more info from the event, thank you!

Bigfoot 200 Mile – Mount St. Helens, Washington

The one-way, 210-mile run through the Cascade Range is still going on. Ryan Shephard and Mika Thewes were first to finish the adventure in 54:24:20 and 58:21:12. Thewes set a new course record. Tracking.

Haulin’ Aspen Trail Marathon – Bend, Oregon

Chris Denucci and Carmen Bango went 3:32 and 3:47 for the wins, on a course that winds through the Deschutes National Forest. Full results.

Rock N Brew 50k – Boise, Idaho

The first-year race finished at a brewery. Jose Cervantes and Caley Featherstone got there first in 4:47 and 5:17. Full results.

Wyoming Range 100 Mile – Hoback, Wyoming

“Tucked away in southwest Wyoming, below the Tetons and above the Wasatch, sits the Wyoming Range,” says the event of its location and course. The race gained 24,000 feet of elevation on a 102-mile, point-to-point route. Jared Campbell and Ginny Robbins won in 28:14 and 27:48, respectively. Robbins won last year too. Full results.

Habanero Hundred – Cat Spring, Texas

Russ Ford turned up the heat in 20:47 for first in the 100 miler, alongside women’s winner Kelly Swanson in 22:28. Zach Bitter and Vivian Camille Bobbitt won the 50k in 4:24 an 5:22, respectively. Full results.

Kesugi Ridge Traverse – Denali State Park, Alaska

Galen Johnston and Shauna Severson won the 30.5-mile Full Traverse in 5:02 and 6:04, respectively. The 15.5-mile Half Traverse was won by Michael Rabe in 2:20, and Yvonne Jeschke in 2:40. Full results.

Galen Johnston - 2023 Kesugi Ridge Traverse men's winner - full traverse

Galen Johnston, the 2023 Kesugi Ridge Full Traverse men’s winner. Photo: Matias Saari

Shauna Severson - 2023 Kesugi Ridge Traverse women's winner - full traverse

Shauna Severson, the 2023 Kesugi Ridge Full Traverse women’s winner. Photo: Matias Saari

Eastern States 100 Mile – Waterville, Pennsylvania

The race is run on a 103-mile single loop through north-central Pennsylvania. Reagan McCoy led four men under 24 hours with a 22:23 winning time. Only nine minutes separated women’s first and second places. Karen Dunn was first in 25:30, and Colleen Moffatt was second in 25:39. Full results.

Reagan McCoy - 2023 Eastern States 100 Mile men's winner

Reagan McCoy, the 2023 Eastern States 100 Mile men’s winner. Photo: Lisa DeNardo

Karen Dunn - 2023 Eastern States 100 female winner

Karen Dunn, the 2023 Eastern States 100 Mile women’s winner. Photo: Lisa DeNardo

Call for Comments

  • What looked like the most fun this weekend to you?
  • Were you onsite at any of these events? Leave a comment to share more info from them!
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.