A lot happened this week! We’ve got highlights from the Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent in Colorado, Skyrunning’s Matterhorn Ultraks race in Switzerland, and more, as well as quick previews of UTMB and its sister races –TDS, CCC, and OCC.
Pikes Peak Ascent – Manitou Springs, Colorado
Saturday’s Pikes Peak Ascent ran 13.3 miles and 7,800 feet up the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak. Heavy fog and cold temperatures greeted the first finishers up top.
Allie McLaughlin and Ashley Brasovan raced to one of the closest Ascent finishes ever. The pair finished in 2:49:40 and 2:49:42, respectively, with McLaughlin in front, though Brasovan made up 80 seconds in the final mile. McLaughlin also won the race in 2014, then with a 2:33 finish. Third-place Sarah Guhl also closed well for a 2:51 finish.
National-class road runner Lindsey Scherf and past collegiate standout Collier Lawrence ran 2:55 and 3:03 for fourth and fifth place.
A spectator’s friendly jeer at the start line fueled Joseph Gray and he raced up in 2:12. It was a completely dominant 14-minute win. It was Gray’s fourth win here, adding to titles in 2016, 2017, and 2019.
Chad Hall, the younger brother of famed marathoner Ryan Hall, was second in 2:26 while coming from sea-level San Diego, California, and Galen Burrell, the marathon winner way back in 2004, was third in 2:29. With just three men under 2:30, it was a slower year for the men’s race.
Fourth- and fifth-place Daniel Kraft and Patrick Parsel finished in 2:31 and 2:32.
Pikes Peak Marathon – Manitou Springs, Colorado
On Sunday, the day after the Ascent, the Pikes Peak Marathon went up the same trail and turned around for 12.9 miles back down for a true marathon distance with 7,800 feet of elevation gain and loss. The weather up top was reportedly better than during the Ascent.
Seven years after her previous Marathon win, Stevie Kremer did it again. She finished this year’s round trip in 4:34. Allie McLaughlin, the Ascent winner a day earlier, ceded nine minutes to Kremer at the top before racing down faster for a second-place 4:38 finish. Wary of falling, McLaughlin wore kneepads. Kremer and McLaughlin gapped the rest of the field.
New U.S. Mountain Running Team member Bailey Kowalczyk was third in 4:56. Fourth-place Lauren Puretz had the second-fastest descent and finished in 4:59. Only McLaughlin ran down faster. Lindsay McDonald was fifth in 5:12.
Seth Demoor has been training on Colorado’s 14ers all summer and that high-altitude work paid off. Demoor summited in 2:06, the fastest time up in either the Ascent or the Marathon since Gray’s 2:05 Ascent in 2016. Demoor’s 2:06 was the eighth-fastest time up in the race’s history. That big lead at halfway was more than enough for Demoor to cruise down without competition and he won in 3:36. He won last year’s race in 3:36 too, that year running a 2:09 summit.
New Speedgoat 50k course record holder Adam Peterman was second in 3:45, summiting in 2:21, and national-class ski mountaineer Cam Smith was third in 3:48, also summiting in 2:21.
Fourth and fifth place finishers David Sinclair and Darren Thomas also got under the 4-hour mark at 3:52 and 3:54. There were more (six) sub-2:30 summits in the Marathon than in the Ascent.
Matterhorn Ultraks – Zermatt, Switzerland
The 25k Matterhorn Ultraks race is classified as extreme. It’s next-level technical with roped climbs and descents, 2,876 meters (9,435 feet) of elevation gain, and it was part of the Skyrunner World Series.
Racing in just her second Skyrunning race ever, Stephanie Kröll (Austria) won her second Skyrunning race. She’s two for two with a 4:05 finish this time. Hillary Gerardi (USA, living in France) overcame an ankle injury for second in 4:10, and Iris Pessey (France) was third in 4:27.
Laurence Yerly (Switzerland) won the separate 49k race in 6:23.
Just over a minute separated the first two men with William Boffelli (Italy) winning in 3:14. Martin Anthamatten (Switzerland) closed hard for second in 3:16, and Christian Mathys (Switzerland) was third in 3:27. For the Americans, Cody Lind was 16th in 4:12.
Andy Symonds (U.K.) won the 49k race in 5:20.
The next Skyrunner World Series race is the September 4 Hochkönig Skyrace in Austria.
Ultravasan 90k – Sälen, Sweden
Each of the top-three women finished with a large gap between places. Alexandra Morozova (Russia) won in 6:48, Dominika Stelmach (Poland) was second in 7:01, and Malin Barrulf (Sweden) was third in 7:32.
Sébastien Spehler (France) broke free for a clear 6:09 win. Viktor Stenqvist (Sweden) edged David Laney (USA) for second, 6:22 to 6:23.
Leadville Trail 100 Mile – Leadville, Colorado
iRunFar reported on the Leadville Trail 100 Mile earlier and deeper, and it was a pretty compelling race.
Annie Hughes is just 23 years old, but raced 100 miles for the second time this summer and her third time ever. She led most of the race and won in 21:06. Almost exactly an hour later to the second, Genevieve Hughes finished in 22:06, and Blake Wageman was third in 22:25.
Little-known Adrian Macdonald went 16:18 for the win in his 100-mile debut. Matt Flaherty came to Colorado from Indiana for some altitude training this summer and closed well for 16:59 and runner-up honors, and Anton Krupicka’s return to Leadville and ultrarunning was a stellar third-place 17:07.
Kodiak 100 Mile – Big Bear Lake, California
Jian Springer and Tony Torres won the Kodiak 100 in 25:31 and 19:47. Full results.
Waldo 100k – Oakridge, Oregon
Megan Myers and Matt Palilla won the Waldo 100k in 11:48 and 9:32. Full results.
Next Week – TDS – Courmayeur, Italy
Things are happening all week at UTMB. The more competitive races get started on Tuesday, August 24 when TDS runs 145k (90 miles) from Courmayeur, Italy to Chamonix, France. The aggressive track gains 9,100 meters (29,855 feet). We’ll expect an 18-hour finish for the top men and 21 hours for the lead women.
All of these races are world class, and we simply can’t go that deep on all of them, but will call out some potential favorites.
The first four men from the 2019 race are all in other events. 2019 tenth-placer Tofol Castaner (Spain) will return though and other familiar names like Cristofer Clemente (Spain) and Daniel Jung (Italy) will challenge too. This might be a great chance for an American win though. Tyler Green was second at the Western States 100 earlier this summer. He’ll look to repeat that magic here and be joined by Seth Swanson on the start line too.
It’s been a few years since we’ve written about Mira Rai (Nepal), and travel might keep her from getting there, but she’s on the start list and that’s exciting. Ekaterina Mityaeva (Russia) and veteran runner Ildiko Wermescher (Hungary) are always competitive, and finished fourth and ninth at UTMB in 2019. U.S. runners Camelia Mayfield and Meredith Edwards should be near the front too. Mayfield was eighth at this year’s Western States run and Edwards was second at TDS in 2016.
Next Weekend – OCC – Orsières, Switzerland
The 55k OCC race runs from Orsières, Switzerland to Chamonix, France on Thursday, August 26. Its 3,500 meters (11,480 feet) of elevation gain is really robust too given the short distance. In 2019 the men took 5:19 for this run and the women’s race was won in 5:50.
Any of Jonathan Albon (U.K.), Rémi Bonnet (Switzerland), Nicolas Martin (France), Robbie Simpson (UK), and Ruy Ueda (Japan) could win, and so too could U.S. runners Cody Lind and Hayden Hawks.
The women’s race is especially deep too with the likes of Rachel Drake (USA), Blandine L’Hirondel (France), Jasmin Nunige (Switzerland), and Mathilde Sagnes (France). Drake was sixth at the Golden Trail World Series (GTWS) Olla de Núria race in June.
Next Week – CCC – Courmayeur, Italy
CCC starts on Friday, August 27 and runs for 100k and with 6,100 meters (20,000 feet) of elevation gain on a route from Courmayeur, Italy to Chamonix, France. It’s just like TDS, but going an opposite direction for a shorter distance and less elevation.
Golden Trail World Series leader Stian Angermund (Norway) is at the top of the list here, though 100k is longer than his most successful races. He won the first three GTWS races this year, but all at much shorter distances. Similarly, he won the 2019 OCC race too.
2019 winner Luis Alberto Hernando (Spain) and 2019 runner-up Thibaut Garrivier (France) are back on the start list, and then there’s a bunch of potential challengers like Pere Aurell (Spain), Marco De Gasperi (Italy), Matt Daniels (USA), Jared Hazen (USA), and Stephen Kersh (USA) that could be there at the finish too.
Top women’s runners include Amanda Basham (USA), Cat Bradley (USA), recent Western States runner-up Ruth Croft (New Zealand), and Marcela Vasinova (Czech Republic). Basham second here in 2019, and Croft won OCC in 2019.
Next Week – UTMB – Chamonix, France
Separate men’s and women’s previews are up for UTMB, and iRunFar will be there with live coverage. The race starts on Friday, August 27. Three-time winners François D’haene (France) and Xavier Thevenard (France) headline the field, and three-time Western States winner Jim Walmsley will again look to solve the American UTMB challenge. UTMB winner in 2019, Courtney Dauwalter and 2021 Western States winner Beth Pascall (U.K.) are my picks to lead a deep women’s field.
Call for Comments
It’s going to be a good week! Are you looking forward to it too?