This Week In Running: August 26, 2019

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRThe Golden Trail Series and its international star power hit Colorado’s Pikes Peak Marathon. The Skyrunner World Series put on their most extreme race yet, Switzerland’s Matterhorn Ultraks. And under a dome in Wisconsin, Zach Bitter broke the 100-mile and 12-hour world records. Time’s up, weekend, it’s Monday.

Pikes Peak Marathon – Manitou Springs, Colorado

Sunday’s Pikes Peak Marathon ran the full 26.2-mile marathon distance, for the 64th year, and with 7,770 feet of elevation gain to the top of the 14,115-foot mountain. And then they turned around and ran back downhill for a round trip. This year’s race was part of the Golden Trail Series. iRunFar was there and covered the greater results in separate detail.


Lynn Bjorklund ran 4:15:18 in 1981, and that stood as the race’s best until Megan Kimmel ran 14 seconds better in 2018. Kimmel’s record lasted just one year, and fell by a huge chunk of time.

Move over, other runners and record books, Maude Mathys (Switzerland) is on fire right now. She broke a 2008 Sierre-Zinal record two weeks ago, and then ran 4:02 here at Pikes, thanks to a 2:29 ascent. That time is a new course best by some 12-plus minutes.

The race is typically won and lost on the climb given its time relative to the overall finish, and Mathys’s time up was the race’s second-best ever. Only Kim Dobson has run faster up Pikes Peak, and her 2:24 record from 2012 was run during the uphill-only Pikes Peak Ascent. Mathys is certainly the best in the world right now at mountain races around the marathon distance.

(In 2015, Mathys received a warning without suspension from the Disciplinary Chamber for Doping Cases of Swiss Olympic for two positive tests for clomifene [previously clomiphene] after it was determined that she was mistakenly taking the drug without first obtaining a World Anti-Doping Agency Therapeutic Use Exemption. Mathys’s Quartz Program profile shows regular health monitoring and a July 2019 anti-doping control. Quartz Program info.)

No one came close to Mathys, but Yngvild Kaspersen (Norway) was second to the top, in 2:54, and actually ran almost a minute better than Mathys downhill, toward a distant second-place 4:27. Meg Mackenzie (South Africa) was third in 4:32.

Maude Mathys, 2019 Pikes Peak Marathon champion. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks


Matt Carpenter won again. Well, it’s somewhat true, though Carpenter of course did not race. This was to be a race of generation-best Kilian Jornet (Spain) against Carpenter’s longstanding course record, and that record survived without serious threat. Jornet finished in 3:27, off of a 2:09 ascent. Carpenter’s 1993 finish was 3:16, off a 2:01 ascent. Still, Jornet’s finish is the fastest since Ricardo Mejia (Mexico) ran 3:21 in 1995. Jornet’s climb up was just 13 seconds back of the day prior’s Pikes Peak Ascent winning time, and his downhill was three minutes better than the second-best downhiller on this day.

Jornet was way out in front then, but behind him, Sage Canaday is turning his year around. After a few disappointing races, Canaday had his second-straight strong performance. Canaday, the 2014 Pikes Peak Ascent winner, finished in 3:39 for runner-up honors, and Marc Lauenstein (Switzerland), the 2014 Pikes Peak Marathon winner, was third in 3:40.

Full results.

The next Golden Trail Series race is the September 21 Ring of Steall Skyrace in the U.K.

Kilian Jornet, 2019 Pikes Peak Marathon champion. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Pikes Peak Ascent – Manitou Springs, Colorado

Saturday’s Pikes Peak Ascent was a bit of an undercard to the Sunday marathon, but the 13.3-mile run to the top of the mountain still turned in the weekend’s fastest summit.


Kim Dobson won the women’s race for the seventh time, finishing in 2:41. As noted above, Dobson’s course record 2:24 was run in 2012.

Ashley Brasovan won the Barr Trail Mountain Race on these same trails earlier this year and she was a relatively close second in 2:45. Mathilde Sagnes was third in 3:00.

Kim Dobson, 2019 Pikes Peak Ascent champion. Photo: Pikes Peak Ascent


Like women’s winner Dobson, Joe Gray won again too–for the third time, but also didn’t reach his best on this course. Gray’s 2:08 was three minutes off what he ran here in 2016.

Also like the women’s race, the second-place runner was close, and the third-place runner wasn’t. Seth Demoor finished in 2:12 for runner-up honors, and 2004 Pikes Peak Marathon winner Galen Burrell was third in 2:25.

Only the top-five runners finished under 2:30.

Full results.

Joe Gray, 2019 Pikes Peak Ascent champion. Photo: Pikes Peak Ascent

Matterhorn Ultraks Extreme – Zermatt, Switzerland

Matterhorn Ultraks itself is not a new event, but the Matterhorn Ultraks Extreme course used for the Skyrunner World Series was. Runners and series organizers called the extreme course the most challenging of the 16-race tour. The 25k race gained a ridiculous 2,876 meters (9,400 feet) of elevation gain.


Johanna Åström, 2019 Matterhorn Ultraks Extreme champion. Photo: Skyrunner World Series

Johanna Åström (Sweden), one of the year’s breakout skyrunners, followed a recent win at the Tromsø Skyrace with another victory. Åström finished in 4:12. Second-place Hillary Gerardi (USA) who ran in second for most of the race and led briefly before the final descent, chased home in 4:14. The rest of the group was well off the lead pace of these front two.

Denisa Dragomir (Romania), Elisa Desco (Italy), and Marianne Fatton (Switzerland) finished in 4:27, 4:32, and 4:33.

From 2010 to 2012, Desco served a two-year ban from the IAAF after she tested positive for EPO at the 2009 World Mountain Running Championships.

Sheila Avilés (Spain) continues to lead the series.


Skyrunning newcomer Daniel Antonioli (Italy) was victorious in 3:30, and second-place Christian Mathys (Switzerland) followed just 20 seconds later. You may remember Mathys as the men’s third-place finisher at the Trail World Championships earlier this year. The men’s race was tightly bunched, and Zaid Ait Malek (Spain) was third in 3:31, Ultraks course designer Martin Anthamatten (Switzerland) was fourth in 3:32, and Alexis Sévennec (France) was fifth, also in 3:32.

Oriol Cardona (Spain) continues to lead the men’s series.

Full results.

The next Skyrunner World Series race is the September 15 Zacup Skyrace 27k in Italy.

Daniel Antonioli, 2019 Matterhorn Ultraks Extreme champion. Photo: Skyrunner World Series

Six Days in the Dome – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

On Saturday at the Six Days in the Dome event in Wisconsin, Zach Bitter ran 100 miles in an incredible 11:19 and change. It was a new to-be-ratified world record, breaking Russian Oleg Kharitonov‘s 11:28 run from 2002. Bitter’s time measures to 6:47 per mile pace, and he did it with a negative split. Bitter covered the first 50 miles in 5:40 and the second in 5:38. After hitting 100 miles, Bitter kept going to total 104.88 miles (168.7928 kilometers) to break his own 12-hour world record too, which he’d set in 2013 at the Desert Solstice Track Invitational at 101.7 miles.

Olivier Leblond looks to have won the 48-hour race, but stopped at 39 hours and short of his own American 48-hour record. Leblond totaled 228.70 miles.

The event continues through next Saturday, August 31st.

Full results.

Other Races and Runs

Cirque Series

The Cirque Series of short-course mountain races had its fifth, of six, 2019 races. This time it was at Sun Valley, Idaho on a 9.6-mile loop course with 3,420 feet of vertical gain. Grayson Murphy, a recent University of Utah grad with a sub-16 5,000-meter best, ran 1:26 to beat Morgan Arritola by almost two minutes. Arritola had won two earlier Cirque Series races in Utah. Joseph Demoor, the younger brother of Seth Demoor who is mentioned earlier in this article, won the men’s race in 1:19. Full results.

Divide 100k

Abby Levene and John Knotts won the first-ever Divide 100k above Georgetown, Colorado. The two ran 14:55 and 12:59 on a route that tops out above 13,000 feet. Full results.

Cascade Crest 100 Mile

Yitka Winn led the top-five women under 24 hours at Washington’s Cascade Crest 100 Mile. Winn finished in 21:16, and Tara Fraga and Kim Magnus (Canada) were second and third in 21:41 and 22:43. Men’s winner Tyler Green came through in 18:04, and Cory Logsdon and Nate Jaqua finished second and third in 18:44 and 18:58. Full results.

Next Weekend – UTMB – Chamonix, France

iRunFar is jumping on a jet plane to cover next weekend’s UTMB 105-mile race. The women’s and men’s fields have been separately previewed in incredible depth.

How healthy is Courtney Dauwalter (USA) after dropping at June’s Western States 100 with injury? That’s the biggest question for the women’s field. Dauwalter will start the race for sure, and 2018 UTMB winner Francesca Canepa (Italy), Uxue Fraile (Spain), and Miao Yao (China) will be among the big group of challengers.

2018 first- and second-place finishers Xavier Thévenard (France) and Robert Hajnal (Romania) lead the men’s field, but Tim Tollefson (USA) always does well here, and Pau Capell (Spain) has had a great year across a number of Ultra-Trail World Tour races.

Next Weekend – CCC – Courmayeur, Italy

UTMB is hardly the only race around Mont Blanc next weekend. All of the CCCTDS, and OCC races will be competitive. The race’s each call out a list of favorites, and while we simply can’t exhaustively preview all of them, we’ll highlight some of the top names on each of those charts.

At CCC, runners will race 101k and with 6,100 meters (20,000 feet) of elevation gain from Courmayeur, Italy to Chamonix, France.


  • Gemma Arenas (Spain) – 7th 2019 Trail World Championships
  • Lucy Bartholomew (Australia) – 3rd 2018 Western States 100
  • Amanda Basham (USA) – 4th 2018 Western States 100
  • Emelie Forsberg (Sweden) – 2nd 2018 Ultra Skymarathon Madeira
  • Keely Henninger (USA) – 1st 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile
  • Ailsa Macdonald (Canada) – 1st 2018 Black Canyon 100k
  • Jasmin Nunige (Switzerland) – 6th 2019 Vibram Hong Kong 100k
  • Holly Page (U.K.) – 1st 2018 Yading Skyrun
  • Brittany Peterson (USA) – 2nd 2019 Western States 100
  • Mira Rai (Nepal) – 14 2018 Ultra Skymarathon Madeira
  • Stephanie Violett (USA) – 6th 2018 Western States 100
  • Kelly Wolf (USA) – 1st 2019 Kendall Mountain Run


  • Cristofer Clemente (Spain) – 2nd 2018 Trail World Championships
  • Marco De Gasperi (Italy) – 18th 2019 Trail World Championships
  • Benoit Girondel (France) – 1st 2017 Diagonale Des Fous
  • Luis Alberto Hernando (Spain) – 11th 2019 Trail World Championships
  • Michel Lanne (France) – 1st 2017 TDS
  • Sam McCutcheon (New Zealand) – 3rd 2018 Tarawera Ultramarathon
  • Mario Mendoza (USA) – 1st 2019 White River 50 Mile
  • Cody Reed (USA) – 2nd 2018 Tarawera Ultramarathons 100k
  • Jiasheng Shen (China) – 1st 2019 Vibram Hong Kong 100k


Next Weekend – TDS – Courmayeur, Italy

Just like CCC, TDS also runs from Courmayeur, Italy to Chamonix, France, but going the opposite direction. TDS has increased in length for 2019. This year’s course is 145k (90 miles) long with 9,100 meters (29,850 feet) of elevation gain.


  • Hillary Allen (USA) – 1st 2019 Cortina Trail 50k
  • Kathrin Götz (Switzerland) – 1st 2019 Lavaredo Ultra Trail
  • Audrey Tanguy (France) – 2nd 2019 Lavaredo Ultra Trail


  • Pere Aurell (Spain) – 1st 2018 Transvulcania
  • Tofol Castaner (Spain) – 2nd 2019 Zugspitz Ultratrail
  • Jimmy Elam (USA) – 1st 2019 Canyons 100k
  • Jordi Gamito (Spain) – 3rd 2018 UTMB
  • Dmitry Mityaev (Russia) – 3rd 2018 Ultra Skymarathon Madeira
  • Ludovic Pommeret (France) – 7th 2019 Trail World Championships
  • Ryan Sandes (South Africa) – 11th 2019 Western States 100


Next Weekend – OCC – Orsières, Switzerland

The shortest of the competitive UTMB races, OCC runs 55k and point to point from Orsières, Switzerland to Chamonix, France.


  • Sheila Avilés (Spain) – 3rd 2019 Trail World Championships
  • Ruth Croft (New Zealand) – 2nd 2019 Trail World Championships
  • Azara Garcia (Spain) – 4th 2019 Trail World Championships
  • Anna Mae Flynn (USA) – 1st 2019 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile


  • Stian Angermund-Vik (Norway) – 6th 2019 Dolomyths Run Skyrace
  • Thibaut Baronian (France) – 6th 2019 Marathon du Mont Blanc
  • Nicolas Martin (France) – 5th 2019 Trail World Championships
  • Chris Mocko (USA) – 1st 2019 Squamish 50 Mile
  • Ruy Ueda (Japan) – 3rd 2019 Royal Ultra Skymarathon Gran Paradiso


Call for Comments

Oh wow, two big weekends in a row! Tell us where you were this weekend and what racing you saw too.

Justin Mock

is a family man, finance man, and former competitive runner. He gave his 20s to running, and ran as fast as 2:29 for the marathon and finished as high as fourth at the Pikes Peak Marathon. His running is now most happy with his two dogs on the trails and peaks near his home west of Denver.

There are 31 comments

  1. Will

    “Sub 3:16 in the Pikes course is like Kipchoge saying he’s going for a 1:58 marathon. Its that ridiculous IMHO.”
    –Sage Canaday (from the comments section of AJW’s column on August 23rd)

    1. SageCanaday

      If you want context on my quote (re: Kipchoge and road running). It was a comparison that a HALF MARATHON world record would be set EN ROUTE to a FULL MARATHON World record. The Ascent record of 2:01 is the most ridiculous record honestly (and the fact that Matt followed it with a 1:15 downhill in the SAME RACE). This is because nobody (not even Matt himself) or Joe Gray on a really good day have even run under 2:04-2:05 in just the ASCENT Race alone. If Matt could split 2:01 as a halfway split during the marathon I’ve always wondered why nobody could (or has in the entire history of the races) run a 1:59-1:58 for just the Ascent race alone?

    1. Steve

      With apologies to the website for cross-posting but seeing as it has been raised here:

      ‘In 2015, Mathys received a warning without suspension from the Disciplinary Chamber for Doping Cases of Swiss Olympic for two positive tests for clomifene [previously clomiphene] after it was determined that she was mistakenly taking the drug without first obtaining a World Anti-Doping Agency Therapeutic Use Exemption’

      I think this has been rolled out a few times now as way of excusing the behaviour and some people might be nervous about challenging it as it was supposedly taken in order to support attempts to become pregnant. If Mathys is a professional athlete (full-time or part-time) then obtaining a TUE is part of her job. If she isn’t doing part of her job properly in a way that compromises her or other athletes then she risks and/or deserves to have that job taken away from her. If you were a health professional and broke a code of conduct/practice this is what would happen.

      Too many people are making excuses for Mathys (including high profile commentators like Ian Corless) by repeatedly trotting this comment out. Another example that springs to mind is cyclist Lizzie Deignan (nee Armistead) who fell foul of the three missed tests rule, then had it reneged after rolling out a sob story about why one test was unfair. Again, sorry Lizzie, but this is your job. If you are a professional athlete this is part of what you have to do. Professional athletes are clearly abusing the TUE system and people like Mathys have been adding to this problem.

      I recognise there is a differences between men and women and I have picked out two examples of female athletes. To guard against accusations of sexism, I can’t understand why coaches, athletic federations and medical professionals are not engaged in almost constant conversation with female athletes to avoid these types of issues related to female-specific health. I honestly think this shows that the system itself may be sexist and imbalanced, but that doesn’t mean that people like Mathys are making a mockery of this by not taking responsibility for their own actions and the sport’s image.

      1. Meghan Hicks


        The language we use to describe Maude Mathys’s situation was intentionally chosen in an attempt to be brief but thorough. In Mathys’s case, the governing body gave what I might call an ‘alternate sanction’–a public warning as opposed to a ban of that governing body’s standard length for the determined infraction–in doing so citing its acknowledgement of Mathys’s intent to use the drug for fertility rather than performance-enhancing purposes. Because the sanction is unique, we wanted to supply a brief synopsis of how it came to be in addition to our ‘normal’ disclosure of the infraction and sanction.

    2. Dan F

      I’m curious whether irunfar posting this in each of her results was partly why she chose no post race interview. It’s rare (I can’t remember an instance) where irunfar was unable or didn’t interview the winner of a race they covered so closely as PPM.

        1. Stephen Goldstein

          I really support iRF’s general stance on handling doping. This particular policy though has the effect of detracting from the journalistic nature of your coverage of the race, so I wonder if the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. Why not seek an interview only if the athlete is willing to answer questions relating to his or her history with doping control, for example?

          1. Meghan Hicks


            I really appreciate your constructive question, and I don’t disagree with you. At this time, our doping and athlete coverage policy is meant to primarily address situations like this weekend’s race coverage. With the limited time we have in these race-coverage situations and the volume of material we already try to produce in them, we’ve decided to devote that time/work to interviewing/more deeply covering athletes who’ve not received doping sanctions from governing bodies.

            We are not immalleable in our editorial policies, but we do take time to carefully consider significant decisions, asking for advice from the greater iRunFar team and considering the community’s constructive commentary. I don’t consider speaking with athletes who’ve received doping sanctions for investigative-journalistic purposes outside of the race-coverage scenario off the table, but doing so would take place after thoughtful editorial consideration.

            Thank you again for the the constructive question and comment. It is an honor that we as a community are talking about difficult issues in an effective way here on iRunFar.

            1. Lightning

              A warning without suspension means that WADA understands that there is nuance in PED cases, as everyone should already know. No suspension = not banned! I suggest that you have at least as much nuance as WADA, since you are relying on information from them.

              Not everyone are going to geek out and look up everything that goes into their bodies – which is not really even possible… see the many legit contamination cases. It takes a certain geekiness/attention to detail personality to think about every possible thing “might this be on the WADA banned list?” I have that attention to detail, Sage does, and a lot of other “geeks”, lawyers, scientists, etc. Many people that I know would NOT fit that profile of checking everything and just assuming it was prescribed or over-the-counter, it must be OK – not that they are runners or subject to testing. Think of all the people that never read manuals, etc. I can think of lots of loved ones/family that would absolutely get tripped up by this if they were actually runners and subject to testing.

        2. Alex Parker

          I guess my meta-question here is should we have a “one strike and you’re out” policy. We have an athlete here who made a mistake, was sanctioned (albeit in a public-shaming rather than suspension mode), and is now competing with the approval of the relevant sporting body. Will she have a scarlet letter emblazoned upon her forehead forever in iRF’s eyes? Never shall she be interviewed (or even acknowledged as possibly having won a race fair and square) for fear of sullying this web site’s stance on doping?

          Even in the context of athletes who have served suspensions and cleaned up their act – is there no notion of rehabilitation? We certainly want to see judicially convicted criminals rehabilitate themselves, and we foster their safe reintegration into society when we acknowledge their honest efforts.

          Looking at this situation as a lifelong fan of pro road cycling, a sport that once epitomized free-for-all use of PEDs, and is now arguably one of the most effective sports with regard to preventing doping, I think we need to have a less black-and-white outlook. Cycling made the most progress, and was impacted the least by long and painful press-litigation of cases, when it acknowledged contrition on the part of those who broke the rules, and admitted them back (in some mode or another) to the fold once they had served their sentences. Blacklists and lifetime bans tend just to polarize people and create fodder for sensational journalism. IMHO.

      1. Ronan

        No one is blaming her for that. She’s a pro sponsored athlete, she should have obtained a TUE. Don’t forget that products are on the doping list for a reason.

      2. El Duderino

        JF – They aren’t faulting her. IRF stated a clear piece of her professional history, and other readers are pointing out that she could have obtained a TUE for clomifene. That’s not faulting her for wanting to start a family. It’s faulting her for not taking the appropriate steps to use a substance that’s otherwise banned in sports.

        1. Jonathan French

          Comment wasn’t directed at IRF, it was directed to others who put her in the same category as dopers like Elisa Desco who was busted for deliberately using EPO.

  2. Stefan C.

    Recently, I discovered that alcohol seems to have been a Wada prohibited item up until 2018.

    From Wada:

    “Effective 1 January 2018, and after careful consideration and extensive consultation, Alcohol is excluded from the Prohibited List. The intent of this change is not to compromise the integrity or safety of any sport where alcohol use is a concern, but rather to endorse a different means of enforcing bans on alcohol use in these sports. The International Federations (IF) affected by this change were alerted sufficiently in advance in order to amend their rules and to put in place protocols to test for alcohol use and appropriately sanction athletes who do not abide by the rules of their sport. Control of the process will allow IF more flexibility in applying rules or thresholds as they see fit. The National Anti-Doping Organizations are no longer obliged to conduct tests but may assist IF and National Federations where appropriate”

    I’m definitely no expert and wonder if anyone out there has any thoughts on this? I can’t imagine a beer having a performance-enhancing effect but then again that’s beside the point if we are going by a zero-tolerance policy. Offhand I can think of at at least one or two runners (won’t state any names) that have stated that they have consumed beer during races.

    1. SageCanaday

      I believe alcohol was more in place to prevent archery (shooting/marksmanship types of sports) from gaining an advantage while competing….similar thing with pot although that is still banned at a certain level in competition. And/OR it was a safety issue. WADA doesn’t want people doing dangerous sports while drunk or high (or on a stimulant like cocaine). Of course a sip of beer during a race isn’t going to help (or hurt) performance much. I forgot what the BAC threshold level was though.

  3. Slowgoat

    This week in running: Francois d’Haene bested the course record of l’Echapee Belledonne by ~3:30 hours and finished more than 5 hours ahead of second place. This humble champion keeps breaking records on tough, long mountain runs, apparently unnoticed.

  4. Zach

    World 50k road champs are being held in Brasov, Romania this weekend instead of god forsaken Qatar like its previous championship years. Team USA sending good squads, Japan sending WR 100k, and South Africa is sending a team with THREE Comrades champions. Not bad for a still growing “ultra”.

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