This Week In Running: August 9, 2021

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRIt was another blockbuster summer weekend. Sierre-Zinal in Switzerland was among the brightest highlights, but there were USATF trail national championships here in the U.S, a Skyrunner World Series contest in Norway, and at least one ultrarunner in the Olympic Marathon too. We’re talking about all of it!

Sierre-Zinal – Zinal, Switzerland

Sierre-Zinal celebrated its 48th year, running among five peaks that top 4,000 meters each on a 31k course that connects the two Swiss mountain towns. The race was part of both the Golden Trail World Series and the World Mountain Running Association’s (WMRA) World Cup, and it was definitely one of the year’s most competitive trail contests.

Women

Maude Mathys (Switzerland) is favored in most any race she enters, especially at Sierre-Zinal where she was already a two-time winner and course-record holder. As expected, Mathys earned her third-straight Sierre-Zinal win, doing a pair of handstands while smiling as she reached the finish. This year’s 2:46 run bettered her own course-record time, but happened on a slightly different track. The women’s race started 15 minutes before the men, and Mathys was fast enough to finish ahead of the first man. This week’s win also marked a quick return to form. Mathys was just third at last weekend’s Thyon-Dixence race when she suffered from heart palpitations.

(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.)

Surprise second-place finisher Nienke Brinkman (Netherlands) came through in 2:48. She won the Zermatt Marathon earlier this year. Anaïs Sabré (France) was third in 2:55.

The rest of the top 10 included:

4 – Blandine L’Hirondel (France) – 2:59
5 – Teresiah Omosa (Kenya) – 2:59
6 – Marcela Vašínová (Czech Republic) – 3:03
7 – Simone Troxler (Switzerland) – 3:05
8 – Núria Gil (Spain) – 3:07
9 – Alice Gaggi (Italy) – 3:07
10 – Judith Wyder (Switzerland) – 3:08

The top Americans in the field were Katie Schide (living in France) and Brittany Charboneau. They finished 19th and 20th in 3:17 and 3:18, respectively.

Maud Mathys - 2021 Sierre-Zinal champion

Maud Mathys, 2021 Sierre-Zinal champion. Photo: Golden Trail Series|Sierre-Zinal|Jordi Saragossa

Men

Just like Mathys, Kilian Jornet (Spain, living in Norway) surprised no one, winning the race for an incredible ninth time. He finished in 2:31. Robbie Simpson (U.K.) overcame an early side stitch and rallied in the second half for a second-place 2:32. Simpson rocketed from as far back as 12th to his runner-up position. Cesare Maestri (Italy) was third in 2:33.

The men’s top 10 included:

4 – Lengen Lolkurraru (Kenya) – 2:34
5 – Davide Magnini (Italy) – 2:34
6 – Thibaut Baronian (France) – 2:34
7 – Dani Osanz (Spain) – 2:35
8 – Julien Rancon (France) – 2:36
9 – Rémi Bonnet (Switzerland) – 2:37
10 – Hayden Hawks (USA) – 2:37

Full results.

The next Golden Trail World Series race is the September 4 Chiemgau Trail Run in Germany. The next WMRA World Cup race is the August 15 Krkonosky Half Marathon in the Czech Republic.

Kilian Jornet - 2021 Sierre-Zinal champion

Kilian Jornet on his way to his ninth win at the 2021 Sierre-Zinal. Photo: Golden Trail Series|Sierre-Zinal|Jordi Saragossa

Ragged 50k – Sunapee, New Hampshire

The Ragged 50k runs point-to-point on technical trails with 6,300 feet of elevation gain toward the finish at Ragged Mountain in New Hampshire. The race was the USATF 50k Trail National Championships, had a $5,500 cash purse, and it all happened on a brutally hot and humid day. Official results aren’t yet posted, but social media reports have revealed the winners.

Women

Kimber Mattox is a former U.S. Mountain Running Team member, and she’s registered for next weekend’s national team selection race, but this weekend she went long. Mattox won the 50k race, and Britta Clark was the second-place woman. Abby Levene rounded out the women’s podium in third place.

Kimber Mattox - 2021 Ragged 50k champion

Kimber Mattox, 2021 Ragged 50k champion. Photo: Paul Kirsch

Men

David Sinclair races often, and usually comes out on top or close to it. Two weekends ago he was second at the Speedgoat 50k and he’s raced at least four ultramarathons this year with a few more on the calendar too. Sinclair won the 50k race here, just like he did in 2019. According to social media, Ben Robinson took second, and Philip Royer third.

Full results (when available).

The next USATF mountain, ultra, and trail national championships is next weekend’s August 15 USATF Mountain Runnings Championships in Oregon. The race happens at the up and down Gnar Gnar Mountain Race.

David Sinclair - 2021 Ragged 50k champion

David Sinclair, 2021 Ragged 50k champion. Photo: Paul Kirsch

Tromsø Skyrace – Tromsø, Norway

This year’s Tromsø Skyrace didn’t have it’s typically world-class competition, losing some of those top runners to Sierre-Zinal, but the 57k race was still part of the Skyrunner World Series.

Women

Therese Årvik (Norway) triumphed in a close women’s race against Ruut Uusitalo (Finland). The pair gapped the field with 9:45 and 9:52 breakaway runs. Jessica Asensio (Spain) was a distant third in 11:17.

Men

Lars Olaf Haaheim won for his home country in 8:17. Fredrik Eliasson (Sweden) and Erland Eldrup (Norway) were second and third in 8:29 and 8:35.

Full results.

2021 Tromso Skyrace mens podium

The 2021 Tromso Skyrace men’s podium (l-to-r): 2. Fredrik Eliasson, 1. Lars Olaf Haaheim, and 3. Erland Eldrup. Photo: Skyunner World Series

TransRockies Run – Buena Vista, Colorado

The six-day, 120-mile TransRockies Run stage race goes from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek, Colorado with days as short as 13 miles and as long as 24 miles. It gets as high as 12,600 feet above sea level and totals 20,000 feet of elevation gain. The event included many race options, including six-day, three-day, solo, and two-person team races.

Women

Grace Staberg did the six-day run solo and won in 18:35. Staberg won five of the six stages.

Kelly Brophy and Lianne Straathof won the two different three-day, solo races. Brophy’s end-of-week three days totaled 13:02 and Straathof’s beginning-of-the-week three days went for 10:49.

Two-woman team Arden Young and Emilie Mann ran 19:18 to win their division.

Cat Bradley and Michael Oliva won the mixed-gender team race with a 19:59 finish.

Men

Cody Reed dominated the men’s six-day run in 15:59. Like women’s winner Staberg, he too won five of the six stages.

Josh Ferenc and Brian Tolbert ran together as a team in 19:23.

Matthew Matese and Will Leer won the two separate three-day races in 10:47 and 8:06, respectively. Leer’s wife, Aisha Praught-Leer, just competed in the 1,500 meters at the Summer Olympics for Jamaica.

Full results.

Additional Races and Runs

Olympic Marathon – Sapporo, Japan

Gerda Steyn (South Africa), the Comrades Marathon course-record holder, was 15th in the Olympic Marathon at 2:32. Side note, in case you missed it, iRunFar interviewed women’s bronze medalist Molly Seidel over the weekend. Full results.

Appalachian Trail

Scott Jurek is back at it again. The previous holder of the overall supported fastest known time for the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail, which he sat in a mammoth effort back in 2015, will soon finish his first week back on the trail. His crew says he’s after reclaiming that overall supported fastest known time, which is currently held by Karel Sabbe at 41 days, 7 hours, and 39 minutes. iRunFar covered the story in a little more detail.

Val Tho Summit Games – Val Thorens, France

Ariane Wilhem (France) and Thibaut Garrivier (France) won the 42k race at the Val Tho Summit Games in 4:44 and 3:53. Returning to racing after the Hardrock 100Julien Chorier (France) was fourth in 4:23. Full results.

Reventón El Paso – El Paso, Spain

The 32k Reventón El Paso loop gained almost 3,000 meters of elevation and was a Spanish state championship, or championship of the autonomous federations. Ainhoa ​​Sanz led the women’s race from start to finish, and won in 2:48. Men’s winner Jan Margarit finished in 2:23. Full results (when available).

Rodeo Valley 50k – Sausalito, California

Sarah Thacher and Matt Ward won Inside Trail’s Rodeo Valley 50k race in 5:11 and 4:20. Full results.

Rendezvous Mountain Hill Climb – Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Sarah Hutchings pocketed $1,000 for a first-place finish at the Rendezvous Mountain Hill Climb. The race runs almost eight miles and with 4,000 feet of elevation gain. Hutchings finished in 1:22. Tyler McCandless upset two-time defending champ Seth DeMoor in the men’s contest. McCandless ran 1:02 to DeMoor’s 1:06. McCandless is signed up for the USATF Mountain Running Championships next and DeMoor will look to defend his 2020 Pikes Peak Marathon crown later this month. Full results.

Aspen Backcountry Marathon – Aspen, Colorado

Kristen Layne and David Roche ruled the Aspen Backcountry Marathon in 4:09 and 3:24. Layne won last weekend’s Power of Four 50k in Aspen too, and Roche earlier won this race back in 2017. Full results.

Silverton Ultra Dirty – Silverton, Colorado

There were 60k, 100k, and a first-year 100-mile races at the Silverton Ultra Dirty event. On the shortest course, Lauren Capone and Justin Grunewald won in 7:58 and 6:08. 100k winners Lindsey Anderson and Nick Leuck were only four minutes apart in 13:12 and 13:08, and 100-mile champs Gwendolyn Rudy and Dustin Johnson finished in 29:54 and 27:07. Full results.

Dahlgren Heritage Rail Trail 50k – King George, Virginia

Natalie Daniels was first woman in 3:53. Alexander Hetherington, age 54, won the men’s race in 3:41. Full results.

Race Cancelations

The Fat Dog 120 mile race in Canada was among the weekend’s cancelations. Montana’s HURL Elkhorn 50 Mile was too, due to air-quality concerns and wildfire risk.

Call for Comments

Keep the summer fun going and tell us about your weekend in the comments field below.

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.