This Week In Running: December 13, 2021

This Week In Running’s trail and ultra recap for December 13, 2021.

By on December 13, 2021 | Comments

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRWe’re getting close to the end of the year with not a lot of racing happening, but wow, the Desert Solstice track meet delivered some incredible records. We’re highlighting that, the Thailand by UTMB jungle run, Hellgate 100k, and a few other races too.

Desert Solstice – Phoenix, Arizona

Desert Solstice is such a fun end-of-year race. It’s on a 400-meter high school track with good weather and good competition. It’s generally a chance to gain U.S. 24-hour national team qualifying marks, even if it looks like the next IAU 24-Hour World Championships isn’t until December 2023 in Taiwan.

See iRunFar’s additional Desert Solstice coverage.

2021 Desert Solstice Women's Field

Some of the women of the 2021 Desert Solstice, including (from left to right) Pam Smith, Sabrina Little, and Camille Herron. Photo: Howie Stern

100 Mile

When Camille Herron races on the track, something special usually happens, and it did again! She shined here in 13:21, and it’s another great result to finish the year on a high note after her October Javelina Jundred course record. The 13:21 time ranks second-best on the American all-time charts, and is best on the track. Across all terrains, the time trails only her 12:42 run from 2017.

With so many individual goals, there were several other successes at the race too.

Nicole Monette ran 100 miles in 14:44.

Pam Smith split 6:40 for 50 miles, a new women’s American 45-to-49 age group record, and then a short bit later set another new U.S. age group record at 100 kilometers in 8:21. Her 15:15 100-mile run was another age group record too.

David Laney was the overall winner in 12:34. That’s good for 10th best on the historical charts, and sixth among Americans. It’s complicated, but that’s if giving Zach Bitter and Jon Olsen just one position in the ranks, despite multiple such runs.

2021 Desert Solstice Mens Field - Matthew Urbanski Jeffrey Urbanski Arlen Glick

From left to right at the 2021 Desert Solstice are Arlen Glick, Jeff Urbanski, Matthew Urbanski, and Whitney Richman. Photo: Howie Stern

24 Hour

When the sun comes down, this group keeps going. Marisa Lizak won for the women with 140.18 miles, and Jian Springer and Mandie Holmes were just behind with 135.17 and 133.67 miles.

For the men, Nick Coury was absolutely sensational with a new 173.01-mile American record. That’s 8:19 per mile, and he closed at a nearly 6:00-per-mile pace. Coury’s run knocked out Mike Morton‘s 172.45 miles from 2012.

Jacob Jackson and Scott Traer had strong runs with 157.33- and 152.36-mile totals too.

Arlen Glick got to 128.74 miles for his 24-hour debut. This was all after 100-mile wins at the Javelina JundredUmstead 100 MileMohican 100 Mile, and Burning River 100 Mile earlier this year.

Full results.

Thailand by UTMB – Chiang Mai, Thailand

The second edition of the race saw 2,000 runners compete in five distances, including three ultras: 170k, 120k, and 80k. The 170k, named the Inthanon 6, was also the final race of the final year of the Ultra-Trail World Tour.

The adventure happened in Doi Inthanon National Park, nicknamed “The Roof of Thailand,” and across geography that included river crossings, hidden waterfalls, royal tombs, and remote local villages.

2021 Thailand by UTMB - night running

A runner makes his way through the highlands of Thailand during the 2021 Thailand by UTMB. Photo: Thailand by UTMB


Fu-Zhao Xiang (China) expertly paced herself through the 170k (105-mile) course. Xiang’s victory came in 26:01. Xiang, who won Panda Trail by UTMB earlier in 2021, targeted a 25-hour finish beforehand on the difficult course. Kimino Miyazaki (Japan) led Kaori Niwa (Japan) for second with the pair finishing in 27:20 and 30:17.

Sunmaya Budha (Nepal) led countrywoman Mira Rai at the front of the 120k race. Budha, a rising star with international aspirations, won in 14:54 to Rai’s 17:12 runner-up finish. Phichamon Raksakul (Thailand) was third in 23:54.

Manon Bourduge (France) championed the 60k race in 7:26.

2021 Thailand by UTMB - Fu-Zhao Xiang-Women's 170k champion

Fu Zhao Xiang cruises down stairs to win the 170k distance at the 2021 Thailand by UTMB. Photo: Thailand by UTMB


All day long, Jia-Ju Zhao (China) was at the front of the men’s 170k race. He hit every checkpoint first and ultimately won in 21:56. Zhao won the 100k Ultra Trail Chongyi Challenge earlier this year and was second at last year’s Panda Trail by UTMB race.

John Onifa (Philippines) and Sange Sherpa (Nepal, lives in France) ran 22:35 and 25:18 for second and third, respectively. Sherpa won the Swiss Peaks Trail 170k earlier this year, among other races.

Jantaraboon Kiangchaipaiphana (Thailand) won the last name contest, and the men’s 120k. He finished in 14:32. Cedric Golea (France) was second in 14:53 and Tanapong Chankrachang (Thailand) was third in 16:05.

Brendon Thomas (U.S.A., lives in Thailand) won the 60k in 6:48.

Full results.

2021 Thailand by UTMB - Jia-Ju Zhao - Men's 170k Champion

Jia Ju Zhao cruises to a win at the 170k distance of the 2021 Thailand by UTMB. Photo: Thailand by UTMB

Hellgate 100k – Fincastle, Virginia

With a nighttime start and 13,000-foot elevation gain, the Hellgate 100k is a notoriously difficult winter weather mountain run.


Rachel Spaulding dipped under the 12-hour mark and won big in 11:59. That erased eight minutes from Leah Yingling‘s 2020 course record. Alondra Moody and Shannon Howell were second and third in 13:33 and 13:47, respectively.

Rachel Spaulding - 2021 Hellgate 100k champion

Rachel Spaulding, 2021 Hellgate 100k champion. Photo: David Horton


Michael Dubova similarly won by a large margin, nearly an hour better than everyone else. He finished in 10:14. It was also a new course record, two minutes better than his own finish from 2020.

Oregon runner Mario Mendoza tested himself on the east coast trails and finished second in 11:13. Jordan Chang was third in 11:21.

Full results.

Michael Dubova - 2021 Hellgate 100k champion

Michael Dubova, 2021 Hellgate 100k champion. Photo: Michael Horton

Additional Races and Runs

Melbourne Marathon – Melbourne, Australia

Lucy Bartholomew ran her first-ever road marathon, finishing in 3:16. Full results.

Lucy Bartholomew - 2021 Melbourne Marathon

Lucy Bartholomew cruising along in the 2021 Melbourne Marathon. Photo courtesy of Lucy Bartholomew.

Rodeo Valley Trail Run 50k – Sausalito, California

Sarah Thacher and Matt Ward won the Inside Trail event in 5:11 and 4:20, respectively. Full results.

Mosaic Trail Run 50k – Liberty Hill, Texas

Kate Motsko was third overall, first female, in 5:18, and Terence Palmer led the men over 10 laps in 4:23. Full results.

Bigfoot 50k – Lore City, Ohio

At least 36 Bigfoot sightings have happened at Salt Fork State Park, and the Ohio Bigfoot Conference for believers is there too. Racing on those same trails, Marissa Ward led Erika Rucker and Elizabeth Falwell on the women’s podium. The group ran 5:34, 6:23, and 6:42, respectively.

Jeremy Pope won the men’s race in 4:30, and Isaac Barnes and Harvey Lewis were second and third in 4:37 and 4:49. Full results.

Beast of the East 100 Mile – Kings Mountain, North Carolina

Julie Blackwell and “Speedgoat” Karl Meltzer won in 28:55 and 21:42. For Meltzer, it was his 45th 100-mile win and 20th straight year of winning a 100-mile race. Full results.

USATF Club Cross Country Championships – Tallahassee, Florida

The USATF Club Cross Country Championships only included a few crossover runners that sometimes race trails. Renee Metivier was 16th in 20:42 in the women’s 6k race. In the men’s 10k, Tyler McCandless was 24th in 31:38 and Rajpaul Pannu was 39th in 32:02. Full results.

News – 2022 Golden Trail World Series

Next year’s Golden Trail World Series group of races just dropped and includes:

  • May 5, 2022 – Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon – Zegama, Spain
  • June 26, 2022 – Marathon du Mont Blanc – Chamonix, France
  • August 8, 2022 – Stranda Fjord Trail Race – Stranda, Norway
  • August 13, 2022 – Sierre-Zinal – Sierre, Switzerland
  • September 17, 2022 – Pikes Peak Ascent – Manitou Springs, Colorado, USA
  • September 18 or 25, 2022 – Flagstaff Sky Peaks – Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
  • October 26, 2022 – Madeira Ocean Trails – Madeira Island, Portugal

Note: Social media updates listed the Flagstaff Sky Peaks race with a September 25 date, while the GTWS website lists a September 18 date. In either scenario, the potential to double certainly exists.

Call for Comments

What’s coming up next weekend on your calendar? Anything special planned for the holiday season?

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.