This Week In Running: December 4, 2023

This Week in Running’s trail and ultra recap for December 4, 2023.

By on December 4, 2023 | Comments

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRThis week’s highlights include New Zealand and a new 24-hour world record, and races like Cloudland Canyon and Crooked Creek.

But first, a recap from the IAU 24-Hour World Championships, featuring a new women’s world record.

IAU 24-Hour World Championships – Taipei

Japan’s Miho Nakata won the women’s individual race and set a new world record, and Lithuania’s Aleksandr Sorokin repeated as men’s world champion. It was the first time since 2019 that the IAU 24-hour World Championships had been held. iRunFar earlier covered the greater race details, and honed in on Nakata’s world record.


Miho Nakata was in front almost throughout, and went further than any other woman. Nakata’s day finished with a 167.996-mile total (270.363 kilometers), and her first-place finish outdistanced her closest competition by over nine miles. The finish gave her a slim 807-foot (246 meters) lead over Camille Herron’s former world record. Nakata, 34 years old, earlier won the 2022 Soochow 24-hour Ultramarathon, also in Taipei, with a 159-mile total.

Miho Nakata - 24 hour world record - 2023 IAU 24-Hour World Championships 2

Japan’s Miho Nakata working hard during the final hour of her world-record-setting effort at the 2023 IAU 24-Hour World Championships, held in Taipei on December 1 and 2. Photo: International Association of Ultrarunners

The next six women all finished with over 150 miles. Olena Shevchenko (Ukraine) was second with 158.116 miles (254.463k) and former world record holder Patrycja Bereznowska (Poland) was third with 155.058 miles (249.541k).

The first U.S. finisher was 10th-place Aly Allen (U.S., lives in Barbados). Former world record holder Camille Herron dropped about 12 hours into the race.

A country’s first three runners scored in the team competition. Poland, with two runners inside the top 10, won team gold and Japan and the Czech Republic were second and third.

The U.S. women finished fifth in the team race.


The men started fast too and pre-race favorite Aleksandr Sorokin didn’t move into the lead until after six hours of running. Sorokin would go on to total 187.524 miles (301.790k) as the individual winner. That’s better than the 173 miles (278.972k) that he ran in 2019 to win the last world championships, but is less than his 198-mile (319.614k) world record from 2022.

Aleksandr Sorokin - 2023 IAU 24-Hour World Championships winner

Lithuania’s Aleksandr Sorokin on his way to winning the 2023 IAU 24-Hour World Championships. Photo: International Association of Ultrarunners

Fotis Zisimopoulos (Greece) was second in 181.598 miles (292.254k). Only nine weeks earlier Zisimopoulos won and set a course record at Greece’s Spartathlon 153-mile race.

Third-place Andrii Tkachuk (Ukraine) totaled 176.805 miles (284.540k).

Chad Lasater was the top U.S. finisher. He ran 155.831 miles (250.785k) for 23rd place.

Lithuania, Poland, and the U.K. earned team gold, silver, and bronze.

Gold medal winners in 2019, the U.S. men’s team finished 13th this edition.

Full results.

SaintéLyon – Saint-Étienne, France

You can’t be scared to run in the dark here. There’s a bunch of different distances and relay contests, but the premier race runs at nighttime and connects the cities of Saint-Étienne and Lyon on a 78k (48 miles) route.


The top two women finished under seven hours and the first six finishers were all French. Julie Roux led countrywomen Marie Goncalves and Maryline Nakache on the headlamp run. Roux finished in 6:39 and Goncalves in 6:54. Nakache was on the other side of seven hours at 7:18.


Less than eight minutes separated the front three men and the first six were all faster than six hours. The podium was entirely French with Thomas Cardin lighting the way in 5:41. Antoine Charvolin was second in 5:45 and Baptiste Chassagne ran 5:49 for third.

Full results.

California International Marathon – Sacramento, California

The road marathon runs point to point and with a net downhill.  The women needed to go under 2:37 to qualify for the February 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, and the men under 2:18.


Only 21st at halfway in 1:18:08, Rachel Drake absolutely crushed the second half. Drake negative split it — not easy to do after the race’s downhill first half — for a 2:35:28 finish. Drake chewed up 16 runners over the race’s second half and got into the prize money. Peyton Thomas was just behind in sixth at 2:35:50, and both are now into the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

To close the gap on last week’s short preview, Courtney OlsenEmKay Sullivan, and Devon Yanko were all entered, but didn’t start the race.


CJ Albertson for the win in 2:11:09. Albertson, the 50k world record holder, passed trail upstart Christian Allen near mile 23 for the ultimate lead. Albertson won a $10,000 first-place prize plus a $500 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time bonus. Albertson was a nearly two-minute winner when it was all done.

Allen was one of three leaders at halfway in 1:04:46, eight seconds ahead of Albertson. He shook free from longtime co-frontrunner Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea) after 35k and led the race outright, but then fell back to Albertson’s charge and struggled late. Allen fell back to eighth in 2:15:01.

All of the men’s trail runners and ultrarunners we spotted were:

  • CJ Albertson – 1st, 2:11:09
  • Christian Allen – 8th, 2:15:01
  • Craig Hunt – 44th, 2:19:29
  • Liam Meirow – 89th, 2:23:18
  • Chikara Omine – 126th, 2:25:00
  • Matt Seidel – 137th, 2:25:48
  • Seth Demoor – 176th, 2:28:11

Zack Beavin dropped before the finish, and Rajpaul Pannu and Willie Milam didn’t start the race.

Full results.

Kepler Challenge – Te Anau, New Zealand

The race is one of New Zealand’s top mountain runs and traces the 60k Kepler Track through Fiordland National Park. The race paid out prize money three deep with $1,800 to the winners. The women’s and men’s podiums were all from New Zealand.


The top three women all finished under six hours. Katie Morgan gapped the group with a 5:36 run. It was her second straight win, and quite a bit faster than last year’s 5:59. Nancy Jiang edged Robyn Lesh for second. The two were only 23 seconds apart in 5:47 and 5:48, respectively.


Daniel Jones won for the sixth straight year. He won in 4:41, and that was two minutes better than last year. Jones won the Queenstown Marathon in 2:31 last month too.

This year’s Kepler race was close and Jones was only four minutes better than second-place David Haunschmidt. Third-place Daniel Balchin closed the mountain loop in 4:50.

Full results.

Additional Races and Runs

El Cruce – Bariloche, Argentina

The three day stage race totaled 100k across the mountains. Three women finished the first stage together. Grayson Murphy (U.S.), Michelle Reddy (Canada), and Keelah Barger (U.S.) all ran 3:04. And Miguel Heras (Spain) and Andrew Rodrigues (Portugal) were side by side at the end of the men’s race in 2:24.

On the longer stage two, Murphy opened a women’s lead and finished six minutes in front at 3:45, and Heras did too. He was 42 seconds better than second place on the race’s second day.

Murphy, Reddy, and Barger were again together at the finish of day three, but Murphy won overall. Rodrigues pipped Heras by 10 seconds on day three, but Heras won the overall race by two minutes. Full results.

2023 El Cruce women's podium

The 2023 El Cruce women’s podium: (l-to-r) 2. Michelle Reddy, 1. Grayson Murphy, and 3. Keelah Barger. Photo: El Cruce

2023 El Cruce men's podium

The 2023 El Cruce men’s podium: (l-to-r) 2. Sergio G. Pereyra, 1. Miguel Heras (Spain) and 3. Andrew Rodrigues. Photo: El Cruce

Valencia Marathon – Valencia, Spain

Gerda Steyn (South Africa), the Comrades Marathon two-time winner, ran 2:24:03 for 11th place. It was a new personal best, a new South African national record, and a finish that likely gets her a spot in the 2024 Olympic Marathon field. Steyn was 15th at the 2020 Olympic Marathon. Full results.

Ray Miller 50/50 – Malibu, California

The 50-mile race crowned Jade Lenning (Canada) and Cody Jordan as winners in 9:30 and 7:45, and Kelly Motyka and Jonathan Metcalfe were best over 50k in 5:34 and 4:13. Full results.

Anza Borrego Cuyamaca 50 Mile – Julian, California

Isabelle Biase led the women in 9:46 and Michael Dominguez set a new course record at 7:07. Full results.

McDowell Mountain Frenzy – Fountain Hills, Arizona

The 50-mile winners Nicole Hanson and David Roche finished in 7:27 and 6:28, and both won $1,500. Kristina Mascarenas and Chris Myers won the 50k in 4:10 and 3:30. Full results.

Colossal-Vail 50/50 – Vail, Arizona

The race starts and finishes at the Colossal Cave Mountain Park. Susie Stephen and Michael Tomchaney were first in the 50-mile race in 7:54 and 7:31, and Sara Aranda and John Trongard won the 55k in 5:30 and 4:37. Full results.

Jackson County 50-50 – Brownstown, Indiana

A small field of 25 fifty-mile finishers was led by Majel Wills and Scott Fihma in 11:13 and 9:34. The 50k frontrunners Katy Baumgartner and Adam Togami came through in 5:57 and 4:41. Full results.

Crooked Creek Ultra 50 Mile – Shepherdsville, Kentucky

Brooke Gibbons and Gavin Prior were victorious over 50 miles in 11:21 and 8:02. Full results.

Cloudland Canyon – Rising Fawn, Georgia

The Run Bum race starts and finishes inside its namesake state park, and puts lots of climbing in between. The 50-mile winners Jill Dennes and Alex Dedels finished in 8:51 and 7:37, and the next day Mary Roberson and Brandon Sullivan won the 50k in 5:30 and 4:36. Full results.

Devil Dog Ultras – Triangle, Virginia

Results haven’t yet hit the web, but social media points to Karl Meltzer winning yet another 100 miler. Perhaps a reader can share full results and the women’s winner? Full results (when available).

Festivus 50 Miler – Middleburg, Florida

The race had 50- and 37.5-mile feats of strength. Sarah Lewis and Zack Fischer won the long course in 9:50 and 8:01, and Alex Wetherill and Andy Farina won the eight-lap 37.5-mile race in 7:46 and 6:56. Full results.

Call for Comments

It’s the final countdown on racing in 2024, with less than a month to go! What else is coming up for the rest of 2023?

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.