It’s still winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, but wow, ultrarunners started to wake up from their frosty slumbers. There was some hot racing action at Arizona’s Black Canyon 100k, Nevada’s Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival, and Utah’s Moab Red Hot 55k. Internationally, U.S. runners competed in events as diverse as snowshoe racing and Costa Rican stage racing. This week’s column is full of good news, enjoy!
Black Canyon 100k – Mayer, Arizona
The weather has interrupted the traditional Black Canyon 100k route in recent years, but it went as expected–a net-downhill, straight shot through the desert–this weekend.
Camille Herron opened with an immediate five-minute lead on Cecilia Flori (Italy, lives in New Zealand) over the first 13 miles. Five hours later, things were closer and Herron’s gap had shrunk. Both Flori and Stephanie Auston (Australia) had cut Herron’s lead to less than three minutes at the 46-mile mark.
Though the lead women were within spitting distance of each other all race, things ended where they started with Herron crossing the line with the win at 9:21. Flori was second in 9:27 and Auston third in 9:31.
This was a Golden Ticket race, giving two finishers automatic entry to the Western States 100, but Herron had already been granted entry through the Ultra-Trail World Tour. Instead it was Flori and Auston who earned the weekend’s two Golden Tickets.
Alicia Hudelson was fourth in 9:46 and Jo Meek (U.K.), the third international runner in the top five, was fifth in 9:49.
A number of other women were included in last week’s preview, and to go full circle then, here’s how they did too.
- Corrine Malcolm – 10th, 10:25
- Kristina Randrup – 11th, 11:03
- Allison Baca – 16th, 11:23
- Magdalena Boulet – DNF
Just like women’s winner Herron, men’s best Hayden Hawks was alone at the front all day too. He was three minutes ahead at mile 13, seven at mile 37, 13 at mile 50, and Hawks was just too fast and ran away with it in a 7:55 winning time. Look for him next at April’s Lake Sonoma 50 Mile.
Also just like Herron, Hawks too was already in for Western States and his Golden Ticket fell too.
Charlie Ware and Elliot Cardin (Canada) stalked to 8:19 finishes. The pair finished just eight seconds apart in a sprint that went all the way to the line. Both Ware and Cardin earned Golden Tickets.
Ben Cook and Jesse Haynes were fourth and fifth in 8:55 and 9:00.
Other men included in last week’s preview didn’t fare well. Neither Tyler Sigl nor Guillaume Hansel finished, and Jeff Colt and Can-Hua Luo (China) look to not have started. Additionally, former U.S. 100k champ Jesse Davis and popular ultrarunner Coree Woltering failed to finish too.
The next Golden Ticket race is the March 28 Georgia Death Race 74 miler.
Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival – Henderson, Nevada
It was high stakes at the seventh-annual Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival. The 100-mile race was the USATF Road National Championships for that distance and had a $10,000 cash purse. The race was run on a 1.176-mile loop, separate from the race’s non-championship 100-mile field.
Marisa Lizak shot up the ranks with a win at December’s Desert Solstice 24 Hour race, totaling 148.08 miles and splitting 14:50 for 100 miles. She backed that up with a championship win here and a 15:15 finish time. It was a new course record.
Second- and third-place Ashley Truan and Connie Gardner finished in 16:45 and 17:34, respectively.
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, and when to fold ’em, and Emily Collins and Pam Smith, two women included in last week’s preview, both dropped from the race.
I’m not a betting man, but the smart money was on Mark Hammond pre-race. Hammond went all in for the second year in a row, winning in 13:04 and bettering last year’s mark by 40 seconds. That 40-second improvement added a $500 course-record bonus to his $2,500 first-place prize.
Jacob Jackson was second in 13:33, and Jon Noll ran 13:55 for third.
2018 winner Jon Olsen dropped after six hours running.
Moab Red Hot 55k – Moab Utah
The Moab Red Hot 55k typically brings a fast field, but no woman cracked the all-time top 10 for the third year in a row, and the course record still dates to 2013 (Emily Torrence, 4:24). Up front though, Abby Hall won in 4:45, 10 minutes better than second-place Meredith Edwards.
Heather Brooks was a distant third in 5:16, and Bonnie Kaminsky won the accompanying 33k in 2:41.
Western Colorado University and Adams State University are fierce rivals in NCAA Division II cross country, and that spilled over to the Moab race too. Western trail team member Brian Whitfield edged Adams alumnus Matt Daniels for the win, 3:47 to 3:50. Barely five minutes separated the front three and Monte Cole was third in 3:52.
Josh Eberly, coach of the aforementioned Western Colorado University trail team and himself a former U.S. mountain running team member, finished the 33k alongside clubmate Jeshurun Small in a first-place 2:07 tie.
Additional Races and Runs
World Snowshoe Championships
Soft snow made for a challenging 12k course at the World Snowshoe Championships in Japan, but Michelle Hummel (USA) dominated and won women’s gold. She was almost five minutes better than everyone else in finishing in 49:33. Lucia Ibanez (Spain) trailed in second at 54:13, and Sarah Canney (USA) was third in 54:17. Beatrice Meloni (Italy) gained fourth in 54:45 and a third American, Jennifer Britz (USA), followed in fifth at 54:51. In all, the American women would put five runners inside the top eight, though there were just 32 finishers. The men’s race was much closer, and a single second separated frontrunners Roberto Ruiz (Spain) and Ignacio Hernando (Spain). Ruiz finished in 39:36 to Hernando’s 39:37. Stephane Ricard (France) was third in 40:19, and Joe Gray (USA) and Eric Hartmark (USA) ran 42:10 and 42:29 for fourth and fifth. Full results.
Gruissan POLI Trail
The Gruissan POLI Trail is a 50k race in France, and the first in a series of races there. Jennifer Leoine (France) and Sébastien Spehler (France), winner of the 2019 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships, were victorious in 4:55 and 3:39. Spehler won by 20 minutes. Full results.
I’ve got to think that Costa Rica’s six-day Coastal Challenge stage race is more about the vacation than the race, but winners Kaytlyn Gerbin (USA) and Cody Lind (USA) celebrated with 27:31 and 22:42 finish times for 230k (143 miles) of jungle and beach running. Full results (when available).
Hagg Lake 50k
Oregon’s Hagg Lake 50k is known for its mud, but the post-race pictures this year were exceptional. I mean, runners had A LOT of mud on them. Stephanie Fronk won the women’s race in 5:12, barely a minute ahead of second-place Erin Lavoie. Men’s winner Max King ran 3:22 and broke the race’s course record. He won by over 20 minutes. Full results.
Unlike in 2019, the FOURmidable 50k wasn’t the USATF 50k Trail National Championships this year, but 2019 winner Tim Tollefson returned anyway, and his wife raced as well. Linsday Tollefson won the women’s race in an unofficial 4:38, and Tim won the men’s race in, also unofficially, 3:47. Full results (when available).
Holiday Lake 50k
On a wet 20-degree-Fahrenheit day, Jo Thompson topped Virginia’s Holiday Lake 50k in 4:33, and men’s winner Daniel Rau finished in 3:54. After a year of considerably less racing than usual, Brian Rusiecki was second in 3:59. Full results.
Georgia Thrill in the Hills 50k
Rachel Doxey and Jon Hager won the Georgia Thrill in the Hills 50k at Fort Yargo State Park. The pair ran 4:42 and 3:48, respectively. Full results.
Call for Comments
That was our round-up, but let’s fill up the comments with your racing news too!