February is in the books! Just like that, we head into the third month of the calendar year, and after a quiet two weeks, things picked up a bit. There were the USATF 50k Road National Championships, mountain runs in North Carolina and Alabama, and wins by prominent runners established and up-and-coming.
Heckscher State Park 50k – East Islip, New York
The USATF 50k Road National Championships was run over 10 loops at the namesake state park, on the opposite side of Long Island from its longtime Caumsett State Park home. A $3,000 prize went to the top finishers with $500 to each of the podium winners.
Cold temperatures and windy conditions hammered the race, and the USATF’s Lin Gentling said, “Weather conditions were horrendous. Gale force winds, well maybe not quite, but certainly it impacted the race.”
Bijan Mazaheri, a 2:15 marathoner, escaped Rajpaul Pannu for the win. Mazaheri finished in 3:01 and Pannu trailed in 3:04. Local runner Ryan Clifford was less than two minutes behind Pannu for third in 3:06.
With the challenging conditions, no man ran under the 3:00 benchmark to earn a qualifying mark toward the 2023 IAU 50k Road World Championships in South Africa in May 2023.
Zack Beavin did not finish.
The men might not have hit that qualifying time, but all three of the top women did. Alexandra Niles, a 14-time marathoner making her 50k debut, made a late race pass of Autumn Ray to win in 3:25. Ray was second in 3:29, and Melissa Tanner, racing 15 weeks after giving birth, was third, also in 3:29. Ray was 33 seconds in front of Tanner.
The mark for the women to hit was 3:33 and Niles earn an automatic spot on the national team, and Ray and Tanner hold qualifying marks.
Mt. Mitchell Challenge and Black Mountain Marathon – Black Mountain, North Carolina
Going into 2022, weather had twice kept runners off the 6,684-foot summit of Mount Mitchell, and so race organizers came up with a unique workaround. All runners registered for the marathon distance, but at the marathon turnaround, the 40-mile route was available to the first 250 runners wishing to go up. But not this year — snow and ice once again closed the road to the top and only the marathon race was run.
Evan Narburgh crossed the finish line first, but only after an inadvertent wrong turn in the last two miles. A penalty pushed Narburgh back to second, and longtime leader Mac Dean was awarded the win. Narburgh’s clock finish was 3:28, 21 seconds in front of Dean’s 3:29. Dean’s got a bit of a hot streak going, with late 2021 wins at the Lookout Mountain 50 Mile and the Upchuck 50k ahead of this victory. Third-place Andrew Laramore was right there too in 3:29.
Three women went sub-four hours in the marathon. Paige Witherington was first in 3:39, and Martha Clemmer and Amy Ross-Johnson were second and third in 3:44 and 3:55.
Additional Races and Runs
Barcelona 24 Hour – Barcelona, Spain
Fotis Zisimopoulos (Greece) ran a quick 100 miles, splitting 12:13, and got everyone excited. That intermediate split was seven minutes faster than what Aleksandr Sorokin (Lithuania) ran during his world record run. Zisimopoulos couldn’t hold the hot early pace though and ultimately finished second. Gabriel Andrei Ailenei (Romania) overtook the longtime leader and finished with 237 kilometers (147 miles), just over one kilometer better than Zisimopoulos. Women’s winner Ranveig Hansen (Norway) ran 230 kilometers (143 miles). Full results.
Lord Hill Trail Run 50k – Snohomish, Washington
Zachary Szablewski and Audrey Lawrence won the three-lap race around Lord Hill Park in 4:09 and 5:14, respectively. Full results.
Salmon Falls 50k – Pilot Hill, California
Drew Miller and Emily Hawgood finished hands together at the front of the 50k race in 4:02. Full results.
Copper Corridor 50k – Superior, Arizona
Nick Coury‘s 2022 campaign got underway with a 3:55 winning time, and Jessica Roberts led the women’s race in 4:18. Ailsa MacDonald was the 32k winner in 2:25, and Tanner Hallihan was the men’s winner in 2:29. Full results.
Jackalope Jam – Cat Springs, Texas
The Trail Racing Over Texas event had fixed-time races up to 100 hours on a 0.75-mile out and back. Christine Tokarz was the 100-hour winner with 265 miles, and Matt Zmolek won for the men with 253 miles. Full results.
Hashawha Hills 50k – Westminster, Maryland
The Virginia Happy Trails Running Club event celebrated Jonathan Gowen and Molly Ritter as race winners in 3:59 and 4:53. Full results.
Lake Ouchita Vista Trail Endurance Run 100 Mile – Mt. Ida, Arkansas
Karl Meltzer didn’t wait until late in the calendar year to push his streak out another year. Meltzer won in 19:36. It was his 46th 100-mile win and 20th straight year with a 100-mile win. Women’s winner Laura Kearns finished in 25:17. Full results.
Mt. Cheaha 50k – Delta, Alabama
A year ago Tyler Johnson edged Grant Graham for the win, and in 2022, the finish spots flipped. Graham won in 4:55, two minutes better than Johnson. On the women’s side, Lauren Fulton won handily in 5:16, and it was a close race for second and third, with Rachel Vedder edging out Abby Self by only one minute: they finished in 5:36 and 5:37, respectively. Full results.
Gasparilla Half Marathon – Tampa, Florida
Two-time Pikes Peak Marathon winner Seth Demoor ran 1:08:56 for the win and a $2,000 payday. The race, which happened on a hot day, was part of Demoor’s training build toward April’s Rotterdam Marathon. Christina Welsh won for women in 1:18:53. Full results.
Next Weekend – Transgrancanaria – Gran Canaria, Spain
One of the premier cross-island races, Transgrancanaria (TGC) takes place on Gran Canaria, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco. The 126-kilometer (78 miles) distance draws some of the best ultrarunners in the world to traverse the island’s steep and rocky slopes through the national parks and preserves, with a total of 6,900 meters (22,600 feet) of elevation gain and loss.
This year’s race also serves as a Spartan Trail World Championship event. Who do you think will come out on top this year?
- Claire Bannwarth (France) – 4th 2021 Tor des Géants 330k
- Eszter Csillag (Hungary) – 4th 2021 CCC
- Ragna Debats (Netherlands) – 3rd 2021 Western States 100; 1st 2019 CCC
- Kaytlyn Gerbin (USA) – 1st 2020 & 2nd 2019 Transgrancanaria 126k
- Kathrin Götz (Switzerland) – 3rd 2019 TDS
- Sophie Grant (New Zealand, lives in Europe) – 6th 2021 MIUT 115k, 5th 2021 TDS
- Abby Hall (USA) – 2nd 2021 CCC; 2nd 2021 Canyons 100k
- Lucie Jamsin (France) – 7th 2021 UTMB; 4th 2021 Transgrancanaria 126k
- Claudia Tremps (Spain) – 9th 2021 UTMB; 2nd 2021 Transgrancanaria 126k
Sage Canaday (USA) – 5th 2020 Tarawera Ultramarathon by UTMB 100k
- Pau Capell (Spain) – 1st 2020 Transgrancanaria 126k; 1st 2019 UTMB
- Francesco Cucco (Italy) – 5th 202 & 2018 Diagonale des Fous 165k; 4th 2021 Transgrancanaria 126k
- Jordi Gamito (Spain) – 3rd 2021 Val d’Aran by UTMB 160k
- Robert Hajnal (Romania) – 5th 2021 MIUT 115k
- Hayden Hawks (USA) – 5th 2021 OCC; 8th 2021 Western States 100
Jared Hazen (USA) – 2nd 2019 Western States 100
- Ionel Cristian Manole (Romania) – 1st 2021 Val d’Aran by UTMB 160k; 6th 2019 Tor des Géants 330k
- Jonas Russi (Switzerland) – 2nd 2021 Tor des Géants 330k
- Ruy Ueda (Japan) – 2nd 2016 CCC; 1st 2016 Gorge Waterfalls 100k
Call for Comments
- Did you see something else fun this weekend? Tell us about it!
- Who are you calling for the women’s and men’s podiums at this weekend’s Transgrancanaria?