This Week In Running: January 16, 2017

This Week In Running’s trail and ultra recap for January 16, 2017.

By on January 16, 2017 | Comments

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRThe Ultra-Trail World Tour’s Vibram Hong Kong 100k and Hawaii’s HURT 100 Mile are among the highlights of this week’s column. We also take a look at the ongoing and gritty Montane Spine Race in the United Kingdom.


One race down, 21 races to go for the 2017 Ultra-Trail World Tour.


Four years after first winning the race, Yun Yanqiao (China) was back on top. Cool weather and bits of rain benefited the runners in the form of improved temperatures and air quality, and Yanqiao was able to break away in the race’s second half for a dominant win. He finished in 9:35, just over two minutes back of François D’haene’s course record from a year ago. Yanqiao’s margin of victory is particularly impressive considering the depth of this year’s field.

Yanqiao doesn’t often appear in this column, but he was second at the Tarawera Ultramarathon in 2014 and he’s been third two times at the Ultra-Trail Australia in 2015 and 2016.

Yun Yanqiao - 2017 Vibram Hong Kong 100k champion

Yun Yanqiao, 2017 Vibram Hong Kong 100k champion. Photo: Race Visuals

Daniel Jung (Italy) was a surprise second in 10:01, and Sage Canaday (U.S.) was third in 10:03. A name completely new to me, Jung’s most competitive performance before this one was a co-win with his partner at the 2016 TransAlpine Run, and he was also the winner of the 2016 Dolomiti Extreme Trail race. Jung is listed among the top runners who will compete at this year’s UTMB.

The deep field also included:

  • Didrik Hermansen (Norway) – 4th, 10:12
  • Tim Tollefson (U.S.) – 5th, 10:13
  • Seth Swanson (U.S.) – 6th, 10:16
  • Julien Chorier (France) – 10th, 10:43
  • Sange Sherpa (Nepal) – 12th, 10:45
  • Javier Dominguez (Spain) – 15th, 10:54
  • Kazufumi Oose (Japan) – 16th, 11:03
  • Wataru Iino (Japan) – 28th, 11:42

Several names included in last week’s preview are absent from the final results. It’s not clear whether Jordi Gamito (Spain), Vlad Ixel (Spain), David Laney (U.S.), and Yan Longfei (China) did not start or did not finish the race.


Women’s winner Núria Picas (Spain) was, just like Yanqiao, dominant with an 11:18 winning time. She was some 40 minutes better than the previous course record by Claire Price, a best that had stood since 2013. Picas was followed by Linming Chen (China) and Marie McNaughton (New Zealand but living in Hong Kong) in 11:53 and 12:26. Chen too was inside of the previous course record.

Among those also included in last week’s preview were Silvia Trigueros (Spain) and Corinne Williams (U.S. but living in Japan). Those two were seventh and 22nd in 13:31 and 15:12, respectively.

Absent from the race results were previously-announced runners Lisa Borzani (Italy), Wyan Chow (China), and Dong Li (China). We know Borzani started but did not finish the race.

Full results.

The next race in the Ultra-Trail World Tour is the February 11 Tarawera Ultramarathon in New Zealand.

Nuria Picas - 2017 Vibram Hong Kong 100k champion

Núria Picas, 2017 Vibram Hong Kong 100k champion. Photo: Race Visuals


2015 champ Michael Arnstein outclassed a strong men’s field over five jungle laps. Arnstein’s 21:52 was 23 minutes off his previous winning time, but was over an hour and a half better than second at this year’s race.

Guillaume Calmettes and Masazumi Fujioka were second and third in 23:28 and 23:39, respectively. Jesse Haynes, pegged as my pre-race favorite, ran 24:00 for fifth.

The women’s race saw Shawn McTaggart, an Alaskan who was truly trading climates, win in 29:04. Nikki Kimball was second in 29:46, and Alyssa Amos was third in 30:30. Kathleen Cusick ran 32:27 for fourth place, and Lee Conner wrapped up the women’s top five in 33:43.

Full results.


Nicknamed “Britain’s most brutal race,” race photos seem to indicate that’s probably true. Three race distances, all taking place on the 268-mile Pennine Way–one of Britain’s National Trails–put runners up against freezing temperatures, snow, and wind–all typical British winter weather.

The mid-distance Challenger event took in 108 technical miles of the Pennine Way, on a point-to-point path from Peaks District National Park to Yorkshire Dales National Park. Dominick Layfield (U.K. but living in the U.S.) weathered the conditions and the competition to a 28:04 finish time–two hours better than the previous course best and two hours in front of second. Sarah Davies (U.K.) bested the women in 37:50.

The nonstop, long-distance 268-mile Montane Spine Race takes in all of the Pennine Way and is presently underway. Three previous race winners–Pavel Paloncý (Czech Republic), Eugeni Rosello Sole (Spain), and Eoin Keith (Ireland), are running as the top-three men while Carol Morgan (Ireland) is the early women’s leader.

Live tracking.

2017 Montane Spine Race

The 2017 Montane Spine Race. Photo: Montane Spine Race


The Colorado Ski Mountaineering Cup continued with the Heathen Challenge at Sunlight Mountain, near Glenwood Springs. The top-four finishers all qualified for worlds in Italy. Joining veteran skimo aces John GastonTom Goth, and Max Taam on the podium was ultrarunner Paul Hamilton. The women’s leaders included Jessie YoungJanelle SmileyNikki Larochelle, and Lindsay Plant. Full results (when available).

Joe Gray‘s month of travel ended in Mexico. With a late move to go from fourth to first, he won the Mexican Cross Country Championships.

Heavy rain in northern California forced Inside Trail to move its Pacifica Foothills event from San Pedro Valley Park to China Camp State Park. Scott Trummer was a runaway champ in the 30k at 2:05, and Megan Roche was second overall in 2:24. David Roche was the half-marathon best in 1:21, and Chessa Adsit-Morris won for the ladies in 1:38. Both Roches are registered for next month’s FOURmidable 50k in California. That race will serve as the USATF 50k Trail National Championships. Full results.

Michael Wardian raced the Vista View 360 6-hour event in Florida, finishing first with 50.84 miles. The race took place on a 1.24-mile dirt trail. Full results (when available).

U.S. 50k national team member Thomas Puzey won the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon in 2:19. Full results.

Florida’s Long Haul 100 Mile saw Patrick Hrabos and Kirsten Hite run 18:36 and 21:32 as race winners. Full results.


It was a particularly light weekend of racing, and next week appears to be of similar volume. What other races can be added to this week’s column, and what races should we look out for next?

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.