This Week In Running: January 22, 2024

This Week in Running’s trail and ultra recap for January 22, 2024.

By on January 22, 2024 | Comments

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRFrom Allen to Yanko, and from 6 kilometers to 268 miles, we have the week’s highlights.

The set includes the start of the World Trail Majors, the USATF Cross Country Championships, and all the other good stuff too.

Hong Kong 100k Ultramarathon – Hong Kong

It was the 14th year for the Hong Kong 100k Ultramarathon and the 100k race marked the start of the World Trail Majors, a new nine-race global series. The three-day event hosted over 2,800 runners from 60 different countries.

The Third 33k 

The racing started on Thursday, January 18, and Rachel Drake (U.S.) dominated the women’s 33-kilometer race. Drake, a 2:35 road marathoner, covered the roughly 20.5-mile course in 3:04. That’s on a course with 1,460 meters (4,790 feet) of elevation gain and she was almost a full 20 minutes ahead of everyone else. Yuan Jin (China) was second in 3:24 and local runner Bin-Bin Xiong was third in 3:27.

Only the top three men finished under three hours, and those three were only 76 seconds apart. Jisub Kim (Korea) barely escaped the group with a 2:48 winning time, and Vlad Ixel (Australia) edged Tiago Vieira (Portugal) by five seconds for second place. Both Ixel and Vieira finished in 2:50.

Full results.

The Half 56k 

Friday’s race stretched 56k and with 2,010 meters (6,594 feet) of climbing. Chinese runners Rui-Fang Zhou and Na Zhang broke from the field toward 5:48 and 5:54 first- and second-place runs, and Núria Picas (Spain) was third in 6:14.

Chinese men swept the top three positions, and only the first two could get under five hours on the challenging course. Er-Qing Wu was out front in 4:48 and then Neg-Lin Fan edged Ai-Ai Shi for second. Fan and Shi finished in 4:58 and 5:01, respectively.

Full results.

The Full 100k 

The race’s namesake 100k, and the distance that was part of the World Trail Majors, went off on Saturday for a course that summited Hong Kong’s highest peak, Tai Mo Shan. It was also the event’s biggest race with some 1,800 runners. iRunFar earlier shared greater details on the race too.

Lin Chen (China) led the women’s race for the final 70k and finished first in 12:44. Course records were safe all day in uncharacteristically hot and humid conditions. Nearly an hour back, Ying Li (China) was second in 13:39, and Yuan-Yuan Wu (China) was third in 13:54. Wu tripled at the event last year with a seventh-place finish in the 100k on the third day of racing. Among the pre-race contenders, Eszter Csillag (Hungary, lives in Hong Kong) did not start the race and Dominika Stelmach (Poland) did not finish the race.

Lin Chen - 2024 Hong Kong 100k women's champion - finish

Lin Chen takes the win at the 2024 Hong Kong 100k. Photo: World Trail Majors/Anta Brand

Guang-Fu Meng (China) overhauled two-time winner Pei-Quan You (China) in the final kilometers and rolled to a first-place 10:16 finish. You did just enough to hold on to second in 10:35, and third-place Tyler Green (U.S.) chased at 10:38.

Full results.

2024 Hong Kong 100k - men's podium

The 2024 Hong Kong 100k men’s podium (l-to-r): 3. Tyler Green, 1. Guang-Fu Meng, and 3. Pei-Quan You. Photo: World Trail Majors/Anta Brand

Montane Spine Race – Pennine Way, United Kingdom

iRunFar was earlier on the reporting of the 268-mile adventure. The winter trek goes point-to-point on the Pennine Way track.

Claire Bannwarth (France) repeated as women’s champ, this time in 92:02. She was over five hours better than in 2023. Hannah Rickman (U.K.) and Lucy Gossage (U.K.) followed next in 104:41 and 106:05, respectively.

Claire Bannwarth - 2024 Winter Spine Race - on the course

Claire Bannwarth on her way to winning the 2024 Winter Spine Race. Photo: Spine Race/Wild Aperture Photography

Men’s winner Jack Scott (U.K.) delivered the race’s biggest storyline. Scott’s 72:55 finish bettered the previous course best by over 10 hours. Last year’s winner Damian Hall (U.K.) was second in 82:25, and that’s the race’s second-fastest finish ever. Third-place Konrad Rawlik (Poland, lives in the U.K.) finished in 85:47.

Full results.

Jack Scott - 2024 Winter Spine Race win

Jack Scott reaches the finish line victorious in the 2024 Winter Spine Race. Photo: Spine Race/Wild Aperture Photography

USATF Cross Country Championships – Richmond, Virginia

Specific to the senior and junior races, the event was a selection race for the March 2024 World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Serbia. Here we’re looking at trail runners and ultrarunners in the top results.

Master’s Women’s 6k

Renee Metivier and Kasie Enman were second and fifth, respectively, in 21:46 and 22:06. Metivier was the 2017 USATF Trail Marathon National Championships winner and Enman was the 2011 World Mountain Running Championships winner.

Open Women’s 10k

Allie Ostrander kicked to a fourth-place finish in 33:52. That earned her a spot on the U.S. national team for worlds, if she accepts.

(In 2023, Ostrander was suspended for four months after testing positive for canrenone, a metabolite of spironolactone, after it was determined that she mistakenly took the drug without first obtaining a World Anti-Doping Agency Therapeutic Use Exemption.)

Open Men’s 10k

Breakout trail ace Christian Allen ran 29:27 for sixth, and that secured the final national team spot by a slim one-second margin.

Full results.

Additional Races and Runs

London International Cross Country – London, U.K.

Tom Evans (U.K.) put on the spikes for some grass loops too. He only ceded the lead late and finished second in 30:00 on the 10k course. The finish puts Evans on the British team for the World Athletics Cross Country Championships too. That’s some pretty incredible range from the 2023 Western States 100 winner. Full results.

Cursa Moritz Sant Antoni – Barcelona, Spain

Pau Capell (Spain) found some speed too. The 2019 UTMB winner finished the 10k road race in 32:14. That was only 30th against a fast field. Full results.

Coldwater Rumble – Goodyear, Arizona

The Aravaipa Running event dropped in on the Estrella Mountain Regional Park southwest of Phoenix for some desert loops. Word is the event took in a new course compared to past years. In the 100 miler, Devon Yanko ran 16:19. Yanko used the race as part of her prep for March’s FURTHER six-day event. Jeff Browning won the men’s race, and his 30th 100-mile win, in 15:45. That was better than his 2023 18:07 winning time, but only ranks as the race’s second-fastest ever behind Catlow Shipek’s 15:09 run back in 2014, but again on a different course. Laura Noll and Jake Jackson won the 100k race in 12:15 and 10:09, and over 60k, roughly 37 miles, Shea Aquilano and Christopher St. Jean were the race’s fastest in 4:49 and 4:34, respectively. Full results.

Lake of the Woods 50k – Farmersville, Ohio

The race is at the Lake of the Woods campground in western Ohio, and 50k winners Crystal Clark and Ethan Deep won the through the woods and around the lake course in 5:52 and 5:28. Full results.

Southern Tour Ultra – Wilmington, North Carolina

The races were run on coastal 10-mile loops. Lauren Goodman and Luke Jeton were best in the 50 miler at 9:09 and 8:11, and Brittany Perkins and William Rodgers led the 50k in 3:43 and 3:39. Full results.

The Conquer – Dawsonville, Georgia

The backyard-style race was run on a 3.4-mile loop at Amicalola Falls State Park. That meant a challenging course that gained 1,000 feet of elevation each lap, and in winter. Temperatures dropped to 5 degrees Fahrenheit overnight. That was the challenge, but even more interestingly, the race’s fee was $125. First, $25 of that went to the park fees, and then runners carried the other $100. When a runner dropped, that $100 was put into a glass case, and the race winner collected that cash. And so with 100 starters, the winner claimed $10,000. Sam Atherton was the last person standing and he totaled 120 miles. Full results (when available).

Call for Comments

This is the part where I try to encourage a comment or three, but more often, it’s a small typo or two that best gets the comments going. But hey, it’s already our fourth column of 2024 and it feels like we’ve got some momentum. The U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon and the Black Canyon 100k are only two and three weeks away, respectively. What’s got you excited to start the year?

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.