This Week In Running: January 23, 2023

This Week In Running’s trail and ultra recap for January 23, 2023.

By on January 23, 2023 | Comments

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRHappy Monday, ultrarunning friends. We’ve got the quick hits from a mostly quiet weekend around the globe. The Spine Race finished up, ski mountaineering picked up, and the Oman Desert Marathon started up. It’s all happening here.

Spine Race – Pennine Way, United Kingdom

It was part of last week’s This Week in Running article too, but now we have winners for the one-way, week-long, 268-mile push. Conditions were characteristically challenging. iRunFar reported on the greater race dynamics, as well as the event’s shorter-distance races, earlier too.


Damian Hall (U.K.) and Jack Scott (U.K.) finished the winter epic together, but Scott took a time penalty for a mistaken shortcut, and that made Hall the winner. Both finished in 84 hours and 36 minutes, but Scott’s official time was 40 minutes slower with the time penalty added. That means the two frontrunners were out there for three-and-a-half days. Both beat John Kelly‘s former men’s course record of 87:53 but missed Jasmin Paris‘s overall and women’s course record of 83:12.

Douglas Zinis (U.K.) and Joe O’Leary (Ireland) finished tied for third in 96:50.

Damian Hall (orange headband) and Jack Scott - 2023 Spine Race first and second men

Damian Hall (orange headband) and Jack Scott, 2023 Spine Race first and second men. Photo: Spine Race


Women’s winner Claire Bannwarth (France) finished in 97:39, well clear of any would-be challengers.

Quite a ways back, Hannah Rickman (U.K.) was second in 121:23, and Edwina Sutton (U.K.) was third in 125:56

Full results.

Claire Bannwarth - 2023 Spine Race women's winner - finish

Claire Bannwarth takes victory in the 2023 Spine Race. Photo: @wild_aperture

Comapedrosa Andorra World Cup – Arinsal, Andorra

There’s frequent crossover between top European trail runners and ski mountaineering, especially at International Ski Mountaineering Federation contests. The Andorra Individual race and Vertical race went on back-to-back days. The Individual race looked to have started in conditions more akin to the Spine Race.



Thibault Anselmet (France) won the Individual race in 46:30. Rémi Bonnet (Switzerland) was 15 seconds behind in second, and Maximilien Drion (Germany) was third in 47:13.

Cam Smith was the top American in 12th at 49:37.


Axelle Mollaret (France) took the women’s crown in 57:54. Celia Perillat-Pessey (France) and Ana Alonso (Spain) were next on the podium in 58:24 and 58:47.

Rea Kolbl was the first American in 1:05:13 for 16th, and Katie Schide was near the back in 19th in 1:10:43.

Full results.


The podiums came back with most of the day prior’s leaders.


Bonnet returned and won the short course in 11:34. Drion moved up to second in 12:06, and Anselmet, the Individual race winner, was third in 12:09.

Smith, the American, moved up one spot and was 11th in 12:36. The results are dotted with many names frequent to European trail running.


Mollaret doubled up on the golds, leading the women’s race in 14:30. Sarah Dreier (Switzerland) moved onto the podium in 14:53, and Perillat-Pessey lost one spot from the day prior with a 15:01 bronze.

Kolbl didn’t race the Vertical contest, but Schide was 21st in 16:29.

Full results.

Additional Races and Runs

Oman Desert Marathon – Bidiya, Oman

The Oman Desert Marathon runs 165 kilometers over four stages and in a self-sufficient manner. It started on Saturday, January 21, and will finish on Tuesday, January 24. Mohamed El Morabity (Morocco) took the race’s opening stage in 3:53, and Aziza El Amrany (Morocco) led the women in 5:31. Both El Morabity and El Amrany won Sunday’s second stage to retain leadership in the general classification. Interestingly, men’s pre-race favorite, Rachid El Morabity, the older brother of Mohamed El Morabity, who has beaten his younger brother many times at the famous desert stage race Marathon des Sables in their home country, sits in second place in the men’s general classification. In the women’s race, pre-race favorite Aziza Raji, also of Morocco and who has also seen years of success at the Marathon des Sables, is third in the women’s general classification.  Full results.

Oman Desert marathon

The route of the 2023 Oman Desert Marathon. Photo: Oman Desert Marathon/

Wilson Creek Frozen 50k – Melba, Idaho

The race took in the Wilson Creek trail system and summited Wilson Peak, and Michael Postaski and Jessica Barker came home in 4:24 and 6:02. Full results.

3M Half Marathon – Austin, Texas

Joseph Gray won the race in 1:04:23. He was just 24 seconds off an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time. Full results.

USATF Cross Country Championships – Richmond, Virginia

There was the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in December 2022 in San Francisco, and then there was the USATF Cross Country Championships this weekend in Virginia. This latter race is smaller but generally features faster runners, and I could only spot one trail runner or ultrarunner in the group of races. Michael Wardian was 12th in 27:29 in the men’s masters 8k, and that was after finishing second in the community 6k race. Full results.

Southern Tour Ultra – Wilmington, North Carolina

The 50-mile race ran as five laps, and the 50k did three loops on the same course. Justin Thomas and Natalie Daniel were at the top on the long course in 8:07 and 8:17, and Jeffrey Bochey and Natalie Turner did the 50k the fastest in 4:09 and 4:37. I peeked at the five-mile race, but sadly, someone named Natalie did not win that race. Full results.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (WTF) Trail Half Marathon – Gibsonville, North Carolina

Jacob Meredith-Andrews and Sarah Swertfeger won in 1:41 and 1:48, respectively. Full results.

Snow Bird Challenge 50k – Seneca, South Carolina

Jennifer Davis won in 3:37. Bernard Vermeersch was top man in 3:53. Full results.

Florida Roots Trail Series – Fernandina Beach, Florida

Wrigley Longstreet and Cason Zylinski won the 50k race in 4:10 and 4:59. Full results.

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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.