This Week In Running: January 30, 2017

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRMichael Wardian‘s trip around the world to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents as part of the World Marathon Challenge as well as more ski-mountaineering controversy fill this week’s column. We also preview next week’s Sean O’Brien 100k.


American Michael Wardian has a lot of remarkable achievements, but his win at the exclusive World Marathon Challenge might be his best. The ‘race-cation’ concluded early Monday morning Australia time after seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Wardian ran 2:54 in Antarctica, 2:45 in South America, 2:37 in North America, 2:42 in Europe, 2:45 in Africa, 2:49 in Asia, and 2:45 in Australia.

He averaged 2:45 per marathon, what amounts to a 6:20-per-mile pace, for 183 miles in one week and on seven continents. Wardian, of course, set the event record. On the event’s opening day he also ran the fastest-ever marathon on Antarctica, and while not his fastest, it is noteworthy that he ran in Australia completely in the middle of the night.

Afterward at the finish in Sydney, Australia, Wardian told a small crowd, “I wanted to be a lot faster, but when you know how much sleep people are getting or not getting and how much goes in to just to be able to line up, it’s incredible that anyone does anything.”

He then called the race’s sixth marathon his hardest day. Racing out front without company all day, “The Dubai sun is unforgiving. It was just a hard place for me to run. You still have to push hard, I’m going for time. The time doesn’t say it was 95 degrees [Fahrenheit] and no shade with a headwind. It just says 2:49. That’s just part of the game and if you want to put up good times, you got to run hard and I tried to do that every day.”

Australia went better where Wardian commented, “My buddy Roger cranked up some AC/DC and Taylor Swift, so I got a chance to hammer a couple of miles with AC/DC. AC/DC in Australia, I mean, I don’t know if there’s anything better than that.”

Michael Wardian - 2017 World Marathon Challenge winner

Michael Wardian, 2017 World Marathon Challenge winner. Photo: World Marathon Challenge of Wardian during the Asia race in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Czech triathlete Petr Vabrousek, a two-time Long Distance Triathlon World Cup winner, was second in the overall race and ran as fast as 2:55 in North America on day three.

Ryan Hall, who holds a 2:04 marathon best and is still the American record holder in the half marathon, also took part. Despite not training, Hall was fifth entering the race’s final day and had run as fast as 3:04 (Africa, day 5). He slowed on the race’s final day, however, and ran 5:15 in Australia.

Women’s winner, Chile’s Silvana Camelio barely did enough in Australia to maintain her week-long lead. Camelio ran 4:14 (Antarctica), 3:45 (South America), 3:58 (North America), 4:08 (Europe), 4:10 (Africa), 4:34 (Asia), and 4:37 (Australia). That 4:37 in Australia left her just six minutes ahead of China’s Guoping Xie cumulatively, who cut a big chunk away from her cumulative gap with a strong 3:50 Australia win. Thus, Xie finished a close second in the event.

The race flies its competitors around the world on a chartered jet, but fully offsets its carbon emissions via the No footprint is better than an offset footprint, but it is admirable that the race is voluntarily pursuing this action.

Full results (when available).

Silvana Camelio - 2017 World Marathon Challenge winner

Silvana Camelio, 2017 World Marathon Challenge winner. Photo: World Marathon Challenge of Camelio during the Africa race in Marrakech, Morocco


Individual Race

There are a lot of rules in ski mountaineering, perhaps so many that it’s getting in the way of the athlete and fan experience. At least this seems to be the opinion of Kilian Jornet (Spain) in a statement he made Saturday on his Facebook page.

A week ago in Andorra, Damiano Lenzi (Italy) finished the Font Blanca Individual race first, but was bumped to second behind Anton Palzer (Germany) due to a penalty for a missing crampon. Two hours away in the French Pyrenees, the second race of the International Ski Mountainteering Federation World Cup took place this weekend and rule enforcement played an even larger part.

In the Individual race this weekend, Damiano Lenzi outsprinted Jornet by two seconds to finish first. For the second week in a row, though, a penalty threw him backward to second. This time it was said to be failure to close a ski binding inside of a designated transition area. Matteo Eydallin (Italy) was the third to finish. In what reads as truly bizarre, all three then were disqualified for missing the flower ceremony.

Original fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-place finishers Robert Antonioli (Italy), Michele Boscacci (Italy), and William Bon Mardion (France) then became the ultimate first-, second-, and third-place finishers.

Palzer did not compete this weekend while battling the flu.

In the women’s race, Laetitia Roux (France) was again a class above her competitors. Roux finished the circuit in 1:37, two minutes better than Axelle Mollaret (France), who then led third-place Maude Mathys (Switzerland) by another minute. Emelie Forsberg (Sweden) was fourth and further back, Ida Nilsson (Sweden) was 17th.

Sprint Race

In the next day’s Sprint race, the year’s first, Iwan Arnold (Switzerland) scored a slim win over Andreas Steindl (Switzerland). Antonioli doubled back from the Individual Race to finish third. Jornet and several others did not take part in this race.

Roux used a late surge to gain her second win of the weekend in the women’s race, finishing five seconds ahead of Claudia Galicia (Spain). Deborah Chiarello (Switzerland) was third, and Forsberg was again fourth.

Full results.


Sourdough Snowshoe Race

Sage Canaday and Joe Grant took to the snow with Canaday winning the 11-mile event and Grant the 18-mile event at Colorado’s Sourdough Snowshoe Race. The two finished in 1:42 and 3:35. Joanna Oomkes and Anita Ortiz were women’s winners, finishing in 2:47 and 3:58. Full results.

Beast of Burden 100 Mile

The winter edition of the Beast of Burden 100 Mile in upstate New York celebrated Phillip Pawlukovich and Mikala Shremshock as race winners in 16:36 and 19:29, respectively. Full results.

Mountain Mist 50k

Four years after his four-year Mountain Mist 50k winning streak ended, David Riddle is back on top of the Alabama favorite. He finished the trip around Mount Sano State Park in 3:54, over 30 minutes better than second. Expected to be Riddle’s closest competition, Scott Breeden is not listed in the race results. Women’s winner Jackie Merritt ran 4:44, finishing sixth overall and in the race’s fourth-fastest finish ever. Full results.



  • Benjamin Bucklin – 4th at 2016 Cascade Crest 100 Mile
  • Chris Denucci – 9th at 2016 Western States 100 Mile
  • Joel Frost-Tift – 3rd at 2016 Bandera 100k
  • Dominic Grossman – 3rd at 2016 Angeles Crest 100 Mile
  • Jesse Haynes – 5th at 2017 HURT 100 Mile
  • Brett Hornig – 2nd at 2016 Ultra Race of Champions 100k
  • Ryan Kaiser – 3rd at 2016 Javelina Jundred
  • Dominick Layfield – 1st at 2017 Montane Spine Race Challenger
  • Ruperto Romero – 5th at 2016 Angeles Crest 100 Mile
  • Bob Shebest – 17th at 2016 Western States 100 Mile
  • Ryan Smith – 1st at 2015 Sean O’Brien 100k
  • Erik Sorenson – 8th at 2016 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships
  • Joe Uhan – 2nd at 2016 Superior 100 Mile
  • Christopher Wehan – 2nd at 2016 American River 50 Mile
  • Coree Woltering – 4th at 2016 American River 50 Mile

It’s a big field, particularly when compared to that of the year’s first Altra Golden Ticket Race, the Bandera 100k. Frost-Tift may be a scratch after earning entry to Western States there, and Shebest will be seeking redemption after being derailed by a wrong turn at that same race. Recent races are likely to leave Haynes and Layfield off their peak. Either way, the favorite is Smith, whose 2015 course record still stands. Update January 30: Ryan Smith isn’t running due to injury.


  • Emily Harrison – 3rd at 2016 Massanutten 100 Mile
  • Silke Koester – 3rd at 2016 Bighorn 100 Mile
  • Jonnah Perkins – 1st at 2016 Sean O’Brien 50 Mile
  • Janessa Taylor – 2nd at 2016 Bandera 100k
  • Kerrie Wlad – 3rd at 2016 UROC 100k

The women’s group doesn’t match the depth of the women’s and if Harrison and Taylor get to the finish, they’re likely to be the Golden Ticket winners.

Full entrant list.


  • I think what Michael Wardian did at the World Marathon Challenge is his most impressive result ever, certainly at least in recent years. Oh and did you know that Wardian ran another 17-ish miles following his seventh marathon in Australia to tick the 200-miles-in-a-week mark? Do you agree in the impressiveness of his result, or what other Wardian performances rival this one? I’m also curious to know what race Wardian is taking part in next week.
  • What do you think about the disqualification of the top-three men’s finishers in the Individual Race of the ISMF World Cup at Cambre d’Aze?
  • What other races took place this weekend? Leave a comment to share your local race’s results.
Justin Mock

is a family man, finance man, and former competitive runner. He gave his 20s to running, and ran as fast as 2:29 for the marathon and finished as high as fourth at the Pikes Peak Marathon. His running is now most happy with his two dogs on the trails and peaks near his home west of Denver.

There are 25 comments

  1. DF

    This east coast’r can’t wait to tow the line with some of these crazy guys this weekend at Sean O’Brien. It’s gonna be a blast!

    1. bob

      I know you’re being facetious, but of course, everyone produces lactate, increasing in rate of production in accordance with exercise intensity. Paces ran for the marathon and longer do not result in a high level of lactate production because they are by definition submaximal efforts despite their length.

  2. John Vanderpot

    Last June he (Mr. Wardian) ran SD 100 on Fri./Sat., then SD Rock ‘n Roll 13.1 on Sun., I don’t remember his exact times, but he was very competitive at both!

    Then he ran home?


    PS — Local runner Mario Martinez can be very competitive, Re: SOB…

    1. Nick Voss

      I agree, this is almost equally as incredible. He was 4th at SD100 and I believe the 13.1 he ran in 1:18. Simply incredible to be able to change gears like that in less than 10-12 hours.

        1. Kaci

          He blows my mind! The ability to push the body and limits is limitless with him. So remarkable and incredible. I admire him. And that he is such a family man too. He’s got the right balance.

        2. Meghan Hicks

          A 5:12 mile after finishing Western States about 13 hours prior and right after sitting through the awards ceremony in the hot Cali sun. No denigration meant, he hardly looked tired. It was wicked cool to watch, wasn’t it? ;)

          I’ve seen a lot of impressive Wardian runs, but my favorite was his 2010 Marathon des Sables effort. He’d run it some years before not so fast, and then ran it in 2009, coming eighth, suffering the heat, suffering the pace of the leaders from various sand-dwelling countries, but still putting up a strong performance. But he learned how the race worked and then came back the next year, in 2010, to finish third. He’s the only North American and one of the few runners from non-sand-dwelling countries to make it on the MdS podium. He earned a lot of compliments from the Moroccans for his effort, which is really saying something at that race.

  3. Michael

    The only local I can see mixing it up in there is Mario Martinez as well, he’s competitive and has the speed. But my top 3 would be Ryan Smith, Denucci, Wehan. Also I think we’ll see a new CR.

  4. Beast attendee

    The female winner of the beast of burden 100 is not correct. The full results are on ultrasignup now. By the way, her 100M time was the second fastest so far and there were also course records in the 50M and 25M this year.

  5. JacobsA

    Gotta be rooting for Shebest especially for karmic reasons, but the sheer speed of dudes like Smith and Coree are gonna make this fun to watch also!

  6. Ryan Smith

    Nice rundown as usual Justin! I unfortunately will mostly likely be watching SOB from the sidelines due to a stubborn achilles injury! My money is on Ryan Kaiser for the win though!

  7. Dominick Layfield

    Impressive detective work, Justin, to notice that I ran a big race in the UK a couple of weeks back! The Spine Challenger took a lot out of me, and as you observe, I’m likely to be way off the podium pace. But in this company, I’m not sure that I would have much of a shot even if I wasn’t recovering.

    The WS golden ticket sub-race should be interesting. I have a Western States entry through the lottery, so I wouldn’t be chasing a golden ticket anyway. Joel Frost-Tift booked his spot at Bandera. Jesse Haynes and Chris Denucci have entries by virtue of top-ten finishes last year.

  8. Hall Monitor

    To say, “despite not training” when referring to Ryan Hall’s recent performance is really a half-truth, being he has had more marathon training than most in the races. The degree of timing in training however, could be noted or analyzed but he has had plenty of training if you know what I mean.

    1. SageCanaday

      He also (intentionally) gained about 40-50lbs of weight in the past year. That is probably one of the biggest factors that “hurt” him in this challenge.
      True he was running 30-35 miles a week for this challenge (supposedly)…he also raced the half trail marathon (Xterra) in Hawaii last month.
      I remember back when he ran the 59-min half marathon American record…probably the most impressive distance running performance that i have ever seen in person.

    1. SageCanaday

      No doubt flying is a big polluter. I believe the challenge raises a lot of money for charities as well as
      what Justin wrote above:

      “The race flies its competitors around the world on a chartered jet, but fully offsets its carbon emissions via the No footprint is better than an offset footprint, but it is admirable that the race is voluntarily pursuing this action.”

      Now that doesn’t directly change all the plane exhaust that was already shot out into the air of course, but at least they are paying something. An extra “carbon tax” should probably be added too.

      Transportation/flying aside though, the biggest single thing a person can do to not pollute as much /waste as much is change their diet though. Mike Wardian is a vegetarian I believe…so there’s that!

  9. Quigley

    Michael Wardian’s performance was truly astounding. To me, one of the best comparisons is his 2016 record of the best average time for the six major marathons (Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York) of 2:31. Averaging 2:45 for seven races in seven days including some absolutely brutal conditions is just another level. I would love to see Wardian make a solid attempt on the six day world record. I think there is a very good chance that he could beat Yiannis Kouros with his 639 miles and Joe Fejes and his 555 miles. I believe that Yiannis only had a marathon best of 2:24 or so compared to 2:17 for Wardian. Too bad that there isn’t much interest in the long races. I would love to see Wardian out at Across the Years (ATY) Six-Day Race or something similar later this year!

  10. Denuch

    Nice write up Justin!

    Unfortunately, I also won’t be running SOB100k this weekend related to injury. Heal up Ryan! Get those Golden tickets guys and gals! We will all be following.

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