This Week In Running: July 9, 2018

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRHere in the U.S. we had a holiday in the middle of last week, and that was pretty great. So too was this weekend, what with the U.S. Mountain Running Championships, a Skyrunner World Series race, and a Kilian Jornet Bob Graham Round record. Check it all out below.

Loon Mountain Race – Lincoln, New Hampshire

The 6.6-mile Loon Mountain Race gains 3,200 feet of elevation on a nearly-all-uphill route. The race was the 2018 U.S. Mountain Running Championships and placed the top-four men and women on its team that will compete at the September 16 World Mountain Running Championships in Andorra. And if that wasn’t enough, it was the North American Central American Caribbean (NACAC) Championships too.

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Allie McLaughlin rarely races–she’s more often skydiving–but when she does get on a starting line, it’s good. That happened here and McLaughlin won her second national title. Second in 2017 to Addie Bracy, the two reprised that battle with McLaughlin rocketing up Upper Walking Boss for a 57:45 win. Not only was McLaughlin the fastest woman on the super-steep, 48% grade Upper Walking Boss finish section, her split was eighth among the men here too. Yes, McLaughlin’s uphill running ability is somewhat contradictory to her freefall skydiving passion.

Competing as part of the race-within-a-race NACAC championships, Citlali Cristian (Mexico) split U.S. best McLaughlin and Bracy for a second-place 59:11. Bracy was third woman, second American, in 1:00:26.

2:28 marathoner Annie Bersagel was fourth in 1:01:19, and then racing for Canada as part of the NACAC race, Shelley Doucet and Emma Cook-Clarke were fifth and sixth.

Kasie Enman grabbed the final U.S. Mountain Running Team spot with a seventh-place run.

The NACAC championships included four-person teams with the top two scoring. That put the U.S. ahead of Canada for team gold.

Allie McLaughlin - 2018 US Mountain Running Championships winner

Allie McLaughlin, 2018 U.S. Mountain Running Champion. Photo: U.S. Mountain Running Team


When Karl Meltzer wins a 100-mile race, it’s always a personal challenge to chase down the numbers: how many 100-mile wins was it and how many years in a row has it been? That math is even worse with Joe Gray. He just doesn’t lose at short mountain races in the U.S. Let’s just say then that he won the 2018 U.S. Mountain Running Championships and is on the U.S. Mountain Running Team for the umpteenth year.

Gray took this one then in 50:28. Like women’s winner McLaughlin, he too was out front by a surprisingly large margin, and also had the race’s fastest Upper Walking Boss split. Also like McLaughlin, he pocketed the race’s $600 cash prize.

Who’s a good sports analogy for Andy Wacker? If he wanted to win mountain running championships, he’s just unfortunately in at the wrong time. Just as he’s been so many times before, Wacker was second to Gray, this time in 51:49.

David Fuentes and Matt Daniels, like both Gray and Wacker also past national team members, were third and fourth in 51:56 and 52:37.

Anticipation around Ben Bruce’s race fizzled some. The national-class road and track runner was 11th in 55:54.

Like the women, the U.S. won the NACAC championships too, also ahead of Canada.

Full results.

Joe Gray - 2018 US Mountain Running Championships winner

Joe Gray, 2018 U.S. Mountain Running Champion. Photo: U.S. Mountain Running Team

Mount Marathon Race – Seward, Alaska

The midweek July 4 Mount Marathon Race has history (91 years), a downtown full of spectators (30,000), and a crazy-steep course from sea level way up (3,022 feet) and back down in just 5k.


Jessica Yeaton, an expert-class Nordic skier native to Australia, won the women’s race in 51:30. It was the race’s ninth-best time ever. Second to the high point turnaround, Yeaton raced past then-leader Rosie Frankowski on the downhill to stake her victory claim.

Frankowski, following a super-quick climb that ranks third best ever, was extra cautious on the descent and ultimately finished seventh.

Most closely following Yeaton on the stream of passers then was Denali Foldager-Strabel and Christy Marvin. The two race veterans finished second and third in 52:00 and 52:04, respectively.

Najeeby Quinn and Hannah Lafleur were fourth and fifth in 52:42 and 54:02. Lafleur, of Colorado, was the only non-Alaskan runner in the top 28.

Defending champion Allie Ostrander did not start the race. Ostrander did however win the NCAA Track & Field Championships 3,000-meter steeplechase one month earlier.


In 2016 David Norris surprised, well, probably everyone outside of Alaska by breaking Kilian Jornet‘s one-year-old course record. Norris skipped the 2017 race before returning to the top position in 2018. He didn’t match his own course record, but also wasn’t that far off. Like women’s winner Yeaton, he too of course is a national-class Nordic racer.

Norris’s 42:13 winning time ranks third-best ever then, trailing only his course record and Jornet’s 2015 run. He lost time versus the course record on the ascent, but still reached the halfway point 30 seconds ahead of Max King. From there, any chance of King making up time on the descent was lost thanks to Norris’s combination of expert route selection and completely fearless downhilling. It was only on the flat road portion back to town that King cut 10 seconds from the lead. The two frontrunners registered 42:13 and 42:33 first- and second-place finishes.

Adam Jensen, Matt Shryock, and Benjamin Marvin were third, fourth, and fifth in 45:41, 45:52, and 46:17.

Full results.

Andorra Ultra Trail – Ordino, Andorra

Some six races make up the Andorra Ultra Trail festival. We’ll limit our reporting to the 170k (105-mile) Ronda dels Cims.


Lemonade out of lemons. Not able to get into the Hardrock 100 this year, Darcy Piceu (USA) found a close substitute. She finished the giant loop, basically around the whole country, in 36:14. The route includes 16 major peaks or passes to total 13,500 meters (44,000 feet) of elevation gain.

Mariya Nikolova (Bulgaria) and Sabrina Solana (Andorra) were second and third in what looks to be 39:36 and 40:50, respectively.

Darcy Piceu - 2018 Ronda del Cims champion

Darcy Piceu on her way to running the 2018 Ronda del Cims. Photo: AUTV/David Gonthier


Albert Herrero (Spain) ran the back 75 miles in front and won the Ronda del Cims in 31:45. Ginaluca Galeati (Italy) and Morgan Vivien (France) tied for second in 32:28.

Word is that the race administration stopped the event for safety reasons following a fierce storm, and that the early race ending affected runners in the mid- to back of the pack. Can anyone share more details on this?

Full results.

High Trail Vanoise – Val d’Isère, France

The High Trail Vanoise was the latest from the Skyrunner World Series. As expected, it was technical. Not as expected, it had a lot of snow on course still. The 68k (42-mile) race gained 4,600 meters (15,000 feet) of elevation.


Ragna Debats (Netherlands) must’ve just had a bad race a few weeks ago. That rare non-win is now a distant memory and she was again victorious. Debats’s 10:05 finish dominated the race ahead of Sanna El Kott (Sweden) and Ekaterina Mityaeva (Russia). The two followers posted 10:39 and 10:59 finish times.

Ragna Debats - 2018 High Trail Vanoise champion

Ragna Debats, 2018 High Trail Vanoise champion. Photo: Skyrunner World Series


Longtime podium finisher Dmitry Mityaev (Russia) earned his first Skyrunning win thanks to a strong 8:40 push. Christophe Perillat (France) and Ludovic Pommeret (France) did the finish-together thing to tie for second, officially in 9:00.

Full results.

The next Skyrunning World Series race is the July 22 Dolomyths Run 22k in Italy.

Dmitry Mityaev - 2018 High Trail Vanoise champion

Dmitry Mityaev, 2018 High Trail Vanoise champion. Photo: Skyrunner World Series

Zermatt Marathon – Zermatt, Switzerland

The Zermatt Marathon is all uphill, finishing over 10,000 feet above sea level following a route that connects low-lying valleys and mountainside towns.


Ivana Iozzia, a three-time marathon national champion for Italy, won the women’s race in 3:36. Sarah Tunstall (U.K.) and Anna Mae Flynn (USA) were second and third in 3:44 and 3:51.


Robbie Simpson (U.K.) made this one a runaway. A 2:15 marathoner, he won this marathon in 3:00. Patrick Weiser and Vajin Armstrong (New Zealand) followed in 3:16 and 3:18, respectively.

Full results.

Other Races and Runs

Sinister 7 Ultra

Canada’s Sinister 7 Ultra has 100 miles of backcountry mountain goodness. Arden Young and Jean-François Cauchon were race winners in 22:50 and 18:17, the latter a new course record. Full results.

Silver Rush 50 Mile

The Leadville, Colorado Silver Rush 50 Mile continues the summer-long high altitude series of races, and both the women’s and men’s races were close. Abby Mitchell escaped a three-woman chase pack with an 8:25 win. Kara Henry ran 8:35 to edge Lillie Romeiser for runner-up honors, and the fourth-place runner was less than two minutes back of second too. Men’s winner Josh Eberly finished in 7:02, less than two minutes better than second-place Carlos Ruibal. Full results.

Bob Graham Round

When scratching from the Hardrock 100 last month, Kilian Jornet cited a slow recovery from his late 2017 and early 2018 injuries. We’ll forgive that fib, and instead note that Jornet is plenty fit. He just broke a 36-year-old speed record on the U.K.’s Bob Graham Round. The 66-mile loop of England’s Lake District peaks, 42 precisely, took 12:52. That’s 61 minutes faster than the previous best, set in 1982 by Billy Bland.

Next Weekend – Eiger Ultra Trail – Grindelwald, Switzerland

The Eiger Ultra Trail 101k race is part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour, and that means it’s going to be a competitive race. We’re going to need to call for some reader support to better analyze this long start list though.


  • Cat Bradley (USA) – 1st 2017 Western States Endurance Run
  • Caroline Chaverot (France) – 1st 2017 Hardrock 100
  • Meredith Edwards (USA) – 2nd 2016 TDS
  • Megan Kimmel (USA) – 1st 2018 Broken Arrow Skyrace 52k


  • Ryan Ghelfi (USA) – 7th 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile
  • Matt Flaherty (USA) – 6th 2017 Cayuga Trails 50 Mile
  • Jason Schlarb (USA) – 1st 2016 Hardrock 100
  • Seth Swanson (USA) – 2nd 2017 Lavaredo Ultra Trail

Full entrant list.

Call for Comments

Well, that’s about all you need to know! We jest. Got any questions for us? What’s on your mind? We’re here for you and appreciate your comments.

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 20 comments

  1. Maria

    Hey Justin –
    The “Magnifique Megan Kimmel,” as she’s known as in Chamonix, said she was racing Eiger Ultra Trail and she is on the start list.

    1. steeltownrunner

      Emelie’s run, impressive as it was, had less buzz on social media (where much of this reporting comes from) and notably, Billy Bland’s Bob Graham FKT was considered one of the stronger and certainly among the most iconic and historic FKTs in MUT running.

    2. Bryon Powell

      Looking past the names, one is a hugely historic record in our sport, where (at the present) the other is an impressive run. No matter who broke it or by how much, we’d mention a men’s or women’s BGR record in this column. While we were aware of Emelie’s run, the Kungsleden needs a bit more history in the running community first.

      1. Carsten

        I can see your point, but following this argument probably half of the races mentioned here should also be left off the list due to lack of size, history or real competition. Ok, this is an exaggeration but I hope you see what I mean.

        1. Bryon Powell

          The primary purpose of TWIR is a robust, though not exhaustive collection of race results from the previous week. FKTs and other news items will always be held to a higher standard.

  2. Sarah Lavender Smith

    Regarding Ronda del Cims — a wonderful and very experienced ultrarunner, Noé Castañon, posted publicly on FB about it. I’ll copy & paste an excerpt. He was caught in the mid- to back-of-pack storm and affected by the cancellation. He reported the following:
    “A group of 3 runners, two from Spain, another from Ireland and I were hiking up our 9th mountain. That was at mile 61, suddenly the weather changed dramatically, from completely clear skies and warm to black clouds. A cold wind started to blow…….we feared the worst!
    I was prepared with gear and food to face situations, sometimes this add extra weight but at least I always feel safe, that saved my butt! At about 6pm when we were reaching the top the storm arrived. The area had no trees or rocks around, that was the timberline, just huge fields of grass. Intense winds, hailing big balls of ice, rain and the most dangerous of all, lightning. Our lives were in jeopardy!
    The common sense says to get down quickly from the summit, not there. That mountain had a flat top of about a mile, a ridge line. We were trying to move faster and get away, the hail didn’t let us, that was hitting us so bad, like throwing us rocks. The Spaniards were yelling loudly of pain, the lightning was very intense and we didn’t had a place to cover ourselves. Then came the worst, the hail covered the marks, we didn’t know which route to take, there was no trail. I felt that my hearth was pumping faster and my breathing different, The visibility was blurry!!
    After some searching the Irish guy yelled us, “I think is that way’” we didn’t hesitate and followed. Minutes later a lightning stuck close from where we were and I said: – OMG we just came from there, that was so close!!
    Miraculously we found a flag and ran as fast as we could. There was no time to waste, not even a second, the weather was not getting any better, cold as hell, the hypothermia was a reality!
    Finally after like hour and half we got to the aid station, which was a Refugio. There was a bunch of runners and we were told that the race was on call, No mas!! I only asked why and the volunteer said. – You see that mountain? You should summit that section, the mountain was now covered with snow or hail. It was a relief to have stopped that craziness. There was helicopters around rescuing stuck runners from the mountain. I was only thinking in silence how close we were. Minutes later the volunteers escorted everyone down the mountain to transport us to civilization. Our race was over!!
    Later I found that the front runners were allowed to continue because they were away from the stormy area. I don’t deny that I felt bad, but our safety was first!
    My Ronda Dels Cims experience was very intense, from the difficulty of the terrain, the beauty of those landscapes and finally from the crazy weather. After all I feel very grateful for the experience and the opportunity, I don’t take from granted the gift of the life, there will be more races, life go on!
    As a last note I only moved 67.1 miles and got 28,610 ft of vert gain. The Ronda Dels Cims is a world class event, but was not easy, seriously not!”

  3. Stephen Goldstein

    Re Kilian’s HR scratch, fwiw he said his leg isn’t ready for that kind of effort. It’s nearly twice the time of a Bob Graham Round…

  4. Simon

    I checked the entrants list of the Eiger Ultra Trail and found these strong women and men for the 101k:

    Kathrin Götz (Switzerland), 3rd 2018 Ultra Trail Lavaredo
    Teresa Nimes Pérez (Spain), 11th 2017 UTMB
    Laurence Yerly (Switzerland), 1st 2018 Swiss Canyon Ultra Trail
    Denise Zimmermann (Switzerland), 4th 2017 Eiger Ultra Trail

    Majell Backhausen (Australia), 10th 2018 Marathon des Sablés
    Pau Capell (Spain), 2nd 2018 Ultra Trail Lavaredo
    Florian Grasel (Austria), 1st 2018 Mozart 100
    Gediminas Grinius (Lithuania), 8th 2017 UTMB
    Scotty Hawker (New Zealand), 5th 2017 Eiger Ultra Trail
    Stephan Hugenschmidt (Germany, but lives in Switzerland), 1st 2017 Eiger Ultra Trail & Course Record Holder
    Urs Jenzer (Switzerland), 2nd 2017 Eiger Ultra Trail
    Walter Manser (Switzerland), 2nd 2017 Zugspitz Ultratrail
    Petter Restorp (Sweden, but lives in France), 10th 2018 Transgrancanaria
    Sangé Sherpa (Nepal, but lives in France), 11th 2018 UTMF

  5. Charli McKee

    Worth noting, Denali Foldager-Strabel set a new all-time Downhill record for women at Mount Marathon in a blistering 11:27. (Previously held by Emilie Forsberg at 11:31)

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