I’ll admit, I was mostly following track and field this week with the now-happening U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. But there was also a lot going on in trail running, mountain running, and ultrarunning, including the Skyrunning World Series, the uphill Mount Washington Road Race, and a 100-mile world record attempt in Wisconsin this weekend too.
Livigno Skymarathon — Livigno, Italy
The 2021 Skyrunner World Series had a soft opening in Japan earlier this year, but the Livigno Skymarathon really marked the start to the summer-long technical mountain fun. Livigno’s sixth year had runners on a 33-kilometer (20 miles) course with 2,700 meters (8,860 feet) of elevation gain. The course is typically technical, but somewhat ironically started on a six-lane blue rubber track.
Both race winners doubled back from last weekend’s Golden Trail Series contest, and greatly improved their week-over-week finish place. For men’s champ Christian Mathys (Switzerland), that meant seventh last weekend and first this weekend. He did it in 3:50 and led the entire way. Manuel Merillas (Spain) and Pascal Buchs (Switzerland) were second and third in 3:54 and 4:00, respectively.
Just like men’s winner Mathys, Denisa Dragomir (Romania) was working on short recovery. She finished outside of the top 10 last weekend, but found the right gears here on a longer course with more climbing. Dragomir finished in 4:38, and that really dominated the women’s competition.
Eli Anne Dvergsdal (Norway) was second in 4:57 and Rosanna Buchauer (Germany) was third in 5:02.
The next Skyrunner World Series race is the June 26 Kaiserkrone Skyrace in Austria.
Six Days in the Dome — Milwaukee, Wisconsin
There were several races within a race at the indoor track Six Days in the Dome event, but the biggest going in was to be Taggart VanEtten’s 100-mile world record attempt. The ultra newcomer ran 11:32 for 100 miles on a treadmill in May, and was targeting a sub-11-hour run here for the same distance. He split 7:06 for 61 miles before stopping the attempt. Just after 50 miles, VanEtten’s pace started to falter.
Simultaneously, U.S. 24-hour team member Nick Coury ran 13:21 for 100 miles, and Alex Ramsey and Angie Darbyson won the 24-hour races with 129 and 128 miles, respectively.
Olivier Leblond and Marisa Lizak both totaled 220 miles atop the 48-hour rankings.
The six-day race is just underway and will continue through June 26.
Mount Washington Road Race — Gorham, New Hampshire
“There’s only one hill,” they joke about the Mount Washington Road Race, but that one hill goes 4,650 feet up over 7.6 miles and with a maximum 22% grade. The mountain summit stands 6,288 feet above sea level. This year’s race marked 60 years, and they split the contest between two days to thin the individual fields.
A day after the elite women, Joe Gray raced up first in 1:01. Gray was first and second in a pair of races at last weekend’s GoPro Mountain Games, and just like there, he has some history with the race. Gray’s Mount Washington streak includes wins in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. He won $1,000 for this year’s first-place finish.
Eric Blake, who won in 2019 and in 2013 when he beat Gray, was second this year in 1:03, and Lee Berube was third in 1:04.
Racing on Saturday, Kim Dobson returned to her familiar uphill type-two fun, and to a familiar race too. Dobson won in 1:11, and that adds to wins in 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, and 2018.
Ashley Brasovan summited in 1:14 for second, and Samantha Diaz was another minute back in 1:15 for third.
Montane Summer Spine Race — Edale, United Kingdom
The Montane Spine Race is more well known for its winter edition, and the challenging weather that the 268-mile point-to-point adventure then brings. In 2018 though, a summer version started for the 268-mile race and the 108-mile Summer Spine Challenger run, and then this year a 45-mile Summer Spine Sprint was added too.
Niki Worrall set the inaugural year Summer Sprint record at 7:30. He was over an hour ahead of everyone else, but Mark Potts was even more dominant on the longer Challenger course. Potts’s 24:34 finish put him three hours of ahead of second place, and this was despite it being his first time racing over 55 miles.
The 268-mile Spine race is still happening, and it’s been a battle. Eoin Keith (Ireland) and James Leavesley are atop the tracker, but doing it across two different waves. Keith is in front then, but Leavesley has been recording quicker splits.
The women’s Summer Sprint race had staggered starts, so it’s unknown if the finish was really that close, but only three seconds separated Sara Abbott and Sue Straw atop the finish charts. Both ran 9:54, with Abbott barely in front. Victoria Morris won the 108-mile Summer Spine Challenger distance in 32:20, and in the 268-mile Summer Spine event, Anna Troup leads by over five hours, 21 hours into the contest.
Additional Races and Runs
Monte Rosa Skymarathon —Alagna, Italy
Racing on terrain so technical—think snowy and glaciated—that teams of two have to rope up to guard against falls, William Boffelli (Italy) and Nadir Maguet (Italy) beat a competitive international field in 4:45. Lina and Sanna El Kott (Sweden) won the women’s race in 6:22. Full results.
Maraton Via Transilvanica — Romania
It’s actually just shy of the true marathon distance, but perennial UTMB contender Robert Hajnal (Romania) sped through the trail course in 3:07. Women’s winner Viorica Malai was seventh overall in 3:37. The event also had a 160k (100 miles) contest and that distance was won by Adrian Costea and Eva Hochbauer in 23:29 and 38:48. Full results.
U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials – Eugene, Oregon
Both Grayson Murphy and Allie Ostrander raced the preliminary round of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials on the new Hayward Field track. Murphy ran another personal best, 9:25, and was third overall, first in her heat, and Ostrander was sixth in 9:35 in that same heat, and both advanced to the finals. Full results.
Bighorn 100 Mile — Dayton, Wyoming
Fourth at the Black Canyon 100k earlier this year, Tyler Fox was a near-miss for a Western States 100 entry, if that was even his goal. He more than made up for any perceived loss though at the rugged Bighorn 100 Mile. Fox won the out-and-back run in 18:48. Maria Sylte led the women’s race in 25:32, and only 22 minutes split the women’s podium. Sarah Riordan was second in 25:43 and Kristina Pattison was third in 25:54. Full results.
Leadville Trail Marathon — Leadville, Colorado
Race local Noah Williams triumphed in the Leadville Trail Marathon men’s race in 3:35. Brittany Charboneau, nicknamed the “Funny Runner,” won the trip up and down Mosquito Pass for the women in 4:14. She was 12 minutes better than second place and hoisted a prize pick axe upward on the finisher’s podium. Charboneau won the race’s half marathon distance in 2019. Full results.
Next Weekend — Western States 100 — Auburn, California
It’s a mostly U.S. men’s field with Jim Walmsley and Jared Hazen, the 2019 first- and second-place finishers, expected to be challenged by race rookies Tim Tollefson and Hayden Hawks, among others. Eight of the 2019 top-10 men are all expected back on the starting line.
The women’s race looks similar, though perhaps more intriguing. Eight of the 2019 top-10 finishers will return, headlined by Clare Gallagher and Brittany Peterson. Both ran all-time top-10 marks last time out, but British runner Beth Pascall’s dominant Canyons 100k run earlier this year spiked her odds. One-hundred-mile debutante Ruth Croft (New Zealand) should be there early—and probably late—too.
Emma Roca, Rest in Peace
“A mother, wife, runner, adventure racer, firefighter, and scientist, Emma was a remarkable person,” iRunFar Editor-in-Chief Bryon Powell wrote of Emma Roca. She died from cancer on June 18 at age 47. Powell included those words in a foreword added to a December 2020 interview with Roca. Within the U.S., Roca, who was from Catalunya, Spain, had wins and podium finishes across races like Western States 100, Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile, Hardrock 100, and the Leadville Trail 100 Mile.
Call for Comments
It’s across much of the world, and race frequency is increasing. That means there’s a lot out there that we didn’t highlight, and so we lean on our readers for some adds in the comments section.