This Week In Running: March 14, 2016

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRThe La Sportiva Mountain Cup got underway in California, and the Golden Ticket series continues next weekend in Georgia. Highlights of these events and more are included in this week’s column.

Marin Ultra Challenge – Sausalito, California

Down from its usual 10-race schedule, this year’s La Sportiva Mountain Cup includes six events across six different states. Inside Trail’s Marin Ultra Challenge 25k was the year’s first.

In the men’s race, David Roche made it two victories in as many weeks. Finishing in 1:33:20, Roche led the first four men under Galen Burrell‘s event record from last year. Due to wind and rain during race week, the course was, however, altered from previous years.

It was again Roche’s from-the-gun racing strategy that propelled him forward.

“After [last week’s] Way Too Cool, I felt great but had the post-ultra horror stories of long-term recovery issues fresh in my mind. I went out hard over the first few uphill miles and faded even harder over the last few downhills,” the race winner commented. “I was very lucky the race wasn’t one or two miles longer, or I would have almost certainly gotten gobbled up.” Roche earned a $1,000 first-place cash prize, presented in the form of oversized check.

David Roche - 2016 Marin Ultra Challenge champion

David Roche, 2016 Marin Ultra Challenge champion. Photo: Tad Davis

Bay Area standouts Daniel MetzgerCraig SchmidtIvan Medina, and Sam Robinson followed in succession. The group finished in 1:34:09, 1:35:18, 1:26:41, 1:41:28, and 1:42:55.

2015 U.S. Junior Mountain Running Team member Tayte Pollman was was seventh and recent Sean O’Brien 100k winner Stephen Wassather was eighth.

Former University of California — Santa Barbara Gaucho Daniella Moreno overtook defending Cup champion Maria Dalzot in the women’s race. Moreno, a 16:33 5k runner while in college, finished in 1:46:59 to Dalzot’s 1:48:38. They too were well under last year’s winning time. Maria Malone was third in 1:53:28.

Ryan Neely and Nicole Kalogeropoulos were 50-mile race winners in 6:39 and 8:16. Both times marked new course records, though those courses too were potentially impacted by the weather.

And over 50k, it was Alex Ho and Emily Peterson on top in 4:01 and 4:23, respectively.

Full results.

The next La Sportiva Mountain Cup race Is the April 23 Hyner View Trail Challenge in Pennsylvania.

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race – Nome, Alaska

Though not traditionally within the scope of this column, Alaska’s famed Iditarod sled-dog race is likely of interest to readers. Nicknamed “the last great race on earth,” the race goes point-to-point from Anchorage to Nome over a distance of some 975 miles. Teams typically take nine to 15 days to complete the adventure, while using a team of up to 16 dogs.

This year’s race unfortunately reached national news for the wrong reasons. A drunk snowmobiler, who later confessed, attacked the sled dog teams of Jeff King and Aliy Zirkle, and killed one of King’s dogs, a three-year-old male named Nash.

King won the race’s 2006 edition and Zirkel is a three-time runner-up. Zirkle presently sits fourth in the rankings and King 16th.

On Sunday, defending champion Dallas Seavey overtook his dad, then-leader Mitch Seavey. The elder Seavey led into Shaktoolik, the 754-mile aid station, though it was Dallas who exited aid and rejoined the trail first. Brent Sass and Zirkle would also leave Shaktoolik ahead of Mitch Seavey.

The official race website has excellent coverage as the event continues.

Other Races and Runs

Coming back from long-term injury, David Riddle won the Land Between the Lakes Marathon in 2:48. It was four minutes better than the previous course best. Full results (when available).

In Medina County, Ohio, Buzzard Day is a local holiday, and the Buzzard Day Trail Races had 25k, 50k, and 100k race distances.  Mike Cooper and Beth Gilday won the 100k in 11:00 and 12:55, and in the 50k, it was Corree Woltering and Christa Petryszyn that were victorious with 3:52 and 5:12 runs, respectively. Full results.

The Labor of Love Ultra outside of Las Vegas, Nevada also had several race distances. In the 50 mile, John Oster and Jamie Miller were race winners in 8:52 and 10:04, and in the 50k Mark Jimenez and Serena Gallgher earned the top position with 4:48 and 6:31 finishes. Full results.

Salida, Colorado’s Run Through Time Trail Marathon is a regional favorite with a surprisingly competitive field. Justin Ricks repeated as men’s winner of the marathon, finishing ahead of Timmy Parr. Nick Clark, like Parr a previous winner of this race, was fourth. Mike Aish was rumored to be among the field as well. The full women’s podium remains unclear at present, though Anita Ortiz was second. Seventeen-year-old local Taylor Stack won the men’s half marathon for the third year in a row, finishing in 1:31, and Kim Dobson championed the women’s race in 1:47. Full results (when available).

Breckenridge, Colorado’s The Five Peaks ski-mountaineering race is America’s highest such event. In the long course team event, J. Marshall Thomson teamed with 2015 national team member Rory Kelly to win the men’s race in 3:03. Stevie Kremer and Lindsay Plant were the women’s winners in 3:29. Full results.

America’s Uphill goes 3,000 feet up a ski slope in Aspen, Colorado. Adventure-racing legend Mike Kloser was the men’s winner in 48:26, and Sue King top lady in 56:49. Full results.

Earlier in the week 2015 Junior Mountain Running World Champion Allie Ostrander was featured in a national, mainstream news magazine. At the weekend’s NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships though, her string of successes ended up when she dropped from the 5,000m race with injury. Full results.

Lizzy Hawker completed a giant 200k loop around Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley in 35:39. The route included an estimated 15,000 meters of elevation gain.

Kilian Jornet again treated us to some wild footage of his ski-mountaineering exploits. His Facebook page includes video of the Pierra Menta event in southeastern France. The race included four stages, and Jornet and French teammate Mathéo Jacquemod won each of the four stages. France’s Axelle Mollaret and Laetitia Roux teamed to win the women’s race. They too won each of the four stages. Full results.

Next Weekend – Chuckanut 50k – Fairhaven, Washington

David Laney has won two out of the last three years. In 2013, he upstaged Max King, finished second to King in 2014, and then held off Andrew Benford at last year’s race. Laney will be back for this year’s event, and so too will Benford. 3/14/16 Edit: Neither Laney nor Benford are expected to start this year’s race. Laney most recently ran 2:31 at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon.

The two frontrunners from last year’s race will see challenges from, among others:

  • Ryan Bak –3rd at 2015 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships
  • Yassine Diboun – 3rd at 2016 HURT 100 Mile
  • Matt Flaherty – winner at 2016 Mountain Mist 50k
  • Dan Kraft – 7th at 2015 TNF EC 50 Mile
  • Eric Senseman – 5th at 2016 USATF 50k Road National Championships

Four-time champion Ellie Greenwood headlines the women’s field. Greenwood was most recently second at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. Her top competition will come from the below group:

  • Sarah Bard – 1st at 2015 JFK 50 Mile
  • Keely Henninger – 7th at 2015 TNF EC 50 Mile
  • Catrin Jones – 2nd at 2015 Chuckanut 50k
  • Alissa St. Laurent – 1st at 2015 Cascade Crest 100 Mile

Full entrant list.

Next Weekend – Georgia Death Race 68 Miler – Blairsville, Georgia

The fourth-annual event is the fourth of six Golden Ticket races, awarding an automatic entry to the Western States 100 Mile for its top-two finishers. Top entrants include defending champion Andrew Miller. Since winning last year’s race, then a part of the U.S. Skyrunner Series, the 19-year-old also won the Bighorn 100 Mile race. He’ll be joined in the race by:


  • Dominick Layfield – 2nd at 2015 The Bear 100 Mile
  • Mario Mendoza – 1st at 2015 Moab Trail Marathon
  • Michael Owen – 2nd at 2015 Georgia Death Race
  • Brian Rusiecki – 3rd at 2015 Mountain Masochist 50 Mile
  • Darren Thomas – 1st at 2016 Mount Cheaha 50k


  • Jen Benna – 3rd at 2016 Sean O’Brien 100k
  • Katie Desplinter – 4th at 2015 Angeles Crest 100 Mile
  • Maggie Guterl – 1st at 2015 Brazos Bend 100 Mile
  • Bethany Patterson – 2nd at 2016 Holiday Lake 50k
  • Sarah Woerner – 5th at 2015 Power of Four 50k

Full entrant list.

Call for Comments

  • Is the slimmed-down La Sportiva Mountain Cup an improvement, and one that will lead to more competitive fields?
  • What regional races were overlooked in this week’s column?
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 15 comments

  1. Andrew

    Perhaps Andrew Miller will be a top contender at GDR?

    Strong one that fellow.. and he won last year.

    I’m not him by the way, I’m a different Andrew that will not be a top contender at GDR this year but will have lots and lots of fun none the less :)

      1. Dominick Layfield

        Yeah, Andrew Miller for sure! He not only won GDR last year, but also set the course record at the Bighorn 100. So if he’s in shape, he’s got to be favorite.

        Justin: is your policy not to update your TWIR articles?

        1. Justin Mock

          Hey Dominick, I don’t think I have a real policy, just kind of as time allows. I write on Sunday, and then double back a few times during the week – more on Monday – to check up on the comments. Not opposed to updating, just don’t always get the time.

        2. Meghan Hicks

          Dominick, Bryon and I typically pitch in and update throughout the week, too, when new info becomes available. That said, this week we’ve entered week six of a six-week renovation of our little cabin. I’m just now sitting down to the computer to do a couple hours of computer work after 15 hours of renovation efforts, for example, so we’re a bit absent this week. :) Also, the weeks we cover races live we are sometimes a day or two delayed in helping getting TWIR updated when as are afield working.

    1. Scott

      This kid is truly incredible.
      He’s 19 years old and has won ultras in 4 different states!
      The last person you’d want to overlook at this race.

  2. Greg Veltkamp

    While the Iditarod sled dog race is worthy of mention, it’s too bad you missed mentioning the Iditarod Trail Invitational from 2 weeks ago. A human powered (runners, fat bikers, skiers) race over the first 350 miles of the Iditarod course (also continuing on to Nome if you like). Local Ultrarunner David Johnston finished in 4 days 14 hours – his third time running faster than Steve Reifensthal did in his “unbreakable” record run. True endurance athletes in the frozen North!

    1. Justin Mock

      Thanks, while aware of that event and of Johnston, that was not at all on my radar. Keep these comments coming when something is overlooked.

  3. Bob

    Ellie will also face stiff competition from the ‘up and coming’ recent winner of the ‘Moab Red Hot 55K,’ Brittany Peterson-Goicoechea from Boise, Idaho!

  4. Annie

    Thomas Jefferson 100K in Charlottesville was this past weekend. Race Directors Andy Jones-Wilkins and John Andersen, along with the Charlottesville Area Trail runners put on an outstanding event. Now in its 3rd year, the TJ100K saw course record performances by the top three men and top two women. Nicholas DiPirro and Michael Dubova, both on the Crozet Running Ultra Team tied for first in 10:03 after running together all day. Jason Lantz was third in 10:15. On the women’s side, Megan Stegemiller ran in the lead most of the day and crossed the line in 11:31. It was a hard-earned victory, as runner-up Sarah Colwell was just behind her in 11:34. Mandy Baskin rounded out the podium in 13:57

  5. Scott

    Next weekend the Music City Trail Ultra will feature David Goggins and a local star, Olaf Wasternack (who has a 141 mile 24 hour).

    MCTU was Zach Miller’s first ever ultra. His CR was beat last year by another local standout, Cody Goodwin.

  6. Cary

    Andrew Miller wins Georgia death race in 11:42 with Caleb Denton grabbing second in 12:02 for the other Golden Ticket. Nice run boys!!

    1. Justin Mock

      Hi Zsuzsanna, I looked back through the column trying to see which women’s results were overlooked, but I’m not sure where my error was in this case. I always make a point to try to include both men and women, but in a lot of cases, I pull the results from social media before results are posted to the web and as a result, sometimes don’t have a full view of the race or complete podiums. The comments have been picking up in recent weeks though, so the dialogue to fill any of these gaps is appreciated. Thanks.

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