International trail racing is back! Transgrancanaria is the year’s first big international race. Spain dominated the men’s podium, and a more diverse group led the women’s top three. We go deep on Transgrancanaria, highlight California’s Way Too Cool 50k, and a new 50k world record set by South Africa’s Stephen Mokoka, among other fun.
Transgrancanaria – Gran Canaria, Spain
There’s not a lot of winter trail racing in Europe, but the proximity of the Canary Islands to Africa helps jumpstart the Old World calendar. It was the 20th year for Transgrancanaria, and the 126-kilometer (78-mile) island crossing marked the start of year two for the Spartan Trail World Championships series. The race’s 11:00 p.m. start time combined with nighttime rain and a heat-soaked finish added to this year’s challenge. iRunFar covered the race separately, as well.
Ragna Debats (The Netherlands, lives in Spain) has been at the top of mountain running for several years, but she’s increasingly stepped up in distance, and she ran away from the women’s field in the second half.
Debats just missed a sub-16-hour finish as she clutched the finish tape overhead officially in 16:00:14. Abby Hall (USA) kept her rise to the sport’s upper ranks going, finishing second in 16:21, and Claudia Tremps (Spain), last year’s runner-up, was third in 16:45.
The rest of the women’s top 10 included:
4 – Kathrin Götz (Switzerland) – 17:05
5 – Eszter Csillag (Hungary) – 17:15
6 – Lucie Jamsin (France) – 17:21
7 – Martina Potrc (Slovenia) – 17:35
8 – Kaytlyn Gerbin (USA) – 18:06
9 – Sophie Grant (U.K.) – 18:42
10 – Shari Wilken (Germany) – 19:16
Transgrancanaria is a big event, and included a few other competitive race distances too.
In the 62k Advanced race, Ariane Wilhelm (Switzerland) led Johanna Antila (Finland) and Leah Yingling (USA). The podium finishers clocked 6:06, 6:10, and 6:35, respectively.
Sara Alonso (Spain) won a close marathon race in 3:30. Toni McCann (South Africa) and Anna Comet (Spain) were right there in 3:34 and 3:37.
Pablo Villa (Spain) made a second-half charge to break open a pack that also included Pau Capell (Spain) and Pere Aurell (Spain). Villa tied with Capell at the race’s 2020 finish, but he was all alone with a first-place 13:37 result this year. Capell, returning from serious injury, overtook Aurell on a late downhill to finish second in 13:58, and Aurell was third in 14:12.
The rest of the men’s top 10 included:
4 – Baptiste Chassagne (France) – 14:17
5 – Robert Hajnal (Romania) – 14:44
6 – Ricardo Luis Trujillo (Spain) – 14:46
7 – Didrik Hermansen (Norway) – 14:49
8 – Kristaps Magone (Latvia) – 14:52
9 – Estanislao Rivero Garcia (Spain) – 14:52
10 – Clement Desille (France) – 15:09
Tom Evans (U.K.), similar to Capell in that he’s also coming back from injury, won the 62k race in 5:10. He was 10 minutes better than second-place Aritz Egea (Spain). Mathieu Delpeuch (France) was third in 5:31.
The men’s marathon went to Sebastian Lungdahl (Sweden) in 3:02. Marten Bostrom (Finland) was second in 3:05, and Antonio Martinez (Spain) was third in 3:08.
The next Spartan Trail World Championships race is the Patagonia Run in Argentina in April, and Pau Capell has shared that he’ll be there.
Nedbank #Runified 50k – Gqeberha, South Africa
Racing on a 10k loop, the race was set up to chase records. World Athletics recently began recognizing 50k world records.
Amelework Fikadu Bosho (Ethiopia) finished in 3:04:58, just missing the 3:04:24 mark run by Irvette van Zyl (South Africa) at last year’s race, what is the women’s 50k world record for a women’s only race. Des Linden (USA) set the women’s 50k world record for a mixed-gender race at 2:59:54 last year.
Shelmith Muriuki (Kenya) was second in 3:08, and van Zyl, the 2021 winner, was third in 3:13.
Stephen Mokoka (South Africa), a three-time Olympian, ran 2:40:13 to break the men’s 50k world record. He was almost two minutes better than Ketema Negasa’s (Ethiopia) record from last year. Mokoka did it with a negative split. He’s run as fast as 2:07 for the marathon and under an hour for the half marathon. iRunFar covered Mokoka’s world record performance in greater detail.
Tete Dijana (South Africa) was second in 2:44, and Edward Mothibi (South Africa) was third in 2:45.
Way Too Cool 50k – Cool, California
The popular, point-to-point Way Too Cool 50k celebrated its 32nd year, back after missing the 2021 race.
Collegiate cross-country coach EmKay Sullivan took the women’s crown in 3:45. Also an Olympic Marathon Trials participant, Sullivan was fourth here in 2019 in 4:04. Ashley Brasovan paced to second in 3:54, and Tabor Scholl was a distant third in 4:09.
Tim Tollefson beat a group of challengers to win the men’s race. Tollefson closed in 3:13, and no one was closer than three minutes. He’ll be back in June for the Western States 100 on some of these same trails.
Triathlete-turned-trail runner Eli Hemming was second in 3:16, and Ryan Becker was third in 3:18. Darren Thomas, the race’s 2020 winner, was another minute away in fourth at 3:19.
Additional Races and Runs
Iditarod Trail Invitational – McGrath, Alaska
Some 350 miles long, one way, in winter in Alaska, the Iditarod Trail Invitational is a challenge. Faye Norby and Thierry Corbarieu finished first in 6 days, 13 hours, 18 minutes, and 5 days, 19 hours, 44 minutes, respectively. Joshua Brown leads the incredibly long 1,000-mile foot race with 316 miles done. Full results.
Montana De Oro 50k – Los Osos, California
Jade Belzberg and Gabriel Vajente championed the race in 4:46 and 4:40. Full results.
Mesquite Canyon 50 Mile – Waddell, Arizona
Aravaipa Running’s 50-mile wins went to Ashley Durstine and Frederick Farmer in 10:26 and 8:36, and Sarah Hodges and Aaron Barber won the 50k in 6:25 and 4:44. Full results.
Super Bull Championships 50k – Wooster, Ohio
Tara Dower and Alex Gold won this one in 4:45 and 4:11. Full results.
Naked Bavarian – Leesport, Pennsylvania
This race held 40-mile and 20-mile races around Blue Marsh Lake. Stephanie Kershner and Caleb Bowen won the long course in 6:46 and 5:01, and Ellie Pell and Benjamin Linne won the 20-mile race in 2:36 and 2:13, respectively. Full results.
Ozark Highlands 50k – Norfork, Arkansas
Sarah Mercer and Joe Lyons were the best on the course at 6:09 and 5:09, respectively. Full results.
Monument Valley Ultra – Monument Valley, Utah
Brianna Russell and Timberlin Henderson won the super-scenic 50-mile race held on Diné lands in 9:26 and 7:57, and Linda Romero and Gregorio Aiello (Switzerland) won the 50k in 5:12 and 5:02. Full results.
No Man’s 50k – Triangle, Virginia
The name fits, this was an all-female 50k. Steph Hill was first in 5:10. Full results.
Gate River Run – Jacksonville, Florida
The race was again the USATF 15k road national championships. Against a deep field, Andy Wacker was 31st in 46:05. He ran 1:06:45 for third six days earlier at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon too. Full results.
Call for Comments
- What’s coming up that’s got you excited for spring?
- How long does winter last in your neck of the woods?