This Week In Running: May 1, 2023

This Week In Running’s trail and ultra recap for May 1, 2023.

By on May 1, 2023 | Comments

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRIt was another big weekend. The Canyons by UTMB leveled up, the Sunapee Scramble went up and down in serving as the USATF Mountain Running Championships, and the Marathon des Sables wrapped up.

Also happening were the Calamorro Skyrace in Spain, and the Swedish 24-Hour Championships. Phew, grab a cup of coffee for this one!

USATF Mountain Running Championships – Sunapee Scramble – Sunapee, New Hampshire

The first-year Sunapee Scramble was both the vertical and classic up/down USATF Mountain Running Championships, and a U.S. teams qualifier for both of those disciplines. The national teams will race at the Trail and Mountain Running World Championships in June in Austria, and there was $6,500 in prize money too.

USATF Vertical Mountain Championships

iRunFar separately covered the greater race dynamics.

The Saturday race went four miles up Mount Sunapee, gaining 1,900 feet. Allie McLaughlin, the 2022 World Mountain Running Championships Uphill race champion, already had a spot on the U.S. women’s team for this year’s worlds, and so the top-four men and the top-three women earned team spots.


It was the U.S. championships, but Canadian Alexandre Ricard stole the show and led everyone with a 32:12 finish. That meant that the next U.S. four finishers gained team spots. Ricard was 10th at last year’s World Mountain Running Championships Uphill race.

Joseph Gray was second, first American, in 32:23. Gray’s history at the top of the U.S. ranks remains incredible, and it was his 23rd national championships across multiple distances and disciplines. Gray was sixth in the last year’s World Mountain Running Championships Uphill race.

Alexandre Ricard and Joseph Gray - 2023 USATF Vertical Mountain Championships - men's winner and national champ

Alexandre Ricard (foreground) the 2023 Sunapee Scramble Vertical Race men’s winner, and Joseph Gray (background) the 2023 USATF Vertical Mountain Championships winner. Photo: Joe Viger

Dan CurtsEddie Owens, and Garrett Corcoran followed in 32:28, 32:40, and 32:43 as the third through fifth overall finishers. It’ll be Curts’s second-straight year on the U.S. men’s vertical team. Owens ran 2:13 at the December 2022 California International Marathon, and Corcoran won last year’s JFK 50 Mile.

  1. Alexandre Ricard (Canada) – 32:12
  2. Joseph Gray – 32:23
  3. Dan Curts – 32:28
  4. Eddie Owens – 32:40
  5. Garrett Corcoran – 32:43


Grayson Murphy missed most of last year’s trail season with injury, but she absolutely crushed the women’s race. Her 35:47 finish was almost five minutes better than everyone else. Murphy won the 2019 World Mountain Running Championships.

Grayson Murphy - 2023 USATF Vertical Mountain Championships - women's winner

Grayson Murphy on her way to winning the 2023 USATF Vertical Mountain Championships. Photo: Joe Viger

Second, and on the team for the second-straight year, Rachel Tomajczyk finished in 40:28. Nordic ski ace Alexandra Lawson took the last team spot with third in 41:03. Canadian Karley Rempel took fourth in 42:13, and Laurel Moyer finished fifth in 42:28 run.

Last year’s world champion in this race category Allie McLaughlin sat this one out, having already secured her team place, and 2022 team member Lauren Gregory missed the race with injury.

1 – Grayson Murphy – 35:47
2 – Rachel Tomajczyk – 40:28
3 – Alexandra Lawson – 41:03
4 – Karley Rempel (Canada, lives in the U.S.) – 42:13
5 – Laurel Moyer – 42:28

USATF Mountain Running Championships

Sunday’s race put the top-four men and women on the U.S. team for this year’s classic up/down world championships races. It was a two-lap race with 3,400 feet of elevation gain that went a bit under nine miles in distance. iRunFar detailed the classic up/down race earlier too.


Curts doubled back and flipped things on Ricard. Curts won in 1:01:04 and Ricard took second in 1:02:43. Assuming he accepts both team spots, that means Curts is on two U.S. teams for worlds.

Morgan Elliott gained a measure of revenge. Fifth American a day earlier and just off the U.S. team, he raced to third overall, second American, in this race with 1:02:51 on the clock.

Liam Meirow, a sub-14-minute 5,000-meter runner on the track, finished just behind Elliott in the vertical race and again followed. This time though he was third American at 1:03:16.

Canadian Remi Léroux broke up the American string and was fifth in 1:03:26 and Owens, like Curts, gained a second U.S. team in sixth at 1:03:27.

Daniel Curts - 2023 USATF Mountain Running Championships winner

Daniel Curts on his way to winning the 2023 USATF Mountain Running Championships. Photo: Joe Viger

  1. Daniel Curts (USA) – 1:01:04
  2. Alexandre Ricard (Canada) – 1:02:43
  3. Morgan Elliott – 1:02:51
  4. Liam Meirow – 1:03:16
  5. Remi Léroux (Canada) – 1:03:26
  6. Eddie Owens – 1:03:37


Murphy doubled back in the classic up/down race, and world-class Allie McLaughlin stepped into the race as a potential rival. McLaughlin won respective gold and bronze in the 2022 World Mountain Running Championships Uphill and World Mountain Running Championships Up and Down races.

It wasn’t that close though and Murphy took her second national championships of the weekend, running 1:08:56 to McLaughlin’s 1:11:53.

Tomajczyk picked up a second U.S. team with a third-place 1:16:35, and Kasie Enman, World Mountain Running Championships winner back in 2011, was fourth in 1:16:40.

Grayson Murphy - 2023 USATF Mountain Running Championships winner

Grayson Murphy, 2023 USATF Mountain Running Championships winner. Photo: Joe Viger

  1. Grayson Murphy – 1:08:56
  2. Allie McLaughlin – 1:11:53
  3. Rachel Tomajczyk – 1:16:35
  4. Kasie Enman – 1:16:40
  5. Megan Lacey – 1:17:05

Full results.

Canyons by UTMB – Auburn, California

iRunFar earlier reported on the 100-mile and 1000-kilometer races.

Some 1,900 runners were split between the race’s multiple distances. High country snow changed the historical courses and all race distances instead finished in downtown Auburn. The 100k was a Golden Ticket race with two automatic entries to the Western States 100 up for grabs.

100 Mile

The men’s podium ran international, and the women’s podium required an “A” as a first initial.

Can-Hua Luo, of China, went to the lead early, and then Mathieu Clément, from Switzerland, joined him there and the two stayed together until the final strides. They sprinted it out and Clément finished two-tenths of a second in front of Luo. Both were credited with 17:05 finishes.

Canyon Woodward ran a strong second half to get back on the podium in third at 17:46.

Mathieu Clement and Can-Hua Luo - 2023 Canyons by UTMB 100 Mile

Mathieu Clément outsprints Can-Hua Luo in the home stretch of the 2023 Canyons by UTMB 100 Mile. Photo: Patrick McDermott – Getty Images for Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB

Alyssa ClarkAlexis Crellin, and Annie Hughes finished on the women’s podium with closing times of 20:13, 20:55, and 21:26, respectively. The trio held those positions for most of the race. Clark won the 2023 HURT 100 Mile and last year’s Moab 240 Mile, a race that Hughes won in 2021.

Alyssa Clark - 2023 Canyons by UTMB 100 Mile champion

Alyssa Clark, 2023 Canyons by UTMB 100 Mile champion. Photo: Patrick McDermott – Getty Images for Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB


Cole Watson and Adam Merry earned prized Western States 100 Golden Tickets with their first- and second-place 8:34 and 8:50 finishes. Merry just passed third-place Justin Grunewald in the final stretch, and Grunewald ran 8:53.

Cole Watson - 2023 Canyons by UTMB 100k champion

Cole Watson wins the 2023 Canyons by UTMB 100k. Photo: Patrick McDermott – Getty Images for Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB

Ida Nilsson, from Sweden but living in Norway, similarly earned a long-wanted Western States 100 Golden Ticket in leading the women’s race in 9:51. It was close with Canada’s Priscilla Forgie and Spain’s Aroa Sio running 10:00 and 10:11 for second and third, respectively. We understand Forgie is still considering whether she’ll accept the Golden Ticket.

Ida Nilsson - 2023 Canyons by UTMB 100k champion

Ida Nilsson wins the 2023 Canyons by UTMB 100k. Photo: Patrick McDermott – Getty Images for Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB


A big field of 457 finished the 50k.

Hayden Hawks overtook Jeshurun Small on the final climb to win in 3:32, two minutes better than Small. Eric LiPuma was third in 3:45.

Women’s winner Heather Jackson kept her trail success going. The former triathlon pro won in 4:09 and this follows a second-place finish at February’s Black Canyon 100k. Caitriona Jennings, from Ireland but lives in Hong Kong, edged EmKay Sullivan for runner-up honors by only three seconds. Both clocked 4:17.

Full results.

Marathon des Sables – Sahara Desert, Morocco

iRunFar earlier covered the seven-day, five-stage race that stretches some 150 miles.


This year’s race will most be remembered for Moroccan nine-time champion Rachid El Morabity dropping from the race after receiving a penalty for outside assistance on the race’s fourth stage. El Morabity was second overall at that point. You can read our in-depth news article on this story for more.

It might not have mattered though, as younger brother Mohamed El Morabity already held the race lead at that point and ultimately won in 19:19.

Mohamed El Morabity - 2023 Marathon des Sables

Mohamed El Morabity on his way to winning the 2023 Marathon des Sables. Photo: iRunFar/Jon Bromley

Even after such a long distance and across nearly a week of running, it was close with second-place Aziz Yachou, of Morocco, running 19:29.

France’s Matthieu Blanchard was third in 21:21.


The women’s race was marked by some in-race excitement too. Ragna Debats, of The Netherlands but lives in Spain, the race’s 2019 winner, won each of the first three stages, but struggled mightily on the long 90k fourth stage. She trudged across that stage in 21:34, almost 10 hours back of the stage winner. That left her off the podium and vaulted France’s Maryline Nakache to victory. Nakache was second on each of the first four stages and then won stage five for a collective 27:02 finish.

Morocco’s Aziza El Amrany and Japan’s Tomoni Bitoh were second and third in 27:53 and 29:39, respectively.

Full results.

Maryline Nakache - 2023 Marathon des Sables

Maryline Nakache, 2023 Marathon des Sables women’s champion. Photo: iRunFar/Jon Bromley


Additional Races and Runs

Calamorro Skyrace – Benalmádena, Spain

The race marked the start of this year’s Skyrunner World Series and happened on a 27k course that gained 2,000 meters across three long climbs and two mountain summits. It happened in unseasonably hot weather. Spain’s Antonio Martínez made a late pass to win and set a new course record in 2:39, and France’s Iris Pessey similarly took the ultimate lead late and won in 3:21. Full results.

Iris Pessey

Iris Pessey on her way to winning the 2023 Calamorro Skyrace. Photo: Brian Sharp

Antonio Martinez

Antonio Martínez, the 2023 Calamorro Skyrace men’s winner. Photo: Brian Sharp

Swedish 24-Hour Championships – Växjö, Sweden

Torbjörn Gyllebring set a new national record at 272.087 kilometers (169.1 miles) and Therese Fredriksson finished just over the world-championships qualifier with 230.931 kilometers (143.5 miles). Full results (when available).

C&O Canal 100 Mile – Knoxville, Maryland

Both Mitch Ables and Brian Zickefoose went under 14 hours with 13:19 and 13:44 finishes, and women’s winner Mackenzie Nolan ran a quick 16:55. Full results.

Ultra Race of Champions – Montebello, Virginia

Nathaniel Orders and Ashley Rancourt were victorious over 100k in 11:32 and 13:42, and Thomas Mockridge and Mary Taylor won the 50k in 4:44 and 5:22. Full results.

Call for Comments

That was a lot! But what else happened this weekend that should be highlighted below in the comments?

Justin Mock

Justin Mock is the This Week In Running columnist for iRunFar. He’s been writing about running for 10 years. Based in Europe, Justin has run as fast as 2:29 for a road marathon and finished as high as fourth in the Pikes Peak Marathon.