This Week In Running: May 20, 2024

This Week in Running’s trail and ultra recap for May 20, 2024.

By on May 20, 2024 | Comments

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRMonte, montée, and mountains are part of this week’s highlight reel and with race distances from 1,500 meters up to 106 miles. Races in Europe, in particular, shined this weekend.

Ultra-Trail Australia by UTMB – Katoomba, Australia

The event is the country’s biggest with nearly 7,000 runners across its four race distances. The courses are in the Blue Mountains National Park.

UTA 100k

The 100-kilometer race came in at 62.7 miles and 14,829 feet of elevation gain. It finishes with a notorious uphill section of 951 stairs to the finish.

Michael Dimuantes (Australia) blew everyone out in the men’s race. He finished in 9:01. The next three finishers came in under 10 hours, but weren’t close to the race winner. Shaun Pettit (U.K.) and Josef McGrath (Australia) were second and third, respectively, in 9:55 and 9:56.

Women’s race winner Beth McKenzie (U.S., lives in Australia) was in front from the jump. She finished first 10:41. In February 2024, McKenzie was second at the Tarawera by UTMB 102k. Lucy Bartholomew (Australia) and Stephanie Auston (Australia) podiumed with 11:00 and 11:11 marks.

[From 2016 to 2018, Beth McKenzie (née Gerdes) served a two-year doping sanction after testing positive at the 2016 Ironman Australia for ostarine, a prohibited selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM).]

Michael Dimuantes - 2024 Ultra-Trail Australia 100k - first man - Photo Tim Bardsley-Smith

Michael Dimuantes winning the 2024 Ultra-Trail Australia 100k. Photo: Tim Bardsley-Smith

UTA 50k

The 50k race packed in 8,011 feet of climbing across its 30 miles of distance. It was close at the top of the men’s race with Charlie Hamilton (Australia) edging out David Haunschmidt (New Zealand) by just over two minutes. The frontrunners finished in 3:57 and 3:59, respectively. Clément Durance (France) was third in 4:05.

The top women ran close too. Race victor Kate Avery (U.K.) was less than three minutes ahead of second-place Sarah-Jayne Miller (Australia) with 4:46 and 4:49 finishes, and Margie Campbell (Australia) was third in 4:52.

Full results.

Runners on course - 2024 UTA50k

Runners on course during the 2024 UTA50k. Photo: Tim Bardsley-Smith

Skyrace Gorges du Tarn – Ste Enimee, France

The year’s fourth Skyrunner World Series contest went for 24k and with 1,800 meters of elevation gain. That’s nearly 15 miles and 5,905 feet of up. The course was in and around the Tarn Gorges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it was the race’s 22nd year.

As with many Skyrunning races, and other shorter trail races, Spanish runners dominated. They took five of the six podium spots across the men’s and women’s races.

Roberto Delorenzi (Switzerland) moved to three for four on this year’s Skyrunner World Series. Delorenzi won the year’s first two races, was fifth in the third contest, and then had a bounce-back win at this one. He finished first in the men’s race in 2:19:26, and that was a new men’s course record. Spanish runners Antonio Martínez and Ïu Net were second and third in 2:20:30 and 2:20:52.

Spanish women swept the podium, each finishing almost three minutes apart. Oihana Kortazar crossed first for the women in 2:51:58, and Julia Font and Carrodilla Cabestre were second and third in 2:54:47 and 2:57:55, respectively. As with men’s winner Delorenzi, Kortazar led for the entirety of the race and set a new course record too.

Full results.

Carrodilla Cabestre - 2024 Skyrace Gorges du Tarn - third woman

Carrodilla Cabestre running her way to third at the 2024 Skyrace Gorges du Tarn. Photo: Antton Guaresti

Trail Alsace Grand Est by UTMB – Obernai, France

Only in its second year, the event brought in 6,000 runners from 65 countries for its four race distances. There were 20 castles on the medieval course in northeastern France.

The event’s longest race — 106 miles with 20,669 feet of gain — took off at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, with knights on horseback leading the way.

Sébastien Spehler (France) didn’t have far to go far. Spehler is local to the race’s starting point, and used it for his first 100-mile finish. Spehler went the distance in 17:24, finishing first for the men and setting a new men’s course record. The rest of the podium was all French too. Florian Pierre and Clément Desille were second and third in 18:17 and 18:51.

Jenny Josefsson (Sweden) was victorious against the women’s group with a 24:04 finish time. Francesca Canepa (Italy) and Isabelle Wasmes (Belgium) were next in 26:35 and 29:10.

Full results.

Seb Spehler - 2024 Trail Alsace Grand Est - first man

Seb Spehler winning the 2024 Trail Alsace Grand Est, his first 100-mile finish. Photo: Trail Alsace Grand Est by UTMB

Monte Zerbion Skyrace – Pennine Alps, Italy

Skyrace 22k

Only 19 seconds separated men’s race winner Nadir Maguet (Italy) from runner-up Gianluca Ghiano (Italy). The two finished in 1:59:32 and 1:59:51, respectively.

Martina Cumerlato (Italy) soared through the women’s race in 2:37:23.

Vertical KM

The race climbed 2,200 meters (7,218 feet) over nine kilometers and was part of the International Skyrunning Federation’s VK Open series.

Alex Oberbacher (Italy) topped out first for the men in 1:18:55, followed next by Werner Marti (Switzerland) and Alex Déjanaz (Italy) in 1:22:21 and 1:24:37.

Maude Mathys (Switzerland) climbed up in 1:32:07 for the women’s win, and after that, it was Gerardi versus Ghirardi. Hillary Gerardi (U.S.) beat Corinna Ghirardi (Italy) for second, 1:40:19 to 1:41:34.

[In 2015, Maude Mathys received a warning without suspension from the Disciplinary Chamber for Doping Cases of Swiss Olympic for two positive tests for clomifene (previously clomiphene) after it was determined that she was mistakenly taking the drug without first obtaining a World Anti-Doping Agency Therapeutic Use Exemption.]

Full results.

Additional Races and Runs

Montée du Ventoux – Bedoin, France

It was the 12th year for the 18k up-and-down race, a partner event for the World Mountain Running Association. Andréa Rostan (Italy) and Laure Anne Ferrent (France) rallied to 1:30:34 and 2:02:37 winning times for the men’s and women’s races, respectively. Full results.

Kolitza Balmatrail – Balmaseda, Spain

The race was 12k up 720 meters and Patrick Kipngeno (Kenya) and Joyce Muthoni Njeru (Kenya) won and set new course records in 49:07 and 60:24, for the men and women. The old records were Marco De Gasperi (Italy) in 50:42 dating to 2008 and Oihana Kortazar (Spain) in 63:03 from 2022. Full results (when available).

Sun Mountain – Winthrop, Washington

Thomas Kean and Alexa Johnston won the 50-mile men’s and women’s races in 8:19 and 8:54, and Craig Fowler and Mary Fetter were tops in the 50k in 3:54 and 4:42. Full results.

Bishop High Sierra – Bishop, California

The event is in the foothills of the eastern Sierra Nevada, mostly above 7,000 feet. There were just 16 finishers in the 100k. Nathanael Heyman was first man in 12:27 and Liz Wigylus was first woman and first overall in 11:58. Jeff Kozak and Lake Franklin were 50-mile winners in 8:18 and 9:19; it’s believed this was Jeff’s eighth win in 15 runnings of the BHS 50 Mile. Moving on down to the 53k, it was was Zachary Sonoga and Olivia Lackland-Henry who won in 4:51 and 5:06. Full results.

Olivia Lackland-Henry - 2024 Bishop High Sierra 53k - first woman

Olivia Lackland-Henry having just won the 2024 Bishop High Sierra 53k. Photo: Todd Vogel

USATF LA Grand Prix – Los Angeles, California

Track season is in full gear for two of trail running’s speedier runners. Anna Gibson ran 4:08:06 to finish ninth in the women’s 1,500-meter “B” heat, and Lauren Gregory ran 15:22 to win the women’s 5,000-meter “B” heat. Gibson took part in last year’s Golden Trail World Series, and Gregory ran on the 2022 U.S. Mountain Running Team. Full results.

Silver State – Reno, Nevada

Running at Rancho San Rafael Park in northwest Reno, Tom Sullivan and Dia Davis won the 50 miler in 6:45 and 9:38, for the men and women, respectively. Sullivan’s mark is the race’s second-best ever. The 50k men’s and women’s winners Darren Thomas and Abigail Swift finished in 3:44 and 4:48 and both marks too are also the race’s second-best ever. Full results.

Bryce Canyon Ultras – Bryce Canyon, Utah

Just outside the race’s namesake national park, Art Hurtado and Lauri Brindley won the 100 miler in 19:42 and 26:01. Nate Jewkes and Lauren Kersjes were best in the 50 miler in 7:41 and 9:21, and Daniel Jones (New Zealand) and Jackie Hendrickson ran the 50k the fastest in 4:19 and 5:46. Full results.

Samson’s Revenge 55k – Estes Park, Colorado

The race is named for a celebrity bull elk illegally poached on the race course in 1995. Kyle Fulmer was first man in 6:29, but Amanda Ax won overall and was first woman in 6:24. Full results.

Amanda Ax - 2024 Samson's Revenge 55k - first woman

Amanda Ax on her way to winning the 2024 Samson’s Revenge 55k overall and the women’s race. Photo: Colleen Sovey

Kyle Fulmer - 2024 Samson's Revenge 55k - first man

Kyle Fulmer running the 2024 Samson’s Revenge 55k. Photo: Colleen Sovey

Ram Party – Colorado Springs, Colorado

The party had three ultra distances. Across 55 miles, Tucker Melles and Salynda Heinl won in 9:19 and 9:54. Alex Walker for the men finished just ahead of women’s winner Corinne Shalvoy in the 60k at 5:30 and 5:33, and Gary Messina and Brit Kocman floored the 50k in 3:35 and 4:38. Full results.

Superior Spring Trail Race 50k – Lutsen, Minnesota 

Scott Wopata and Cheryl Matson sped through the Superior Hiking Trail course with 4:25 and 5:26 winning times. Full results.

Yamacraw 40 Mile – Stearns, Kentucky

The race goes point to point through the Daniel Boone National Forest to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. There are several waterfalls and two big water crossings on the way. Michael Uhlig and Cassandra Campanella did it the fastest with 6:57 and 8:25 finish times in the men’s and women’s races. Full results.

Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile – Fort Valley, Virginia 

The race dates back 28 years on a course through the George Washington National Forest in the Shenandoah Valley. Stephen Knight and Justyna Wilson won in 20:59 and 23:22, respectively. Full results.

Quest for the Crest 50k – Burnsville, North Carolina

The Run Bum race goes point to point with three major climbs to pack in 12,000 feet of elevation gain. That’s a ton, and this is one of North America’s most challenging 50k races. Lukas Burrer won a tight men’s race against Marek Simko, 7:50 to 7:53, and Kate Dohnal was the fastest woman in 9:49. The Run Bum himself, race director Sean Blanton, won the accompanying 25k alongside Anja Conlon in 3:16 and 3:58. Full results.

Fort Yargo Ultra – Winder, Georgia

Ryan Snowden and Carol Liu ripped through the two-loop state park course in 4:14 and 4:59. Full results.

Cruel Jewel – Blue Ridge, Georgia

The long course goes for 104 miles way down yonder through the Chattahoochee National Forest, and Ben Quatromoni and Sarah Ostaszewski won for the men and women. The two winners both set new course records in 21:41 and 24:50. The 50-mile champs Drew Antonisse and Abigail West finished in 10:49 and 12:15, respectively. Full results.

Keys Ultras – Key West, Florida

The races run point to point through the islands. Rafael Cuza Villarreal and Odara Sousa Sa took top honors for the men and women in the 100 miler in 20:44 and 22:33. Yianni Babiolakis and Emily Sidor were best in the 50 miler at 9:03 and 12:42, and Alberto Grande and Whitney Dancaster led the 50k in 4:58 and 5:50. Full results.

Call for Comments

Alright, what do you have to share from your weekend of running? You know what to do in the comments section.

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.