Hey hey, it’s Memorial Day holiday in the U.S., and that quiets the race volume. It does mark the unofficial start to the Northern Hemisphere summer though, and so I’m queuing up my fave guy Mungo Jerry all day.
MaXi-Race – Annecy, France
In the race’s marquee 88-kilometer distance (55 miles), and on a course that gains 5,000 meters (16,400 feet), Miguel Arsenio (Portugal) toppled the competition and the record books. He squeezed four minutes off the former course best with an 8:40 finish. Arsenio’s on a hot streak. He was second at Transgrancanaria in February to start the year.
Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz (France) and Simon Gosselin (France) followed the race winner in 8:50 and 8:53, respectively.
The women’s race didn’t run as close, and the winner was nearly an hour better than third place. Up front, Fiona Porte (France) dominated in 10:15. She was third in the marathon-distance race here last year. Sandra Sevillano (Spain) was second in 10:47, and Varvara Shikanova (Russia) was third in 11:06.
Only in the final kilometers did Antonio Martínez (Spain) overhaul a fading Robert Pkemoi Matayango (Kenya). Martínez got to the line in 4:00, and Pkemoi Matayango was there 15 seconds later. Anthony Felber (France) nearly caught Pkemoi Matayango too, but was third in 4:01, 17 seconds behind the runner up. The lead group of three was over four minutes ahead of fourth place.
The women’s race ran to the very end too. Anne-Lise Rousset (France) and Ruth Croft (New Zealand) dueled all day and were just over a minute apart at the end. Rousset finished in 4:53 and Croft in 4:54. Anne-Cecile Thevenot (France) was third in 5:04.
World Mountain Running Association U18 World Mountain Running Cup
The MaXi-Race hosted the World Mountain Running Association’s 16th under-18 championships too. The 4.6k race included 100 athletes from 15 countries. Teams included up to four men and four women, and each country’s top three scored.
Oscar Gaitan (Spain) went wire-to-wire for a first-place 17:45. He never got too far in front though and Matthew Edwards (USA) was second just eight seconds back. Just a week ago Edwards won a 3,200-meter Colorado state track title. Randy De Jesus Garcia (Mexico) moved from fifth at the course high point to third at the downhill finish in 18:10.
The U.S. won men’s team gold ahead of Spain and France.
Inés Herault (Spain) ran down climb leader Keeghan Edwards (USA) on the descent and took the women’s individual gold in 20:19. Herault’s expert downhilling placed her well clear of the chase group. Edwards held on to second in 20:46, five seconds ahead of third-place Amelie Lane (England.)
Spain won the women’s team race, one point better than the U.S., while England was third. That left Spain the race’s big winners, taking three of the four potential gold medals.
Mountain Ultra Trail by UTMB – George, South Africa
The race traveled through the Outeniqua Mountains, along the country’s southern coast.
There were only 25 finishers on the challenging course that gained 7,685 meters (25,200 feet). South African national hero Ryan Sandes finished first in 21:46, and countrymen Douglas Pickard and Gabriel Kriel joined him on the podium at 22:54 and 23:56.
There were only two women’s finishers, both South African, among the small field. Sylvie Scherzinger ran 38:45 and Colleen Browne finished in 42:32.
Bruce Arnett and Tarrin Van Niekerk, both of the host country, won the 100k race in 13:39 and 15:02.
Johardt Van Heerden (South Africa) and Kim Schreiber (Germany) were the race’s best in 5:55 and 7:19.
Additional Races and Runs
Transylvania 100k – Bran, Romania
It was the race’s eighth year through the wilds of Romania. Johan Obermueller (Germany) and Adriana Plosnita (Romania) won the 100k in 15:13 and 19:38. Full results.
London 2 Brighton – London, England, United Kingdom
Matthew Coakes (U.K.) and Gail Hartill (U.K.) led the 100k point-to-point run in 7:37 and 9:37, respectively. Full results.
Race of the Champions – Backyard Masters – Rettert, Germany
Antonio Di Manno (Italy) was the last person standing after 74 laps totaling 496k (308 miles) over three days, two hours. Full results.
Isle of Jura Fell Race – Craighouse, United Kingdom
Held on the island of Jura, the race covers seven summits across 28k and with 2,370 meters of climbing. Race winners Finlay Wild and Eleanor Johnstone covered the track in 3:07 and 4:18. Full results.
Calgary Marathon 50k – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Scott Cooper and Kat Drew hit the road course in 3:06 and 3:24. Drew’s mark was a new women’s course record. Full results.
Sugar Badger 50/50 – Belleville, Wisconsin
Martin Erl went to work with a quick 5:55 50-mile win. He was over an hour in front of everyone else while setting a new course record. Erl’s gone fast before too. He ran 14:05 at the 2021 Badger Trail Race 100 Mile. Kristen Stowell was first woman in 8:50. The 50k winners Chris Pedi and Molly Trachtenberg finished in 3:20 and 4:41, respectively. Full results.
Capital Backyard Ultra – Lorton, Virginia
A group of six is still running as of Monday morning U.S. time, when this article was published. Keith Vangraafeiland, Levi Yoder, Scott Snell, Viktoria Brown (Canada), Jennifer Russo, and Kyle Kalbus have all totaled 200 miles across 48 hours so far. Stay tuned! Full results.
2024 Western States 100 Golden Ticket Races
The Western States 100 just announced the 2024 Golden Ticket Races, where the top-two men and women will earn automatic entry. There’s an interesting exception, and the top-three men and women from the Black Cnayon 100k will earn Golden Tickets in 2024.
- September 1, 2023 – CCC 100k – Chamonix, France
- September 23, 2023 – Grindstone by UTMB 100k – Natural Chimneys Park, Virginia
- September 30, 2023 – Nice Côte d’Azur by UTMB 115k – Nice, France
- October 28, 2023 – Javelina 100 Mile – McDowell, Arizona
- December 8, 2023 – Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB 100 Mile – Chiang Mai, Thailand
- February 10, 2024 – Black Canyon 100k – Mayer, Arizona
- April 27, 2024 – Canyons by UTMB 100k – Auburn, California
That means that the the CCC, Grindstone by UTMB, and Nice Côte d’Azur by UTMB are new to the Golden Ticket Races series for 2024. They replace 2023 Golden Ticket Races UTMB, Bandera 100k (Texas), and the Tarawera by UTMB 102k (New Zealand).
Call for Comments
American readers, what’s Memorial Day do for you? Will you have a BBQ, visit a cemetery, or sneak in a few extra miles today?