This Week In Running: May 8, 2017

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRThe 2017 Skyrunner World Series got underway early last week in China at the Yading Skyrun’s events. That race is among a diverse group of highlights in this week’s column, which also includes a short preview of next week’s Quad Rock 50 Mile and Transvulcania Ultramarathon races.

Yading Skyrun – Sichuan Province, China

Nicknamed ‘Shangri-La,’ the Yading Nature Reserve is known as one of China’s best-preserved nature areas, “the last pure land on earth.” Taking place early in the week, the second-annual Yading Skyrun was the first event in the 2017 Skyrunner World Series. The two-day event included a longer-than-normal Vertical K, that reached an elevation of 5,000 meters, and 29k and 46k races. The 29k event was the only event that was officially part of the Skyrunner World Series, falling into the Sky Classic category.

In the opening Vertical K, which was 7k in length, Ida Nilsson (Sweden) was the women’s winner. China’s Duo Ji, who we don’t know much about prior to his result here, won the men’s race. Notable to U.S. readers, Andy Wacker (U.S.) was third.

Megan Kimmel (U.S.) was a convincing winner over Ragna Debats (Netherlands) in the 29k, 3:33 to 4:06, and Bhim Gurung (Nepal) overtook Wacker for the men’s win, 3:06 to 3:08.

Nilsson doubled back in the 46k race, winning in 6:05. Qi Min (China), who has stellar racing results all over his home continent on both roads and trails, won the men’s race in 5:19, and François D’Haene (France) was second in 5:28.

Full results.

Megan Kimmel - 2017 Yading Skyrun champion

Megan Kimmel, 2017 Yading Skyrun 29k women’s champion. Photo: Skyrunning

Wings for Life World Run – The World

The uniquely formatted Wings for Life World Run took place in some 111 locations around the world, where runners in each needed to stay in front of an ever-faster chase vehicle to avoid elimination. According to the race website, 155,288 runners were thought to have started the event worldwide.


Dominika Stelmach (Poland) was the global women’s winner. Racing in Santiago, Chile, she totaled 68k, almost 6k more than her closest challenger. Other familiar names in the global results include Olesya Nurgalieva (Russia) and Elena Nurgalieva (Russia), fourth and fifth with 60k and 57k, and Jo Meek (U.K.) and Jo Zakrzewski (U.K.), 12th and 13th with 54k and 52k.

Dominika Stelmach - 2017 Wings for Life World Run champion

Dominika Stelmach, 2017 Wings for Life World Run women’s champion. Photo: Wings for Life World Run


Global men’s winner Aron Anderson (Sweden) totaled 92k while racing in Dubai, finishing almost 4k ahead of his closest contender. Other familiar names in the men’s tally include Giorgio Calcaterra (Italy), fourth with 87k, and Elov Olsson (Sweden), seventh with 75k.

Full results.

Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile – Fort Valley, Virginia


Kathleen Cusick made it a three-peat at the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile. She finished in 24:22. It was almost an hour back of her 2016 winning time, though slightly better than her 2015 finish. It was Cusick’s ninth MMT finish, and she is the first to win the race in three consecutive years.

Margaret Campbell and Amy Macintire were second and third in 26:48 and 27:15, respectively.


Bradley Revenis conquered the course and the men’s field to win his MMT debut. Revenis ran 18:50, beating out second- and third-place Paul Jacobs and Jason Lantz. Jacobs ran 19:36 and Lantz, who was second in 2016, ran 20:19.

Revenis also won this year’s other big Virginia Happy Trails Running Club race, the Bull Run Run 50 mile.

Full results.

Other Races and Runs

Miwok 100k

The Miwok 100k took place for the 22nd time in the Marin Headlands of California. Molly Schmelzle won the women’s race in 10:37. In the men’s race, Franz Van Der Groen won in 8:45 and by less than a minute over second-place Chikara Omine. Van Der Groen’s run represents a new course record (on the 2012-and-later course). Results.

Payton Jordan Invitational

On the Stanford University track at the Payton Jordan Invitational, all-terrain Joe Gray went 28:44 for 10,000 meters, placing 18th. Full results.

Strolling Jim 40 Mile

The longtime Strolling Jim 40 Mile is a road race through scenic Tennessee. Lauren Mitchell took the women’s win in 5:47, with Regina Sooey following in second and 10 minutes back. Jason Parks was this year’s race winner in 4:18, overtaking David Riddle after a wrong turn near halfway. Riddle finished in 4:35. Full results.

Greenland Trail Race

Colorado’s multi-loop Greenland Trail Race 50k saw Lillie Romeiser edge former-Olympic-marathoner-turned-ultrarunner Colleen De Reuck by some 12 seconds for the women’s win, both finishing in 3:59. Full results.

Grayson Highlands 50k

Rum Bum Tours, the same people behind races like the Georgia Death Race, held the third-annual Grayson Highlands 50k in Virginia. Kristen Niedrach and Tereza Novotna look to have tied in the women’s race, both running 5:26. Men’s winner Steve Barber was alone in 4:27, over 30 minutes better than second. Full results.

Steve Barber - 2017 Grayson Highlands 50k champion

Steve Barber, 2017 Grayson Highlands 50k men’s champion. Photo: Run Bum Tours

Rock the Ridge 50 Mile

In upstate New York, Karen Benway and Dylan Armajani won the fourth-year Rock the Ridge 50 Mile race in 7:59 and 7:15, respectively. Full results.

Sri Chimnoy

A little further back, the super-long Sri Chinmoy races started April 17 and concluded six or 10 days later. The field included 34 runners in each of the six- and 10-day races. Nataliya Hlushchuk (Ukraine) and Budjargal Byambaa (Mongolia) totaled 578 and 739 miles to win the 10-day race. Full commentary.

EMU 6-day Race

The EMU 6-day Race in Hungary is the unofficial world championships for the fixed-time event. This year’s race is in process at the time of publishing, presently led by Silke Gielen (Germany) and Johan Steene (Sweden). Live tracking.

Head to Head FKT

Irish adventurer Eoin Keith, who will race at the IAU 24-Hour World Championships in July, toured his country with a new Head to Head FKT on roads stretching the north-south length of Ireland. The roughly 550k route was covered in three days, three hours, and 47 minutes. The previous overall FKT was held by Mimi Anderson at three days, 15 hours, and 36 minutes. More information.

Pittsburgh Marathon

2017 USATF 50k Road National Champion Tyler Jermann ran 2:16 to finish fourth at the Pittsburgh Marathon. Full results.

Next Weekend – Quad Rock 50 Mile – Fort Collins, CO

This year’s two-lap Quad Rock 50 Mile race is all about the ladies. 2016 Western States 100 winner Kaci Lickteig will face off with 2016 Leadville 100 Mile winner Clare Gallagher. Last time out last month, Lickteig finished in a second-place tie at the 2017 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile.

In addition to Lickteig and Gallagher, 2017 Moab Red Hot 50k winner Marianne Hogan is in the field, and so too are Anna Mae Flynn and past winner Kerrie Bruxvoort. While the course is subject to a slight reroute this year, look for Becky Wheeler‘s 2014 event record to come under fire.

Full entrant list.

Next Weekend – Transvulcania Ultramarathon – Canary Islands, Spain

The weekend-long Transvulcania festival includes four major races stretching from the Vertical K to the 74k ultramarathon. It is the 74k ultramarathon, which is a part of this year’s Skyrunner World Series in the Sky Ultra division, that iRunFar will cover live.

Defending Transvulcania Ultramarathon champion Ida Nilsson (Sweden) is back. In the thick of things for the women’s podium should also be Anne Lise Rousset (France), Ragna Debats (Netherlands), Andrea Huser (Switzerland), Hillary Allen (USA), Mimmi Kotka (Sweden), and Cassie Scallon (USA). Caroline Chaverot (France) was planning to race, but will not start as a result of recovering from illness. Read our women’s preview for all the details.

The men’s ultramarathon race should be highlighted by Nico Martin (France), Pau Capell (Spain), Hayden Hawks (USA), Tom Owens (U.K.), Ludovic Pommeret (France), and Xavier Thévenard (France). Men’s defending champion Luis Alberto Hernando (Spain) will not compete in the ultramarathon, in saving himself for next month’s IAU Trail World Championships. He will be on the island of  La Palma, though, to compete in the marathon-distance race. Check out our in-depth men’s preview.

Full entrant lists.

Other News

Both the U.S. and the U.K. have named their teams to compete at this year’s World Mountain Running Association Long Distance Championships, to be held August 6 in Italy.

The U.S. team includes ladies Addie BracyKasie Enman, Kristi Knecht, Dani Moreno, and Anita Ortiz, and men Cole WatsonMatt Daniels, Mario MendozaTayte Pollman, and Andy Wacker. Full release.

The U.K. group includes women Annie ConwayNichola JacksonCharlotte Morgan, and Victoria Wilkinson, and men Karl GrayChris HoldsworthTom OwensMurray Strain, and Jack Wood. Full release.

Call for Comments

  • At first mocked as a stunt, Nike’s Breaking2 marathon project, which took place over the weekend, seems to have been largely celebrated. Technology and other aid aside, Eliud Kipchoge‘s 2:00:25 performance won everyone over. Afterward, Galen Burrell commented on social media that he would love to see Nike throw their weight before a sub-two-hour Pikes Peak Ascent or a sub-3:15 Pike Peak Marathon, both times that would break Matt Carpenter‘s longstanding course records. What other records would be worthy of an all-in project?
  • We again to look to our readers to share other race results from the weekend. Leave a comment!
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 16 comments

  1. Henning Karlsson

    Aron Andersson, winner of WFLWR, competed in his everyday wheelchair, and won against his running competitors.

  2. Larson

    Great written Justin! The Yading Skyrun, Duo Ji is a native Tibetan who was top-5 in last year. The winner of 46k Min Qi was known as a 2:25 marathon runner.

  3. Tim I.

    As impressive as breaking 2 was, I hope corporate America leaves Matt Carpenter’s PP records alone. If they are ever
    broken, I hope it is done by a mountain man or woman!

  4. Jean-Glutes Picard

    I was inspired by all the racers set to stun at Miwok 100k this weekend. Molly Schmelzle ran a very impressive race, but to say she was unchallenged downplays that Christi Richards also ran a great time for the post-2012 course (10:53:47, ahead of Bree Lambert’s 2016 runner-up time). Also, shoutout to the man and woman who rounded out the podium, Chris Streeter (9:06:03) and Megan Arauzo (11:28:25). Run Long and Prosper!

  5. Gary Gellin

    For the record…The Miwok 100k course has had major and minor tweaks almost every year for the last decade. Mackey’s course record is from a faster course with less elevation gain. The venue moved permanently from Rodeo Beach to Stinson Beach in 2012 and the modern route has been in place since 2014. (The course flipped direction in 2015 vs. 2014, but the distance and elevation gain are identical. In 2012 and 2013, the race was significantly longer or shorter, respectively, due to fire danger on the mountain.) This year, there was a 4 mile reroute, but the distance and elevation gain are very close to the previous 3 years. The top times on the modern course are:

    1 Franz Van der Groen 8:45:55 2017
    2 Chikara Omine 8:46:11 2017
    3 Ben Stern 8:50:45 2015
    4 Gary Gellin 8:56:35 2014
    5 Galen Burrell 8:58:02 2015
    6 Cody Reed 9:04:02 2016
    7 Chris Streeter 9:06:03 2017
    8 Chikara Omine 9:13:55 2016
    9 Franz Van der Groen 9:16:42 2016
    10 Brian Donnelly 9:26:10 2016

    1 Aliza Lapierre 10:25:19 2016
    2 Molly Schmelzle 10:37:04 2017
    3 Lisa Hughey 10:50:06 2014
    4 Christi Richards 10:53:47 2017
    5 Laura Richard 10:54:32 2015
    6 Bree Lambert 10:55:34 2016
    7 Bree Lambert 11:09:12 2015
    8 Bree Lambert 11:11:04 2014
    9 Nikki Dinger 11:13:52 2014
    10 Katie Arnold 11:16:20 2016

  6. Marco

    The people at Nike are the masters of doping. Anybody watch the LA Marathon last year? It was almost comical.

    Yes Tim, thank you! Please stay away from MC’s records, those are legit.

  7. Carey

    I share Tim I.s thoughts about the Pikes Peak records. Fortunately, the ability of any corporate spending-spree to boost someone over Carpenter’s record is much more limited on Pikes Peak than it was for Breaking2. The course, after all, is the course and can’t be modified for success. Drafting isn’t nearly as important. Shoes and gear? Minimal effects. If the Pikes Peak record goes down, it will be because of an immensely talented person who is committed to doing it. It won’t be because of a corporate effort. (Hopefully it won’t be due to PEDs either.)

  8. tsb

    Pretty riveting Massanutten to follow over the ‘net, with Jacobs, Revenis, and Heine all taking it out pretty hard (it seemed) and holding onto near-course record splits til halfway. Someday the CR will go down, but not this year! (and maybe someday Bryon will go back to covering it and talking smack with Greg Loomis in his previews… :-)

  9. Torey

    It is worthy to note that Kaci Lickteig ran her 2nd-fastest road marathon time at the Lincoln Marathon on Sunday, winning in 2:45:32!

  10. Buzz Burrell

    I don’t think “corporate America” is going to be breaking any running records, but individuals might if there was further research. Nike spent $2mil+ for Breaking2; invest just 2% of that into physiological research for “Breaking2PP”, and I’d like to see the training and acclimatization suggestions. Plus, it would be really fun to see a highly publicized attempt, because they’d discover the hard way just how good Matt’s record is.

      1. Tim I.

        certainly would be fun to watch a try at it. Killian gave it a go and you know he was well prepared. (& btw corporate America wasn’t the term I was grasping at. I don’t know what to call such an effort?)

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