This Week In Running: November 12, 2018

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRThis week, we report on the Tunnel Hill 100 Mile, which saw a new 100-mile world best performance set by Zach Bitter. We also have results from regional-level races like the Georgia Sky to Summit 50k and the Colossal-Vail 50/50. We finish up by looking further out to next week’s intriguing JFK 50 Mile. Here’s your weekly news!

Tunnel Hill 100 Mile – Vienna, Illinois

The Tunnel Hill 100 Mile is flat and fast on a rails-to-trails set-up, and is quickly becoming a target for fast times. Cold weather likely somewhat dulled those finish times this year though.

The women’s race was about as close as you can get. Just nine minutes separated the top-three women. Neela D’Souza, Steph Whitmore, and Megan Smyth ran 16:52, 16:57, and 17:03, respectively. Well done, ladies.

And, then, men’s winner Zach Bitter sped through the course in 12:08 to set a new 100-mile trail world’s best. That’s 36 minutes ahead of Ian Sharman‘s former North American 100-mile trail best from the 2011 Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile and 24 minutes faster than Jonas Buud’s former 100-mile trail world’s best set in 2010 at the Täby Extreme Challenge in Sweden. For further perspective, Bitter’s 12:08 is 28 minutes behind his own American record for 100 miles on the track, and according to ultrarunning.com, is fourth best on the North American all-time chart across all surfaces.

Former race winner Mike Bialick was second in 12:56, and Alexander Bleiweiss was third in 14:58.

Full results.

Zach Bitter with Camille Herron after he set a new 100-mile trail world best at the 2018 Tunnel Hill 100 Mile. Photo: Tunnel Hill 100 Mile

Other Races and Runs

Georgia Sky to Summit 50k

The Run Bum Georgia Sky to Summit 50k had a record number of finishers, and 26 states represented. This is all on a mostly singletrack course that has some 20 waterfalls. Amanda Morris led the women’s field in 5:41. It was the sixth-year race’s second-best run ever. Men’s winner Dennis Bauer edged Matthew Johnson by just less than a minute. The two dueled to 5:03 and 5:04 finishes. Full results.

Dennis Bauer, 2018 Georgia Sky to Summit champion. Photo: Run Bum

Shawnee 50 Mile Trail Run

In southeastern Ohio, the inaugural Shawnee 50 Mile Trail Run went 54 miles and with a remarkable-for-Ohio 11,200 feet of elevation gain on what is nearly a single loop. You could call it the hardest ultra in Ohio, especially when you add the race-start snow and day-long temperatures at the freezing mark. Mika Thewes won the women’s race and finished ninth overall in 11:14, and Travis Simpson won the men’s in 9:29. Full results.

Old Glory Trail Runs

It looks like it was the first year for Virginia’s Old Glory Trail Runstoo. Anna Evans and Danny Mathieson set the inaugural course records there in 5:02 and 4:40, respectively. Full results.

Franklin Mountains Trail Run

The west Texas Franklin Mountains Trail Run marked the end of this year’s revamped Skyrunner USA Series. The 50k, 27k, and 9k races were part of the series in the Sky Ultra, Sky Classic, and Vertical Kilometer disciplines, respectively. Kelsey Brasseur and Nicolas Glatt won the 50k in 6:12 and 5:45, and Dani Moreno and Timmy Parr won the 27k in 3:18 and 2:49. Aside from their race wins, both Moreno and Parr won the season-long Sky Classic series, too. Full results.

The view from the Franklin Mountains Trail Run course. Photo: Trail Racing Over Texas

Run the Rock 

Best known for its climbing, Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park isn’t too bad for running either and the second-year Run the Rock races happened there. In the 50 mile, Sumner Button won the women’s race in 7:48 and set a new course record, and Colton Gale edged Ryan Ghelfi in the men’s race, 6:52 to 6:55. In the 50k, it was Rayleen Hsu and Byron Critchfield who won in 4:58 and 4:05, respectively. Full results.

Sanders’ Saunter 50k

Terri Payne and Cory Logsdon won the Sanders’ Saunter 50k in Kansas, running 5:43 and 4:02. It was Logsdon’s second-straight win here. Full results.

Dogwood Canyon 50k

The Dogwood Canyon 50k happened in Missouri. Frontrunners Amy Robbins and Steve Mantell were victorious in 4:40 and 3:35. Full results.

Rough Trail 50k

It’s a simple but descriptive name for the Rough Trail 50k in Kentucky. Fourth-year race winners were Hannah Jochem and Christopher Simmons in 5:57 and 4:56, respectively. Full results.

Colossal-Vail 50/50

There’s lots of high-desert trail running on the Arizona Trail at the Colossal-Vail 50/50. Women’s 50-mile winner Dari Duval just missed the women’s course record with her 9:09 finish. Men’s best Jon Kuehler did get the course record. His 7:26 run was 26 minutes better than the previous best. The accompanying 55k crowned Constance Wannamaker and Jonathan King as its winners in 6:46 and 4:39. Full results.

Mt. Tam Trail Run 50k

Things are not good in California right now and smoke from nearby wildfires forced the cancellation of Inside Trail’s Mt. Tam Trail Run 50k. This is in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Next Weekend – JFK 50 Mile – Boonsboro, Maryland

It will be the 56th running of the JFK 50 Mile and competitive fields will be lining up. The race remains the country’s largest ultramarathon.

Women

  • Caroline Boller – 11th 2018 IAU 100k World Championships, 2nd 2017 JFK 50 Mile Caroline Boller is out with an injury. [Updated 11/12]
  • Kate Pallardy [Added 11/12]
  • Bethany Patterson [Added 11/12]
  • Kaci Lickteig – 10th 2018 UTMB

Well this is interesting, and should make for a very dynamic race. Truly either of these women can win. Related note, while Sarah Bard is on the entrants list at the time of this writing, she’s not planning to race.

Men

  • Geoff Burns – 5th 2018 IAU 100k World Championships
  • Jared Hazen – 2nd 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile
  • Aaron Kremer – 2:29 2018 Illinois Marathon
  • Anthony Kunkel – 3rd 2017 JFK 50 Mile, 2nd 2016 JFK 50 Mile
  • Seth Marcaccio (Canada) [Added 11/12]
  • Jacob Puzey – 1st 2018 Calgary Marathon 50k
  • Tommy Rivers Puzey – Past U.S. national 50k team
  • Eric Senseman – 1st 2017 JFK 50 Mile, 3rd 2017 Black Canyon 100k
  • Tyler Sigl [Added 11/12]
  • Ford Smith – 1st 2018 Run Rabbit Run 50 Mile
  • Jim Sweeney – 13:09 2018 Hennepin Hundred, 4th 2017 JFK 50 Mile

Same, this is really good, too. Burns should excel in the race’s second half, but how close will he be after the race’s opening trail section? You’ve also got defending champion Senseman in the line-up there.

Full entrant list.

Next Weekend – The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships – Marin, California

The 2018 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships are canceled due to air-quality issues from California wildfires. [Updated 11/13]

It’s always one of the best races of the year and iRunFar has separately previewed the women’s and men’s fields for next weekend’s The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. Look for pre-race interviews later this week, race-day live coverage, and post-event interviews and analysis, too.

Top women’s entrants include two-time defending champ Ida Nilsson (Sweden), Clare Gallagher, Camille Herron, and Keely Henninger. Leading men’s contenders include Jim Walmsley, Dylan Bowman, and Sébastien Spehler (France).

Other Trail News – 2019 Golden Trail Series

The Golden Trail Series will return for its second round in 2019. There’s a slight shake-up in the calendar, including a new finale.

  • June 2 – Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon (Spain), 42k
  • June 30 – Mont Blanc Marathon (France), 42k
  • July 20 – Dolomyths Run (Italy), 22k
  • August 11 – Sierre-Zinal (Switzerland), 31k
  • August 25 – Pikes Peak Marathon (USA), 42k
  • September 21 – Ring of Steall Skyrace (U.K.), 29k
  • October 26 – Annapurna Trail Marathon (Nepal), 42k

Call for Comments

  • We love comments. No, seriously, we do! Tell us about other races you followed or took part in this past weekend, and what you’re eyeing next weekend, too.
  • Who do you see winning the JFK 50 Mile? And who else from that very long entrants list should we all be watching for?
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.