This Week In Running: November 20, 2017

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRHoly Flagstaff, Arizona! The mile-and-a-quarter-high city and its local Northern Arizona University had a giant weekend. Catch it all as we recap The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships, the JFK 50 Mile, and a few more events in this week’s column.

The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships – San Francisco, California

You bet, iRunFar was there. The team pumped out some 100-plus tweets and nearly two dozen pre- and post-race interviews. The separate recap takes in some of the greater race dynamics.


Renee Metivier and Ida Nilsson have raced before. Metivier was an 11-time All-American at the University of Colorado, and Nilsson was a, get this, 11-time All-American at Northern Arizona University. In 2004, Nilsson was third at the NCAA indoor championships in the 3,000 meters, and Metivier was sixth. In 2005 at that same meet but over 5,000 meters, Nilsson won and Metivier was sixth. Metivier did win the 3,000-meter national championship that same year though.

How ironic that over a decade later the two would find themselves at the front of The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships in San Francisco?

Ultra rookie Metivier set the fast early pace, but defending champ Nilsson was always in earshot and, in what would appear to be just like in college, Nilsson would prove the stronger runner. Nilsson’s repeat win came in 7:07, about eight minutes slower than a year ago on a different course.

Ida Nilsson - 2017 The North Face 50 Mile champion 2

Ida Nilsson, 2017 The North Face 50 Mile champion. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Clare Gallagher rode a strong second half to finish second in 7:12, and 2015 race winner Megan Kimmel similarly chased to a third-place 7:19.

The aforementioned separate post has already included results on the full top 20, but the pre-race preview showed some 27 women, and here’s how they all did:

  • Megan Roche – 4th, 7:24
  • Brittany Peterson – 5th, 7:29
  • Renee Metivier – 6th, 7:43
  • Abby Mitchell – 7th, 7:43
  • Stephanie Violett – 8th, 7:45
  • Kelly Wolf  – 9th, 7:46
  • Amy Leedham – 10th, 7:47
  • Anne-Lise Rousset (France) – 11th, 7:49
  • Camelia Mayfield – 12th, 7:50
  • Caitriona Jennings – 14th,  8:10
  • Kristyn Kadala – 15th, 8:25
  • Sarah Pizzo – 16th, 8:27
  • Corrine Malcolm – 18th, 8:45
  • Bree Thorpe – 19th, 8:46
  • Jennifer Pfeifer – 24th, 9:15
  • Rebecca Murillo – 25th, 9:17
  • Itsuko Uemiyo – 29th, 9:26
  • Caroline McKay – 31st, 9:42
  • Verity Breen – 41st, 10:02

It was a bad day for any name tied to Ann. Drops included Anne-Marie Madden (Canada), Annie Jean (Canada), and Anna Mae Flynn.


A big three of Tim Freriks, Zach Miller, and Hayden Hawks separated early, and in the race’s second half, it was Freriks who spoiled the Miller-Hawks rematch. Freriks, like women’s winner Nilsson, is also a former Northern Arizona University runner, and coincidentally, the NAU men’s team won a second-straight NCAA cross-country championship, also on Saturday.

Freriks’s winning time came in 6:02, 13 minutes better than second-place Miller. Hawks, second a year ago, trailed in third at 6:20.

Tim Freriks - 2017 The North Face 50 Mile champion 2

Tim Freriks, 2017 The North Face 50 Mile champion. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Much like with the women, the separate results post has already included results for the top 20, but the earlier pre-race preview included many more, and here’s how everyone did:

  • Kris Brown – 4th, 6:32
  • Paddy O’Leary (Ireland, but living in the U.S.) – 5th, 6:36
  • Nick Elson (Canada) – 6th, 6:37
  • Blake Hose (Australia) – 7th, 6:37
  • Max King – 8th, 6:43
  • Tòfol Castanyer – 9th, 6:44
  • Tyler Sigl – 10th, 6:45
  • Allan Spangler – 11th, 6:46
  • Mark Hammond – 12th, 6:51
  • Chris Mocko – 13th, 6:59
  • Mathieu Blanchard (Canada) – 14th, 7:00
  • David McKay – 17th, 7:12
  • Moises Jimenez – 18th, 7:15
  • Colton Gale – 19th, 7:18
  • Brian Gillis – 20th, 7:19
  • Keith Laverty – 21st, 7:20
  • Cody Callon – 22nd, 7:31
  • Tayte Pollmann – 26th, 7:35
  • Tyler Fox – 27th, 7:41
  • Kei Kikushima (Japan) – 28th, 7:54
  • Mario Fraioli – 31st, 7:59
  • Masazumi Fujioka – 32nd, 7:59
  • Bob Shebest – 37th, 8:11
  • Hal Koerner – 40th, 8:15
  • Daichi Inoue – 42nd, 8:17
  • Lindsay Hamoudi – 44th, 8:18
  • Lee Cordova – 48th, 8:31
  • Ron Gutierrez – 50th, 8:34
  • David Lenahan82nd, 9:06

Drops included Matt Daniels, Keita Kobayashi (Japan), Dirk Marple, and Clark Messman.

Full results.

JFK 50 Mile – Boonsboro, Maryland


Flagstaff! Emily Torrence broke free from two years of misses to win the 55th JFK 50 Mile. It was her second win, adding to a 2013 title. She finished in 6:27, and it was not close at all.

Second-place Jackie Merritt, of F7 and Wild Card affection, finished in 6:57, and Sabrina Little was third in 7:01.

Emily Torrence - 2017 JFK 50 Mile champion

Emily Torrence, 2017 JFK 50 Mile champion. Photo: H3 Photography


Flagstaff can’t miss. Men’s winner Eric Senseman–as if it needs stated–also lives in Flagstaff. And like Torrence, he too led start-to-finish and won in 5:46.

2016 podium finishers Michael Owen and Anthony Kunkel flip flopped positions with Owen finishing second in 6:03 and Kunkel third in 6:05.

Full results.

Eric Senseman - 2017 JFK 50 Mile champion

Eric Senseman, 2017 JFK 50 Mile champion. Photo: H3 Photography

SkyRun – Cape Town, South Africa

Thanks to some pre-race snow, the SkyRun‘s 21st running had all four seasons over its 100k mountain route.

Tracey CampbellMisty Weyers, and Kate Swarbeck filled the women’s podium with 19:26, 20:52, and 21:54 finishes.

Tracey Campbell - 2017 SkyRun champion

Tracey Campbell, 2017 SkyRun champion. Photo: Bruce Viaene

Men’s winner Lucky Miya preserved a 20-year streak of South African men winning, thanks to his 12:58 finish. He was 40 minutes better than his own finish time from a year ago, and was almost an hour better than second-place Sange Sherpa (Nepal but living in France). Defending champ Christiaan Greyling was third in 14:33.

Full results.

Lucky Miya - 2017 SkyRun champion

Lucky Miya, 2017 SkyRun champion. Photo: Craig Kolesky

Other Races and Runs

Grand Canyon FKT

It was the second week in a row for a new women’s Grand Canyon FKT. This time Cat Bradley went Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim in 7:52:20, bettering Bethany Lewis‘s previous 2011 best by 23 minutes. Since winning the June Western States 100, Bradley took part in the TransRockies Run, but otherwise has taken the year’s second half off from competition.

Cat Bradley Grand Canyon R2R2R FKT

Cat Bradley on her way to setting a new Grand Canyon R2R2R FKT. Photo: Nico Barraza

Icarus Ultrafest 48-hour

It was a new American record for Olivier Leblond at the Florida Icarus Ultrafest. Leblond totaled 262.18 miles, an incredible average of 10:59 per mile for 48 hours. He split 16:50 for his first 100 miles, and 17:35 for his second 100 miles. Leblond is a regular U.S. 24-Hour Running Team member, but this was his debut 48-hour competition. Phil McCarthy‘s former American record was 257 miles. Yiannis Kouros‘s world record is 294 miles. Full results.

The North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon

One of the leading 50-mile race’s undercard events was a same-day marathon. Lauren Schmidt and Dylan Bowman won The North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon in 3:24 and 2:55. Full results.

Dylan Bowman - 2017 The North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon

Dylan Bowman, 2017 The North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon champion. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Woodside Trail Run 50k

Caroline Boller was the overall winner of the northern California Woodside Trail Run 50k in 4:37. Full results.

Chimera 100 Mile

And in southern California, Sarah Reusch and Jesse Haynes won the small Chimera 100 Mile in 29:07 and 19:09. Reusch also won in 2016, and Haynes was second back in 2014. Full results.

Dead Horse Ultra

Both the women’s and men’s course records fell at the 50-mile Dead Horse Ultra in Utah. Alice Baumgartner and Jeason Murphy won in 7:49 and 6:25, respectively. Ruth Senior and Josh Ferenc led the accompanying 50k in 3:56 and 3:31. Full results.

NCAA Cross Country Championships

It’s been a while, can we still call Allie Ostrander a mountain runner? The former junior world champ, now a sophomore for Boise State, was fourth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Kentucky. Full results.

2018 USATF Mountain, Ultra, Trail Championships

It’s out! The 2018 USATF mountain, ultra, trail national championships calendar includes many familiar races, and two new ones.

  • January 6: Bandera 100k (Texas) – 100k Trail
  • February 3: Rocky Racoon 100 Mile (Texas) – 100 Mile Trail
  • February 17: Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival (Nevada) – 100 Mile Road
  • March 4: Caumsett 50k (New York) – 50k Road
  • July 8: Loon Mountain Race (New Hampshire) – Mountain
  • July 21: Cayuga Trails 50 Mile (New York) – 50 Mile Trail
  • July 28 – Pikes Peak Ultra 30k (Colorado) – 30k Trail
  • August 12: Ragged 50k (New Hampshire) – 50k Trail
  • September 8 or 15: North Coast 24 Hour (Ohio) – 24 Hour
  • September 29: Birkie Trail Run Half Marathon (Wisconsin) – Half Marathon Trail
  • November 3: Moab Trail Marathon (Utah) – Marathon Trail

Welcome to the championships calendar, Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival and Ragged 50k. Jackpot leads the entire group with a $10,000 prize purse.

Also of note, not only will the Loon Mountain Race again be the U.S. Mountain Running Team selection race, but it will double as the 2018 North American Central American Caribbean (NACAC) championship race.

More details.

Call for Comments

  • Tim Freriks, Hayden Hawks, and Jim Walmsley, would you call them among the frontrunners for the men’s UltraRunning Magazine (North American) Ultrarunner of the Year? Lets look at the good and bad of each of their 2017 records.
    • Freriks — 7th at Black Canyon 100k, 1st at Transvulcania, 2nd at Broken Arrow Skyrace 52k, Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim FKT, 1st at Flagstaff Skyrace 55k, 1st at TNF EC 50 Mile
    • Hawks — 1st at Moab Red Hot 55k, 1st at Red Mountain 55k, 2nd at Chuckanut 50k, 71st at Transvulcania, 70th at IAU Trail World Championships, 1st at CCC, Zion Traverse FKT, 3rd at TNF EC 50 Mile
    • Walmsley — 1st at Tarawera 102k, 1st at Gorge Waterfalls 100k, DNF at Western States, 1st at Speedgoat 50k, 5th at UTMB, 1st at Flagstaff to Grand Canyon 55k, DNF at Diagonale des Fous
  • Since we broached the topic of UROY rankings, what other men would you add to the list for major consideration? (We’ll ask about women in coming weeks!)
  • Did any other runners with mountain, ultra, or ties race the NCAA cross country championships?
  • What else? You know, the results that we didn’t get to above, let us know about them in the comments field below.

[Editor’s Note: Columnist Justin Mock and editor Meghan Hicks spend many hours per week compiling this article, and often doing so well ahead of races posting their results online–that is, by combing social media. We simply cannot cover all the trail and ultra races that take place each week, so we do our best to provide results of the most competitive races as well as a spectrum of additional events from around the world. Please feel absolutely welcome to leave comments with the results of races not covered in this article, and to leave additional information about the races from which we have shared results. Thank you for your understanding.]

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 43 comments

  1. Jackson

    Talon Hull and Lauren Gregory, both of whom were on the USA team for the World Junior Mountain Running Championship this summer in Italy, also participated in the NCAA xc champs.
    Hull, representing the University of Washington, was 144th in the men’s race, while Gregory, representing the University of Arkansas, was 252nd in the woman’s race.

  2. Trail Animals Running Club

    The TARCkey Trot 6-Hour was held this past weekend in Massachusetts at Whipple Hill, on a 5K course with around 400 feet of climbing per loop. Patrick Caron took 1st and set a new course record with 40.3 miles (13 loops), Beau Langevin took 2nd with 34.1 miles, and Joshua Fiore also ran 34.1 miles for a 3rd place finish.

  3. Ben

    UROY doesn’t consider FKTs so those should not influence voters (though I’m sure they do since we are human).

    I think Freriks made a strong case with his dominating win at TNF. He has won two of the 3-4 most competitive 50 milers in the world now this year. That’s really impressive.

    I think Tollefson needs to be considered as well. 3rd and top American at UTMB is insane in that field. Plus, he won Ultra-Trail Australia, 2nd at Speedgoat, and 5th at Hong Kong. Zero DNFs or really ‘bad’ races.

        1. Nelson

          What about Cat? Her Western States win probably earned her more cred than Comrades did for Camille, seeing how 100-mile-and-American-race biased some of the UROY panel seems to be.

          1. Jonny

            Cat’s WSER win was great but you do not win UROY with one race.
            She either won smaller races (Canyons 100k) or placed far from the top in large ones (7th in Way Too Cool). This is pretty much the repeat of Andrew Miller from 2016 – one BIG win and not much more. And nobody talked about Miller winning UROY so why would be treat Cat differently? They both pulled a big one out of nowhere and then disappeared.

            1. David

              I imagine you’re just talking about UROY specifically, but it’s important not to say she “disappeared.” Cat worked her butt off, focused on health, and then set one of the toughest records in the sport after winning Western States. The R2R2R FKT was one of the best runs of the year, and that level of performance is the opposite of disappearing.

            2. Phil Germakian

              Totally agree with David here. Jonny, saying Cat, ‘disappeared’ may be the biggest understatement of the year, especially after she just set the R2R2R record. Please show us your Cougar trophy before judging others.

            3. Patrick Reagan

              The body of work that Courtney and Camille are both incredible. I have to agree with David here as well. Cat Bradley has been really smart about enjoying her win at Western States….focusing on her health post-race rather than overracing the late summer and fall. Her Canyons Win and Western States win in combo with a big R2R2R record combine for a great year (even if you don’t consider the R2R2R record part of the UROY rankings). Looks like Cat isn’t worried about UROY, just setting up a good foundation for 2018.

  4. Nelson

    FKTs are not taken into account for the UROY award. I still think it should go to Freriks, though — solid results in some very competitive races, no DNFs or poor performances.

  5. Chad Bowen

    Walmsley has still gotta be UROY. He’s a victim of his own success, people seem to hold the DNF’s against him because of all the hype. He was setting CR’s and dominant through the first half of the year, and he still finished 5th at UTMB despite a major bonk.

    I’d have Tollefson, Freriks, Hawkes, King 2-5

    Sage, Browning, Mocko, Mark Hammond, and Avery Collins in no particular order to round out the top ten.

    1. Bob Hearn

      I’d have Olivier Leblond in there, with his 160-mile, team-leading 24-hour at Worlds, his 48-hour AR, and wins at Umstead and elsewhere.

    2. Speedgoat

      Chad, it’s hardly because of “all the hype”. Fact is, Jim tied for last twice. :-) well, something like that. A closer look at what Mark Hammond did this year may also surprise some folks. He ran alot of great races. Western, Run Rabbit Run, Bear. Although no wins in those, he was close each time and they were all competitive up front.

      1. Chad

        It’ll be an interesting debate this year. So many fast guys at “shorter” distances, but no Americans dominating the 100 mile scene like a François or Kilian.

        Mark Hammond definitely had an under-the-radar awesome season! Put Avery Collins in that category as well. 6th at States and wins at Grindstone, Georgia Death Race, and Quest for the Crest. Speedgoat, you gotta appreciate someone dominating in Appalachia!

  6. Quigley

    Wow. What an outstanding 48 hour run by Olivier Leblond. I think that should put him in contention for UROY. Olivier should certianly be in the top ten, especially as none of the other guys set an American record. Sure, maybe not many people may have tried for the 48 hour record, but 10:59 pace is very solid!

    1. Nelson

      While I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, I think last year some of the people selecting the UROY disclosed the guidelines they were given, and if I remember correctly they were encouraged to consider performances in a very selective number of races (for instance, among international races I think only UTMB and Comrades were in that list). I may be remembering it wrong, so maybe someone who knows were this was published can provide a link. It would help a lot in this conversation.

      1. Patrick Reagan

        Nelson, the “majors” are:
        Comrades, UTMB, Western States, IAU 100K WC, TNF 50 SF, Lake Sonoma 50. Since there is no IAU 100K Champs in 2017 (Every Other Year), I would add IAU 24 Hour World Champs and IAU Trail Champs (Long Course).

        Referencing Tropical John’s 2016 UROY Guidelines:
        “Voters are given a lot of leeway in casting their ballots, with only very general instructions to focus first on excellence in the top-tier events. There are relatively few races where there is a significant depth of competition for North American ultrarunners, most notably Western States, UTMB, The North Face Challenge 50 Mile Championships, Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, and the IAU 100k World Championships. Beyond that, voters have to discern the relative quality of a wide variety of distances and terrain, comparing rugged mountain races, flat and fast road races, and multi-day events. There is a lot of joking about fruit: comparing apples to oranges, sure, but also bananas, kumquats, watermelons, and cantaloupes.”

  7. Bob

    DNFs should count against him. If they were because he suffered an injury and was unable to continue or got lost and timed out of the race then I’d give him a pass but I don’t believe that was the case with his DNFs.

    1. Chad

      Walmsley went 1/3 in hundreds. He beat himself at WSER, probably shouldn’t have started diagonale des fous, and 5th at UTMB. Many others in this discussion didn’t even attempt a 100 miler. UROY or not, I’d argue he’s the most interesting/talented person in the sport. I find it extremely entertaining to watch him go for a record, and sometimes blowup trying.

  8. Speedgoat

    It really is a tough vote this year, Noone stands out completely. We have a short list for sure, but neither of the guys mentioned were overwhelming like last year. Jim’s two DNF’s hurt alot on my ballot, unfortunately. I agree, he may be the most talented runner, but …..results and failures are what matter when I vote.

    FKT’s don’t count either, so Frerik’s stellar R2R doesn’t count. But..hey, that’s not even an ultra anyway right? It was fast…I’ll say that for sure.

    I will say that I have a tough time voting for UROY, for anyone who has not at least finished a 100. Yup, I’m biased on that one, but it’s the glamour distance, anything shorter is a sprint in my book.

  9. Susan B

    If I am correct no American man scored a top 5 position in more that one of the majors:
    Comrades, UTMB, Western States, TNF 50 SF, Lake Sonoma 50, IAU 24 Hour World Champs and IAU Trail Champs
    so it will be hard to pick one for the UROY award. If finishing a 100 miler at the elite level would be another requirement then we cut half of the potential winners like: Sage (only 50th in UTMB), King, Mocko (only 58th in WSER), Frericks, Hawks.

    Zach Miller had a good year (2nd in TNF 50 SF, 9th in UTMB) but I think there were at least a few athletes who just did better. No shame to that.

    That would leave us with Wamlsey and Tollefson.

    I think Browning would be my first pick for the Master runner award but I am not sure if he is an actual contented for the UROY. 4th in WSER was great but winning Bear and placing 20th in UTMB might not be enough to realistically beat Wamsley and Tollefson.

    When the dust settles I think that I would go with Tollefson because he was top 3 in the most competitive ultra race in history, 2017 UTMB. You just cannot fake it.

    1. Patrick Reagan

      I agree with you that Tollefson’s year is incredibly impressive. I believe Devon Yanko needs to be talked about more as well, These three display her versatility: Two Oceans (Top 15), Comrades (10th), Leadville 100m Champion.

      There were quite a few North Americans at Comrades as well. Top 10 here is very difficult in both the women’s and men’s races with a field of 21,000 runners. I believe top 20 at Comrades should be taken into consideration when determining UROY placement due to the size and competitiveness of this race.

      Sub 7:08 for women and Sub 6:00 for men is usually top 10 here on an up year. 6:00 was 10th in 2015.

      Camille Herron: 1st: 6:27.35
      Sarah Bard: 6th: 6:49.30
      Devon Yanko: 10th: 7:05.55

      Patrick Reagan: 12th: 5:53.28

    1. Pete

      Hmm, by conventional “rookie” criteria, Freriks made his debut (and a stellar one it was) at Lake Sonoma last year, and it looks like LS is being called a major by several in this thread. Agree that he made it to page one of the ultra sports page in 2017.

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