A Neck-and-Neck Battle in the Men’s Octogenarian Age Bracket at the 2023 USATF 100-Mile Road National Championships

Observers thought the 80-plus age-group bracket might shape up to be the desert ultramarathon’s big nail biter, and they weren’t wrong.

By on March 6, 2023 | Comments

The men’s 80-plus age-group bracket at last weekend’s 2023 USATF 100-Mile Road National Championships offered exactly the excitement and inspiration that we all need: a close finish with four of the five octogenarian runners crossing the finish line. The race was part of Aravaipa Running’s 2023 Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival.

David Blaylock, age 80, staged a comeback at the Henderson, Nevada, race, passing Edward Rousseau, age 83, in the final five miles to lock in a time of 29 hours, 47 minutes, and 29 seconds. Rousseau stayed strong and followed up with a second-place age-group finish in 30:09:08, just over 20 minutes behind the winner.

A video posted on Aravaipa Running’s Twitter account showed Blaylock doffing his cap and pointing a finger up into the blue Nevada sky as he entered the finishing chute before landing in the arms of his family.

Also racing in the bracket were Ian Maddieson, age 80, Denis Trafectanty, also age 80, and Todd Leigh, age 81. Maddieson and Trafectanty crossed the finish line in the 38th hour, while Leigh pulled out of the race with a heartbreaking seven miles remaining. All five runners are highly experienced ultrarunners. Before the event, it was reported that the men’s 80-plus age-group bracket might be the “most intriguing race of the weekend,” which rang true.

Over on the elite side, Jonah Backstrom was first of the men at 14:11:03, with Sierre DeGroff sealing victory in the women’s race in 15:59. Our March 6, 2023, This Week In Running article covers the Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival’s front-of-the-pack finishes in more depth.

David Blaylock - 2023 USATF 100 Mile Road Championship - first M80 finisher

David Blaylock crossing the finish line at the 2023 USATF 100 Mile Road National Championships, the first men’s 80-plus age-group finisher. Photo: Aravaipa Running

Andrew Marshall
Andrew Marshall is a writer, painter, and photographer with work in publications across the web. Andrew lives, runs, bikes, paddles, and skis in the Tahoe basin on the California/Nevada state line. He's one of the few unapologetic cat people in the outdoor industry. You can find him on Instagram or Twitter.