Weekend Wrap at Inside Trail (Sept 23-25)

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Lizzy Hawker breaking the 24 hour world record. Photo: CMUDC

Though Inside Trail’s passion lies with off-road competition and adventure, we cannot overlook outstanding performances in our cousin sport, road racing.  First, congratulations to Lizzy Hawker in her jaw-dropping run at the 2011 Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Running Championships 24 hour race in Llandudno (North Wales).  Just four weeks after winning the grueling UTMB, Lizzy covered 246.4 km (just over 153 miles) in the 24 hours, breaking the 18 year old world record held by Germany’s Sigrid Lomsky by three kilometers.  Of course, we must also tip our trail hats to Patrick Makau (Kenya) for setting the new marathon world record with his 2:03:38 run in Berlin, beating Haile Gebrselassie’s record by 21 seconds.  Also racing in Berlin, Haile must have instinctively sensed that Makau was having a special day because after Makau made his move, Haile backed off, bent over, then resumed running and finished.

Photo: Davy Crockett

Here in the US, the Bear 100 trail race continues to evolve into one of the classic hard-nose races on the 100 mile calendar.  An exciting race from the start saw a group of eight pull away on the initial 4,000+ ft climb to the first aid station in just over two hours.  As contenders dropped away from the steady Nick Pedatella, Ben Lewis and Gary Gellin, who seemed to focus more on tactical racing than pure speed with each of them also getting lost at times.  In fact, near the end of the race, Pedatella ran off course, allowing Ben Lewis to take the lead.  Pedatella recovered the correct course and the lead, winning in 20:55.  Lewis came in shortly thereafter in 21:18, and Kelly Lance put in a breakout performance and a study of perfect pacing to take third in 21:29.  Remarkably, both Lewis and Lance had never run a 100 miler previous to Bear.

For the women’s race, Nikki Kimball dominated from the start en route to a substantial new course record in 22:19.  Jane Larkindale, in her first 100 miler since her 2010 San Diego 100 win, came in fresh and obviously well-trained to take 2nd in 23:25 and Ellen Parker rounded out the top three with a solid 23:53, also earning the Wolverine Club sub 24 hour buckle.  Full results here.

A happy and triumphant Geoff Roes. Photo: Justin Radley

The UROC (Ultra Race Of Champions) took place this weekend and though many elites were not in attendance, it didn’t stop the ones there from having an exciting race.  Huge congratulations to Geoff Roes and Ragan Petrie on their wins.


  1. Geoff Roes – 8:58:04
  2. Michael Wardian – 9:20:01
  3. Matt Flaherty – 9:22:42
  1. Ragan Petrie – 10:11:05
  2. Devon Crosby-Helms – 10:25:50
  3. Anne Riddle Lundblad – 11:01:44
Full UROC results here.

The noticeably low-key, at least in terms of exposure, USATF 50k National Trail Championships took place Saturday in Bend, Oregon with recently crowned World Trail Champion Max King taking the men’s title by a comfortable margin in 3:27.  In a more tightly contested race, Stephanie Howe took the women’s national title in 4:19.  Both King and Howe live in Bend, OR.

Mike Morton tearing through the miles at Hinson Lake 24

On the East Coast Mike Morton braved the 90 degree heat index in North Carolina to win at the Hinson Lake 24 hour event.  The final mileage and results are not posted yet but another competitor, Brett Welborn, had this to say,

“Mike was at 156+ miles but was still moving well with 1 hour left…I would estimate he had sped back up and was doing 8 minute miles. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at 163-164 miles when the final results are posted…within just a few miles of the American Record (which are typically chased on flat pavement with much fewer runners in the way, and in better temperatures).

His first 25 miles was ~2h58m. He hit 50 miles ~6h15m. He went through 100 miles ~13h10m.”

Welborn goes on in reference to Ultra Performance of the Year,

“A lot of people have been talking about Ian Sharman’s 12h44m Rocky Raccoon 100 as Ultrarunning’s performance of the year. But I think after this weekend some folks should take a look at Mike. It was 40F warmer at Hinson Lake. So yea, his 100 was ~20-25 minutes slower, but then he ran ANOTHER 63-64 miles in < 11 hours ON TOP OF THAT. AND it was on a 1.5 mile loop trail, so he had to contend with constantly passing 250+ other runners.”

And finally, check out Go Trail Magazine’s October issue, released today.  Inside Trail has a monthly column beginning this month.  The magazine is top notch with terrific articles and stunning photos.  Hope you enjoy it!

Bear 100 Preview: The Utilitarian Playground

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Bear 100 Elevation Profile. That first climb is a grunt and that last descent, well, hope your health insurance is up to date.

If one yearns for the grassroots, rustic 100 miler of yore, then look no further than the Bear 100.  The bare nature of Bear is by design.  Race Director, Leland Barker, is old school and likes his race that way too.  Leadville, especially under new management, seems to cradle the runners, providing everything, short of carry them to the finish, for a fairly easy out-n-back jog.  Bear is a stark contrast and I, for one, love it.  The Bear 100 began in 1999 with 17 starters and zero sub 24 hour finishers.  Last year there were 157 starters and a record 17 sub 24 hour finishers.  You may get the idea that it’s a tough course and you’d be correct.  The course begins in Logan, Utah and, after an obscene amount of climbs and descents, it finishes at Bear Lake in Idaho.  It’s both stark and harsh.  Did I mention I love it?

The whole production starts with the no nonsense website that provides the essentials (schedule, location, important updates), then moves on to the race briefing, with the emphasis on “brief” where participants have the pleasure of characters like Errol “Rocket” Jones, Phil Lowry, and Leland Barker casually mentioning things like, “The course should be marked well enough to follow” and “watch out for herding cattle”.  I literally had just found a spot on top of a picnic table to plop down and the briefing ended with, “We’ll see you folks at 6am.  Thanks for coming!”  A short, funny story of how laid back this whole thing is:  Last year’s Bear was my first 100.  I was nervous (scared) but confident enough that I bought a belt, ready to attach my new finisher’s buckle.  I was so excited the day before the start and could barely relax long enough to think straight.  At the end of the pre-race briefing Leland wraps up then says, “Oh yeah, I forgot to order the buckles.  I hope you all understand.”  I received my buckle on the verge of Thanksgiving, six weeks after the event, fat and lazy from taking a month off of running.  My custom belt barely fit but I wore the buckle proudly for a week, then realized it was fairly uncomfortable wearing a heavy, brass buckle and stiff, leather belt.  That’s an indication of the relaxed nature of the event.  The whole experience is such a bright image in my memory that I was one of the first to register again this year.

Me coming into Tony Grove aid station, mile 52, at last year's Bear 100. Photo: Aric Manning

The course is marked well enough, save for the errant and angry ATVer who may re-route or otherwise vandalize sections (extra adventure at no cost).  Frankly, the difficulty and beauty of the course overshadows any worries about race organization.  The race begins with a hands-on-knees, 4,000 ft climb at which point you top out close to or just after sunrise and are rewarded with an amazing view of Logan, UT way down where you began the day.  The first 50 miles take up roughly 15,000 ft of the 22,000 ft total climb.  It’s a nice thought when you’ve reached Tony Grove aid station at 52 miles, knowing you’ve completed so much climb and ‘only’ have 50 miles and about 7,000 ft climb left.  I won’t go into the hideousness of the final 9 miles of the race.  Let’s just say, aspirin and ice will be your ankles’ friends for a while.

On to our predictions we go:


Nikki Kimbal – From Bozeman, MT.  The women’s record at bear is 23:37, set by Rhonda Claridge, who is the only woman to run under 24 on the new course (since 2009).  Only two women in the history of the race have run under 24.  Look for Nikki to run two hours faster than that.

Jane Larkindale – From Tucson, AZ.  If Nikki takes too long to sneeze on the course, Jane will pounce.  After running undefeated in 2010 with impressive times at such races like San Diego 100 and Zane Grey 50, she hasn’t laced up the trail racing shoes this year.  She’s either going to be incredibly fresh or stale, no middle ground.

Ellen Parker – From Seattle, WA.  Ellen should round out the top three.  She ran to a 4th place in 26:18 at the tough Pine to Palm 100 last year and has had a light year of racing in 2011 with a 3rd place at White River 50 in July.

Men: (Note that part of tradition for the race is that the Race Directors, Leland Barker and Phil Lowry run the course to drop markers but start an hour earlier than the rest.  Leland is damn fast and is regularly in the top 5.  I don’t count him in the results due to the different start times)

Nick Pedatella – From Boulder, CO.  After a two year hiatus from the top step of the podium, this is Nick’s race to stand tallest at the awards ceremony.  His true potential competition would’ve been Karl Meltzer but after a bold run at Wasatch earlier this month, Karl is resting his back injury and will be at the Bear in the capacity of crew for Mrs. Speedgoat.  At just 26 years old, Nick has built solid experience, including eight 100 mile finishes; not just finishes but solid performances: 5th at Hardrock, 14th at UTMB, 6th at Leadville, 6th at Wasatch, and 2nd here at Bear 100 where only Geoff Roes crossed the finish before him.  Even when he has a bad day, he seems to hold it together for finishes most runners would kill for.

Todd Gangelhoff – From Morrison, CO.  I’m going out on a fairly sturdy limb here in this pick.  Karl and others will likely disagree and place some of the untested speedier guys in front of Todd but, as I mentioned to Karl, Todd reminds me a lot of Erik Storheim in terms of running style, speed, and toughness.  Those are the ingredients for success at Bear.  I did a big 6.5 hour run at 12-13,000 ft with him two months ago and he lead the way with an impressive base of fitness.

David La Duc – From Oakland, CA.  David’s put together a big season, capped with an 18:01 run at Western States.  He’s a quick guy and prolific racer.  It’ll be interesting to see how he runs in real mountains.  I’m obviously guessing he’ll do well.

Mick Jurynec – From Salt Lake City, UT.  At some point in the picks, I have to go with someone familiar with the area and Mick is the hometown guy.  A couple of key indicators are his runs at Wasatch 100 last year (5th in 22:21) and Squaw Peak 50 this year (3rd in 9:25).

Gary Gellin – From Menlo Park, CA.  Gary is full of speed.  Way Too Cool in 3:35, Firetrails 50 in 6:43, Quicksilver 50 in 6:29, White River in 7:11… the list continues.  One thing that stands out as a 22,000 ft speed bump in his way is the lack of any race beyond 50 miles.  100 miles isn’t just double 50 miles.  It’s a different world and it’s impossible to extrapolate, for both the spectator and the runner, what will happen.  Giving him 5th here on this course, with these experienced guys is giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Tim Long – Boulder.  It seems odd giving myself odds but, looking at the entrants objectively, I have to give myself a place in the mix somewhere.  This will be my 5th 100 miler since June (San Diego, Hardrock, Grand Mesa, Leadville so far).  This has also been the longest break between 100s (five weeks), so I’ve been able to get into a real training block following a two day rest after Leadville.  I ran 23:05 for 9th overall here at Bear last year.  It was my first 100, so I was cautious, made mistakes, ran off course, and enjoyed the day like nothing I’ve ever experienced.  So, my enthusiasm, fitness, and focus on this particular race has to count for something, right?

Me, JT, Rick Hessek, Scott Jaime, Don

Inside Trail Chat With Liza Howard

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Liza cruising at Rocky Raccoon 100 2011. Photo: Lynn Ballard

Liza Howard lives in San Antonio TX with her husband, Eliot, and their firefighter-aspiring son, Asa.  Stop by her website/blog, www.lizahoward.com and you’ll be smirking and outright laughing at times being entertained with mundane observations of Lego construction, yard plant mutilation, and then there’s the running.  Liza is currently the USATF National Trail Champion at both the 50 mile and 100k distance.  Unfortunately, after those wins and her win at Rocky Raccoon 100 (in 15:33!) the last several months have been mostly idle ones for her due to a broken foot.  Now, after wearing her “boot” and pining for the trail while doing run-laps in swimming pools and spending hours attached to anti-gravity treadmills, she’s back to training and gearing up for her next race, the Javelina Jundred 100 miler in Arizona.  The Ultra Runner of the Year buzz has begun and her results demand attention even with the 7 months of inactivity.  Other accomplishments include: Leadville champion in 2010, overall winner (men and women) of Cactus Rose 100, and two-time winner of Rocky Raccoon 100.  The fact that she only raced the first 9 weeks of this year and is national champion at 50 miles and 100k is impressive, to say the least.  The lady makes good use of her races when she can.  With her return to racing after the long injury, we wanted to showcase this special lady with an interview.  Enjoy.

IT:  So, Liza, where’d it all begin?  Where does a petite, self effacing young lady who dominates races (over women AND men) come from?  How’d you get to this nice life you’ve found?

Liza:  Army brat.  Navy wife.  I fell in with a wonderful marathoning crowd living in Virginia Beach.  After a mid-course correction in life, I went to work for Outward Bound in Colorado.  I worked out of Leadville and Silverton and became aware of the 100-mile race.  Eliot, my husband, was my co-instructor on a 30-day mountaineering course in the North San Juans.  (You know someone truly loves you when they think you’re great even though you haven’t showered for 30 days.)  We moved to San Antonio for Eliot’s job.  He runs the outdoor program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  I started working for NOLS and one of my co-instructors suggested we run the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim.  It sounded fun and after that it was a pretty slippery slope to my first 50k.  Then it was the usual story: I fell in with the wrong crowd and succumbed to peer pressure.  

Liza pacing her son, Asa, in their yard

IT:  Let’s get started by bringing people up to speed on your racing and injury this year.  What’s been going on in 2011 for you?

Liza:  2011 started out pretty well with Bandera and Rocky in January and February.  I PR’d at both, but GI troubles and wardrobe malfunctions made Rocky a bit of a suffer-fest.  I ran Nueces in March, the USATF 50-mile trail championship.  It was my fourth ultra in four months and it was “character building” for 46 miles.  I was happy to finish and happy for a break from running afterwards.  It’s hard to have an off-season here in South Texas because our big races run from the end of October through the beginning of April — just before the season gets into full swing in the rest of the country.

In any event, I didn’t run for a good two weeks while I worked a NOLS backpacking course in the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico.  I felt well-rested and excited to run again when I got back to San Antonio.  I promptly got a stress fracture in my third metatarsal and I was in an immobilization boot for two months.  It turns out my Vitamin D levels were very low.  I aqua-jogged for hours and hours and even had the chance to run on an anti-gravity treadmill, but I was still in the boot when Western States rolled around.  And I only had a few weeks of running on the ground before Leadville.  I was sad to miss running those races.  I was sad to have used so much of the family budget on the entry fees.  More than anything though, I was sad I couldn’t go out for a run.  Injuries are good for keeping things in perspective at any rate.  I was ecstatic when I finally got to join my running buddies again for a weekend run.

IT:  How’s your foot now?  What’s your longest run been since coming out of the “boot”?

Liza:  The foot is solid.  I ran 67ish miles on it over the weekend for a 9/11 memorial run with Team Red, White & Blue — on highways and country roads and sidewalks. Not a whisper from the foot.  :)

IT:  You’re racing the Javelina Jundred 100 miler in Arizona on November 12th.  With two months to go, how do you feel for that one?  Think you’ll be 100% for it?

Liza:  I’m very excited about Javelina.  As much as anything, I’m excited that the terrain is similar to what we have here in San Antonio.  It’s frustrating trying to simulate mountain terrain.  I’m also a bit nervous because I haven’t raced anything since February, but my four year-old keeps me too distracted to dwell on that too much.

I’ll certainly be as fit as I was for Rocky come November 12th.

IT:  You excel on flatter, long courses, as seen at Rocky Racoon 100 (two wins 2010/11 with a pr of 15:33) but then you showed up to Leadville that climbs up to 12,600 ft. and took the win there in 2010.  How in the world do you find places to do your hill training?  Do you suplement your normal running with any strength work?  I read somewhere that you completed a one-day push up dare.  Tell us about that.

Liza:  My former coach, Amanda McIntosh, won Leadville twice and she trained for it here in San Antonio too.  Honestly, I didn’t do all that much steep hill work.  I ran some moderate 3 mile repeats a handful of times on a smallish grade hill.  And I did train on the treadmill some, but I think I really just reaped the rewards of my time working for NOLS as a mountaineering instructor carrying a heavy pack.  I’m a good hiker — and that’s mostly what I did up Hope Pass.  Ultimately though, the key for me was going early to acclimatize.  I was in town twelve days before the race.  I would have been crushed otherwise.  I also doubt I’d be successful at a mountain race with significant climbing like Hardrock or Wasatch if I had to train here in San Antonio.

I wish I could tell you that I am consistent about strength training.  I certainly want to be.  Other than a 30 minute core workout I do about 4 times a week, I really just run.  Obviously I think I would benefit from a good leg workout.  If I get to run any mountain races next year, that will become a routine.  Right now I’m concentrating on increasing my cruising speed for Javelina and Rocky.

The summer push-up challenge was something to keep things interesting between me and my co-instructor on a NOLS course up in Alaska.  I believe the goal was a thousand throughout the course of one day.  My arms would fall off if I tried that now.

IT:  You and I joked about the density of men’s thinking and general knowledge of women in ultrarunning.  Why do you think that is?  I mean, do women need to start winning races overall (like you did at Cactus Rose 100) to demand notice?  Seriously, what causes women to be overlooked in our sport?

Liza:  I talked to my friend Chris Russell about this.  We came up with three reasons.

1. Lack of competition.

Besides Western States and a couple of other races like Miwok and TNF 50 in San Francisco, the women’s fields at races just aren’t that deep.  I won by 7 hours at Rocky last year.  There’s just not as much racing going on on the women’s side; And it’s the racing that draws interest and coverage.  There was a good amount of coverage of the women’s race at Western States with its deep field.

2. Time gap difference.

It’s logistically difficult to cover both races unless you have a loop course.

3.  Ann Trason factor.  (Chris’ insight)

“A lot of her records still stand whereas the men are setting new marks.  If someone started shattering Ann’s records, it would cause notice.”

IT:  Even though you look like you’re in your late twenties, you’re hitting a milestone birthday this year.  What do you think about Meghan Arbogast’s performance at the World 100k Championship?  She lead the US team with her 5th place in 7:51… at 50 years old.  Do you see yourself running ultras competitively in ten years, 20 years?

Liza:  (Very nicely done with the intro there. Strong work!)  I think Meghan exemplifies what’s possible for female ultra distance runners.  She inspires.  I certainly don’t see why I can’t improve over the next decade.  I’ve only been running ultras for about 3 years now.  Maybe by the time I’m 50, I’ll be as fast as she is.  It would be pretty darn satisfying to lay down a super speedy time at Rocky right after my 40th birthday.  Good present.

IT:  Thank you.  My mom taught me how to soften women up (likely why I’m still single)..  Any interest on your part in running the 100k worlds?  I think you could do very well in that format.

Liza:  Roads.  Ick.  Perhaps with the right peer pressure…

IT:  You’re sponsored by New Balance.  How and when did that come about?

Liza:  I wrote them and asked if they’d consider sponsoring me.  I was running in their MT100s and I saw that they had “Outdoor Ambassador” team and I thought it seemed like a good match.  Happily they did too.

IT:  It sounds so easy but you have to have the results to back it up.  How has being a big sponsored runner changed your running?  Do they help you out with race/travel costs?  Will it mean you travel more next year to race?

Liza:  New Balance provides me with shoes and clothing and helps with race and travel costs.  This is huge for our family budget.  I would not have been able to sign up for Western States or Leadville this year without that aid.  Their sponsorship has made it possible for me to race outside of Texas.  New Balance doesn’t ask me to run any particular races or any number of races.  It’s very surreal and exciting.  I hope to convince them they should have me travel more next year.  (Me and my son and a sitter.)   Seems like I should concentrate on doing well at Javelina, Bandera and Rocky to make this argument more convincing.

I am also very fortunate to be sponsored with product by GU and Drymax socks and by Team Traverse, a local philanthropic group of runners here.  It’s still a net loss hobby, but we haven’t had to put Asa to work in a sweat shop to fund any airline tickets yet.

IT:  Speaking of next year, you’ve had a lot of time to think about plans.  What are your big races next year?  Are you doing the heavy early season racing like you’ve done in the past?


November: Javelina Jundred 100

January: Bandera 100k

February: Rocky Raccoon 100

March: Nueces 50 mile (because it’s right in my backyard and there’s prize money because it’s the USATF Championship)


Western?  Leadville?  UTMB?  2nd child?  Hard sayin’.  If someone would like to send me and my family — and a nanny — to France for the summer to train —  I promise to do really really well at UTMB.

IT:  I’m going to open it up here.  Anything else on your mind?  Thoughts on commercialization of our sport, like Leadville’s new owner, growth of our sport, DNFs, other nations nabbing wins in America’s biggest races this year, gardening or landscaping at your home?  

Liza:  Trying to understand what caused someone to drop from a race is an important part of becoming a better ultra marathoner.  I try to read people’s race reports with an eye towards anticipating problems and gaining trouble-shooting techniques. (e.g. have emergency supplies of electrolytes on hand for cramps, bring cold weather gear, study the course map etc.)    

Because ultramarathoning is fundamentally about perseverance, however, it’s easy to move from evaluating the reasons someone dropped to evaluating the person themselves. This is especially true when you don’t know the runner.  

“Why didn’t he keep going?  He could have after a little rest.  Ego too big not to place?  Why not walk it in and inspire other slower runners? Why not set an example for tolerance for adversity and uncertainty? Etc.”   

When my thoughts turn this way on a long run, my mantra is: Why-do-you-look-at-the-splinter-in-your-brother’s-eye-and-not-notice-the-beam-in-your-own-eye?  (After 20 miles that usually turns into a breathless: Stop-criticizing-or-you’ll-run-into-a-tree-branch-and-get-a-stick-in-your-eye.)  It helps.  I will say I’m rarely judgmental when I’m giving 100% to my own run.  100% effort usually fills me with all sorts of empathetic compassion. 

DNF-ing myself: I run ultras to practice perseverance.  Hopefully, with enough practice, I’ll have reserves to tap into when the suffering isn’t a choice that I’ve signed up for.  So while I work hard to avoid a suffer-fest, it’s still useful to me.  I imagine a DNF has a lot to teach me that I also need to learn.  I am working very hard to avoid that lesson none-the-less.  Perhaps listening compassionately to others’ accounts will serve instead.  

 PS. You should definitely stop running a race if you are injured and continuing would seriously exacerbate the injury.  

IT:  Liza, thank you and have a great race at Javelina and enjoy the rest of the year!    

Run Rabbit Run 50 Mile Race Preview

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This Saturday’s Run Rabbit Run 50 miler, first run in 2007, is a quiet little gem of a race nestled in northern Colorado’s Steamboat Springs.  Though seemingly under the radar of spotlight races, it’s a Montrail Ultra Cup Series event, sells out quickly, and has enjoyed having some of the hottest ultrarunners around show up to compete in this late season 50.  Last year saw Ultra Runner Of the Year, Geoff Roes, take the win and set the new course record of 7:11.  His time clearly indicates the difficulty of the course.  In fact, the race organizers proclaim:

“A word of warning: This is not a beginner’s run.  You might find the uphills and downhills fairly steep.  You will spend a lot of time at an altitude of nearly two miles. There may be snow.  There may be rain.  It may be wet, or windy, or then again, it may be hot. There may be wild animals out there, some of them a lot bigger and scarier than a rabbit.”

Roes was chased last year by Bill Fanselow, who happened to be recovering from heart surgery and yet still managed to run 7:22, the second fastest time this race has seen in its four years.  This brings us to our mention of the favorites for contention:


Bill Fanselow. Check out that open heart surgery scar. Makes that sore hamstring you might have seem somewhat candy ass-ish. Photo: Matt Stensland

Bill Fanselow:  Representing Golden, CO, Bill is a former US Mountain Racing Team member and has shown ferocious speed with his move into ultra distance running.  The fact that he nearly ran down Roes last year while fresh off the operating table tells me that he can run sub 7 on this course, providing the weather and conditions favor the runners.

Nick Clark:  The Fort Collins ultra rock star is likely fired up after the tough drop at UTMB.  He’ll need some fire in his legs to run down Fanselow.

Ryan Burch:  Another Fort Collins speedster and two-time winner of this race, Ryan had an eye popping run at Collegiate Peaks 50 mile in May where he set a new course record in 6:37.  50 miles is Ryan’s sweet spot, so wedging him in 3rd here in the predictions may be a mistake.

Zeke Tiernan:  This Carbondale, CO resident won the inaugural running of Run Rabbit Run in 2007 (it was his very first ultra race).  He doesn’t race much but when he does race, it means something.  His last ultra race was Leadville 2010, where he earned 2nd overall.

Charles Corfield:  I believe he has something like 10 residences but we’ll say he’s from Boulder.  At 53 years old, Charles continues to amaze people.  Just three weeks ago he ran probably the best race of his life taking 8th overall at Leadville 100 in a zippy time of 19:09.  He also ran 2nd to Zeke at this race in 2007.  He can run hot and cold, though.  If he’s hot, he’ll be podium potential.

Corey Hanson:  From Bellvue, CO, Corey has put together an impressive year so far with solid runs, including a course record at the Rocky Mountain Double Marathon, a win a the North Fork 50 mile, and showing his climbing ability with a 9th overall at the Pikes Peak Marathon.  As far as I can see, 4th-6th here are interchangeable.


Anita Ortiz. Who smiles on a climb like that?! Photo: Thomas Martens

Anita Ortiz:  Eagle, Co.  Really, does anything else need to be said?  Well, she showed that she is in fact human at Western States where she ran 25:20, which is nearly 7 hours off her winning run there in 2009.  I wouldn’t want to line up with her here.  Make room for a new women’s course record.

Helen Cospolich:  This Brekenridge, CO resident is another 50k/50mi specialist.  After grinding out a 30+ hour run (and 6th place woman) at UTMB, this will seem like a 10k for her.

Denise Bourassa: Making the trip down from Boise, ID, Denise has been consistent in all her ultras over the last three years and shows skill at all distances (she just placed 2nd at Waldo 100k last month).  She’ll be ready to pounce at the slightest weakness shown by the two ladies in front of her.

Good wishes to all the participants.

2011 Wasatch 100, WMRC and IAU 100K World Championship Results and Wrap

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A rare moment off his feet. Evan Honeyfield fueling to victory at Wasatch 100. Photo Duncan Callahan

At the Wasatch 100 the weather held with warmer than typical temperatures and Timmy Parr took it out hot himself, running splits that nearly matched Geoff Roes’ course record pace.  Unfortunately, the speedster faded with a sour stomach and low energy, eventually dropping at mile 62.  Evan Honeyfield capitalized on Parr’s falter and made his move.  Eschewing the “Lamb’s Canyon Rule” (leader at Lamb’s doesn’t win the race), Honeyfield pressed on and held the lead over hard charging Luke Nelson and ageless Karl Meltzer for the win in 19:31, the third fastest time in the history of the 32 year old race.  Meltzer surprized everyone with his appearance at the start after dealing with a back injury from Hardrock and then food poisoning/flu last week.

In the women’s race, Becky Wheeler shot off the start and ran in 1st all the way to the finish for the most part non-contended.

1st Evan Honeyfield – 19:31

2nd Luke Nelson – 19:52

3rd Karl Meltzer – 20:59


1st Becky Wheeler – 25:53

2nd Emily Judd – 26:46

3rd Jody Aslett – 27:39

Full results found here.


Via Matt at Inside Trail‘s Euro Bureau:  Americans feeling this globalization bug that’s going around.


To reiterate:  What a spectacular weekend for Americans in Europe.  Max King and Kasie Enman shocked the world on Sunday (yeah even the loyal teammate, coach, prescient prognosticator, grandma or cousin Vinnie was fairly surprised) with individual gold medals at the 27th World Mountain Running Championships in Tirana, Albania.  Although the men’s and women’s teams both finished fourth, just missing the podium, it’s safe to say  the USMRT and most racing fans can appreciate this .  On the men’s side, Joe Gray finished 11th, Ryan Woods 49th and Matt Byrne 51stInside Trail had a little preview and more or less overlooked the Americans.  Why?  A) take a look at results from previous WMRC trophy events, especially the last couple of years, which have been dominated by the Africans (Ugandan, Kenyan, and Eritrean runners to be specific) and Europeans;  B) have a gander at some of the recent race results of our two ringers, Max King and Joe Gray; and C) refer to the 12.47k  course, which set-up for more of “A”.

Although some certainly had their eye on Enman because of her return to health and consistent form, and her U.S. mountain running title at the Cranmore Hill Climb in New Hampshire, still this individual gold shattered her and her team’s expectations, especially considering she’s the first U.S. women’s world champ ever, not to mention her first participation in the WMRC.  Megan Lund-Lizotte finished 12th and Michelle Suszek ran into 21st for the American squad.

King’s result is also simply awesome.  Like Enman, he beat all comers at the Cranmore Hill Climb.  And he too delivered individual gold in Albania.  Max (52:06) was joined on the podium by Ahmet Arslan (52:41) from Turkey and one of the Italian Dematteis twins, Martin (52:57).  His brother Bernard (54:16) and Sierre-Zinal winner Marco De Gasperi (54:33) round-out the top 5.  So, what happened?  Since 2009 the Africans have largely smothered the top 10.  Not this year.  King actually recalls seeing one of the Ugandan runners late:  “[He] was 30 seconds ahead of me at the top of the third

photo: usmrt.com

climb and I passed him with about 800 meters to go. ”  Despite the pre-race odds, a little parity transpired in Tirana.


Quick spin: the course set-up was described as a mix of grass, dirt and single-track among a fairly typical amount of up and down (based on other WMRC trophy courses).  The rub was the less technical terrain;the faster African runners would enjoy the speedier conditions.  However, that sounds like a course that King might enjoy, as well.  “It was a good course for me having both the hard technical uphill and the fast and somewhat technical downhill. I had no idea I was in the lead until I crossed the finish line,” said King, who happens to be a seasoned and successful cross-country athlete.

What about his Sierre-Zinal 20th, or his DNS at Pikes Ascent?  Those (who know him or) perhaps caught Nick Clark’s interview of King prior to Sierre-Zinal might recall he talked about wanting to be ready for Worlds in September, despite sounding under the weather, maybe a bit uninspired.  To the contrary,  maybe he was simply finding his way to the WMRC start, a runner who had an A race focus, who executed to perfection, becoming the first American man to win the gold since Jay Johnson in 1987.

WMRC men’s and women’s results when they become available.

Either way, we have a couple of runners who knew exactly what was possible in Albania on that particular course,  in the face of so much international dominance.  Brilliant and inspired goods.  Congrats to Mr. King and Kasi Enman and American mountain running at large.  Let this inspire others to administer like carnage on the global stage.

Likewise, in the Netherlands Michael Wardian (6:42:49) and Andy Henshaw (6:44:35) ran 2nd and 3rd throughout most of the 2011 IAU 100k World Championships, trailing only Italy’s Giorgio Calcaterra (6:27:32), who also won this race in 2008.  Wardian and Henshaw, along with Matt Wood’s sixth place in 6:50:23, propelled the Americans to a team gold.  World travel at its finest.

The women’s team secured silver, highlighted by the incredible work of 50 year-old Meghan Arbogast’s 5th place in 7:51:10, Annette Bednosky’s 6th place in 7:54:59 and an 11th place finish from Amy Sproston in 8:10:11.  What are they smoking over there?  Especially Ms. Arbogast, who simply knows something the rest of the world is missing out on.  Congrats, ladies!  The race was won by Russia’s Marina Bychkova in 7:27:19.  Unfortunately, Ellie Greenwood recorded a DNF and was not able to repeat her victory from 2010, which shouldn’t dim her spectacular 2011 race season much at all, having already won the Frozen Ass 50, Chuckanut 50k, American River 50, Western States 100 and Powderface 42.

Wasatch 100 Preview and Predictions

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Photo Matt Galland

In the true spirit of American ultrarunning, when you do something tough, you look for something tougher. Inspired by the Western States 100, five entrants ran the first Wasatch 100 in 1980.  Two of them finished after 35 hours.  The next year saw a 40% increase in participation with seven people starting the race.  No one finished.  Now, after 31 years, one of the most difficult 100 mile runs in the US will see 250 “lucky” lottery winners lining up at 5am this Friday morning to start yet another odyssey through the jagged, rocky trails of the Wasatch Mountains.

The Wasatch 100 has nearly 27,000 ft of climb and about the same descent.  The temperature can range from freezing to smoldering.  The rocky, technical trails can leave you begging for pavement.  It’s a true mountain 100 that can break the will of even the most experienced ultrarunner.

For very few, like course record holder Geoff Roes, the pain ends in less than 20 hours (he ran the current course record of 18hrs 30mins in 2009).  Everyone else enjoys two sunrises on the course and many ramble through most of the second day.  The cut off is 36 hours.  Roes gives his perspective of the race, “The Wasatch 100 is basically two separate runs. A 75 mile warm up to Brighton and then a 25 mile race from Brighton to the finish. The route has so many tough climbs, rutted; dusty; sandy; rocky trail, and shockingly steep drops in the last 25 miles that it almost feels like you’re not running in the some mountain range anymore.”

Photo Wasatch100.com

With that description in mind, let’s take a look at the contenders for this year’s edition, in predicted finishing order:

Timmy Parr – For the majority of events, one can simply pick the fastest runner to win.  Timmy Parr is the fastest runner entered in the Wasatch 100.  However, the gritty mountain 100 specialist wins this race… usually.  Timmy is due for a big run (again) and with the help of two-time Leadville 100 champion and friend, Duncan Callahan, crewing and pacing, I’m going with Timmy for the win.

Evan Honeyfield – Evan has been racing well and infrequently this year and, in his first and only 100 miler, the Bear 100 last September, he nailed the race with a 19 hour 2nd place finish.  Bear is the sister 100 to Wasatch, so I’m giving him the same finish he nabbed at Bear.

Jared Campbell – After his DNF at his focus race, Hardrock, in July, Jared has to be fired up to run well.  Not many people know these trails and the mountain range better than he does.  He, along with the other grizzled vets will be on the heels of the two guys above, one mistake and they eat them like hungry wolves.

Erik Storheim – The tough workhorse of this group, which is what works for this race.  He always shows up ready and fit.  Erik cracked the top 10 in 2009 with a 7th place in 22:49.  He’ll PR this year.

Troy Howard – I ran with Troy for 6 hours in the Indian Peaks region of the rockies a month ago.  He’s mountain trained and ready.

Luke Nelson – Had a knee injury take its toll on him at last year’s race but still finished 13th in 23:30.  With the knee healthy, he’ll be flying this year.

Christian Johnson – Consistent and tough.  Knows the trails well.

Peter Lingren – 9th overall in 2010 in 23:05.  Has only raced one ultra since then and it was a mediocre finish, so we’ll see whether he can repeat with another strong one here.


Becky Wheeler – Should have an easy time (if anything about Wasatch can be called easy) with this one.

Suzanne Lewis – Thanks to an astute reader of Inside Trail for pointing out my omission of Suzanne.  She nabbed a distant 2nd place behind Darcy Africa last year and should be able to improve on that time.

Emily Judd – Sub 24 hour at Bighorn shows she has what it takes to contend.

Linda McFadden – With over 200 finished ultras, her consistency and tenacity should carry her in for a solid run and propel her to the win if  others have a rough day.

Sarah Evans – Has finished this race sub 30 hours, so she knows what to expect and how to deal with it.

“One Hundred Miles of Heaven and Hell.”  The race slogan makes sense to those who’ve finished it.  Enjoy.

One Hundred Miles of Heaven and Hell. Photo mrc-ultra.blogspot.com

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