Episode 141 – Dave Mackey and Kelvin T Reid and a ‘surprise’ Guest

Episode 141 of Talk Ultra is all about inspiration and fighting back! If episode 141 doesn’t make you look at yourself and your running then we have failed as a podcast… We bring you a full and in-depth interview with Dave Mackey who had an accident whilst running and recently made the decision to amputate his leg… We have a surprise guest appearance with Hillary Allen. We also speak with Kelvin T Reid who in 2016 was diagnosed with ALS and continues to run ultras. Speedgoat is also here to co-host!
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00:14:48 NEWS
Sierre-Zinal
The 44th edition of the race in many ways proved that Kilian Jornet is THE best mountain runner in the world, from a one armed victory at Hardrock to a 2:33 victory at this iconic fast race. Robbie Simpson from the UK was 2nd just 14 secs behind and Max King 3rd in 2:34.
For the ladies it was Lucy Wambui Murigi (2015 champ) who beat the 2016 champ Michelle Maier by 6-minutes – 2:58 to 3:05. Ammandine Ferrato 3rd at 3:09.
Bigfoot 200 mile
Jason Kinsella won the men’s race in 55:49 and Van Phan the ladies in 72:22.
Bridger Ridge Run
I am giving this result because next week I am going to be in Bozeman and I want to run this ridge…
Christi Richards and David Sinclair won the 33rd edition of this classic (comparable to Sierre Zinal). It’s 19.65 mile course and the times were 3:06 for the men and 4:10 for the ladies.
Leadville 100
Ian Sharman does it again in 17:34 (his 4th) and I have to say, I think it is time that Ian moved on and picked another race… in past year’s he has sone hard battles but now he is heads and shoulders above the rest… David Tierney was 2nd and Michael Hewitt 3rd, both over an hour back 18:32 and 18:59.
Devon Yanko had a great victory in 20:46, Simona Morbelli 2nd in 21:16 and Christy Burns 3rd in 21:43.
Pikes Peak Ascent
Joe Gray did it again in 2:08 ahead of Touru Miyahara and Seth DeMoor 2:18 and 2:21. Serkalem Biset Abrha won in 2:42 with Anna Mae Flynn and Addie Bracy 2nd and 3rd.
Pikes Peak Marathon
Remi Bonnet had a clear victory in 3:37 – for perspective, Matt Carpenters record is an incredible 3:16. Kristina Mascarenas won the ladies race in 4:09 and Courtney Dauwalter 2nd with Jackie Pirtle-Hall 3rd.
Hillary Allen
Hillary is back home in the USA and recently had another operation on her arm and on her foot. She has a long way to go but the smile is back and she is focussed on recovery. She thanks everyone for all the best wishes and of course, we will support and help Hillary every step of the way.
Ultravasan 90km
Ida Nilsson set a new CR in 6:51 ahead of Johanna Bygdell and the UK’s Jo Meek. Elon Olsson won in 6:07 and Patrick Reagan from the US was 2nd just 1-min back and Henri Ansio 3rd.
Transrockies
Many variations of the race so please check the website for the full results.
Charlie Ware and Catlow Shipeck won the 6-day and for the ladies Amanda Basham and Kelly Henninger, times 16:45 and 19:19.
The solo 6-day race was won by Magdalena Boulet 19:00 and Chad Trammell for the men 15:28.
Squamish 50
Mike Murphy and Lisa Polizzi took top honours in 8:10 and 9:52.
UTMB – wow…
It is going to be one hell of a race! Preview HERE.
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00:59:58 Interview with DAVE MACKEY guest appearance w/ Hillary Allen
Dave has been a legend in his own right as an ultra-runner. Check out Ultrasignup, Dave was crushing trails in 2001 and over the years he has had victory upon victory. He has won Way to cool, JFK 50, Zane Grey, Miwok 100k, Vermont 50, Dick Collins Firetrails, Bandera 100k, Waldo 100k and so many more. Add to that 2nd at Western States and string of high-profile top 10’s. But disaster struck whilst out training…
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01:54:19 Interview with KELVIN REID 
Kelvin Reid, also known as the UltraCowboy. In October 2016, Kelvin was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (also called ALS).
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UP & COMING RACES

Albania

GlobalLimits Albania 2017 – The Hidden Treasure – | 220 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website

Australia

New South Wales

100 km | 100 kilometers | August 25, 2017 | website
50 km | 50 kilometers | August 25, 2017 | website

Belgium

Flanders

Oxfam Trailwalker Belgium | 100 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website

Canada

Alberta

Lost Soul 100 Km Ultra | 100 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website
Lost Soul 100 Mile Ultra | 100 miles | September 08, 2017 | website

Ontario

Quebec

Chute du Diable 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 02, 2017 | website
Chute du Diable 80 km | 80 kilometers | September 02, 2017 | website

China

SuperRace Inner Mongolia Station 111KM/3Days | 111 kilometers | September 01, 2017 | website

Finland

Eastern Finland

100 km | 100 kilometers | September 02, 2017 | website

France

Alpes-Maritimes

Trail de la Vésubie – 70 km | 68 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website
Ultra-Trail Côte d’Azur Mercantour | 140 kilometers | August 25, 2017 | website

Bas-Rhin

Ultra Trail du Haut-Koenigsbourg 108 km | 108 kilometers | September 02, 2017 | website

Hautes-Pyrénées

Le Tour des lacs | 80 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website
Tour des Cirques | 120 kilometers | August 25, 2017 | website

Isère

La Traversée Nord | 85 kilometers | August 25, 2017 | website
L’Echappée Belle Intégrale | 144 kilometers | August 25, 2017 | website

Savoie

Courmayeur Champex Chamonix (CCC) | 98 kilometers | September 01, 2017 | website
North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) | 166 kilometers | September 01, 2017 | website
Orsières – Champex – Chamonix (OCC) | 53 kilometers | August 31, 2017 | website
Petite Trotte à Léon (PTL) | 290 kilometers | August 28, 2017 | website
Sur les traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS) | 119 kilometers | August 30, 2017 | website
Tour de la Grande Casse | 63 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website

Vosges

L’infernal 200 | 204 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website

Germany

Bavaria

GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run | 240 kilometers | September 03, 2017 | website

Saarland

RAG-Hartfüßler – Trail 58 km | 58 kilometers | August 27, 2017 | website

Hungary

Hammer 50k Ultra | 50 kilometers | September 02, 2017 | website

Iceland

Fire and Ice | 250 kilometers | August 27, 2017 | website

India

Uttarakhand

Uttarkashi 135 | 135 miles | September 01, 2017 | website

Ireland

Connacht

Back to Back Marathon | 84 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website
Back to Back Ultra | 78 miles | August 26, 2017 | website
Ultra Marathon | 39 miles | August 26, 2017 | website

Kerry

Kerry Way Ultra | 120 miles | September 01, 2017 | website

Longford

Longford Ultra Marathon | 63 kilometers | August 27, 2017 | website

Mayotte

Mahoraid | 70 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website

Morocco

65 km | 65 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website
65 km Relais | 65 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website

Netherlands

Gelderland

53 km | 53 kilometers | September 03, 2017 | website

New Zealand

Great Naseby Water Race 100 km | 100 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website
Great Naseby Water Race 160 km | 160 kilometers | August 25, 2017 | website
Great Naseby Water Race 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website
Great Naseby Water Race 60 km | 60 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website
Great Naseby Water Race 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website

Norway

Telemark’s Toughest | 81 kilometers | September 02, 2017 | website

Peru

100K | 100 kilometers | August 25, 2017 | website
60 K | 60 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website

Réunion

Cimasarun | 55 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website

Slovenia

75 km | 75 kilometers | September 02, 2017 | website

Spain

Catalonia

Pyrenees Stage Run | 240 kilometers | September 03, 2017 | website

Switzerland

Valais

170K | 170 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website
170 km | 170 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website
Ultra Tour Monte Rosa | 117 kilometers | September 06, 2017 | website
Ultra Tour Monte Rosa – Stage Race | 117 kilometers | September 06, 2017 | website

United Kingdom

Anglesey

Ring o’ Fire | 131 miles | September 01, 2017 | website

Buckinghamshire

Ridgeway Challenge | 86 miles | August 26, 2017 | website

Cumbria

The La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw | 44 miles | September 02, 2017 | website

East Sussex

100km | 100 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website
50 km | 50 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website

Greater London

T184 | 184 miles | August 25, 2017 | website

Hertfordshire

Chiltern Way Ultra 100k | 100 kilometers | August 27, 2017 | website
Chiltern Way Ultra 200k | 200 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website

Stockport

Bullock Smithy | 56 miles | September 02, 2017 | website

USA

California

100 Mile | 100 miles | August 25, 2017 | website
50 Mile | 50 miles | August 26, 2017 | website
Back 50K | 50 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website
Bulldog 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website
Castle Peak 100K | 100 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website
Diablo Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2017 | website
Front 50K | 50 kilometers | August 25, 2017 | website
Tahoe 200 | 200 miles | September 08, 2017 | website
Tamalpa Headlands 50K | 50 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website

Colorado

Flaming Foilage Relay | 160 miles | September 08, 2017 | website
Ragnar Relay Colorado | 200 miles | August 25, 2017 | website

Florida

The Pinellas Trail Challenge | 46 miles | September 02, 2017 | website

Georgia

Yeti Snakebite 50K | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2017 | website

Maine

Last Man Standing | 100 miles | September 02, 2017 | website
Standard Relay Team (5-8 Person) | 128 miles | September 08, 2017 | website
Ultra Relay Team (4 Person) | 128 miles | September 08, 2017 | website

Massachusetts

The Rock Run | 50 miles | September 02, 2017 | website

Michigan

Hallucination 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 08, 2017 | website
LSD 100K | 100 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website
Ultra Marathon | 50 miles | August 26, 2017 | website

Minnesota

Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 08, 2017 | website

Missouri

Forrest Gump Challenge 50 Mile Ultra-marathon | 50 miles | September 02, 2017 | website

Montana

The Rut 50K | 50 kilometers | September 02, 2017 | website

New York

100 km Trail Race | 100 kilometers | August 27, 2017 | website
50 km Trail Race | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2017 | website

North Carolina

50K | 50 kilometers | September 07, 2017 | website

Oklahoma

3 Half Marathons in 3 Days | 39 miles | September 02, 2017 | website
3 Marathons in 3 Days | 78 miles | September 02, 2017 | website

Oregon

Hood to Coast Relay | 199 miles | August 25, 2017 | website

Pennsylvania

Baker Trail UltraChallenge | 50 miles | August 26, 2017 | website

Texas

Reveille Peak Ranch – 60km | 60 kilometers | August 26, 2017 | website

Utah

Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | September 08, 2017 | website

Virginia

Iron Mountain 50 mile Trail Run | 50 miles | September 02, 2017 | website
The Blude Ridge Relay | 208 miles | September 08, 2017 | website
The Ring – Massanutten Trail Circuit Run | 71 miles | September 02, 2017 | website

Washington

Day Two- (September 7) 50k | 50 kilometers | September 03, 2017 | website

Wisconsin

Lake Michigan Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | September 03, 2017 | website
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CLOSE
02:10:59
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I’m Ian Corless and he is Speedgoat Karl
Keep running
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Website – talkultra.com

Ultra Race of Champions – UROC – Race Preview 2013

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All good things must come to an end and it is no different for the Skyrunner Ultra World Series. The five series long championship is four races down with just one to go. An incredible start on the island of La Palma with Transvulcania La Palma and victories for Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg was followed with the tough and challenging 100-mile, Ronda dels Cims seeing Julien Chorier and Francesca Canepa shine. Ice Trail Tarentaise in Val D’Isère tested all with altitude, snow and ice and once again saw the ever present and dominant duo of Kilian and Emelie take convincing victories. Speedgoat 50k in Utah saw and impressive course record by Sage Canaday and a ladies victory by Steph Howe.

So with one race left. It’s all to fight for. Arguably one of the most impressive fields of 2013 will line up in Vail, Colorado for the 100-km, Ultra Race of Champions (UROC). The fifth and final event will not only see two champions from the race but also two Skyrunner Ultra World Series champions crowned (three events for five award points).

Let’s be clear, UROC is not a 100-km world championship race it is merely the final race in the Skyrunning ‘ULTRA’ world series and is such will be a decisive race in both the men’s and ladies overall classification.

UROC sees the race as a championship event for the sport of ultra distance running.  This, I believe is a title they have imposed on themselves, for sure, they have a great line up and without doubt, the concept of an ultra race of champions rings true! The objective is to bring together annually the year’s best ultra runners in the first ever ‘formal’ ultra running championship event, but at the same time has the appeal of being open to one and all. It’s an admiral claim and one that ambassadors of the sport would seem at least in principal, to agree with.

“There is a growing demand for a trail ultra running event that celebrates and encourages as many top level runners as possible to come together on the same trail, on the same day, to compete in a true championship style race. In UROC, I think we finally have an event with a desire and a commitment to meet this demand. I can’t wait to toe the line in September with the field of elite runners this race draws.”Geoff Roes, UROC 2011 Champions, UROC Elite Advisory Council Member, Two Time Ultra Runner of the Year.

“UROC is an amazing opportunity for the best in the ultra running sport to test themselves on a course that favors no one. May the best all around runner win.”Max King 

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Of course, as ultra sport progresses, the desire for prize money progresses and UROC is do different. It has a very healthy set of cash prices available. The cash reward system is something that Skyrunning have had in place for some time and not only are prices award by the ISF at every Skyrunning race (VK, Sky and Ultra) they also award cash prices for the respective world champions, in each Skyrunning category.

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Cash Purse: (awarded by UROC)

Champions Male/Female:    $5000.00

Runner Up Male/Female:    $2000.00

Third Place Male/Female:    $1500.00

Fourth Place Male/Female:  $1000.00

Fifth Place Male/Female:     $500.00

Other Race Premiums will include $250 King/Queen of the Mountain, $250 First Male/Female to Copper MT Ski Area and $250 for the Winners of the Corporate Cup Challenge 

The course in detail (please note, the 2013 route is a ‘new’ route)

Overall Distance:  100K

Course Type:  Point-to-Point

Course details:

  • Section One (Mile 0 to Mile 13): Start in Breckenridge- Elevation 9600 feet.  The race travels toward Peak 8 to an elevation of 11,000 feet.
  • Section Two (Mile 13 to Mile 27):  Breckenridge to Frisco- Elevation 9100 feet.  The race travels over Ten-Mile range at an elevation of 12,408 feet on the Colorado trail between Peaks 5 & 6.
  • Section Three (Mile 27 to Mile 40): Frisco to Copper Mountain Ski Area- Elevation 9712 feet.  The race travels over Vail Pass at an elevation of 10,622 feet.
  • Section Four (Mile 40 to Mile 45):  Copper Mountain to Vail Mountain- Elevation 10,981 feet.  The race travels from Vail Mountain at 9170 feet to Minturn, CO at an elevation of 7,861 feet.
  • Section Five (Mile 45 to Mile 51):  Minturn to Vail Mountain- Elevation 10,981 feet.  The race travels from Minturn to Vail Mountain on the Game Creek Trail.
  • Section Six (Mile 51 to Mile 62):  Vail Mountain to Vail Village- Elevation 10,981 feet.  The race travels from Vail Mountain to Vail Village at an elevation of 8150 feet.

Estimated Total Vertical Gain:  13,245 feet

Elevation loss:   12,379  feet

Maximum altitude: 12,408 feet or 3782 meters at the Ten Mile Pass between Peak 5 and Peak 6

Percent of paved road: 19%

Technical Features: The Ultra Race of Champions crosses 4 passes or peaks above 12,140 feet or 3700 meters.

Aid Stations: 9

Time Limit: 19 hours 30 minutes

Interactive Route Maphttp://www.mapmyrun.com/us/breckenridge-co/uroc-vail-2013-route-112588745

Content taken from UROC website ©

THE 2013 RACE

Stacked! It’s a word we have used multiple times in 2013 but if ever a race was stacked, it’s the 2013 edition of UROC. In the men’s race I have thirty-two names of note! Yes, thirty-two.

  • Max King
  • Dave Mackey
  • Sage Canaday
  • Anton Krupicka (not racing due to injury)
  • Dakota Jones
  • Cameron Clayton
  • Mick Donges
  • Rickey Gates
  • Pablo Crado Toca
  • Gustavo Reyes
  • Mike Wardian
  • Luke Nelson
  • Matt Flaherty
  • Trent Briney
  • Dylan Bowman
  • Troy Howard
  • Duncan Callahan
  • Ty Draney
  • Karl Meltzer (not racing)
  • Adam Campbell (not racing)
  • Paul Terranova
  • Josh Arthur
  • Ryan Burch
  • Gary Gellin
  • Michael Versteeg
  • Justin Ricks
  • Brian Tinder
  • James Walsh
  • Mike Wolfe
  • Joe Grant (possibility of not racing tbc)
  • Martin Gafurri
  • Rob Krar
  • Kilian Jornet

For the ladies race it is an equally impressive field with fifteen names that stand out and shine,

  • Tina Lewis (not racing)
  • Francesca Canepa
  • Kristina Folcik
  • Shannon Price
  • Jen Benna
  • Ashley Arnold
  • Helen Cospolitch
  • Michele Yates
  • Devon Yanko
  • Darcy Africa
  • Tracy Hoeg
  • Anita Ortiz
  • Fernanda Maciel
  • Steph Howe
  • Emelie Forsberg
  • Kerrie Bruxvoort

It would be quite possible to look at the lists above and say, take a pick. Anyone of the listed runners on the right day could come away with victory.

As with all previews, I have to put my neck on the line and look at the likely contenders.

Males

Kilian Jornet has gone from strength to strength and just never really seems to have a bad day. His list of results and achievements in 2013 is second to none. Not only is he performing at the highest-level at all three disciplines in the Skyrunning calendar (VK, Sky and Ultra) but he is also setting record in his ‘Summits’ project. In actual fact, as I write this he is in Russia for an attempt at Mt Elbrus. So, how will Kilian perform at UROC? He will be at the front, pushing and without doubt will be highly competitive. Can he win? Of course, it’s Kilian. However, the lack of really high mountains, technical terrain and 19% of road will not play to the Catalans abilities.

Sage Canaday ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday ©iancorless.com

If ever a course was made for Sage Canaday, this course is probably it. The mixture of trail, road and climbing ticks all the right boxes and we all know after a disappointing performance at Sierre-Zinal, Sage took some rest and has been extremely focused on performing in Vail. Add to this his win and course record at Speedgoat 50k and a top placing at Transvulcania; Sage is also in a great place for the overall Skyrunning World Series title.

Previous winner of UROC, Max King will be looking to repeat his 2012 performance. A world mountain running champion and 2:15 ‘ish’ marathon runner, Max, like Sage has the ability to win once again. However, he is mixed things up in 2013 and he is short on racing long. UROC at 100-km may just be a little too long?

Rob Krar until recently was relatively unknown, however his FKT at the rim-to -rim-to rim rectified that. Having secured a place at Western States at a previous race he went to his first 100-miler with respect. At the finish, he had placed top three and in doing so is now without doubt a one-to-watch. For sure, the 100-km distance will suit all aspects of Krar’s running abilities and he won’t mind 19% of road too… his background is well established in road running.

Dakota Jones recently pulled out of TNFUTMB and has been pretty quiet in 2013. However, if Dakota is turning up, you can guarantee he is running to win. Nobody would question that Dakota may very well be standing on top of the podium come the 28th.

Cameron Clayton ©iancorless.com

Cameron Clayton ©iancorless.com

Cameron Clayton will love the UROC course and as per usual he will be fired up and ready to race. He loves to push hard from the start and hold on. If he does this it at UROC, he will have no shortage of followers. However, the secret is to keep at the front! Cameron’s recent races have been a little mixed and he was nursing a foot problem. He came through Matterhorn Ultraks well and that must bode well for UROC.

Rickey Gates has already had a full season of racing and travelling. He is always a consistent top ten performer and as he has shown in Europe this year, he has had great results in France and Italy on some tough and technical European mountains.

Matt Flaherty has performed real well over 50m with a win at American River 50, fourth at Ice Age Trail and second at Cayuga Trail in June. He has been relatively quiet since then so maybe UROC is his ‘A’ race?

Dylan Bowman had a great Western States finishing just behind Ian Sharman; however, just recently he had to pull out of TNFUTMB with injury. The question mark for Dylan will be if he has the form after some time off.

Finally, Mike Wolfe. Wolfepaw is back, his FKT on the John Muir Trail with Hal Koerner was a great run. But turning up at TNFUTMB with all that running and time in his legs was just too much and he dropped relatively early on. With some RnR post Chamonix; with luck Mike will be fit and firing on all cylinders in Colorado.

I could go on… just look at the list above. So many names to choose from and so many could be in this preview, Mike Wardian for one has been a podium finisher at UROC before, don’t rule him out.

Ladies

Emelie Forsberg ©iancorless.com

Emelie Forsberg ©iancorless.com

Emelie Forsberg has been dominant in 2013. Her performances and her ability over multiple distances and terrain are second to none. However, UROC will be her first 100km race, this will provide a new challenge for Emelie. Like Kilian, this course may well prove to be lacking altitude and technicality but Emelie does like to run fast, just as she proved at San Francisco last December.

Devon Yanko (Crosby-Helms) has had a quiet 2013, her only significant result was second at Chuckanut 50k. She has started a bakery and apparently that is the priority. But I am sure she will be coming to UROC with a win in mind. To be honest, Devon may well pull it off. She is a great marathon runner and the 100km distance suits her (4th at Comrades in 2012).  The road section will allow her to push and that may very well be all she needs to make a decisive move. Her list of results is impressive, very impressive.

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa has had quite a 2013. With a win at Ronda dels Cims, top placing at Ice Trail Tarentaise and just recently a return win at the super tough, 330km, Tor des Geants. UROC for sure will be too fast and not hard enough for Francesca; she also may very well be just a little tired!

Helen Cospolich is a three times finisher at TNFUTMB, her best performance came in 2011 with 6th so she packs endurance punch. She recently returned to Mont Blanc but had to drop through illness. She has recently been training on the UROC course and has now covered the whole route; without doubt, Helen will be looking to put TNFUTMB behind her with a podium in Vail. In 2013 she already has had a string of top placing’s, second at Desert Rats, third at Miwok 60km, second at Silver Rush 50m and finally third at Power of Four 50km in early August.

Darcy Africa once again has had a string of top three places in 2013. At Telluride she placed second, second at Squaw Peak 50, third at Coyote Cohorts Backbone 68m but importantly she has won at Hardrock 100 (again) and Miwok 60km. Darcy has a little of everything and on her day could win at UROC.

Steph Howe has had two great results in 2013, victories at Speedgoat 50k and Gorge Waterfalls 50k. The big question mark comes if she can take that speed to double the distance?

Kristina Folcik will be smiling all the way around UROC that is for sure. She had a great race at Cayuga and will hope to bring that winning form to this race. She says on her blog (dangergirldh.com) that she is, ‘an ordinary girl living a not so ordinary life’.

Ashley Arnold placed 16th at Leadville 100 (won the ladies race) recently and 15th at White River 50m; so, one would think that she currently has the form to contend the podium. Ashley is certainly more consistent over the 50k and 50m distance so the 100km may just be a stretch for her considering the speed that this race will be run. Leadville is a very different race to UROC.

Kerrie Bruxvoort placed 1st at Run Rabbit Run 50 on Sept 13th so she must come to UROC a little tired and jaded. Earlier this year she placed 16th at Western States so that contrast between the two races is high. Despite this contrast, Kerrie has won Quad Rock 50 and Zane Grey this year, so, the 50m distance is her forte, can she stretch out her performance for those other twelve miles.

Tracy Hoeg has had a quiet 2013 but in 2012 she had repeated success over 50km and 50m with a fourth, two third places, a second place and a win. As far as I know, her results beyond 50-miles are sparse, so Tracy comes to UROC a relative potential dark horse.

Fernanda Maciel ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel has been racing a lot in 2013 but she has been plagued with a few niggles. At the CCC she was having a great race but an old injury flared up causing her to drop. Certainly longer races suit her but this may just not be technical enough.

Finally, Anita Ortiz, Speedgoat winner from 2008 will join UROC. She has quite a pedigree but it is almost impossible to say what her current form is like. She has been a US Mountain Running Champion several times, won Western States and she has also won Pikes Peak, so, she has a great mix of endurance, speed and altitude adaptation; she may be a surprise on the day!

One thing is for sure, UROC will certainly be an exciting race and great way to end the Skyrunner Ultra World Series.

Links:

UROC website HERE

Skyrunning HERE

Western States Endurance Run Preview

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In a recent interview with Rob Krar about his incredible ‘FKT’ (fastest known time) on the Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim we discussed the up and coming Western States. Humble and respectful he called it the Super Bowl of ultra running. You have to agree, Western States is the Super Bowl of 100-mile events.

 

June 29th in Squaw Valley, once again an incredibly talented male field will toe the line to do battle over probably the most iconic 100-mile race on the calendar. It may not be the hardest but it has history. Way back in ‘73’ when Gordy Ainsleigh’s horse went lame, he had two choices; not to take part in the iconic 100-mile horse race called the Tevis Cup or run it… now of course, way back then running the course was the most ridiculous idea ever. But Gordy, ever the maverick, brushed caution aside and tackled the heat to arrive in Auburn. The stage was set and the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run was created.

 

The race – Male

 

So, Ryan Sandes wont join the party due to injury, shame! However, the men’s field has enough quality names to make the 2013 edition of the race an exciting one. We have a champ and previous course record holder returning after a 16 year gap, we have last years champ and course record holder, we have the new and the old. This year could be an exciting race because of the variables and unpredictability of those involved.

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Timothy Olson as the remaining champion and course record holder, of course gets top billing. His recent 4th place at Transvulcania La Palma was a real indicator that his form was coming. I went out for a run with him just days after the race and he was moving fast and effortless, no sign of a tough 80km race in his legs. He said, “I could have done with the finish line being a little farther away, I was just getting warmed up”.  Early 2013 season form wasn’t too shabby either with win at Bandera 50k, 2nd Ray Miller, and 2nd at Tarawera behind Sage Canaday in New Zealand. His relative silence post Transvulcania should worry the competition; he has been training and training hard. Can he go faster than his incredible 14:46:44 set in 2013?

 

Brit, Nick Clark in a recent interview with me ahead of this year’s race said, “I am running to win, I feel good this year. I have started my three week taper and I don’t know, maybe this could be my year!” Nick is super consistent over the 100-mile distance and demands respect from his peers. He ran 15:44 last year for 3rd place and almost certainly he is going to need to run that quick, if not quicker if he wants to be in contention for a podium place. Even more impressive is that Nick is taking on the Grand Slam. However, it’s one race at a time and he plans to run all of them as hard as he can. A win at Fuego Y Agua he says was so long ago that it has no real meaning for Western States but his 10th at Lake Sonoma recently was a little disappointing by his standards. However, as we keep saying, 100 miles is a different race altogether.

 

Sixteen years ago, Mike Morton set a course record at Western States and then disappeared into running wilderness. A combination of injury and work commitments took him away from the sport. However, just a couple of years ago he came back on the scene with a comeback not dissimilar to that of Robert Redford playing Roy Hobbs in the film, ‘The Natural’. Mike seems to be able to churn out 100-mile races in 13:11 and win them. He had an incredible 2012 with multiple 100-mile wins, a win and missing the CR at Badwater 135 and then setting an American 24-hour record of 172+ miles. He has been relatively quiet lately which can only mean one thing, he is preparing! You would say that age may well be against him, but this is Mike Morton… will 2013 have one of the greatest comebacks in sport ever, a win for Mike Morton? It is a distinct possibility!

 

Hal Koerner has been quiet recently and it is impossible to gauge what his form is like. Having said that, his reputation precedes him and his list of palmares confirms that he will always be in the mix. His win at the 2012 Hardrock 100 confirms that he can always pull something special out of the bag when required.

 

Ian Sharman has consistently improved at WSER and last year placed 5th with a great run. However, by Ian’s standards he has been very quiet lately. He pushed himself a little too hard in the latter stages of 2012, basically, one race too many and he has had some niggling knee issues. He went to Fuego Y Agua but didn’t run. He has had a couple of top 5 placing’s in recent months and most recently he raced a multi-stage race in the rainforests of Peru. Although lying in 2nd place overall he didn’t finish the last stage as he felt niggling pain in his troublesome knee. So, the jury is out. In addition, like Nick Clark, Ian will run the Grand Slam. His original intention was to run each race to the best of his ability and see what happens. He prepares well and understands the demands of each race so you can’t rule him out of the top 10.

 

Dave Mackey 4th in 2012 and in doing so broke Tsuyoshi Kaburaki’s ‘Masters’ time with 15:53:36. He has always raced consistently over the 100km distance but has never had quite the luck over the 100-mile distance. In early 2012 he was second at Bandera 100k behind a storming Sage Canaday but a great indicator of form is the recent San Diego 100. Dave was blazing a trail at the front of the race until he went of course at around the 60-mile mark. Although initially disappointing, this may actually be a blessing in disguise for WSER. He definitely has podium potential if his day goes well.

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Cameron Clayton young, brash and bold has laid it all on the line and said he plans to just run! No caution for the demands of 100 miles, he will go for glory. Cameron, like Sage Canaday is new to ultra running, he has enthusiasm to take on the best and see what happens. I have to say I like his approach. In an interview with him post Transvulcania (he placed 7th) he said then that his intentions for Western States would be to go for glory, “I may not get the chance to run at Western States again so I need to run for the win. If I don’t top the podium, that is fine, at least I will have tried”. So there you have it, WSER will be Cameron’s first 100 outing, it’s a fair prediction to say that we will see him at the head of the race in the early stages, question is, will he pull along some others or will they allow him to head on up the trail on his own?

 

Rob Krar like Cameron is new to the 100-mile distance but he is giving it 100% respect. He is a little daunted by the distance and as he said in my interview with him, “I just don’t know what to expect, my rim-t0-rim-to-rim is my longest ever run at just over 40 miles, Western States is a completely different experience”. Rob, like Mike Morton is also a come back story, originally a track and field athlete he ran 1500m and holds an impressive 1:06 for a half marathon. He has only ever run one road marathon and that was around 2:30, so, he has speed. His win and CR at Leona Divide 50 turned heads but his Grand Canyon double crossing time took breaths away… if he brings that speed to WSER anything is possible. He is a real unknown but I can’t help but think we will see a surprise!

 

Karl Meltzer needs no introduction! He has wanted to run at WSER for years and now he finally he has the chance, however, his build up has not been ideal with a problematic calf. Last week he told me that he is pretty sure it is all cleared up now and that he had just had 10 days of consecutive running. Karl said, “I finally feel that a top 10 place is now possible, we will have to see”. With over 30 wins at the 100-mile distance, Karl brings experience to the race. Just like Run Rabbit Run last year, he will allow the main contenders to head off up the trail and as he gets warm (around 60 miles) he will then slowly but surely start to pick them off. A podium place is unlikely but a top 10 is a distinct possibility. I certainly hope so! Top 10 will give him a guaranteed slot for 2014 and then he can run the Grand Slam.

 

Dylan Bowman placed 7th at 2012 WSER and has had a couple of great performances at Ray Miller 50 and Miwok 60k. Considering the depth of the 2013 field a top 10 placing is highly likely, the question is, can he embrace early season form and move into the top 5.

 

Jorge Maravilla and Joe Uhan placed 8th and 9th respectively at the 2012 race but both runners have had relatively quiet times lately. Jorge placed 3rd at UROC in late 2012 and recently was joint winner at the Great Wall Marathon in China with his Salomon teammates, but it’s difficult to predict what form Jorge and Joe will bring to this years race. It is fair to assume that no news is good news and that they will arrive on the start line ready to push hard.

 

The list could go on but here is a selection of other notable names that will almost certainly drift into the top 20 and of course, on a good day, they may even make top 10.

 

Yassine Diboun, Trent Briney, Andy Jones Wilkins, Gustavo Reyes, Nick Pedatella (also going for Gran Slam), Paul Terranova (ran the Grand Slam last year) and finally, Jacob Rydman.

 

Notable non-starters for the 2013 are as follows:

 

Ryan Sandes who pushed the pace at the front last year, placed 2nd overall and in doing so, also broke Geoff Roes old course record. Needless to say, we are all disappointed that Ryan can’t make it. He unfortunately twisted his ankle on a training run and needs to allow for recovery. Fellow South Africa, the Comrades King, Bruce Fordyce is also a no show due to injury. Bruce would not have contested the overall placing but to have 9x Comrades Marathon winner on the WSER course would have been special. He told me via email that he has carried over his place for 2014.

 

 

Notable no-racers:

The 2013 race has a quality field, however, we have notable omissions: Kilian Jornet, Anton Krupicka, Dakota Jones, Geoff Roes, Sage Canaday, Julien Chorier, Max King, Mike Wolfe, Mike Foote, Joe Grant and so on.

 

The race – Female

 

With no Ellie Greenwood, no Lizzy Hawker, no Kami Semick, and no Krissy Moehl I have to say I can’t help but feel a little cheated with the ladies field. Don’t get me wrong, we have some great talent ready to toe the line but I do feel as though it’s about who is not here than who is…

 

Having said that, Rory Bosio was 2nd in 2012 and she returns this year as odds on favorite. At 28 years old she manages to go about her run life with very little fuss or exposure. She keeps herself to herself but she has some impressive results that we should all be shouting about. She has run WSER three times; 4th in 2010, 5th in 2011 and of course, 2nd in 2012. Do you see the progression! 2013 may very well be the year the she has a 1st next to her name. She placed 4th at Lake Sonoma recently and was 2nd at Way to cool earlier in 2013, not results that you would predict a WSER win on, but she knows how to run this race!

 

I am going to stick my neck out here and say that Cassie Scallon has every possibility of not only making the podium or winning the race! The only question mark comes from a fall she took at Cayuga Trails a couple of weeks ago. Had she not pulled out of that race and been in tip top form she would have been my prediction for the win. She earned her WSER slot at Lake Sonoma and after missing the race last year; I can’t help but feel that she will be fired up for this edition. Of course, she hasn’t run this race before and experience counts for a great deal!

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Talking of experience, Nikki Kimball has plenty. Nikki placed 5th in 2012 but look at her history; she won the race in 2004, 2006 and 2007 and she was 4th in 2009, 3rd in 2010 and 2011. That his some history! Now in her early 40’s you may well say that age is against her but you just can’t rule her out. She has been troubled with injuries but without doubt the 2012 Transvulcania La Palma was a turning point for her, she finished that race in tears. Not because of pain but joy that things had gone well. Her recent form is difficult to predict as she too pulled out of Cayuga Trails.

 

Another newbie, Emily Harrison brings speed to the WSER arena. She has a marathon PB of 2:32 and although that may not be a prediction of a good Western States performance, it does show that the speed is available if needed. She earned her place at JFK50 when she placed 2nd behind Ellie Greenwood and recently she has had a win at Moab Red Hot 55k. Emily has the potential to pull something out of the back and may very well make the podium.

 

Aliza Lapierre was 3rd last year and it almost feels disrespectful to wait this long before mentioning her but she has had surgery and only returned to running in late April, early March of this year. Her form for WSER is an unknown but if one thing in her favor is that she will be fresh and keen to perform. That counts for a great deal when it gets hard.

 

Tina Lewis, Amy Sproston, Ashley Nordell and Meghan Arbogast all return after placing 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th respectively in 2012.

 

Certainly I see Ashley Nordell moving to a higher place for 2013 and she has the potential to make top 5 should all go well.

 

Tina Lewis placed best of the bunch in 2012 and although injury has caused serious issues in the build up to this years race, her win at Leadville in the latter half of last year has to mean that, if fit, she will improve on her 7th.

 

Amy Sproston won Ray Miller 50, Iznik Ultra 80k and was 3rd at Lake Sonoma all in the first half of 2013. A 100km champion she has speed and although 100 miles may not be her distance you have to say that in this ladies field, should things go right, a placing higher than 8th awaits.

 

Meghan Arbogast may well be a dark horse of the race… you just can’t rule her out! She proved this by beating Rory Bosio to the top slot at Way to Cool 50k. Last year she ran just under 20 hours (19:54) and I think she will need an ‘18’ time to contest the front of the race but she can do it, don’t rule her out.

Joelle Vaught has been top 10 at WSER before in 2010 when she ran 20:19. Certainly if she wants to place top 10 in 2013 she needs to be looking at sub 20. Her win at Pocatello 50 (to put things in perspective, she beat her own course record by just over 20 minutes) recently would suggest that a surprise may well come from Joelle.

 

Jennifer Benna recently turned up at Transvulcania La Palma and dropped early on saying that it just didn’t feel right. To travel that far and drop so early shows some real commitment to the bigger picture, that being WSER. She has already won a 100 this year at Zion 100 way back in April (probably why she didn’t feel great in May) I think Jennifer has the potential to make the top 10 but she will need a good day.

 

My final tip is Pam Smith, she has run WSER before and has placed 10th in 2010 and 2011. She hasn’t run under 20 hours but if she managed to match her previous best of 20:40, another top 10 may well just be hers, just!

 

Ones to watch:

 

Kerrie Bruxvoort, Denise Bourassa and Rhonda Claridge.

 

Provide us with your feedback:

  • What are your predictions for the men’s and ladies races?
  • Who will surprise us this year?
  • Will the course record go in either race?
  • Who isn’t racing that you had hoped would be?

LINKS:

WSER website HERE

Skyrunning 2012 Elite Listing

ISF

ULTRA

The Ultra distance races selected in 2012 were held in the following countries: Andorra, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Réunion, Italy, Spain, USA.  The ranking is based on the best three results of the year – or two results, plus one from 2011, taking into account the top 15 men’s and 10 women’s results in each race.

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The athletes are listed in alphabetical order according to their nationality.

ELITE MEN

AUSTRIA

Wagner Thomas

CANADA

Campbell Adam

FRANCE

Antolinos Fabien, Bringer Patrick, Buffard Sebastien, Camus Sebastien, Chaigneau Sebastien, Chorier Julien, Clavery Erik, Court Sylvain, Curien Yann, D’Haene Francois, Durand Maxime, Gault Emanuel, Guillon Antoine, Lanne Michel, Le Saux Christophe, Lejeune Arnaud, Lorblanchet Thomas, Martin Nicolas, Pasero Mikael, Pianet Nicolas, Rancon Julien

GERMANY

Reiter Philipp

GREAT BRITAIN

Conway Terry, Symonds Andy, Sharman Ian, Grant Joe (?)

HUNGARY

Nemeth Csaba

ITALY

Cavallo Giuliano, Dapit Fulvio

JAPAN

Kaburaki Tsuyoshi, Yamamoto Kenichi

NEPAL

Sherpa Dachhiri Dawa

PORTUGAL

Sa Carlos, Teixeira Armando Jorge

SOUTH AFRICA

Sandes Ryan

SWITZERLAND

Rey Jean-Yves

SPAIN

Bes Jordi, Castanyer Tofol, Jornet Kilian, Karrera Iker, Heras Miguel, Merillas Manuel, Perez Lopez Oscar, Sanchez Sebas

SWEDEN

Buud Jonas

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Bowman Dylan, Clark Nicholas, Clayton Cameron, Foote Michael, Gates Rickey, Grant Joe, Jaime Scott, Jones Dakota, King Maxwell, Koerner Hal, Krupicka Anton, Mackey Dave, Maravilla Jorge, Meltzer Karl, Olson Timothy, Pedatella Nicholas, Tidd John, Tiernan Zeke, Wolfe Mike

ULTRA

ELITE WOMEN

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BRAZIL

Maciel Fernanda

FRANCE

Chastel Veronique, Combarieu Maud, Favre Corinne, Gobert Maud, Herry Karine, Lecomte Emilie, Martin Sandra, Motto Ros Sandrine, Valero Anne

GERMANY

Bottger Julia, Calmbach Andrea

GREAT BRITAIN

Hawker Elisabeth, Greenwod Ellie

HUNGARY

Wermescher Ildiko

ITALY

Canepa Francesca, Fori Katia

NEW ZEALAND

Frost Anna

SPAIN

Fraile Uxue, Iruretagoyena Leire, Martinez Nerea, Picas Nuria, Roca Emma

SWEDEN

Forsberg Emelie

USA

Africa Darcy, Bosio Rory, Bruxvoort Kerrie, Claridge Rhonda, Howe Stephanie, Howard Elizabeth, Kimball Nikki, Lewis Tina, Moehl Kristin, Nordell Ashley

See the 2012 élite listings: Sky and Vertical

Updated January 16, 2013

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UROC – Ultra Race of Champions

uroc

Registration opens today. Will you be toeing the line (for the Ultra Race of Champions) on September 28th in Breckenridge?

 www.ultraroc.com

The season closing race for the Ultra Skyrunning Championships. Of course it’s some 9 months away. But as the race fills up and you are made aware of ‘who’ is taking part in this race, you don’t want to look back and think… I wish I had entered in January!

Skyrunning Logo

Vail, Colorado, January 15th, 2013 – Registration for the Ultra Race of Champions, the Championship for the sport of ultra distance running is set to open on January 15th 2013 at 12 noon mountain standard time (MST), or 2pm eastern standard time (EST) at http://www.ultraroc.com. The date for the 2013 Ultra Race of Champions will be September 28th.

“We are very excited,”

says J. Russell Gill III, Ultra Race of Champions Event Director and Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports CEO.

“A lot of work goes into making this event possible, and it will be thrilling to see it all come together on race day. With UROC as the Skyrunner® World Series Ultra Final, I cannot wait to see how to field shapes up this year. We have already been getting inquiries from several top runners, whose names are right now top secret. After we open registration and as we confirm some of the elite athletes, we will be posting them regularly on the race website and on Facebook.”

“UROC is open to everyone,”

says Francesca Conte, Ultra Race of Champions President,

“and I am very excited to see what kind of response we get from the international audience, particularly from Europe. The International Skyrunning® Federation has been promoting the event as the Series final for months, and a lot of our Facebook Likes have been from Europe”.

Several factors contribute to the appeal of the race. As the ultra running championship, the race attracts most of the elite runners from the USA. As the Skyrunner® World Series Ultra Final, the race will now attract an even larger international field, and many of the best European athletes. The spectacular backdrop of the Colorado Rockies and the point to point course from Breckenridge to Frisco, to Copper Mountain, to Minturn and to finish in Vail Village is a big draw for runners of all backgrounds passionate about running in the mountains. Lastly, the Vail name is nationally and internationally recognized as a summer destination location.  The point to point course is contingent upon US Forest Service permit approval.

Runners will be able to register beginning on January 15th, 2013 at www.ultraroc.com

So what you waiting for….

Ultra Race of Champions

The best of the best, one course, one day?

Erm, well, not really…. UROC wanted to bill itself as the best of the best but it will be a race of the best of the best that turn up!

Joe Grant, Dakota Jones and Tony Krupicka are in Spain preparing for the 84km Cavalls del Vent Ultra Skyrunning race and this therefore leaves a few notable names missing from UROC. When you add to that Run Rabbit Run happened just a few weeks ago, it also means that Timothy Olson, Mike Wolfe, Karl Meltzer and Dylan Bowman will be doing other things and of course Geoff Roes is out of racing at the moment as is Mike Wardian…  In the ladies, Lizzy Hawker is at Spartahlon, Frosty is at Cavalls, Devon Crosby Helms is injured, so, who is left to race?

Well actually, UROC still has a very competitive field and of course the terrain and the distance will suit the fast guys and girls.

Top tip is Dave Mackey who races so well at 100k closely followed by Ian Sharman. Ian has been running super quick lately and setting a few CR’s. The distance and the speed will suit him. Dave James is toeing the line but raced Run Rabbit Run and that has got to have taken something away from a great UROC performance, however Nick Clarke will be arriving fresh, however, true to form he may well take 3rd place ;-).

Notable newbies and potential race winners are Max King and Sage Canaday. Max with a 2:14 marathon pace is super quick and although this is longer than he normally runs he always comes to a race super prepared and once again 2012 has been a great year for him with top 3 at Speedgoat and Pikes Peak plus other notable wins! Sage in a rookie year had an awesome run at White River 50 mile which didn’t quite the coverage it should have… this may keep him a little under the radar but 4th at Pikes Peak and a win at Mt Washington will mean he is one to watch

The ladies race will be won by Ellie Greenwood (I am almost certain) and she will probably figure highly in the mens race too! I don’t need to go into what Ellie has achieved as it would be easier saying what she hasn’t… the ladies race does have one or two contenders but unlike the mens race where anything can happen, the ladies race is really more about who will be 2nd and 3rd? Names to look out for are:

Ragan Petrie winner of last year’s UROC 100k, Krystle Martinez, Jacqui Palmer and Verity Breen as an outsider.

Real Time Race Splits HERE

Video Coverage HERE

UTMB pre race

With just over 24 hours to go to the 2012 TNF UTMB here is just a quick look at some of the contenders for this year’s race.

One important factor is the weather!

The race organisers have been tweeting, texting and posting as much as they can about the severe weather that is predicted over the race weekend. It would now appear that a ‘mandatory’ 4 layers of clothing will be required.

Forget being lightweight! Finishing anyone of the races this year in Chamonix may very well come down to how good your kit is.

Australian, Mick Donges has just posted a last minute blog and writes:

The forecast is snow down to 1800m, temperatures on the high mountain passes are -10 degrees and they are saying 4 layers of clothing is necessary. They are predicting severe and dangerous weather.”

Will the course be shortened I guess may very well be one big question. My gut reaction is no! Lessons have been learnt from previous years and I think the process of ‘pre-warning’ via text, email and social media is all in attempt to ensure that all participants are prepared. The 2010 shortened race made the UTMB organisation re look at mandatory kit and increase what was required for 2011 and 2012. It would appear that they are now ‘adding’ to this kit pre race to compensate for worsening conditions. Having said that, safety is paramount and should conditions become extremely dangerous I am sure they will have no issue in ‘pulling the plug’ and I agree and support that.

The LADIES

Firstly, Ellie Greenwood has moved down from the UTMB to the CCC and I predict a win for her! The terrain on this course may not be what she is used too but the cold and snow is something she is well practiced in and actually I think she may even welcome it!

Krissy Moehl is the course record holder and loves the UTMB but she has had a busy year with Western States, Hardrock and mow UTMB. She knows what is needed on this course and she has the invaluable experience. If she is fresh she will be up at the front with Lizzy Hawker.

Amy Sproston has placed well at Western States but UTMB is a whole new ball game for the 100k-world champ and I have to say she may well be in for a surprise.

Rory Bosio is another achiever at Western States but as was shown last year in the men’s race, UTMB is not Western States! I think Rory may be up at the front but not contending with my ladies prediction…

Lizzy Hawker loves the course and I wouldn’t bet against her. I spoke to her at Sierre Zinal and she was racking the training and was running the UTMB course in 2 days as ‘training’. She has some issues with her back but even with this issue, the mountains are her playground and she will take the win barring disaster.

Emma Rocca from Spain is maybe a little more suited to the UTMB as she has a multi-sport background and is a ski mountaineer.

Katia Fori from Italy has been top 10 at UTMB before and will once again contend.

Finally, Meghan Arbogast will toe the line. Another great 100k runner, Western States finisher and 2nd at KFK50 but as I keep saying… UTMB is nothing like those races and I can’t help but think the terrain and cold weather will play against the American field

The MEN

Dave Mackey has moved down to the CCC and Mike Wardian is out of the race due to a stress fracture. To be honest I don’t think either of those removals will make any difference to the UTMB outcome. Both are great runners but not in contention on this course.

With Kilian Jornet not taking part (or will he?) the field this year is maybe a little more open.

Jez Bragg after winning the shortened race in 2010 hasn’t fulfilled his potential but this may be his year. He didn’t race as he wanted at Western States but that may well have been a good training run for the UTMB. He is super motivated.

Seb Chaigneau after 3rd last year told me that this may be his last UTMB but he recently had a bad accident and damaged his knee. He will start the race but who knows what implications this will have, He knows the mountains, he knows the course and he is tough. If the knee causes no problems he will be up at the front.

Julian Chorier is the hot tip. He is in great form and meticulous in prep for the big races. With the Salomon Team behind him they will be going into this race with a plan. A plan to win.

Other Salomon athletes such as Iker Karrera who placed 2nd in 2011 will also be chomping at the bit and we may well see Chorier, Karrera and Francois d’Haene all running together to help each other along until the latter more decisive stages. Francois d’Haene has a good year this year and he will be in the top 10 if all goes well.

Nemeth Csaba from Hungary placed 4th last year and knows the race well. He has finished multiple times in the top 10 and I guess he only needs a ‘perfect’ year to move onto the podium or take the win. He did after all finish 2nd in 2006.

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, Carlos Sa and Patrick Bohard all paced top 10 in 2011 and return to the 2012 race. Although Kaburaki finished behind Sa and Bohard you can’t help but think a good race will move him up the field and place him top 5. In 2009 he was on the podium in 3rd and the previous year he was 4th.

Jonas Buud from Sweden is super quick and his 100m-world record of 12:32 confirms that. But just like Ian Sharman, this speed doesn’t translate to the high mountains. He has won the Swiss Alpine Marathon though. He may make top 10 but not top 3.

I am still uncertain if Miguel Heras is running. If he is he will be up at the front and may well take the win but he has had a mixed year. My outsiders are a couple of Aussie – Jim Villiers and Clarke McClymont. Clarke is running the race for the first time but having met him, chatted and discussed him with a close friend he may just create a surprise…

I will be in Chamonix over the race weekend and provide updates and news as and when I can.

Without doubt an interest race lies ahead.

Western States 2012

A smack down was predicted and a smack down happened.

The 2012 Western States will go down in history as a most remarkable race.

Firstly, we had the initial disappointment of a no show by Kilian Jornet. Please don’t get me wrong; his decision to pull out after the sudden death of his friend and ski mountain partner, Stephane Brosse was completely understandable considering the proximity to the race. However, not to have Kilian toe the line did mean that the main contender for the title would not be mixing it up at the front.

This though did not dent what was a class male field. In many respects it was a who’s who of current ultra running…. Having said that it did also miss two other key protagonists, current Western States record holder, Geoff Roes and Anton Krupicka. Roes has had a recent spell of poor performances and was lined up to run Hardrock but has decoded to go back to the drawing board and re build over the coming months. Krupicka has been out of racing for over a year after a series of problems, he too had targeted Hardrock but has now delayed his comeback saying that he hopes to be on the Leadville start line.

So, pre race who was in with a shout at taking the win. From a Talk Ultra poll the outright public favorite was Ryan Sandes, closely followed by last years second place, Mike Wolfe. I could completely understand tipping Wolfeman, a great competitor, plenty of speed, good in the mountains and I guess with no Kilian he was potentially lined up to move one place forward and take the win. Ryan Sandes ‘Sandman’ as he affectionately is known of course is super talented… just a few weeks earlier he had won The North Face 100 in Australia, He had won Leadville in 2011 and of course his record in multistage races was without question. However, despite that win at Leadville, this was his first race against a stacked field. How would he fair?

Timothy Olson was my pre race favorite. This is a super talented runner who has found a new lease of life. He has a great story… almost a film script. An ex drug addict turned ultra runner. You couldn’t make the story up! My other tip was ‘warrior’ Nick Clark. Nick did a great double last year placing 3rd at Western States and then two weeks later getting 3rd place at Hardrock. Other contenders included Jez Bragg, 3rd and 4th previously, could he move up. Dave Mackey, 2011 ultra runner of the year, super quick and last years 8th place Ian Sharman, Dave Riddle, Mike Wardian and I could go on…

The ladies race was equally stacked but contenders seemed to be much tighter. Last years winner, Ellie Greenwood was coming from a 2nd place at Comrades just three week earlier. Nobody doubted Ellie’s ability, the question was the damage that a super hard Comrades may have had on her body and what effects this would have over 100 miles. Lizzy Hawker was returning from injury but over this distance and terrain she is unstoppable. Kami Semick was also returning from injury, she had purposely missed Comrades to prepare for Western States. The ever present Nikki Kimball was firing on all cylinders again in 2012 and after a couple of great runs at Transvulcania and Zegama, she too could put pressure on at the front. Meghan Arbogast, Krissy Moehl, Rory Bosio, Aliza Lapierre and a whole host of others would be in contention.

Key elements for 2012 would be a lack of snow and a return to the ‘proper’ course. In addition to this, it turned out that temperatures on race day would be uncharacteristically chilly. Many of the runners complained about the cold over the first 30-40 miles. But of course these cooler temperatures are really advantageous over the 100-mile distance when trying to manage hydration, food and pacing. Not necessarily good weather but fast weather…

As expected, the men’s race was quick with Wolfe and Olson dictating the early pace with Clark, Bowman, Sandes, Mackey and Sharman all in contention. Sandes in particular seemed to be running a smart ace holding back in about 6th place and controlling his effort.

In the ladies race, Hawker ran hard and put 14 minutes into Greenwood who was chasing. Greenwood didn’t seem too worried though, she had commented at around the 30-mile mark that she was happy with her pace and this was a 100-mile race… wise words!

What happened over the 100 miles of Western States will go down in history. Olson pushed at the front as Sandes moved up through the field. Clark went through a bad patch but rallied to move up into 3rd place while Wolfe who had either been in 1st or 2nd place for much of the race faded and moved back… Mackey moved to 4th closely followed by Sharman and this made the top 5 men. But what was key was how Olson and Sandes pushed each other… Olson finally moving away and boy how did he move away. He crossed the finish line in 14:46 knocking nearly 20 mins of Roes previous course record! As a testament to both Sandes and Olson, the pace that they had made during the event also gave Sandes the second fastest time ever with a 15:03 just dipping under Roes CR time. Mackey who placed 4th also broke Kaburaki’s masters course record with a time of 15:53:36.

Image by Bryon Powell iRunFar.com

In the ladies race, just after Devils Thumb Greenwood had suddenly pulled back 12 mins on Hawker and was just 2 mins behind. Then she was 14 mins ahead. Not only did she completely annihilate the women’s field she started to wipe out the men’s field ‘chicking’ some top quality runners. The question marks on if Greenwood would be recovered from Comrades now seemed crazy. She became the Terminator, focused on one goal, the finish line. When she entered the stadium at the finish she had blown Ann Trason’s long-standing Western States record out of the atmosphere by some 50 minutes setting a time of 16:47:19. Arguably creating one of the most outstanding ultra running performances ever. It’s too early to call her the ‘new’ Ann Trason and to be honest it would be unfair to do so. Ultra Running now is a much bigger sport than when Ann ran, the fields are more competitive, the competition is greater and to dominate as Greenwood did at Comrades and then Western States for me puts her on a pedestal so high that it is going to take someone remarkable to come and knock her off it. In addition to this, Greenwood is the most smiley, happy and generous of runners. She has it all.

Image by Bryon Powell iRunFar.com

Greenwoods performance was also followed by some other wonderful female performances from Rory Bosio proving that she is no ‘fluke’ at Western States. She has placed 4th and 5th in the past and now placing 2nd with 18:08:06 (1h 20m behind Greenwood), Aliza Lapiere who placed 6th last year now placed 3rd with 18:18:29, Krissy Moehl ran a smart race and moved through the field to 4th in 18:29:15 and Nikki Kimball proving that her form is good 5th with 18:3:39. Lizzy Hawker fought hard after a fast start and one can only assume that her injury meant thet she wasn’t quite in fighting form for Western states but one can’t help but think that this will just be the start for her, she came in 6th with 18:31:39.

When all is said and done, 2012 was the year that records tumbled. Olson set a new benchmark for the men’s race and Greenwood set a record that will stand the test of time. So much so, I think only she could beat it!

One key feature of the race was the weather. No snow, great trail conditions and cool temperatures all came together to make 2012 a fast year. This doesn’t happen often. So, these records may very well be around for some time and if they do I don’t think anyone will be disappointed. In Olson and Greenwood we have two worthy winners who have illuminated the ultra world with two remarkable performances.

Talk Ultra will be interviewing Ellie Greenwood on Tuesday 26th June and Nick Clark 27th/28th June for the next edition of the show. Of course, Ian Sharman will also be discussing the ‘news’ and giving us an insight into his 5th place. The next episode will be released on Friday 29th June so please tune in