Joe Fejes is one of the top ultra runners in the world. He races marathons and 24 hour races, but specializes in multi-day races. In May 2015, Joe became the first modern-day American to break the 600-mile barrier in six days at the EMU World Trophy races in Hungary.
He has been on the US National 24 hour Team and is a big fan of the NC24 National Championships. So much so that he creates an annual race preview and Top 10 predictions.
I am honored to share his unique perspective as he handicaps the 2016 NC 24 Hour National Championships.
JOE FEJES’ 2016 NORTH COAST 24 HOUR WOMEN’S RACE REVIEW:
Meghan (28 years old) has solid top end speed having run the Pistol 100 in 15:47 and a sub 19 at Vermont 100. She also is tenured in the 24 having run the following distances: 121, 129, 131, 122, 108, 115 and 105. Meghan will need to find an extra gear to approach the 136 mark, but has the talent to hit it.
Chavet (34 years old) hit 110 miles at ATY 24. The NC 24 will only be her second 24 hour race. She is a Marathon Maniac having run 50 marathons in 50 states. Chavet finished the Leadville 100 this year. In addition she has completed the Leadville marathons a few times, the Silver Rush 50, Silverton 100, Chase the Moon 12 hour (twice), Silver Falls Trail Marathon, Desert RATS 50k, and Quad Rock 50.
Stacey (48 years old) is model of consistency and tough. Her 100 times: 18:15, 17:47 Desert Solstice 100; 18:53; 17:28; 17:27. Additionally in the 24 she has racked up 121 (Desert Solstice), 126 (Desert Solstice), 130 (6 Days at the Dome), 112, 111 and 115 (ATY 24). Based on Stacey’s 100 PR, 136 miles is a stretch but could happen if the stars align
Laurie’s prior 24’s: 133, 135, 102, 108 and 113. Her prior JFK 50 miles (recency): 7:27, 8:41, 8:06, 8:01, 8:05, 8:19, 8:38 and 9:18. Trend analysis suggests mid 130’s or higher. Laurie (50 years old) is more than capable of hitting the magic 136 mark needed to qualify.
Connie (52 years old) has owned NC24 in the past winning in 2010 and 2011 with 141 and 144 miles respectively. If she is focused and injury free she will see mid to high 130’s.
Jenny (38 years old) is an experienced ultrarunner having run ultras since 2004 and is a veteran of many tough technical trail races. In 2004 she finished 3rd overall at the Superior Sawtooth 100 mile in 28:31. In 2005 she ran 126 miles at Across the Years 24 hour. Jenny had a breakthrough 24 hour race last year at NC24 with 138 miles and currently sits in the 4th spot for qualifying for the World Championship team. She has above average speed having ran 16:38 at Rocky Raccoon 100 last year. In 2014 she ran 127 miles at NC24.
Carilyn (48 years old) is a close friend of Joe Fejes and one of his favorite team USA teammates. Carilyn has been a member of 4 USA 24 hour teams and knows exactly what is required to make it again. Unfortunately, that means at least 135.8 miles. It’s gonna be a daunting challenge for her to make the squad a 5th time since her best 24 hour is 130 miles. Gotta believe though…
Tara (34 years old) is a relative newcomer to ultrarunning. She ran an impressive 24 hour personal best 126 miles a few months ago at O24. She also placed 3rd at last year’s NC24 with 120 miles.
Don’t MESS with Texas! Melanie (36 years old) is on fire. She ran 15:17 last year at Desert Solstice and followed up with a splendid 24 hour debut of 136.95 miles at Dusk 2 Dawn 24 hour. She is currently holding down the #5 slot for the US team. She ran a 16:17 at Rocky Raccoon.
Whitney (36 years old) ran a 17:13 at Umstead 100 recently and a 17:38 at the Long Haul 100 a few years back. Although her times are not as fast as some of the others she is my sleeper pick of the women’s race.
JOE FEJES’s 2016 NC24 Prediction (Runner; 100 mile PR; 24 PR ; Comments)
1. Melanie Rabb; 15:17; 136.95; I’m just happy I ain’t racing her.
2. Connie Gardner; 15:33; 149; No win but gets 135.7.
3. Laurie Dymond; 7:27 JFK50; 135.50; Bumped from #6 slot. Gotta be pissed.
4. Jenny Hoffman; 16:38; 138.37; Defensive running to hold #4 spot.
5. Meghan Alvarado; 15:47; 131; She wants it. She can get it.
6. Whitney Richman; 17:14; Debut; Sleeper Pick for the Women
7. Stacey Costa; 17:27; 130; Class act. I’m hoping the stars align.
8. Carilyn Johnson; n/a; 130; Experience trumps speed…to an extent
9. Tara Langdon; n/a; 126; Time to learn and grow
10. Chavet Breslin; n/a; 110; RB Wild Promise/Sal’s Needle