Joe Fejes is currently in the last spot on the US Men’s Team with 145.6 miles, but going into the last days of qualifying, there could be big shake-ups on the team. Below is Joe’s take on the top female athletes competing in this weekend’s stacked Run4Water 24 Hour race.
Run 4 Water
“Rocky Top, you’ll always be
Home sweet home to me
Good ol’ Rocky Top
Rocky Top, Tennessee
Rocky Top, Tennessee”
All eyes of the Ultrarunning community will be focused on the state of Tennessee on Saturday April 1, 2017. April Fool’s day is the start of the legendary Barkley Marathons at Frozen Head State Park in Wartburg Tennessee. Tennessee is also playing host to the Run4Water 24 hour run that is being held in Lebanon Tennessee, about 120 miles east of Wartburg.
Run4Water is the last opportunity for runners to qualify for the 2017 24 hour USA national team before the qualifying window closes April 2. Run4Water is the brainchild of Greg Armstrong, a member of the 2015 USA 24-hour team who was gracious enough to put together a first class even in a short time frame. Team USA will compete in the 24 hour IAU World Championship to be held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on July 1. The Run4Water men’s field is loaded with runners hoping to qualify for one of the 6 slots available for both the men and women’s teams.
The current weather forecast is calling for decent conditions with a high/low outlook of 70/48 and overcast skies which should be favorable for runners looking for big miles. There is however still a significant variance (13 degrees!!) in the forecasted temperature between Friday and Sunday as the high temperature is supposed to be 64 on Friday and 77 on Sunday. Anything over 70 degrees will feel quite warm since the course is fully exposed half mile paved blacktop oval encircling a middle school.
Women’s Race Prediction
The women’s field at Run4water 24 hour has several entrants with potential to run more than 140 and making the US team. They include but are not limited to the following women (note late update with Melanie Rabb not running):
- Megan Alvarado, (Age 28) currently has the 6th team spot with 140 miles (personal best) she ran in November 2106 at the New Jersey One Day race. In December, she won the Pistol 100 mile run with a solid 16:05. She can certainly add a few miles to her best performance if she has the right weather conditions and avoids stomach issues.
- Melanie Rabb, (Age 35) In December 2015 at Desert Solstice, Mel ran a 15:17 100-mile personal best which suggests she can run 150+ in the 24 hour. Since then she has run three 24 hour races with a personal best of 136.95 at 2016 D3. Melanie will not be running.
- Whitney Richman. (Age 36). 100 mile 17:23 at 2016 Umstead for a 2nd place finish. She had a disappointing run at Desert Solstice but is primed for redemption at Run4water.
- Laurie Dymond, (Age 51) has run two 130+ performances in the past few years 135.50 miles personal best at 2015 Northcoast and a 133.22 at 2016 D3. Laurie also had a 3rd place finish at the JFK 50 miler with a 7:27. She will need to execute her perfect race to have a chance to reach 140 and bump Megan from the 6th. She has a 3:06 marathon PR.
PREDICTION: Flip a coin between Megan & Melanie for the “W” in the high stakes Run4water 24 hour shootout. Both are gunning hard to represent the USA in Belfast and both have the potential to exceed Pam Proffitt Smith’s current 5th spot of 143.66 miles. Whitney and Laurie both have a glimmer of hope in making the team as long as the stars to align. Stay tuned for potential late entrants to the race.