FASTtrack 24 – Race Preview

This weekend the ultra community will be focused will be on Palatka, Florida and the inaugural FASTtrack 24 race.  The race, co-directed by Tim Schaum and Winston Fletcher, is the first 24 hour race in the state of Florida. The timed race will have 6, 12 and 24 hour options.  Weather conditions should be near perfect with highs in the high 50’s and lows in the mid 40’s overnight.25396101_137420000256697_7966494985816652373_n

Local Florida standout athletes, Marc Burget, Sally Libonati and Regina Sooey will be joined by elite ultrarunners from across the USA in what should be a competitive race. This is also a qualifier for the US National 24 Hour Running Team competing in Austria in 2019. To meet the minimum 24 hour standard, men must run at least 145 miles and women must come in over 130 miles.  With the elite field and expected near perfect weather conditions, we would not be surprised for some new additions on the USA qualifier list after this weekend.

Below is a preview of the 24 Hour field starting with the men, but first, Steve and Gina Slaby, both representing Team USA at the World Championships in Belfast, will be competing in the 12 hour. No doubt we missed some deserving athletes competing this weekend. We wish the very best to everyone lining up in the 6, 12 and 24 hour races and look forward to sharing photos, videos and updates throughout the weekend.

GOD SPEED!

12 HOUR RACE:

23592190_131280734203957_8021971980791073828_oSteve Slaby

Representing half of Team Slaby, Steve is a proven ultrarunner across trails, tracks and roads. He, along with his wife Gina, represented the USA on the 2017 National 24 Hour Team that competed in Belfast at the World Championships. Steve was the second American male (12th in the world) with 157 miles which helped the team podium with a Bronze medal.
His personal records include: 100 miles 14:46 at Run4Water (enroute to 154 miles), 50k: 3:20 at Dahlgren 50k in 2014. Marathon: 2:29 (San Diego 2009, Marine Corps Marathon 2007, Philadelphia Marathon 2006).
He ran on the US Military Cross Country World Championships in November and also won the Plain 100 (2016), Seattle Marathon (2015), Vashon Island 50k (2017) and Pigtails 50k (2017).

23550362_131144467550917_5940684725548740644_oGina Slaby

Gina burst onto the ultrarunning scene two years ago. She was the 10th Ranked Ultrarunner of the Year by UltraRunner Magazine in 2016 and in 2017 moved up to #9.
She set the 100 mile World Record at Desert Solstice in Dec 2016 (13:45:49) and held the record until Camille Herron’s impressive run at Tunnel Hill. Gina was 4th at the 24 Hour World Championships (2017 – Team Gold) with 154 miles. Prepare to watch her fly around the track this weekend as she MAY be making a run at the USA 100k team.

Her list of race wins is impressive:
– 1st Female at Plain 100 (2017 – CR)
– 1st Female Run4Water 24hr – (2017) 142 miles
– 1st Female Pigtails 50K (2017 – CR)
– 1st Female Vashon Island 50k (2017 – CR)
– 1st Female Capitol Peak 50K (2017 – CR)
– 1st Female Vermont 100 (2016)
– 2 time Olympic Trials qualifier in Marathon (2:39 PR)
– USATF Cross Country Championships Pan Am Games (2016 – Team Gold

24 HOUR RACE – MEN:

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Pete Kostelnick

Pete’s 24 Hour PR of 163.68 miles ranks him as the 5th all time furthest American distance.  Pete represented the USA on the 24 Hour National Team at the World Championships in Belfast.  In 2016 he became the fastest to run across America: 3,067 miles in 42 days, 6 hours, 30 minutes. (Averaging 71 miles a day!).  He is the Styr Labs Badwater 135 two-time champion and course record holder (21:56)
His 100 mile PR is 14:08.  The jury is out whether this weekend’s run is a warm up for a later 24 hour race or if he is going to throw down for a qualifying time.

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Harvey Lewis

The weather this weekend will feel like a heat wave as he has been training this winter in frigid temps in his hometown of Cincinnati, OH.  He has momentum with another dominating win at Root and Rock 50k in 4:43:30 just two weeks ago. He was also part of one of the most exciting races in 2017 with a second place finish and a mind-blowing 241.668 miles at Big’s Backyard “Last Man Standing” Ultra race in October. In between these races, he ran 4th at the Tunnel Hill 50 mile race. Harvey won Styr Labs Badwater 135 in 2014. With a 24 hour PR of  158.7 miles, Harvey has represented the USA in the last FOUR World Championships. This could be a breakout race for Harvey Lewis who has the foot speed, endurance and experience to hit a qualifying mark this weekend.

 

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Joe Fejes

Joe Fejes has represented the USA on two National 24 Hour Teams – in 2012 at Katowice, Poland, where the team earned a Bronze medal team and again in 2013 in Steenburgen, Netherlands where the team earned Gold. Joe 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.  While most of were recovering from celebrating New Years, Joe brought in 2018 with another win (3 of last 4) at the Snowdrop Ultra 55 Hour Race & Relay 55 Hour Race in Sugar Land, TX with 236.133 miles.  It will be exciting to watch Joe this weekend. His 24 Hour PR is 156.6 may have been a few years ago, but he is one of the most resilient and tenacious competitors in the field.

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Andrew Snope

Californian Andrew is racking up some serious 24 hour miles races – four weeks ago, he completed the Desert Solstice 24 Hour in Phoenix and in hour weeks he has signed up for the Farmdaze 24 Hour race in Brooklet, GA. He holds the World Record with 138.81 miles running barefoot in 1 day.  He holds the course record at the Fort Clinch 100 mile race in 16:50.  His 100 mile PR is 16:40 (within a 24 hour race) and his 50 mile PR is 6:20.
Andrew is also the “Screwed” champion of VolState 500k in 2016. (“Screwed” = self supported)

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Marc Burget

Unproven at the 24 hour timed races, Marc has dominated the the 100 mile and 12 hour races he has entered.  No doubt he has the foot speed, but questions are open about his endurance and 24 hour strategy. However, he has completed the historic 264k Spartathlon last year.  Burget, who resides in Jacksonville will feel right at home at Palatka. The 2016 Azalea 12hr race, also held in Palatka, FL is among the three 12 hour races he won in the past two years. We are excited to see Mark compete this weekend and expect he will do well.  Below are races he has won recently (most with Course Records):
– Fort Clinch 50 Mile Champion/Course Record Holder
– 2015 Wolfson Children’s Challenge 55K Champion/Course Record Holder                       – –  – 2016 River To Sea 6 Hour Champion/ Course Record Holder
– 2016 Bronze Man 12 Hours Of Fort Clinch Champion/ Course Record Holder
– 2016 Azalea 12 Hour Champion/Course Record Holder
– 2016 Daytona 100 Miles Champion/Course Record Holder
– 2017 Donna 110 Ultra Marathon Champion/ Course Record Holder
– 2017 Keys 100 Ultra Marathon Champion
– 2017 River To Sea 12 Hour Champion/ Course Record Holder

24 HOUR RACE – WOMEN:

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Connie Gardner

USA National 24 Hour National Team alumna and winner of over 85 Ultras. Enough said.

She has a PR of 149.038 miles with her second place finish as the 2012 World Championships in Poland. Well-rested from Desert Solstice in December, Connie has the most 24 hour experience in the field which could pay off with big miles this weekend.

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Megan Alvarado

In her last four races in 2017 (one 50k and three 100 mile races), she placed either first or second. #momentum.  She has experience with the 24 Hour format and an impressive PR of 140 miles. She was the first alternate for the 2017 USA National Team, squeezed out by Gina Slaby on the last weekend of qualifying.  Megan is a sign language interpreter who lives in Springfield, Virginia.  This weekend could be magic for her.

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Emily Collins

In mid October Emily won the Doan Creek Trail Run 50K in Cleveland, OH. Two weeks later she won the Run With Scissors 52.4 Miler in Peninsula, OH.  One month earlier in September, she set her 24 Hour PR at the Olander 24 Hour Race. With her frequency and recent focus on speed in shorter races, this weekend could be big for Emily.  She also has familiar faces on the track with  fellow Ohioans Harvey Lewis and Connie Gardner.

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Natalie Larson

Natalie from Muscatine, Iowa, currently lives in Riverside, California. At Desert Solstice she set a new PR of 105 miles. However, based on the smiles and enthusiasm at the end, it’s fair to say she has alot left in the tank for some even bigger miles. This summer she set a solo, self-Supported, Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the California Coastal Trail, 1,171 miles in 44 days, 18 hours, 40 minutes, 2017. Her running resume continues to grow:
-Overall Course Record at Boundiful Endurance Runs 12 Hour, 2017
-Female Course Record at Jackpot 100 Mile, 2016
-Female Course Record at Bare Burro 5k, 2016, 2017
-1st overall, Beyond Limits Ultra 100 mile, 2016
-1st female, Riverbank One Day, 2016
-1st female, Orange Curtain 100k, 2016
-1st female, Chino Hills 50k, 2015
-1st female, Merrill’s Mile 24 Hour, 2015
-17:24:58 100 mile PR, 2016
-2017 USATF Southern California Mountain Ultra Trail Overall Champion

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Regina Sooey

Regina only has one 24 hour race under her belt – 101 miles at Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race in Rockingham, NC. However that was back in 2014. Since then, she has been tearing up 6-12 Hour races and distances between 50k and 100 miles. Similar to Marc Burget, this could shape up to be a breakout race on her “home turf.”  Regina was a 2017 Spartathlon finisher and 2016 and 2017 Comrades Marathon finisher.
She also won the River 2 Sea 12hr race in 2016 & 2017. Her 100 mile PR is 17:29 and 50 mile PR 7:33 at Azalea.  She has foot speed with a marathon PR of 3:14 at Grandma’s. Watch out – Regina’s 24 hour Race #2 could be big.

Sally Libotani

Sally Libonati 

Sally, from Englewood, Florida, started off 2017 with a win at the Skydive Ultra Run 200 Miler in Clewiston, FL. She has two back-to-back 24 hour races, Dawn 2 Dusk 2 Dawn in Sharon Hill, PA and Southern Discomfort in Albany, GA, running for a buckle and finishing both at 100 miles. We expect a new PR here this weekend. Last month she ran the Dayton 100 miler in 19:19:21.

6 Hour Race

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Susan Haag

Jacksonville, FL resident, Susan Haag will have a short commute to Palatka and will be running in the six Hour race. She is the world record holder for females with 110 full Ironman finishes… and counting.  Susan also sits on the board for USA Triathlon. We are excited to see her crush loops this weekend.

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Kelley Fejes

The Slabys are a power running couple. So are the Fejes’. While Joe runs for 24 hours, Kelley will be cranking out fast loops in the six hour race. This will seem like a walk in the park after her 183.6597 miles at Snowdrop Ultra 55 Hour Race & Relay 55 Hour Race in Sugar Land, TX on January 1. She was first female and 4th overall. In  October and November, she won three 24 hour races with 100 miles in each. We think she should trade up to the 24 but suspect she may have crew duties after her six hour race!

 

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2017 Desert Solstice – Joe Fejes’ Bold Predictions

2017 Desert Solstice

“All through life there were distinctions – toilets for men, toilets for women; clothes for men, clothes for women – then, at the end, the graves ultras are identical.”
― borrowed from Leila Aboulela, Minaret

patrycjaThroughout history, virtually all people assumed that the overall winner of a World or National Championship would be a man.

Not any longer. In 2017, the focal point of ultrarunning has largely been on the ultrarunning performances run by numerous women. Ultrarunners such as Camille Herron, Patrycja Bereznowska, and a few others (e.g. Courtney Dauwalter, Katalin Nagy, Gina Slaby et al) have run such dominating performances that “gender” has been tossed aside and the focus shifted to the performance itself.

Camille Herron’s eye popping 12:42 100 mile trail run at Tunnel Hill (7:38) is the fifth fastest 100 mile performance by any American regardless of gender.camille

Likewise, Poland’s Patrycja Bereznowska’s 161.55 miles (258.33 km) would have been the 6th best overall performance in the 2017 IAU 24 hour World Championship, gender be damned.

In fact, a significant number of highly regarded ultrarunning events have been won by women in 2017. Gender parity is becoming the norm in ultrarunning even for the most competitive events. One of America’s most prestigious track ultras, the Desert Solstice 24 hour invitational will be held tomorrow in Phoenix Arizona and many expect Camille Herron to challenge for the overall win. Coincidentally Courtney Dauwalter was the overall winner at Desert Solstice in 2016.

Enough gender chatter—let’s talk Desert Solstice podium predictions: Note: I’m running the Daytona 100 mile race at 6 am tomorrow and have not had time to fully analyze the field. My comments will be brief and unfortunately will not address all of entrants who are all worthy of attention:

Camille Herron

  • 24 hour debut
  • 12:42 100 mile (American Record)
  • 100k PR (7:08) World Champion

Camille has stated publicly that she will aim for up to 6 American and World Records from 50 miles to 24 hours. Some speculate that she means that she will world records for 6 hours, 12 hours, 50 miles, 100 km, 100 miles and 24 hours.

Isaiah Janzen: ds Janzen

  • 24 hour PR-154 miles (14:41 100 split)
  • Two other 24 hour races were 89 miles & 100 miles
  • 100k PR (7:10)

Isaiah has stated publicly that he will be attempting to break Mike Morton’s American Record of 172.73 miles. He has solid leg speed although maybe not quite as fast as either Camille or Zach.

Zach Bitter;ds bitter

  • 100k PR (6:44)
  • 11:40 100 mile PR (American Record)

I believe Zach will once again be targeting to shave 12 minutes off his 100 mile PR in an attempt to break the 100 mile World Record of 11:28.

Joe’s top 5 predictions:

  1. James Elson –egad at Brit for the “W”
  2. Bob Hearn-top American
  3. Snope Dog—his barefoot turf is being challenged—look for him to defend mightly.
  4. Mark Manz- if healthy, he might surprise peeps
  5. Adrian S.

Other:

  • I’m hearing rumors that this Teage O’Connor has some serious marathon speed and is one to watch.

The current weather forecast is calling for sunny conditions with a high/low outlook of 76/51. To me the conditions are too warm for records greater than 100k. I see early exits or massive implosions…

2017 Desert Solstice Men’s Race Preview

The men’s 2017 field at the Desert Solstice 24 Hour race in Phoenix, AZ is deep and experienced.  As Camille has been bold in stating her desire to go after some records, there are men who are also making bold calls. Zach Bitter is going after a 100 mile world record.  Isaiah Janzen is going after the men’s American record. Three accomplished barefoot runners, Andrew Snope, Barefoot Jake Brown and Teage O’Connor are going after Andrew’s Guinness record.  The weekend could produce some World or American records or it could showcase major implosions if the hours/miles are not well managed.  The weather will be deceivingly warm (mid 70s in the day/low 50s at night) which will add to the challenges. Here are some of those competing this weekend:

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ZACH BITTER (24 Hour PR: 125.2 miles)

The above 24 PR means nothing because Zach Bitter will only have one goal in mind: hit the 100 mile WORLD RECORD. He has been pursuing this for years. In 2013 at Desert Solstice, Zach set the American record at 11:47:21. In 2015, he topped it again at Desert Solstice with 11:40:55 and was on World record pace through 80 miles.  So in 2017, will he finally strike gold?  He need to shave off about 12 minutes from his current best to eclipse the World Record mark set by Russian Oleg Kharitonov in 11:28:03

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ISAIAH JANZEN (24 Hour PR: 154 miles)

Let’s talk about a bold prediction. Isaiah has stated publicly that he will be attempting to break Mike Morton’s American Record of 172.73 miles. Joe Fejes’ believes he has solid leg speed although maybe not quite as fast as either Camille or Zach. Janzen made the US National Team that competed in Italy with a 24 hour PR of 154 miles (14:41 100 mile split). However, his two other two 24 hour races were 89 miles & 100 miles. He also has not raced much over the past few years according to Ultra Signup and Athlinks. His only race in 2017 that we could find was his impressive 2nd place finish at the Mad City 100k in 7:10:42.  He has summited Mt Everest but can he climb past Morton and claim to the a 24 Hour American record.

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BOB HEARN (24 Hour PR: 152.15 miles)

Bob Hearn has historically run very well at Desert Solstice placing second in the past two years to standouts Pete Kostelnick and Courtney Dauwalter in the past two years.  Will this be his year? Bob is the most disciplined runner in the field, and a true student of ultra running. He has tweaked his diet over the past year which has worked well for him in recent races.  In 2016, he became one of a handful of Americans to post a sub 30 hour time in Spartathlon, the 153.4-mile race from Athens to Sparta. In one of the most exciting races in 2017, Bob barely missed out on making the USA Team at Run4 Water 24 Hour, but still represented the USA as an alternate in Belfast at the World Championships. We expect Bob to challenge for a top spot in the race and break into the 150s.

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ADRIAN STANCUI (24 Hour PR: 148.12 miles)

As with Bob Hearn, Adrian represented the USA as an alternate at the World Championships in Belfast. Adrian tends to perform well on the biggest stages: He hammered out a 2nd place finish with 144.87 miles at the NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run’s National Championship.  His PR was in Belfast at the World Championships with 148.12 miles as he helped USA teammates to a Bronze medal.

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James Elson

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ED ETTINGHAUSEN (24 Hour PR: 144.65 miles)

This weekend at Desert Solstice, Ed “The Jester” will be running his 152nd 100 mile+ race.  In December 2016, Ed won the Across the Years (ATY) six-day race with 451 miles. Two weeks prior to ATY he ran 127 miles at last year’s Desert Solstice with a 17:16 100-mile split. In 2013 at Desert Solstice he ran a personal best 144.62 miles with a 14:50 100 mile split which was the former American 50-54 age group record. Bob Hearn has since taken these records. But now, Ed is in the 55-59 age division so will be eyeing records by Jay Aldous and Roy Pirrung. “Jester On..”

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ANDREW SNOPE (24 Hour PR: 138.81 miles)

Andrew is the current Guinness World Records 24 hour barefoot running record holder. He accomplished this feat first in 2014 at the Six Day’s in the Dome Race in Anchorage, Alaska, tallying up a total of 136.98 miles. Andrew bettered his own record at last year’s Desert Solstice, running 138.81 miles in 24 hours. However, he will be challenged this year by to other top barefoot runners, Teague O’Connor and Barefoot Jake Brown, who are also zeroing in on the Guinness Record. This “race within the race” will be an interesting to watch.

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MARK MANZ (24 Hour PR: 137.83 miles)

Manz, from Durham, NC, could be a surprise tomorrow. His impressive PR at Hinson Lake was in Sept 2017. He seems to have solid leg speed with a 3:07:26 at Umstead Trail Marathon.

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Teage O’Connor

Teage O’Connor is running his first 24-hour at DS, but he is a 2:23 marathoner and holds the World Record for the 100k at 7:13 100k. Watch for this darkhorse to be there at the end – if he practices patience.

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Barefoot Jake Brown

2017 Desert Solstice Women’s Race Preview

The women’s 2017 field at the Desert Solstice 24 Hour race in Phoenix, AZ is diverse and intriguing.  It’s a mix of experienced 24 hour runners and an impressive group of ultra runners taking on the 24 hour format for the first time.  The weekend could produce some World or American records or it could showcase major blow ups if the 24 hours are not well managed.  The weather will be deceivingly warm (mid 70s in the day/low 50s at night) which will add to the challenges.  We are excited about the competition. Here are some of those competing this weekend:

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CAMILLE HERRON

The last time Camille raced on a track was in 2006 and it was a 5k. She did win three state titles on the 400k close loop, but that was in her words: “that was a very long time ago and I have a tad further to go.”

But Camille knows how to go far and fast. She obliterated the previous 100 mile world record with 12:42:40 at Tunnel Hill. She won South Africa’s Comrades Marathon, again one of the deepest and talented international fields in the world. She also won the Tarawera 103k race in New Zealand. She is an experienced talented runner and seeks out new venues and terrains to test herself.  24 Hours on a track may well be one of the  toughest challenges she’s faced. We expect she will be dialed in for this one, and if there are no lingering issues from the recent Tunnel Hill race, more than a few records could fall.

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CONNIE GARDNER (24 Hour PR: 149.37 miles)

We should just provide a link to Wikipedia to showcase all of Connie’s accomplishments! At the 2012 World Championship she was the silver medalist and her performance also broke the American record. She is an 11-time USATF national champion in distances ranging from 50 miles to 24 hours. Her best marathon and 100 mile times are 3:04 and 15:48 respectively.

We are not sure what Connie has for race goals, but she still has the speed and ability to run 140+ miles.  As with all the runners we will be checking on the 100 mile splits . He she hits a goal there,  her adrenaline and deep experience will bring her home.

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WHITNEY RICHMAN (24 Hour PR: 116.44)

Let’s talk about momentum. Whitney, from Richmond, VA,  has won each race she has entered since June – a list that includes an 8 and 12 hour race and two 100 mile races, the Kansas Fall Ultra Extravanganza and the Lighthouse 100 in Michigan (which she also won overall). Her current PR of 116.44 was on the Desert Solstice course one year ago. We KNOW she is capable of much more. Last year, we thought she was done midway through, but she showed HUGE heart and determination and still finished strong – making the 116.44 even more impressive.  This could be a breakout race.

DC LArson

NATALIE LARSON (24 Hour PR: 102.51)

Natalie placed first overall in November’s Boundiful Endurance Run with 70 miles in 12 hours. In August she ran the entire California coast, the California Coast Trail, self-supported and in record time. She covered the 1,17 1 miles in 44 days, 16 hours and 40 minutes.  She is well versed in trails and timed races and is capable of putting up much more than her current PR.

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NICOLE KALOGEROPOILOS

Nichole knows what its like to preform on big stages. Nicole will be running the Western States 100 in Squaw Valley, CA again in June and was the 6th female in the 2015 WS race. Hailing from Dallas, TX she is a very experienced trail runner. The has been on the podium in every race we could track in 2017.  Most of her races are from 50 miles to 100 miles. To our knowledge, this is Nicole’s first attempt at a timed-format 24 hour race, so as with others  in the field (Camille and Michelle), this will be a huge test for her. Could be a big time performance if she can manage it all correctly.

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MICHELLE LEDUC

See if you see a theme: 1st place Cruel Jewel 100 miler, 1st place Eastern States 100 miler, 1st place Haliburton 100 miler, 1st place Sulphur Springs 100 miler, tied for 1st at Pistol 100 miler.  Canadian ultrarunner, Michelle Leduc, likes to win tough 100 miles races. She does not have experience on the track and at the 24 hours timed race format. Like Camille and Nicole, this could be the formula for a magical weekend or a huge explosion. Patience and endurance will be tested. If she can manage the day, we expect Michelle will do very well. 

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EMILY COLLINS  (24 Hour PR: 120.07)

Emily is a strong runner and had a pretty good September. on Sept 3rd, she won the Olander 24 hour race outright with 120.07 miles, then two week later, on Sept 16th, she ran the NorthCoast 24 Hour Race and finished 4th female with 108.328 miles.

In October, she was 5th at the Tussey Mountainback 50 miler and then later that month went on win first place female  at the Doan Creek Trail Run 50k and Run With Scissors 52.4 miler. She also just completed a 300 mile run across West Virginia with Connie Gardner and Jen Shelton. Everything points to a very successful weekend.

Soochow 24 Hour Race Preview

soochowWe asked USA ultra runner, Bob Hearn, to critique the field at this weekend’s Soochow 24hearn Hour ultra-marathon which starts at 9:00 am Saturday, Dec 2nd locally (Friday, Dec 1st, 5:00pm PDT/8:00 pm EDT).  Bob is familiar with the athletes competing in this weekend’s race as he ran alongside most of them at the 2017 24 Hour World Championships in Belfast. He was an alternate on USA TEAM and ran well in the masters division. On December 9th-10th, he will be competing in the Desert Solstice 24 hour race.

Below is Bob’s review:

“This is the biggest concentration of 24-hour talent this year outside of the IAU World Championships in Belfast. In fact it’s almost a rematch among the top runners from Worlds, especially on the men’s side. Here are some highlights:

ishikawa

Yoshihiko Ishikawa won the WCs in Belfast this year, with a stellar 270.9 km (168.3 miles). He ran a smart, steady race, only pulling ahead towards the very end. This was only his second 24-hour. Don’t be surprised to see further improvement. After Belfast he took on Spartathlon, where again he ran a smooth, steady, smart race, to pull from 22nd place 26 miles in to 4th place at the finish (23:21).

Florin REus - Germany

Florian Reus won the 24-hour WCs in 2012, 2013, and 2015 (there were no WCs in 2014 or 2016). He was 2nd at Spartathlon in 2013 and 2014, and won the race in 2015. After spending much of 2016 injured, he is retuning to form in 2017, though he faded late at Belfast to fall from the lead and finish 7th with 258.7 km (160.7 miles). Ishikawa and Reus would have to be the men’s favorites at Soochow.

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Dan Lawson was 2nd at Spartathlon in 2015, behind Reus; 3rd at Badwater in 2016; and won the 2016 24-hour European Championships with 261.8 km (162.7 miles). He had an underwhelming performance at Belfast, but did win the Ultrabalaton 218k and Ultra Trail Gobi Race 392k this year. He will definitely be in the mix for a podium spot.

ruel

Stéphane Ruel (Age 51 (almost 52), is running like he was 31. He finished an amazing 5th at Belfast with 260 km (161.6 miles), a scant 78 meters ahead of Patrycja Bereznowska’s World-Record performance. Earlier this year he set the 12-hour World Record for over 50, with 147.5 km (91.6 miles). At Belfast for much of the race he appeared to be gunning for Kouros’ over-50 24-hour WR of 266.6 km (165.7 miles). If anyone can beat Kouros here, I think Ruel can. Will it happen in Soochow? He has run consistently strong performances for the past several years, and appears to be still improving. At the 2016 European Championships he was 3rd with 257.3 km (159.9 miles).

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Andrzej Radzikowski was the Spartathlon winner in 2016, and finished 3rd there in 2014. He had a disappointing race at Belfast, but will likely be looking for redemption here.

RUDOLF, Tamas

Tamas Rudolf was 9th at Belfast this year, with 255.4 km (158.7 miles).

Hara

Yoshikazu Hara has the best 24-hour performance in the world by anyone not named Yiannis Kouros. In fact he set that mark, a monumental 285.4 km (177.3 miles), right here in Soochow, in 2014. In 2013 he also won Soochow, as well as the Ultra Trail Mount Fuji. However, he has had no similar performances since 2014, stopping at 100 km at Soochow last year.

NARAKI Toshiro Japan

Rounding out the list of top male competitors are Toshiro Naraki, who was 15th at Belfast, and Zi-yu Zhao, who won Soochow in 2016 — at least, the men’s race…the overall winner was Ying Shan, who is evidently not returning.

On the women’s side, World Champion and new World Record holder Patrycja Bereznowska is not competing, but I am excited to see 24-hour road and track American Record holders, Katalin Nagy and Courtney Dauwalter compete. 

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Katalin Nagy has been racking up huge performances for years. Highlights include winning 2015 24-hour WCs, winning 2015 and 2016 Spartathlon (in the two fastest women’s times ever — by far — until Bereznowska ran faster this year, in perhaps the best weather conditions there ever), placed 2nd at Soochow in 2016 while battling through an injury and finished 3rd at World Championships  in Belfast with 250.6 km (155.7 miles).

DAUWALTER

Courtney Dauwalter has also been knocking out wins for years, but has had an incredible 2017. First, she set the 24-hour American Record at Jon Olsen’s Riverbank 24 Hour Race in February with 250.1 km (155.4 miles). She was 4th in a stacked international field at the Maxi Race Annecy 110k in France. She set the course record at Run Rabbit Run 100. She won the inaugural Moab 240 overall, by nearly 10 HOURS. She faded at Belfast, but otherwise has been indestructible this year. Look for another big performance here. (I appreciate her choosing Soochow, to give me a chance at Desert Solstice this year.)

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I’m not familiar with any women in the race besides the Americans, but Japan’s Mizuki Aotani ran a strong race at Belfast, finishing 15th with 228.761 km (142.1 miles). If Nagy or Dauwalter falter, expect her to challenge.”

2017 Spartathlon Preview (Women)

Ultraunner Joe Fejes is at it again with another round of predictions for Spartathlon, a 246-kilometre (153 mi) ultramarathon race held annually in Greece since 1983, between Athens and Sparta. Here is his preview:

PatrycjaToss gender out the window in this one. Poland’s Patrycja Bereznowska world record 24 hour run in Belfast (259.991 km 24 hours) is proof positive that she can compete with the boys for the overall win. (Photo credit: Aneta Mikulska)

As far as the ladies go, her WR performance is more than EIGHT kilometers further than her youngster teammate Aleksandra Niwinksa (256.246 km) who took the silver medal and Belfast and is also running Spartathlon.

FEMALE Niwińska Aleksandra- Poland 2
Poland’s Aleksandra Niwinksa

Katy Nagy’s Spartathlon course record of 25:06 is in serious jeopardy. For comparison sake, at Belfast Katy ran a personal best of (250.622 km) which is almost 10 km behind Patrycja effort.

In a nutshell Patrycja’s Belfast performance is Kouroseque.

Polish teammates go 1 & 2, respectively and will likely be in the mix for the overall top 3–gender be damned. Patrycja may very well end up the 4th killer B and find herself battling it out with Ishikara.

w-lubics
Szilvia Lubics

Normally great deference would be given to my friend Szilvia Lubics who is a three time Spartathlon champion (2014, 2013 & 2011) with a personal best of 26:53. Experience goes far but I’m afraid the 25 km+ discrepancy between Szilvia’s 24 hour best (232.45 km) and Patrycja’s is just too great.

 

The scary thing is both Bereznowska and Niwinksa have the potential to run almost 3 hours faster (i.e SUB 24 hour). Szilvia does however step up to the podium with the bronze.

Germany’s Antje Krause is a good bet for the 4th slot having run. She placed 17th at the 2016 100k World Championship with a time of 8:32. She is a veteran prolific racer having competed in over 70 events since 2005, including more than ten 24 hour races.

2017 Spartathlon Predictions ( Men)

Ultraunner Joe Fejes is at it again with another round of predictions for Spartathlon, a 246-kilometre (153 mi) ultramarathon race held annually in Greece since 1983, between Athens and Sparta. Here are his Top 10 informative – and entertaining – Predictions:

yoshi

(1)  Yoshihiko “go go go” Ishikawa-age 29, (Japan), 2:24 marathoner, 6:52 (100k), (270 km) 24 hour. Yoshiko won the gold medal at the 2017 24 hour World Championship in Belfast a few months ago. His ultra stats are almost Valmir Nunes like—crazy ass speed (2:24 marathon) and variance (270 km) 24 hour to boot. Ishikawa is my pick to become the first Japanese runner since Ryochi Sekiya in 2009 to win the Spartathlon and to become the first runner since Scott Jurek to win in his debut Spartathlon outing.

marco-bonfiglio

(2) Marco “Polo” Bonfiglio-age 40, (Italy), 7:02 (100k), 2nd place in last year’s Spartathlon with a 23:36 approximately 30 minutes behind the winner Andrzej Radzikowski. Marco is a prolific marathon and ultra racer who a couple years back ran 10 marathons in 10 days at a 3:05 average. He is primed to win. His prior Spartathlon experience will be his greatest weapon against his slighly faste 10+ year younger foe– Ishikawa.

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(3) Sebastian “not Coe” Bialobrzeski (Poland), age 29, 2:43 marathoner, (267 km) 24 hour. Seb surprised many peeps by grabbing the silver medal at this years 24 hour World Championship in Belfast behind Ishikawa and in front of his Polish compatriot Andrzej Radzikowski, last year’s Spartathlon champion. Seb is also a rarity in ultrarunning as he has crossover mountain running skills that almost match his talent on the road. He might be the next Jurek or Lukas.

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(4) Radek “Cal” Brunner, age 43, (Czech), 2:30 marathoner, 7:04 (100k), (253 km) 24 hour, 24:07 Spartathlon (2016). Radek took the bronze medal at last year’s Spartathlon. It will be interesting to see if Radek goes out hard in the beginning like he did in Belfast when he actually led the 24 hour World Championship in the early stages. Flip a coin between the killer B’s (Bonfiglio, Bialobrzeski and Brunner) for the Bronze.

RUDOLF, Tamas

(5) Tamas Rudolf, age 37, (Hungary), 2:54 marathoner, 7:11 (100 km), 255 km (24 hour); 28:29 Spartathlon. My friend Tamas might be a tad slower behind the killer B’s in terms of leg speed but he has the experience and talent to podium if the stars align. Interestingly Tamas overtook Radek for the lead at the 24 hour World Championship until eventually succumbing to Ishikawa.

sorokin

(6) Aleksandr Sorokin, age 36, (Lithuania), 2:42 marathoner, 6:50 (100 km), (260 km). Yet another east European runner that will be in the hunt for a medal. Aleksandr can match Ishikawa in terms of motor (6:50 100k) but has a tendency to throw a rod and implode after 12 hours. His all-out running style is evidenced by his personal best 153 km (95 miles) in 12 hours. I fully expect for him to have a substantial lead on the filed for the first 12ish hours. Let’s see if his chassis holds together after that.

CONSANI, Marco

(7) Marco Consani, age 42, (UK), 2:44 marathoner, 7:18 (100 km), 257 km (24 hours). Marco is a disciplined smart runner and a veteran ultrarunner. That is a polite way of saying he doesn’t quite have the horsepower of a few of the other favorites. He had a rough time at the 24 hour in Belfast earlier this year so I suspect he is itching for redemption and wouldn’t be surprised if he sneaks in the 3-5 slot by the time he puckers up to kiss King Leonidas’s feet. There will no doubt be carnage among the young gunslingers Ishikawa, Sorokin, Brunner and He also will catch hell if he comes home without a medal since his wife Debbie is also an elite ultrarunner.

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(8) Joao Oliveira, age 39, (Portugal). 2013 Spartathlon Champion with a sparkling 23:29 but his last 3 Spartathlon’s have been several hours slower (26:43; 27:30; 30:52). He still young though and his resume reflects two wins earlier this year at the PT 281 Ultramarathon and UltraMilano Sanremo 285 km.

VELICKA Ondřej czech

(9) Ondrej Velicka, age 34, (Czech), 2:52 marathoner, 7:19 (100 km), 259 km (24 hour); 31:38 Spartathlon. Based on 24 hour personal best I really want to put him in the #4-6 slot however he has struggled (57th & 66th) in his 2 prior Spartathlons. He is due for a breakout performance.

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(10) Marc Burget, (USA), age 43, 2:35 marathoner, 138 km (12 hours), 14:41 (100 mile). Ok Marc cracks the top ten otherwise I will catch much grief from the Yanks back home unless an American is included. Marc has the credentials and the speed to be a legitimate contender at Spartathlon in his debut. Truthfully he is only a “Hail Mary” pick based on the fact that to my knowledge he hasn’t yet run for more than 15:34 hours (Keys 100 mile). As ultrarunners know, bad and unexpected things happen between the hours 16-24. Witnessing Marc’s experience stepping up in distance & hours will be intriguing and likely as entertaining as following the front runners.

2017 IAU 24 Hour World Championship – Women’s International Field Review

We asked JOE FEJES to put together a “Who in the World to Watch” Review for the 2017 World Championships in Belfast. in the individual competition, projecting this years rach is neaarly impossibe. The USA women are fielding their deepest team, but below are eight women who could all be in the mix for a podium finish. And as with the men’s competition, Cinderella  (in running shoes) can always come from nowhere.

Below is complete list of individual podium winners since 2001:

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Below is a breakdown of some of the top female 24 hour international athletes.  The listings below do not in anyway reflect Joe’s prediction of how a runner will perform in Belfast but rather for informational purpose based on each runner’s best-ever 24 hour performance. Runners listed below have met or exceeded 230KM (142.915 miles) in the previous three years and ranked accordingly.

Female - Patricia - Poland

BEREZNOWSKA Patrycja, age 41, 256.246 Lodz, 2017. Poland. Patrycja is the current 24 Hour World Record holder. Runner-up to Jansson at the 2015 24 European Championship and 5th place finish at the 2015 World Championship. Patrycja has continued to her dramatic year over year improvement in the 24 hour as evidenced by:

2014: 214.014,

2015: 233.395 & 238.197;

2016: 225.727, 241.633

2017: 256.246.

Patrycja has solid leg sped having run 8:00:56 in a 100k race in 2015.

Female Jannison - Sweden

JANSSON Maria, age 31, 250.647 in 2016 Albi France. Sweden. Maria is the defending European 24 Hour Champion. She also beat Bereznowska head to head prior two meetings. At the 2015 World Championship in Torin, Italy, she held off a late charge from Maggie Guterl and finished on the podium in third. She is tough and her training has been spot-on leading up to Belfast.

FEMALE Niwińska Aleksandra- Poland 2

NIWINSKA Aleksandra, age 31, 245.101 Lodz, 2017. Poland. Look out for Aleksandra–in addition to her 243.119 24 hour best, she also ran 139.512 km winning a 12 hour event earlier last year besting her teammate and 24 hour World Record holder Patrycja Bereznowska by more than 5 km.

KRAUSE Antje, age 45, 235.228. Speaking of Antje she placed 17th at the 2016 100k World Championship with a time of 8:32. She is a veteran prolific racer having competed in over 70 events since 2005, including more than ten 24 hour races. Her recent race results indicate favorable odds that she achieves a personal best in Belfast.

FEMALE - Matejczuk Agata

MATEJCZUK Agata, age 35, 232.285 Albi, 2016. Poland. Bronze medal winner at last year’s 24 hour European Championship behind Jansson and Bereznowksa. Agata also ran a solid 228.056 km earlier in April at Poland’s National 24 Hour race, finishing only behind her two teammates, Bereznowska and Niwińska.

Female - Jess Baker - UK

Baker Jess, age 35, 230.395  Canberra 2016. Great Britain. Jess appears to be an adventurer based on the events she has run.  In 2012 she rant the Atacam Crossing, the Gobi March China, Sahara Race Egypt and the Last Desert Antarctica. In 2013 she completed the Coast to Kosci ultramarathon. In 2017 she has focused on shorter ultras likely in preparation for Belfast.

FEMALE Oborne Jodie Australia

OBORNE Jodie, age 45, 230.244km in Turin 2015. Australia. Jodie finished 6th at the 2015 24 World Championship immediately behind Patrycia Bereznowska. Jodie has above average leg speed evidenced by her 21st placement at the 2013 Comrades (UP) when she ran 8:01. She has not had any significant race results in 2016 or 2017.

FEMALE Pascall Beth - Britain

PASCALL Beth, age 29, 230.088 London 2015. Beth is a relative newbie in ultrarunning having only begun in 2012.  She is however one of those creazy trail runners having won the super challenging Spine Challenger as well as the V3k Ultra Skyrunning race. She also had an impressive 8th place finish at last year’s IAU Trail 85k World Championship with a time of 10:41. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her score a personal best at Belfast.

There you have it! Thanks, Joe Fejes for the information and data. There are many team and individual story lines to follow starting Saturday at 12:00 (in Belfast). 7:00am EDT/6:00am CDT/4:00am PDT

2017 IAU 24 Hour World Championship – Men’s International Field Review

We asked American ultra-athlete and multi-day specialist, JOE FEJES to put together a “Who in the World to Watch” Review for the 2017 World Championships in Belfast.

A few facts to start:

  • The average winning distance over the past 12 World Championships for men is 269.56 kilometers.
  • There has only been ONE multiple winner: Ryoichi Sekiya from Japan who won the gold 4 times.
  • Despite the data we will share below, a Cinderella story is absolutely possible at an IAU 24 Championship.   In the 2013 World Championship, American John Dennis from the USA ran 262.734 (km) 163.25 miles to win the Silver medal even though his prior best was only 224.36 (km) / 139.416 miles. John ran almost 40 kilometers more than his previous best performance. The best example of this is Ireland’s own Eoin KEITH. While his best 24 hour is 241km, according to Joe, “Eoin is one of the best multi-day adventure athletes on the planet, and he may well set a PR on his home course. We were roommates at the 6 Day EMU race in Hungary and I have mad respect for him as a friend and competitor.”
  • Below is complete list of individual podium winners since 2001:

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As we review some of the names in European ultra running, below is a news article published regarding the recent 2016 European Championship featuring three athletes who should be in the mix in Belfast:

“In the men’s race, Aleksandr SORKIN of Lithuania put in a very gutsy performance for the first 21 hours leading the charge, at one time leading by as much as 18 kilometers over the rest of the field. Good form, cool temperatures and a fast course contributed to the fast pace. That pace however caught up to SOROKIN in the last three hours and he eventually faded to sixth.

Employing a different strategy, British athlete, Dan LAWSON paced himself through the early afternoon hours and late evening to move into the top five, and at 7am made his move, taking the lead which he did not relinquish.

Czech Ondrej VELICKA had the same game plan in mind moving up the field in the second half of the race, and in particular making a move during the early morning hours to finish with a distance of 258.661km to take second.

Stephan RUEL of France was the only podium finisher who was consistently featuring in the top five from the early stages of the event. With a strong last four hours, RUEL finished in the bronze medal spot on his home ground running a distance of 257.296 km”.

Below is a breakdown of some of the top international athletes.  The listings below do not in anyway reflect Joe’s prediction of how a runner will perform in Belfast but rather for informational purpose based on each runner’s best-ever 24 hour performance. Runners listed below have exceeded 250KM (155.343 miles) at some point in their career and ranked accordingly.

Florin REus - Germany

REUS Florian 263.899 (km), Germany, age 33, is the defending 24 hour World Champion who is looking to break the German 24 hour record of 276.209 km held by legendary runner Wolfgang Schwerk, Florian is one of the most disciplined runner in the world today, often running the 24 hour event with a perfect even split pacing strategy.  Although it seems like he has been running forever (actually since 2003) he is still only 33 years old and in his prime.  His 2017 racing consisted of two 50k races likely in preparation for a higher intensity performance in Belfast. Florian already is a World Champion, now he is racing for history. In 2017 he has been focusing on shorter distance ultras likely to acclimate to a faster pace needed for Belfast. He ran a 3:28:30 50km tune-up earlier this year which is only 18 seconds off his personal best.

yoshi

ISHIKAWA YOSHIHIKO 263.127 (km), age 29, Yoshihiko has a 100 (km) best of 6:52 almost as fast as Sorokin having finished  8th at the prestigious Lake Saroma 100km. In his 24 hour debut he won the 2016 Jingu Gaien National Championship with 263.127 (km).  He also finished 3rd at the super competitive Gobi 100km in front of shorter distance studs such as Giorgia Calcaterra and Zach Bitter. Yoshihiko is a 2:24 marathoner to boot.

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LAWSON Dan 261.843 (km), age 44, Great Britain. Watch out for Danny Boy–he is on fire. Last month Dan won the prestigious Ultrabalaton 218 km in 18:30. Two months ago he won the Steenbergen 12 hour race with 152 km besting France’s highly regarded Stephane Ruel by more than 5 km. Last October he won the European 24 hour Championship in Albi France with 261.84 km. At age 44 he is in his prime and his recent performances suggest he can run significantly further than his current personal best.

SZYNAL Paweł

SZYNAL Paweł, 261.181 (km), age 43, Poland. In addition to winning the silver medal at the 2015 WC with a PR of 261.181 km, Pawel ran 253.567 km in 2014. Pawel has been quiet on the ultrarunning racing circuit having run only two races over the past two years.  Normally inactivity would be a red flag on achieving a big number.

Robbie Britton Uk

BRITTON Robbie 261.140 (km), age 30,  Joe’s good buddy from across the pond is fully recovered from the knee injury suffered earlier last year and should be primed for a solid showing in Belfast. Joe was fortunate enough to meet and compete against Robbie and several of his other Team GBR runners (Steve Holyoak & Paddy Robbins) in the 2012 and 2013 World Championships. Robbie has been supplementing his road training with plenty of vertical training in the Mountains. Although he lacks the raw leg speed of both Sorokin and Ishikawa he is a super smart runner who will get the optimal miles his body can muster. He is the type that will top of his petrol tank with every last drop of fuel even after the petrol pump has shut off.   He took the bronze at Turin 24 WC and will only be satisfied with an even stronger performance.  Congrats on Mr. Britton for his recent admittance into a master’s program.

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SOROKIN, Aleksandr,  260.491 (km), age 35, Lithuania. Aleksandr is the Lithuanian national record holder for both the 100km and 24 hour. Wildcard of the race. Sorokin put up 153.7km at the 12 hour mark at the European 24 hour championship before suffering a violent and painful implosion and ending up with only 251km. His 100 mile split at Albi was approximately a mind blowing 12:40. He also split 153km at 12 hours in his 24 hour debut in Greece in 2015 when he ended up with 260km. Aleksandr has wicked leg speed as evidenced by his 6:50 100km performance at the 100km World Championship where he finished 10th.  Will Aleksandr deviate from his prior pacing strategy or go all out yet once again? He definitely has the potential to put up a huge number. (Choice of photo – this was Sorokin’s profile photo for the Spartathon page and was literally the only one we could find!)

NARAKI Toshiro Japan

NARAKI Toshiro 258.687 (km), age 40. Toshiro is plenty fast having run 7:11 in the 2012 Lake Saroma 100km. Toshiro has run 250+km on at least 4 occasions with his last one at Japan’s 2014 Jingu Gaien National Championship. Toshiro had a disappointing 215 km performance at the 2015 World Championship in Turin so Belfast will offer an opportunity for redemption.

VELICKA Ondřej czech

VELICKA Ondřej 258.661 (km), age 34, Czech Republic. Ondrej ran a solid 147km 12 hour race earlier this year as a tune-up to Belfast. He also ran a very respectable 7:23 100km at the 2016 World Championship showcasing his leg speed. He definitely has the talent to run 265+ at Belfast and challenge for the “W”. Runner up to Dan Lawson at last year’s European 24 hour Championship with 258.228km, Ondrej is ready, willing and able to perform.

MACAJ, Ivan slovkia

MACAJ, Ivan 258.333, 4/15/70, age 47, Slovakia. Ivan finished just outside the podium in 4th place in the 2015 World Championship.  Last May, I spent 6 days running short loops with Ivan at the EMU 6 day race in Hungary.  He impressed the hell out of me with his determination in his multiday debut. Ivan is tall, lanky with perfect form and is certainly capable of running 265+. His form reminds me of Oliver LeBlond in many respects. Unfortunately I’m pretty sure he is or at least has been dealing with foot injury the past few months.  If healthy I would have him in my top 10.

 

RADZIKOWSKI Andrzej RADZIKOWSKI, Andrzej, 258.228, age 36, Poland. Andrzej ran 256+km in a 24 hour race two months ago. Radzikowski also won the prestigious Spartathlon last year with an impressive time of 23:02.  All signs point to peaking for Belfast. Look for low 260’s.

STEWART, James UK

STEWART, James, 258.11 (km), age 41, Great Britain. James ran a superb 13:39 at the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile trail run earlier this year. Belfast will be his debut at an IAU World Championship.  Look for a breakout performance.

DILMI, Ludovic France

DILMI, Ludovic 257.819 (km), age 52, France. Ludovic was the Bronze medalist at 2012 World Championship.  Ludovic has solid leg speed having run 7:03 100km in 2012 World Championship at Seregno where he finished 17th approximately 15 minutes behind John Olsen. Ludovic’s only issue is father time – he is 52 years old which makes a 260 km performance daunting.

Ruel

RUEL, Stephan 257.296 (km), age 51, France. Last month Stephan ran 147.481 km in 12 hours at Steenbergen which indicates he still has the ability to improve on his bronze medal 257.296 km performance at last year’s European Championship.  Stephan is also a serious mountain runner having competed at UTMB and other brutal trail ultras.

PROCTOR David

PROCTOR David 257.093 km, age 36, Canada. Dave Proctor has an above average motor having run 7:37 100km at the 2014 IAU 100km World Championship. Dave also broke the Guinness Book of World Records by running 260.4 km in 24 hours on a treadmill.  Dave definitely has the ability and drive to challenge the 270 (km) mark at Belfast if the stars align.

ODANI, Shuhei japan

ODANI, Shuhei, 256.861, age 28, Japan. At only 28 years old Shuhei has already run ten 24 hour races including his personal best of 256.861 km in 2012. More recently in December 2016 he ran 248.404 at the Jingu Gaien 24. He also finished 8th at the 2013 World Championship at Steenbergen with 250.327.  Joe vividly remembers ping ponging back and forth with Shuhei only to be dropped by him in the final hours. He is certainly capable of cracking the top ten.

ROBBINS, Pat UK

ROBBINS, Pat 256.801 (km), age 45, Great Britain. Pat began running 24 hour races in 2009 and has steadily progressed as follows: (2009) 215.81 km; (2010) 231.08; (2011) 231.163; (2012) 246.07; (2015) 256.801 where he finished 7th in the World Championship. He also finished 13th at the 2012 World Championship.

CONSANI, Marco

CONSANI, Marco 256.531 (km), age 42, Great Britain

RUDOLF, Tamas

RUDOLF, Tamas, 255.250,  age 37, Hungary

ECKFORD, Matthew, 255.000 (km) Matthew, age 36, Australia

LATTARICO, Piero

LATTARICO,  Piero 253.631 (km), age 47, France.  4th place finish at last year’s European 24 hour Championshp at Albi.

HOLYOAK, Steve 252.836 (km), age 52, GBR

RUIZ, Patrick 252.364 (km), age 47, France

THOMS, Stefan 251.99, age 50 GER. Stefan has improved on his 24 performance substantially over the years raising the bar from 233km at 2013 WC to 241km in 2014 to his personal best of 251.599 at the 2016 European Championship finishing in 7th.

LAROCHE, Guillame

LAROCHE, Guillame 250.240 (km), age 41, France. Like some of his teammates Guillaume is a avid trail runner having competed in tough mountain adventure runs such as the Grad Raid des Pyrenee.

There you have it! Thanks, Joe Fejes for the information and data. There are many team and individual story lines to follow over starting tomorrow at 12:00 (in Belfast). 7:00am EST/6:00am CST/4:00am PST

Run4Water 24 Hour Race – Women’s Preview

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

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Joe Fejes on left, running with race favorite, Jon Olsen.

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.

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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):

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.