North Coast 24 Hour National Championships- Women’s Preview

Below are the favorites who should compete for the podium in the women’s race at the North Coast 24 Hour National Championship. Thanks to David Christy (Running Against Time) for digging up the 24 hour PRs below

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Megan Alvarado, 30 VA, Currrently 5th on the USA women’s qualification for the 2019 USA Team with 146.87 Miles (236.357Km) at FastTrack 24 Hr in Palatka, FL, Jan 21, 2018

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Charlotte Vasarhelyi, 42 ON, 121.9, Should be in the mix for podium, but Canadian so not eligible for the Natl Championship.

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Emily Collins, 39 OH, 120mi. Emily continues to improve with each race and will be in the mix for podium.

Jasmine Chiaramonte, 42 PA, 119mi. 2nd place at NC24 last year.

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Emily Bello, 33 KY, 110.9mi.

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Kelley Hanna Fejes, 44 SC, 110.2mi

Jennifer Lockrem, 42 FL, 110mi. Winner of R4W 24 hour earlier this year.

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Krystle Martinez – FL, has several solid race finishes, including a sub-24-hour 100 at Icarus. She went on to complete 148 miles in 48 hours.

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North Coast 24 Hour National Championship – Men’s Preview

As only he can, Joe Fejes provides his predictions for the North Coast 24 Hour National Championship, Saturday September 22, 2018
Here are Joe’s possible podium picks for the men.

(We have asked Joe provide his take of the field in previous races. His predictions are educational, informative and entertaining. We have taken the liberty to edit some of his original content. His opinions/predictions have not association with the US National Team)

Weather forecast: Absolutely super! Temps 60/49 overcast with relatively minimal wind. Odds are favorable for some solid numbers. Let’s cut to the chase and talk about the top 8 men. First let me say this is a super tough event to pick—but here we go with a short story to get it all up:

(1) GOAT
Four wise ultra running friends were ordered by the Almighty to determine who is the Greatest Of All-Time (GOAT) male ultrarunner. Each friend would select one runner to compete in the Ultra Race of All-time Ever. (URACE) Just for fun, the four decided to each bet a few pieces of gold that would be split between the winner and his/her selected runner.

To ensure fairness, the four friends all agreed that the date, location of the race and the course surface (road, track, or trail) would be decided by the Almighty a/k/a the International Association of Ultrarunners (“IAU”).

The women also determined that in the event of a tie, or if a runner other than one of their chosen 4 runners won, that the Almighty would win the house bet.

They also decided as a group that the fairest way to decide the ultra-distance to be raced at the URACE competition was to take the average distance of the 4 runners selected.

With the first pick, friend #1 quickly selected Yiannis Kouros exclaiming that his 1000 mile time of 10 days 10 hours and 30 minutes was the greatest ultrarunning performance ever and also raving about his victories in the Spartathlon and as well as his 6 day and 24 hour records.

Friend #2 next picked Killian Jornet’s as her choice to win the URACE. She said that KJ’s victories at UTMB’s 106 mile distance on tough mountain trail performance proved that he was the best of all time and gave him a distinct advantage over YK especially if the race was held on a challenging terrain or in adverse weather conditions.

Friend #3 with glee in her eyes then selected Jim Walmsley as her pick to win the URACE. She raved about Walmsley’s Western States course record in the 100 mile distance and touted his ability to run whether the chosen surface was road or track.

Finally, with the last pick frield #4 happily chose Nao Kazami from Japan based on his eye-popping 2018 100k world record time of 6:08. In her opinion speed trumped distance in ultra running everytime regardless of the distance raced.

The women then calculated the math for the distance to be raced as (1000 miles (YK) + 106 miles (KJ) + 100 miles (JW) + 61 miles (NK) = 1266 miles/4) = 316 miles. For simplicity sake, they declared that 350 miles would be the distance of the URACE course.

With anticipation hanging in the air, the Almighty then announced the URACE would be held February 1, in the Alaska frozen tundra on an ice trail. As soon as the details were announced, each of the 4 Wisewomen, looked at each and blurted out in unison, “David Johnston wins!”
And with that each of the friends gave their gold pieces to the Almighty.

David Johnston’s outstanding multi-day extreme Alaskan ultra-performances have been overlooked by many in the ultrarunning community. I can guarantee you that he would easily whup Korous, Jornet, Walmsley or Kazami anytime the race required dragging a sled for 350 miles on an ice rail.

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Joe’s Prediction for DAVID JOHNSON at 24 hour: I see a personal best 24 hour performance for DJ with mileage between 125-140 though slightly less than what it will take for a podium spot. Look out though for DJ at the 6 days in the Dome-the Redux—he will podium.

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(2) Texas Purple Pirate – RONNIE DELZER
I laughed my ass of reading the recent facebook post by East Coast Trail and Ultra Podcast regarding “who the heck is Kyle Curtain” after his recent “surprising” win at the Tahoe 200. Kyle has essentially flown under the radar in the ultrarunning scene for quite some time despite some truly outstanding prior performances. He certainly is not under the radar no more!

North Coast 24 has its own male entrant who has flown under the radar in the ultrarunning in many respects notwithstanding superior results. An East Carolina University (ECU) “ Purple Pirate” XC runner currently living in Houston Texas by the name of Ronnie Delzer will be a force to be reckoned with at NC 24 despite being an unknown commodity by many in our community. So who the heck is Ronnie Delzer? Below are a few of his stats:
Rocky Raccoon 100 mile 14:52
Brazos Bend 100 mile 13:40
Key’s 100 mile 17:53
Umstead 100 mile 14:43
Rocky Raccoon 14:15
Prior Guinness Book of World Record holder for 12 hour treadmill run: 89.38-miles

Ronnie has been cranking out two a day training runs and putting in consistent high mileage months. His only knock is a relatively mundane Badwater performance of 33:57 earlier this year however many experienced runners succumbed to the heat this year. Most fast 100 miler runners do not have a successful debut in the 24 hour. However I think Ronnie is better prepared than most.

Joe’s prediction for the Texas Purple Pirate: normally I shy away from 24 hour debut performances regardless of how fast of a 100k or 100 mile a runner has run. Not here—I see the Teas Purple Pirate performance between 145-158 miles to grab the silver medal. BTW my wife Kelley ran XC at Eastern Carolina U. too so a little bias to be noted.

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(3) HHH-Hometown Hero HARVEY LEWIS

“Hometown Hero Harvey” Sweetland Lewis from Cincinnati Ohio is a three time winner at the Northcoast 24 with 142 in 2017, 157.91 miles in 2015 and 150.58 miles in 2013. Harvey is a versatile runner and can run from “soup to nuts” in events ranging from a local 10k to the rugged and relentless 2,189 mile Appalachian Trail which he recently completed in 49 days and 14 hours. Harvey was also my team USA teammate for the 24 hour national teams in 2012 and 2013 when we won the bronze and gold medals respectively at the IAU 24 hour World Championships. Harvey won the 2014 winner of the prestigious Badwater ultra marathon.

Normally, Harvey would be my runaway pick to win however he is likely still feeling the after effects of his AT adventure. I just don’t know if he is ready physically or mentally to put up a 150+ 24 hour performance notwithstanding that NC24 is a favorite event for him.

Joe’s prediction for HHH: If Harvey is fully recovered and has the hunger to win then he is a top 2 pic for sure. The conditions are ripe for him going 160+. Otherwise he is a likely suspect to drop early as he is almost guaranteed a spot on the US National Team with his prior performance and has little to gain other than a little $ for a podium finish. If I’m betting I wouldn’t put him in my box bet and therefore have him out of the money.

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(4) Smooth- OLIVIER LEBLOND
I’ve run races with many ultra legends but have never seen anyone with a smooth as form as Olivier LeBlond. Valmir Nunes is the only other runner I know that has perfect form. Olivier is so smooth that people just don’t realize that his 100 mile times are amongst the best of all-time from a consistency and quality perspective. Think I’m lying? Check out these stats!
• 7 sub 15 hour 100 mile performances;
• 3 150+ mile 24 hours;
• American Record at 48 hours.
2018 Umstead 100 miler: 14:04
American Record Holder 48 hour 262.18 miles
Yeti 100 mile 14:04
2017 IAU World 24 hour Championship Belfast Ireland (159.40 miles)
2017 Umstead 100 mile 14:05
2016 winner NC 24 hour 148.55 miles
2016 C&O Canal 1000 mile 14:32
2015 NC 24 hour 153.23 (2nd place)
2014 Graveyard 100 14:47
2013 Desert Solstice 100 mile 14:36
2013 Desert Solstice 24 hour 152.54 miles
2013 Graveyard 100 mile 14:33

Joe’s prediction for Smooth: Olivier is ready to rumble and is still hungry and young enough to put up a solid number. He wins with 155 miles+ wouldn’t be surprised if he runs low 160s.

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(5) Conundrum- the “CARP” ADRIAN STANCIU.
Currently holding down the 6th slot on team USA qualification and is in tremendous condition. Perhaps the finest execution of even split 24 hour pacing strategy with possible exception of Bob Hearn. Has some crossover Mountain trail skills evidenced by a recent 13th place 20:17) performance at Leadville 100. The reason he is a conundrum is because he is a coin toss for putting on a great performance or flopping like a carp. What will it be at NC 24?

Desert Solstice (15:57)
Desert Solstice 24 hour (150.27 miles)
North Coast 24 hour (125.37 miles)
World Championship 24 hour (148.13 miles)
Run4Water 100 miler (17:00)
NorthCoast 24 (144.87) 2nd place
UltraCentric Gold Rush 24 hr (137.75)
Joe’s prediction for Conundrum: Adrian has less speed than Steve Speirs but I think he has more upside in the 24 hour. I’m taking Adrian for the bronze, behind LeBlond and Delzer.

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(6) The Man that Hales from Wales: STEVE SPIERS:
Steve is hands down one of the best 50+ runners on the planet from ultradistances ranging from the 50k to 24 hours. He was the silver medalist at North Coast last year with 140+ miles and is certainly capable of stepping on the podium again this year. Below are a few of his accomplishments:

a. Winner of the 2016 Virginia 24-hour Run/Walk for Cancer (135 miles/New Course Record)
b. Winner of the 2016 Iron Horse 100 (15:52:30)
c. Winner of the 2015 24 The Hard Way (135.5 miles)
d. Winner of the 2015 Virginia 24-hour Run/Walk for Cancer (133.25 miles/CR)
e. Sub-24 Finisher at the 2014 Western States 100 Endurance Run – 22:54:33
f. Winner of the 2014 Virginia 24-hour Run/Walk for Cancer (126 miles/New Course Record)
g. 4th place Overall/1st place Masters at the 2014 Rocky Raccoon 100 mile] – 15:26:25
h. 1st place Masters at the 2013 24 The Hard Way (128.87 miles) [USA 24 Hour Championships

Joe’s prediction for Steve Spiers: I see a personal best 24 hour for the Male that Hales from Wales but I’m not sure he can beat out either Adrian/Ronnie or Harvey for the third spot. He may run 6 miles further than his best effort before and still come up short. SS runs 148 and takes 4th.

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(7) RON WIREMAN JR
• Tunnel Hill 100 15:50
• 2017 Hinson Lake 24 hours 127.95
• 2016 Hinson Lake 115.73

Maybe not as sterling of a resume of some of the runners mentioned above but Ron’s 128 miles at Hinson Lake is pretty damn impressive and to me translates to 140 miles at NC 24. Ron has a long shot at a podium slot and is my pick for the 7 slot with a personal best of 140 miles.

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(8) Mr. 6 Day in the Dome. The author, JOE FEJES, will not be a factor at NC 24. Fejes is hampered with a lower back injury suffered last week during Hurricane Florence while stupidly trying to lift a kayak upright by himself post-storm. No worries, he should be recovered for Hinson Lake 24 hour next weekend. Prediction: 100 miles shuffling/walking.

 

Thanks JOE FEJES for the preview. Best of luck to you and everyone competing this weekend at the NorthCoast 24!!

2018 IAU 24 Hour European Championship

We are already excited for the 2019 24 Hour World Championships to be held on May 11-12 in Irdning, Austria. Tomorrow’s European 24 Hour Championship will offer a look at the top ultra athletes across Europe who will face off against the USA.

European ChampionshipsThe European 24-Hour Championship race will be held this weekend at Children’s Park in Timisoara, Romania, with 30 countries and 181 athletes competing. The race will start at 10 am local time – TONIGHT at 12:00 am PST/3:00 am EST.

USA’s Mike Melton (Ultra Timing Professionals LLC) will be responsible for timing the race, supported by Brandon Wilson and Bill Schultz. Follow live here:  http://my3.raceresult.com/98907/?lang=en

Per Mike, the weather looks to be very warm – mid 80s during the afternoon, with a good chance of rain at some point during the race. The course loop size is 1.22248 KM, or 0.7596 miles, so laps times should be in the 5-minute range and up. The course is flat, and paved with brick paving stones, and there’s only one turn that verges on 90 degrees – the rest are shallower curves.

The field is stacked with some familiar names in ulta running including this elite group with PR’s over 160 miles:  Johan Steene (SWE) 266.515 km / 165.6 mi, Florian Reus (GER) 263.899 km / 163.97 mi, Dan Lawson (GB) 261.843 km / 162.7mi and a sub 24 hr Spartathlon and 24 Hour World Record Patrycja Bereznowka (POL) 259.991 km / 161.55 mi. One of the interesting story lines is whether Patrycja can push for an overall win. It is certainly a possibility if she has a good day (and night).

Here are some of the favorites among the women:

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Patrycja Bereznowski (POL) is current 24H World Champion from Belfast (2017) where she set her current personal best and World Record of (259.991 km/161.55 mi). She followed that accomplishment with a 48 Hour World Record* in Athens with 401.000 km (first female to exceed 400km). *pending ratification.

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Maria Jansson (SWE) is current European Champion from Albi (2016) where she set her current personal best (250.647 km). She is third women in EU that did more than 250 km in 24H race.

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Therese Falk (NOR) PB 236.800 km. We expect a strong rebound from a 106.761 mile performance at the WC in Belfast.

Michaela Dimitriadu (CZE) PB 244.232 km (2012 IAU 24 Hour World Champion, edging our USA’s Connie Gardner), Anne-Marie Vernet (FRA) PB 239.685 km (2008 IAU 24 Hour World Champion) and Julia Fatton (GER) PB 236.183 km (2017 World Champion in 48H bring loads of experience to the womens field. Two to watch on the Great Britain Team: Wendy Shaw, who ran an excellent 220.5km/137 miles in Barcelona last December to qualify and Tracy Dean with her 226.3km/140.6 miles at the Mount Xiqiao International 24 Hour Ultra Marathon in China will be among the athletes trying to make big moves at the front to try to lead their respective teams to best results as well.

Here are some of the favorites among the men:

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Dan Lawson (GBR) is defending European Champion where he has run his current PB 261.843 km/162.7miles. In 2015 he finished an impressive 2nd overall at the Spartathlon with a sub 24 hour finish. The following year he finished 3rd at Badwater and won the Mt. Gaoligong Ultra 100 Mile race. In Sept, Dan is scheduled to run stateside at the Run Rabbit Run 100 miler in Steamboat Spring, CO.

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Johan Steene (SWE) individual 2017 World Championship bronze medalist. He set his PB in Belfast with 266.515 km/165.6miles. Johan is fantastic long distance runner who participates in multi-day races with great results (2017 World Champion for 6 Days race). He is a regular at ultras in the USA, with an affinity to Laz Lake races including Barkley Marathons, Big’s Backyard and Vol State. This year he will race the Western States Endurance Run.

Florin REus - Germany

Florian Reus (GER) is one of the best German ultra runners. After a third at the 2012 WC to USA’s Mike Morton CR (277.543km) and his third in 2013 to USA’s Jon Olsen and John Dennis, Florian hammered out PB 263.889 km at the 2015 World Championship and finally became the World Champion.

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Stephane Ruel (FRA) PB 260.077km set in 2017 (2017 top 5 in the World for 12H with 147.481 km).

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Aleksandr Sorokin (LTU) PB 260.491 km set in 2016 (3rd result in the World that year). Aleksandr is due for a bug 24 hour performance. He is coming off a HUGE win at Spartathlon in 2017 covering the 246 kilometers from Athens in 22 hours, 4 minutes and 5 seconds.

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Eoin Keith – (IRELAND) Keith completed 153.35 miles at the 2017 WC in Belfast. In recent years, Keith won first at the Sri Chinmoy 6 Day Race in Queens, NY and placed second at Hungary’s EMU 6 Day World race. A true adventurer, Keith also set the FKT across Ireland, is the 24-hour Irish running champion, and he won Britain’s most brutal race – The Spine – in January 2016, completing the 400km course in 95 hours and 23 minutes, cutting 5 hours, 22 minutes off the previous record. 

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Ondřej Velička (CZE) PB 258.661 km set in 2016 (4th result in the World that year),

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Radek Brunner (CZE) PB 253.219 km set in 2017.  Brunner finished 2nd at the 2017 Spartathlon in 22:49:38.

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Ludovic Dilmi (FRA) 257.819 km (4th results in the World in 2012).

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James Stewart (GBR) PB PB 258.110 km set in 2016.

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Norbert Mihalik (HUN) PB 259.403 km set in 2017.

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Bjoern Tore Kronen Taranger (NOR) PB 257.606 km in 2015.

RADZIKOWSKI Andrzej

Andrzej Radzikowski (POL) PB 258.228 km set in 2017.

 

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!

 

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:

ds bitter

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

ds Janzen

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

ds ED

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.

DS MANZ

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.

ds teague

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:

DS Camille

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.

DS connie

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.

DS nicole3

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.

DS LEDUC

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. 

DS Collins

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).

rad

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.