Clearly this week’s news from the women of the running world is dominated by the 286 mile Spine Race. Rightly so, for it’s a beast of a race and the result was, well you’ll have to wait an see. Add to that the fact that marathoners are still hiding away and working their way back to some sort of mileage after their Christmas break, and it’s only fair that Cajsa opens up the bidding for the Women’s Running Roundup from the 7th-15th Jan 2019. Settle in, it’s a good’un. She wrote the roundup as the race was unfolding so we can enjoy the excitement together .
If I had any doubts of which is my most time consuming interest a glance at the Screen Time report of my phone from the last week would set all records straight. It started with 100% UTMB ballot result site activity on Wednesday (sorry clients), morphed into 50% whats-app-running-group formations and 50% alp-related airbnb browsing over Thursday. From Friday onwards the stats would report on an average 7 hours spent hitting the refresh button on the impeccable Spine Race tracker (again, sorry clients) and that is pretty much where me and my phone data are still at.
MONTANE SPINE RACE
The utter nutters who set out on Sunday morning to tackle the 286 miles long course following the Pennine Way Trail from Derbyshire to Scotland are still out there; crossing bogs, climbing ridges and taking naps
in barns. At the moment of writing Jasmin Parris has 222 miles under her soles and a 6 mile lead on Eugeni Rosello. The two at the top have a comfortable 20 mile gap down to the chasing pack and even though there is still a long way to go l I think we can safely say that this is going to be between Parris and Rosello. For most of the first two days they were within a mile of each other but over the early hours of Tuesday Parris pulled away from Rosello, possibly through the latter having a longer stop (and snooze?) at Check Point 4. I won't go into too much detail until the race is finished so lets wrap things up for now and keep our collective fingers crossed for the incredible Jasmin to BRING IT HOME and move on to some finalised results! (if you like me are by a curious nature there is some excellent coverage to devour on the official face book page; https://www.facebook.com/TheSpineRace/)
WED MORNING SPINE TRACKER UPDATE: Whilst I was sleeping Jasmin Parris has moved another 20 miles and is closing in on Byrness. The gap down to Eugeni has grown to nearly 10 miles and If Jasmin continues this strong it looks like she will break the course record! WAAAHHHHHH (sorry in advance clients)
MONTANE SPINE RACE CHALLENGER, 108 miles / 4200 m
Two of my favourites as possible challengers for Jasmin Paris in last weeks Spine Race preview turned out to have stepped down a distance to battle it out for the podium places in the shorter Spine Race Challenger. When I say shorter what I really mean is less long because even if the Challenger is the sister race it is still as the name suggests by no means an easy cruise! The participants set to tackle the 108 miles of very technical and at times very NON-runable terrain have 60 hours to complete the course, that might seem like a lot but if you take into consideration that the mens course record is over 22 hours compared to UTMB's of just over 20 you get an idea of how hard even the short version of this race is.
Someone who did not have to worry about making cut offs was Carol Morgan, she took the lead from the gun and through some very solid and cleverly paced running held onto her position as first lady over the finish-line in 31:47:37. In the early stage of the race Jenny Yeo and Jen Scotney were not far behind but over the second day they started to fall back to eventually finish as second and third lady in 35:36 and 38:53 respectively.
1. Carol Morgan 31:47:37
2. Jenny Yeo 35:36:39
3. Jennifer Scotney 38:53:16
Post race Interview with Jenny and Jen via the links below!
If the distances and finishing times of the Spine races seem like a torturous amount of right foot left foot so early in the year then perhaps the gradual back to back build up of the stage race below might be a more appealing choice of season starter.
SANDSJOBACKA TRAIL, 25k + 50 k + 89 k
This is a quiet new Swedish race with an interesting format well suited to kick off the season with a bang (take note UK race organisers!). Runners take on a total of 100 miles split over 3 races in 3 consecutive days, all of them on different courses in a nature reserve surrounding the coastal town of Gothenburg. Things start off easy with a 25 k night trail on Friday eve, followed by a 50 k route on Saturday and finish with a return to the dark through a very early (6:00) start of the 50 mile finale on the Sunday. The times of the three races are combined and the runner with the fastest total is the winner. Henriette Brynthe who finished 8th in a very competitive international field at Ultravasan last year won the 2019 edition of Sandsjobacka Trail, second lady (but first on the initial night trail) was home girl Colette Coumans and in third place was second Norwegian Elisabeth Borgesen who placed 7th at TDS in 2018.
1. Henriette Brynthe, NOR 17:59:25
2. Colette Coumans, SWE 18:28:07
3. Elisabeth Borgersen, NOR 19:56:46
COUNTRY TO CAPITAL, 45 miles (no info on the altitude gain but it is a pancake flat one so i guesstimate 208m)
This extended pub crawl starting at the Shoulder of Mutton in Wendower is a popular season starter for the South East of UK contingent. The starting gun goes off just in time for people to arrive on the first train from London. My pre race favourite and Spartathlon shero Cat Simpson took an early lead ahead of Ali Young but at the first check point they were both passed by double Maverick X winner Rebecca Ferry who from there on held on to her position all the way back to the big smoke and finished in a record breaking time of 5:53:35. Hot on her heels over the finish line in Little Venice just twenty seconds behind was Simpson and rounding out the podium in third was Young in 6:19.
1. Rebecca Ferry 5:53:35
2. Cat Simpson 5:53:55
3. Ali Young 6:19
First out in this years Ultra Trail World Tour Series is the Hong Kong 100, a race notorious for featuring Monkey's as well as a significant amount of stairs and of course a few familiar elite legs who wants some early season action on the international scene. Last year an unchallenged Miao Yao started her year by winning this race and breaking the course record by 40 minutes (at the early stages of he race she was running under the men's record time too ….) She wont be returning to defend her title this year though and in her absence the strongest name on paper is Ekaterina Mityaeva. Allthough Ekaterina finished last year with a DNF-ing at Pirin Ultra she had an incredible 2018 with a win at Ultra Pirineu and third at Transgrancanaria as well as a handful of top 5 rankings at the Sky Runner World Series. There's been a big program for retraining old olympian athletes from the track and field into long distance trail runners in China and there are a few names from that camp on the starting list, odds are high that one or two of them will be the biggest competition for Mityaeva.
That's all for this week folks, I'd like to round things up with a quote from a well known shero of the roads that speaks very much for my feelings during these first stumbling weeks of a new big training block;
Walking stiffer than a rusty robot. Running smoother than Tennessee whiskey.— des_linden (@des_linden) January 14, 2019
This is fitness, over 30 edition.
I know athletes always say it when they are announced for races, but I'm honestly excited for this. In fact I've not been this excited for a race since the summer of 2016!— Aly Dixon (@alydixon262) January 11, 2019
It's the iconic one & the one I've always wanted to do.
Thank you to @johnhancockusa for the opportunity. pic.twitter.com/9YivhjEVIX
And on that note from Des Linden (see - us road-ies and trail-ies share heros) we turn to the roads, only there’s not much happening on the tarmac at the moment. There are some results below but what is VERY exciting is the both London and Boston marathon have released more info about their elite fields this week. While it’ll be exciting to see the one-second-apart-PB battle unfold between Lily Partridge (2:29:24) and Charlotte Purdue (2:29:23) on the streets of London it’s the fact that Aly Dixon has thrown her hat into the Boston ring that really made me squeal this week. I know she’s had problems getting back from injury this year and has been quite open about how frustrating she’s found it but I’m so pleased that one of the British ladies has stepped up to take on the Blue-and-Yellow beast. I had a bit of converdation over twitter with Aly last year about why no Brits were ever one the lineup and she explained that it was to do with London being a qualifying race for various other events, so I’m grateful that she’s taken this risk. I really hope her build up goes great.
On the ‘also running’ list for London are Tracy Barlow and Sonia Samuels - whilst they are more mature they are also, well, more mature and have great experience to bring to the race. Don’t count them out. Then there are: (and I quote) ‘31 year old Irish mother of 4’ Laura Graham who won Belfast marathon in 2017 and came second to Caroloine Chepchir in 2018, speedy Hayley Carruthers (England) who is PBing all over the shop at the moment, Natasha Cockram (Wales) who only started marathoning last year and Tish Jones who seems to have been quiet since her England outing at Scotiabank Toronto Marathon in 2017.
Either way, I’m sort of sad I’m running it so I can’t watch it. But not really, obviousely - it’s my home marathon!
Results from last weekend:
CROSS INTERNACIONAL JUAN MUGUERZA (IAAF XC)
1 Hellen Obiri (KEN) 24:39
2 Stella Chesang (UGA) 24:59
3 Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN) 25:16
4 Yasemin Can (TUR) 25:44
5 Kate Holt (GBR) 26:51
6 Lily Partridge (GBR) 27:05
7 Sara Treacy (IRL) 27:08
8 Rachel Robinson (GBR) 27:18
9 Elena Loyo (ESP) 27:24
10 Ana Lozano (ESP) 27:26
10k VALENCIA IBERCAJA (IAAF Bronze)
Jenny Nesbitt ran a PB of 33:10 to finish 11th and third European in the women’s race. The Welsh Commonwealth Games athlete, who won the renowned Nos Galen road race on New Year’s Eve, took 14 seconds from her previous best mark set at the Bourton 10k last year.
Tsehay Gemechu took 15 seconds off Tirunesh Dibaba’s Ethiopian record to win the women’s race in 30:15, while compatriot Chala Ketema won the men’s race in 27:23 with 10 men running 28 minutes or quicker.
Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza - IAAF Cross Country, Elgoibar, Spain
10K Valencia Ibercaja - IAAF Bronze Label Road Races, Valencia, Spain
IAAF Antrim International Cross Country - IAAF Cross Country, Antrim, GB & NI
Northern Ireland International Cross Country -IAAF Cross Country, Belfast (GBR), GB & NI