NAZ elite do the double, Paula Radcliffe’s record gets beaten (not that one) in Mexico, Fiona de Mauny wins Brighton half, Steph Twell is hedging her bets for Tokyo 2020 and there’s Tokyo ‘19 just mere days away with a full elite line up. Enjoy!
I think it is safe to say that the Klaxon has sounded for the end of "Off Season - Schmoff Season" (as Alex Nichols so beautifully summarised Courtney Dauwalter's trail efforts in a tweet the other day).
Things are heating up, okay mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, but the level of performance on display down under is enough to put a spring in the step of us trudging through ever increasing levels of mud up north too.
Since there isn't much competitive long distance trail running to report on from the 'still in winter' continent this week lets jump straight to the island so many of us wish we inhabited at this time of the year (and point in history …)
TARAWERA ULTRAMARATHON, 102 k / 3089 m - 100 miles / 5132 m
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Camille Herron is through 141km. She is 40 minutes behind Jeff Browning and she has just been through “the bonk from Hell”. She is running on heart with the pain locked right behind a determined grin. Beer and pizza are on the menu 6km from here and we’re expecting her to hit the finish line close to 9pm, maybe a little more than 15 hours after she started. We’re all cheering you. Go Camille!!!!!!
The shorter 100 k distance of this prestigious and stunning looking ultra trail is usually the most competitive one, not only because of its early season race date making more runners opt for less mileage but also due to it being the second instalment of the Ultra-Trail World Tour series. This years edition did not disappoint and served up both big names and great performances. Our favourite pair of Baggy Shorts were making their first appearance of the year and sitting on the legs of Courtney Dauwalter it is not surprising that they saw most of this fast paced race from the front end. Courtney and local lass Cecilia Flori could be seen cruising through the first three check points together before Dauwalter "dewey-ed to it" and took control of the lead. She won the race (and placed 8th OA) in 09:28:03 twenty minutes ahead of the speedy Austrailan runner Stephanie Auston ( https://stephanieauston.wordpress.com, https://www.instagram.com/steph_auston/?hl=en) who ran a very impressive debut on the 100 k distance. Rounding out the podium was last years New Caledonia Ultra Trail champion Angelique Plaire from France in 10:39.
The 100 miler might not have been as stacked with elite names but what does that matter when you have a 24 hour record holder toeing the line. The flat and fast start to the 100 mile course suited Camille Herron like hand in glove and she went off like fire leaving not only her sisters but also the entire field of men in her dust. With Zac Marion battling cramps and Jeff Browning taking a wrong turn leading to a 30 minute detour it looked like she was on to an outright victory but as the trail turned technical during the last quarter of the race Camille's wheels started to come off and she could not hold off the by now ferociously chasing Hard Rock champion any longer. Herron still managed to bag 2nd OA behind Jeff Browning and obliterated the female course record with a 17:50:22 finish. To think that I doubted she'd be at the start-line in my preview last week … Second lady was Katie Wright in 23:43:26 and 25 minutes behind in third was Lesley Park.
Impressive season debuts from both Courtney and Camille, fingers crossed for an injury free spring for Americas two big C's so we get to see them in proper battle mode at WS100 in June!
1. Courtney Dauwalter (8OA) 09:28:03
2. Stephanie Auston (11 OA) 09:49:22
3. Angelique Plaire 10:39:47
1. Camille Herron (2 OA) 17:20:52
2. Katie Wright 23:43:26
3. Lesley Park 24:07:38
Full Results Here;
Right back to those step infested trails over in Hong to the Kong for the next round up section;
HONG KONG FOUR TRAILS ULTRA CHALLENGE 298 km / 14500 m
It feels like this autonomous and most westernised region of the east is slowly but steadily becoming the Alps of the Winter (for runners, not skiers …). With trail running becoming increasingly popular in Asia there are new races popping up every year and older events like the "somewhat" INSANE Four Trails gains wider recognition and with that a stream of international runners. The HK4TUC started back in 2012 and is a self supported non stop event where runners complete each of the four big trails (Maclehose, Wilson, Hong Kong, Lantau) of Hong Kong within a time limit of 75 hours. The biggest challenge, at least for the foreign visitors, seems to be sorting out the transport between the trails. Up until this year only 6 runners had completed the race under 60 hours and no female runner had made it back to kiss the Green Post Box by the ferry terminal in Mui Wo that marks the finish before the "finisher" cutoff. You are considered a survivor of the race if you complete Maclehose within 18 hours (the first cut off), start the Lantau trail within 56 hours (the second cut off) and have finished all four trails within 75 hours (the final cut off) and a finisher if you reach Mui Wo under 60 . There are also a long list of rules that the runners have to follow, poles for examples are not permitted (the inner hippie of yours truly highly approves of this :) ) and whilst you are allowed a crew outside of the trail you can not have a drop bag, pacer or anyone running with you whilst on route. You can however, as there are no aid stations, buy supplies and food in shops and vending machines along the route IF you are lucky enough to encounter them during opening hours that is ……. As the race description goes; "This is only for people who love pain and suffering and get a thrill out of attempting something that they deem impossible and they expect most likely to completely fail at".
Since this is a low key, community driven race there are no official rankings as such BUT the participants have to use live tracking and similarly to The Spine there is a daily summary of footage being uploaded to the race Facebook page which is how i know that the 2019 edition of the four trails had a first ever female finisher in Nikki Han. Nikki is British but lives in Hong Kong, she completed the challenge in 58 hours and 20 minutes! Whatta Shero!
You can read a longer pre race interview and a short post race chat with Nikki here:
IN OTHER NEWS
THE COASTAL CHALLENGE COSTA RICA is underway and in the spirit of 2019 the ladies are C.R.U.S.H.I.N.G it.
Ida Nilsson won the first stage out right, had a bit of a wobble on day 2 but was back in form for a second OA finish on day three. She has so far taken down the ladies course record on all the three completed stages and is not only leading the women's race but is currently sitting as 3rd OA. Behind Ida there is a daily battle between the previous champion and record holder Ragna Debats and Holly Page. Three days remains and we will be back with the final results in next weeks round up. For now: HEJA IDA!
BLACK CANYON 100 k / 1580 m
This second Golden Ticket race of the year is stacked with strong runners and will give us a good idea of the American trail elites early season form. Kaci Lickteig and Yiou Yang are both speedy marathoners and this flat and not too technical 100 k route should suit them. They will be joined by handful of other long distance trail champions in the hunt for WS 100 starting numbers though so this is likely to be a fast and furious edition of the Black Canyon 100.
That's it trail heads! More muddy kicks in seven!
BARCELONA HALF MARATHON
Charlotte Arter (I: @arterc91) was not only at the front of a strong showing from the Brits at last weekend’s eDreams Mitja Marato Barcelona , but at the front of the field all together. The British 10,000m chapion who recently set the fastest ever female Parkrun time of 15:50 in Cardiff in Jan showed that she’s fast over even longer distances. She broke the Welsh women’s half marathon record, improved her PB by almost two minutes and ran 69:40 to move from 21st to eighth on the UK all-time list and place 5th in the race.
The IAAF reports that
The women’s race had been billed as a serious attack on the world record by the rising star [Roza] Dereje. She came up short, but still clocked 1:06:01 to clip a full minute from her previous lifetime best.
Second place went to Kuma for the second year in a row (taking 2 mins off her PB) but Sally Cepyego could only hold on for a slower - than best third place.
Ann-Marie McGlynn of Ireland (@mcglynnannmarie) also ran a hefty 1:49 PB while Sonia Samuels and Lily Partridge (@lilypartridge) crossed the line together in 1:12:20. It’s sad to see Lily so frustrated by problems with her back hampering her performance. I really hope that this doesn’t bode ill for London. Tracy Barlow (@tracy4734) ran her second fastest time ever off virtually no tape and was understandably pleased at that performance on a distance which isn’t her normal battle ground.
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I'm changing my name to Charlotte. Absolutely outstanding run by @arterc91 💪🏽 thanks for letting me tag along for the first few miles I was hoping to hang around a little longer 🔥🔥 I'm pissed off. I went though 10k in 33.26 feeling easy and ready to push but I've been struggling with my back the past few weeks; when im in training it's controllable because I can get it seen to every few days and training is going really well to the point that I went out for a PB today but it's just not holding up to travelling and after a bit of a downhill and a small rise at mile 7 and a sharper one again nearer the end it just locked on and I had a neural pain down my right side from then on. It was pretty instant as you can see from my splits (Pic.3) so that's really frustrating after dragging myself back into shape the last few months after my foot problem I really wanted it to click today but I fly back to UK for treatment tomorrow; hopefully all okay and then back to work for @londonmarathon 💪🏽 @mitjabarcelona #halfmarathon #marathon #barcelona 📸 @bdconnor
ROZA DEREJE , ETHIOPIA 1:06:01
DIBABE KUMA, ETHIOPIA 1:06:45
SALLY CHEPYEGO, KENYA 1:08:30
LUCY CHERUIYOT, KENYA 1:08:32
CHARLOTTE ARTER, UNITED KINGDOM 1:09:41
SILENAT YISMAW, ETHIOPIA 1:10:45
ANN-MARIE MCGLYNN, IRELAND 1:12:00
MIRIAM DATTKE, ERMANY 1:12:17
SONIA SAMUELS, UNITED KINGDOM 1:12:20
LILY PARTRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM 1:12:20
also running for the UK : Tracy Barlow, 1:12:28, Eleanor Davis 1:12:46
IN OTHER NEWS
MORE DOPING BANS FOR KENYA
Hot on the heels of last week’s news regarding Ex-VLM and Olympic champion Jemima Sumgong’s doping ban, it’s sad to have to report another example of apparent rule breaking. Sarah Chepchir, who is a former training partner and sister-in-law to Sumgong has been provisionally banned by the Athletics Integrity Unit.
Chepchir won Tokyo marathon in 2017 and holds the course record in 2:19:47. Athletics Kenya President Lt Gen(RTD) Jack Tuwei has said that “We have had conversations with all our athletes and no one is being forced to dope. It’s a personal decision so those found will carry their own cross and face the consequences” and the AIU have quoted the responsibility of the athlete to make sure that no banned substances enter their body and not banned methods are used. So, whilst it is interesting that Chepchir has shared a coach with Sumgong it seems that the finger will always be pointed very much at the individual. Indeed, the AIU say that it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing use be proved. I can’t quite see how a provisional bad can become anything less than a full ban given this kind of athlete-centric approach. I can’t make up my mind how to feel about it - obviously it’s terrible that people cheat but what if it’s endemic and expected of athletes - who should be punished the most? Chepchir says herself in an old interview that the live you have to earn money and you only earn money if you win. It’s inexcusable to cheat and I don’t for one second think someone should be given a soft sentence, but perhaps there are others who need to be brought into the spotlight too.
Final word on this goes to The Morning Shakeout’s Mario Fraioli:
Chepchichir’s agent is Federico Rosa—yep, that guy—who represented Sumgong, as well as Rita Jeptoo, the former Boston Marathon champion who got a four-year suspension for doping, Lucy Kabuu, who is currently serving a two-year doping ban (for morphine, of all things), former Olympic 1500m gold medalist Asbel Kiprop, who also got nailed for EPO, and Mathew Kisorio, the 58:46 half marathoner who tested positive for steroids back in 2012. Am I forgetting anyone?
SAMANTHA ROEKER IS ANOTHER FAST NURSE
In covering Emma Bates’ win at CIM back in December I (and it seems others) managed to miss an interesting result. CIM is the US Marathon Championships, Boston qualifying, Oympic Trials qualifying and a fast, paced race. So it always garners some great performances and some up and coming athletes looking to make the next leap. It is one of those ‘unknown’ athletes that RunnersWorld picked up on this week.
3rd placing Samantha Roeker (@Samroeker), like Sarah Sellars (of 2nd in Boston fame) is both unsponsored and a nurse. She talks about her 8 minute PB, training with Emily Sisson (who we mentioned last week as she’ll run her first marathon at London), 100mile weeks, having to be ‘hyper-focused’ and her love of Tracksmith clothing. Check out the article here, it’s a good read.
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It’s taken a week for me to digest what happened last Sunday; one of those moments I’ve always been working towards but never knew if it’d ever happen. I found myself having the best run of my life somewhere around 15k, knowing I had nothing to lose, I took a chance on myself. . . Returning from a week of vacation and letting this all sink in. So many humans to thank for helping me to succeed. . . My parents, who’ve been all over every course I have run since middle school, countless training partners who’ve helped me put in years of hard work that have accumulated and become my closest friends (@friarsxctrack fam, @phillyrunnertc buds, s/o @kylieemp , metronome workout pacer extraordinaire, many, many more), Ray Treacy, the #guru and mastermind coach for the last decade, Martin at @philamassages for taking care of these high mileage legs, and @jay_sun_air , for keeping me safe in the dark for countless sketchy night miles, encouraging me not to quit when running and I disagreed multiple times the last year, and for switching roles to play nurse when my body rejected me for hours Sunday afternoon/night. . . There are so many more. Thanks to everyone who reached out and those who followed along. I’m humbled by the experience and will always remember this one. ✨ . . 📸: @notafraid2fail / @eyewitnesssed
GABE GRUNEWALD’S CANCER BATTLE
Sadly it seems that professional middle distance runner, eternal optimist, rare cancer surviver and constant fighter has had some bad news regarding her health. If you’ve not red her story at bravelikegabe.org, please do. It’smincredible.
She recently tweeted the below message.
Our thoughts are with her and Justin.
Gabriele has survived multiple bouts with cancer. Initially diagnosed with a rare salivary gland cancer, adenoid cystic carcinoma, in 2009, and thyroid cancer in 2010. She experienced recurrences of adenoid cystic carcinoma in 2016 and 2017.
Under the guidance of coach Dennis Barker, Gabriele aims to return to elite competition in 2018 and ultimately has her sights set on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. She lives and trains along the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis with her husband, Justin.
Hong Kong and Seville Marathons are this weekend on the 17th. As yet, I can’t find any start lists for these but if I do I’ll let you know.
As usual… I’m off to hit the track now. Tarra.
Charlotte and Sinead produce grin-making results and there’s more marathoners grinding through their training in prep for springtime races. Get your road-running fix here.
In frustrating / sad news, Rio ‘16 Marathon winner Jemima Sumgong has had her ban for doping extended
This week in the trail department of the Women’s Running Roundup :
Boden. Sigh. Ok…moving on…
Some pretty brutal weather in Cornwall doesn’t deter Centurion race-winners, 8 dragons become 9 in Hong Kong, fast legs in Grizedale and an unknown field win the Rocky Raccoon 100. Oh, and the small matter of British Athletics announcing our squad for the ITRA Trail World Champs… fill your muddy boots by clicking through below to read more.
Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn (Twitter @katieboden4)
Jo Meek (Insta @running_squirrel)
Charlotte Morgan (power of 10 profile)
Holly Page (insta @hollyapage)
Jasmin Paris (Twitter @jasminkparis)
Georgia Tindley (insta @gtindley)
Click on through…
As we start to head towards peak marathon season I’m going to do a one-by-one preview of the ladies in the elite fields for Boston and London. That way, by the time we get there we’ll all know who’s going to win, right? Boston first, then I’ll move onto London. Stay tuned!