Women's Running Roundup 16/7/18

Each week Cajsa and I bring you the news from the roads and the trails. If you have any races your want covered or running-women you want applauded just let us know. Scroll down to find all the results from the weekend just gone and some previews for those ahead.

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Us tarmac types are delicate souls and we don't run long over the summer so it's looking rather light on the roundup for proper long distance road races at the moment. I guess we're all trying to build speed and sulkily but diligently running 5 and 10ks in the hope that the mission creep which inevitably builds as we wait patiently for autumn will not be quite so far fetched as we feared, and we can go a smash some 26.2 PRs in the cooler months. 

So, it was with a wry smile that I noticed that i the middle of (our) summer a Norwegian topped the podium at the Mauritius Marathon this weekend. It may be winter there but it's still 26c at the moment. Who was this Norse who was so cool that she took the win in a relatively leisurely time of 3:20:19, a good 10 mins slower than last year? I looked up Therese Falk and learned that she's not afraid of some heat. In the UK's current heatwave, with temperatures upwards of 27c she cruised home to win the Thames Path 100 back in April in 18 hrs44 mins. An award winning ultra runner in her own country. As with so many of these running stories, one thing led to another and down the rabbit hole I went. It turns out that Therese recently represented Norway in the International Association of Ultrarunners 24h European Championship event in Romania, which GB got bronze in! I would never have found that out if I weren't looking for this roundup. So, respect to Therese for winning a marathon less that a month after a 24 hr event and well done team GB for your podium place (Tracy Dean 224.61km, Alison Young  214.46km and Wendy Shaw 205.98km).

1. Therese Falk, Norway, 3:20:19 (see above)
2. Sophia Kaschowitz, Germany 3:31:06
3. Maritsa Kotze, South Africa, 3:35:39

Whilst skimming through the results I noticed what seems to be a husband and wife team from the UK - Karen and Robert Chart. Both finished in 05:37:52. Karen is a Parkrun stalwart with a massive 348 parkruns to her name. Madness!

As I've mentioned before, I love this race. 5 miles through epping forest (North London) and some light trail action (very light, hence sneaking it into this section). This month's race held tales of cows on the course (again) and I know of at least one wrong-turner in the mens race. But hey, it wouldn't be a trail race if someone didn't go wrong, right? I wasn't able to run this middle race of the series but I'm looking forward to getting back for the last one in August, so it's only right that I eye up the competition...

Annabel Litchfield of London Heathside held onto her top spot from the first race and must therefore be favourite to win the series overall. Her time was only 6s slower than the previous race, so very consistent. In second was Sue Bint who didn't compete in the first race and knocked her Vicky Park clubmate Hannah Somani down to 3rd place even though she ran a few seconds faster. 

1. Annabel Litchfield , London Heathside, 33:04 (23 OA) 
2. Sue Bint, VPH&TH AC, 34:13 (33 OA)
3. Hannah Somani, VPH&TH AC, 34:43, (34 OA)

RunnersConnect member Erin King has spoken in interviews of how as a child she would look at road signs, see the distance and imagine running it. Now I don't know about you but if I see 26 miles on a road sign and then carry on to that place in a car, I wonder how I ever manage to run that distance. But then I came to running later in life. Erin clearly has it in her blood. Check out this interview which explains how Erin dealt with injury and re-found her reason for running. 
1. Erin King, 3:29:25
2. Erin Merkely, 3:40:29
3. Madison Derrough, 3:45:52

Keely Baker who came second last year and logged a tantalising 3:00:18 at Houston Marathon in Jan this year smashed the 3hr barrier with a win in 2:51:46 

1. Keely Baker, Great Falls MT US 2:51:46
2. Trisha Drobeck, Missoula MT US, 2:53:28
3. Chelsea Dana, Billings MT US, 3:01:37



Nothing major to preview at the moment - start lists not forthcoming for these but I'll keep checking back!

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Cajsa brings you all the news from the trails..

You know that dress up game that actors play when they want to grab a cleansing buddha bowl from a busy pop-up in Silverlake without being papped; Raybans, Baseball cap, Kate Moss Denim and a pair of Cons … This weekend I learned what the trail-star equivalent looks like, it goes something like; Polarised Sungods, Patagonia Duckbill cap, Leki poles and a pair of Salomon S-labs. 

As I spent five glorious days mingling with sole-mates in the European epicentre of 'People Dressed In Active Wear' (also known as Chamonix), I was constantly unsure if the person running towards me was a three time UTMB champion or just a light footed middlepack native. Someone I know for a fact was not hiding behind any of those pairs of fluorescent shades was Kathrin Gotz as she was busy moving some ground on a different massif …

EIGER ULTRA TRAIL 101 km / 6700 m



As predicted in last weeks preview section neither Caroline Chaverot or Cat Bradley was there to toe the line for this majestic chapter of the Ultra Trail World Tour and it turns out that there was yet another significant DNS from the list of elite runners, namely that of my pre race favourite Megan Kimmel. It looks like she's got a late spot for TDS so my theory is that with such a major addition to her race calendar she's returned home to the US to prepare for returning to the European peaks in August. Kathrin Gotz did not seem to have any fears that a brutal race in the Swiss mountains would danger her chances in a highly competitive TDS next month. After being second lady in 2016 she made sure there was nothing stopping her from taking home the trophy this year and took an early lead which she held onto over the finish line. Twenty minutes behind Gotz was fellow German lady Eva Sperger who has been having a good season with a recent win at BVG Trail and a 5th place at Transgrancanaria. Third lady across the line, making her return to the international trail scene after a quiet 2017 due to injuries was Caroline Benoit from France. 

Behind that top three there were only 8 more female finishers to follow as the organisers decided to shut the race down early when the mountains surrounding Grindelwald were hit by heavy thunderstorms. 

Most of the runners on the 51 k course managed to finish ahead of the bad weather and amongst them was GB's Jo Meek who had a stellar day on the trails and took second place 20 minutes behind Germany's Michela Seglada. Meek, also scheduled to be back in the alps next month for UTMB, had 9 minutes down to third place where we find Ines Margues from Spain. 

1. Kathrin Gotz (GER), 13:49:06
2. Eva Sperger (GER), 14:11:40
3. Caroline Benoit (FRA), 14:20:40

1. Michaela Seglada (GER), 5:46:57
2. Jo Meek (GBR), 6:09:49
3. Ines Marques (ESP)6:23:13

It will be interesting to see whether Kathrin Gotz made a wise decision by racing long and hard so close to UTMB week. She ran, and placed third, at Lavaredo only last month and won the punchy Lago Maggiore Trail back in May and I can't help but feel that there might be a risk of Gotz having over-raced it during the early summer season. 

GRAN TRAIL COURMAYEUR 105 km / 7000m, 55 km / 4700 m

Another star runner with UTMB ambitions who I know for certain was out sharing the trails around Mont Blanc with me this weekend was GB Trail Team's Holly Rush. Fresh out of the WMRA Championships she followed in Jo Meeks footsteps and took home the title as second lady in the 55 km version of GTC. Holly finished only three minutes behind Italy's Simona Gambaro who has had quiet the year by winning all four races she's entered. Norway's Elisabeth Borgersen seems to have fully recovered from last years injury and came in as third woman in 7:56.

1. Simona Gambaro (ITA), 07:35:33
2. Holly Rush (GBR), 07:38:02  
3. Elisabeth Borgersen (NOR), 07:56:07 

In the main race, shorter on distance but with a difficulty level close to that of UTMB the victory went to Julia Fatton from Germany. 100 k races on alpine terrain seems to be her thing because she placed second in the intriguingly named; Trail De L'absinthe, a 109 k race in the Swiss Canyon only last month. Second lass, nearly two hours behind Fatton was Nia Cooper in 20:48 and on third place  in 21:18 was home lady Giulia Saggin. 

1.Julia Fatton (GER), 18:51:12
2.Nia Cooper (CHN), 20:48:07
3.Giulia Saggin (ITA), 21:18:26


Caught on the ropes on Pinnacle Ridge @lakesskyultra 📸 @iancorlessphotography

A post shared by Sophie Grant (@sophieamygrant) on

Chamonix regular and yet another UTMB contender Sophie Grant escaped being stalked by me as she spent her weekend dominating the rugged rock climbs of the Lakes Sky Ultra. Sophie took control of the race from the get go and won in an impressive 10:14, over two hours ahead of Kate Simpson on second place. Third lady home was Wales' Jenny Yate in 12:51.

1. Sophie Grant 10:14:41
2. Kat Simpson 12:37:38
3. Jenny Yate 12:51:35

The shorter but equally scrambl-y Scafell Sky Race provided a bit more excitement but the experienced sky runner Henriette Albon still won with some margin. Finishing in 05:59, 24 minutes slower than WS100 runner up Lucy Bartholomew's course record from last year, she had half an hour down to second fastest woman Sally Fawcett. Rounding up the podium was Catherine Slater in 06:47.

1. Henriette Albon 05:59:27
2. Sally Fawcett 06:26:16
3. Catherine Slater 06:47:48


The rather flat and well catered100 k course along one of Britain's most scenic ridgeways makes RTTS a favourite for first time ultra entries, however that doesn't stop this race from providing top shelf performances from more experienced endurance runners.  

Sophie Carter started out fast and led the race through the halfway mark but thanks to a very strong finish it was the American Alyssa Clark who was first woman and 5th OA to reach the stone circle in 9:35. In third place, 22 minutes behind Carter was Karen Hacker. 

1. Alyssa Clark 9:35:32
2. Sophie Carter 10:00:46
3. Karen Hacker 10:22:03




As you might have guessed by all the talk of a little race in Chamonix next month the upcoming four weeks are a bit quiet for the European trail elites. 

The US runners however have their own big mountain show coming up already next week, it is time for the legendary Hardrock 100 and although the womens start field is not up to its usual competitive standards (probably thanks to a very stacked WS100 and with a big number of american runners in the UTMB races this year) it is still one worth a watch! The legendary veteran of ultra trails Nikki Kimball is having her first go at Hardrock, it seems hard to believe that someone with her resume (UTMB, WS 100 and MDS champion) have not been toeing the line at this US classic before. It will be interesting to see if her experience will stand a chance against the speed of young guns like Sabrina Stanley who was third lady at WS last year. 

For the Americans who have been bitten by the Mont Blanc bug the Speedgoat 50 is a popular pick for a warm up race and there are some more big names down for this one.  

Yiou Wang got injured during the Cortina Skyrace last month and had to withdraw from Marathon du Mont-Blanc but is back on two feet and ready to race for it this weekend. She is up to some competition in New Zealand's Ruth Croft  who has had a great summer so far with a win at Marathon du Mont-Blanc and a third place at Zegama.